What would need to be compromised for a Catholic - Orthodox reconciliation?


Just as an aside, I think that Vladimir Putin would be displeased if the Russian Orthodox Church were ever to consider reunion with Rome. I think he would take steps to actively prevent it.


How do you know this? I think the opposite. I think he would be very happy if the Roman Catholic Church decided to join with the Russian Orthodox Church.


I am Orthodox and I think Patriarch Bartholomew wants this very much. But he has no authority over other Orthodox Churches. He is more of a mediator.(Patriarchy of Constantinopole is sister church with all the other patriarchies). In a statement he said that the pope of Rome is the leader of the Empire so there is no administrative war between the Ecumenical Patriarchy and the Bishop of Rome.
One day I went to Church and in front of his icon I asked St. Constantine to intermediate this reconciliation and make it happen in a way that pleases God. For some reason he seems like the right Saint to intermediate - a Latin Byzantine Emperor.
Ever since then, I get the vibe (just a vibe, it could be a deceit) that two is a pair and three is a crowd: the Protestants are a crowd in the Orthodox-Catholic dialogue. Again this is only my impression. During ecumenical discussions there are many Orthodox priests who discuss with Protestants priests and look for common ground. I read about this in the news, I don’t know exactly what they discuss.
Also it is the problem of the Greek Catholics which is unresolved. Certain Greek Catholic churches have been turned Orthodox during the difficult time of communism and now the Greek Catholics want the churches back and the Orthodox say you do not have enough population to receive them back. When Patriarch Kyril and Pope Francis met they said Uniatism is obsolete now and I feel this is unfair to the Greek Catholics who appeared as a church exactly because they wanted reconciliation of the Schism. I fear their interests sacrificed is actually the compromise that is being done. But maybe I am wrong. If God allows us time we can only find out what is being discussed in the years to come.
I really want this reconciliation and pray for it. If I am wrong then I will burn and this will be it. But I simply cannot change my heart on this matter, I don’t think this Schism helped either side or Christianity as a whole. Nor do I believe that its existence is the cause and excuses further heresies such as protestantism, neo-protestantism, various sects and groups self-entitled as “Christian churches”. The end of Schism may or may not convince the protestants of anything, and anyway we do not claim to know exactly who is redeemed and who is not. Only God knows and He has begun His final Judgement yet. If protestants want to be protestants what can anyone actually do? I am sure that Luther himself would be shocked at what is going on in the protestant world.


Would either side have to compromise on the greatest commandments for our reconciliation? I say this because we can do nothing greater than love God and love our neighbours as we love ourselves.

It seems like; if we put these two commandments above all else, then reconciliation would take place.


Why doesn’t the Catholic Church agree to the conditions of the Orthodox to effect the reconciliation?


I think we would have to go back to the extraordinary form as the Mass of the Latin Rite or certain elements would have to be undone.

These would be the use of contemporary music, allowing certain regions to give communion in the hand and under both specie’s.

The sign of peace would have to go too, plus the Mass would have to be offered ad orientem and the tabernacle would have to be returned as much as possible to the center of the Church.

Other doctrinal issues would have to be worked out mostly about authority since Eastern Catholics retain all their spirituality and theology.

Vatican II especially the New Mass and architectural changes wedged a larger gap between Catholics and Orthodox.

Most of the criticisms that I have heard from Orthodox Christians have had to do with Vatican II the New Mass, the architectural changes.

There’s always the argument against the Primacy of Peter, Papal infallibility but the most complaints that I hear are about the changes after the second Vatican Council particularly the liturgy.

I don’t think reconciliation is possible with Protestants until we first reconcile with the Orthodox.

I think that is far more important because Protestantism isn’t going away any time soon.


Do you have to do things my way; before I can love you as I love myself? Brotherly love should help overcome these differences.

In a way, it would make more sense if there were thousands of Jesus Christs, one for every denomination in the world. But there is just the ‘One Lord Jesus Christ’, our disunity seems like a great sin.


But if you see no objection to the Orthodox teachings, why not show brotherly love and accept their teachings and unite with them since it is better to have a united Church?
Perhaps though, for Catholics there is serious objection to some of the Orthodox teachings and that is why the Catholic Church will not budge and will not compromise. Although on non-essential issues and on areas where the two agree, there is an effort to work together, but there is no movement on the basic disagreements separating the two Churches.
Catholics and Orthodox will march together in pro-life rallies, but they will not celebrate Divine Liturgy together at this time.


There are those who believe we can do exactly that without compromising any essential Catholic doctrine.

Actually, there is quite a bit of progress being made. We are much closer now than we were 50 years ago.


Since reunion is such a worthy and desirable goal, why then do not Catholics agree to unite with the Orthodox?


If the Orthodox would recognize the authority of the pope that would probably be enough. The filioque would soon follow logically enough and other theological differences.

Then the question of how authoritatively do we accept their idea of sainthood would come up.


