The gravest omission by Dan Brown and experts of the Grail Quest, is that no attention is given to the Eastern Orthodox Church. This is attention that historical plausibility demands! The region of the world in which the Council of Nicea took place, seven centuries before the Greek-speaking Orthodox and the Latin-speaking Catholics parted ways, is under the religious persuasion of the Eastern Orthodox, not the Roman Catholics.
It was within the Eastern Orthodox Churches that the bishops of the “holy land” congregations, such as Jerusalem and Antioch, maintained their orders. The holy sites, such as the destroyed temple of Solomon, had been supervised by Christians loyal to the Patriarch of Constantinople, not the Pope of Rome. After the Muslim conquests of the eighth and ninth centuries, the Christian churches continued to function among significant minority populations in these near-eastern lands.
The Greek and Latin Churches divided in 1054, when the Pope of Rome and the Patriarch of Constantinople mutually ex-communicated each other. A generation later the Crusades began. One of the reasons for the Crusades is that Rome did want to assert control over the “Holy Land,” the setting of the stories of the Bible now occupied by the nations of Israel and Jordan as well as the Palestinian Authority.
It cannot logically follow, however, that Rome’s desire to control the Holy Land was wrapped up in a desire to destroy secret documents hidden in the ruins of Solomon’s Temple that proved that Jesus had married the Magdalene (Brown, p.254). It is not plausible that such documents could have existed in the way Brown claims, to be discovered by the crusading Knights Templar sent by the Roman Pope (Brown, p. 256).
It is not plausible first of all, because for a thousand years the Eastern Church, whose orthodoxy came to be defined by the Nicene Creed, had ample opportunity to destroy such documents. Second, the Muslims occupied the Holy Land for 300 years before the First Crusade. The Muslims would have loved to publish the existence of such documents as the final blow to the Christian faith. If such documents were known to exist to Church officials, then the whole Church, especially in the East, would have launched extensive efforts to recover and destroy them long before the First Crusade of 1098.
Think for a moment: Muslims would have loved to make public ancient documents which proved that Jesus did not die on the cross and was not divine. This would have been a windfall for the Muslims. After all, their prophet, Mohammed, had already said these same things. To actually have proof from ancient gospels and writings would have scored a huge victory for the rising moon of Islam.
By ignoring the division of power and loyalty within the Church, and by ignoring the Islamic agenda, Brown and Gardner paints themselves into corners of historical implausibility. If the documents were hidden from fear of the Church, the guardians of these secrets would have found protection from Muslim benefactors to release and make public the whole truth, demolishing what Brown describes as the false foundations of Christianity for all time. Why not simply display the truth under Muslim protection? Why continue with the secrecy when there is such a golden opportunity to expose the falsehoods of the Church?
Indeed, when the Eastern Orthodox is treated by Sir Laurence Gardner at all it is more as an historical footnote to the rise of Roman Catholic dogmas (Gardner, p. 178-180). The assumption is that the Latin-speaking Roman Catholic Church held absolute power over the course and direction of Christendom from the Council of Nicea and forward (Gardner, p.138 regarding Pope Sylvester) to which the Eastern Orthodox provided a dissenting voice and then kept to themselves.
Much ado is made over the Council of Nicea, because Emperor Constantine, the "Roman Emperor" presided. Constantine, however, did not rule from Rome. He ruled from Byzantium on the western shores of Asia Minor, a city he renamed Constantinople. Why is this significant? The Greek Church’s counterpart to the Latin Church’s Pope, was the Patriarch of Constantinople. In fact, Constantine showed considerably less concern for the backwaters of western Europe which Rome represented. His ties were far deeper with the Greek Church in the much more cosmopolitan Eastern Mediterranean.
In keeping with plausibility, we would have expected adherents to the True Grail to have named Eastern Orthodox bishops as the initial conspirators against the alternative history of Jesus. It is segments of Eastern Orthodox Christians that ought to have been recognized as the guardians of the documents of alternative history. The early conflicts should have been between rival Orthodox groups. Yet the Eastern Orthodox Communion, with whom the Palestinian Christians have worshiped for 2000 years, does not appear on the radar of the Grail Quest.