Some conflicts: Eastern Orthodox vs.

Roman Catholic

The Orthodox Church opposes the Roman doctrines of universal papal jurisdiction, papal infallibility, purgatory, and the Immaculate Conception precisely because they are untraditional." - Orthodox apologist and author Clark Carlton: THE WAY: What Every Protestant Should Know About the Orthodox Church, 1997, p 135.

Both purgatory and indulgences are inter-corrolated theories, unwitnessed in the Bible or in the Ancient Church.. —

The Orthodox Church does not believe in purgatory (a place of purging), that is, the inter-mediate state after death in which the souls of the saved (those who have not received temporal punishment for their sins) are purified of all taint preparatory to entering into Heaven, where every soul is perfect and fit to see God.

Also, the Orthodox Church does not believe in indulgences as remissions from purgatoral punishment. Both purgatory and indulgences are inter-corrolated theories, unwitnessed in the Bible or in the Ancient Church, and when they were enforced and applied they brought about evil practices at the expense of the prevailing Truths of the Church. If Almighty God in His merciful loving-kindness changes the dreadful situation of the sinner, it is unknown to the Church of Christ. The Church lived for fifteen hundred years without such a theory. —

►Such a “vain deceit” is the teaching of the Immaculate Conception by Anna of the Virgin Mary, which at first sight exalts, but in actual fact belittles Her. Like every lie, it is a seed of the “father of lies” (John 8:44), the devil, who has succeeded by it in blaspheme the Virgin Mary. Together with it there should also be rejected all the other teachings which have come from it or are akin to it. — "Saint" John Maximovitch;

What I found most disturbing in my reading was that the Orthodox objected to the doctrine [of the Immaculate Conception] not so much because of its proclamation of Mary as immaculate (indeed, the Orthodox liturgy repeatedly refers to Mary as "all holy ... .. immaculate," and "most blessed") but because of the erroneous understanding of original sin underlying it...

I sadly concluded that the erroneous Roman understanding of original sin had led to another erroneous teaching, the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. The dogma was clearly an unwarranted innovation.

It was much the same with the dogma of papal infallibility. This doctrine asserts that when the pope speaks ex cathedra, "from the throne," or officially, on matters of faith and morals, he teaches infallibly. Thus the whole Church is bound by his teaching. Orthodoxy and Catholicism - What are the differences - "Father" Theodore Pulcini ISBN 978-1-888212-23-5 [69]

Despite the high honor and the highest admiration which the Orthodox Church bestows upon the Virgin Mary Theotokos, it does not teach either her immaculate conception or her bodily assumption into the heavens.,

The west, in altering the Creed without consulting the east, is guilty (as Khomiakov put it) of moral fratricide, of a sin against the unity of the Church. In the second place, most Orthodox believe the Filioque to be theologically untrue. They hold that the Spirit proceeds from the Father alone, and consider it a heresy to say that He proceeds from the Son as well. There are, however, some Orthodox who consider that the Filioque is not in itself heretical,. and is indeed admissible as a theological opinion - not a dogma - provided that it is properly explained. But even those who take this more moderate view still regard it as an unauthorized addition.

That was how an Orthodox felt in the twelfth century, when the whole question had come out into the open. In earlier centuries the Greek attitude to the Papacy was basically the same, although not yet sharpened by controversy. Up to 850, Rome and the east avoided an open conflict over the Papal claims, but the divergence of views was not the less serious for being partially concealed. —

It is evident from the Scripture that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father only; this was the belief from the very beginning of the One Undivided Church. When the church in the West inserted the "filioque" phrase into the Creed, this innovation precipitated the Great Schism of the Undivided Church. The "filioque" phrase is an error. It is not found in the Scripture. It was not believed by the Undivided Church for eight centuries, including the church in the West. It introduces a strange teaching of a double procession of the Holy Spirit and refers to two origins of the Spirit's existence, thus denying the unity of the Godhead.

The Church of Christ from the beginning baptized its members by a priest immersing them thrice in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Immersion baptism was the practice of the early Church.

...the synods of the Fathers, as a whole and as individuals, have believed that their decisions are infallible. Their decisions, however, are not considered permanent until they are accepted by the "Conscience of the Church," the whole body of the faithful, clergy and laity, who must give their consent.—

Within a reintegrated Christendom the bishop of Rome will be considered primus inter pares serving the unity of God's Church in love. He cannot be accepted as set up over the Church as a ruler whose diakonia is conceived through legalistic categories of power of jurisdiction. His authority must be understood, not according to standards of earthly authority and domination, but according to terms of loving ministry and humble service (Matt. 20:25 27).-

In the Nicene Creed of faith our Church is described as the "One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church": "One" because there can only be one true Church with one head Who is Christ... Each of these titles is limiting in some respects, since they define Christians belonging to particular historical or regional Churches of the Orthodox communion..

