Timeline of Schisms

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During Period of the Single Church

Within Orthodoxy

  • 1265-1310 Arsenite Schism.
  • ca.1666-67 Old Believers became separated after 1666-1667 from the hierarchy of the Church of Russia as a protest against church reforms introduced by Patriarch Nikon of Moscow.
  • 1921 Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC).
  • 1935 Old Calendar Schism, when three bishops declared their separation from the official Church of Greece stating that the calendar change was a schismatic act.
  • 1990 Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kiev Patriarchate (UOC-KP).

Roman Catholic

Eastern Catholic Churches

The Vatican's Annuario Pontificio gives the following list of 22 Eastern Catholic Churches and of countries (or other political areas, consisting of more than country) in which they possess an episcopal ecclesiastical jurisdiction (date of union or foundation in parenthesis):

Alexandrian liturgical tradition
  1. Coptic Catholic Church (patriarchate): Egypt (1741)
  2. Ethiopian Catholic Church (metropolia): Ethiopia, Eritrea (1846)
Antiochian (West-Syrian) liturgical tradition
  1. Maronite Church (patriarchate): Lebanon, Cyprus, Jordan, Israel, Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Syria, Argentina, Brazil, United States, Australia, Canada, Mexico (union re-affirmed 1182)
  • 685 John Maron elected first Maronite patriarch, founding the Maronite Catholic Church, which embraced Monothelitism, rejected the teaching of the Fifth Ecumenical Council, and separated from the Orthodox Church.
  • 694 Byzantine army of Justinian II defeated by Maronites, who became fully independent.
  • 1182 Maronites, who assisted the Crusaders during the Crusades, reaffirm their affiliation with Rome in 1182.
  1. Syriac Catholic Church (patriarchate): Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Sudan, Syria, Turkey, United States and Canada, Venezuela (1781).
  2. Syro-Malankara Catholic Church (major archiepiscopate): India, United States (1930).
  • 1930 Some of the New Party (Puthankuttukar), joined the Catholic Communion on on September 20, 1930 as the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church.
Chaldean or East Syrian liturgical tradition
  1. Chaldean Catholic Church (patriarchate): Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Turkey, United States (1692)
  2. Syro-Malabar Church (major archiepiscopate): India, Middle East, Europe and America (date disputed)
  • 1599 The Synod of Diamper, held at Udayamperoor/Diamper, (Kerala, India) formally united the ancient Christian Church of the Malabar Coast Saint Thomas Christians with the Roman Catholic Church, and severed its direct ties with the Assyrian church of the East.
  • 1653 A group of the Saint Thomas Christians gathered at Mattancherry near Fort Kochi under the leadership of their archdeacon; They swore the Coonan Cross Oath not to obey the Pope of Rome; subsequently they received a bishop, Mar Gregory, from the Syriac Orthodox Church of West Syrian tradition; those who accepted Mar Gregory became known as the New Party (Puthankuttukar).
  • 1663 A large section of the Old Party (Pazhayakuttukur) cut its ancient ties with the churches in Persia and joined the Catholic Communion in 1663 AD with the ordination of Chandy Bishop. This section is presently known as Syro-Malabar Church.
Armenian liturgical tradition
  1. Armenian Catholic Church (patriarchate): Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Turkey, Jordan, Palestinian Authority, Ukraine, France, Greece, Latin America, Argentina, Romania, United States, Canada, Eastern Europe (1742)
Byzantine (Constantinopolitan) liturgical tradition
  1. Albanian Greek Catholic Church (apostolic administration): Albania (1628).
  2. Belarusian Greek Catholic Church (no established hierarchy at present): Belarus (1596).
  3. Bulgarian Greek Catholic Church (apostolic exarchate): Bulgaria (1861).
  4. Byzantine Church of the Eparchy of Križevci (an eparchy and an apostolic exarchate): Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro (1611).
  5. Greek Byzantine Catholic Church (two apostolic exarchates): Greece, Turkey (1829).
  6. Hungarian Greek Catholic Church (an eparchy and an apostolic exarchate): Hungary (1646).
  7. Italo-Albanian Catholic Church (two eparchies and a territorial abbacy): Italy (Never separated).
  8. Macedonian Greek Catholic Church (an apostolic exarchate): Republic of Macedonia (1918).
  9. Melkite Greek Catholic Church (patriarchate): Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Brazil, United States, Canada, Mexico, Iraq, Egypt and Sudan, Kuwait, Australia, Venezuela, Argentina (1726).
  10. Romanian Church United with Rome, Greek-Catholic (major archiepiscopate): Romania, United States (1697).
  11. Russian Catholic Church: (two apostolic exarchates, at present with no published hierarchs): Russia, China (1905); currently about 20 parishes and communities scattered around the world, including five in Russia itself, answering to bishops of other jurisdictions.
  12. Ruthenian Catholic Church (a sui juris metropolia, an eparchy, and an apostolic exarchate): United States, Ukraine, Czech Republic (1646).
  13. Slovak Greek Catholic Church (metropolia): Slovak Republic, Canada (1646).
  14. Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) (major archiepiscopate): Ukraine, Poland, United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, Germany and Scandinavia, France, Brazil, Argentina (1596).
  • 1596 Union of Brest-Litovsk, several million Ukrainian and Byelorussian Orthodox Christians, living under Polish rule, leave the Church of Constantinople and recognize the Pope of Rome, without giving up their Byzantine liturgy and customs, creating the Uniate church.


