Should I convert to the Roman Catholic Church or the Eastern Orthodox Church?


Simply speaking, Church always had, has and will have collegial nature. Supreme Roman Pontiff, Bishop of Rome, Pope is provided with not only mission to protect Truth and proclaim it, and protect Church from any lies- he is also provided with gift of Infallibility to be able to fullfil that mission. Our communication changed from early ages- what Vatican I did was help entire Church to profit from this great gift to Popes. We all profit from Scripture, we all profit from Church Fathers, we all profit from Eucharist. In same way, we should all profit from Popes. It isnt about “submitting” to Bishop of Rome, it is not about “dependence” on Vatican, it isnt about “monarchy” of one ruler- it is simply all about using gift Popes have to help entire Church. Ecumenical Councils are infallible and Church used them many times to enrich and protect herself. Infallibility of Pope exists in similar manner- not to exalt Pope, but to keep us protected. We rely that Holy Spirit will lead him. We simply trust God and His words and we hence follow Pope(s).


I forgot the other two councils. But surely this would work a third time. A third time is a charm!! Our mindsets are different now. Both sides want reunification, tensions are decreasing and relations are improving. This is our chance!!


Florence was hardly an open council at all, since the Latins held all the cards, as well as the Greek delegation, who were not allowed to leave until they signed an agreement satisfactory to the Papalists. Father Robert Taft S.J. of blessed memory, noting that even the pro-Latin Armenians rejected the union agreement, called Florence an exercise in “ecclesiacide”.



Yet infallible council guided by Holy Spirit. Most greeks (like Mark of Ephesus) were actually scolded by Emperor not to oppose Latins- Latins argumented because they held that their view was true. They would not need to play dirty.


Yes but under what conditions? According to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church “For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered.” (Lumen Gentium 22).
It has bee noted by others that universal jurisdiction, the idea that the pope has in another diocese the same power he has in the diocese of Rome, is not accepted by the Orthodox. I don’t see the Orthodox letting the Pope decide what changes should be made to their Divine Liturgy. Vatican I is clear on this:
" if anyone says that

  • the Roman pontiff has merely an office of supervision and guidance, and
    • not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the whole church, and this
    • not only in matters of
      • faith and morals , but also in those which concern the
      • discipline and government of the church dispersed throughout the whole world; or that
  • he has only the principal part, but not the absolute fullness , of this supreme power; or that
  • this power of his is not ordinary and immediate both over all and each of the churches and over all and each of the pastors and faithful :

let him be anathema ."
Is it then true that the Catholic church, as a condition for reunion with the Orthodox, requires that the Orthodox agree to the condition that the Pope has the absolute fullness of the supreme power of jurisdiction over matters which concern the discipline of the Orthodox church, which would include their Divine Liturgy? And that this power of jurisdiction is not merely an office of supervision and guidance?


Put that way it sounds crazy, but yes. Practically speaking, we require everyone in Church to trust God that he will perserve it and protect it. Be obedient to authority and they are accountable for their decisions.

Basically we trust Holy Spirit that He will always lead Pope. Practically speaking Pope could change Eastern Liturgy- as much as Council of East tried to change Latin liturgy (luckily enough, not Ecumenical Council) pre-schism. If serious reason existed, not only could Pope changed it but he SHOULD change it. It is highly unlikely that would ever happen but who knows. We trust God more than men. Traditions are subject to change, but promise of God to guide His Church does not.

My question is, does Holy Spirit have authority to change Divine Liturgy of Eastern Churches through the Pope? It seems to me that God has such authority. Therefore of his own accord Pope has no such authority in himself, only through Christ for being His Vicar, only through Holy Spirit for He guides him and only through Father who he serves.