“because it has all the proper attributes, the Orthodox Church is the living realization of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.” —

Then there are those who attempt to join together all Christian religions into one faith. They would be horrified at the idea of a service with Hindus and Christians celebrating together, yet they do not bat an eyelash at the idea of Orthodox celebrating with Roman Catholics, who with no authority broke off from the Church close to a thousand years ago. —

The Church preserves unity in diversity. In the Orthodox Church there is no hierarch with universal jurisdiction since its One True Shepherd, our Lord Jesus, has never left His Church (Matthew 28:20). The Apostle Peter does not replace or substitute for Him. The Scriptures do indeed indicate that Peter exercises an important role as leader among the Apostles but his primacy is exercised in equality or collegiality ("primus inter pares") as the Book of Acts clearly shows. The Rock upon which the Church is built is our Lord Himself as we proclaim during Matins: "The Stone which the builders rejected has become the Cornerstone; this is the Lord's doing and it is marvelous in our eyes" (from Psalm 118:2 - also the most often repeated phrase from the Old in the New Testament: Matthew 21:42, Mark 12:10, Luke 20:17, Acts 4:11 and 1 Peter 2:7). Peter, a leader among the Apostles, was first to proclaim the Church's faith in our Lord upon Whom it is built: "You are the the Christ (i.e. the Messiah, God's Chosen and Annointed One - igk), the Son of the Living God" (Matthew 16:15). He did not see himself as that Rock. Such, at any rate, is the conviction of the Orthodox Church. —

Roman Catholic historian, Francis Dvornick, states:...the question of the apostolic character of a see was viewed in quite different fashion in the East. There had been many important sees in the East which had been founded by an Apostle: this was the case for Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria and Ephesus. - (Francis Dvornik, Byzantium and the Roman Primacy (New York: Fordham University, 1966), p. 43)

The East never accepted the regular jurisdiction of Rome, nor did it submit to the judgment of Western bishops. Its appeals to Rome for help were not connected with a recognition of the principle of Roman jurisdiction but were based on the view that Rome had the same truth, the same good. - Yves Congar, Diversity and Communion (Mystic: Twenty-Third, 1982), p. 26). More .

The Orthodox Church believes that the Church exists where: 1) there is Apostolic Succession; 2) where the traditions and canons of the Church are preserved; 3) and where a right-believing Bishop in Apostolic Succession shepherds his people in good order according to these traditions and canons.

In the Roman Catholic Church, Apostolic Succession itself resides in the person of the Pope, who is Christ’s Vicar on earth. While modern Latin theologians have tried to restate or even reject it, and while the ecumenical pronouncements of the Latin Church have tried to downplay the significance of Papocentrism, it is the fundamental dogma of Roman Catholicism and a principle repeatedly defended by the present Pope. Even collegiality and shared primacy with the Eastern Patriarchates are subject to the magisterium of the Papacy.

And herein lies one of the most important differences between the Latin and Orthodox Churches in general: the Latin Church’s appeal to the authority of the Roman See and the Orthodox Church’s dependence on the authority of the wholeness of ecclesiastical tradition, the very Body of the Church. -

Roman Catholicism, unable to show a continuity of faith and in order to justify new doctrine, erected in the last century, a theory of "doctrinal development." Following the philosophical spirit of the time (and the lead of Cardinal Henry Newman), Roman Catholic theologians began to define and teach the idea that Christ only gave us an "original deposit" of faith, a "seed," which grew and matured through the centuries. The Holy Spirit, they said, amplified the Christian Faith as the Church moved into new circumstances and acquired other needs.

Consequently, Roman Catholicism, pictures its theology as growing in stages, to higher and more clearly defined levels of knowledge. The teachings of the Fathers, as important as they are, belong to a stage or level below the theology of the Latin Middle Ages (Scholasticism), and that theology lower than the new ideas which have come after it, such as Vatican II.

