Eastern Orthodoxy and Catholicism; Does it matter?


Sister Doctor Vassa Larin is a Russian Orthodox nun and scholar, and IMO she’s also a living Saint and possibly even a Doctor of the Church. She’s talked a lot (critically) of fundamentalism, nationalism, phyletism, and triumphalism within Orthodoxy. She has done a great deal of work for the Church in fostering unity, charity, and understanding and helping heal the divisions between Orient and Occident.

In my mind, she embodies what a truly Orthodox Catholic Christian of the Byzantine Rite should be. She’s the exact opposite of the neo-Pharisees seething with disdain and hatred for anything which can even be remotely connected to the “filthy Western Latin heretics.”


This was referencing the creed of Nicaea, that of the 315 fathers. It does not ban the composition of new creeds but rather creeds that teach a new/heretical faith. If it is read as new creeds and not new faith, then the current creed we sing at mass (Nicene-Constantinople) is under this anathema as well as all the other creeds accepted at this very same council of Ephesus.

This was a fact pointed out by the latins at the council of Florence which refuted the the Greeks who argued the position that no new creeds were allowed. The Greeks accepted that the latins were right about this.


Such introspection and repentance will never happen. As I’ve pointed out before, Eastern Orthodoxy is bound up in Eastern European ethnic nationalism and THAT fact more than any theological considerations is what will always block any reconciliation between Eastern and Western Christianity.


He can remove all Roman Catholic bishops . . .

Are any of the EC churches still using it? While the older red books for US Ruthenians had it in brackets for those parishes that used it, we categorically don’t use it now.

Florence was rejected by most for the East, however.

And the Filioque is not in any way, shape, or form a “new” creed; it is an alteration of the Nicean-Constantiopolin creed.



Unity is all that matters.


Father Deacon,
How would this work, from a practical standpoint, if you had thousands of faithful per parish as is in the norm in North American Latin Catholic parishes? How does it work in Greece or Russia where I can only assume parishes of a few dozen faithful are not the norm?


Father Deacon,
From a Catholic perspective, the Oriental Orthodox are in the same “condition” as the Eastern Orthodox, so yes Syriac Orthodox Christians could, in theory, receive at a Catholic Mass if properly disposed. During the reign of Pope St. John Paul II, we signed common declarations of faith regarding Christology with both the Syriacs and the Copts.


Having never served in a Church outside North America I have no first hand knowledge. I have heard stories regarding Mt. Athos and Russia, but anything I could add would be nothing more than second hand anecdotes. God willing, I will be making pilgrimage to Greece and Mt. Athos next year. Perhaps I will have a better understand of how the chalice is protected in some of the very large parishes outside of the US.


Thank you for the correction/information twf. One day God willing we won’t have to keep a score sheet to determine who is in communion with whom. I pray for that day.

Fr. Dcn. John


The Ukrainian Church I go to used to use a DL translation that omitted it.

Then a year ago we got a new (1980’s new) little red hardcover book where it’s in brackets, and almost everyone recites the Creed with the Filioque. Even though I’m canonically Roman and accept the orthodoxy of the Filioque, I refuse to recite it during the DL because it is not part of the Byxantine Rite patrimony, it is a blatant Latinization. Latinizations are to be avoided as per the Church. Unfortunately, what I’ve discovered is many Eastern Catholics seem to want to impose Latinization on themselves. It’s just frustrating because I fear the Byzantine Rite becoming Latinized beyond all recognition. Look at the Maronite and Chaldean Catholic Churches - they are MILES away from their Eastern patrimony. It’s a shame that they discard their venerable traditions so quickly.


The attitude of a truly Orthodox Catholic Christian.

Longing for unity and peace among the Churches of God.

God be with you and Godspeed you Father.

I detest the fact that our Churches are not One in the Peace of Christ at the current moment. It is a direct sin against the Body of Christ Himself, and unfortunately we have many people on both sides who not only do not strive and pray for Communion, but rather they glory in division and embrace triumphalism and pride over humility and service. Lord have mercy.


Yes I know Florence was rejected but the whole idea that the creed couldn’t be edited or added to because of Ephesus is completely false. As if this were the case then every Christian who recites what we call the nicene creed today is under anathema.


A council that flamed out without acceptance doesn’t go to show anything! (and, yes, I know that the RCC calls it ecumenical).

