RC Split from Orthodox

How might the Chieti document (from the “Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue
between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church”) fit into this discussion?

Paragraphs 15 & 16 state:

Between the fourth and the seventh centuries, the order ( taxis ) of the five patriarchal sees came to be recognised, based on and sanctioned by the ecumenical councils, with the see of Rome occupying the first place, exercising a primacy of honour ( presbeia tes times ), followed by the sees of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem, in that specific order, according to the canonical tradition.(11)

In the West, the primacy of the see of Rome was understood, particularly from the fourth century onwards, with reference to Peter’s role among the Apostles. The primacy of the bishop of Rome among the bishops was gradually interpreted as a prerogative that was his because he was successor of Peter, the first of the apostles.(12) This understanding was not adopted in the East, which had a different interpretation of the Scriptures and the Fathers on this point. Our dialogue may return to this matter in the future.


It is my understanding, gained from discussions with Eastern Orthodox, that there is a lot more to the division than the filioque, and a lot more serious ones. Among them is territoriality. Orthodoxy is profoundly territorial, even within its various segments. So, for example, the Patriarchate of Moscow does not recognize the legitimacy of priests from the Patriarchate of Constantinople being in Ukraine. The Catholic Church claims worldwide jurisdiction. It claims the right to be anywhere on the planet. This is very much contested by the EO, who hold that the CC has no right to be in the Americas at all or in the Far East. The more strict among them hold that the CC is limited to jurisdiction in the city of Rome and some of the countryside around it, and nowhere else.

In the U.S. that view is sometimes winked at by members of the EO, but none of them will outright deny it.

Sacraments are another thing. The CC recognizes the legitimacy of orthodox sacraments, including the priesthood and the Eucharist. That is not reciprocated. Even Catholic baptism is viewed as “problematic” among the EO and Catholic marriages are considered invalid.

If you talk to a strict EO, he’ll tell you the only way for there to be reunion is for the Pope to give up being Pope; perhaps to be re-installed if he becomes Orthodox, perhaps not, and for Catholics to become Orthodox, probably re-baptized for that purpose.

If anything, the “split” is more serious now than it was when it first happened.


Doctrine of Filioque is what Church Fathers (Pre-Schism Eastern Fathers too) believed in. Creed had local modification which was allowed and part of normal practice (Armenian Church has used completely different Creed).

How? Years after Great Schism of 1054, Georgian Monk (Eastern Orthodox Saint) George the Hagiorite came to Constantinople to plead for autonomy of Georgian Church. However when he heard that Byzantium has broken communion with the Pope, he professed inerrancy of Rome in front of Emperor and Patriarch.

Also Pope St. Gregory, Pre-Schism Saint has claimed in several writings that he can make Eastern synods “null and void with strike of a pen”, or asked “who can doubt that [See of Constantinople] are subject to Apostolic See?” (Apostolic See in that context clearly meant Rome). He also said that if there is fault found among Bishops, they are to be judged by Apostolic See.

Council of Chalcedon implicitly says that any Church Trial can be re-judged by Rome (when it tries giving same authority to Constantinople) and Council of Sardica (as well as Eastern Fathers of Chalcedon) clearly say that Rome can re-judge even cases of Constantinople. Therefore universal jurisdiction.

What was changed was that Church is now more centralized to Rome because communication is much easier (which also brings some problems, I agree). However structure of the Church was not changed.


I’m a Protestant convert to Catholicism. When I look at Orthodoxy, this is my biggest question: how would I decide between Eastern and Oriental Orthodoxy? I accept Chalcedon because it was ratified by Pope St. Leo. The Orthodox say it was accepted “by the Church”…yet a big chunk of the Church rejected it…


Point is that no one can even proclaim council Ecumenical. “Accepted by all” - does that mean Chalcedon is not Ecumenical because Copts did not accept it? Does that mean Nicea is not Ecumenical because Arians did not accept it? Every Council has produced Schism which is exactly why one can not claim “accepted by all” as an indicator for Council to be Ecumenical.

