What is the difference between Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic?


My husband is converting to Catholicism, and I am not sure if I really should. I am not a number one fan of the Vatican and the Pope.


That’s depends. Is your husband converting to the Latin rite or Byzantine rite?



You will find that the belief system is practically the same, even if the rituals seem different. I’m not a fan of the Russian Patriarch either but I would go to an Orthodox Church if I were in Russia and no Catholic Church was nearby.


Latin Rite…and I’d be able to convert only to the Eastern one for now…but not sure if I need to, would the Catholic priest be able to con-validate our marriage? I just have a distrust of the Vatican. Even though I love the call to Holiness, I feel like there has been a lot of approval of sin going on based on the Pope’s actions and retracted words.


As far as your marriage, the Catholic Church recognizes the Sacraments of the Orthodox Churches so the marriage is not an issue.

As far as differences between the Latin rite of the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches, there are a few. Probably the main ones would be Papal supremacy, the Filioque, the Immaculate Conception and purgatory. Although, essentially the same sacrifice, there are liturgical differences.

Question, why not come into one of the Byzantine Catholic Churches? Ukrainian or Ruthenian?



It is my understanding that the EO believe Mary was sinless at the Annunciation and afterwards, so this does not seem to me like a big difference. Something to be aware of, yes.


It’s really more of a matter of how and when. There are overarching issues surrounding the differences in the doctrine of original sin, but even then, the Catechism phrases things in similar ways as EO do as well.


The liturgy is a big issue for some.


Yes, that is what we are planning on doing, and the priest can convalidate our marriage the same week likely. Is the Eastern Catholic church kind of a happy medium between Roman Catholics and Orthodox?


Yes. Byzantine Catholics and EO believe that Mary was sinless, just not in the way that the Latin Church defines it. From the Melkite Greek Catholic Eparchy of Newton:




The Eastern Catholic Churches are called to be, in a sense, Orthodox in communion with Rome. So what I mean by that is Orthodox in liturgy, theology and spirituality while Catholic because of communion with Rome.

Here is a good read, Orientalium Ecclesiarum. This is the decree on the Catholic Churches of the Eastern rite from the Second Vatican Council.



Thank you! Would Christmas still be Jan 7?


I think it might be helpful to you to watch movies on the most recent Popes: JPII, JPI, Paul VI, John XXIII, Pius XII. Some great movies out on them and could help you better understand the Vatican and the Papacy


It depends on the Church. Most Byzantine Catholic Churches are on the Gregorian calendar (Christmas December 25), some the Revised Julian (Christmas December 25) and some on the Julian (Christmas January 7). Where are you located?



There are quite a lot of differences. Most hit on the papal supremacy issue but that is not the only one. Another oft quoted one is the filioque. There are differences in the approach to the sacraments, beliefs regarding original sin, the Immaculate Conception (which is linked to the previous one), the reason for the crucifixion, ecclesiology, etc.

From the Catholic perspective, we believe the Eastern Orthodox churches are valid canonical churches, they have apostolic succession, they have valid orders and, therefore, have valid sacraments. The Catholic Church considers the Eastern Orthodox churches to be in schism. From the Eastern Orthodox side they are not always as willing to accept the validity of our status and some consider us to be in heresy as well as schism.

I think changing canonical churches especially going from the Eastern Orthodox Communion to the Catholic one is a major step. I would want to do a lot of reading up on the matter before I would ever consider taking such an important step.


We live in NY state.


I’ve heard wonderful things about Saint Michael’s Chapel Russian Greek Catholic Church in NYC. However, I believe they are on the new calendar.

Here are a list of Byzantine parishes in New York. This is from the Eparchy of Passaic which is Ruthenian Catholic.



Thank you. Please pray for us that we make the right decision. We realized that we are living in sin because we married through the city and I am Russian Orthodox, we want to be chaste until my husband’s confirmation in April, and would like to be convalidated almost immediately. But it is such a major decision so I am not sure anymore…It is a lifelong decision…I am not sure anymore…I don’t know enough and I have no time to research because I have to little ones to take care of…I know that Russian Orthodox feels true to my heart and my soul…but I want to be more united with my husband and have a valid marriage with him. I was sure about the switch until I had a dream about the Russian royal family, it was so vivid, like I was there in the palace with them, and I couldn’t figure out exactly why I had that dream, I started reading up on them, about their devotion to the Orthodox faith, and how the Russians loved them and their devotion.


What is the difference in the reason for the crucifixion?


LOL, I nearly did not write that because I knew … well, that someone would ask this. I shall have to look it up and get back to you. I recall their being one but not the explanation given. Watch this space, as they say.

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