What does Eastern Orthodoxy offer that Eastern Catholicism doesn't?

What does Eastern Orthodoxy offer that Eastern Catholicism doesn’t?

What does Eastern Catholicism offer that Eastern Orthodoxy doesn’t?

Communion with Rome.

I think this is a hard one to answer without seeming like one is putting down Eastern Catholics, or even Western Catholics for that matter. I think I’ll let those more eloquent than myself answer if they are able.

I think this is a great question to ask, but I’m not sure this is the best place to ask it., especially in light of rules on proselytism (I’m not saying that’s what you’re doing - I don’t think it is, but responses to the question may come off that way).

Adherence to the original Christian ecclesiology.

Communion with others who share the same doctrines, and not with those who preach heterodoxy and innovation.

Do you really need more than that? Orthodoxy offers the complete and unadulterated Truth.

Oh, I didn’t even think about that. I hope that’s not what happens.

While I’m not EO myself, I do think the point about ecclesiology is a very good one. With ecclesiology revolving around the communion of other churches with a particular See, there is therefore a sort of “tilting” in favor of grating that See more powers or whatever you’d want to call it, such that the influence exercised by those of that particular church within the communion as a whole can be very great. The Roman Church itself seems to recognize some danger or potential danger in this by making transfer to the Latin Rite by Eastern Catholics much harder than the opposite situation (at least from what Eastern Catholics on this website have written about it), so as to attempt to preserve the patrimony of particular non-Latin churches within the Roman communion. That is a good impulse to try to nurture, I suppose, yet when compared to Orthodox ecclesiology, which does not have such a tilted communion in the first place, it does seem like such a situation can be avoided by simply…not being in that communion. Again, even as a non-EO, I feel like I can answer that question by just saying: We don’t have those kinds of issues (or at least not to that degree; there’s seemingly always something…different factions of the Syriacs in India fighting with one another over the issue of autocephaly, for instance…blargh…but at its root that is still fundamentally different than the Roman Communion’s modus operandi). That’s one thing to offer, I suppose. You’re Orthodox, and you are your own Church – still in communion with others (the other autocephalous churches, that is), but with relatively lesser threat that some bishops from outside are going to be able to affect your practice and theology to the point that they will later have to put safeguards in place in an attempt to lessen the negative side-effects that the nature of the communion itself (the aforementioned power/influence differential) is having on…itself (the other particular churches).

And that, my friends, is the nicest way I can put that. :slight_smile:

1Tim215Mommy. You asked:

What does Eastern Orthodoxy offer that Eastern Catholicism doesn’t?

It appears you are wondering how to contrast the two.

I would re-phrase this as . . .

What does Eastern Catholicism offer that Eastern Orthodoxy doesn’t?

The answer to this is a final authority (commonly called “the papacy”). If submitted to, this preserves unity.

Eastern Catholicism has this. Eastern Orthodoxies lack this (final authority). They have autocephalous bishops who may disagree with one another . . . . without any effective authoritative way to reconcile differences.

There are other things too but this is the largest contrast in my opinion.

She did ask this over at the Eastern Catholic forum. It seems to have been merged into this thread (as the first response in this thread was from there).

I don’t necessarily think that would happen; but even if not, it may not be entirely wise to pick apart the differences too much (not that you’re advocating that either, but it could happen). It feeds into the danger of each of us becoming a connoisseur of Churches – which I must say is already is very big danger on Internet discussion forums.

I have to admit that I appreciate the Lutheran understanding of the OHCAC in relation to this problem - cuts down on the sheep stealing and focuses us back to the cross without having to worry that we’re missing anything.

Of course, the Lutheran and Catholic understudying of the OHCAC are different - you Catholics still have to worry. :stuck_out_tongue:

From an outsider standpoint:

The EO don’t have to worry that they’re being overlooked in the Church, and they don’t have to worry about so many newer dogmas.

The EC have the joy of being part of both East and West - and can derive a lot of comfort from the ‘legalism’* of the West and the ‘mystery’ of the East at the same time.

  • I mean this in a good way - sometime people need to see themselves strictly within the Law in order to be comfortable.

The idea that there is even a definable “East” and “West” for Catholics or Orthodox to have the joy of being a part of makes no sense outside of the imperial division between the Old Roman empire and the also old but comparatively new Byzantine empire, neither of which exist anymore. So what the heck does that even mean, to today’s world? The Bible is printed in greater quantity in China today than in the United States, yet from what I understand the fastest growing Christian movements in that country all of the home-church Protestant variety (similar to Iran and other places where conversion to Christianity is officially discouraged). So is Protestantism “Eastern” now, or is this way of thinking simple-minded nonsense that lets people easily affix labels to others but has no real usefulness outside of providing a shorthand for “Byzantine” or “Latin”?

And even if you do stick with the old Imperial division for whatever reason, I don’t really think either are the rightful claim of one church. Be it Byzantines in Italy or the Latin churches closed in Constantinople, there have always been some of the “others” in each place (actually, quite a lot in some places and time periods), as well as entire churches completely outside of that view of the world in places like India, sub-Saharan Africa, and the Persian empire for which Byzantine or Roman just meant a slightly different foreign master. (I guess you could say that they don’t count so much since they’re not Chalcedonian, and hence outside of the scope of this thread, but now that the Byzantines are making inroads in certain places in the neighborhood like Pakistan, it bears thinking about).

The entire way of looking at this question is weird. You’re still imposing an imperial view on Christianity whenever you talk about it in “East v. West” terms, whether you’re Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, or Protestant. I certainly don’t want to provoke a canon-fight, but the more I see of the growth and shrinkage of Christianity around the globe (largely abandoned in the West, growing in the global south and some of the non-Islamicized portions of the East), the less and less it makes sense to me to talk about “Western” or “Eastern” Christianity as one thing, such that there is a singular heritage that can be embraced by people by virtue of their membership in this or that communion. Granted, this has always been the case (i.e., there were Romans among the Fathers of the Egyptian desert, and Egyptians and other “Easterners” as far West as Switzerland and perhaps even the British Isles), but it’s nice to see otherwise perhaps troubling religion statistics forcing somewhat comfortable people to rethink what they think Christianity is.

If you’re response was for me - I did not mean for it to be a geographic designation, but a difference to what I see in approaches to some aspects of faith.

Otherwise I would concur with you - for example, if I remember correctly, there’s more Confessional Lutherans in Ethiopia than there are in the United States for example.

My point was more that by describing things in terms of “East” and “West” you greatly oversimplify the matter. The idea that embracing “Western” Christianity means embracing this because that’s what “Western Christianity” is (or an outgrowth of that). What then of this? Traditional Mozarabic chant, as Latin as anything and transparently geographically and culturally “Western”, but not as closely related to standard Gregorian chant as to the Byzantine. Celtic chant, even completely outside of the Catholic Church, is in a similar position in that way, as in its most traditional form it bears a striking resemblance to Tewahedo (Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox) chant, rather than to either Byzantine or Gregorian forms:

Celtic Chant of the Scottish Presbyterians on the Isle of Lewis: Psalm 79, Verses 3 and 4

Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Chant: Psalm 73

There is very little indigenous to ‘Western’ Christianity that most Westerners today would identify as belonging to their tradition/s, and this is evidenced by far more than just chant forms (see, for instance, traditional illustrated manuscripts from the British Isles, which again strongly resemble neither the medieval, fleshy and hyper-realistic art of the RCC nor the crisp and ornate style of Byzantine iconography).

No, “East” and “West” are far more useless outside of geography than in it…

In my own mind I generally define west vs. east as a primarily kataphatic theology vs. a primarily apophatic theology. There are other things that tend to distinguish the east and west, but this seems to affect how they approach everything.

Sure - it was certainly was simplified. It would take me a life-time of exploration to fully appreciate both.

My point wasn’t to rigorously compare the two, but to show that Eastern Catholics have access to both in a more readily available fashion than others.

But my point was that they do not exist but for the convenience of people stuck in an old way of thinking about the relationship of Christianity to the world. In my conversion to Coptic Orthodoxy, I did not so much embrace “Eastern” Christianity as a thing (after all, it’s definitely not Byzantine! ;)), but rather Christianity. And most importantly and specifically Orthodox Christianity, and that has to do with theological, ecclesiological and other principles that cannot be so easily dichotomized (particularly as the RCC has made “Eastern” havens for those of non-Latin background wherein different theologies and ecclesiologies attempt to coexist in one communion).

No, I rather prefer Nine Two’s way of looking at it. It gets to the heart of one of the major things that distinguishes the EO from RC, so as to not muddy things up with talk about rites and praxis, as though that is the sole definition of what makes Christianity as practiced in one place “Eastern” as opposed to “Western”, when really that’s the outer manifestation which developed as it did as a result of underlying differences, which are then obscured or denied in the assertion that “Eastern Catholics have access to both in a more readily available fashion than others”, as though (1) there is a “both” [see my previous post], and (2) you can actually be both by virtue of being in a communion that claims to embrace both.

Spoiler: You can’t be both.

One becomes Eastern Catholic (and any type of Catholic) through communion with the Pope. One becomes Eastern Orthodox by maintaining the Orthodox faith. From this viewpoint, we’d say Eastern Orthodoxy offers the fullness of the faith, whereas Eastern Catholicism (in our opinion) does not.

Ben, I can see (or I like to think I can see) why you say that ECs (and Western-Rite Orthodox) are “part of both East and West” whereas Latin Catholics (and EOs) are not. But at the same time, that way of speaking seems to lend itself to faulty views of ECism.

EO, what do you offer that EC doesn’t?

The Fullness of the Faith.

EC, what do you offer that EO doesn’t?

The Fullness of the Faith.


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