Help - Why stay Catholic vs. moving to Eastern Orthodoxy?


Hello! I have some questions regarding specific areas of the Catholic faith as it compares to the Eastern Orthodox faith. I am a practicing Catholic, but over many years I have been learning more about Orthodoxy and have come to a point where I need help researching. I have yet to find any good, clear arguments that are pro-Catholic on these points. Can someone provide them please? If so, can you point me to any references to back up your views please? Thank you to all for any help you can provide!

My main concern is focused around Papal Supremacy. First, the Catholic Church views the Pope’s power as “supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church, which he is always able to exercise freely" (Canon 331). And it also states that, “no appeal or recourse is permitted against a sentence or decree of the Roman Pontiff” (Canon 333 section 3). That, to my understanding and put very simply, means the Pope is technically free to do what he wants, when he wants, and no one can overrule him. Is this the way it was in the early Church (basically, I’m looking for the time from Pentecost until the Great Schism circa 1054 AD)? I know plenty of arguments to say that it wasn’t how the early Church viewed the Bishop of Rome, but good, solid arguments saying that was how the Church viewed the Bishop of Rome (pro-Catholic view here) is what I’m hoping to see here.

Thoughts? Thanks for all and any help!!


Eastern Orthodox believe in primacy of honor but not in supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power of the Pope and not in universal jurisdiction.


I know, but that isn’t what I am asking for help with. I’d like to know if anyone can help point me to solid references that help back up Catholicism’s claim of the role and power of the Pope in the first 1,000 years of the Church before the Great Schism. Can anyone help with this?


I’m considering converting back to Orthodoxy (Greek) but for different reasons, I have been offered a place in a monastry when I get released, if anyone thinks I am wrong then please feel free to tell me.


Would this article help you?


When searching for the one true church I do not think the questions of “evidence for the pope” will ever be answered or proven satisfactorily in the positive but if you view the question from the opposite direction, that is, “evidence for not the pope” then you may begin to be satisfied.

When you have researched the historical church and recognize that all of the Orthodox church along with the Catholic church have valid apostolic succession, there is only one more question to ask. That is, “why the not pope?” This question is answered in the unanswerable question of - untill all of the Orthodox church is in communion with each other, which Orthodox church is the one?



That question only makes sense from a second century western perspective.

During the time when East and West were in union, there were always many churches in communion. The notion that the Orthodox churches were one part of the RCC is, at best, no more than delusion.



I did not mean to imply the Orthodox were one part of the RCC. The question of which Orthodox church to an outsider today looking for the pure church still remains given they [the Orthodox] are not all in communion with each other.



First, I think it is necessary to understand the Catholic position, which is not that the Pope can do whatever he wants. As the traditional (and Scriptural) axiom goes, his power is ad aedificationem non ad destructionem ecclesiae (ie to the building up, not the destruction of the Church). He cannot destroywhatever “according
to the ancient and constant faith of the universal Church”
handed down in the “acta of ecumenical councils and the sacred canons”
and approved “by the perpetual usage of the churches” is of divine right in the Church. The rights and duties of the other bishops is part of this, and therefore the Pope isa t the service of these things; he can’t eliminate them. Here’s a good academic article on the Pope’s jurisdiction:

Also, what the Pope can do and should do are two different things. Catholic dogmatic propositions on the Pope’s jurisdiction focus on the abstract principles, and therefore seem very sweeping, because the “should” of every situation cannot be foreseen. Pope’s in different times have exercised it in different ways–and common action should always be sought if possible. But the same principles need to be true for both the limited exercise of prior times and the more expansive exercise of today. Pre-schism Popes–including those honored as Saints among the EO–defended the Catholic doctrine of the primacy and the Church never condemned their error, even though the EOs now do (despite honoring its proponents as Saints!)

The Pope’s job is to serve unity, not to take over the roles of the divinely instituted episcopate or the Patriarchates created by council and custom. But, sometimes he needs to take action outside of Rome to serve unity according to the times and circumstances. Jurisdictional power and authority is therefore necessary for his ministry to be anything but illusory.

See my next post for how the EO Churches are a concrete example of this need.


The Church’s one-ness requires the jurisdiction of the papacy.The EO Churches lack of unity–they cannot be said to be “one” as the Creed requires–is the perfect example of this. Without this jurisdiction, they get into situations where EO Church A is in communion with B, B is in communion with C, but A and C are not in communion with each other (A=B=C≠A) (e.g. ROCOR currently; the Moscow Patriarchate breaking communion with Constantinople over who had jurisdiction over Estonia in 1996 while other Churches remained in communion with both; the Bulgarian schism of the 19th century when most patriarchates, but not Moscow, broke communion with the Bulgarian Church; etc.). How can one Church simultaneously have some parts in communion with other parts, while other parts are separated from each other? This doesn’t even make any sense unless there is only a plurality of Churches, rather than just one.

