SCHISM, a division, especially used of a formal separation from a church or religious body, a sect, or church formed by such separation. The Greek axi^a, a cleft, split, from a^ tiv, to cleave, is used in the New Testament of an actual rent in a garment (Matt. ix. 16) and also several times of divisions or differences of opinion as to the teaching and message of Christ (John vii. 43) or of dissension in the church (i Cor. xi. 18) In the early Christian Church, as defined by the Fathers, and later, the offence of " schism " is distinguished from that of " heresy "; it refers not to differences of belief or doctrine, but to the promotion, or the state, of divisions of organisation, and to the formation of bodies separate from the true church, or to dissensions and separations due to disputes over matters of discipline or authority (see HERESY). The dispute which led to the separation of the Latin and Greek Churches is known as the " Great Schism," and the division over the election to the Papacy of Urban VI. and Clement VII. as the " Great Schism of the West " (1378-1417) (see PAPACY and CHURCH HISTORY).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)