What’s the difference: Eastern Orthodox

December 25, 2022

just like the Catholics except no pope?

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~ it is estimated that there are as many as 6 million Eastern Orthodox Christians in the US
~ eastern Orthodox and the Roman Catholics are very similar, but there are also differences
~ there are at least 13 autocephalous (independent and self-governing) churches including four patriarchates that still exist in the Middle East: Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem
~ most of those that are heads of the church are patriarchs
– some go by the title “archbishop” or “metropolitan”


~ correct belief/correct worship
those who are Orthodox dispute Rome’s claim to be the One True Church
~ the Orthodox church maintains that the East has kept the faith, while the west (Rome) has strayed into heresy

“Orthodoxy, believing that the Church on Earth
has remained and must remain visibly one,
naturally also believes itself to be that one visible church.”

~ Timothy Ware

~ the Orthodox church guards and teaches the true belief about God (Ware)

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view on Apostolic succession:

~ place much stock in apostolic succession, but their viewpoint on the role of bishops differ
~ the Orthodox do not grant the pope supremacy
~ instead, all bishops “share equally in the apostolic succession”

Orthodoxy adds tradition to scripture:

~ the church is authoritative
~ the church is everything
~ put the church over scripture
~ speak of an “internal norm”, for determining authority, having no clear objective criteria of truth
– “internal norm” is the Spirit of God living within the church

A record of the Holy Spirits work can be found in
– Christian tradition
– the Bible
– the Nicea/Constantinople Creed
– the Decrees of the Seven Ecumenical Councils
– the writings of the fathers
– the canons of the Church
– the service books (liturgy)
– holy icons

“The Bible isn’t something set up over the church
it is something that lives and is understood within the church.”

~ Ware

~ the Bible gets its authority from the church
~ the church existed and flourished before any of the books of the New Testament were written, according to Orthodox theologians
~ it was the Orthodox church that originally decided which books were to be included in the Holy Scriptures (according to the Orthodox) therefore only the church can interpret the scripture

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Orthodoxy believe the reformers were wrong

~ Orthodox believe that the reformers were wrong in dividing and separating from the “organic whole”, saying that this is a sin

How the Orthodox view the Seven Sacraments

~ the same seven sacraments practiced by the Catholics are practiced by the Eastern Orthodox
~ differ at certain points regarding interpretation
~ everything starts with (infant) baptism
~ Divine Liturgy is another name for the Eucharist, considered “the center of the life of the Church and principal means of spiritual development”
~ believe that the very blood and body of Christ is present in the elements of the bread and wine, but hesitate to use the term “transubstantiation”
~ Orthodox deal with sin committed after baptism through their sacrament of confession or repentance, confession is done in the open, the priest often giving advice or assigns penance after hearing the confession


Praying to Saints and Icons

~ they pray to saints because these people have achieved deification, this includes Mary
~ Mary is venerated by the Orthodox as mother of God
~ icons: colorful, stylized paintings of Christ, the apostles, Mary, and other saints; Orthodox believers don’t believe that prostrating themselves before the icons, kissing them or burning candles in front of them equates to idolatry
~ the icons are not just pictures, but an important part of their teaching of the faith, a source of revelation equal to the Bible

stress deification above justification

~ while Orthodox believe Fall was a disaster that plunged mankind into sin, they do not agree that man is bound by a totally corrupt, sinful nature
~ through the Fall, mankind did not inherit guilt through Adam, but instead inherited death, mortality and corruption

All religion is manmade.
If God alone made it up all by himself,
then there would be no diversity in religion
because all religious texts
would have come from the same source.


~ Christians/Protestants don’t believe apostolic succession occurred
~ Christians/Protestants believe that only the scriptures are authoritative, and all believers have the right to examine and read the scriptures
~ Protestants/Christians have definite standards of what constitutes correct interpretation of the Bible
~ Christians/Protestants believe that the Orthodox deification approach to salvation leaves them practically ignoring justification by faith, nature of salvation is a free gift – as long as you believe and have faith.

hope you have a great day!
thanks for stopping by!!

“Protestant insistence on the responsibility
of individual believers to seek truth in the Bible
themselves serves as a check on potential misuses
of Scriptures by a person or group of people.”

~ Don Fairbairn

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