Does the Pope have supreme universal jurisdiction over the Eastern Churches?


I see what you’re saying. But does this mean that the Orthodox celebrate the Sacraments lawfully, or licitly?


No the majority of historians realize it wasn’t just some freak even in 1054. It had been slowly coming for centuries as the east spoke Greek and the west spoke Latin, different political entities etc. The bishop of Rome became much more politically powerful and began doing things without any consulting the other patriarchs. 1054 was technically only binding on those who were present. I would say the date one could say there is no debate there was a split is after the Venicans sacked Constantinople in 1204.


In accordance with Catholic canon law? No, of course not. So not licit in that sense. But I would argue that the bishops, as members of particular Churches in imperfect communion with the Catholic Church, would exercise jurisdiction as per the norms of the first millennium. This is different from “rogue” bishops who go off on their own apart from a lawfully established Church body.
I don’t know how else to view it. The Catholic Church seems to recognize their jurisdiction. For example, if a Catholic goes off and marries an Orthodox Christian in an Orthodox ceremony without permission from his or her bishop, the marriage is considered valid, even if the Catholic sinned by disobeying canon law. It’s not invalid as it would be in any other case of “avoiding” Catholic form.


Especially in light of the fact that SSPX weddings are invalid because of lack of jurisdiction. Orthodox priests have jurisdiction and are not subject to Catholic law.


Canon law puts it this way Re: licit vs illicit



Does illicit = invalid?

in this case of the Orthodox

  1. Illicit ≠invalid
  2. illicit ≠lawful
  3. illicit = unlawful yet valid


Yes, as long as they are according to the laws of the Church to which they belong, the sacraments are licit, or lawful. That is what it means that the Churches of the East “have the power to govern themselves according to the disciplines proper to them.” This does not mean that the Pope does not have full supreme universal authority over them, just that Orthodox bishops have made the legal structure within their own communities. They have done that with the same authority over the Church entrusted to the Pope along with the bishops.


A Catholic bishop told me differently.


You have to be kidding. The Orthodox have jurisdiction, but the SSPX don’t?


It might be illicit for a Catholic to receive sacraments from an Orthodox priest, depending on the circumstances. It would be illicit if the Catholic individual violated Catholic canon law.

Since an Orthodox priest doesn’t fall under Catholic canon law, his celebration of that same Sacrament would only be illicit if he violated the law of his own Church in his celebration of the Holy Mysteries.


Orthodox are in kinda ancient schism- they are not freshly schismed church and as such they mostly are in schism not of their own fault- SSPX however schismed while maintaining to be in the Church and are internal issue of Catholic Church- as such they have no valid jurisdiction (as they themselves state) needed for marriage from their own point of view.


He falls under a law alright, even though he doesn’t recognize it at the moment. Schism is condemned activity.

  1. Heresy / divisiveness./ schism αἱρετικὸν, & Titus 3:10-11 IOW one who is disposed to form sects, heresies, schisms etc. The consequences? Paul says to Bp Titus, “After admonishing such a person once or twice, have nothing more to do with them, They are perverted, and in serious sin, That person is self condemned.”

  2. Division / dissension / sedition διχοστασίαι, That same Greek word is used in both the following passages
    Rm 16:17-21 & Gal 5:19-21
    Why is schism grave (mortal) sin? Note the consequences? (Gal 5:21] “I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. “ IOW one goes to hell when they die in that sin.

I would just say, NOTHING is worth THAT


what did he say?


The SSPX have jurisdiction in some cases. Pope Francis has granted their priests faculties to hear confessions and they may witness marriages with the consent of the local ordinary. They never, of course, have jurisdiction as pastors of souls.


Perhaps Fr. Z can explain it better.

Keep in mind that this is outdated, as Pope Francis has given faculties to the SSPX to hear confessions. But Father Z does an excellent job of explaining the situation.

By contrast, an Orthodox priest is in communion with a bishop who has a diocese. That bishop, while in schism, has jurisdiction over his flock. Since he has jurisdiction, he can share that jurisdiction with priests that are subject to him. They have both orders and jurisdiction. Therefore, their absolution is valid.

