Do you notice this? Orthodox tend to distance themselves from Catholicism, while Catholics


…While Catholics tend to relate their faith to Eastern Orthodoxy.

For example, a Catholic may say “Orthodox also believe in Mary’s holiness, so they are close to us in our understanding of the Immaculate Conception.”

While an Orthodox may say “Catholics are different; we do not accept the Immaculate Conception.”

When I read through Catholic apologetics, it seems outreach and appeal to Eastern Christianity is often used as illustration of commonality. But many Orthodox sources I see emphasize the “orthodoxy” of the Eastern Orthodox Church compared to the “errors” of Catholicism.

Is this just my bias and sensitivity as a Catholic? Or do you notice this too? What could be the reasons?


I dont know of any theology the Orthodox teach that Catholicism would not embrace. This is not so so the other way around and therefore your observance stands to reason. If the Orthodox taught faith alone as some of our protestsnt brothers do, then im sure our inclusive language would change.



As stated in another thread, it’s always easier to be more gracious when you’re the one who “won” history.

Most Orthodox lands got swallowed up by the Caliphates. By the time the armies of the sultan/caliph made it to the Latin west, they were over-extending. So the Latins “won” history.


And as I said on another thread, the Orthodox hold huge grudges and have long memories.

Even today, they will shove 1204 in our faces (yes, we were responsible for that dumb atrocity, and we said we were sorry).


I experieced it otherwise in many cases in here on CAF.
I´m orthodox. Browse though my posts to see if I “tend to distance myself from catholicism” or If I see us as brothers and sisters.
(a bit tired of those “let´s try to make the schism bigger” posts here)


But the way I see it is, many times, what the Orthodox say they reject are really in substance the same teaching: like Transubstantiation. Like purgatory. Even like Immaculate Conception.

I was even reading an Orthodox article yesterday (on whether Catholics have valid priesthood – apparently, there is no agreement on this question), and it bluntly said “Catholicism has a different understanding of grace.”



It happens on both sides, but like @Vonsalza said (even if I disagree with his points or general bitterness), there are sometimes more general reasons that would apply.


Again, I don´t think this is a good way to go. It´s not the most christian way, maybe we should adress this when it comes up in an actual conversation, so it can be fruitful.


I appreciate the attempt to find a reason, but I’m not sure I see the one-to-one correspondence.

Do you mean to say envy is the cause of divisive attitudes on part of the Orthodox?


When you see articles like this, over and over (and this one is not even inflammatory at all!), you start to see why:


You can read tons of articles about the orthodox church written by catholics if you like - I don´t.
Another point is that distancing and comparing are two things that can be well connected. Articles like this often exist because people seeking guidelines or blunt facts in a for them rather confusing church history - and authors are often confronted with phrases like “aren´t you like the catholics without a pope?” , so they try to clarify the differences.
I don´t say we should be quiet about what teared us apart, but for the unity of the christian body we could also speak with real people out there, experiencing real connections.


And I appreciate your perspective. And if you try to seek commonality, that’s great!!

I didn’t want to make people upset by this thread. I have a deep respect for non-Catholic Eastern Churches. And as I said in my OP, could partly be my being Catholic that allows me to be more sensitive to how non-Catholics speak.

I guess what started my thought process has to do with the fact that I’m very receptive to both Eastern and Western aspects of Catholicism/Orthodoxy. I don’t think anything that is in either tradition – besides papal primacy – should be separating us. Maybe one day, we will see our differences as compatible and non-divisive. Just as today we no longer see unleavened bread vs leavened bread as a HUGE issue, though it was in the past!

And I was just pointing out that it seems Easterners seem to hold more tightly to their way of the faith. Catholics can be like this too (think of the anti-Vatican 2 people, or even the anti-Francis folk). But for reunion to be possible, we have to realize Roman is not better than Byzantine, or the other way around.