All the stages are useful, all are resources; and the theologian may appeal to the Fathers, for example, but they may also be contradicted by something else, something higher or newer. On this basis, theories such as the dogmas of "papal infallibility" and "the immaculate conception" of the Virgin Mary (about which we will say more) are justifiably presented to the Faithful as necessary to their salvation. -

There is nothing Orthodox about the charismatic movement. It is incompatible with Orthodoxy, in that it justifies itself only by perverting the message of the Fathers, suggesting that the Church of Christ needs renewal, and indulging in the theological imagery of, Pentecostal cultism. With such things, one cannot be too bold in his language of condemnation and reprobation. -

Vladimir Lossky, a noted modern Eastern Orthodox theologian, argues the difference in East and West is due to the Roman Catholic Church's use of pagan metaphysical philosophy (and its outgrowth, scholasticism) rather than the mystical, actual experience of God called theoria, to validate the theological dogmas of Roman Catholic Christianity. For this reason, Lossky argues that the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholics have become "different men".[18] Other Eastern Orthodox theologians such as John Romanides[19] and Metropolitan Hierotheos[20][21] say the same

Roman Catholicism teaches, also, that, in the Age to Come, man will, with his intellect and with the assistance of grace, behold the Essence of God. The Orthodox declare that it is impossible to behold God in Himself. Not even divine grace, will give us such power. The saved will see, however, God as the glorified flesh of Christ.

According to Metropolitan Hierotheos that because the Roman Catholic Church uses philosophical speculation rather that an actual experience of God to derive their theology they are lead into the many errors that Orthodox call into question about their theology including the filioque[66]. -

Following the holy Fathers, Orthodoxy teaches that Christ, on the Cross, gave "His life a ransom for many" (Matt. 20:28). "For even the Son of man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45). The "ransom" is paid to the grave. As the Lord revealed to the Prophet Hosea (Hosea 13:14), "I will ransom them (us) from the power of the grave, I will redeem them from death." In a sense, He pays the ransom to the devil who has the keeper of the grave and holds the power of death (Heb. 2:14).

The man Christ voluntarily gave Himself on the Cross. He died for all ("a ransom for many" or "the many"). But He rose from the dead in His crucified body. Death had no power to hold Him. It has no power over anyone. The human race is redeemed from the grave, from the devil. Free of the devil is to be free of death and sin. To be free of these, we become like God (deification) and may live with Him forever.

According to Roman Catholic theology, God became man in order to satisfy the divine Justice which was offended by the sin of Adam. In other words, by his sin Adam offended the infinite God and, therefore, his sin had infinite consequences."...

Roman Catholic theology is customarily legalistic and philosophical. For example, a "valid" (legal term) baptism into Christ is the result of the right intention (having the same understanding of baptism as the Church) and using the correct formula or words during the ceremony or rite. Thus, even an atheist, under certain conditions, could baptize a person. "Sprinkling" of water (effusion) over the head of the baptized is reasonable and sufficient..., a revolution in its theology is necessary if it is to become Scriptural and patristic; if it ever hopes to achieve the right understanding of Christ and His salvation...

Roman Catholicism has ordinarily paid little attention to the Orthodox conception of man as slave to death through his passions as manipulated by the devil. In fact, the devil has been pushed to the background. Thus, the Crucifixion has been understood by the Latins as Christ suffering punishment for the human race ("vicarious atonement"), when, in truth, Christ suffered and died on the Cross to conquer the devil and destroy his power, death...

Roman Catholics speak of "Confirmation" and the Orthodox of "Chrismation." "Confirmation" is separated from the Baptism and is performed by the bishop and not the priest; but "Chrismation" is performed with Baptism by a priest who has received "chrism" from the bishop. The Sacrament of "Confirmation" and "Chrismation" both mean the giving of the Holy Spirit. The Latins delay "confirming" (with "first communion") baptized infants not more than seven years, that is, until the time they have some appreciation of the gift of God.

The Orthodox Church links Baptism, Chrismation and Holy Communion, first the threefold immersion into sanctified water, the "new Christian" rising from the water into the fellowship of the Holy Spirit which leads to union with God. Such is the purpose of membership in the Church...

Roman Catholics speak of "Confirmation" and the Orthodox of "Chrismation." "Confirmation" is separated from the Baptism and is performed by the bishop and not the priest; but "Chrismation" is performed with Baptism by a priest who has received "chrism" from the bishop. The Sacrament of "Confirmation" and "Chrismation" both mean the giving of the Holy Spirit.

