“These are they who cause divisions by separating themselves, material-minded ones, not having the Spirit.” [Jude 19]
Schismatics are those who separate themselves from the Church on account of a purely ecclesiastical dispute - such as rejecting the canonical direction of church administration and related questions, e.g., the ordination of bishops, the reception of lapsed believers, the permission to re-marry after one’s spouse dies, etc.. They break the Church’s canons, and they set up rival hierarchies or churches where the Church has already canonically established them. However, they hold no erroneous belief concerning God other than that He favors or permits such divisive action as theirs. A similar category of separatists, sometimes distinguished from schismatics, are parasynagogues, or parallel assemblies, which consist in unauthorized worship assemblies set up by canonically suspended or deposed clergymen and their followers.
The Teaching of the Scriptures, Church Fathers, and Ecumenical Councils on the Absence of Salvation Among Schismatics.
“Nothing so provokes God’s anger as the division of the Church. Yea, though we have achieved ten thousand glorious acts, yet shall we, if we cut to pieces the fullness of the Church, suffer punishment no less sore than they who mangled His body. For that indeed was brought to pass for the benefit of the world, even though it was done with no such intention; whereas this produces no advantage in any case, but the injury is excessive. These remarks I am addressing not to the governors only, but also to the governed. Now a certain holy man said what might seem to be a bold thing; yet, nevertheless, he spoke it out. What then is this? He said, that not even the blood of martyrdom can wash out this sin. For tell me for what dost thou suffer as a martyr? Is it not for the glory of Christ? Thou then that yieldest up thy life for Christ’s sake, how dost thou lay waste the Church, for whose sake Christ yielded up His life?”
St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople (4th Century AD)
[Homily XI on the Epistle of St. Paul to the Ephesians]
“There is one Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ, not more, nor even two; congresses other than this are synagogues of wicked men and a synod of dissenters; thus do we the true Christians think, thus do we believe, thus do we proclaim.”
St. Photius the Great
[Epistle 284, Against the Heresy of the Theopaschites]
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