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Author Topic: Are there differences?  (Read 3397 times) Average Rating: 0
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justme
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« on: April 19, 2003, 09:18:15 PM »

How do the Orthodox and Catholic faiths differ?
Granted, I've only been here for about 30 minutes and this is my first post... However, I haven't seen any differences between what you believe and what Catholics believe.
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justme
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« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2003, 10:12:49 PM »

Here's an incomplete list of differences.

When someone unfamiliar with the Orthodox mindset (which can include people who identify themselves as Orthodox) looks at Orthodoxy and Catholicism, it's sort of like seeing two hills viewed at a great distance. Some minor variations might be visible, but by in large, they look the same. It's not until you become familiar with the Orthodox mindset (ie. get closer to the hills) that you start to notice that the hills are really nothing alike, but are different sizes, shapes, have different trees and animals and such living on them, and are even made up of different elements. What can seem like the same thing from afar can sometimes be very different once you get up close.  Grin
« Last Edit: April 19, 2003, 10:33:26 PM by Paradosis » Logged

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Brendan03
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« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2003, 02:16:30 PM »

What I would say (as someone who spent most of his life as a RC, became Orthodox 3 years ago) is that on an initial look, from either the
Protestant or RC perspective, Orthodoxy can look a lot like Roman Catholicism.  We Orthodox have an ordained priesthood, sacraments, primacy of the Eucharist, Bishops, ornate vestments and ritual, and the like.  Externally we can seem like an exotic form of Roman Catholicism.  But it's when you get to see things closer up that they begin to look different.  How we conceive of all of these things, what they mean in our spiritual lives, is very different than in Roman Catholicism.  It's very hard to understand this, however, at first glance --- it takes a bit more experience with Orthodoxy, I think
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« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2003, 03:29:55 PM »

My Catholic and Orthodox question-and-answer page
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Linus7
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« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2003, 06:57:50 PM »

This is nothing like a complete answer, but I would say that one of the most significant differences between Orthodoxy and RCism is the degree to which the Christian faith is regarded as a mystery.

I hope my RC friends will pardon me if I over-generalize, but it seems to me that RCism likes to have everything neatly and minutely explained, and authority all wrapped up and concentrated in the hands of one, infallible hierarch.

Orthodox Christianity, on the other hand, is much less comfortable with rationalistic explanations and neat categories. It is more about mystery.

In this respect Evangelical Protestantism is much more like RCism than it is like Orthodoxy. Protestants like everything explained and authority wrapped up in an infallible book. In making the Bible their sole authority, Evangelical Protestants have not done away with the papacy, they have merely elevated each individual reader of the Bible to the rank of "mini-Pope."
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justme
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« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2003, 07:30:40 PM »

Thanks for the responses so far!

Linus-

In making the Bible their sole authority, Evangelical Protestants have not done away with the papacy, they have merely elevated each individual reader of the Bible to the rank of "mini-Pope."

"Mini-Pope?" As an Evangelical Protestant, I have no idea what you are talking about there.

Serge and Paradosis- thank you for the sites. Due to problems with allergies, a headache and trying to recoup from a day of cooking for family and company and church services I'm too tired to read all of both sites right now. I did skim them and will hopefully get back to them later. They look interesting.

Brendan- I'm not a complete stranger to Catholism. My husband is an ex-Catholic. Most of his family is still Catholic. However, I never heard of Orthodoxy until a few months ago.

A question for whomever would like to answer.... When I go to church with my Catholic mother-in-law, I am not allowed to take communion-- according to her and her priest. When she attends my non-denominational Christian church, she won't take communion. Our pastor has told her that she is welcome to communion and we have told her the same. In fact, when our daughter (who was then 7) was baptised, we were very saddened that my mother-in-law would not partake of communion with us. She says that it goes against the Catholic church for her to take communion in a church that is not Catholic.

Since we are supposed to be serving the same risen Saviour, I don't understand this position at all.

What are your views on communion?
Would I be allowed to partake if I was a guest in your church?
If you were a guest in my church, you would be allowed to partake according to our church. Would you?
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justme
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« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2003, 07:32:01 PM »

What I would say (as someone who spent most of his life as a RC, became Orthodox 3 years ago) is that on an initial look, from either the
Protestant or RC perspective, Orthodoxy can look a lot like Roman Catholicism.

As an Anglican I find RC liturgy very similar to ours, which is no surprise. Back in the days when I was a Presbyterian I certainly found Anglican liturgy baffling at first, and RC liturgy I think would have come out about the same. Orthodox liturgy would have been utterly impenetrable in those days, though I think I would have reacted positively to the aesthetic (RC liturgy in the USA is notoriously unaesthetic).