The Roman liturgy was changed after Vatican II, and there were then and there are now Roman Catholics who believe that this change was not helpful for the Roman Catholic church. They point to the fact that since the change in the Mass from the Tridentine Mass to the NO Mass of today, the weekly attendance has dropped quite dramatically, over 1000 churches have closed, about 11 dioceses have declared bankruptcy, and some Catholic Churches are now mosques. As the Eastern Orthodox Church has not changed its Divine Liturgy, Eastern Orthodox churches are not being torn down, but, on the contrary, many new churches are being built. For example, in the Moscow district alone, since President Vladimir Putin has taken power, there have been more than 100 new Orthodox churches that have been built. Since 2010, 85 churches have been built in Moscow, with another 150 planned. And that is only in the Moscow district. As their divine Liturgy has not changed, the number of parishes in Russia has increased by 5000 from 2008 to 2016. The number of Russian Orthodox priests has increased by about 8000 during that same period, whereas worldwide, the number of Catholic priests has remained about the same. there are five times as many Russian Orthodox priests today as there were in 1988. And about five times as many Russian Orthodox parishes in that same period.


Orbis @OrbisNonSufficit:

Your statements here really get to the differences between East & West, in particular our ecclesiology.

Speaking from an Orthodox perspective (Byzantine in particular), an individual bishop has the prerogative to revise the Liturgy within his own diocese. The Primate of an Orthodox Church does not, however have the ability to change the Liturgy within his church unless the entirety of the Synod of Bishops agrees. In other words, the Orthodox believe the Holy Spirit works through the gathered Bishops of His Church collaborating together to discern God’s will.

Stating it another way, if the Pope pronounced the will of the Synod of Bishops in changing the Liturgy, this would reflect the Pope’s primacy and comport with Eastern ecclesiology. If however, the Pope pronounced a change without consulting the Synod, that would reflect supremacy and not in keeping with Orthodox ecclesiology.

Even the above isn’t quite right, though, in that the Pope isn’t primate of Eastern Churches (particularly in a scenario of restored communion between the Orthodox and Rome) and wouldn’t have the prerogative to either make or announce such choices.


Yes, similar controversies happened during First Ecumenical Council of Nicea, similar controversies happened during some liturgical changes in Russia etc. Divine Liturgy WAS changed, just not as significantly as Latin Mass was. Controversies arose in history and many Orthodox internal schisms happened because of those little changes.

Jesus did not care about how many people followed Him- he even used strong words of letting people eating His Flesh and drink His Blood despite knowing it will not please them.


Yes, I am fully aware of that. I do not think there is any plausible scenario where Pope would wake up and single-handedly change Eastern Divine Liturgy. You state Orthodox belief in great way. This is however not East vs West ecclesiology- it is simply about Catholic vs Orthodox ecclesiology.

In Catholicism, if Pope is to protect integrity of Church as Vicar of Christ, he can exercise his power. For exercising his power he is accountable not only to God, but also to entire Church. Papal Oath included such phrase before it was relinquished, but it stays true even if not stated. God judges all our sins. If you have authority and you abuse it, your sin is greater. If someone follows you in good will, he has no sin as fault is not his own. Good will is however, very important there.

From Catholic viewpoint, Holy Spirit has authority to speak through Pope to change Divine Liturgy. However, such statement would need to concern faith and morals. Because Eastern Liturgy could not have been wrong as it was and is liturgy (one of liturgies) of One True Church, and Liturgies are center of worship, and Church is infallible, bottom line is that it would be unreasonable to think Holy Spirit has any will to change it, or will have such will.

If, however, hypothetically, some Eastern synod changed their liturgy and would include heretical or immoral elements, Pope would have authority to revert or revise that change. Simply speaking Pope has no authority on his own- he only has authority to proclaim what Holy Spirit shows him to speak, and to protect what Holy Spirit has entrusted the Church in any way. Same scenarios would apply to Latin Liturgy. Papal authority exists to protect Church, not to limit it. It exists to protect Eastern and Western Catholics, not to limit them.

What people often forget is, that many Popes pre-schism (and therefore post-schism it may happen too) were Eastern. If there was Eastern Pope, he should have authority to change Divine Liturgy. Argument for Pope automatically become Latin-Rite as he cares for diocese of Rome is easily dismissed by fact many people have ordinary of other Rite who cares for their diocese or eparchy, but in the end even if that were true Pope would still have immense knowledge about Eastern Rite. Pope is omniritual by default.

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