Which Ecumenical Council gave Armenians that entitlement? Local variations of the Creed were allowed and not viewed as a problem until Photian Schism and it’s implications.

How can council do that? Who needs to be present at the Council? Let’s imagine a scenario where one Bishop does not attend but every other Bishop does. Does that mean Council can be ignored by that one Bishop and people under his care or no? What if two don’t… what if 50% doesn’t?

Which is why I think Chieti Document is quite off. When Chalcedon was over, other Patriarchates were actually against Constantinople claiming 2nd place and even pointed out that it is about Peter and not about Imperial City. Church Fathers always refer to Rome (as well as Alexandria and Antioch) as Petrine Sees, which indicates that they are indeed special thanks to Peter. Actually in the footnotes of the document one can clearly see Council of Sardica with implication of Universal Jurisdiction.

In reality what is indeed hard to prove historically is centralization to Rome. That one is of course not historical and quite wrong- which is why it is nice that it is being suppressed by recent Popes.
Universal jurisdiction- Council of Sardica and Chalcedon both claim Rome can re-judge any Church trial held anywhere.
Immediate jurisdiction- Same as above with a fact that one does not need to go through Patriarch to ask Rome for re-trial.
Supreme jurisdiction- this was demonstrated mostly by Pope Gregory the Great. If one reads his writings where he points out that Eastern synods bind none without his approval or that he can judge all Bishops, it becomes quite clear what Pope St. Gregory the Great held as true. Also since Rome is inerrant (as according to Orthodox Saint George the Hagiorite), what need is there to resist inerrant proclamation? Only pride can go against truth.


With all due respect, I don’t think this dispute is not resolved. It is as much unresolved as Divinity of Christ is unresolved because there are atheists. Is Nicea unresolved because there are Jehovah’s WItnesses? Church has inerrantly ruled on those matters.

As St. Augustine said, “Rome has spoken, case is closed”. There are people that will deny this as there have always been but that does not change the fact. If True Church is “pillar and foundation of Truth” then if Catholic Church changes She is no True Church and as such it is best to stay away from Her. We seek Truth not compromise. East and West are already united in True Church- Eastern Catholics are great example of that. If indeed we count people outside the Church to be needed for Her unity, Church was never One (because there were always atheists or at least non-Christians in the world) and Church is entirely false because it has no mark of being “One”.


I hope you’re not saying Orthodox are in the same class as Atheists and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Oh they’re much more annoying, the one I’m married to makes me do things like study when I would rather play a computer game and go for walks outside. Cruel tortures indeed. She made me study maths for a hour today and quadratic equations :frowning:


I hope you are not saying Jehovah’s WItnesses are in the same class as Atheists.

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Have you registered your concerns with the Pontifical Council responsible for this agreed statement?

If we Orthodox can’t trust the statements you guys are agreeing to, then how can we have dialogue?


We’re very up front about the value of these things. As Pope Benedict put it:

The study documents produced by the various ecumenical dialogues are very important. These texts cannot be ignored because they are an important, if temporary, fruit of our common reflection developed over the years. Nevertheless their proper significance should be recognized as a contribution offered to the competent Authority of the Church, which alone is called to judge them definitively. To ascribe to these texts a binding or as it were definitive solution to the thorny questions of the dialogues without the proper evaluation of the ecclesial Authority, would ultimately hinder the journey toward full unity in faith.


Prior such joint working documents have put this right up front, like the Balamand document:

As with all the results of the joint dialogue commissions, this common document belongs to the responsibility of the Commission itself, until the competent organs of the Catholic Church and of the Orthodox Churches express their judgement in regard to it.

The EO dialoguers know the drill. From what I understand, the EO Churches treat such statements the same way (as the above states). These are “good effort” type documents that are steps along the way.


