"If Westerners can learn from the riches of the East, should Orientals reject everything that originates in the treasury of the Christian West?" (136) Laced with wisdom, eloquence, and honesty, Fr. Nichols' volume is an irenic tour de force. The author leaves no stone unturned in providing an indepth and comprehensive study of the complex - and at times tragic - divisions that keep Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christians from enjoying coommunicatio in sacris.
Nichols addresses many important topics and themes germane to his subject matter, including, among other things: patristic distinctions between schism and heresy, the emergence of the Papacy, the evoluation of the Ecumenical Patriarch and Pentarchy, differences in theological methodology between the East and West, nuances in Latin and Greek terminology, the cultural implications of high and low Christologies, the signifiance of the Creed and the controversial "Filioque" addition in the West, the use of leavened or unleavened Eucharistic bread, the prayer of consecration and transformation of the Eucharistic hosts, the schismatic implications of the Crusades, and other barriers to reunion. I found his volume most informative and illuminating on multiple points. It's a volume that cost me more than one highlighter.
In exploring the depth of historical theology, politics, linquistics, philosophy, and finer points of Trinitarian theology, Nichols makes a profound contribution to the hope a future reconciliation between these two apostolic traditions. Though he remains unsure as to what the future holds his work is a great encouragement - to one neither yet Catholic nor Orthodox - of the Pneumatological possibilities of reconciliation between those who claim such reconciliation with the Father through His Son.