Common Heritage, Divided Communion examines the various religious and secular events related to the Council of Chalcedon (451) and the so-called “Monophysite” schism. It includes a detailed overview and analysis of contemporary Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox ecumenical efforts to re-establish ecclesial communion.
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Can a church division of fifteen centuries be brought to an end?
This question occupied the thoughts of a courageous and brilliant international group of theologians—bishops, priests and laymen—in the early 1960s. These members of the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches sought to discover the truth behind the separation of the two bodies following the Council of Chalcedon (451), the so-called “Monophysite Schism.” The original inter-Orthodox ecumenical partners, and those who followed them in the course of four decades, have returned to the theological sources of the medieval Eastern Christian Fathers for their investigations. Armed with modern scholarship, they have objectively engaged the issues which brought the schism into existence and maintained it. Far from an academic exercise, the ultimate goal of this work is to accomplish what until only decades ago seemed impossible: to unite two separated ancient church communions into one.
Common Heritage, Divided Communion draws the reader into the odyssey of inter-Orthodox unity. Beginning with a review of life in early Conciliar era Christian society, it leads to discussion of the key events leading to the convocation of Chalcedon, the ecclesial unraveling which followed it, and the success and failures in reunion efforts in the first millennium. Projecting to the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries, it provides engaging accounts and evaluations of the inter-Orthodox efforts of mutual ecumenical cooperation and understanding—and the challenges which continue in the work of Christian rapprochement and reconciliation.
Kenneth F. Yossa, Ph.D. lectures in religion at Excelsior College. He received his M.A. in Theology (Church History) from Seton Hall University, and his doctorate in Religious Studies (Systematic Theology) from Marquette University. He has lectured at Marquette, Franciscan University, Dickinson College and the Catholic University of Louvain. His ongoing research interests include ecclesiology, liturgy, ecumenism, and the interface of science and religion.