Christ went about in the synagogues all over Galilee to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom. He gathered 12 apostles, instructed them in the ways of his kingdom and chose Peter to be the head of his Church, "You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bound on earth will be bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." (Mt 16:18-19) At the Last Supper Jesus prayed for the unity of the Church, "I pray...that they may all be one, as you Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that you have sent me." (Jn 16:10-21)

With the Resurrection and the sending of the Spirit came to fruition Christ's kingdom of earth. The Spirit who gave new life to Christ's earthly body released his humanity from the limitations of time and space. Now Christ through his spiritualized humanity along with the Father releases the power of the Spirit upon mankind. And so the Apostles were scattered throughout the world to preach the Gospel of the kingdom and baptizing in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. There can only be One True Church because God is One. The Catholic Church, which means open to all mankind, maintains this unity desired by Christ.

Christ's Disfigured Kingdom

Eastern Schism: The separation between the Catholic Church and the Eastern Church is generally dated 1054 A.D. but it was long in the making.

1) Emperor Costantius appointed an Aryan heretic as patriarch of Constantinople. Pope Julian excommunicated the patriarch in 343 A.D. and it remained so till John Chrysostom became patriarch in 398 A.D.

2) In the 8th Century during the Church struggle against the iconoclasts, the patriarch of Constantinople sided with the iconoclastic emperor.

3) During the Norman conquest of Southern Italy they forced the Greek communities there to adopt the Latin Rite usage of unleavened bread for consecration. In response, Patriarch Cerularius ordered all Latin Rite communities in Constantinople to use leavened bread.

4) In 1054, the Pope emissary Hubert, excommunicated patriarch Celurarius and the Byzantine Synod excommunicated the Pope's legate Humbert. In 1965, Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras I of Constantinople lifted these mutual excommunications.

5) Under Muslem pressure most Eastern Church broke their union with Rome. With the end of the patriarchal system, the churches lost their center of unity and now we there are 11 independent Orthodox churches in the world.

6) Another point of disagreement was doctrinal, the filioque, the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son or from the Father through the Son. This is no longer a problem. The orthodox emphasize the origin of the Sprit from the Father while the Latin Church emphasizes the equality between the Father and Son in the sending of the Spirit.

7) The Orthodox churches claim that the Pope has only primacy of Honor among the bishops of the World and not a primacy of power. I do not see how this interpretation can stand up when seen in the light of Christ giving Peter power to decision.

The Orthodox Churches are held in high esteem by the Catholic Church. They have a valid priesthood and sacraments, the same doctrine and a very rich liturgical tradition with its Holy Icons. Let us pray that one day we may be reunited.

to Martin Luther & Henry VIII