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Old Jul 25th 2015, 10:15 AM
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Default Catholic vs Orthodox

The 'great schism' (9th or 10th century origins):

I've always been curious about the theological or doctrinal distinction that exists to separate Catholic and Orthodox Christians. Can anyone explain what the key differences are?
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Old Jul 25th 2015, 10:17 AM
MeMyselfAndI MeMyselfAndI is offline
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Default Re: Catholic vs Orthodox

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Originally Posted by Michael View Post
The 'great schism' (9th or 10th century origins):

I've always been curious about the theological or doctrinal distinction that exists to separate Catholic and Orthodox Christians. Can anyone explain what the key differences are?
Other than celibacy (our priests can and do marry and have families, unlike Catholic), I am not sure. I have a friend who is Catholic, maybe will ask him later.
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Old Jul 25th 2015, 11:13 AM
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Default Re: Catholic vs Orthodox

Catholics have a leader who says "Who am I to judge (gay people)?"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ll-5VW38vIY
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Old Jul 25th 2015, 11:15 AM
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Catholics have a leader who says "Who am I to judge (gay people)?"
Catholics also have a book that says 'burn the gay people'.

Its the same book that the Orthodox and Protestants have.
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Old Jul 25th 2015, 11:18 AM
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Default Re: Catholic vs Orthodox

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Other than celibacy (our priests can and do marry and have families, unlike Catholic), I am not sure. I have a friend who is Catholic, maybe will ask him later.
Protestants have always allowed marriage for their religious leaders.

Btw, the Catholic prohibition against clerical marriage originates a couple of centuries AFTER the Catholic-Orthodox split (aka 'the great schism'), so that can't be the source of the split.
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Old Jul 26th 2015, 07:34 PM
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Default Re: Catholic vs Orthodox

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Originally Posted by Michael View Post
The 'great schism' (9th or 10th century origins):

I've always been curious about the theological or doctrinal distinction that exists to separate Catholic and Orthodox Christians. Can anyone explain what the key differences are?
So granted, this is coming from a Lutheran but I'll give you my summary. I'll start from the most practical doctrinal differences and work toward the more theoretical

1. Ecclessiology: Ecclessiology is the doctrine of the Church. You would probably call these differences less doctrinal/theological and more political, but in Christian speak it all works out to be theological in the end. In early Christian history every city where there was a bishop who oversaw the local church. The bishop's authority came from the belief that through the laying on of hands a bishop could trace his ordination back to the 12 apostles (this is still true for a lot of Christianity actually). If you want a political example think monarchy. A king is legitimate because he can trace his lineage the right way. We call this apostolic succession. In the Eastern Roman Empire almost every bishop could claim apostolic succession because that was the side of the Empire the Church started on and the 12 Apostles moved around a lot on that side. Gradually certain major cities started gaining preeminence due to size of the city and special historical connection to the Apostles. These special bishoprics were Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, and later (because of the ecumenical councils and Constantine) Constantinople (these special bishops were, and sometimes still are, called "patriarchs"). The Eastern Church, despite this gradual development of preeminence, never recognized any official authority of one patriarch over the others or even the other bishops. Each bishop was officially on paper equal because all the eastern bishops could trace their seat (their cathedral) back to one of the 12 Apostles. To this day this is still true for Orthodoxy. The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is officially the head of the whole Orthodox Church, but is officially recognized as only "first among equals." Change does not come to the Orthodox Church without complete consensus of the bishops (which rarely happens so this is why Orthodoxy has changed much in 1800 years).

In the Western Roman Empire, however, only one city could really claim Apostolic Succession: Rome. Therefore, Rome gradually came to gain authority over the bishops in the West as they had to kind of "authorize" the ordination of bishop on that side of the Empire in order to give the new bishop apostolic succession. Because of all this, Rome came to believe that the Bishop of Rome possessed super authority over emperors and bishops. The rest is history with Rome attempting to claim super authority over the other patriarchs and the other four patriarchs having fits over the idea. Rome claimed to have the authority to add words to Nicene Creed (the statement of faith used by all Christians) and the East objected over the one word he added because they claimed only the complete gathering of bishops could do such a thing. All sorts of little slights and insults kept going until the great schism.

So to this day, the Catholic and Orthodox Church have very different theologies of the Church. The Roman Catholic Church believes that the "True Church" only "subsists" (or resides) in any diocese that is full communion with Rome and acknowledges her authority. All other bodies that do not acknowledge Rome's authority are not fully and completely the body of Christ. Orthodoxy does not theologically believe in that top down structure. Each nationalities Supreme Bishop is repetitively independent.

On another note, there is a joint Orthodox/Catholic council scheduled for 2025 (the 1,700 year anniversary of the first great Church council). There is great hope for some kind of mending of the fences.