A Catholic – unless he had no reasonable recourse to a Catholic priest (reasonable time to find one, distance to travel, other moral reasons) – would illicitly confess to an Orthodox priest, but the absolution would be valid. Both the sacramental and jurisdictional required for validity would be met.


Can a person be un-born again? We are baptized into Christ. All who are validly baptized are members of His One Body, the Church.

Do you believe that all the EO are “excommunicated”?

Do you not accept the Catholic teaching that EO have valid Holy Orders & valid sacraments?

I would probably throw the tea into the harbor. As a matter of fact, I recently learned one of my ancestors was at the Boston Tea Party.

I guess we weren’t going to get out of that Revolutionary war, were we?

Well, it was certainly not false from the point of view of the Colonies prior to the Rev. War.

Jesus did not give Peter any politics, or boundaries. He put Peter in charge of feeding and caring for the flock. The WHOLE flock. That includes members of the flock who reject the role of the successor of Peter.

I think the more appropriate word wold be “fully”. Obviously they are “in”, just not in perfect unity.

I will agree to disagree with you, steve-b. We have been around this bush many times, and neither of us is going to change his mind.

The Catechism indicates that there are members of the Body of Christ that are not fully incorporated, so your rendering seems to contradict.


Those who are apart of Christ’s Church by virtue of their baptism can separate themselves from it by schism.


This is patently contrary to what the Catholic Church teaches. The CC would not consider EO Holy Orders valid, and the Sacraments valid, if they were “stolen, borrowed” or they had no “right” to do them!

This is not consistent with what the CC teaches either.

Yes, there are many that are in a state of imperfect communion, but of those, our differences with the EO are the least.

Because canon laws are human laws. A Catholic priest can administer sacraments unlawfully also. One is to have permission of the Bishop to perform sacramental duties in a diocese. One is given faculties, or permission to serve temporarily. If their faculties are removed, it is no longer lawful for them to perform sacraments in the diocese. Sometimes this is a disciplinary action.

The EO would certainly not say so either!

And this is precisely the reason why Latin Catholics cannot receive sacraments in the EO Church. From their perspective, it is we who are in schism and have departed from the One True Church.

Those who did not initiate the schism cannot be charged with the sin of separation.


The Bishops are obligated to provide the faithful with the sacramental life of the Church. Since their Holy Orders are valid, then it is within their jurisdiction to celebrate them.

I am not sure what you mean by this, but the CC recognizes the jurisdiction of the Eastern Churches.

You will find this characteristic is ubiquitous throughout the posts from that source.

Ahhh…the higher authority at last!

One must take Ott with a grain of salt.


This is not consistent with what the Catholic Church teaches.

I don’t know where you are getting this “property” concept. Sacraments are avenues of God’s grace, which cannot be “owned” by people. The Church teaches that sacraments are the right of the faithful, so if anyone has “ownership” of them, it would be the recipients!

Yes, but it does not follow that sacraments which occur outside of full communion are not valid or licit. Otherwise, the CC would not accept Protestant baptism.

This is not consistent with what the CC teaches. Sacraments are not possessions. They rightfully “belong” to those who receive them. EO have rightfully received Holy Orders, and have valid priesthood, and valid sacraments which are validly offered to the faithful.

There is only One Church, and all who are members of Christ are members of His One Body, the Church. They have received the faith from the Apostles just as we have. They don’t vote at the Councils because of the Schism.


Holy Orders of Orthodox Church are valid as they are administered validly- but they (property of Catholic Church) are not administered in the Church but outside it- I mean, the theory of Sister Churches and everyone having true right to administer sacraments would make Catholic Church be just an “option” along with all churches that have apostolic succession. Jesus did however estabilish one Church and gave the Church through Apostles right to administer sacraments. Those outside of the Church can do it too and God, through his grace and his promise to all mankind, does allow them to be administered as those who initiated the schism aren’t among them right now anyway, but that does not mean they should be administered outside the Church. I’m not expert on this, but I also do not quite believe this view is right as it kind of makes Catholic Church just one of many- not The Church that Jesus estabilished, just a Sister Church of Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, Anglican Church etc.

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