What is the difference between Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic?


TropicalLusitan: thank you for setting me straight. Through your reply, I now understand that Orthodox are rotten and Catholics are awesome. :roll_eyes:


You’re the one saying it, I just pointed out the incoherences and flaws in the arguments you’ve presented. But feel free to present anything else related to the matter, I’m open to discussing them.


TropicalLusitan: Fair enough, I’ll address the two points you mentioned above.

I’m not exactly sure what you’re saying here. The general point I was trying to make, though perhaps not very well, is that the misdeeds of one or more bishops should not impute negatively on the faithful. I also tried to point out that I could connect a few of the less savory elements of Catholic history to paint a picture that is not actually representative of reality. Another poster had taken a few of the Russian church’s low points to conclude the Russian Orthodox Church swears allegiance to the Russian government. Further, you only quoted part of what said about “connecting dots” and left off the part where I said that doing so was un-Christlike.

Why does the number of martyrs of our respective churches matter ? I pointed out that many of the Orthodox faithful under Communist persecution resisted to the point of martyrdom. Some seeing those around them tortured and murdered while facing torture and threat of death themselves cracked and couldn’t bear that cross. It is sad, but I pass no judgement on those who cracked under such immense pressure. Nothing I said was in reference to or in comparison to the persecution of Catholics at various times.


We had one couple at our Byzantine Catholic parish that the wife first became Catholic (she was not baptized) and choose the Byzantine Catholic church and then the husband came into full communion (from Anglican) and could choose Byzantine Catholic because the wife was Byzantine. The canons allow for that declaration to be made at the time. If one is baptised originally Russian Orthodox then the corresponding sui iuris Church is the Russian Catholic church which has very few parishes.


I’ve read through the previous posts before @TomH1’s and his comment is by far the most helpful.

The differences between the Latin Rite Roman Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church are vast… Anyone who downplays the differences I feel is simply not too familiar with the Orthodox side of this issue.

Even the difference between the Russian Orthodox and Russian Greek Catholic Church is significant, and goes beyond a mere “being Orthodox in communion with Rome.”

I like to compare the “Orthodox in communion with Rome” sentiment to being “a Messianic Jew or Jew in communion with Jesus…” An integral part of Judaism is rejection of Jesus as Messiah and praying for the Messiah to come. It’s impossible to be a Jew and accept Jesus. The moment you accept Jesus, you cease to be Jewish and are Christian.

Likewise, an integral part of Eastern Orthodoxy is rejecting the Papacy as it stands today. It’s impossible to be Eastern Orthodox and be in communion with Rome. The moment you enter into communion with Rome, you cease being Orthodox and are then Eastern Catholic.

I know my brother @ziapueblo will disagree, and I sympathize with him. But this is how I sincerely feel.

I think the majority of Eastern Orthodox Christians would agree with me. To any Orthodox reading this - when an Orthodox comes into communion with Rome, can he rightfully call himself “Orthodox in communion with Rome?”



Are you Russian (cradle Russian Orthodox)? I am a cradle Roman Catholic who considered Orthodoxy through ROCOR. I am now an Eastern Catholic, my once protestant husband rejected Roman Catholicism and converted to a more Orthodox, Eastern Catholic church.


I do understand where you are coming from and I do agree that there are many Orthodox Christians who would reject the idea of being “Orthodox in communion with Rome.” However, I believe that it is what the Popes of the last 100 years are calling Eastern Catholics to be, that is, “Orthodox in communion with Rome.” From Pope Leo XIII and his encyclical Orientalium Dignitas, the Second Vatican Councils Decree on the Catholic Churches of the Easter Rite, Orientalium Ecclesiarium, to Pope Saint John Paul II and his Apostolic Letter Orientale Lumen and everywhere in between.

Why do you think Orthodox have this negative feeling towards Eastern Catholics and wanting to be considered “Orthodox in communion with Rome?” I believe it is because they have witnessed gross latinizations in our Churches and Catholics flooding our Churches only because they are upset about changes to the Liturgy of the Latin rite after Vatican II and want a more reverent “Mass,” all of which who want nothing of our traditions, spirituality or theology (I have witnessed this in my own parish). How can the Orthodox trust Rome even after all that Rome has done?