2. Philosophy vs Mystery: The Catholic Church officially believes in it's dogma that much of Christian truth can be discovered using reason and philosophical inquiry (specifically Aristotle as seen through St. Thomas Aquinas). Issues such as God's existense, his goodness, and the ethics people should live by are all provable through reason and philosophical inquiry. The Bible and the Church "open your eyes," if you will, but you have no excuse for not figuring it out on your own. This is why the Catholic Church has a long history studying theology.

The Eastern Church never bought into the idea that God's truth can be discovered on our own philosophical inquiry. Their official doctrine is that God's truth is a "mystery" that can only be discovered by scripture, prayer, fasting, worship, and studying the tradition of the church. This, again, leads to a general unwillingness for the Orthodox to change anything.

3. Original Sin: there are other doctrinal differences, but the biggest one is centered around the doctrine of Original Sin.

In the Western Church, all theology is really just footnotes to St. Augustine. Augustine argued that because of Adam and Eve's fault all human beings conceived from a mother and a father are already guilty of Sin and worthy of damnation. Human beings, by virtue of existing, are completely sinful. Christ, being born of a virgin (so no earthly father) and a perfect mother (yes, this is why Mary is a saint and such a huge deal in Catholicism) is the sinless human being. The Catholic Church, and really the whole Western Church still in general, believes the doctrine of Original Sin in some form (although since Augustine wrote it down it has been altered).

The Eastern Church thought Augustine was off his rocker and never believed the doctrine. Yes, by virtue of being in an imperfect world we are understood to always be sinful, but we are not sinful just by being born. Orthodoxy tends, therefore, to have a more optimistic view of human nature.
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Old Jul 26th 2015, 08:04 PM
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Default Re: Catholic vs Orthodox

Sorry for the typos. It was a rough Sunday today. "Repetitively" at the end of paragraph 4 is supposed to be relatively
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Old Jul 28th 2015, 12:13 PM
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Default Re: Catholic vs Orthodox

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Originally Posted by Non Sequitur View Post
So granted, this is coming from a Lutheran but I'll give you my summary. I'll start from the most practical doctrinal differences and work toward the more theoretical.
I expected you to supply a good answer!

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Originally Posted by Non Sequitur View Post
1. Ecclessiology: Ecclessiology is the doctrine of the Church. You would probably call these differences less doctrinal/theological and more political, but in Christian speak it all works out to be theological in the end.
Yes, I would say that this is entirely political. Ironically, it is not very different to the distinction between Shia and Sunni in Islam!

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Originally Posted by Non Sequitur View Post
On another note, there is a joint Orthodox/Catholic council scheduled for 2025 (the 1,700 year anniversary of the first great Church council). There is great hope for some kind of mending of the fences.
Good luck with that!

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2. Philosophy vs Mystery:
This appears to be highly explicable.

I suspected something like this, but didn't know enough Orthodox theology to know if it was true.

But doesn't this cause a problem with the 'role of the priest' in Catholicism being necessary? If spiritual truth can be found with philosophy, who needs a priest? (besides to do the 'miracle' of the eucharist that I have a hard time imagining anyone actually believes).

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3. Original Sin: there are other doctrinal differences, but the biggest one is centered around the doctrine of Original Sin.
This was news to me. Thanks for the information!

All added up, it does explain the fundamental difference between Orthodox and Catholic - and it goes a long way to explaining why Russia is the way it is (which is the real source of the question).
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Old Jul 29th 2015, 03:34 AM
Pan Wołodyjowski Pan Wołodyjowski is offline
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Default Re: Catholic vs Orthodox

Orthodox do not believe that Mary was a virgin. Catholics do. Orthodox do not believe in her teleportation to the heaven, Catholics do.

Liturgy is generally much different, but from theological view that would be all that comes to my mind at the moment.
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Old Jul 29th 2015, 10:12 AM
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Default Re: Catholic vs Orthodox

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This appears to be highly explicable.

I suspected something like this, but didn't know enough Orthodox theology to know if it was true.

But doesn't this cause a problem with the 'role of the priest' in Catholicism being necessary? If spiritual truth can be found with philosophy, who needs a priest? (besides to do the 'miracle' of the eucharist that I have a hard time imagining anyone actually believes).
haha. Plenty of people actually believe it (although the Catholic church is not democratic in any way so they could give two s**ts about what the common people in the pews believe).

The necessity of the priest comes in the fact that salvation is only guaranteed through the church as mediated by your priest. You may be able to discover the truth that you are sinful through philosophical inquiry, but one is not saved through knowledge (that would be heresy). Your sins can only be forgiven by Christ. Since the Church is the body of Christ on earth only the Church has the authority to remit sins.


Quote:
All added up, it does explain the fundamental difference between Orthodox and Catholic - and it goes a long way to explaining why Russia is the way it is (which is the real source of the question).
Ah... Yes. Russian history and Orthodox history are very much intertwined.
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