I don’t know much about it, but I have observed that my Greek Orthodox relatives are allowed to take Holy Communion at my RC parish, while Roman Catholics are denied (?) Holy Communion in the Greek Orthodox church. My Greek Orthodox relatives can be godparents to my Roman Catholic relative’s daughter, but my Roman Catholic relative cannot be a godparent in the Greek Orthodox church. This appears to support the statement

Orthodox tend to distance themselves from Catholicism


I hope so, too. And I think that you maybe take your own position of reception and acceptance (thank you for that! We need more people like you :slight_smile: ) a bit too much as average for catholics. I experienced a relatively balanced “bias situation” on both sides when it comes to actual people offline. Online I can say that the orthodox simply have until now nothing that well organised like CAF, keep this in mind, because the niveau is often dependent on good moderators like here.
If I may add, I feel this could be an american phenomenon, too - not meant to offend, but I often see that any christian denomination have more extreme streams in the US than in europe. I don´t like to read the american orthodox articles often because beside fasting recipes and the icon of the day, much stuff is simply directed towards confrontation and more legalistic than it should be. Same (in my eyes) with the american catholic publications - not all, but many.
As I can smell someone appears now and screams “but you germans (or europeans in general) have no faith at all or crappy discussions on giving communion to protestants” : yes, we have problems here, but our problems are simply differnet. Not better, not worse, but differnet. On the “plus” side is definately that the orthodox/catholic/whatever christian churches here tend to be rather friendly to each other, some lutheran exceptions against the pope excluded.


There is a piece by an Orthodox bishop addressing why he feels that is a foolish mentality and damages inter-Church relationships I read some time back. I will see if I can find it again at some point. He feels it has been acknowledged and that at this point it is been used as a stick and weaponized as a historical event to keep tensions high.


Actually your Greek Orthodox relatives are allowed to take communion but really shouldn’t be doing it in a Catholic Church as per the disciplines of their own Church. Also, we cannot insist on the disciplines we use been mirrored by other Churches.


I have no problem with this article, it is addressing the issue from an Orthodox perspective. We may not agree as Catholics with the conclusions but I don’t see anything problematic in it. It’s worded in a style that is not hostile or combative in any way.


Yup. I would bet it is only a cultural thing. I live in a majority EO country. Most places like this are a bit more marked by divisive tendencies and an over argumentative culture regardless of the domain; naturally this also seeps into religion.


Misunderstandings of each others expression of faith that is interpreted from Latin and Greek languages and writings. At least that is St.Augustine’s argument, during his era. History repeats this era once again, in our time.

Today, from my dialogue experience with the many Orthodox Church’s comes from a misinformed and an anti-Latin Catholic sentiment, that almost always (after the misinformation is cleared up) deals with the authority of Peter’s Chair or the Bishop’s of Rome.

The Orthodox Church’s today, remain in some way or form attached to their secular powers. For example; The Russian Orthodox Church was severely suppressed by Communism. Thank God, for St. Pope John Paul II, who proclaimed in the midst of the Communist powers,“it is Ok to believe in God”, then the walls came tumbling down. The Orthodox Russian Church is freed and supported by the present secular Russian powers in Putin himself.

History records the Ottoman Empire did all they could from ever allowing the Orthodox Church’s from ever uniting with the Bishop of Rome and keeping their Bishop’s from ever attending Church councils with the West.

So long as the Orthodox Church’s remain influenced by secular powers. When these secular powers are anti-Western religious and anti- Western secular powers. We will continue to experience these secular powers feeding the schism and supporting the anti-Bishop of Rome rhetoric, hence the hidden propaganda influenced by secular powers impact’s our ecumenical efforts in a negative way. When a secular power is financing the building of your church’s and financing your living, it is hard to leave the hand that feeds you. I am speaking to the leadership here, and not the pious Orthodox members.




That said, the Bishop of Rome is free once again from secular powers. He makes efforts to bring back his brethren as commanded by our Lord. Yet it is the secular powers impacting the Orthodox leadership, who teaches and misinforms the Orthodox laity about both the theology and expression of faith held by Latin Catholics. When they resort to ancient schismatic arguments between misunderstood and misinformed Catholic faith expressions, expressed today by many different tongues and nations.

Including the US Catholic Bishop’s who began changing our Orthodox Latin faith expression into the English language, until the last three Popes corrected them and placed them back on the Rock, especially in the Liturgy.
Since post Constantinople period, I don’t think the Orthodox Church’s have ever been free from their secular powers influence’s. The Orthodox member would object that their Church’s are never influenced by secular powers. I would agree, when it comes to their faith. But as far as secular powers have a hold and influence over the Orthodox Church’s leadership, our ecumenical efforts will be hindered. Before the Orthodox makes the argument that the Bishop’s of Rome have been influenced by secular powers, history does not object their claim. So let us speak to the present and remember the past, so as not to repeat a negative history.

Peace be with you

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit