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Union of the Churches

he two Christian Churches of the Middle Ages, that of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire and that of the Western Roman Empire, had become estranged already since the time of the Schism, in 1504, both because of dogmatic differences and for reasons related to the government of the Churches. The two Churches had ever since followed divergent policies. However, the situation was such that the Byzantine Emperors were forced, in exchange for political or more often military support, to come to an agreement with the popes of Rome, and to consent to the union of the two Churches, an oucome the Western church had always desired. Two such attempts were made during the Late Byzantine period, the first one at the Council of Lyons in 1274 and the second at the Council of Ferrara-Florence in 1438/39. These political endeavours gave rise to various reactions in the intellectual field that found expression in treatises, discourses, discussions and public debates. The subjects treated were the convergence and divergence existing between the two Churches (the same ones that had caused the Schism) and the necessity or not of their union. The "unionists" composed tracts and treatises against the "anti-unionists" and vice versa, and accusations were flung that were aimed not only at the views held by certain persons but also at the persons themselves.

See also: The Schism 1054