I promised I would weigh in on the filioque issue before I moved on in my series. I really don’t have much more to say than what the links I had previously provided surely show: the filioque is not a Church-dividing issue. Of course, the first to make it a Church-dividing issue was Patriarch Photius of Constantinople (wiki article/Catholic Encyclopedia article). I have said (and I’m not the first to say it, I’m sure) that Photius was Martin Luther before Martin Luther was cool. I am not saying that Photius created the animosity between East and West out of whole cloth. Surely the fissures were already beginning to form. But what Photius did do was to make the anti-Western sentiments into a clear movement, one that took hold in that most orthodox of Orthodox institutions – the monasteries. There the sentiment would fester and grow. The Latins were beardless. The Latins used unleavened bread. The filioque was an issue which this anti-Latin party could latch onto with fervor. I have one more link to provide, a brief quote from that link, and I will be done with the filioque.
De unione ecclesiarum is a blog I’ve recently begun reading. I would recommend it highly. The blog’s author is in the midst of studying Patriarch John Bekkos, the man who supported reunion at Lyon, and a man who has been anathematized by the Orthodox churches. I hope you will study more about Bekkos, as I find him a fascinating character. And while you are doing that, continue on several decades and study Demetrios Kydones, a brilliant Easterner who also wished for reconciliation between East and West. James Likoudis’ book, Ending the Byzantine Greek Schism : Containing The 14th C. Apologia of Demetrios Kydomes for Unity With Rome . . . is a wonderful place to start. Anyway, over at De union, the author has a blog entry entitled, Bekkos on Photius’ motives. Read it. Here is an excerpt.
As for the historical account, to speak of it concisely, the course of events went like this. The patriarchal throne was adorned by Ignatius, a man who had attained to such a state of holiness that, to this day, his memory is celebrated in the Church according to the dignity allotted to those who have been well-pleasing unto God. Photius had his eyes on the throne; but, although he was a man of eminent culture and not ignoble with respect to wisdom, still, he did not do well to thrust off him who sat upon the throne, and to install himself there. Ignatius refers an account of the violent act to Pope Nicholas, who at that time adorned the apostolic see. There followed the requisite defense of the wronged party by the holy defender, a defense of which the saint surely was in need. A letter came to Photius enjoining that he restore to the victimized man his honor and his see. The letter provokes Photius’s anger — and why wouldn’t it, since it did not allow him free enjoyment of the things he coveted? — he conceives a grudge against the Roman Church, but, nevertheless, he does not yet allow the birthpang to break forth, but he still holds the wicked embryo of dissention in his belly; and, while he remains suspended with hopes, he takes counsel with himself in this way: either, if he should attain his desires’ object, to let his heart’s embryo die unformed; otherwise, if he should fail of this, to let the baby loose and bring forth the offspring of strife unto the manifest division of the Churches — which in fact took place, to the destruction, alas! of our nation and our sovereignty.