What is the Orthodox opinions on Pope?

What are the opinions of Orthodox Church towards Pope and the dogmas related to the Pope(like papal primacy and infallibility) ?
It seems that Orthodox Church does not recognise Pope as their leader and reject his authority. But why? Is it due to the historical reason?
Also, as a Roman Catholic, what are the evidences for us to support these doctrines and how can we reply on these arguments?

I am a Eastern Catholic so I am under the pope and believe in papal supremacy. The Orthodox only find the pope to be the first among equals, they believe in papal primacy but not papal supremacy. Evidence is Matt 16: 18-20 obv, the pure significance peter has over all the other apostles, and the early church fathers. Plus Ironically all 4 of 5 of the first churches are now in MUSLIM territory, and owned by Muslims, the only church that hasn’t been moved around because of attack is Rome. IDK just my 2 cents, tomorrow I will post a better defense for it, I am very tired right now(5:12 am lol)

The Orthodox view towards the Pope of Rome is what it has always been. He was always or at least very soon considered to be the first among equals. This ranking was based on the historical fact that Rome was the Imperial city at the time and because of the deaths of the Ss Peter and Paul in the city.

The bishop of Rome (pope) was NEVER believed to have supremacy over the other Churches or over all Christians. This is supported by many of the Church fathers and the history of the early councils. The early Church was and the Church today continues to be conciliar.

So the Orthodox Church does not reject Papal primacy, but Papal supremacy, and rightly so.

In my understanding, the Orthodox accept the Bishop of Rome as first among equals of the Five Patriarchates, in a way that his primacy of honor alone comes from man (Rome being the first Imperial City, Byzantium being the second), but reject any claim to his universal jurisdiction over the Church or authority exceeding any of the other patriarchs.

Individual Eastern theologians throughout the centuries have had views both much more Catholic (especially during the 1200-1459 period of attempted reconciliation), and much more extreme, rejecting any primacy of honor or giving it instead to the Patriarch of Constantinople; although, in my readings (I just finished Pelikan’s The Spirit of Eastern Christendom), both of these views were more rare than that mentioned in the first paragraph.

The Catholic Church never approved that canon of the Ecumenical Council that said Rome was first because it was the imperial city, so it can’t be considered truth because the pope rejected it like a hundred yrs after. The pope has the final say over every Ecumenical Council. Just because most of the Church believed it for hundreds of years doesn’t make it right. Arianism was believed by much of the Church for a while and we all know that was wrong.

For one thing you can point out how even in the OT the Pharaoh, who was believed to be God on earth, chose Joseph to be 2nd to no one except Pharaoh himself and in the NT Jesus, who really was God on earth, chose St. Peter to be 2nd to no one except God.

And canon 28 of the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon that said “elder” Rome was rightly given primacy in the Ecumenical Council of Constantinople because “elder” Rome had been the imperial city and based on that canon 28 gave equal privileges to “new” Rome aka Constantinople for the same reason, it was now the imperial city. That canon 28 was never accepted by the pope And just because the canon of the Ecumenical Council of Constantinople that gave the primacy to Rome didn’t make any mention that the primacy of Rome was in any way based on his succession from St. Peter doesn’t mean it wasn’t. Maybe it wasn’t mentioned because it was assumed.

Course the CC aligns itself with LG…


Heres a brief in history not great but available…


The bishop of Rome is the Metropolitan of Suburbicarian Italy.

A not inconsiderable responsibility in itself.

That is a good point, that throughout history, not all Orthodox have had the consensus that seems to be the more popular modern one.

A good book to read on the topic…


I highly recommend it :thumbsup:

I will read that, but that’s from an Orthodox perspective right?

Can anyone recommend any books on these issues that separate the Catholics and Orthodox from someone who would like to see reconciliation but is Catholic. ?


I’ve got to say, I find it interesting that the question put toward Catholics is “What do you think of the Orthodox”, while the question put toward Orthodox is “What do you think of the Pope.” I think this tells us a bit about the distance we still have to go.

