Are Eastern Catholic's beliefs the same as or similar to the Eastern Orthodox?


#1

I have a question about how similar Eastern Catholics’ beliefs are to Eastern Orthodox beliefs. I’m a RCC who has been drawn to Eastern Orthodoxy for over 20 years (and considered converting) and find Eastern Christian beliefs and spirituality resonate very deep inside of me as Truth.

The EOs don’t seem to teach using dogmatic systems or catechisms and stress learning their beliefs by living and practicing the faith, by prayer, reading and studying the ECFs and Saints and the Divine Liturgy. There are many beliefs of both the RCC and the EO that are beyond my ability to understand (for example, Created/Uncreated Grace (RCC’s believe, EO don’t); the priest acting In Persona Christi (RCC’s believe, EO’s don’t); different beliefs about God and The Trinity, etc.) However, ancestral (original) sin, salvation, theosis, grace, the afterlife are easier beliefs to grasp and they’re similar to the RCC’s beliefs but not exactly . . . which is why I can’t pin this down. :smile:

There’s a Ukrainian Catholic Church very close to my home. If Eastern Catholicism is more than simply a different Liturgy and their beliefs, prayers, spirituality and customs are the same as or close to the EO’s, I’d like to know. Maybe changing to an Eastern Catholic Rite could be the answer for me?

However, I can’t understand how Eastern Catholics can believe the same things as the EO and still be in communion with the RCC?


Eastern Catholicism
#2

Well I am not a Ukrainian Catholic I do attend Ukrainian Catholic Mission and I can state that they do in fact have the same liturgy and the same spirituality.

As far as Dogma they more or less pay lip service to the Immaculate Conception but it’s really not a part of their spirituality.

At least that’s the way that our priest explains it.


#3

Basically it all comes down to papal authority. There’s some other differences such as using leavened or unleavened bread, purgatory, and filioque; but at the end of the day it’s about the Pope. Prior to the schism of 1054 the bishop of Rome was the first among equals . Now the Patriarch of Constantinople holds that title.

As for converting, if it feels right do what you feel. But really the Catholic Church and the Orthodox I believe will be in communion with each other again eventually. Nothing says groups can’t have different traditions. It all comes down to papal authority.


#4

Thank you Governator! That’s exactly what I want to know.


#5

Also tiger you can request a change of rite through your Roman Catholic Bishop in fact one of the ladies at church is doing just that.


#6

I don’t want to upset anyone, but lack of papal authority isn’t an issue for me (and since I don’t like debate/controversy and hate upsetting others, I’ll leave it at that).

If there are only minor differences between the EO and Eastern Catholics, I think I’d rather have the best of both and be an Eastern Catholic.

Sadly, from what Eastern Orthodox believers write and I’ve been reading online, they believe the differences have become more than only papal supremecy and the filloque and reunion/communion is unlikely and – if I’m reading correctly – most don’t seem to want it.:disappointed: Perhaps those who don’t post online have other views.


#7

I was an Eastern Orthodox catechumen and did not convert. It came down to two things, being re-baptized and denying the Chair of Peter. I did transfer to an Eastern Catholic church, I was a cradle RC. My soul resonated with Eastern spirituality, also.


#8

In real life, I know many, many Orthodox believers who would tell you that we’re practically the same, except for a few minor details. Many online Orthodox seem to have a case of convertitis.


#9

In theory, we share the same liturgy, theology, and spirituality with the Orthodox. In reality, we run the gamut from those who consider themselves “Orthodox in Communion with Rome” to those who are very, very latinized in their thinking, even though the liturgy is not. Most of us fall in the middle, comfortable walking in both worlds. Eastern theology and spirituality resonate with us deeply and we have been formed by the liturgies and prayers of the East, which are so theologically rich, but we don’t particularly object to anything Latin - it just isn’t who we are.


#10

[quote=“Casilda, post:7, topic:454573”]
I was an Eastern Orthodox catechumen and did not convert. It came down to two things, being re-baptized and denying the Chair of Peter. I did transfer to an Eastern Catholic church, I was a cradle RC. My soul resonated with Eastern spirituality, also.[/quote]

Your RC Baptism wasn’t considered valid?! Wow, that’s unexpected to hear! RCC Baptism IS valid! I would have been hurt and upset and would never consent to re-baptism either. Nor do I want to deny the Pope and can’t imagine why the EO want anyone to do such a thing. (Do they think the RCC isn’t Christian?) I’m truly sorry you were treated like that and hope you’re happy in the Eastern Catholic Church.

Like you, my soul resonates with Eastern spirituality. I’m an “old lady” now and attending an Eastern Rite Church will be a major change, but I’m also too old to be so unsettled in my faith.


#11

The manner in which reception of converts is quite varied within Orthodoxy. Some rebaptize everybody, others rebaptize everybody except Catholics and others take it on a case by case basis, much like we do in the Catholic Church. Some will even receive baptized and confirmed Catholics by a profession of faith. (St.) Alexis Toth, a priest convert from Catholicism to Orthodoxy was received by vesting. No Baptism, no Chrismation, no Ordination necessary, as he was already a priest.


#12

In theory, we share the same liturgy, theology, and spirituality with the Orthodox. In reality, we run the gamut from those who consider themselves “Orthodox in Communion with Rome” to those who are very, very latinized in their thinking, even though the liturgy is not. Most of us fall in the middle, comfortable walking in both worlds. Eastern theology and spirituality resonate with us deeply and we have been formed by the liturgies and prayers of the East, which are so theologically rich, but we don’t particularly object to anything Latin - it just isn’t who we are.
[/quote]

Thank you for this! It’s reassuring because I will probably end up somewhere in the middle too but don’t know at this point what that is. I’ve been RCC my whole life and that’s a lot of years! :smile:


#13

:smiley::heartpulse:
It reminds me each day that God is good.


#14

The Orthodox and Catholic schism happened for many reasons but none of them were strictly theological. Orthodox are completely aloud to receive the Eucharist at a Catholic Church and I believe vice versa because our belief in transubstiation are the same. The Orthodox have some different gestures when making the Sign of the cross but this is only tradition and even eastern Catholics of the Byzentine rite do this.

Just because Christ established one church doesn’t mean traditions have to be the same. If you went to mass in really any country outside of yours you would notice things are done different. However being in communion with the Holy See is all that matters.

The Orthodox believe in autonomous local regions who have a lead bishop however traditionally since the schism the first among equals is the Patriarch of Constantinople. Before the schism it was the Bishop of Rome aka the Pope.

Orthodox are more fluid in regional beliefs. For example a Bible Canon can be different in the Greek Orthodox Church than the Russian Orthodox Church.


#15

Catholics tend to minimize the differences between them and the Eastern Orthodox. However, Orthodox believe that there are serious differences which prevent reunion. For one thing, I don’t think that you will find an Orthodox Christian who will agree with Vatican I (1870). Also, please read The Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs of May, 1848.


#16

Agreed. Catholics in the U.S. know very little about the Orthodox and on a superficial level the similarities outnumber the differences. Most of my contact with Orthodox beliefs and teachings is via books and websites. Years ago I knew a few Orthodox but no longer, so I can’t tell what the majority of Orthodox who don’t post in forums really think.

Internet Orthodox forums are a different matter – wow! Forum members (including some who claim to be clergy) have long lists of differences of what they call “changes and innovations” and those differences are major to them. Catholics are outright called heretics who need to let go of all the innovations and false teachings before there can even be any serious consideration of “reunion”. They seem to not want reunion.

I googled The Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs of May, 1848, bookmarked it and will read it. Thank you!


#17

There are major theological differences from the Orthodox perspective . . .

From what I can determine, Catholics could receive the Eucharist from an Orthodox priest in exceptional circumstances if the Orthodox priest agreed. However, Orthodox consider the RCC at the least “schismatic” and many (at least on internet forums!) consider the RCC “heretical” and they are not allowed to (or wouldn’t want to) receive communion from a Catholic priest.


#18

There are, yes.

However in a sense of which church has the most similarities with the Roman Catholic Church? I’d have to go with the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Some would say Anglicanism but I disagree.

Some would also say possibly Lutheranism, but that I would also have to disagree with.

On paper the EO are closest to having the same beliefs. It really comes down to papal authority. Sure other differences such as using leavened or unleavened bread, purgatory, filioque, which in turn mean a small difference in interpreting the trinity.

Yes Orthodox I notice too seem to be hostile towards Catholics. Could it be because crusaders sacked Constantinople? Who knows.

Many traditionalists of all faiths are on here, even Catholics. That doesn’t necessarily mean it represents how all Orthodox view Catholics. Orthodox are proud of their traditions and even if they were in communulion with Rome again they wouldn’t have to give them up. Eastern Catholics do much of the same as Orthodox.


#19

Agree!

As for how most Orthodox think about Catholics, they probably don’t think about Catholics much at all. The hostile Orthodox are only encountered in online forums (and I admit I was initially shocked). Years ago when I knew a few Orthodox, they were not hostile at all.

Being very drawn to Orthodox Liturgy, tradition, prayer and practice, I’m happy to learn from y’all that Eastern Catholic Rites are similar.

As soon as I’ve recuperated from surgery, my plan is to go to Divine Liturgy at the Ukrainian Catholic Church nearby but admit to being very nervous about doing so :smile:


#20

Yes. Well even before the official schism of 1054, things were different between the Latin west and Greek east for some time.

The Catholic Church doesn’t expect all rites to worship exactly like the Latin rite. Christ established one Church but there is nothing in Canon law that says different regions can’t have their own traditions. In fact many eastern Catholics even use Orthodox Bibles which generally have more books than Catholic Bibles. The Council of Trent only decreed that the books affirmed were Canon , however this doesn’t mean certain traditions like the Eastern Orthodox who also accept say 3 Maccabees or the Prayer of Mannaseh as Canonical wouldn’t be aloud too.

I get the EO arguments. However even in the earliest writings say by Ignatius or Polycarp, the early Church all believed Rome was where the Bishop with most authority was. Even when Constantine legalized Christianity, the Bishop of Constantinople, which would today be the Patriarch was still considered not as authorative as the Bishop of Rome.

Over the years the EO have tried to erase that fact and focus on how Peter was the first leader of the Church in Antioch as well. Which is true. But the Church in Antioch was never regarded as the seat of the Church. It along with Alexandria, Constantinople, and Jerusalem all had recognized the Bishop of Rome as the first among equals.

The schism was a sad point in Christian history. It is much different than the Protestant Reformation, which unfortunately people seem to equate them as if one of the two sides rebelled. It wasn’t like that at all. It was mainly a lack of communication and understanding and issues that both sides eventually viewed the other as heretics and ex communicated each other. It wasn’t started by any person or group . It was a long line of differences that should have been acknowledged before they escalated to schism.


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