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


They are administered unlawfuly, becuase the Eastern Orthodox are separated from the Church.


If it is the case that, in the east, the ministers of Matrimony, why is it, then, that the Eastern Code of Canon Law says that, under certain circumstances, a couple can marry without a priest?

To say that the ministers are different between the East and the West is to say that there are theological differences between the Sacrament in the East and the West. The essence of the Sacrament, as it hasn’t been understood from the beginning of the Church, is the mutual consent exchanged between the man and the woman.


They are not administered unlawfully. Bishops do not have authority that is delegated by the pope. They have authority in their own right. Orthodox priests administer the sacraments lawfully because they do so under the authority of their own bishops, under the jurisdiction of those bishops . These sacraments are not unlawful in any way.


Schismatics never lawfully celebrate the sacraments (except in cases where Ecclesia Supplet would apply), because they are schismatics.

In fact, the reason for which you say that they don’t celebrate theirnSacraments unlawfully is exactly the reason why they do celebrate them unlawfully.


paragraph 14 is clear

It says
He is not saved, however, who, though part of the body of the Church, does not persevere in charity. He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but, as it were, only in a “bodily” manner and not "in his heart.

IOW a person, even if baptized, doesn’t remain in charity, is in trouble. As an aside, one refusing to enter the Church, is an offense against charity.

Yet an ecumenical council addressed this very issue you describe… Before there was anything called Protestantism.

Ecumenical Council of Florence

“It firmly believes, professes and preaches that all those who are outside the catholic church, not only pagans but also Jews or heretics and schismatics, cannot share in eternal life and will go into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless they are joined to the catholic church before the end of their lives; that the unity of the ecclesiastical body is of such importance that only for those who abide in it do the church’s sacraments contribute to salvation and do fasts, almsgiving and other works of piety and practices of the Christian militia produce eternal rewards; and that nobody can be saved, no matter how much he has given away in alms and even if he has shed his blood in the name of Christ, unless he has persevered in the bosom and the unity of the catholic church.Session 11

That’s from scripture.

Where you ask?

I listed the scriptures HERE

yet Schism is schism.


Canon 832, 1 covers 1: in danger of death, and 2: prolonged cases (over one month) where there is no access to a priest. However, Canon 832, 3 the Canon explicitly states that "if the marriage was celebrated in the presence of only witnesses, the spouses shall not neglect to receive the nuptial blessing from a priest as soon as possible.

Further, Canon 828 says that marriages are only valid celebrated with a sacred rite and that the assistance and blessing of a priest is regarded as a sacred rite for that purpose.


That is a different thing from saying that the priest is the minister of the Sacrament.

A priest (or other sacred minister) is also required for the validity of marriage in the Western Church, but that does not mean that he is the minister of the Marriage.


Do you accept Vatican II?

Proof that the Catholic Church recognizes the legitimacy of Orthodox Church laws

#16 Already from the earliest times the Eastern Churches followed their own forms of ecclesiastical law and custom, which were sanctioned by the approval of the Fathers of the Church, of synods, and even of ecumenical councils. Far from being an obstacle to the Church’s unity, a certain diversity of customs and observances only adds to her splendor, and is of great help in carrying out her mission, as has already been stated. To remove, then, all shadow of doubt, this holy Council solemnly declares that the Churches of the East , while remembering the necessary unity of the whole Church, have the power to govern themselves according to the disciplines proper to them , since these are better suited to the character of their faithful, and more for the good of their souls. The perfect observance of this traditional principle not always indeed carried out in practice, is one of the essential prerequisites for any restoration of unity.
Vatican II


That does not mean that they celebrate the Sacraments lawfully, or that they have Jurisdiction (which would be required to do so).


From “Marriage in the East & West” by Chorbishop John D. Faris in “Proceedings of the Canon Law Society of America”

" In the Eastern Catholic Churches, the competent minister for the celebration of marriage is the local hierarch, pastor or priest who has been given the faculty to bless the marriage. The form also includes the element of a ritus sacer, which is described as the “intervention of a priest who assists and blesses.”

Since the obligation to observe this form binds all Eastern Catholics, even those Eastern Catholics who marry according to the Latin rite are obliged to receive the priestly blessing. Therefore, it is not possible for an Eastern Catholic to be married in the Latin Church by a deacon or lay person."


"82. The obligation of the sacred rite:

It should be noted that the obligation of the sacred rite, and thus of the priestly blessing, for the validity of the Marriage is specific to Eastern law. In the Latin Church, simply the presence of the local Ordinary, or the parish priest, or a priest or deacon delegated by either of them is required. In the Eastern tradition, the priest, in addition to assisting, must bless the Marriage. To bless means to act as the true minister of the sacrament, in virtue of his priestly power to sanctify, so that the spouses may be united by God in the image of the flawless nuptial union of Christ with the Church and be consecrated to each other by sacramental grace."