For Roman Catholics, Holy Matrimony is a binding, ostensibly an unbreakable, contract. The man and the woman marry each other with the "church" (bishop or priest) standing as a witness to it. Hence, no divorce under any conditions - no divorce but annulment of the marriage contract if some canonical defect in it may be found which renders it null and void (as if it never took place).

In Orthodoxy, Holy Matrimony is not a contract; it is the mysterious or mystical union of a man and woman - in imitation of Christ and the Church - in the presence of "the whole People of God" through her bishop or his presbyter. Divorce is likewise forbidden, but, as a concession to human weakness, it is allowed for adultery. Second and third marriages are permitted - not as a legal matter - out of mercy, a further concession to human weakness (e.g., after the death of a spouse)...

There is no reason to invent a theory to support the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. There is no need to teach that, on account of "the merits of Christ," the Holy Spirit was able to prevent her from inheriting the guilt of Adam.

In fact, she was born like every other human being. The Holy Spirit prepared the Virgin Mary for her role as the Mother of God. She was filled with the Uncreated Energy of the Holy Spirit of God in order that she might be a worthy vessel for the birth of Christ. Nevertheless, several of the Fathers observed that before the Resurrection of her Son, she had sinned. St. John Chrysostom mentions the Wedding at Cana where she presumed to instruct Him (John 2:3-4). Here was proof of her mortality...

Icons are more than sacred pictures. Everything about them is theological. For example, they are always flat, flat so that we who inhabit the physical world will understand that the world of the spirit where Christ, His Mother, the angels, the saints, and the departed dwell, is a world of mystery which cannot be penetrated by our five senses.

Customarily, Roman Catholicism has historically employed statues in its worship. The statues are life-like and three-dimensional. They seem to imitate the art of ancient Greece (The Orthodox Christian Page:

► Orthodoxy is not simply an alternative ecclesiastical structure to the Roman Catholic Church. The Orthodox Church presents a fundamentally different approach to theology, because She possesses a fundamentally different experience of Christ and life in Him. To put it bluntly, she knows a different Christ from that of the Roman Catholic Church.” — Clark Carlton, THE WAY: What Every Protestant Should Know About the Orthodox Church, 1997;;


(Note that referenced sources does not infer agreement with all that such may provide)

CCC 882: For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered.

“...the Apostolic See has received and hath government, authority, and power of binding and loosing from the Incarnate Word Himself; and, according to all holy synods, sacred canons and decrees, in all things and through all things, in respect of all the holy churches of God throughout the whole world, since the Word in Heaven who rules the Heavenly powers binds and loosens there" — Defloratio ex Epistola ad Petrum illustrem;

From this it must be clearly understood that Bishops are deprived of the right and power of ruling, if they deliberately secede from Peter and his successors; because, by this secession, they are separated from the foundation on which the whole edifice must rest. They are therefore outside the edifice itself; and for this very reason they are separated from the fold, whose leader is the Chief Pastor; they are exiled from the Kingdom, the keys of which were given by Christ to Peter alone..

We read that the Roman Pontiff has pronounced judgments on the prelates of all the churches; we do not read that anybody has pronounced sentence on him"..The reason for which is stated thus: "there is no authority greater than that of the Apostolic See" — Post Epistolam, xxvi., ad omnes Episc. Hispan., n. 4

Bellarmine: Besides that, the second affirmation of Cajetan, that the Pope heretic can be truly and authoritatively deposed by the Church, is no less false than the first... it must be observed in the first place that, from the fact that the Pope deposes bishops, it is deduced that the Pope is above all the bishops, though the Pope on deposing a bishop does not destroy the episcopal jurisdiction, but only separates it from that person. —

Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam: “We declare, say, define, and pronounce [ex cathedra] that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.”

"If, therefore, the Greeks or others say that they are not committed to Peter and to his successors, they necessarily say that they are not of the sheep of Christ, since the Lord says that there is only one fold and one shepherd (Jn.10:16). Whoever, therefore, resists this authority, resists the command of God Himself. " — Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam (Promulgated November 18, 1302)

Furthermore, in this one Church of Christ no man can be or remain who does not accept, recognize and obey the authority and supremacy of Peter and his legitimate successors. Did not the ancestors of those who are now entangled in the errors of Photius [the eastern “Orthodox” schismatics] and the reformers, obey the Bishop of Rome, the chief shepherd of souls?...Let none delude himself with obstinate wrangling. For life and salvation are here concerned...” Pope Pius XI, Mortalium Animos, PTC:873) The Promotion of True Religious Unity)

