( or ), from Greek
(from σχίζω, skhízō
, "to tear, to split"), is a division between people, usually belonging to an organization or movement religious denomination
. The word is most frequently applied to a break of communion
between two sections of Christianity
that were previously a single body, or to a division within some other religion. It is also used of a split within a non-religious organization or movement or, more broadly, of a separation between two or more people, be it brothers, friends, lovers, etc.
is a person who creates or incites schism in an organization or who is a member of a splinter group. Schismatic
as an adjective means pertaining to a schism or schisms, or to those ideas, policies, etc. that are thought to lead towards or promote schism.
In religion, the charge of schism is distinguished from that of heresy
, since the offence of schism concerns not differences of belief or doctrine but promotion of, or the state of, division, However, the Presbyterian
scholar James McCord
(quoted with approval by the Episcopalian bishop
Peter Lee) drew a distinction between them, teaching: "If you must make a choice between heresy and schism, always choose heresy. As a schismatic, you have torn and divided the body of Christ.......