NOONE disputes that a later council cannot adjust a creed: What we casually call the “Nicean Creed” is actually with significant changers from Nicea at Constantinople.



Unity would have been possible, but instead of attempting to promote unity and discuss the differences, the Roman Catholic authorities placed a letter of excommunication on the altar of the Hagia Sophia in 1054 accusing the Eastern Orthodox of having a married clergy and omitting the filioque from the creed and bringing up other issues as well, such as whether or not clergy should be required to wear beards.
In any case, there are other issues besides unity which divide the Eastern Orthodox Church from the Roman Catholic Church. For example, in the Orthodox Church it is the priest who performs the Sacrament (Mystery) of marriage and not the couple, as is the case in the Roman Church. It may not sound too significant, until you look at the number of marriage annulments in the Roman Church. Pope Francis said on June 16, 2016 that the great majority of Catholic marriages are null. however, he did issue a revision later to say that a portion of sacramental marriages are null. This contrasts with the Orthodox Church where almost all of the marriages are valid, since the priest performs the ceremony and not the couple. Which is more pleasing to God a Church which has very few invalid marriages, or a Church where recently in the USA, it has been found that anywhere from 30,000 to 60,000 marriages are invalid in one given recent year?


Admonishing the sinner is a spiritual act of mercy. Excommunication is intended to be medicinal, not punitive. Saint Paul wrote of it in 1 Corinthians.

Unity must not arrive at the cost of truth.

Nothing left to say.

Except: define Eastern Orthodoxy. They are not as united as some would have us believe. They are inextricably tied to geography and culture and some accept more councils than others, etc. etc. etc.

As great, majestic, spiritual and historic as the EO is, it is far from being a monolith.


The letter of excommunication did not seem to me to be an act of mercy: Speaking of Michael Cerularius and all his followers, the letter of excommunication states:
" Let them be anathema Maranatha with the Simoniacs, Valesians, Arians, Donatists, Nicolaitists, Severians, Pneumatomachoi, Manichaeans, Nazarenes, and all the heretics — nay, with the devil himself and his angels, unless they should repent. AMEN, AMEN, AMEN."


Are you missing the “Unless they should repent”? To be a disciple, one must have discipline. That is the denial of the self and the submission to Christ’s Church.



So they must repent that they allow a married clergy? Or that they do not say the filioque in the creed? Otherwise Michael Cerularius and all his followers are anathema Maranatha with the devil ? How is that being merciful? Doesn’t the Roman Catholic Church allow married clergy today? And why should they repent of saying the creed as it was written and declared in Constantinople?


Marriage was and is a discipline. Were there disciplinary problems? That demonstrated a certain lack of discipleship. Medicine is needed for healing.


It’s not even about the council. You’re missing the whole point. It’s about the fact that the EO typically understand the canon of Ephesus to mean no additions may me made to the creed or that new creeds may be composed which is wrong completely. What the Council actually meant was that nobody can adjust the creed of change it in such a way that it teaches a new faith.

Yes I mentioned this fact in my first post that it’s the Nicene-Constantinopolitan creed. WE ALL KNOW THIS. A creed doesn’t need an ecumenical council to be adjusted. The canons of Ephesus do not say this anywhere. This is just a modern EO phenomenon which is made up to try and make their position less restrictive on the authority of the church. The church can adjust a creed as needs be to make explicit what was implicit so as to clarify the faith and refute error. No ecumenical council is needed. That’s all the filioque was.

The West was already adjusting the creed with the filioque addition by the 5th century. The popes never once denounced this practice on account of Ephesus or that it was being done without an ecumenical council but rather simply on account that the Greeks were very touchy about it and for the sake of harmony asked them to not add it to the creed. The Synod of Seleucia Ctesiphon (the territory of what is today the Assyrian Church of the east) is the first recorded filioque addition to the creed. The council of Toledo did the same and then various other councils as well as the local papal addition in the 11th century. The Armenian Church has additions of their own to the creed too.

In fact even Constantinople I, which made the additions to the creed of Nicaea as we know the creed today, was merely a local Synod at the time of Ephesus. It only got raised to ecumenical status at the council of Chalcedon. Which shows that even the Byzantine east believed that the creed could be adjusted without the need for an ecumenical council.

This just goes to show that nobody in the church understood the canon of Ephesus in the same way that the post-schism byzantines later did.

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