What is the difference between Catholics and greek orthodox?

:confused: God Bless You All

The Eastern Orthodox Churches and the Catholic Church split in the Great Schism of 1054 AD, after some centuries of cultural divergence involved with the split of the Roman Empire into East and West. The religious differences are comparatively minor. The Catholic and Eastern Orthodox share the same general theology and the same seven Sacraments. The actual separation is more political than religious. The largest Orthodox Church, by far, is the Russian Orthodox Church.

If you ask an Eastern Orthdox, the answer will be “a lot.”
If you ask a Catholic, the answers will be “not a lot.”


To me, the major difference, which is the main root for all of the Eastern Orthodox objections, stems from Authority and the politics of the secular Eastern Roman Empire from the 300s till the end the Byzantine Empire.

Theologically, the Catholics and Orthodox share the same Deposit of Faith and have far more in common with each other than the Catholics have with the Anglicans.

I highly recommend the site called 2lungs.com for more info

God Bless.

IMHO, many Eastern Orthodox will say that there is a great deal of difference between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox beliefs. Here are a few differences which I believe exist, but please correct me if I have made a mistake:
Infallibility of the Roman Pope.
Universal jurisdiction of the Roman Pope.
Filioque clause
Purgatory and Indulgences.
Some Catholic saints are not accepted by the Orthodox.
Immaculate Conception.
Baptism by triple immersion, not sprinkling.
Icons and not statues.
Leavened bread required.
Sign of the cross made correctly from right to left with the thumb and two fingers together.
Distinction between the essence (ousia) and the energies (energeia) of God.
Marriage is performed by the priest, not by the couple.
It is possible for a person to be released from hell by the prayers of those on earth.
After having three children, in consultation with one’s confessor, a married couple may under certain conditions be allowed to use artificial contraception.
Under certain restricted conditions, the EO Church may allow for a divorce and remarriage, but there is no crowning on the second divorce.
The date of Easter.
For EO: No use of musical instruments during liturgy (except for bells). Only church music sung by the choir or the faithful is allowed. No profane music. No dancing, no clown or puppet Masses, no clapping allowed. I do believe however, that in Africa, the OO may make some exceptions, although not during Divine Liturgy, but before or after the Mass.

Most of those differences stem from Authority, or are matters of discipline and/or differences between Liturgical Rites.

The Catholic Church has always had multiple Rites: Roman, Byzantine, Coptic, etc. The Eastern Orthodox only celebrates the Byzantine Rite. The Catholic Church has Catholics from different Rites who do the sign of the Cross the same as the EO, they also use leaven bread. Furthermore, some theological differences (which are only theoretical anyway) are allowed within the Catholic Church between the Rites because they are only theories, not Divine Revelation, and or they are differences in emphasis, not content.

Liturgical differences are matters of discipline and not doctrine and/or dogma. If they were, the Catholic Church could not be made up of ALL the different Rites.

This is why the Catholic Church is universal… all the different Rites coexist in harmony, expressing the same Deposit of Faith differently. However, all of the schismatic and breakaway groups all celebrate one way.

Food for thought.

BTW - the Orthodox do NOT believe that a person can be released from “hell” due to the prayers of the living. The damned are damned forever. This is a translation issue. The Orthodox believe (as do Catholics) that the dead can be released from the “realm of the dead” (which was sometimes called Hades and often translated to Hell). When the Catholics proclaim that Jesus descended into Hell, we do not believe He went to the place of the damned. Instead He went to the place were dead who were not damned were waiting. This waiting place is where the Orthodox believe some dead wait and the prayers of the living can assist their souls when they are there. This place, stage, waiting room, whatever you want to call it; is what Catholics have named Purgatory.

God Bless.

Bishop Hilarion: "Several years ago I came across a short article in a journal of the Coptic Church where it stated that this Church had decided to remove prayers for those held in hell from its service books, since these prayers “contradict Orthodox teaching”. Puzzled by this article, I decided to ask a representative of the Coptic Church about the reasons for this move. Recently I had the possibility to do so, and a Coptic Metropolitan replied that the decision was made by his Synod because, according their official doctrine, no prayers can help those in hell.

“I told the metropolitan that in the liturgical practice of the Russian Orthodox Church and other local Orthodox Churches there are prayers for those held in hell, and that we believe in their saving power. This surprised the Metropolitan, and he promised to study this question in more detail.”


Yes… This is because of the translation issue of the word “hell.” The word “hell” is used for more than one place. It’s used to identify the place of the eternally damned and to identify the place of the dead, who are either waiting for their judgment or in what Catholics call purgatory.

If I find the link I read by an Eastern Orthodox, I will post it.

The better question of is what is the difference in between Roman Catholic rite and Eastern Orthodoxy? The Byzantine Catholic rite and Eastern Orthodoxy have the same liturgy. One is under the Pope and the other one is not. Both churches have apostolic succession and valid sacraments. Jesus founded an universal church and not an eastern one.

Jesus gave only to Peter the keys and that is why I am a Catholic.

But Peter established a see at Antioch first before Rome. Shouldn’t you follow the Patriarch of Antioch?

Peter’s disciple Mark also established the episcopacy in Alexandria.
Both Alexandria and Antioch fell into heresy, when the gates of hell overcame them.

Rome where both Peter and Paul were Martyred last, remained their Apostolic see of apostolic successors today. Which remains the only Apostolic See that has never fallen into error or heresy, which remains the Roman Catholic Church unchanged.

So no, Peter’s apostolic succession begins in Rome, where he last proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ in the belly of the beast in Babylon =Pagan Rome and remains today. Jesus promise was made to Peter directly of building His Church upon Peter and that the gates of hell will come against him, but will never prevail against it.