I know we may not see eye-to-eye on this but it is my opinion.



Help me understand. Russian Orthodox Christians are allegiant to the Bishop of what?

Is there an equivalent to the Pope in the Russian Orthodox Church? Or are there a bunch of Bishops of the ROC who are all equal?

Do the Russian Orthodox Bishops take any kind of action (if only a public statement) if the Greek Orthodox Church is teaching Heresy?


The Russian Orthodox have a primate, the Patriatch of Moscow.



No Orthodox Church has a true equivalent to the Pope, however, every church does have a primate. In my church, the Orthdox Church in America, the primate (i.e. the Metropolitan) enjoys primacy of honor amongst the bishops of the OCA, shows concern for the internal and external welfare of the entire church, is president of the Holy Synod (all of the diocesan bishops), upholds the unity of all the bishops of the church, consecrate Chrism for use within the church, etc. The primate does have real duties and honor above and beyond the diocesan bishop. In the ideal sense, though, the primate is also equal with his brother diocesan bishops in that he should not act outside of the unity of the entire episcopate.

Each and every church does have a duty to correct another church if they should fall into heresy. It may simply be issuing a statement, or it may involve a break in communion until the issue is resolved. As the Eucharist is, among many things, a very real sign of common faith, breaking communion is a very serious sign of something being amiss.


Try St. Michael’s Russian Catholic Church in NYC. There are Russian Catholic Churches but you have to look for them. I’d post their link but I don’t know if it’s allowed.


I’m probably not your typical Orthodox in that I don’t think there is a huge issue with an Eastern Catholic calling themselves “Orthodox in communion with Rome.” But they key to that is such a person’s praxis should be very similar if not identical to mine (other than the commemoration of the Pope in the litanies). To be fair, I don’t intend to mean strictly identical and uniform as there are obviously differences in praxis between Greeks and Slavs, for example, but rather that Western practices haven’t supplanted Eastern ones.

As ziapueblo noted I and my fellow Orthodox look askance at the Latinising aspect, particularly historically speaking. Considering, for example, if Archbishop John Ireland had not had such a strong reaction against the Eastern catholic priest Alexis Toth, the Orthdox church in America may have ended up much smaller and the Eastern Catholic Churches much more prominent.


I think I’ve stated this earlier, the only Orthodox that I know who are anti-Catholic are converts from the Protestant churches, and I only see this on the internet.



Totally - although I have to then confess I was a Protestant :wink:

I came from more of an ELCA inlfluenced backgroud. One totally off-topic observation related to Lutherans is that Missouri Synod Lutherans seems so much closer to both Catholics & Orthodox in belief, but are also the ones most likely to be strongly opposed to Catholicism or Orthodoxy.


Sorry, didn’t mean any offense!


None taken! I can certainly relate to frustration with those arm-chair experts - there was one of the types you have in mind at my parish. Nice enough guy, but talk about frustrating to converse with…and we were both Orthodox!


The Russian Orthodox are accountable to their own bishop.

There is no equivalent to the pope in the Russian Orthodox Church or any other Eastern Orthodox church. That is a very common misconception held by many of us Catholics. It is a misunderstanding of Eastern Orthodox ecclesiology. Catholics often think that because we have the pope the Eastern Orthodox Communion must have a similar hierarch, but they do not.

If any Eastern Orthodox church was suspected of heresy by any of the others, they should speak out in fraternal correction. If this did not have the desired result the other churches may suspend their communion with the church they considered to be in heresy.


It’s not that I think “since we have a Pope, they should”

But most organizations have one guy at the top, where the buck stops.


It’s not that we don’t a have a “guy at the top,” we do…whether their title is Patriarch, Metropolitan, or Archbishop, there is a primate in every Orthdox church. How the power of that office is excercised is where the difference lies between the Orthodox and Catholic Church.

They do indeed have duties beyond that of a diocesan bishop (see one of my posts above), at the same time they serve the unity of Bishops and are never going to act outside of the unity of their brother bishops.


So every member of an Orthodox Church here in America is allegiant to a “bishop” in Russia, Greece, Egypt etc…?

Or whatever country outside that particular nation.

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