Exactly my point. Sadly sometimes there seems to be more emphasis on compromise than on actual search for what is true. At the same time though, it isn’t anything we agreed on.

There was joint declaration on Filioque by Orthodox and Catholic theologians yet that does not stop Russian Patriarch from trying to attack that Doctrine. And rightly so- that statement has no binding force. If he indeed believes Filioque doctrine is wrong he has moral obligation to defend the Truth as Pastor of the Souls. Same concept applies for the contrary.

Take another example- Orthodox prelates agreed with us during Council of Florence, Council of Lyons and so on… what if we pose the same question? How can we trust Orthodox if they always back out of unity anyway? It isn’t logical to base dialogue on those assumptions.

I have not, though perhaps there would be some good in doing so. However, it isn’t anything definitive about it and I imagine I am not the only one who has problem with language it uses.

My point is entirely that I can put two groups in same category in something without saying they are equal in every aspect. In other words I can put Muhammad and Pope Francis in same category when I talk about “being human” while I can not put them in same category when I talk about “being from South America”. I simply said that those groups do dissent from Catholic Faith which is true.


Quite frankly, this is also the cause of the schism in the Reformation as well.


Sure - I totally agree. These indeed do represent steps along the path to restoration of communion, not the final signed and sealed deal.

Orbis, however, finds fault with Chieti. I’m more inclined to trust the bishops and theologians (both Catholic & Orthodox) involved in the statement, that they know what they’re agreeing to. I find it amusing when folks on internet fora claim the dialogue participants are flat out wrong.

The problem is, they have been problematic in the past. For example, the Joint Statement on Justification with the Lutherans received the following “official response” pointing out the issues with it:


Balamand is another example. While not receiving the same kind of formal response, it was squarely contradicted by subsequent public interventions from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), such as in the note on certain doctrinal elements of evangelization, note on the use of the term “Sister Churches,” as well as Dominus Iesus, and the note on certain aspects of doctrine about the Church. Likewise, St. John Paul II’s May 31, 1995 catechetical audience explicitly affirmed the formulation of St. Cyprian and explicitly referred to the definitions of Lateran IV, Florence, and Boniface VIII concerning the dogma that outside the Church subject to the Roman Pontiff there is no salvation (Balamand’s most problematic issue IMO was on this point). Furthermore, the Romanian Greek-Catholic bishops all wrote a letter to the Pope rejecting Balamand, and there was no negative response to that, and others are still evangelizing, opening new churches, etc. in Orthodox territories without their permission, etc.

The fact is, both sides need to be able to get some of their points in and some of those are going to still be disputed (otherwise, these joint docs would either achieve unity or remain unwritten, and clearly neither is the case). The participants get this, but unfortunately don’t always make it clear to those who are not part of the process. I see why they are published, but I also think they can cause confusion and misunderstanding. I think also the participants in these dialogues can be so zealous for unity that they try to give on anything they possibly can in order to achieve it–unfortunately, those pushing boundaries often risk crossing them.

Synodality and its relationship to the primacy is clearly a popular theme these days in the Catholic Church and I expect some formulations from the Church on this point in the coming years. It will be interesting to see if Chieti is contradicted like Balamand before it (although Chieti is a lot less direct than Balamand was).


I agree, maybe more than most.
I believe that the main point of division between Rome and Lutheranism is ecclesiology, not soteriology.
If Rome and Orthodoxy reconciled, I would see it as an undeniable call to unity for the entire Church.

One thing that I find quite interesting about the Great Schism is the aftermath. Rome and Italy remain standing as majority Christian. Constantinople fell and Turkey is majority Muslim. Is that by chance? even recently The Hagia Sophia has gone back to being a mosque not a museum.


Don’t forgot the whole communist yoke thing either…

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Augustine never said that, actually. Trent Horn covers that here–it’s kinda midway through the document though, it starts with the paragraph that begins with “But I cover one of these because sometimes we will quote the fathers.”

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