Oriental Orthodox Communion

Church of Alexandria (Coptic)

  • ca.451 Coptic Christianity broke from the Byzantine churches in the wake of the Fourth Ecumenical Council in Chalcedon in 451; Shenouda the Great, abbott of White Monastery in Egypt (d.466), is considered the founder of Coptic Christianity.
British Orthodox Church

Church of Antioch (Syriac)

  • 541 Jacob Baradeus organizes the Non-Chalcedonian Church in western Syria (the "Jacobites"), which spreads to Armenia and Egypt. Church of Antioch (Syriac).
  • 544 Jacob Baradeus consecrates Sergius of Tella as bishop of Antioch, opening the lasting schism between the Syriac Orthodox Church and the Chalcedonian Church of Antioch.
Malankara Jacobite Syriac Orthodox Church

Armenian Apostolic Church

  • 554 Church of Armenia (Armenian Apostolic Church) officially breaks with West in 554, during the second Council of Dvin where the dyophysite formula of Chalcedon was rejected.

Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church

  • 1959 Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, (Abbysinia), is an Oriental Orthodox church in Ethiopia that was part of the Coptic Church until 1959, when it was granted its own Patriarch by Coptic Pope Cyril VI.

Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church

  • 1993 Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church was formerly a part of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, its autocephaly being reluctantly recognized by the Ethiopian Patriarchate after Eritrea gained its independence in the 1993.

The Church of India (Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church)

  • 52 Church in India was founded by St. Thomas the Apostle.
  • 1498 The Portuguese reached the Indian shore in 1498, along with them came Roman Catholic missionaries.
  • 1653 Coonan Cross Oath by which all connections with the Portuguese Roman Catholics and Jesuits (Roman Catholic supremacy) was rejected by the St Thomas Christians.
  • 1665 The "Jacobite" bishop, Mar Gregorios of Jerusalem came to India, confirming the Episcopal consecration of Mar Thoma I as the head of the Orthodox Church in India (Oriental Orthodoxy restored); this was a new beginning in the history of modern Malankara Church.
  • 1772 Malabar Independent Syrian Church splits from the main Orthodox Christian body; this church is not in full communion with other Orthodox Churches.
  • 1876 Council of the Malankara Church at Mulanthuruthy, presided over by Patriarch Ignatius Peter IV, who had been summoned to assist in efforts against the inroads of Protestantism supported by the British, declared that the Malankara Church accepts the supremacy of the patriarch and that it keeps the Jacobite faith (of the Antiochans); this was against the historical status of the Malankara Church.
  • 1910 Formation of the Archdiocese of Knanaya, a part of the Syrian Orthodox Church.
  • 1912 Autocephaly, with the relocation in India of the Catholicate of the East, which historically had been in Seleucia and later in Tigris; consecration of the first Indian Catholicose, Moran Mar Baselios Paulos (1912-14), first Catholicose of the East in India, with the participation of (deposed) Patriarch Abdul Messiah of Antioch and (excommunicated) Malankara Metropolitan Geevarghese Dionysius; the Indian Orthodox Church view is that the Catholicate of the East is autocephalous and in the legitimate succession of St. Thomas the Apostle, citing use of the term "throne of St. Thomas" in documents since at least 1301 AD, and that this was a period of religious turmoil where the Patriarch of Antioch interfered and suspended the Malankara Metropolitan, demanding complete surrender, leading to this event; two factions thus emerge in Oriental Indian Orthodoxy: the Malankara Jacobite Syriac Orthodox Church (Patriarchal, "Jacobite", or Bava Faction) and Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (Indian Orthodox Church) (Catholicos, or Methran Faction).
  • 1934 Constitution of the Orthodox Church in India as an autocephalous Church linked to the Orthodox Syrian Church of the Patriarch of Antioch.
  • 1958 On September 12, the constitutional bench of the Supreme Court of India recognized the validity of the Catholicate and unanimously declared that the Patriarch of Antioch does not have any authority over the Malankara church and that the Indian church is completely free under the Catholicos of the East; by an accord, Syrian Patriarch Ignatius Yakoub III affirmed his canonical acceptance of the Catholicate as well as the Constitution of the Indian Orthodox Church; the two factions of the Malankara Church, viz: Malankara Jacobite Syriac Orthodox Church (Patriarchal, "Jacobite", or Bava Faction) and Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (Indian Orthodox Church) (Catholicos, or Methran Faction) were re-united.
  • 1972 The new Catholicos, Augen I, began to claim that he is seated on the throne of St. Thomas, favoring autocephaly and "Thomasine" hierarchical succession.
  • 1975 A Synod of the Syrian Orthodox Church excommunicated the Catholicos and his followers; the Catholicos and the Metropolitans convened their own Synod separately, and cut off connections with the Patriarch of Antioch; thus the Malankara Jacobite Syriac Orthodox Church (Patriarchal, "Jacobite", or Bava Faction) and Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (Indian Orthodox Church) (Catholicos, or Methran Faction) split again.
  • 1995 June 20, the Supreme Court of India unequivocally declared that "The Patriarch of Antioch was undoubtedly acknowledged and recognised by all the members of the Malankara Church as the supreme head of their Church", implying that the Indian Orthodox Catholicate is part of the Syriac Orthodox Church and is not autocephalous.
  • 2002 The two groups conducted their own Syrian Christian Association meetings and since then are functioning independently; the Malankara Jacobite faction adopted a new constitution, against the constitution of 1934.


