What is Schism and is it a Sin?

What is Schism and is it a Sin?

If we go by the dictionary then the word Schism means the division of a group into two groups, the division mainly occurs due to internal conflicts or opposite mentalities. While talking about the religious schism, it also occurs in the similar way of a single group splitting into two different groups, and like any other separation, this could be either harmonious or destructive. But irrespective of the type of division among them both the groups consider themselves to be totally different and superior from one another. There were two concepts of heresy and schism there, during the growth period of early Christian churches. The first one stands for some serious arguments or fights against the fundamental principles of faith and moral values whereas the second one stands for the occurrence of disunity among a group due to some less important policies and ideologies. Going by history, there was a fight between the patriarch of Constantinople and a deputy of the pope in the year 1054. And this could be referred to as a root cause of the great schism. 


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he fight resulted in the mutual separation of one single church organization into two different sects of east and west. This was the actual time when both the churches disregard one another. But some historians claim it to be neither the end nor the beginning of any such concept of the eastern church and the western church. Till the year 1054, there was no official declaration of the parting of churches by their leaders but the internal disagreements and debates were kept flourishing in-between them for centuries. 

So, what is the most common and earliest cause of Schism? 

Talking about the tribes or communities there could be conflicts among them due to some internal disagreements but one of the root causes of this split was culture variance. The languages, the structures which they built for churches, the philosophies, the ideologies all these were completely different among them. Just think about the concepts like there could be one single god but at the same time there could be many, Jesus was crucified or is an eternal being and now think about the translation of such beliefs or concepts into other languages of the same community before it got split into two. Due to lack of means to travel larger distances and fewer meetings, sometimes the translators interpreted the concepts their way and translated them as per their interpretation that may have led to a lot of serious tensions and confusion among the organization itself. There were some problems with the theologies. But these are some very minute things that are there in every community, one cannot consider this as a base of Schism.

What is the main reason behind the split?

Constantinople, Rome, Alexandria, Jerusalem, and Antioch were the major centres of religious authorities of that time and the politics of their Bishops lead to conflicts among the community. Due to the constant wars going in between different nations, the Bishop of Rome liked to work independently rather than working unitedly in a team with the rest of the four. And things started getting worse day by day, the confusions, internal tensions, orthodox authorities, and whatnot. That doesn’t mean that no one had ever tried to make things better at any point in time, but you may know that sometimes you try to correct the things for a good cause but you ended up making them even worse. As when the soldiers were sent by the Urban Pope from the east to fight with the western soldiers they made things even worst and done the opposite by fighting against the east itself. So, you cannot mention one single incident from where all of this began, the great schism is a process that made things more worse over the years between the east and the west churches.

Does Schism is any special type of sin?

Well, this is not as simple as any other question to answer. As per the Isaiah of the Holy Bible, “your each and every sin drives you far away from the God”, so according to it schism is not any special kind of sin. The person who don’t believe in or follow the rules and teachings of the Church is a schismatic person. God had himself made the ten celestial commandments that he wanted to be followed by all the human beings on this planet and any sort of disrespect to the church indicates disobeying God’s will and that’s a sin. Hence, sin is also an example of Schism. On the other hand, the idea of separation of oneself from the Church or its ideologies is considered as a special kind of sin by Isidore in Etymologia, a person who thinks about getting himself separated from the unity effected by charity, that unites one human to the other human and also with the loving spirit of Church.


The whole concept of Schism is not very much predictable but still, things that we’ve discussed above are some of the significant phases of the entire process. From time to time, the things like following philosophies and ideologies of the Church were always a part of conflicts between groups of people but still, it cannot be said in one word that schism is a sin or not.


  • What is schism?

Answer- An organization splitting into two.

  • When did the Schism begin?

Answer- After 1054.

  • What was the outcome of Schism?

Answer- Permanent split of two Churches.

What is Schism and is it a Sin?

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