How do the Eastern Catholics view sin?

I was reading a Wikipedia article (yes, I know, truthfulness and veracity must always be questioned when reading Wikipedia) about mortal sin and it noted that in the Eastern Catholic Churches (like with the Eastern Orthodox), they do not believe in the concept of ‘mortal’ and ‘venial’ sin, although they acknowledge some sins can prevent a person from receiving Communion until such sin is Confessed.

Is this all true?

Greetings nsper7 (may I address you as “brother” or “sister”?).

Yes and no.

The purpose of the Latin Church’s idea behind “mortal” and “venial” sin is to express that some sins are more serious than others.

In fact, the Eastern and Oriental Catholic Churches DO recognize that some sins are more serious than others. This is easily verified by the Church Fathers who assigned different penances depending on the gravity of sins.

On the whole, Eastern/Oriental Catholic Churches believe in the idea of “mortal” sin (it is, after all in Scripture - “there is sin that is mortal, and I do not say that one prays for these” I John 5:16). What we don’t accept is the idea of “venial sin.” From what Latins teach about “venial sin” - that it does not cut one off from God - it is not sin at all, but merely mistakes. Eastern and Oriental Catholics thus would not call “venial sin” sin at all. But in this, it appears to me (perhaps you will agree) it is only a matter of language, and does not represent a substantial difference of doctrine.

Hope that helps.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit