May 17, 2022

The term schism or schism refers to the split within an established religious faith community without the formation of a new theological conception (heresy). In contrast to opposing factions and factions within such a community, the split is characterized by the separation that has taken place. Rather, the term schism refers to the institutional framework and different church constitutions of the separated churches. In the ecumenical dialogue of the churches, the historically less charged expression of church separation is preferred.

Terminology, delimitations

The foreign word schism (Late Middle High German sc[h]isma) goes back to Church Latin schisma and Greek σχίσμα s-chísma, which means "cleavage, separation". In Greek, 's' and 'ch' are to be pronounced separately, as in Sleeping Beauty; in German, the pronunciation is the same as for ships. The plural is schisms or, more rarely, schismata. The term schism is primarily used with reference to the Christian churches and the history of Christianity. However, religious divisions are not only to be found in Christianity, but also in Islam between Kharijites, Shiites and Sunnis, as well as in Buddhism. Occasionally the political break between the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China, the Sino-Soviet rift, is referred to as the communist schism. Furthermore, in the Codex Iuris Canonici of the Roman Catholic Church, schism refers to a canonical offence, namely "the refusal of submission to the Pope or of communion with the members of the Church who are subordinate to him".

Church History

Old Church

Faith schisms accompany the history of the church from the beginning and often mark the hour of birth of churches or Christian special communities that compete with the existing churches, see also the old church. The concept of a consistent and uniform "old church" in the early phase of spreading Christianity should be viewed critically, because the adjective "old" can be used to describe many lines of development, whether Trinitarian, Arian, Pelagian, Nestorian, Donatist or Marcionite (Docetist) and others Lines are characterized. In the New Testament, especially in Paul's letters, there are many traces of discord and schisms. The deepest crisis arose from the question of the validity of the Old Testament law (Torah) for Gentile Christians as well. The Ebionites, a strong Jewish Christian group, were lost to the emerging church. In the year 144 AD, for example, there was a conflict between Marcion and the old church and a break with the prevailing exegesis and the founding of a separate, Gnostic-influenced religious community. Marcion was probably 'banished' from the Roman community, founded his own communities and gathered followers around him, who were joined by early church bishops and priests. In contrast to the Gnostic sects, the community of the Marcionites was tightly organized; It was precisely because of this that it could become serious competition for the early church. Through Marcion's travels, his teachings quickly spread to Egypt and Persia. Under Constantine, the Marcionite communities were fought, which in some regions of the Roman Empire had more followers than the other communities. In the years that followed, in the process of clarification and splitting, that community crystallized that understood itself and its creed as orthodox and catholic. This happened until the 4th century (Constantinian turn) without state power. When a dogmatic belief such as that of the Gnostics, Donatists, Arians and others was declared erroneous after long arguments, �