Until the middle of the 11th century, Christendom was one — with the center in Constantinople and the Ecumenical Patriarch at the head of the entire religion. However, later Christianity split into 2 major branches: Catholicism and Orthodoxy.
Why did the Split happen and could it have been avoided? What would the world be like if the church remained one?
In fact, Christendom has never been completely one. In the 5th century, Armenia, Ethiopia and the Middle East left the influence of Constantinople, organizing their own churches. And by the XI century, Rome claimed the second main center of religion.
Over time, differences appeared between Western and Eastern Christianity in the interpretation of the Bible, the origin of Jesus Christ, and even the language of worship (Latin in Rome and Greek in Byzantium).
By 1054, the split between Catholicism and Orthodoxy was inevitable.
For the next thousand years, the two Christian sects vied with each other. Orthodoxy spread among the eastern and southern Slavs. Catholics baptized Spain, Scandinavia and the Baltic states.
Religious schism has become a tragic point in the development of Christianity
Against the background of the split, the political influence of the Byzantine Empire weakened. From the east, Muslims pressed on it, they subjugated the entire Middle East and Asia Minor (the territory of modern Turkey).
In support of Byzantium, Catholics organized the Crusades and even recaptured Jerusalem and the Middle East from the Muslims. However, they did not return these lands to the Orthodox. Instead of support, Byzantium only suffered from the crusaders.
Such a scenario is possible only if Rome and Constantinople ceased to compete for primacy in the Christian world. And so one of them had to submit to the other.
This could happen several times: for example, during the Union of Florence in 1439, Rome became the center of all Christianity.
Without church schism, Christians could have avoided a large number of wars
West and East together would oppose Muslims. There was no question of plundering Byzantium by the crusaders. Orthodox Christians and Catholics would not waste energy fighting for influence in the Baltics, Eastern Europe and Italy.
Europe would definitely be more united. In such a world there would be a place for Russia as well. In the XV-XVII centuries, our country could arrange its own Reformation, together with Germany and Scandinavia.
Today, despite the statements of the clergy about the need to unite the branches, there is still no real rapprochement. Moreover, with the loss of the influence of religion, everyone forgot about overcoming the Schism.