Assyrian Church of the East

  • 410 Council of Seleucia declares Mesopotamian Nestorian bishops independent of Orthodox bishops.
  • 424 Formal separation of the Assyrian Chruch of the East ("Syrian Church" or the "Persian Church"), from the See of Antioch and the western Syrian Church under the Byzantine Emperors, occurred at a synod in 424; (in India, it is known as the Chaldean Syrian Church; In the West it is often known as the Nestorian Church).
  • 484 Synod of Beth Lapat in Persia declares Nestorianism as official theology of Assyrian Church of the East, effectively separating the Assyrian church from the Byzantine church.

Protestant Groups

  • 1517 Lutheran Church founded by Martin Luther, nailing his Ninety-Five Theses to door at Wittenburg, sparking Protestant Reformation.
  • 1525 Anabaptism established; (today's descendants include particularly the Amish, Hutterites and Mennonites).
  • 1534 Church of England (Anglicanism) founded by King Henry VIII.
  • 1541 Calvinism, (the Reformed tradition, the Reformed faith, or Reformed theology) founded, as the French theologian Johannes Calvinus establishes the first Reformed church in Geneva.
  • 1560 Presbyterian religion founded by John Knox in Scotland.
  • 1571 Dutch Reformed Church founded at the Synod of Emden.
  • 1592 Congregationalist religion originated by Robert Brown in Holland.
  • 1609 Baptist religion launched by John Smyth in Amsterdam.
  • ca.1630-40 Puritan movement in England; approximately 20,000 Puritans emigrated to New England in the Great Migration; in 1662 the Puritans (also known as "Dissenters", later "Nonconformists") left or were forced out of the Church of England altogether.
  • 1648 Society of Friends (Quakers) founded by George Fox, as a Nonconformist breakaway movement from English Puritanism.
  • 1744 Methodist religion began by John and Charles Wesley in England; (the movement did not form a separate denomination in England until after John Wesley's death in 1795).
  • 1773 Unitarian denomination dates from the secession of Theophilus Lindsey from the Anglican Church.
  • 1789 Episcopal Church formally separated from the Church of England, so that clergy would not be required to accept the supremacy of the British monarch; a revised version of the Book of Common Prayer was also written for the new church in 1789.
  • 1827 Plymouth Brethren; Anglican priest John Nelson Darby became an influential member of the movement now known as the Plymouth Brethren, and advocate of Dispensational Premillenialism, an innovative Protestant movement that gave rise to Evangelicalism.
  • 1830 Mormon (Latter Day Saints) religion started by Joseph Smith, in Palmyra, New York; Book of Mormon published.
  • 1844 Seventh Day Adventists arose from the Millerite movement of the 1840s, which was part of the wave of revivalism in the United States known as the Second Great Awakening, and was formally established in 1863.
  • 1865 Salvation Army sect began with William Booth in London.
  • 1879 Christian Scientist religion is born, founded by Mary Baker Eddy.
  • 1879 Jehovah's Witnesses founded by Charles Taze Russell.
  • 1906 Pentecostal movement spreads after the Azusa Street Revival (1906-09); also known as "Charismatic Movement" from ca.1960 onwards.
  • 1925 United Church of Canada, the second-largest Christian denomination in Canada after the Roman Catholic Church, is founded as a merger of four Protestant denominations.
  • 1957 United Church of Christ (UCC) is a mainline Protestant Christian denomination principally in the United States, generally considered within the Reformed tradition, formed in 1957 with the union of the Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian Churches.

See also