Why not the Orthodox church?


#1

I’m trying to understand the main differences between the Catholic and Orthodox church. I have recently decided I will most likely join the Catholic church, but I need to know more about why I shouldn’t consider the Orthodox church. Please help.

Thanks-


#2

Because they are not part of the Church founded by Christ. They have choosen to remain separated.


#3

I guess you should try to understand how the two became separated.

I think it was due to two issues, which are probably related:
i) The authority of the Papal Office
ii) The filioque

You’ll have to do your own research to find the answers (otherwise, who will you know who to trust?), but I think the above two topics are good starting points.


#4

Why you shouldn’t consider it? You should. You should consider everything. That is, if you’re seeking truth.


#5

No offense Br. Rich, but that is claim made by both Churches (i.e., that the other Church is the one that seperated itself from the true Church).

As a Catholic who is totally committed to the Church, but one who also loves the Orthodox as our Brothers in Christ (in particular, the spirituality of the Orthodox appeals to me), I would say that the big problem with the Orthodox is that the Collegial nature of their Church seems to invite disputes between the different National Churches of Orthodoxy. It shows, to me at least, the wisdom of having a single authority. The Pope may not always be right (when not speaking ex cathedra that is ;)), but at least there is a final authority in the Catholic Church to end disputes. Just my thought.


Bill


#6

I love the wink after mentioning ex cathedra. It’s as if all Catholics are in on an exclusive inside joke.

“Hey, did you notice that what the pope said totally contradicted that council?”

“Yeah, he must not have been speaking ex cathedra.”

“Oh, righto! (wink)”

What an easy way to never have to explain contradictions.

Ok, never mind that divergence.


#7

I think it is interesting that the Orthodox Church is more of a nationalistic enterprise, unlike the Catholic Church which is very much more outside the borders of nations and cultures. The Catholic Church is much more universal (and evangelistic) in that sense.

Also, the Orthodox Church seems to have come to a kind of halt after the schism 1000 years ago. For example, they have held no more general councils, while the Catholic Church has. The Orthodox seem to be somewhat in the position of the Jews after the destruction of the Temple. Things ground to a halt for them as well, you could say.

BTW, there are Catholics in full communion with the Bishop of Rome, who are members of Eastern Rite Churches. Some of these groups were Eastern Orthodox and later returned to full communion with the Church at various times in the past thousand years.


#8

Catholicism and Orthodoxy: A Comparison
scripturecatholic.com/orthodoxy.html
Is not “one” Church, but a conglomerate of at least seventeen, each with separate governance.
Orthodoxy considers Jesus Christ to be the invisible head of the Church, and the Church to be his body. It is believed that the Grace of God is directly passed down to Orthodox bishops and clergy through the laying on of hands—a practice started by the apostles, and that this unbroken historical and physical link is an essential element of the true church. Each bishop has a territory (see) over which** he governs**. His main duty is to make sure the traditions and practices of the Church remain inviolate. Bishops are equal in authority and cannot interfere in each others’ territory. Administratively, these bishops and their territories are organized into various autocephalous groups or (synod)s of bishops who gather together at least twice a year to discuss the state of affairs within their respective sees. While bishops and their autocephalous synods have the ability to administer guidance in individual cases, their actions do not usually set precedents that affect the entire church. There have been, however, a number of times when heretical ideas arose to challenge the Orthodox faith and it was necessary to convene a general or “Great” council of all available bishops.


#9

Saint Peter went to Antioch ,and was it’s first bishop, and started the church. Before he left, he made Evodius a bishop. Evodius died and Peter himself appointed Ignatius to the see of Antioch. Saint Igantius was the third bishop of Antioch and disciple of the Apostle John. The year? Around 68 ad.

This is from one of his letters.

The Epistle of Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans

Chapter 8. Let nothing be done without the bishop.
See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God.

Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it.

Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.

It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid.

More about Saint Ignatius of Antioch
newadvent.org/cathen/07644a.htm

The writings of the Early Church Fathers
newadvent.org/fathers/

The List of Popes
newadvent.org/cathen/12272b.htm

Eastern Orthodoxy
catholic.com/library/eastern_orthodoxy.asp


#10

Surely it beats the Protestant Dodge: “Not all Protestants believe that.”


#11

Of course you should consider the Orthodox Church. Or rather churches—there are several.

Rod Dreher is a conservative columnist who recently converted from Catholicism to Orthodoxy. You can Google him for his account; think he’s got a blog.

I do recommend studying the history of the Church before making your decision. While Orthodoxy is closer to Pentecost than Protestantism is (by a significant millennium and more); there’s still a big gap there our Orthodox brethren must explain.

Even were you to elect to become Orthodox, you would be in effect moving into closer communion with the Catholic Church, which would be a very good thing indeed.


#12

I thought they claimed that they were the actual Church found by Christ, and it was Catholics that remain seperated?


#13

Does the Orthodox church accept Catholics in the same way that Catholics accepts Orthodox?


#14

That’s a great question—I don’t know the answer, but we’ve got some very knowledgeable Orthodox posters who might. You might want to check out the Eastern Christianity forum too.


#15

They can think that and I think I’m really B. Gates. But that is just not reality.


