Do Protestants see Orthodoxy more approachable than Catholicism?

Glory to Jesus Christ!

I have been wondering about this question for a long time and have discussed it with many people, Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants. In talking with them some have said that they find Orthodoxy more approachable to Protestants than Catholicism. It puzzles me a little bit. Even though I see Orthodoxy as the true, pure faith of the Apostles and believe it to be very open to people, I fail to see why Protestants would be more willing to approach it than the Roman Catholic Church.

After all, Protestants are “the daughters” so to speak of the Roman Church and I would think that they would be more familiar and comfortable with Rome. In some respects, Orthodoxy is tougher than Roman Catholicism in that we still maintain the strict fasting all the way back to the early Church, our liturgies are very long, we have our women cover their heads in Church, men are only allowed in the altar, some of our priests have ponytails and long shaggy beards, we may chant for lengthy periods of time (sometimes in other languages), there are many services to go to throughout the week, et al.

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to discourage Protestants from looking at Orthodoxy, but it just seems to me like it would be much more foreign to them and harder to digest than Rome would be.

Why do you think that Protestants would be drawn to Orthodoxy? I’ll try to make the poll answers encompass many choices, but I’m limited in my ideas as to why. This thread/poll isn’t for polemical purposes or for intense debate, but rather discussion and perhaps, maybe, just maybe, some understanding between Christians. :slight_smile:

In Christ,

Some of the biggest sticking points are not present in Orthodoxy.

I think we all know its the whole “pope” thing.

The article below gives one Catholic viewpoint.

Here’s an exerpt:

Those Russians (Orthodox) represented a different world to us Protestants. We had rudimentary knowledge of their beliefs, which we knew were quite different from ours. We recognized that we were separated from them by deep cultural and ethnic differences. Yet we felt comfortable in their presence. Indeed, we were glad they shared our accommodations. They were Christians, like ourselves. Best of all, they were not Roman. And so, deep down, we knew they were our allies.

but it just seems to me like it would be much more foreign to them and harder to digest than Rome would be.

Being different (from Rome) to Protestants who are looking for more than they can get @ their own church is a great big ol’ fat plus.

I’m a bit conflicted on the issue, because we are, in some ways offspring of Rome, and part of the western Church.
I didn’t vote because there are a number of the choices that hold some validity for me. Even Mark’s “the whole pope thing” comment has some truth to it, but for me it has to do with primacy, much like the Orthodox. IOW, I have no problem with recognizing him as western bishop.

I may be wrong, but I’m beginning to think that certain doctrinal differences may be more easily resolved and reconciled with the Orthodox - Eucharist, Marion doctrine, afterlife, etc.
Original sin, however, would be a bigger obstacle.

Good question!

An equally big stumbling block for me is the doctrine of the immaculate conception of Mary.

My I ask if it is the IC itself, or the fact that it is dogma without a truly ecumenical council?
For me, the latter.

I agree! Before I became Catholic, I looked into Orthodoxy and was very much drawn to it. I was very much an “anything but Catholic” Baptist! Not to mention that my family would have had less of a “freak out” with me converting to Orthodoxy than to the CC. :slight_smile:

In the end though, I chose the West but still have great affection for the East. :smiley:

Beyond the issue of the papacy, when I read books by Orthodox theologians, I tend to be more comfortable because I appreciate the sense of mystery and the tendency to not overly dogmatize and systematize theology.

However, on the occasions I have attended a Catholic mass, I do feel right at home most of the time because of the similarities in our liturgies. Orthodox liturgies are like vacation destinations - they’re a nice place to visit, but I don’t think I would want to live there.

The problem for many Protestants is not the papacy itself. The problem is Vatican I definitions of the power given to the papacy.

Yes, true. But it goes back before that, which is where at least Lutherans share some of the Orthodox’s concern about the papacy.


Hello Brian,

What would these be for you as a Methodist?

In Christ,

It’s a rebellious mentality that’s like the mind of some teens. The rebellious teenage wants all the freedom and good stuff, without parental supervision or help. And, well, it’s like how the parable of the prodigal son goes…

Oddly, since spending many years checking out catholicism, Im finding myself more and more drawn to exploring Orthodoxy.

Personally, I think it’s the hats… :smiley:

Chicks dig the hats.

Catolics consider Bishop of Rome to be Holy Father of all their Church. However, his supervisory abilities have proven recent not to be so excellent - liturgical abuses, priestly abuses, monasteries collapsed, so little attention to supervision by powerful political Catolics in various countries.

Take an objective look at Orthodoxy. Liturgical abuse almost never heard of such, no significant abuse of parishoners by priests, monasteries for men and for females growing, Orthodox political leaders very responsive to needs of Orthodox church.

But after all such consideration - like in story of the Bludnij syn (prodigal?) it is God our Father who calls us back even if we have been rebellious. You perhaps belittle such wonderful parabola by making only analogy to Bishop of Rome, as if this “father” could have made son not become prodigal.

"I think the hats. The hat convey that solemn religious

look you want in a faith. Very pious." :stuck_out_tongue:

The embrace of mystery, and my own tradition’s embrace of Eastern thought make Orthodoxy more approachable than Catholicism. However, in fairness to Catholicism, I still have the utmost respect for it.

My read of Church history shows me that schism tends to be more about power and politics than essential doctrine. The people in the pews (or, in some traditions of Orthodoxy and Byzantine Catholicism, “the people who are standing in the church”) usually could have cared less about the issues that divided folks.

To quote Augustine (and later, John Wesley): In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas.

My :twocents:


There is nothing rebellious about Holy Orthodoxy.

The former, though I am in no position to debate the point. I am a very confused person right now–without going into too much detail, I’ll just say that I experienced a split at a Lutheran church a couple years ago and have since studied/attended Catholic, Methodist, and Orthodox churches (bodies I hadn’t really investigated much prior to joining a Lutheran congregation). Believing church membership to be important, even imperative, I found roadblocks to the idea of seeking membership in the Catholic church in its doctrines of papal infallibility, indulgences (and the concept of excess merit that lies behind it), and certain aspects of Marian theology. Getting back to the OP’s question, the Orthodox faith seems more approachable simply because it lacks these particular theological roadblocks. The Orthodox tradition challenges my previously-held concepts on the doctrine of justification, but perhaps that’s not a bad thing. I may well end up back where I started, but the experience of reading the Catholic catechism, books by Ronald Knox (including his excellent translation of the New Testament), John Wesley, Michael Azkoul, Clark Carlton, and others, has been very enriching.

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