What is the Eastern Orthodox view of the Catholic Church?

I know that the Catholic Church considers the Eastern Orthodox Churches to be churches in the proper sense: having apostolic succession, validly ordained and consecrated bishops and clergy, having the real presence of Christ in their Eucharist, etc.

But what do the Orthodox believe about Catholics? Do they reciprocate these beliefs for the Latin Church?

It depends on who you talk to. My husband and I were considering converting to the Eastern Orthodox church and I especially was encouraged after reading Timothy Ware’s book, The Orthodox Church. He is one of the ‘positive’ voices of Orthodoxy, considering Roman Catholics a ‘sister’ church with whom they have the most in common.

However after 2yrs of inquiry and almost a year of catechumenate, I can tell you that they had me doubting if I had ever been a Christian at all. I have heard anti-Catholic vitriol ALL MY life so I am very sensitive to it. I never expected to hear it from Eastern Orthodox after reading about them in Ware’s book. It took me so aback, that I literally backed out and am reverting to my Latin, Roman Catholic roots.

I spent about six months checking out two Eastern Orthodox parishes, considered the catechumens, etc. I have found that the folks there were very opposed to the Catholic Church, and had very few positive things to say about it.

It looks like my experience that many Orthodox believers are just as anti Catholic as many Protestants is being substantiated by other posters here. I think that is a very interesting observation since I have never heard a Roman Catholic say anything but positive comments or nothing about the Orthodox Church. As insignificant as that may be, it does suggest a tangible sense of animosity that if not dogmatically then at least culturally flows from that Church that does bother me. But other than that, I believe there was a recent post that pretty succinctly summarized it. I would just provide the link but I couldnt find it quickly. Perhaps you can. But the idea was that there is so much more in common that it is easier to identify the basic distinctions:

  1. Petrine supremacy , not just a first among equals as the Orthodox schismatics at the time claiimed.
  2. The Filoleque, which is that statement in the Creed that says that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father AND the Son.
  3. The date of Easter
    Perhaps one other significant issue that I cant remember.

Other than that I believe there is not much significant difference dogmatically. There are a number of different disciplines such as married priest (but not bishops), and some minor distinctions such as a slight differentiation in the teaching of Transubstantiation. For, example, In the Orthodox there is no distinct teaching in the eternal existence of the Real Presence after the Liturgy of the Mass, thus there is no practice of adoration. Nevertheless, they will still recognize the Real Presence as they leave the Blessed Sacraments in the tabernacle and distribute to the sick outside of the Mass. So there seems to be tendency in the Orthodox to not define some of the dogmas we share in common to the conclusions we draw in the Catholic Church.

With the exception of acknowledging Rome’s apostolic origins, there is no official position on any of those things. We tend to only take official positions on the things that directly impact our faith.

I was chrismated Orthodox this past Saturday. I haven’t seen any hostility toward Catholics at the parish I attend, and would have gone to another one if I had. Intolerance and prejudice are not things I want anything to do with.

There is no official stance in Orthodoxy, as there is in Catholicism, regarding other communions, their faithful, and their sacraments. My priest considers Catholics and Protestants both to be Christian, and I’m allowed to pray with them; non-Orthodox sacraments are not declared valid or invalid either way, to use the Catholic terminology. My presbytera has said that those who deny the trinity are the folks that concern her and her husband.

I am disappointed to hear about what Casilda and House Harkonnen encountered. I hope the failings of some have not sullied your views of others in the Orthodox Church. It is also regrettable that you did not seek out a better parish and decided not to be chrismated because of the people. After all, it is the teachings that really matter. No one should leave the Catholic Church on the basis of the recent scandals.

We also have to bear in mind that a lot of Protestants have become Orthodox in North America during the past few decades. If other posters have gone to parishes with a lot of Calvinist and Evangelical converts, it’s quite possible that they would find negative attitudes toward Catholics there. (Not to say that cradle Orthodox are free of this problem: I don’t believe they are.)

Papal supremacy and the filioque aren’t the only doctrinal differences between Catholicism and Orthodoxy (the dating of Easter isn’t a dogma, as far as I know). Others include papal infallibility, purgatory, indulgences*, the treasury of merits, and the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary, as well as (some might argue) original sin.

*I have read of Orthodox practicing indulgences somewhat, but it isn’t common or at all emphasized, and may have had a different meaning/purpose.

Many years.

Shokran (thank you), Dzheremi. :slight_smile: May we continue to pray for our own schism to be healed somehow.

