Among the traditional marks or characteristics of the church is unity. The Nicene Creed, accepted by the Catholic and Orthodox churches, expresses the attributes of the church in these terms: "I believe in the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church." The split, or schism, between the Catholic and Orthodox churches is considered a scandal against the church's attribute of unity by many believers. This gulf between Catholics and the Orthodox churches has been multiplied, and the scandal intensified, by the many divisions of Protestant Christianity following their separation from the Catholic Church in the 16th century.

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