SCHISM HERESY APOSTASY vs ORTHODOXY
Jesus Christ spoke of the sower of seeds, and seeds that fell in various places. He defined the seeds as the word of God, and the different areas of reception was the hearts of men. Schismatics, heretics, and apostates, may have received good seed, but they corrupted his words.
With the advent of the Great Fast, which all Orthodox Christians ought to keep, so as to celebrate with great joy the glorious Resurrection of Christ, the most important thing is to be certain we avoid the above pitfalls mentioned in the title, and herein is some clarification.
A schism is the departure of a person or group from legitimate and canonical authority. Any layman, deacon, priest, bishop, in fact, any member of any rank in the Church who rejects such authority places himself in schism. Schism is so serious an offense, that a saint said: “Even the blood of martyrdom does not wash away the stain of schism.”