Orthodoxy question

Hey all I had a question regarding the Orthodox Churches…
Does the Holy Spirit guide the Orthodox Churches and prevent them from teaching error like it does the Catholic Church? And have the Orthodox Chuches ever taught error or heresy? I know Nestorius was Patriarch of Constantinopal, does this count as teaching error?

Any individual church can teach heresy, if that is what you mean but the Church in general won’t because hades won’t prevail over it. And yes it counts, Constantinople taught heresy with Nestorius the same way as Rome taught heresy with Honorius. :thumbsup:

Of course. But how this comes about is quite different. The Orthodox do not have a supreme, infallible teacher like the Pope. It relies on conciliarity. It means there is a council and if there is consensus in the council then that is the teaching they follow. But it is not plainly a vote and then majority wins. The belief is that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, therefore there must be oneness of mind between the Bishops. When all the bishops agree, then it is accepted that the Holy Spirit has spoken. Normally this doesn’t happen with one pass and they don’t try to make it happen as if its magic. There is a very organic way through the life of the Church that a teaching is accepted. Sometimes it takes some time, like decades. Sometimes those against the teaching simply die off and the replacement accepts the other teaching. But that is how God works.

Depends what you mean by “teaching in error”. Honorius, Pope of Rome, is a condemned heretic. Did he teach in error? What do you mean by teach? Does it mean he has to put whatever he believed into a catechism, papal bull, or something official? Or just merely he accepted and supported a teaching which eventually turned out to be heretical but during his time by no means did he tell other people to follow that teaching?

Nestorius is a curious case. I believe he died before he could defend himself before a council. There is a belief that Nestorius himself wasn’t a Nestorian, which means he didn’t really believe and teach the heresy that was named after him.

Though yes, there have been Patriarchs of Constantinople who were heretics. But the Orthodox do not rely on one person like the Catholic Church relies on the Pope. The Ecumenical Patriarch can be heretic without crippling the Orthodox Church. He can be overturned by other bishops, he can be deposed by other bishops, he can be corrected by other bishops. By no means is he above other bishops. So if he is in error, he will be corrected.

Definition of papal infallibility

*][FONT=Comic Sans MS]we teach and define as a divinely revealed dogma that [/FONT]
*]when the Roman pontiff speaks EX CATHEDRA,
*]that is, when, [LIST=1]
*]in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians,
*]in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority,
*]*he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole church, *
*]he possesses,
*]by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter,
*]that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals.
*]Therefore, such definitions of the Roman pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the church, irreformable.

Look at #3 above. In the case you refer to, Did Honorius define a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church? No. By the time Honorius case was reviewed as a result of what he wrote in a letter to Surgius, he had been dead for decades. Nobody knew about the letter from Honorius to Surgius except Surgius, which btw, was destroyed by order of the council who tried both Honorius and Surgius.

therefore, a pope must teach & define a doctrine concerning a matter of faith or morals, and it must be meant for, and held by, the entire Church. That didn’t happen. The case against Honorius doesn’t come close to that.

Honorius didn’t teach heresy.


I never said Honorius taught infallibly, because that concept never exisrted during his time. I’m taking about just teaching. Because we’re comparing with Orthodox patriarchs here who do not have personal infallibility. Arius never taught infallibly, but he is a condemned heretic. You are arguing besides the point here. The contention isn’t about infallibility.

He didn’t say that Honorius taught heresy. Though I’ve seen brother CTG make unclear comments in other threads, he was definitely not unclear here. He was not actually accusing Honorius of teaching heresy, but only that he was condemned as a heretic - which is true.


Thanks for the answers.

So what exactly is it that prevents Orthodox from error if it’s papal infallibility for us. I don’t think infallibility is one of the Patriarch of Constantinopals things right?

First of all, the Orthodox do not understand the Patriarch of Constantinople to hold a position that is analogous to that of the Pope of Rome. He is understood to hold a position of primacy, but a primacy of honor, not of jurisdiction. As to the question of what prevents the Orthodox from error, their belief is that the Church is infallible, but that no individual bishop is infallible.

The Catholic way of doing things is very organic too. You already understand how an Ecumenical Council works. The exercise of “papal infallibility” also works out collegially because the Pope must determine the consensus of the bishops before making the ex cathedra decree. In an Ecumenical Council, the infallibility of the EXTRAordinary Magisterium is at work in the bishops as a body. For an ex cathedra decree, the infallibility of the EXTRAordinary Magisterium is at work in the Pope, but the infallibility of the universal ORDINARY Magisteirum and the infallibility of the sensus fidei is also at work with the Pope when he exercises the infallibility of the EXTRAordinary Magisterium. And similar to the way the infallibility of an Ecumenical Council is not a mere vote by majority, the collegial act of “papal infallibility” is also not a mere vote by majority. Though Catholics do say that the bishop of Rome is necessary for a decree to be regarded as infallible, the Catholic Church has NEVER taught that the bishop of Rome ALONE is necessary for a decree to be infallible, whether that decree comes through the formal setting of an Ecumenical Council, through the College of Bishops even when disperseed throughout the world, or ex cathedra.


IMV your questions, were hinting at papal infallibility, because you were inquiring about

*]papal Teaching
*]papal error
*]official documents on what is taught
*]pope telling others to follow his teaching
[/LIST]since no pope has ever taught error, It seemed to me you were going for infallible teaching.:slight_smile: But maybe I jumped ahead a bit

I never hinted at infallibility.

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