Question about Eastern Orthodoxy


Has anybody had to answer EO claims before that at the time of schism, there were 5 patriarchs (one the Bishop of Rome), and the other 4 went the EO way? Since they only viewed the Bishop of Rome as the “first among equals”, they will say that since 4/5 of the church went their way, this gives their claim of being the one true church the advantage.

I know there are many legitimate arguments that the church stays with the Pope; however, most of these are immediately rejected by the EO. I just wondered if anybody had any other information regarding the schism – did this really represent 4/5 of the church?

Thanks for any information you’ve got.


I doubt that it represents even 1/10 of all the Bishops of the Church at the time.


Well, that would certainly be a helpful point to add to the discussion. Do you know anywhere that stat can be verified?


You might be able to gather some information from the Councils around the time of the break and see if there is any easy access to the number of Bishops in attendance. Then trying to determine how many were Eastern v/s Western may be difficult but it may be available. However just looking at the size of the Churches around 800-1000AD. The Eastern Churches were not that large, I can’t see them making up that large of a portion of the Churches Bishops.


Well by that logic we all should have gone Arian, since most of the Church did that, too–including those same Sees, by the way.

By that logic, also, Orthodoxy’s present demographic disadvantages prove that it was wrong all along, while Catholicism’s growth prove we were right.

Or maybe the Orthodox should stop saying silly things, in what is definitely a complicated debate.


In the early Church there were only 3 patriarchates: Rome, Alexandria and Antioch, with Rome still being the head and able to remove the others. Constantinople after creation (in about 380 at the First Council of Constantinople which wasn’t actually Ecumenical at the time, it much later got confirmed as such) tried to usurp Alexandria’s position as number 2 for worldly reasons (basically as a puppet to the Byzantine Emperor).

Alexandria and Antioch split after Chalcedon, so on that logic the Oriental Orthodox have more of a claim. Though Constantinople had it’s 2nd place confirmed above the new Alexandrian and Antiochene sees created after the others split, and that was the first time Jerusalem became a patriarchate.

closed #7

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