Question about communion in the Orthodox Church


#1

My understanding is that the Catholic Church(RCC) does consider the Eucharist in the Eastern Orthodox church(EO) to be the true body and Blood of Jesus as they consider the EO to have valid apostolic succession.
I also understand that they do not consider the Lutherans or any other Protestant to have valid sacraments for the reason they have no valid apostolic succession.
So Catholics do believe that the Orthodox are getting the true Eucharist?
If someone were to convert to Orthodox would they be saved in the eyes of the RCC or do they need to become Catholic to be saved?
Does the RC believe the EO to be a True Church with all valid sacraments?
I already know the EO does not believe the RC to have valid sacraments.


#2

The question of whether or not an Orthodox person is saved is different from the question of whether or not they are receiving the Sacraments.

The Orthodox Churches are true particular churches in the eyes of the Catholic Church, with a real priesthood and Sacraments. Whether or not a particular instance of a Sacrament, a particular marriage for example, is “valid” is a much more complicated matter that I can’t speak to.


#3

I think there is a wide variation of belief among the Eastern Orthodox on this


#4

Yes, we have a few Orthodox people who attend our Liturgy semi-regularly and they receive our Eucharist.


#5

So Catholics do believe that the Orthodox are getting the true Eucharist?

Yes.

If someone were to convert to Orthodox would they be saved in the eyes of the RCC or do they need to become Catholic to be saved? Does the RC believe the EO to be a True Church with all valid sacraments?

The Eastern Orthodox Churches are valid Churches with all seven valid sacraments.

I already know the EO does not believe the RC to have valid sacraments.

Some EO make this assertion, some do not.


#6

The Catholic Church considers the Orthodox to be “Sister Churches”, as outlined in the Decree on Ecumenism Unitatis redintegratio. The Catholic Church has also declared that the Orthodox Churches have true orders and sacraments, and allows Orthodox Christians to receive the sacraments in Catholic churches, and vice versa. It could hardly do that if the Orthodox were “outside” the Church. And since the Orthodox are considered by Rome to be “true Churches”, and since the Church is one, they must, of course, be Catholic, too (just as they confess in the Creed), and that the separation between us and them is WITHIN, not FROM the Catholic Church.


#7

This may be true on paper but many people I have spoken with say that it depends on the local bishop and priest. Although, the GOA seems to be more of that mindset which you mention. Speaking with a Greek Orthodox priest at the local Greek festival :tada: he mentioned to me that it is not that they (GOA? his own belief?) don’t believe that the Catholic Church has valid Sacraments, they just are not sure.

I have heard that there is intercommunion in places in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, for example between the Melkite Greek Catholic Church and the Antiochian Orthodox Church (Mother Church of the Melkite Church).

ZP


#8

That intercommunion is very real, and more common than anyone admits.

The Melkites have a long tie of rejecting the schism between Rome and Constatinople, and have spent time in simultaneous Communion with both.

hawk


#9

I know of a couple, he is catholic, she is orthodox. When they decided to get married, there was a “discussion” :blush: as to where, who, what. The “negotiations” became heated and they decided to discuss their issues with their own pastors.

In the end, the two priests put their heads together and co-celebrated the mass in a catholic church. It was a beautiful ceremony. There were parts that did not sound totally catholic, :slight_smile: but close enough.

Which means, I think the two churches think of themselves as sisters, if the priests decided to do it this way. It was awesome!

PS. I think the orthodox priests “dress” better than the catholics. LOL.


#10

It would not be good for a Catholic to renounce their faith to become (Eastern or Oriental) Orthodox, or Assyrian Church, even though they are apostolic and have valid sacraments.


#11

I also have a friend, Melkite, when he and his family are at their summer home they attend Liturgy at the local OCA. @dochawk does the OCA seem to allow Catholics to receive the Chalice more so than other Orthodox Churches here in the U.S.? I’m guessing it depends on the parish priest.

Thanks,
ZP


#12

Someone who converted to one of the Eastern Orthodox Churches would commit the sin of schism, which is a mortal sin under the usual conditions.


