Eastern Orthodox Books Reponding to Catholicism and the Papacy


Hi! So right now I am discerning between Catholicism and Orthodoxy. At this point, I’m convinced the main issue between the two is the papacy. Do any EO folks on here know of any good books that respond to Catholicism and/or the papacy well? Do any Catholic folks know of the same that is a good book that is charitable, accurate, and fair to both sides? The last book I came across was reviewed quite often as uncharitable and polemical, and I would personally like to avoid books as much as possible that leave a bad taste in my mouth, not because if the points if the author, but because of the attitude and lack of understanding.


Read The Orthodox Church: An Introduction to Eastern Christianity by Metropolitan Kalistos (Timothy) Ware. It is not exclusively about the Orthodox view of the Pope of Rome but he does cover it many times in this book and is very charitable. Metropolitan Ware is a big name in Catholic/Orthodox dialogue and in Orthodox theology.



“Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy: Finding the Way to Christ in a complicated Religious Landscape” by Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick, published by Ancient Faith Publishing.

This book was highly recommended to me but I haven’t read it yet:

“The Primacy of Peter: Essays in Ecclesiology and the Early Church”, edited by John Meyendorf. Published by St. Vladamir’s Seminary Press.


I would certainly encourage you to do more study. The papacy is not the only difference between the Catholic and Orthodox churches. There are many other differences. Therefore, your choice will not be easy, but why should something so important be so.


I’ve done a fair amount of research at this point and the reason I’m focusing mainly on the papacy is because I dont find the objections to the filioque to really correspond to what the Catholic Church teaches, and given the nature of the schism, the truth regarding the filioque and the papacy are really the two biggest issues that would influence the legitimacy, for lack of a better word, of any further doctrine on either side. There are definitely many differences between the CC and EOC, but at this point I think the significant differences just really come down to who is correct about the filioque and papacy, because everything else is subordinate to that.


I agree with this. The issue of authority-where the buck stops on matters of doctrine to put it one way- is the main point of contention. The Eastern Churches don’t necessarily agree with each other on the other matters. And that’s always a problem as well. There isn’t a single voice that can speak for the east-because of the matter of authority perhaps. In any case there are many individual commentators, who often come with personal opinions and biases.


As Eastern Catholics we are in communion with Rome despite these differences. We don’t say the Filioque in the Creed and many of us follow the Zoghby Initiative:

  1. I believe everything which Eastern Orthodoxy teaches.
  2. I am in communion with the Bishop of Rome as the first among the bishops, according to the limits recognized by the Holy Fathers of the East during the first millennium, before the separation.



To me, the EO after the split has evolved, in terms of authority, into a group of churches divided along national lines. Perhaps a sign of things to come when unity is lost: Protestants evolved into thousands of different denominations.


Wasn’t the Zoghby Initiative rejected? Don’t mean this as an attack just curious.


No worries. I don’t see your comment as an attack.

It was rejected by the Congregation of the Doctine of faith and I believe by the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch, however, the Melkite Church did vote for it (only two bishops voted against it). I have heard that Patriarch John X of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch has called to take another look at the Zoghby Initiative. I think the unfortunate circumstances in Syria have lead to much closer relationships between the Melkite Greek Catholic Church and the Greek Church of Antioch.



Hi Chereek,

I’m someone who left Catholicism about 16 yrs ago for Orthodoxy. Our family will rejoin Catholicism officially at the end of April this year, God-Willing.

Something, you won’t read about anywhere in Orthodox literature, at least I never came across it in the last 20 years or so…is that the Filioque wasn’t the only addition or subtraction to the Creed. The phrase “God from God” is also in the Catholic Nicene Creed, but not in the Orthodox Nicene Creed. We don’t hear Catholics complaining that the Orthodox Church removed it nor do we hear the Orthodox complaining that Catholics added it. If it’s a non-issue, then so is the Filioque.

Now, the Papacy…we believe God gave us the ability to truly know what’s truth and what’s not by giving us the gift of Papal infallibility. It’s truly a gift.

Once inside Orthodoxy, you will learn first hand of all the division between the Orthodox Churches, but no one with the authority to bring true unity of Faith. If you go to Orthodoxy, at some point in the future, you’ll come back to the Catholic Church.

Enjoy your journey!


The OCA Church I occasionally attend adds this phrase. From their website:

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten, begotten of the Father before all ages. Light of light; true God of true God; begotten, not made; of one essence with the Father, by Whom all things were made; Who for us men and for our salvation came down from Heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man. And He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried. And the third day He arose again, according to the Scriptures, and ascended into Heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead; Whose Kingdom shall have no end.

And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, Who proceeds from the Father; Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; Who spoke by the prophets.

In one Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.


From the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America website:

Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten,
not created, of one essence with the Father
through Whom all things were made.



I think it depends. In my country (Romania) Eastern Catholics do indeed agree with EO teachings AND say the fillioque.


As an Orthodox Christian you say “and the Son” in the Creed?



“God from God. Light from Light. True God from True God.” Is shortened in the Orthodox Church’s recitation of the Creed eliminating “God from God”.


“God from God. Light from Light. True God from True God.” 'God from God ’ is missing.


I wouldn’t recommend Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy. Several years back I listened to the podcast under the same title by the author, Fr. Andrew. Within the first few minutes of the first episode he made it fairly clear that he didn’t understand the Catholic theology of the papacy at all, and was only adept at proof-texting Conciliar documents (almost exclusively from Vatican II).

The Primacy of Peter I’ve heard good things about, and John Meyendorf is a phenomenal scholar. The Russian Church and the Papacy is another one that I’ve heard is quite good. Although the author is Russian Orthodox, he speaks highly of the papacy and argues for reunion between the Church of Russia and the Church of Rome.


No. I was just referring to the various Eastern Catholic attitudes towards it.
From what I read the fillioque was a debate before the Schism. Even after the Schisms there were Popes who did not endorse it. This leads me to believe that the Schism was more political than about acrivy. Rome had the French king and German king as friends and thought they did not need Constaninople. Constantinople had the Byzantine emperors now friends and did not need Rome. The filioque is like mystical knowledge while the Schism is just politics in my humble opinion.


Thank you Phillip for the book recommendation.

“The Primacy of Peter” was recommended by an Eastern Orthodox who said it was a very fair book but also decisive in helping him choose the Orthodox Church rather than the Catholic Church. (I’m a cradle Catholic who left the church one year ago and am still sitting on the fence about heading to the Eastern Orthodox Church).

Fr. Damick was criticized, even by other Orthodox, for not understanding Catholicism in the earlier, first edition of the book. I read he has made an effort to better understand Catholic teachings and that the newly revised version of the book corrects his misunderstandings about Catholicism.

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