More recently, my experience in Orthodox liturgies has been more with Slavic churches (though I've been to several Antiochian liturgies, but this particular parish borrows a lot of Russian music). It is interesting to see the common pieces, and there is little that I have an issue with singing (though out of respect for the rite I do not sing certain parts since I cannot commune). These days an American Catholic can walk right into an Episcopal parish and do the liturgy practically without picking up the prayer book.
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justme
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« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2003, 07:38:18 PM »

hmm... a slight bit off topic (ok way off!  Wink), but how do you do the quotes?
Can someone give me a link for maybe a faq for this site so that I can look like I know a little bit about what I'm doing?
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justme
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MartinIntlStud
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« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2003, 07:39:16 PM »

"What are your views on communion?
Would I be allowed to partake if I was a guest in your church?
If you were a guest in my church, you would be allowed to partake according to our church. Would you?"


Communion IS the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It's not symbolic, it IS literal.

For your second question:
Communion is only for baptised and chrismated Orthodox Christians who have prepared themselves with prayer and recent confession.
As a guest you would not be able to take Communion, you could recieve a blessing from the Priest and have some of the Blessed Bread which is traditional to eat after Holy Communion.

For your third question:
No. To take part in another faith's communion would be to agree with their teachings, thus making us an apostate to Orthodoxy. In effect, we excommunicate ourselves by partaking in another Faith's sacraments. We would at least need to go to Confession if not be Chrismated again immediately to be able to take communion. We Orthodox believe the Church to be the One, True Faith, everything else, no matter how many elements of Truth they may have(ie other Christian groups) are false and therefore we can NEVER take Communion from another Church, even if the other Church thinks it's ok or even encourages it.

I think this answers it pretty well, if anyone found that I left something out or got something wrong, please correct me.
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MartinIntlStud
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« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2003, 07:40:56 PM »

I just went up from being a n00bie to being a jr. member, sweet!
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justme
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« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2003, 07:52:45 PM »

Hi Martin- Communion is only for baptised and chrismated Orthodox Christians who have prepared themselves with prayer and recent confession.

What does "chrismated" mean?
BTW- I have been baptised, I do pray before, during and after communion (and of course many other times! Wink) I confess my sins to my Saviour (Jesus Christ) and to those I've sinned against. Why would I not be allowed to take communion in an Orthodox church?
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justme
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« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2003, 08:03:17 PM »

Quote
"Mini-Pope?" As an Evangelical Protestant, I have no idea what you are talking about there.

One of the "twin pillars" of the Reformation was the doctrine of Sola Scriptura - the "Bible Alone" as the sole rule of faith and practice.

Since the Bible does not interpret itself, it is up to each individual Evangelical Protestant to decide for himself what it means and thus what Christianity is.

This practice in effect elevates the authority of the individual above that of the Church.

In Roman Catholicism the Pope is the authority over the rest of the Church.

In Evangelical Protestantism each individual believer is the authority and thus a "mini-Pope."
« Last Edit: April 20, 2003, 08:06:28 PM by Linus7 » Logged

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MartinIntlStud
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« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2003, 08:41:11 PM »

Chrismation is the 2nd sacrament that completes the ritual of Baptism. It it the annoiting of oil and the laying on of hands by a Priest or Bishop through which we recieve the Holy Spirit. In Orthodoxy, this immediately follows the sacrament of Baptism, in Catholicism it is called "confirmation" and is seperated. Without being Baptised in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and then being Chrismated by an Orthodox Priest or Bishop, one is not Orthodox and therefore not eligable for Holy Communion in the Orthodox Church. Once again, if I have anything wrong, please correct me.
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MartinIntlStud
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« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2003, 08:44:37 PM »

Also, as an Evangelical Protestant, you do not have the same beliefs as the Orthodox Church and therefore out of Communion with us, the only way to come into Communion with us is 1) to believe ALL of what we believe and 2) to be Chrismated, thus being recieved into the Church. Maintaining Communion within the Church is done by frequent prayer, fasting and regular confession along with regular attendance and recieving of the Holy Mysteries(Sacraments).
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« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2003, 09:32:05 PM »

To address your first question, I would say that Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy are similar only at the surface. Until recently, I though the Orthodox were just Catholics with a Greek or Russian accent. It is difficult to explain the differences in one post since the difference is at the most basic, philosophical level. Despite appearences, there are many ways in which Roman Catholicism and Protestantism are more closely related to each other than either is to Orthodoxy.

Since we are supposed to be serving the same risen Saviour, I don't understand this position at all.