Of course it does. They govern themselves according to their own laws (disciplines). It really cannot be any more clear. Likewise, a Catholic bishop or pastor has no jurisdiction over a member of the Orthodox faithful. For this reason, a member of an Orthodox church must seek permission from his or her pastor in order to receive Communion in a Catholic Church. Because it is the Orthodox bishop or pastor who has jurisdiction, not the Catholic bishop.

Can you quote something of equal or higher authority that says otherwise? Yes, higher authority than an ecumenical council is what I’m looking for.


Jurisdiction exists only in the Catholic Church


Lumen Gentium 14 is very clear, but it does not support this principle. “Fully incorporated” is not the same as “in.” “Fully” would not be used if “incorporated” were all that is meant. What is the significance of the word “fully”?

Your quote from Florence has the same problem. It uses a binary position, in/out, while the Church’s understanding is more nuanced, fully/almost/partially/even less/outside.

You have shown a remarkable ability to not hear nuance, so I do not really see the point of pursuing this again. I am just trying to make clear that there are oher understandings wihin the Church, some of which actually incorporate Church teaching.


You were asked for “something of equal or higher authority” that says this. I doubt that your bald assertion qualifies.

If you can show the “jurisdiction” is not equivalent to “the power to govern,” that might suffice.


How have you reached this conclusion? What resources did you use? What councils, Church Fathers, or definitions from canon law can you use to support it?

It seems like you believe this to be true because you say it is and you are your own authority.

Maybe we’re talking past each other and it would help to define terms. I am using “jurisdiction” as in this way:



In ecclesiastical law, the right to exercise official and public authority in some capacity. Thus a bishop has jurisdiction in his diocese, a pastor in his parish, priests in the administration of the sacraments, priests and deacons in preaching, and religious superiors in directing the members of their respective communities. (Etym. Latin ius, right + dicere, to say: iurisdictio, official authority.)


How do you define jurisdiction?


What about the theology of grace? I find the Latin teaching on grace to be more in harmony with Scripture than the teaching of Gregory Palamas (which is actually condemned in Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma by L. Ott).


Technically it is one Church. Just in schism for almost one thousand years.
I know the Orthodox accept the first seven Councils.
Not sure about the Oriental Orthodox though they only accept first four and were actually the first split in the Church.


In context, Fully means “in”.

“They are fully incorporated in the society of the Church who, possessing the Spirit of Christ accept her entire system and all the means of salvation given to her, and are united with her as part of her visible bodily structure and through her with Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops ”.

Florence is speaking for the entire Church. It is an ecumenical council. The quote is clear.

And no matter how clear a statement is made, there will always be those who want to disagree, or attempt to see something else.


Perhaps my statement about incomplete communion with God was not right- I guess it makes sense, although God’s union with Church is perfect, it is not with every single member of Church.

And the argument about Sister Churches means that in more of a worldly sense of fraternity between Christians- if it wasnt, there is virtually no reason to be in union with Pope and being in Catholic Church more so than being in Orthodox Church- that is of course, not true. Sacraments are validly administered by Orthodox priests but because they lack union with Church they can not fully lawfully administer them- however whether or not it is sin depends on actual will and intent of the one who administers them. It is however primary property of entire Catholic Church. Extra ecclesiam nulla salus is a dogma- in a sense that every sacrament comes from Church and so does salvation. Orthodox are not part of Catholic Church (atleast not fully, I believe you would agree with this) and hence they are not part of community to which sacraments rightfully belong. There is fullness of Christ in Catholic Church aswell as fullness of truth- One Holy Apostlic and Catholic Church estabilished by Jesus Christ. If Jesus did not estabilish more Churches, they are our Sister Church in sense of having valid Eucharist and Sacraments, while having no dogma contrary to ours and sharing most of our beliefs. They are however not part of Catholic Church and do not possess fullness of Church (that is why their bishops do not vote at Ecumenical Councils nor are they bound by our canon law).


Yes, likewise the sacraments exist only in and through the Catholic Church. Yet, Orthodox sacraments are valid. The Orthodox Churches, by virtue of apostolic succession, retain an IMPERFECT union with the Catholic Church. Protestants, by virtue of their baptisms, have an imperfect communion with the Church as individuals. The Orthodox are imperfectly united to the Church as particular CHURCHES. That’s the fundamental difference.

It’s not always as black and white as we would like to think. For example, most date the schism at 1054. What of Antioch (Greek, not Syriac)? They remained in communion with both Constantinople and Rome for many decades after the schism between Rome and Constantinople… so on what date did their bishops lose jurisdiction?

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