How Do Orthodox Christians View the Pope?

I think the title is pretty self-expanitory of my question. As a former Baptist, I was heavily convinced of the primacy of the Pope through Scriptural evidence for the primacy of St. Peter. I noticed the papacy seems to have ended for Orthodox Christians in 1045 AD, and the issue happened to be over the residency of the Pope. So my basic question is this: How do Orthodox Christians view the Pope?

1054 was year. Residence of Bishop of Rome was not a question - his attempt to destroy with Normans Church in Southern Italy was perhaps one of many causes which were cooking for 200 years since Photios. Many hurts on both sides. Many wrongs. We “view” bishop of Rome as head of Roman Catholic Church. Special for you as ardent new convent to Roman Catholic church! Congratultions on conversion from Protestantism. Perhaps you have found evidence in scripture for primacy - but for universal authority over other bishops, for being vicar of Christ and not Holy Spirit!, for being unmistakable in belief! For us these are not obvious from Holy Scripture or from Tradition.

Well Christ will straighten it all out, I’m postive. Perhaps I’ll get to watch it from Heaven. :wink:

In the meantime perhaps as Christians we should do what we can to salvage a struggling world…together.

But assuming St. Peter has always had a successor, and assuming Christ’s promise that the “Gates of Hell will not prevail against His Church,” then wouldn’t the Holy Spirit be certain to make sure the one to “confirm thy brothers” and the one that stands “In the midst of the disciples” would properly guide the Church through his own guidence by the Holy Spirit? :shrug:

The pope is viewed (and while this may offend some Catholics, I’m not going to argue it, the question was for the view) as the Bishop of the See of Rome, A bishop who is in schism from the Church.

As for “The gates of hell will not prevail against my Church”, we agree with that, but we don’t agree that it applies to individuals, no matter who they are.

St. Peter was not the Church. St. Peter is not the one who led the Roman Church into error, and St. Peter himself certainly failed many times in his life, though certainly Satan never prevailed over him.

This is a very broad generality on my part.

It is so very complicated.

Each Orthodox Church draws its authority from one of the twelve apostles. For example, the Russian Orthodox Church’s authority comes from St. Andrew.

In general (for some it is much more ambiguous), they do not recognize the supremacy of the bishop of Rome over the entire Body of Christ.

Although, in a very strict sense, some Orthodox view their particular church-head’s authority coming from St. Peter also (in a sense, one is not better (more powerful) than the other).

Really it depends on which Church you are speaking about.

Here is a very good link:

"The Roman Catholic view of the Church (ecclesiology) differs from the Orthodox teaching on this subject in several ways.

The Latins teach that the visible head of the Church is the Pope, the successor to St. Peter, who was appointed to that sacred position by the Lord Himself with the words, ‘Thou art Peter and upon this rock I shall build my Church’ (Matt. 16:18).

The Pope is, then, ‘the Bishop of the Catholic Church’, her teacher, the vicar (agent, deputy) of Christ on earth. He is the interpreter of the Christian Tradition. When he speaks for the whole Church (ex cathedra), the Holy Spirit does not permit him to err. He is, therefore, infallible on matters of morals and doctrine. Other bishops are his lieutenants. He is the symbol of the episcopate’s unity.

The Orthodox Church teaches that all bishops are equal. To be sure, there are different ranks of bishops (patriarch, archbishop, metropolitan, bishop); nevertheless, a bishop is a bishop. Such differences apply to the administration of a church or group of churches, not to the nature of the bishop. The president of a synod of bishops is called archbishop (Greek custom) or metropolitan (Russian custom).

According to Latin ecclesiology, each local parish is part of the universal or whole Church. The totality of Catholic parishes form the Body of Christ on earth. This visible Body has a visible head, the Pope. This idea of the Church implies that the local parish has two heads: the Pope and the local bishop. But a body with two visible heads is a monster. Also, the local bishop seems stripped of his apostolic authority if the Pope may contradict his orders. Indeed, he cannot become a bishop unless the Pope allows it.

Orthodoxy teaches that every bishop, ‘the living icon of Christ’, and his flock constitute the Church in a certain place; or, as St. Ignatius the God-bearer says, the Church of Christ is in the bishop, his priests and deacons, with the people, surrounding the Eucharist in the true faith. All bishops and their flocks so constituted, together composing the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

In other words, there can be no Church without a bishop, no bishop without the Eucharist, and no bishop or Eucharist without the true faith, the Apostolic Faith, ‘the faith once delivered to the saints.’ (Jude 3) ‘The Church is in the bishop and the bishop in the Church’, wrote St. Cyprian of Carthage.

Put another way, there is no Church where there is no bishop, and there is no bishop where there is no succession of bishops from the Apostles (apostolic succession); and there can be no succession from the bishops without the faith of the Apostles.

Also, there can be no Church without the Eucharist, the Sacrament of unity, because the Church is formed through it. The Body and Blood of Christ unites the Faithful to God: This fellowship or koinonia is the whole purpose of Christianity. At the same time, there can be no Eucharist — and no other Mysteries — without a bishop who teaches the true faith to the baptized." - Dr. Fr. Michael Azkoul

That’s the leap of faith that was never made by Eastern Christians. In the East, where multiple sees were founded by different apostles (Antioch by Peter, Thessaloniki by Paul, Paphos by Paul and Barnabas, Salamis by Barnabas, Alexandria by Mark, Corinth by Paul, Philippi by Paul, Ephesus by John, Seleucia-Ctesiphon by Thaddeus, Bartholomew, and Thomas), there simply was no concept that a single city could be dominant because of its Apostolic founding. Instead, it was natural that cities in a position of political power (provincial capitols) would also be centers of Christianity. These cities also happened to be the ones which inevitably would have been visited by the Apostles, because of their size.