►We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which holds that the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the first instant of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace of the Omnipotent God, in virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of mankind, was preserved immaculate from all stain of original sin, has been revealed by God, and therefore should firmly and constantly be believed by all the faithful. —Pope Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus, December 8, 1854

Few Catholics realize that Eastern Orthodoxy, especially as represented by Palamite theology, represents a systematic and comprehensive attack upon Catholic doctrine. Catholic and Orthodox theology are not only in opposition to one another in their understanding of God (theology), but also in the various disciplines of philosophy – in Cosmology, Psychology, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Theodicy, and Ethics. They posit radically different views of God, of man, and of the relationship between God and His creation. Finally, and very crucially, they embrace radically different views of the final destiny of man. In this respect they both employ the concept of "deification", but possess very different understandings of what this term signifies. -[Traditionalist]

The chief thing, therefore, is the continued juridical succession of apostolic authority. Now this element precisely is missing from the Greek Orthodox Church. By the mere fact of being in schism, apostolic authority is forfeited. In addition, the Greek Church has not preserved the Faith intact in many points. The Greek Church cannot therefore be called apostolic in the technical sense of that word. — Radio Replies, 1940 | Fathers Rumble & Carty

As Peter was given a new name so does the new Supreme Pontiff become known by another. After the election he extends his first blessing to the people -- a Benediction which was not given in the open for years until Pope Pius XI established the custom. The Coronation, one of the most magnificent of Vatican Ceremonies, takes place shortly after the election. With the Pope carried high in a golden chair and attended by brilliantly attired chamberlains and soldiers, the Coronation Mass is an unrivaled spectacle of beauty, dignity, and ancient pageantry. At the Coronation, in the midst of the pomp and splendor, a master of ceremonies recites in Latin: "Holy Father, thus does the glory of the world pass away." As the first Cardinal Deacon places the three-crowned Tiara on the head of the Pope, he says: "Receive the three-crowned Tiara, and know that thou are the Father of Princes and Kings, the Pastor of the earth, and Vicar of Jesus Christ, to Whom be honor and glory forever. Amen." The CORONATION of Pope Pius XII took place on the balcony of St. Peter's in March 1939. (From the book "The Vatican and Holy Year" by Stephen S. Fenichell & Phillip Andrews -- 1950 edition.

"The Church has the right, admonish or warn its members, ecclesiastical or lay, who have not conformed to its laws and also, if needful to punish them by physical means, that is, coercive jurisdiction." — Catholic encyclopedia, Jurisdiction;

[sins] must be expiated [atoned, be compensated] either on this earth through the sorrows, miseries and calamities of this life and above all through death, or else in the life beyond through fire and torments or 'purifying' punishments.” — Indulgentiarum Doctrina; cp. 1. 1967;

‘Since the faithful departed now being purified [i.e. in purgatory] are also members of the same communion of saints, one way we can help them is to obtain indulgences for them, so that the temporal punishments due for their sins may be remitted. — CCC 1478,79

It was the charge of the Reformers that the Catholic doctrines were not primitive, and their pretension was to revert to antiquity. But the appeal to antiquity is both a treason and a heresy. It is a treason because it rejects the Divine voice of the Church at this hour, and a heresy because it denies that voice to be Divine...

I may say in strict truth that the Church has no antiquity. It rests upon its own supernatural and perpetual consciousness. Its past is present with it, for both are one to a mind which is immutable. Primitive and modern are predicates, not of truth, but of ourselves. — Most Rev. Dr. Henry Edward Cardinal Manning, Lord Archbishop of Westminster, “The Temporal Mission of the Holy Ghost: Or Reason and Revelation,” (New York: J.P. Kenedy & Sons, originally written 1865, reprinted with no date), pp. 227-228.

Few Catholics realize that Eastern Orthodoxy, especially as represented by Palamite theology, represents a systematic and comprehensive attack upon Catholic doctrine. Catholic and Orthodox theology are not only in opposition to one another in their understanding of God (theology), but also in the various disciplines of philosophy – in Cosmology, Psychology, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Theodicy, and Ethics. They posit radically different views of God, of man, and of the relationship between God and His creation... Over the past 2,000 years there have been many heresies, schisms, and systems of thought comprehensively opposed to Catholicism. But none has carried the potential threat for corruption of all of Catholic dogma which Eastern Orthodoxy represents.

See also CATHOLIC INVENTIONS and DEFORMATION of the New Testament Church