The Church In The Eastern Empire

At the beginning of the permanent division of the Empire, the church life

of the East was disturbed by a series of closely connected disputes known

as the First Origenistic Controversy (§ 87), in which were comprised a

conflict between a rationalistic tendency, connected with the religious

philosophy of Origen, and a traditionalism that eschewed speculation, a

bitter rivalry between the great sees of Alexandria, the religious and<
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intellectual capital of the East, and Constantinople, the church of the

new imperial city, and personal disputes. But more serious controversies

were already beginning. While the Church of the West was laying the

foundations of the papal system, the Church of the East was falling more

and more under the dominance of the secular authority; while the West was

developing its anthropology, with its doctrines of Original Sin, Grace,

and Election, the East was entering upon the long discussion of the topic

which had been left by the Arian controversy--granted that the incarnate

Son of God is truly eternal God, in what way are the divine and human

natures related to the one personality of the incarnate God (§ 88)? The

controversies that arose over this topic involved the entire Church of the

East, and found in the general councils of Ephesus, A. D. 431 (§ 89), and

Chalcedon, A. D. 451 (§ 90), partial solutions. In the case of each

council, permanent schisms resulted, and large portions of the Church of

the East broke away from the previous unity (§ 91); and on account of the

intimate connection between the affairs of the Church and the secular

policy of the Empire, a schism was caused between the see of Rome and the

churches in communion with the see of Constantinople.