chapter  7
Reform, The East, Crusade
Pages 26

The seventy-five years from the middle of the eleventh century witnessed crucial events in the long history of the church. Forms were cast that would shape integral features of the Christian church as it lived its life in the centuries to come. The papacy, long in scandalous decline, woke up or, rather, was awakened to assume a role of active leadership. In the exuberance of its new awakening the popes disastrously but effectively severed the church from the Christians of the East, as disagreement became schism, and schism became permanent, yet not so permanent that, when threatened by Turkish invaders, Eastern Christians would not call upon the West for help. That help was the First Crusade. A church with a strong papacy, often in struggle with secular rulers, a church separated from its Greek-speaking brethren and a church embracing an ideal of war against the infidels – these were henceforth to be benchmarks of the medieval church.