The ban set off violent battles within the Byzantine empire. The pope took a hand in the dispute, excommunicating the Byzantine emperor. Although a later Byzantine ruler restored the use of icons, the conflict left great resentment against the pope.
By 1054, other controversies had worsened the divide, leading to the Great Schism, or the permanent split between eastern and western Christianity. The Byzantine Christian Church became known as the Eastern Orthodox Church. In the west, the Church became known as the Roman Catholic Church.
After the Great Schism, other differences grew between the two branches of Christianity. Popes in Rome had long asserted their claim to papal supremacy. The patriarchs in the eastern Christian Church continued to reject this claim. The Roman Catholic Church had a single leader, the pope, while the Eastern Orthodox Church recognized a number of patriarchs, or high-ranking clergy.
During the many controversies that erupted between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, popes and patriachs excommunicated each other. Although both churches still followed the same faith, the centers of power saw each other as rivals. During the Middle Ages and after, their contacts remained guarded and distant.
Within the Byzantine empire, Christianity was a strong unifying social and political factor, just as it had been in the western Roman empire. The people followed the same traditions, such as the use of icons, and celebrated holy days according to the Orthodox religious calendar. The use of Greek, the official language of the Byzantine church, was also a unifying factor, just as Latin unified the Roman Catholic Church in Western Europe. The patriarch of Constantinople traditionally blessed the Byzantine emperor and the emperor took a strong hand in Church affairs, affirming the unity between political and religious authority.
Prior to the Great Schism, how did the practice of Christianity in the Byzantine empire differ from that in Western Europe?