#16

the differences stem from the partition of the Roman Empire in two halves by the emperor diocletian in 285 in order to make it more governable. the eastern half remained greek in language and culture, the western half latin. the western roman empire fell two hundred years later but the eastern half, known as the byzantine empire with its capital in constantinople, survived for another thousand years.

during that time the eastern and western branches of christianity slowly drifted apart. the western church looked to the bishop of rome – the pope – as its spiritual leader whereas generally speaking the byzantine emperor fulfilled an equivalent role in the East. tension between east and west eventually led to the Great Schism in 1054 over the issues of papal authority and the insertion of the filoque clause into the Nicene creed. however the Schism only made official the fact that the eastern and western churches had been going their separate ways culturally and liturgically for a long time.


#17

Let it be always remembered that the rise of Constantinople, its jealousy of Rome, its unhappy influence over all the East is a pure piece of Erastianism, a shameless surrender of the things of God to Caesar. And nothing can be less stable than to establish ecclesiastical rights on the basis of secular politics. The Turks in 1453 cut away the foundation of Byzantine ambition. There is now no emperor and no Court to justify the oecumenical patriarch’s position. If we were to apply logically the principle on which he rests, he would sink back to the lowest place and the patriarchs of Christendom would reign at Paris, London, New York. Meanwhile the old and really canonical principle of the superiority of Apostolic sees remains untouched by political changes. Apart from the Divine origin of the papacy, the advance of Constantinople was a gross violation of the rights of the Apostolic Sees of Alexandria and Antioch. We need not wonder that the popes, although their first place was not questioned, resented this disturbance of ancient rights by the ambition of the imperial bishops.

newadvent.org/cathen/13535a.htm


#18

Well, the Catholic Encyclopedia excerpt ought to get the thread cranked up!

I must admit that the notion that the Pope was anathema but the Byzantine Emperor was not in terms of authority to be a bit of a stretch. In these parts, we hear a lot about the bad popes, but boy howdy, the Byzantines were an unsavory lot!


#19

Absolutely, positively not! What I am going to say is largely what I have gathered from the Orthodox who post in this forum. I take them at their word.

The Orthodox churches consider the Catholic Church heretical; the Pope illegitimate and Catholic sacraments (except baptism) invalid. The Catholic Church considers Orthodox sacraments valid.

The great majority of Catholics would like reunion. The great majority of Orthodox do not, EXCEPT under the condition that the Catholic Church cease being the Catholic Church and “apply” for “normalization” as an Orthodox church of limited jurisdiction; rejecting all Catholic doctrines defined since about the year 1000.

The Orthodox churches are profoundly territorial, positively reject the very notion of worldwide “jurisdiction”, and resent the Catholic Church’s presence in places like the Phillipines, the Middle East, Russia, Africa and even the Americas. Some feel the Pope should only be the bishop of Rome and it’s immediately surrounding area. The Catholic Church claims “universality”; which is to say that it claims the right, and mission, to be anywhere and everywhere in the world as a single, unified church.

While the Catholic Church considers the Orthodox churches to be “sister” churches, the Orthodox view the Catholic Church in essentially the same way they view Protestant churches.

Not all Orthodox feel the same way about the Catholic Church, exactly. The Patriarch of Constantinople, for instance, invited the Pope to Istanbul, and they seem to share a desire for reunification. But he can’t speak for any of the bishops in the Greek church. The Patriarch of Moscow, on the other hand, over whom the Patriarch of Constantinople has no authority whatever, is affirmatively hostile to the Catholic Church and encouraged the Soviet, then the Russian governments to prevent John Paul II from setting foot on Russian soil.

There is a much revered Orthodox monastery at a place called “Mount Athos” that is so totally opposed to the Catholic Church that it more or less “rebelled” against the Patriarch of Constantinople for so much as visiting with the Pope. Many Orthodox share this sentiment.

I am a Catholic, raised among Protestants, who once believed the Catholic and Orthodox churches were not so very far apart. Having read lots of things printed by Orthodox in this forum, which prompted me to do further research, I have been sadly disabused of that notion. I will confess that, being a thoroughly Western person in education, culture and attitude, I find myself comfortable and warmly “at home” in the Catholic Church. I do find Eastern liturgies beautiful. But I also find eastern ways of thinking quite alien to me, and, make no mistake about it, Eastern Orthodoxy is profoundly oriental. By “oriental” in this context, I do not mean “East Asian”, but a part of the eastern side of that ancient line between East and West that runs along the eastern boundaries of Scandinavia, the Baltic States, Poland, Western Ukraine, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia. The Americas and Oceania are, culturally, part of the “West”, along with Western Europe. The Orthodox “East” includes, essentially, Russia, Belarus, Eastern Ukraine, the Balkans, Greece, North Africa and the Middle East. The great majority of at least nominal Orthodox are Russians. The plurality of Catholics are in the Americas, with Europe and Southern Africa being close. There are substantial numbers of Catholics in East Asia, chiefly in the Philippines, but with growing numbers in South Korea and China, where there are smaller numbers of Orthodox. There are, of course, small numbers of Orthodox in the West and small numbers of Catholics in the Orthodox part of the East.

I am not saying that Orthodox thought is somehow horrible or evil. It is just not a western pattern of thought.


#20

I’d say it’s equal to the Protestant dodge. Really though, we all ought to not dodge so much.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.