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


If this is a small difference, why was it mentioned in the letter of excommunication that Cardinal Humbertus delivered to Patriarch Cerularius?

Have you read about WWII, the Ustase, the Orthodox church at Glina, and the Jasenovac concentration camp?


After you’ve been to a couple of Divine Liturgies (and especially after you have officially switched Rites), please keep us updated as to how the switch went and please compare and contrast your experiences as an Eastern Rite Catholic!


Receiving communion from a Catholic priest would be considered a grave matter indeed by many Orthodox faithful. Intercommunion does occur in some areas of the world but that is usually due to particular issues in those areas and certainly my wife would not under any circumstances receive in my Church as she would consider it an act of flagrant disrespect to her own.


Yep, know all about those events. I also understand why for the Orthodox in those and surrounding areas they reinforced negative images of Catholicism, especially given the involvement of some clergy and religious in places like Jasenovac. However the bloodletting between Orthodox and Catholic had long standing roots in these areas, with atrocities and violence on both sides and is in part (as is usual with these sort of situations) tired up with ethnicity and local politics and nationalist movements.


Because Catholics believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is a sign of the reality of the oneness of faith, life, and worship, members of those churches with whom we are not yet fully united are ordinarily not admitted to Holy Communion. Eucharistic sharing in exceptional circumstances by other Christians requires permission according to the directives of the diocesan bishop and the provisions of canon law (canon 844 §4). Members of the Orthodox Churches, the Assyrian Church of the East, and the Polish National Catholic Church are urged to respect the discipline of their own Churches. According to Roman Catholic discipline, the Code of Canon Law does not object to the reception of Communion by Christians of these Churches (canon 844 §3).

So yes it is up to the parishioner and respecting their Churches discipline , but Canon Law does not object to these groups receiving the Eucharist because our belief of it is the same.


I can assure you that is the case. My cousin is Orthodox and he is much more ecumenical towards Catholicism than many Orthodox you’ll encounter “online”. He focuses on our common ground. Many of the perceived differences come down to distinct theological constructs (how we formulate and understand doctrine), but the core essence points to the same Truth. My cousin, for example, does believe in the Immaculate Conception, but formulated in a Byzantine manner. I think Eastern Catholics would help you a lot on this front. Many Orthodox objections are based on a misunderstanding of Catholicism. Ancestral / Original sin is a great example. Original sin isn’t actually a “substance” in Catholicism as often depicted… its an absence. The stain of original sin is first and foremost the loss of original justice and holiness.


Read halfway through the Encyclical and had to stop reading it for now. It’s very harsh and condemnatory about the Catholic Church, the Filioque and the Pope. The Encylical is said to be in response to an Epistle of Pope Pius IX to the Easterns. However, when I google Pope Pius’ Epistle, it’s mentioned in conjunction with the Patriarch’s Encyclical, which is reproduced. But I can’t find Pope Pius IX’s Epistle – perhaps it’s never been translated?


Very, very sad. IMO, it was not only cultural, geographical and linguistic differences, but primarily political and power issues, esp. re: the Pope…


After I attend the Divine Liturgy, I’ll keep you updated!


Thank you twf. That’s been my personal experience on the rare occasions I’ve known or spoken to an Orthodox in “real life”.

Many (certainly not all!) online Orthodox forum posters come across as very angry at Catholics and Catholicism. IMO they might be converts from either fundamentalist Christianity or are former Catholics. Both groups intensely dislike (or even hate) Catholicism. Some flip out when anyone dares suggest that Orthodox and Catholic beliefs are close to or almost identical. They also seem to believe things about Catholicism that aren’t true and won’t or don’t want to listen to the truth.

But again . . . that’s only my opinion regarding online posters. It was reading Eastern Orthodox forums years ago that made me decide not to convert. :smile:

Do you know . . . the more I study Orthodox beliefs about ancestral sin and the Theotokos, the more and more I see that they’re almost identical to what Catholics believe. I prefer the Orthodox terminology/way of belief. Purgatory is a different issue though . . .


