World History

Which events led the Catholic Church to split with the Byzantine Empire?
Answered by Discovery Channel
  • Discovery Channel

    Discovery Channel

  1. The connection between the Catholic Church in the West and the Byzantine Empire in the East started to fall apart in 726 when Emperor Leo III initiated a crusade against the use of religious icons or symbols, fearing that they would gradually lead to idol worship. This iconoclasm broke religious conventions and alienated the eastern empire from the Church in Rome. Furthermore, at the end of the eighth century, the mother of Byzantine Emperor Constantine VI, Irene, blinded her son and claimed the title for herself. This did not sit well with church leaders, who refused to honor the legitimacy of a female ruler in the Byzantine Empire. Instead, they turned to the kingdoms of Western Europe. There, they saw the coronation of a powerful supporter such as Charlemagne as a way to split with the Byzantine Empire.

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