My opinion of the office of Pope is not very high, it has been abused over and over again throughout history.

My opinion of the role of the office of pope (Bishop of Rome) is that he was a glorified bishop with a few extra prerogatives, granted both through rights, and through custom, while he was united with us.

My opinion of the current holder of the office is rather positive. He seems fairly orthodox (note: Not Orthodox), he defends the faith well, and he has not been afraid to take on liberals even while they drag his name through the mud.

Well, the topic of this thread is about the opinions of the Orthodox on the Pope.

I thought this article was interesting.

Any cliff notes? :smiley:

This is a good article and I believe it takes a more moderate approach.

It is said that the Great Schism is due to the greed of Patriarch of Constantinople at that moment. Since he wanted to split with the Western Church in order to be the only leader of the Eastern Church.
Maybe it was wrong that the Patriarch Michael Cerularius rejected to obey the Pope?
However, the Orthodox Church still claims that Pope misunderstand the truth and misuse the authority.
Therefore, I do not think that it is reasonable to reject Papal Supremacy because Popes have never done things that against the right faith. I think Orthodox Church seems too stubborn.
PS I am not hostile towards OC :slight_smile:

A reference please.

This is projecting. A common canard from Roman Catholics, who tend to think everyone else wants to be a ‘Pope’, everyone else is jealous, everyone else is greedy, everyone else is corrupt.

And only total obedience to the Roman Catholic Pope (who is never ambitious, who is never jealous, never greedy, never corrupt) can save them from it all.

You do realize that there was no Pope, don’t you?

He was dead. The Latin church had not elected another.

The Cardinals acted with out authority and created the Great Sin of schism.

When the schism of 1054 happened, two renegade Cardinal’s (without portfolio) stormed into the Great Church of Hagia Sophia and excommunicated themselves from the Eastern Catholic patriarch of Constantinople (who was in fact their ecclesiastical superior).

The Latin church was in the beginning throes of a reformation, and the theories of Papal Supremacy (which today might be our greatest obstacle to reconciliation) were just beginning to be promoted in the struggle with political powers in western Europe. It was not a big issue actually, because the concepts were not so fully developed among Roman Catholics at the time.

In fact the real arguments were very parochial and unbecoming on both sides.

Papal Supremacy did not exist at that time, that had to wait until 1870AD, which would be 816 years (about 40 generations) later.

I, too, believe in Papal Supremacy, but some Popes have done things against the right faith. Pope Honorius was even anathematized by an Ecumenical Council for what he did against the right faith.

A reference please.

1053 A.D.,The Patriarch of Constantinople Michael closed all Latin Rite churches in Constantinople and confronted the Pope deliberately. He was not willing to settle the arguments in the way that might not break the church into 2 parts. On the contrast, he was aggressive in separating the church.

This is projecting. A common canard from Roman Catholics, who tend to think everyone else wants to be a ‘Pope’, everyone else is jealous, everyone else is greedy, everyone else is corrupt.
And only total obedience to the Roman Catholic Pope (who is never ambitious, who is never jealous, never greedy, never corrupt) can save them from it all.

I have never said that EVERYBODY is like that. However, it does not mean that the leader of Eastern Church at that moment would not have such a greedy desire. If he always considered the communion of Christians as the most important thing, he would not close churches of Western Christians since this kind of action was rude, unreasonable and might hurt the relations between Christians.
Moreover, no one in Catholic Church has said that all Popes are not ambitious, jealous, greedy and corrupt. Catholic Church also suffered from the pornocracy in 10th century. However, they never divide the church into 2 parts. In Catholic Church, we believe that Popes are the successors of St, Peter, the first among the apostles, and God always lead and help refresh or reform the Church when in danger. Therefore, we think that the obedience to the Pope is reasonable. Although Pope might not be PERFECT, we obey him since we believe that is actually not Roman Pope leading us, but GOD----Pope is the Vicar of Christ.

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