AFAIK, in a reunited Church, the Orthodox would recognize the primacy of honor of the Roman Pope, He would be first among equals. The Orthodox do not recognize his universal jurisdiction and infallibility. And they see other issues which would have to be solved.


check out this website: 2lungs.com

lots of good information there.

From my point of view, total reunification will never happen. You might have some bishops & priests here and there. And even if Constantinople agreed to submit to the Pope, many Eastern Orthodox would remain in schism.

There are far too many cultural issues. Plus, there are far too many Eastern Orthodox who view some of disciplines used in the Roman Rite as heresy (like they did before the schism).

So really, that’s the biggest problem. There are too many Eastern Orthodox laity, priests and bishops who believe the Catholic Church is heretical - hence they would never agree to coming into communion with a heretical group.

So culturally, we have drifted too far apart for a total reunion.


We are trying to do exactly that.

What is your objection? The fact that we haven’t yet achieved it? We’re working on it. Both sides are working on it. It will take time.


@AINg - the Catholics have been working on this since the 11th Century, and in the 1400/1500s it was accomplished, but the majority of Orthodox bishops, priests and laity reject it… so the schism continued (that was when a large number of Byzantine Catholics reunited with the Catholic Church).

Again, the biggest problem of all is the fact that many Eastern Orthodox believe the Catholic Church to be heretical (or potentially heretical).

The have a number of issues with our Liturgy too. To them, some of the differences in the Liturgy are issues, while to Catholics we have no issues with the differences.

There are very few requirements that Catholics have for reunification, while the Eastern Orthodox (depending on who you talk to) have a ton of requirements before reunification.


No, what needs to happen first is the willingness of the bishops, priests and laity in Eastern Orthodoxy.

The issues between the Greeks and Romans predate Christ.

The Greeks have never liked submitting to Rome, not in the Church nor in a secular way either.

And like Constantinople, the Russians have always seen themselves as the new Rome too – the Third Rome to be exact (which is why they called their Emperor the “Czar” which was Russian for “Caesar” )

For both the Greeks (via Constantinople) and the Russians, to submit to Rome doesn’t just have canonical implications, it also has cultural implications by renouncing their view as both being “the new Rome”

NOTE: With Istanbul losing most of their Greek Orthodox citizens since 1923, I think communion with the Greek Orthodox is more likely than with the Russians

At the start of the 21st century, Istanbul’s Greek population numbered 3,000 (down from 130,000 in 1923 and 260,000 according to the Ottoman Census of 1910 of 850,000 total). There are today between 50,000 and 70,000 Armenians in Istanbul, down from 164,000 in 1913 partly due to the Armenian Genocide. Christians made up half the population of the city in 1910.

So the Greek loyalty (esp secular loyalty) to Constantinople will eventual fade over time - esp since it’s no longer really a Greek or Christian city.

NOTE: I am not implying that West did not play a part in the schism, but my feeling is that average Catholic would be far more open & welcoming to reunification tomorrow than the Eastern Orthodox. Again, while, the the Orthodox would love reunification, they have far more demands.


Yah but interestingly that worked for the first millennium.
I know the basic history of it and it seems slowly the traditions changed. The West spoke Latin and the East spoke Greek. Some other differences which did not mean schism.
However in these days the Bishop of Rome was the first authority. The bishops in Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem knew this.

Something happened though and as much as Catholic apologetics have put the blame solely on the Eastern Patriarchs, the truth is both sides were at fault . It was very complicated and didn’t begin right in 1054 nor completely end in schism for sometime after that. 1054 is given as the year because that is when the Cardinal sent from Rome and and the Patriarch of Constantinople excommunicated each other. Following this the Patriarch of Constantinople or ( New Rome) became the first among equals.

How far does Papal authority go? Does it go to what we have now or did the early Church have it more correct when he was the first among equals? This is a debate which has been going on almost 1000 years. The other differences aren’t great enough for schism. Many of the other traditions Eastern Catholics take part in . Leavened bread. Yes there’s difference in what purgatory means. And filioque. However the Orthodox have been open to discussion about that .
It really all comes down to the role of the Pope.
Part of me feels like the Bishop of Rome only became so powerful by the collapse of western Rome and made decisions without consulting the other patriarchs ( such as filioque). This among other events ultimately led to the schism . I however don’t think the differences are enough for schism. They still have valid apostolic succession .


No reunion has been effected. I don’t see any reunion possible unless the Catholic Church accepts the Orthodox position on the papacy which holds that in a reunited Church, the pope has the primacy of honor but does not hold universal jurisdiction and is not infallible without the consent of an ecumenical council. Further, there is a question of whether the Catholic Church recognizes the saints in the Orthodox Church.


[quote=“jas84173, post:37, topic:458305”]
How far does Papal authority go? … did the early Church have it more correct when he was the first among equals?
[/quote]That is what the Orthodox want to see.


I have an Orthodox friend, and the two of us drink to reunification from time to time (whenever we still drink). He’s convinced that Francis and Bartholomew will be the two who get it done.


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