How can an Orthodox be in communion with Rome?


There’s too many groups of Christianity out there!!! I just found out about these “Copts” that are Orthodox, those in communion with Rome. How could this be? Why not just be Catholic?

I find it obvious with the one Church idea in the bible, but that’s not what this thread’s for.

Can someone explain to me about the Orthodox and how they are in a “schism” but they aren’t “heretical”? Are they part of the Church or not?


There’s a difference between Eastern Catholics and Eastern Orthodox.

Eastern Catholics are fully Catholic and are in union with the pope. Eastern Orthodox are not in union with the pope. This Wikipedia article may be of interest:

The Copts you mention that are Catholic are indeed Catholic. While Latin Catholics are the largest group of Catholics, we are not the only ones.


Too many questions…:smiley:


Jesus wanted the Church to spread throughout the whole world! How can you say there are too many groups? Catholic means, literally, “throughout the whole”. It seems you need to read a little history on the Great Schism in 1054.

Every validly baptized Christian is part of the Church, which is the Body of Christ. Some members are more perfectly joined (in the unity Christ intended) while some are less so. I recommend the Cathechism on this subject.


The Catholic Church is actually a communion of Sui Juris Churches all in communion with each other and the Holy See. Many people are completely unaware of any but the Latin Rite Church.


This is actually a recent development. If I may expand upon this a wee bit.

The term Sui Iuris" refers to a law of their own. In other words, governed and administered according to a set of rules which are different from the Latin. This became possible when the CCEO was created (1990), except that it lumps all of the more than twenty different Particular Churches into a “one size fits all” set of rules that is full of a lot of compromises to smooth out the differences between them.

Before this, they were all just particular Churches with different rites, and subject to the Latin Code (1917, 1983). Any diocese can be considered a Particular church and potentially have a set of ritual practices identifiably their own, thus the diocese of Krakow might be practicing one rite, the diocese of Milan another and the diocese Cluj another. They were all considered part of the “One Church”, with particular referring to a “part of the whole”.

Now these various eastern church bodies are deemed “Autonomous Particular Sui Iuris churches”. Which means (in a sense) that they…[LIST=1]
*]have a name of their own (not self headed, but self-named),
*]are a part of the whole,
*]have a law of their own.[/LIST]They do not have the right of self determination. Although for some of them it was this right which (in theory, voluntarily) brought them under the control of Rome, they do not retain that right to decide to place themselves under another church authority.

The term “Orthodox in Communion with Rome” is bandied about quite a bit among Eastern Catholics. I used it for a while myself once. The plain fact is there are very few Eastern Catholics who would be considered truly Orthodox by the Orthodox churches, they would have to believe everything Orthodox teach, and reject everything Orthodox reject.

That is problematic, if applied in this case to someone under theoretical obedience to the Supreme Pontiff that would make them appear to be Cafeteria Catholics at best. If the definite denial of certain Latin dogmatic constructions (Purgatory, Filioque, Papal Universal Jurisdiction, etc…) is tantamount to heresy then such people could possibly be suspect of that as well.

However, there is a provision in the Catholic church to allow Orthodox (as well as PNCC, and probably Church of the East) to receive communion in the Catholic church, provided they have the necessary permission from their own (Orthodox) bishop.

If that were to somehow actually happen, one would see an Orthodox Christian “in communion with Rome”, without actually being “under” Rome. I don’t think that either the Orthodox Churches, nor the Vatican can currently admit to such possibility. It is highly theoretical, such permission is not routinely given or sought from Orthodox bishops.

The Orthodox normally stake out the position that if one accepts communion from a Catholic priest, one is assenting to what that church teaches and is no longer Orthodox. Thus “Orthodox in Communion with Rome” is something of a chimera.

Interesting possibility to muse over, but more of a fantasy than anything else.



Dear brother Catholic1seeks,

Personally, I claim this title (and proudly) because:

  1. I believe everything Orthodoxy (at least, Coptic Orthodoxy)teaches.
  2. I believe in the standards of the undivided Church of the first millenium, which is also Orthodoxy.
  3. In the first millenium, Orthodoxy was in communion with the bishop of Rome and was synonymous with communion with the bishop of Rome.

Being an Orthodox in communion with Rome is a statement on my belief that I have, by coming into communion with Rome, recovered the FULLNESS of the Orthodoxy of the undivided Church of the first millenium. If I was living during the early centuries of the early Church, I would not need to add the decriptive “in communion with Rome,” because in those days being “Orthodox” was synonymous with being in “communion with Rome.” But nowadays, since “Orthodoxy” has a different meaning, then the additional descriptive is necessary.



You gotten a number of answers already, but if I may chime in I would point out that Catholics in general call ourselves “orthodox” with a lower-case “o”.

I understand that you wouldn’t expect a Catholic to call himself/herself “Orthodox” with a capital “O”; but on the other hand, you wouldn’t expect Orthodox to call themselves “Catholic” with a capital “C”, but in fact some do. (So do some Anglicans, but I won’t get into that.)


**You have Eastern-rite Catholics who have the same Divine Liturgy as the Orthodox, yet are in Communion with Rome because they recognize the pope as head of the Catholic Church. How can this be? This proves that the Orthodox broke away from the Church and became schismatic. **


So I guess you also think the existence of Western Rite Orthodox proves that the Catholic Church broke away from the Orthodox Church and became schismatic.:wink:


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