Also, look at the recent pan-Orthodox Synod (or whatever it ultimately was classified as). It barely even got off the ground because Churches were threatening to boycott (and many did) because they were fighting with other Churches over who had jurisdiction over what. And for all the EO polemics about all bishops being equal, if you look at how that synod was organized and carried out, the bishops who participated in that synod did not do so as equal bishops of one Church, but as representatives of multiple national Churches and patriarchates. What was sought was not a consensus of bishops of one Church, but of national Churches/patriarchates (which didn’t happen anyway). They lacked anyone to coordinate all the bishops as each true bishops of the one Church. In other words, lacking the papacy did not preserve the dignity of the individual bishops and particular Churches, but rather it enabled their degradation.

Some individual Popes have done a better job at serving unity than others, but overall, looking at the history of the Church and its unrivaled ability to fulfill the Great Commission and give Jesus a voice among the nations, I think Jesus made the right decision in constituting His Church in this way.


If you’re looking for a church without scandals, you’re not going to find it among any of the Orthodox churches. Sure, there are plenty of good and holy folks, but there has also been plenty of KGB infiltration, and much more service to the state. Sexual scandals? Homosexuality? Pederasty? Yes.

There are sinners everywhere, and there are honest servants of God everywhere.

And even if you were interested in Eastern spirituality, wouldn’t it make more sense to join a Catholic rite? It’s not like the US is deficient in Byzantine Rite, Melkite, Maronite, Assyrian, etc. Catholic churches and communities.


And if only a fraction of the reports coming out of Pennsylvania are true, it appears that they won’t find it within the Catholic Church either…


This is simply how the Orthodox affect Church discipline outside their own jurisdictions. If they find a member Church to be in error, they will break communion as a form of protest. The more Churches that break communion, the more likely it is that the target Church has authentically violated orthodoxy.

Many, if not most, feel that this is a better system than ultimately leaving it up to one guy sitting on a chair in the Vatican. More heads are better than one.

Probably why large companies for boards. Probably why the SCOTUS has 9 justices instead of 1.

It’s similar to Paul’s clash with Barnabas. When they separated, did either stop being a Christian? Of course not…

Jesus didn’t do it. As a historical matter, the dominance of Rome wasn’t relatively undisputed until the Islamic Caliphates swallowed the east - particularly Alexandria who was, alongside Constantinople, more than happy to refuse Rome on occasion.


Again, that is no different than the first millennium.

There simply is not a time period in which the various regional churches, including the Western church, are not periodically breaking and restoring communion with each other, and in non-transitive communions with some and not others who were themselves not in communion int each other.

Seeing this as a “which” question is a second millennium (not second century as I wrote above) and utterly western thought.



Sometimes I think you Byz-Cath boys are the smartest ones in the room…


Is the Body of Christ divided against itself? Breaking communion means you are no longer part of the same communion, no?That’s kind of the whole point. One particular Church excommunicating another would be subject to appeal for a final judgment, whether to a synod, or higher. Can you give an example of what you’re saying? (the St. Meletius example is the only one I’ve seen often brought up, but that isn’t really an example of it–I can go into more detail if you like).

From what I can tell, the Church of the first millenium was acutely concerned with who was the Church of Christ and who were instead heretics or schismatics.


You will have to help me a bit more than this hawk to keep me from being “delusional”. Either they were in common-union or they were not. Your term “breaking and restoring” shows there was something unorthodox on one side or the other.



Which Orthodox Church? The Eastern/Chalcedonian or the “Oriental”/non-Chacedonian?

And what makes one communion more persuasive than the other?

The Catholic answer is that it takes communion with Peter, as represented in his succession at Rome, to be assured of full visible communion with the Church.

But the two Orthodox communions have the same criterion: The Church with the correct ecumenical councils. But they both have different listings of councils. So how does one discern?


Eastern AND Oriental Orthodox: “The true Church accepts the true Councils. The true Councils are accepted by the true Church.”

Catholic: “The true Church is that which is in communion with Peter’s successor at Rome.”


One core issue is that the Roman “Peter” changed, unfortunately.

What Catholic theologians call “papal development”, Orthodox call “heresy”.

As such, the Orthodox do follow “Peter”. He’s just not the improved, Catholic one of the European Middle Ages to present.


I would suggest the following website:

This site has many Catholic - Eastern Orthodox articles worth reading.

God bless

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