The Eastern bishops submitted to Rome only because Rome was very orthodox?


A common argument I hear on here from people that don’t believe in papal supremacy, even when you show all the quotes from Eastern fathers being submissive to Rome’s rulings, is this…

“The other bishops were submissive to Rome because they were the standard of orthodoxy, not because they had power over all the bishops. Then Rome later stopped being orthodox and broke off from the church.”

Is this a valid argument?


Not at all even Iraneus in his “against heresies” said no matter what that everyone must stay in communion with the bishop of Rome because he is sort of in his words " a president and a leader" and because of his Apostolic succession to Peter which he makes it extremely clear in his against heresies so if you want me to link it I can but I think it’s findable on some of the Catholic answers articles


The Eastern submitted to Rome? Even Rome admits that they did not have canonical authority over the Eastern Churches.



“submit” is the wrong word in that context.

Rome was the most conservative church, and seen the one which guarded all from heresy. Once conservative Rome accepted an idea, it was clear that it was not heretical.

Additionally, Rome had what we would today call “appellate jurisdiction” in settling disputes between other bishops. Parties could appeal to Rome to review other jurisdictions.



That’s an interesting statement. If there is a disagreement between different Orthodox who would settle it? Or would it be settled at all?


What happens in the Orthodox communion, @dochawk correct me if I am wrong, they break Eucharistic communion with another church. This breaking of communion is not a way of one church saying to other that is in someway “outside the church,” just a form of protest until problems are resolved. Look at what is going on right know between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Eccumenical Patriarch over the granting of Ukraine autocephaly. The Moscow Patriarch has threated such breaking of communion with the EP. I pray that communion between the two will stay intact.



I join your prayer on this, stay in communion.


I pray for Communion between them to be severed.

The more the Orthodox have internal schisms, they more clear it will become they are the ones who are incorrect, and the more chance they will have of returning to full Communion with Peter.


Hasn’t worked quite that way in the West, though.


We all pray for communion with Rome but that does not mean the Orthodox are incorrect.



I would argue the Orthodox are incorrect about numerous things. I don’t have the time to enumerate everything right now, but I believe they are incorrect about papal authority, about their negative views of Latin doctrines like original sin and purgatory, their insistence on hesychasm as the only legitimate spirituality, their Byzantine supremacy and belief in converting all other Rites to the Byzantine Rite, and many other things.


It’s not valid at all.

Logically: If Rome were to be looked to for disputed matters when it was orthodox, then how would they know when Rome supposedly stopped being orthodox if orthodoxy was based on the standard of Rome?

Historically: The evidence of the fathers and history shows the east really acknowledged Rome’s authority over them. Many eastern fathers and councils blatantly say this. The pope was never into the business of direct oversight of the east but in quite a few instances did intervene and acted with authority, overturned synodal decisions and deposed and reinstated bishops in the east. Pope St Damasus already had a legate in Thessalonica responsible for appointing bishops in the east.

Just after the events in 1054 George the Hagiorite (A Georgian monk of Mount Athos) was one of the few clerics in the Byzantine world who had deplored Michael I Cerularius’ stance towards the Western brethren aloud, and asserted, in 1064, in the presence of the Byzantine emperor Constantine X the inerrancy of the Roman church.


This is pretty much where I stand with them. Also their rejection of the filioque despite Eastern and western fathers explicitly teaching it.

Ironically original sin being rejected by them is a clear sign of error. The council of Carthage in 418 declared orginal sin in the Augustinian sense as the faith of the church. It was a local council but received de facto ecumenical status when the council of Ephesus accepted its canons. So too did the EO council of Trullo ,which they hold as ecumenical, accept its canons again.

The council of Carthage pretty much rejected and anathemitized the modern EO position ,that baptism isn’t for the removal of any original sin but merely for church entery and forgiveness of subsequent personal sin, when it said in one of its canons :

That infants are baptized for the remission of sins.

Likewise it seemed good that whosoever denies that infants newly from their mother’s wombs should be baptized, or says that baptism is for remission of sins, but that they derive from Adam no original sin, which needs to be removed by the laver of regeneration, from whence the conclusion follows, that in them the form of baptism for the remission of sins, is to be understood as false and not true, let him be anathema.

For no otherwise can be understood what the Apostle says, “By one man sin is come into the world, and death through sin, and so death passed upon all men in that all have sinned,” than the Catholic Church everywhere diffused has always understood it. For on account of this rule of faith (regulam fidei) even infants, who could have committed as yet no sin themselves, therefore are truly baptized for the remission of sins, in order that what in them is the result of generation may be cleansed by regeneration


I am in communion with Peter. I pray for unity among fellow Christians, even if they never come into communion with the Church I think has the full extent of the truth.