#13

Interesting-thanks!


#14

We need to distinguish between a “particular Church” and the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church professed in the Creed. A particular Church is a bishop, his assisting clergy, and flock, celebrating the Eucharist. The EO are made up of many such particular Churches.

However, despite all that, the EO cannot be said to the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church professed in the Creed (ie. the one Church of Christ cannot be said to subsist in them). This can only be said to be the Catholic Church subject to the successor of Peter…


#15

In My case I am Protestant(Lutheran) who has been studying both churches. I am very drawn to the EO but I respect the RCC.
I believe both have a very powerful claim to be the First Apostolic church, the EO seems to have changed the least since 33AD which I like.
I think it all boils down to the whether one accepts papal Primacy and the Development of Doctrine.
I am not turned off by the Priest scandals as so far the RCC still has not changed any doctrine in faith and morals and I actually sometimes like Pope Francis and thought JPII was awesome but then I felt no need to convert as I believed in the invisible church idea.
I am looking at both churches.


#16

see my post below


#17

I mean, if one knew or should have known that the RCC is the true Church and still chose to become EO for whatever reason, that would be a problem. On the other hand, if you’re making the decision in good faith trying to follow the truth wherever it goes, then there’s no guilt there. One in good faith would receive their sacraments fruitfully.

To be fair though, the EOs embrace “development of doctrine” too and developed right along with us for many centuries. Just read old EO catechisms and synod decisions from after the schism, but before the last couple centuries, and you’ll see many things they now put forth as points of divergence blamed on development (original sin, indulgences, more juridical or scholastic approaches to the sacraments and sin, etc.), where back then they were the same as us. Even modern Eastern Orthodoxy, dominated by the Neo-Palamite movement, is the result of a sharp turn back to a theology developed a couple hundred years after the schism (as well as a focus on a handful of Greek Fathers, to the exclusion of some Latins–an approach that is itself a development).

They have definitely done a good job of preserving their liturgical traditions, which is where maybe the impression of unchanging-ness comes from, as well as that modern reversion to certain theologies that seem less developed.

As for the primacy, there has certainly been development as to its exercise. But, in my opinion, for even the exercise of it in the early Church to be valid, the premises leading to the conclusions held in the Catholic Church would need to be true. At the very least, the EO must consider, according their current doctrine, the doctrine and practice of pre-schism Popes–including those they hold to be saints–to be a corruption of the faith, but a corruption the Church of those times never saw fit to condemn.

But, the biggest reason I see against the EO Churches is that the are missing the mark of “one” in the Creed, which I wrote more about in a prior post linked below:


#18

Thanks for your reply! That’s one reason I’m staying in my Lutheran church for now, because if I do convert I want to make sure it’s my final decision, I don’t want to become one to later on convert to the other(although I realize it could happen)I plan to maybe visit an EO in September I have never been to one.


#19

It’s definitely not an easy choice. I respect those Churches and denominations that encourage people to make an informed and discerned decision, rather than convert rashly. In this case, both sides can heap up piles and piles of evidence (as an aside, personally, I see this very conundrum as evidence for the need of a fixed See that all the Churches must agree with–to paraphrase St. Ireneaus). In any event, may the Holy Spirit lead you into all truth and both the RCC and EOs to true unity, so people of good will don’t have to get stuck in the middle! :innocent:


#20

Thank you! yes I have long wished that there was just one Church-you’d have to go back to before 1054AD for that. In that case-you’d either be in it, or out of it. You either would be a Christian, or not. Yes it is not easy coming from a Protestant point of view. Yes I both sides have their evidence, and I’m just an average lay person, not a theologian at all and not even that smart.
So I am just praying for guidance. I have rejected Sola Scriptura-I am more “Prima” Scriptura or Scripture First, at this point. Because obviously, the new Testament canon was not formed until around the 4th(?) century so there had to be a Church that held to traditions, and which Scriptures were held to be authoritative and which to reject.


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