For a time, there was no conflict between the system of conforming to political lines (one Francis Dvornik calls the principle of accommodation) and the system of regarding a See as being special because of its Apostolic founding (with Rome being at the top, being both the center of the empire and the only see established both by Peter and Paul). Once, however, Constantine and his successors moved Eastward, leaving the West increasingly marginalized politically, the two systems came at odds because the East claimed that ecclesial influence naturally should move Eastward as well, while Rome began to claim that on the basis of its petrine founding (notice how Paul has dropped out of the picture, likely because he is not mentioned in the gospels like Peter is), that it should never lose its standing as the first church in the world.

This is a rather complicated issue, and I’m currently away from home, but I’d be willing to go more in depth with some historical examples, once I return home in two days, if you are interested.

As a bishop on steroids. :smiley:

pls are u implying that the orthodox church has nothing like visible head? I’m sorry i don’t understand

**Do nothing without the bishop and presbyters.

As therefore the Lord does nothing without the Father, for says He, “I can of mine own self do nothing, so do ye, neither presbyter, nor deacon, nor layman, do anything without the bishop. Nor let anything appear commendable to you which is destitute of his approval. Or, “contrary to his judgment.” For every such thing is sinful, and opposed [to the will of] God. …
Letter to the Magnesians cap VII - Saint Ignatios of Antioch

[size=2]It is by all means proper that a bishop should be appointed by all the bishops in the province; but should this be difficult, either on account of urgent necessity or because of distance, three at least should meet together, and the suffrages [votes] of the absent also being given and communicated in writing, then the ordination should take place. But in every province the ratification of what is done should be left to the Metropolitan.[/size]
Canon IV - Nicea 325AD

Concerning those, whether of the clergy or of the laity, who have been excommunicated in the several provinces, let the provision of the canon be observed by the bishops which provides that persons cast out by some be not readmitted by others. Nevertheless, inquiry should be made whether they have been excommunicated through captiousness, or contentiousness, or any such like ungracious disposition in the bishop. And, that this matter may have due investigation, it is decreed that in every province synods shall be held twice a year, in order that when all the bishops of the province are assembled together, such questions may by them be thoroughly examined, that so those who have confessedly offended against their bishop, may be seen by all to be for just cause excommunicated, until it shall seem fit to a general meeting of the bishops to pronounce a milder sentence upon them. And let these synods be held, the one before Lent, (that the pure Gift may be offered to God after all bitterness has been put away), and let the second be held about autumn.
Canon V - Nicea 325AD

Let the ancient customs in Egypt, Libya and Pentapolis prevail, that the Bishop of Alexandria have jurisdiction in all these, since the like is customary for the Bishop of Rome also. Likewise in Antioch and the other provinces, let the Churches retain their privileges. And this is to be universally understood, that if any one be made bishop without the consent of the Metropolitan, the great Synod has declared that such a man ought not to be a bishop. If, however, two or three bishops shall from natural love of contradiction, oppose the common suffrage of the rest, it being reasonable and in accordance with the ecclesiastical law, then let the choice of the majority prevail.
Canon VI - Nicea 325AD

From the Apostolic Canons …

  Canon XXXII. (XXXIII.) 

If any presbyter or deacon has been excommunicated by a bishop, he may not be received into communion again by any other than by him who excommunicated him, unless it happen that the bishop who excommunicated him be dead.

  Canon XXXIII. (XXXIV.) 

No foreign bishop, presbyter, or deacon, may be received without commendatory letters; and when they are produced let the persons be examined; and if they be preachers of godliness, let them be received. Otherwise, although you supply them with what they need, you must not receive them into communion, for many things are done surreptitiously.

  Canon XXXIV. (XXXV.) 

The bishops of every nation must acknowledge him who is first among them [Metropolitan archbishop] and account him as their head, and do nothing of consequence without his consent; but each may do those things only which concern his own parish, and the country places which belong to it.

But neither let him (who is the first [Metropolitan]) do anything without the consent of all; for so there will be unanimity, and God will be glorified through the Lord in the Holy Spirit.

  Canon XXXV. (XXXVI.) 

Let not a bishop dare to ordain beyond his own limits, in cities and places not subject to him. But if he be convicted of doing so, without the consent of those persons who have authority over such cities and places, let him be deposed, and those also whom he has ordained.

  Canon XXXVI. (XXXVII.) 

If any person, having been ordained bishop, does not undertake the ministry, and the care of the people committed to him, let him be excommunicated until he does undertake it. In like manner a presbyter or deacon. But if he has gone and has not been received, not of his own will but from the perverseness of the people, let him continue bishop; and let the clergy of the city be excommunicated, because they have not corrected the disobedient people.


Let there be a meeting of the bishops twice a year, and let them examine amongst themselves the decrees concerning religion and settle the ecclesiastical controversies which may have occurred. One meeting to be held in the fourth week of Pentecost , and the other on the 12th day of the month Hyperberetaeus .

As an arch-heretic and precursor to Antichrist.

Is that the charitable view point or the uncharitable one?

I’ll take a wiiiiiiild guess and say it’s the prevailing one. :stuck_out_tongue:

I laughed so much!

I don’t share the sentiment, but perhaps some do.

I don’t really think so. It’s an opinion held by some who are very anti-ecumenist, but most seem to just see Rome as being in error.

There’s something about the internet that brings out the worst in us. I can say this because the more I debate here the more I meet it (and fall into it myself). You tend to see this vicious side on internet forums- I suppose the ordinary life at the parishes reflects a different atmosphere.

I think a statement like this needs some reference. It shouldn’t be based on those on internet boards with that view.

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