Purgatory is a difficulty, yet the dogmatic definition as found in the Catechism is pretty vague. It basically boils down to: there is a process of purification after death and our offerings on earth can help souls undergoing purification. The Orthodox pray for the dead and some profess belief in things like the toll houses.
As I understand it, the Oriental Orthodox believe most souls go to Sheol or Hades, the abode of the dead, and our prayers can aid the righteous to move on to heaven.


It is very harsh, but views have softened considerably on both sides. Where once each side sought to condemn differing perspectives as heresy, there is much more of a tendency now to seek common ground and to strive for a different understanding of the ideas which divide us. This is absolutely true of the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches have been open to dialogue to varying degrees.

In real-life, lived Orthodoxy world-wide, the situation is all over the place. Much of Catholic-Orthodox relations is determined by the social and political history of the region. In Eastern Europe, the wounds of Communism are still very fresh and the faithful of both churches are still dealing with the fall-out as far as determining ownership of Church buildings and other practical considerations. In the U.S., particularly in the OCA, there a large number of converts who have brought their anti-Catholicism with them. In the Middle East, intermarriage is common and there is often fluidity between Catholic and Orthodox parishes. The attitude has followed the people to the US and in many Melkite Catholic parishes, you will find Orthodox members.

My parish is involved in an International Festival every year. We’ve been doing this for more than 25 years. Participating parishes include a number of Eastern Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox parishes. We pray together, our priests bless the beginning of the event together, and there is an understanding from the participants that we share the same faith, even though we are not in Communion at this time. In spite of what I read on Orthodox forums online, this is what I experience in my life, among human beings that I know personally.


I like what was said in the Union of Brest:

“We shall not debate about purgatory, but we entrust ourselves to the teaching of the Holy Church.”

It is enough.


I read that Orthodox were forbidden by their canons to pray with Roman Catholics?


All Catholics assent to the same dogmas of faith and teaching of the ordinary Magisterium as is required per the canon laws. There are differences in those with the various churches that correspond with the eastern Catholic churches. One example is penitential remarriage.


They are forbidden to pray with heretics. This goes to show that not all Orthodox consider us to be heretics.


Remember the Eastern Catholic Churches while they retain the Orthodox teachings and traditions, they do have their own canons. These canons are different from the Latin canons.


Are you referring to the eastern Catholic canon law CCEO and particular law for each sui iuris church?


Vico, All I really know is that the Eastern Catholic Churches have their own traditions and many have orthodox teachings they have their own canon laws different from the Latin canon I do think if I remember correctly that some of the Eastern Catholic Churches have sui luris.


Yes. There is in CCEO (eastern canon law) this canon showing that all Catholics abide by both the solemn Magisterium of the Church and by its ordinary and universal Magisterium.

Can. 598
§ 1. Those things are to be believed by divine and catholic faith which are contained in the word of God as it has been written or handed down by tradition, that is, in the single deposit of faith entrusted to the Church, and which are at the same time proposed as divinely revealed either by the solemn Magisterium of the Church, or by its ordinary and universal Magisterium, which in fact is manifested by the common adherence of Christ’s faithful under the guidance of the sacred Magisterium. All Christian faithful are therefore bound to avoid any contrary doctrines.

§ 2. Furthermore, each and everything set forth definitively by the Magisterium of the Church regarding teaching on faith and morals must be firmly accepted and held; namely, those things required for the holy keeping and faithful exposition of the deposit of faith; therefore, anyone who rejects propositions which are to be held definitively sets himself against the teaching of the Catholic Church.

Can. 1436
§ 1. Whoever denies a truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or who calls into doubt, or who totally repudiates the Christian faith, and does not retract after having been legitimately warned, is to be punished as a heretic or an apostate with a major excommunication; a cleric moreover can be punished with other penalties, not excluding deposition.

§ 2. In addition to these cases, whoever obstinately rejects a teaching that the Roman Pontiff or the College of Bishops, exercising the authentic Magisterium, have set forth to be held definitively, or who affirms what they have condemned as erroneous, and does not retract after having been legitimately warned, is to be punished with an appropriate penalty.

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