Is there any chance the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches will reunite in the future?

Don’t really have much to say about it, besides that they have officially been separate since 1054 when both sides ex communicated each other, there is so much information leading up to the separation that I won’t even get into it. Just assuming anyone has any knowledge of the separation, why it occurred, and if you think the two may ever reunite again, or have the traditions of the two changed so much that they are irreconcilable?

No I don’t think it’s going to happen. The RC would have to renounce the developed papal claims, or the EO would have to accept them. While the RC bishops might be getting more cuddly with the EO, from my time checking out the EO there is absolutely no desire toward reunification on the ground floor. In fact I have noticed an animus towards it. The average Joe EO has very little desire to unite to the RC. I don’t blame them.

The division started in 9th century, in 1054 it was officially divided forever. The reasons are differences in theology, liturgy, church organisation and some other teachings.
West added Filioque, East rejected the addition.
West enthroned forced celibacy, East rejected.
West teaches purgatory, East rejected.
West demanded universal jurisdiction, East rejected.
West started to use Azima in the Liturgy, East rejected.
West used different way of baptism, (no immersion), East rejected. Etc… Politics also played an important role in all of this, as they play it today as well.

The two Churches cannot unite any time soon. Orthodox Church is very stubborn and is not willing to give up any teaching nor is it willing to accept the way the Rome has organized it’s Church. According to the Orthodox, the bishop of Rome would have to be only first among equal (In Liturgical Life and that is all) and the pope would govern only the local Church (Rome and Italy). If the western Church was organized as the Eastern is, we would have German Orthodox Church, French Orthodox Church, Spanish Orthodox Church, Orthodox Church of Portugal, Slovenia, Croatia, etc… all these Churches would be independent from Rome. Imagine Rome willing to accept this?

Also, Rome is not willing to give up teachings such as purgatory, filioque, etc… and Orthodox Church is not willing to tolerate such teachings. All though Rome is willing to tolerate some different Orthodox teachings, Orthodox Church is not willing to tolerate different teachings of Rome.

So the union is possible in theory, in practice it is not.

Jesus will weep again, to see such division.

Ah…yes, the Big Bad Roman Catholic Church…is always at fault, ain’t it. :shrug:

Never underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit.

There is an additional problem that is doctrinal which you have not raised and that is the different teachings on the permanence of marriage i.e. no divorce in the West but it is permitted (though discouraged) in the East.


The Catechism says that Pope St. Leo–whom I believe the Orthodox recognize as a saint–dogmatically confessed the Filioque.

I’ve never understood why this is a Church-dividing issue. From my limited experience in talking with another Orthodox person, I found that the issue was partly just semantic. When the Orthodox guy said “cause” he meant exclusively the primacy cause, and thus only wanted to use this word with reference to the Father. Whereas I understand “cause” as something that can refer to a secondary cause, such as the Son.

Clearly there is a difference in emphasis which is beautiful and legitimate.

The North-American Orthodox-Catholic Consultation made an agreed statement on this which I read some years ago and found helpful

They cited St. Gregory of Nyssa:

"Gregory of Nyssa, for instance, explains that we can only distinguish the hypostases within the Mystery of God by “believing that one is the cause, the other is from the cause; and in that which is from the cause, we recognize yet another distinction: one is immediately from the first one, the other is through him who is immediately from the first one.”

Now that is what I believe as a Catholic. So I don’t understand the division over this particular issue.

Lastly, my opinion is that there will be a re-unification, but that many Orthodox will reject it, many or most of them in good conscience.

That’s my two cents.

Agreed. Based on the prayer of our Lord in John 17 (specifically verse 21), it is the will of God that we should be one. I suppose that is up to interpretation, but I can’t imagine that God wants us to remain permanently divided on doctrinal issues. I believe ultimately God will unite all the Christian denominations into a single Church.

Yes, that’s what many non-Catholics would say. :cool:

Orthodox Fathers that condemned certain Latin teachings, saint Photius, saint Mark of Ephesus and saint Grigory Palama have forged Orthodox view on Filioque and Orthodox-Rome relations. Also famous Canon 7. Study them if you want to know what Orthodox think of those matters.

Also, Orthodox believe that the Ecumenical Council is the Supreme authority, not the quotes of certain saints. So if some saint says something that differs to the Ecumenical Council, then Orthodox listen to the Ecumenical Council and not the certain saint. Individuals are inferior to the Ecumenical Council’s supreme authority.

So the filioque was condemned by an ecumenical council???

Canon 7 5th Ecumenical Council, if i remember well. This canon puts under anathema anyone who dares to change or add even one word to the Creed from the 381.
Also Council of Constantinople in 880, by some it is regarded as 8th Ecumenical Council in the Orthodox Church. This Council was rejected by Rome in 12th century.

I think long-term, its inevitable :thumbsup: When the political will is there, the theological issues will be resolved. But at the moment, one problem is that many Orthodox countries are controlled by governments that have friction with the West. The orthodox churches are used to retain cultural sovereignty and independence, so reconciliation with the RCC would be seen as a threat. Putin’s regime in Russia, which effectively controls the Russian Orthodox Church, is the best example of this. Serbia and Greece (where the schism started, of course) are others.

The places with the best chances for reconciliation are countries where the population and governments want to be more integrated with Western Europe, and where the people are traditional enough to want religious ties, and not just social and economic ones. Maybe Orthodox areas of the Ukraine (already has Catholic population), Bulgaria, Slovakia, Romania, Belarus (if freed from Russian influence), Montenegro (newly independent from Serbia), Georgia and Armenia.

Constantinople’s Patriarchate is so much threatened it hopes good relations with Rome will help it survive in hostile Turkey. If Constantinople Patriarchate was in big and powerful today’s Byzantine Empire or some kind of big powerful Greek Republic, you would see completely different face of it’s Patriarch than this of today. Moscow Patriarchate is powerful now, and you cant see very much ecumenism coming from there. The more powerful one Orthodox Patriarchate is, the less pro-ecumenist it is.

But whether one can change the creed or not, isn’t it significant and a sign of hope that both the eastern and western fathers saw the Spirit as receiving His Being from the Father and the Son?

For example, didn’t St. Athanasius say that whatever the Spirit has, He has from the Son?

Also, as I understand it–let me know if you disagree–the Orthodox understanding is that a Council is not infallible until approved by the whole Church.

Hi jas. none of us know the future, of course, but I think a union of those two churches with each other is less likely than a union between one or the other of them and a smaller church, e.g. the PNCC or the ACoE.

This. :thumbsup:
I think unity of the One Holy Church begins here.
Pray for the day.


If st Athanasius said something that goes against the Ecumenical Councils, he was wrong.

Also, Rome did agree on 5th Ecumenical Council and Council of Constantinople 880, Rome rejected Constantinople 880 in 12th century. So it was the entire Church that agreed on the Creed without the Filioque. If i am not wrong, first mass in Rome celebrated with Filioque was in 1014. So it took a lot of time for Filioque to move from Spain and France in to Rome.

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