When it comes to the divine economy between the one holy Catholic and apostolic Church in the west and the one holy Catholic and apostolic Church’(S) in the east there is no difference.
Both east and west have a divine liturgy which celebrates the divine economy of God’s salvation and grace in the seven sacraments from their respective apostolic successors and holy orders.

All other differences becomes a matter of opinion to authority and disciplines.

as far as I can understand there are minor technical issues with regard to theology but the big isssue is authority of the Pope

pretty sad these minor issues have resulted in a 1,000 year old schism

brian custer;12684858]as far as I can understand there are minor technical issues with regard to theology

This is true, but that theology is the same but expressed distinctly in the East from the West, and the translation of the terminology expressed theologically is different in expression but the Apostolic faith has not changed. In short disciplines, small (t) tradition are always subject to change. But the apostolic faith is never subject to change.

but the big isssue is authority of the Pope

Authority, when it comes to the Eastern autocephalous church’s who remain under secular authority history proves have always had a problem with the Popes authority.

pretty sad these minor issues have resulted in a 1,000 year old schism

Those autocephalous Church’s who oppose the jurisdiction of the Popes fall in and out of communion with each other. As long as they remain Orthodox to the Apostolic faith, I don’t see them having to deal with the Pope’s authority, unless their secular ruler’s, emperor’s make political and violent moves to take and remove Catholic bishop’s from their Church’s and flocks. and replace them with their autocephalous Church’s.

It was the papal legate from the Roman Catholic Church who first excommunicated Michael Cerularius in 1054. The Roman Catholic papal legates entered the Greek church of Hagia Sophia during the Divine Liturgy and deposited a bull of excommunication on the altar. The
Roman Catholic bull of excommunication issued against Patriarch Michael stated as one of its reasons for the excommunication the Eastern Church’s deletion of “filioque” from the original Nicene Creed. It is now common knowledge that the Eastern Church did not delete anything, it was the Roman Church that added the filioque to the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed.

According to the Catholic encyclopedia:
“…In itself, it is no rejection of Catholic dogma to suppose that God might at times, by way of exception, liberate a soul from hell.”
Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. June 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

Here is a case where 40 liturgies of a priest released a man from hell and the man went to heaven as a result of these prayers:

That excommunication came by a papal legate after the Pope had died. The pope sent the delegate to answer the east who were falsely accusing the Pope and the Western Church as heretical unofficially due to the priest shaving, unleavened bread in the host, and defeated an Eastern Church heresy of Arianism with the filioque, When the Eastern heresy tried to infect the West. In short this action of excommunication was healed between East and West.

Secondly the Roman Catholic Church never moved from her apostolic profession of faith in the Apostolic creed and heresy did not infect the West as heretics infected the Eastern Catholic Church, which had to council and invent, change and added the Nicene Creed which never existed pre-Constantinople.

The filioque does not add or change the Nicene Creed. The filioque protects the apostolic faith which professes that Jesus is God incarnate.

It was the Church’s in the East who added and changed the Nicene Creed from it’s inception.

Because Rome never left her Apostolic Apostles creed which long predates the Nicene Creed and was professed with in the church pre-Constantinople remains Orthodox to the unchanged Apostolic faith.

The Nicene Creed was added to defeat heretics and heresy in the Eastern Church’s. The Pope included the filioque to defeat a new and advanced Eastern Arian heresy with the same Nicene Creed that makes clear Jesus is God with the filioque which defeated the form of Arian heresy.

The filioque does not add nor change the Nicene Creed properly understood.

Your raising arguments of opinions against the authority of the Popes and Church disciplines. As far as the Apostolic faith deposited in it’s fullness is concerned there is no difference. How that full deposit of the apostolic faith is expressed from each hemisphere in the world remains a matter of culture, language, and theological interpretation that is different in form, but in substance remains one Faith and One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Interesting. What are the political issues that prevents Rome from returning to communion with the Orthodox Churches?

Peter hand picked his successor when he was in Rome. The Chair of Peter is in Rome because that’s where Peter and Paul were killed. Not because of the city’s role in the secular society at the time.

You left out a very big part of that according to the same link you provided…

Hell (infernus) in theological usage is a place of punishment after death. Theologians distinguish four meanings of the term hell:
•hell in the strict sense, or the place of punishment for the damned, be they demons or men;
•the limbo of infants (limbus parvulorum), where those who die in original sin alone, and without personal mortal sin, are confined and undergo some kind of punishment;
•the limbo of the Fathers (limbus patrum), in which the souls of the just who died before Christ awaited their admission to heaven; for in the meantime heaven was closed against them in punishment for the sin of Adam;
•purgatory, where the just, who die in venial sin or who still owe a debt of temporal punishment for sin, are cleansed by suffering before their admission to heaven.

Hell has 4 different translations/meanings. Today, when people think of “hell” they are referring to the place of the damned and only the damned. When people speak about people moving from hell to heaven, they are referring to the other 3 meanings.

No orthodox Christian (EO, OO, or Catholic) believe that the Eternally Damned get judged for a 2nd time. It is this reason why Catholics use the term Purgatory because protestants don’t believe in praying for the dead at all because they don’t believe you can be judged twice. Which, no one believes.

Now with that said… God can do whatever he wants. If we wants to place someone in Hell as part of their purgatory… God can do what he wants. But God doesn’t judge us twice. We are saved or not saved when we die. But we don’t always go straight to heaven.

I hope I’m making sense. Yes, I know that people in “hell” can go to even, but that “hell” is what we refer to as purgatory. Once God eternally damns someone, that will not change.

I also recommend reading the article regarding the “the levels of purgatory.” Someone posted it here today… Obviously, this is a private revelation and not Church approved. But I think it does a good point describing the non eternal version of “hell.” catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=6253

God Bless.

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