Division is not a fruit of the Spirit. The history of Protestantism is a tragedy. It didn’t lead those bodies toward Catholicism, nor towards fruitful ministry or conversion.


Yet the Chieti Document, a joint Roman Catholic and Orthodox dialogue, both Churches acknowledge that Rome did not have canonical authority over the East. We must not confuse primacy with supremacy.


I pray that the Russians break from communion with the ep and join rome In protest.


today? Or if all were in communion?

If all were in communion, the dispute between churches would presumably be resolved by one or the other petitioning rome. If it were within a church, it would be handled within that church, and could be appealed to rome, but this would be a rare event (e.g., which bishop was properly named to a see, which would be handled first by the metropolitan synod).

As is so often in the case in the east, the answer to this either/or is “yes” :slight_smile:

breaking communion is a statement that what the other is doing isn’t Orthodox. But restoration of communion is essentially retroactive when it occurs.

"New’’ orthodox churches break away and become canonical. The mother church throws a hissy-fit, and the new church starts off in communion with noone. Eventually, either it goes back, or other churches start recognizing it.

The Ukraine is a trickier case than most. Moscow claims to be there transplanted see of Kiev. The church that was left behind when the royal family fled eventually became the Ukrainian Catholic Church, with Moscow an Constantinople. The pre-KGB and the ROC formed a church by taking its properties and those priests willing to submit, while the Ecumenical Patriarch sponsored a church as well. The UCC itself went underground fro an extended period, and there’s the UAC (Ukrainian Autonomous Church) to create four current churches (and I think theres’ another couple of splinters, but no larger than typical for vagrant).

In all seriousness, the only real barrier between working out communion between the rest of the Orthodox churches and the Catholic churches is that the ROC would not go for it, and would break communion with churches establishing communion with Rome–and the ROC is something like 80% or 90% of the Orthodox . . .

Pretty much every last Orthodox says that, too :slight_smile:

Noone disputes Peter’s role, nor the Petrine Ministry. The argument is whether it is exclusively the Roman see, jointly the Roman, Antiochan, and Jerusalem see, or whether all bishops share in it.

Once that threshold question is answered, the extent to which his successor(s) share his authority is another disputed matter.



Aside from the uncharitability of praying for further disunion among Christians :scream::scream::scream:, that is not one of the potential outcomes.

Moscow will to accept any ecclesiology which does not move it’s Patriarch to the top.

But as I mentioned above, an MP-EP schism could conceivably eventually lead to all but ROC in communion with Catholics.




Do suppose, now that the EC has granted autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church, that Patriarch Sviatoslav Shevchuk will be granted the official title Patriarch or will Rome continue to try and keep the peace with the ROC?



I would say no, that there will be no more Patriarchs, only Major Archbishops. Also that there is no see to represent Constantinople, rather multiples.

CCEO (Eastern Canon Law)

Canon 55 - According to the most ancient tradition of the Church, already recognized by the first ecumenical councils, the patriarchal institution has existed in the Church; for this reason a special honor is to be accorded to the patriarchs of the Eastern Churches, each of whom presides over his patriarchal Church as father and head.

Canon 154 - Major archbishops hold the precedence of honor immediately after patriarchs according to the order in which the Church over which they preside was erected as a major archiepiscopal Church.

GigaCatholic site states that:

Later in 451, the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon extended the title of Patriarch to the titulars of the five great sees of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem. … The heads of [other] Churches separated from Rome during the first millennium and took also the title of Patriarch. When some of these returned to Catholic unity, the Holy See preserved their title and privileges, as well as jurisdiction over the faithful of their rite. In this way there exist today a Patriarchate of Alexandria for the Copts and three of Antioch (for the Melkites, the Syrians and the Maronites). In a similar way, the Armenians retained the patriarchal title of Cilicia and the Chaldees with the title of Babylon, but they would more properly be designated as Catholicos (i.e. delegated ad universalitatem causarum).

The ancient eastern patriarchal hierarchies are today reflected in the Catholic Church with:

  • Coptic (Alexandria)
  • Maronite (Antioch)
  • Melkite (Antioch)
  • Syrian (Antioch)
  • Armenian (Cilicia)
  • Chaldean (Babylon)

And all others are Major Archepiscopal:

  • Ukrainian (from Constantinople)
  • Romanian (from Constantinople)
  • Syro-Malankar (from Antioch)
  • Syro-Malabar (from Babylon)

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