Do Orthodox Really Agree On Doctrine?

One thing Eastern Orthodox like to point out is they are united. Thus, it seems they agree on theology without the aid of a pope.

We like to point out how different Protestants approach theology and how that can’t be what Jesus intended. But we can’t do any such thing with Orthodox… can we?

To be sure, they mostly agree theologically. Which is indeed remarkable. But are they really one big happy family? Isn’t there any doctrinal disagreement? Will Russian Orthodox and Serbian have the exact same doctrine?

Thank you. :slight_smile:

Do all 300,000,000 Orthodox believe exactly the same things? Of course not. But there is doctrinal unity among the Churches.


Well if I were to give one example of something Orthodox disagree on, perhaps toll houses might fit. I cannot judge how many actually believe or disbelieve in that idea however.

I think he meant all the different patriarchates and stuff, not every single individual Orthodox.

Yes they have doctrinal unity or they wouldn’t be in communion with each other.

This one is a double edged sword. Careful how you wield it.

I’m curious…who decides whether the 14 autocephalous churches are in doctrinal unity?

Is this agreed upon by the Bishops or the “whole church”?

perhaps toll houses might fit.

Toll houses? What are those?

I’m curious…who decides whether the 14 autocephalous churches are in doctrinal unity?

Is this agreed upon by the Bishops or the “whole church”?

No one decided it per se. They just tend to say they are doctrinal in agreement with each other. I’m wondering if that’s wholly accurate.

The bishops do Randy. Not complicated at all.

It’s actually a very simple system. Before a man is made a bishop he is examined by the holy synod to insure his doctrinal orthodoxy. So the local bishops maintain communion based on each individual’s orthodoxy. When a bishop celebrates he commemorates the senior bishop with whom he is in communion, usually the primate. When the primate celebrates he commemorates the heads of the other autocephalous Churches, thereby recognizing their orthodoxy. So there is a system of interconnected checks that insures as much as possible orthodoxy across the board.

But wouldn’t you have to wait until the “whole church” weighed in on it?

Weighed in on what?

I think the most significant bond of unity is in the practice and lived experience of Christians, especially in the liturgy and the sacraments. So, even though Christians have different theological opinions about what happens after death, we see that the Church everywhere offers prayers, chief of which is the sacrifice of the mass, for the benefit of the dead in Christ.

They have different theological theories, such as toll houses, which is to be expected in any faith group. My understanding of toll house is different places of purification as the soul progress toward entering heaven. The Orthodox have never defined a doctrine, nor held an ecumenical council, since the split with the see of Peter. They hold those traditions never being able to develop doctrine beyond its understanding at the split, therefore freezing their development. I would say they are not one body but a confederation of national Churches.

It’s not that they agree so much as it is they haven’t developed since the split. So it isn’t that remarkable. They seem to recognize they have no authority, as a body, to define doctrine apart from the see of Peter. Any attempt to do so might cause further splits. This is what I understand from reading Vladimir Soloviev a Russian Orthodox.

Well it’s not true at all to say we haven’t held any councils. There have been many councils since Rome left that are just as authoritative as any council the Roman Church has held.

You are correct in a sense. And by the grace of God we’ll continue to remain stuck right where we are holding the ancient Apostolic Faith whole and unchanged, the same faith you once shared with us.

Then the Catholic Church is not one body either as you too are a confederation of national and ethnic Churches. In fact Rome just erected a brand new national Church for your confederation just recently.

Pope establishes Eastern Catholic church for Eritrea

That’s a completely illogical statement. So do we agree or not?

“Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear?” It’s nothing short of a miracle that Orthodoxy has survived and maintained unity in the faith. On the other hand, since Rome abandoned the unity of the faithh she has spawned off division after division after division.

No, we recognize that authority is for the preservation of the Apostolic Faith, not for the definition of new doctrines.

You’ve never heard of Hesychasm apparently, nor the councils held between 1341 and 1351 in its defense against Barlaam of Calabria? Perhaps you can enlighten everyone reading this thread as to the terrible heresies we Orthodox have had to defend our faith against since the schism?

This is what I understand from reading Vladimir Soloviev a Russian Orthodox.

Can you recommend any fringe Catholic writers for us to base our understanding of Catholicism on?

I hate to ask this question because if my very limited knowledge but can you help me understand how you can say they are all in communion with each other but another Orthodox will say this is not the case? I truly cannot understand this simple conundrum.


Are you talking about Eastern Orthodox vs. Oriental Orthodox? If that is the case, they are two entirely different communions of particular churches. The Oriental Orthodox are also referred to as the Non-Chalcedonians, because they did not assent to the Council of Chalcedon, and include the Coptic Orthodox, the Ethiopian Orthodox, the Syriac Orthodox, the Armenian Orthodox, and and the Malankara Orthodox. The Eastern Orthodox are Chalcdonian, since they do accept the Council of Chalcedon.

Thank you Ryan I think I am beginning to understand. I had to go back and re-read the OP and I see he did not begin with a generalization of “Orthodox” as I assumed he did and I probably have made this assumption in the past. I think I will always have a hard time distinguishing the different Orthodox communions and which ones are in communion with which. I will try to be more aware of this in the future.

You may have been one in the past that have tried to explain this to me and if so I’m sorry I didn’t get it. Thank you for clearing it up.


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