Orthodox question

Catholics view Orthodox sacraments and apostolic succession as valid. How do the Orthodox view Catholic sacraments and apostolic succession? Would like responses from members of the Orthodox Church. (In accordance with the sticky, I don’t want to debate the validity of these, just asking a question. I am pretty sure that at one time each church anathamatized the other, but these were subsequently lifted).

Also, on Amazon, I noticed an Orthodox Study Bible which has the OT translated from the Septuigent and the NKJV NT. Are these the standard translations used by the Orthodox Church.

Thank you in advance for your responses.

There is no official stance on any of the sacraments outside the Orthodox Church. Some say yes, some say no, but the bulk say it isn’t our concern.

There is no official translation of the bible, however I’ve never seen the NKJV used liturgically. I have seen the OSB used for vigil readings and that sort of thing, however.


I’m a born catholic who is only considering converting to the Orthodox Church, but I think I can answer this. They don’t really pass judgment on the Catholic Church’s articles of faith. Nor any other church’s. They focus on their own religion and leave the rest up to God.

Actually we Orthodox do not concern outselves with the vailidity of sacramnents and orders.
We think it’s more important for those things to be Orthodox. We speak of the Holy Mysteries instead of sacraments.

Yeah, the Orthodox view of non-Orthodox sacraments is that we don’t have one. :slight_smile: It wouldn’t really mean anything even if we did, since we are not allowed to receive from them and they are not allowed to receive from us.

In the Coptic Orthodox Church (I can’t speak for others), the use of the NKJV for the English NT and the Septuagint for the OT is pretty standard. I have seen many OSB’s stacked up in the church that I go to, but these aren’t used liturgically, only in private reading or very occasionally (only once that I can remember) in teaching during the Agape meal. Since our priests are native Arabic speakers, usually they will use the Arabic Bible and then look up the translation in the NKJV (it isn’t the OSB, but a plain black Bible marked NKJV and published by I don’t know who).

The Orthodox study Bible is the NKJV, with Orthodox notes and comments, and icons as illustrations.

It might help if you think of the holy orders and sacraments through analogy, although in truth I don’t like them.

Let us imagine that you have a license to practice medicine in Timbuktu, or maybe China :wink:

You come to California or Illinois and you are not allowed to practice. You need to be licensed, and that is predicated on a lot of things. The state does not have an opinion on the ability of Timbuktu to train and license an MD (individuals might have suspicions), it doesn’t have an opinion on your ability as a healer either. It must behave as if you have no license at all and you may have to prove yourself through examinations, and possibly retaking some courses.

Then you will have a license from Illinois, and what other licenses you may have had before would be completely irrelevant to Illinois.

It’s the same with a drivers license. You might have a license from Georgia, and that would get you permission to drive in Illinois passing through, because the states have a mutual understanding. That does not necessarily mean you would be allowed to drive in another country. If the country says no, they will not be passing judgment on your ability, or the ability of Georgia to test and certify you. They will simply be saying “we don’t know” and require you to prove yourself through a test.

Orthodox only certify Orthodox men to be priests, what other churches do is of no concern and irrelevant.

This holds true for bishops as well.

For Orthodox, a man has to believe in Holy Orthodoxy entirely, no more and no less. A man claiming to be a bishop while outside the church is completely irrelevant. He needs to believe what Orthodox believe, have an Orthodox following and be in communion with other Orthodox bishops. Lacking this, he is nothing to Orthodox. The Orthodox churches do not have a theory that someone could be a valid bishop outside the church, which is why it is not possible for Orthodox to recognize Apostolic succession in the Roman Catholic nor the Anglican churches, and vagante movements are not recognized (Thuc, Vilatte, Costa etc.).

Likewise, if an Orthodox bishop should leave the church, he is no longer a bishop.

He cannot take it with him nor pass on the role to anyone else.

Yes, but the gist of the question relates to the fact that (for example) the Catholic Church would not view Anglican bishops as having valid apostolic succession, while they view the Orthodox as being valid.

And Catholics are free to view the world as they wish.

We concern ourselves with what is important to us.

It doesn’t matter.

Orthodox don’t care what the RC thinks about Anglican bishops or Lutheran bishops or Orthodox bishops. It is essentially meaningless to Orthodox.

From the Orthodox point of view, the Latin Church, and all former Eastern Catholics who have affiliated themselves with Rome have left the One Holy Aposotolic Church. Therefore their celebration of the Divine Mysteries(sacraments) are not valid. That includes all of them.

Yes, the mutual excommunications were lifted, but Rome has not returned to the One Faith so they are considered outside the Church.


Well, sort of. The view put forth in St. Basil’s first canonical epistle is that heretics cannot even perform true baptisms, though with schismatics, he is less harsh (in basic agreement with what guanophore posted). There are many theories in the Orthodox Church about grace outside of the Church, but the Orthodox Church in her wisdom has historically understood that these theories are not dogmatic, but are part of pastoral practice.

Which I find reasonable and refreshing.
“Believe it or else” dogma can be a slippery slope.

I suspect that it is due more to weakness than to wisdom.

In other words, there is nobody in the Orthodox Church who can “call the shots,” so to speak.

The idea that heretics cannot perform baptisms, is, as I recall, contrary to canon law. It is the only Holy Mystery which the Church has decided (though it is not always followed). On the rest of those things which the Latin’s consider Sacraments there is no stance, only individual opinion. This means that practically speaking we don’t recognize validity, but that isn’t quite the same thing as saying we recognize that they are invalid.

To say we believe they are invalid is a gross simplification and leads to misunderstandings and often hurt feelings. Hence the “no”.

Are you suggesting that there should be?

It would be interesting to see what the Orthodox Church would be like if there were.

St. Basil’s first canonical epistle is canon law. There is an allowance for a wide range of opinions through economy, such that those baptized by heretics may be received by economy through Chrismation alone (and some by confession of faith and admission to the Eucharist). The thinking is that the grace of the Church will make up for any lack of grace in the original act of baptism, if a true baptism is not performed. The only time it is agreed universally that one baptized by heretics should be rebaptized is when the form of the baptism is defective, or the heresy is a serious trinitarian heresy. Otherwise, it is a pastoral decision which is for the bishop to make.

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