Question about Orthodoxy for a catholic who knows the answer

I am always afraid these questions will seem like I’m trying to pick a fight. I’m not. I am discerning where I should be. I am considering Orthodoxy, and admittedly am in the “crush” stage of the relationship. That said, 50 years of being a Catholic who did the homework is a constant issue for me. so I keep doing research to see where the whole Church started and how it developed or split to get where it is today.

To wit:

In 450-ish AD Orthodoxy split into Chalcedonian Orthodox (Eastern) and non-Chalcedonian (Oriental orthodox.)

If Catholicism was always the mainline Christianity from which Orthodoxy split, Why wouldn’t the oriental Orthodox be “Oriental Catholic?” Was there already a delineation between Catholicism and Orthodoxy in 450AD?

I don’t know if this makes sense, but If Eastern Orthodoxy didn’t exist until 1054, how could Oriental Orthodoxy have split from it so early on?

There was no distinction between “Eastern Orthodox” and “Catholic” Church prior to the various splits after the end of the first millenium (the year 1054 really wasn’t the breaking point, it’s just a convenient incident to highlight). The split in 451 A.D. occurred between the “Chalcedonian” and “non-Chalcedonian” parties, and the “Chalcedonian” party includes what today we call Eastern Orthodox and Catholic.

So it goes like this: there was a split between those who accepted Chalcedon and those who didn’t, and those who didn’t accept it became what we call the Oriental Orthodox. Then, much later, there was a split among those who accepted Chalcedon, and this later split is how we get the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Communions we know today.

Peace and God bless!

Another good question is, ask the “non-Chalcedonians” or Oriental Orthodox what do they think about the Pope. Because a lot of people say that the Patriarch of Constantinople refused submission to the Pope because he was jealous and wanted to be Pope himself. So what does the Coptic and Syriac Churches have to say about the Papacy since they split half-a-millennium before the Great Schism.

Also the “Oriental orthodox” didn’t call themselves that. They were Coptic, Malankara (India), Armenian Apostolic, Tawehedo (Ethiopia), Syrian Jacobite.

I don’t see how the non-chalcedonians being called “orthodox” means anything. That’s like saying that by referring to “one holy catholic and apostolic Church” in the creed, the Eastern Orthodox are acknowledging the primacy of the Roman Church.

As someone who was Eastern Orthodox for 15 years then came into Communion with Rome I have some advice. It’s wonderful to learn about the Eastern churches–Blessed John Paul the Great encouraged this. We should pray for unity in the Body of Christ. Until that unity happens, you can fully participate in the Divine Liturgy at any Eastern Catholic parish in Communion with Rome–Melkite, Ukrainian Catholic, or Byzantine Catholic. Doing so will fulfill your Sunday obligation and you can partake of the Eucharist there.

Though you can’t receive the Eucharist at an Orthodox Church, you can go to Vespers.

The split between East and West happened in the realm of Caesar, not in the realm of God. I think He looks down and sees the one Church He founded. It is just like divorce–God sees two people from a valid marriage as one flesh, even if the state says they are divorced. May the separation of our ancient churches end soon!

There is more to Eastern Catholicism and Orthodoxy than just a beautiful Liturgy.

That approaches my poorly thought out and poorly worded question. A better one is this: Why is it that the non-chalc Churches who split off in 451 are so much closer in appearance and except for the obvious, theology to Eastern orthodox, who split off 600 years later? And, how are they both considered today to be Orthodox Churches? It could be that the first use of the name “Orthodox” came in 451, and when the RCC and EOC split later, the EOC adopted the name too.

here’s where this is taking me. It certainly seems to me that even though there was One Christian Church, mostly, for the first couple hundred years, there was a big difference in what they thought and how they prayed. So, following that logic, was the papacy effective in it’s claim to be the authoritarian for Chistianity? Seems to me that the orthodox position may be the way it really was, that the papacy had a “primacy of honor” but didn’t have “supremacy”.

Again, no offense, just my train of thought…

That is an excellent question. I hope someone from the non-Chalcedonian Churches responds.

These are good and valid points and I think it helps us discern the truth by having a third party, as the non-Chalcedonians are, to compare with. Remember that for most of history there is anymosity between the Churches. And there is probably more friction between the Eastern Orthodox and the Oriental Orthodox than the Orientals and Latins. For one thing the Byzantines encroached on their territory, because they still had bishops and laity who were faithful to the Chalcedonian Churches, they appointed Patriarchs to replace the non-Chalcedonian Patriarchs. They don’t even regocnize each other’s saints, I heard one EO priest say that they were anathemizing each others saints for a while. Yet today they find themselves so close to each other in faith than each of them are to the Latins. So why is that? 1500 years of schism and a bitter feud still produced nearly identical faith. Makes you think what Christianity was really like in the early Church.

That’s a hard point to argue with. I would love to find a book that deals with that question. i did post it in an oriental orthodox forum. I’ll be interested to hear what they say.

The names are really indicative of nothing. We would say equally that our faith is catholic and orthodox, and any Roman Catholic or Oriental Orthodox Christian would say the same. The differing names help to reduce ambiguity, but they do not suggest greater or lesser similarity or association between groups, nor what each group identifies itself to be internally.

I’m sure you are correct, as far as the names go. I guess the fact that the OO and EO liturgies and theologies are fairly similar reflect the way they looked in 451, or even in 51AD. They seem to be very unchanged over time.

Note though that if you read the Liturgical history of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, there were a lot of changes from 400AD to 1200AD.

This. See the Old Believers schism for example.

Oh, I was talking about the organic development in Constantinople. The Nikonian reforms were another thing. Actually I was speaking with a priest about this because in our Divine Liturgy (UGCC) there is a line where a Greek Orthodox friend of mine said the response to “Let us give thanks to the Lord,” is “it is right and just,” or “right and proper.” In the UGCC our English translation is, “it is right and just to worship the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Trinity one in being and undivided.” So we wondered if this is pre-Nikonian text. The Union of Brest happened before that therefore we could have preserved the older text.

The Oriental Orthodox is much closer to the Catholics than the Eastern Orthodox, they don’t have issues with the leavened/unleavened bread use like Catholics, the syrian orthodox believes in the supremacy of the office of St. Peter and their priestly clothing is just like the catholics, their sign of the cross is like catholics. Most of all the OO and Catholics has signed an agreement over the natures of Christ which cleared them of being miaphysite instead of monophysite. As for the usage of their Identity as Orthodox, we dont know, as for Catholics, we have been identified as catholics St. Augustine has identified himself as catholic. i Just don’t know when did they EO and OO started dropping the usage of being catholic.

Their way of doing the sign of the cross is like Roman Catholics and Oriental Catholics. Eastern Catholics who worship according to the Constantinopolitan Rite (Ruthenians, Ukrainian, Melkites, etc.) do the sign of cross the correct :wink: way, like the Eastern Orthodox do.

We never dropped the identification as Catholic.

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