What are your views on communion?

Both the Orthodox and the Catholic believe that through the Eucharist we become united with God and all others participating in the Eucharist. This is not a symbolic gesture, but very real. Unless you share all beliefs, including this one, how can you expect your mother-in-law to participate in this act of unity with you. Unless you truly believe in the Communion of the Saints, you can not ask some who does believe to Commune with you.

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Brendan03
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« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2003, 09:19:37 AM »

Justme --

From the RC perspective, it's about belonging to the RCC.  If you are not a RC, you can't receive communion there (although the RCC will allow Orthodox and some other "sacramental" Christians to receive communion in the RCC because the RCC believes that these other churches also have a "valid Eucharist").  The RCC doesn't believe that the "communion" offered in churches other than the RCC, the Orthodox Church and some of the other "sacramental churches" (which basically means the churches in the east, not the protestant churches) is really a Eucharist at all, and so therefore RCs are not allowed to partake in it.

From the Orthodox perspective, one must be an Orthodox Christian to receive communion in the Orthodox Church.  Why is this?  The basic reason is that for Orthodox the Eucharist is the seal of unity in faith and love of the entire church --it is the act of expressing unity and communion with God and with the entire Church of God.  The prerequisite for that is that all who partake confess the same Orthodox faith -- and hence those who are not Orthodox may not partake.  

Brendan
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« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2003, 02:27:51 PM »

I thought the RCC recognized the Orthodox Church's sacraments as real and valid. I always thought we were considered schismatic, not heretical, not that I want to take communion in a Roman Church, just confused.
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« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2003, 03:54:01 PM »

Variations of the same thing or two completely different religions? Here's one expert opinion, from Archimandrite Serge (Keleher), a Russian Catholic who's been involved in this tradition a little longer than I've been alive: here. Or as I like to put it, all the doctrinal positives of Eastern Orthodoxy are true in the Catholic POV: it is Catholicism in 11th-century Greek form.

More colloquially, I could say it's like traditional Catholicism with a unique mystical kick to it.

Quote
I thought the RCC recognized the Orthodox Church's sacraments as real and valid.

It does.

Quote
I always thought we were considered schismatic, not heretical, not that I want to take communion in a Roman Church, just confused.

At most the Catholics see the Orthodox as in schism but no longer call born, ex-Protestant or ex-unchurched Orthodox schismatics.
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« Reply #18 on: April 22, 2003, 03:04:40 PM »

Dear JustMe:

As one who was born and raised in an Evangelical home, converted to RCism, and is now converting to Orthodoxy, I can tell you there are differences.  

I can't remember who said it, but someone said that Roman Catholicism and protestantism are just two sides of the same coin.  This is fundamentally true.  Also St. Justin Popovic once said that the RCC is just the world's oldest and largest Protestant Church.  

To one coming from a lowchurch (not applicable to keble) Protestant Background with little to no experience with Liturgy, RCism and Holy Orthodoxy look the same.  They have Liturgy, Ecclesiastical Art, Vestments, Candles, Incense, Ordained Priests, etc.  Everything that is good in RCism is in Orthodoxy, however Orthodoxy has more, so much more.  Orthodoxy has the Holy Spirit in its fullness.  I am not speaking of the Charismatic movement.  There was never a need for Charismaticism in Orthodoxy because Orthodoxy never lost the paraclete.  

My suggestion is one sunday for you and your family to hop in the car and go to the local Orthodox Church and see for yourself what Orthodoxy is all about.  

Joe Zollars
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« Reply #19 on: April 22, 2003, 03:05:23 PM »

PS:  great Avatar Martin, how did you get it to work?

Joe Zollars
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MartinIntlStud
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« Reply #20 on: April 23, 2003, 09:49:01 PM »

Thanks a lot! I sent it to David and he re-sized it for me. I got it from the OCA website, though methinks they got it from a Catholic source because the writing is in Latin, not Greek or Slavonic, but he is a Western Saint, so it could just be honoring that tradition.
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« Reply #21 on: April 24, 2003, 04:34:41 AM »

When I became RC, I took the name Martin.  That was the image I kept of him in my Icon 'corner' (really an East facing wall since the corner is already filled with built in bookshelves) to this day.  I got it from OCA, which I thought at the time was some wacko Catholic group that had nice pictures.

I doupt very highly that it is from a Catholic source as he is depicted as a Eastern Heirarch which most Easterns tend to do (at least it seems to me) but Catholics would not.  Also it would more likely be done in Italianate style Iconography not greek.

Anastasios also resized mine which I also got from OCA.  Thanks a million Anastasios.

Joe Zollars
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