May God grant you many years!

My experience with Orthodox Christians is that the degree of animosity towards Catholicism tends to vary along certain ethnic lines, some groups being very respectful and tolerant, others have been downright rude. This has been my personal experience, I can’t generalize.
I have a friend that converted to Orthodoxy of a certain ethnic group many years ago because of her marriage, and she says she has never been fully accepted in her Church.

However, I had neighbors who were from a different country and were Orthodox and were welcoming to everyone, inviting us to their children’s chrismation parties, etc.

My conclusion is that just as different Protestant groups differ in their degree of anti-Catholicism, so do the Orthodox.

And, as it has been apparent , we Catholics can carry our own prejudices against non-Catholics and be just as intolerant.

This is just my own knowledge and my own experiences, so please, if I’m incorrect, please feel free to correct me.

In general, the Orthodox and Catholic Churches are very similar, with few differences, relatively speaking. The Orthodox Church views the Catholic Church’s Sacraments as valid, so there isn’t a huge issue there. The main difference between the two is the fact that the Catholic Church has a Pope, and the Orthodox do not believe, nor do they agree with the fact that a man stands in the way of God. Not my words, but the words of a fellow Orthodox acquaintance.

From most of the Orthodox I have met and know, they have a strong dislike for the Catholic Church, and it really confuses me. And when I say strong dislike, I mean they cannot stand it. Now this is most certainly not the case with all Orthodox. I know of one person who absolutely loves the Catholic Church, who has absolutely no dislike for it, but doesn’t really want to be a part of the Church. So, for those who have run into the problem of the Orthodox hating Catholics, it’s not everywhere in every Church, but it is quite common, especially among the Greeks. But, there again, it’s just from my experiences.

I was born and raised a Catholic. That being said, I never heard anyone my whole life whether from priests or other Catholic’s ever say a bad word about the Orthodox Churches. As matter of fact all I ever heard from priests is that the Orthodox although seperated form the Catholic Church had the same faith and teachings for the most part. Where I live there is an Othodox Church and from all that I understand of it they are very open. I was never taught to be predijeced against any one who are Orthodox or the Orthodox Churches. I do hope that one day there will be reunion between the Orthodox and Catholic Church.

I have nothing like the experience you have had, but a few months of interaction with Orthodox here in this forum have convinced me that yours is not an isolated case.

The animosity you and other posters have described truly flows one way only. (Just watch to see how my comments are belittled.)

Welcome back! :thumbsup:

Randy Carson: Just wanted to say that i agree with you concerniing how some of the Orthodox posters have it seems to e to be one sided when it comes to seeing it all their own way on so many of the issues being decussed. It also sees to methat no matter how many documents are presented to refute many of the claims the Orthodox state, none are ever agreed on in that there always seems to be some monkey wrench in the works. I do have to say that you and many of the other Catholic posters ahve enriched my knowledge of not just the issed being decussed but Catholic history. I applaud your efforts to explain Catholic faith, teachings and history.

For the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Churches are sister Churches with true apostolic succession, valid sacraments, and who hold to the orthodox catholic faith delivered to the saints. We view Orthodox Christians as already being in an imperfect communion with the Catholic Church - imperfect yet so profound that we invite them to share our Eucharist. The Orthodox are not heretics and individual Orthodox Christians are not even seen as formal schismatics.

For many, though not all, among the Orthodox, on the other hand, Catholics are heretics who have distorted and perverted the orthodox faith, and our eucharist is an empty show devoid of grace. For other Orthodox Christians, our Eucharist is a true participation in the body and blood of Christ and we, while heretodox on some points, are more or less orthodox. It really varies - the spectrum couldn’t be more extreme in my experience.

Your comments are belittled by some not for reasons of anti-Catholic sentiment (for I can hardly imagine that the many Eastern Catholics who rebuked you as being ardent haters of Catholicism), but for reasons of their content.

What are everyone’s thoughts on the private revelations of Our Lady of Soufanieh/Damascus (call for unity of East and West)? From what I understand, both the Catholic and Orthodox sides seem to be in favor…or at least not vehemently opposed to the messages from the apparitions.

I hope the family is OK since the violence in Syria erupted…

And you are truly mistaken, because this sort of animosity most certainly does not flow only one way. Just because you have not encountered anti-Orthodox bigotry among the Catholics with whom you are familiar doesn’t mean that there aren’t Catholics who are bigoted towards the Orthodox.


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