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neon_knights
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« on: December 05, 2011, 10:46:30 PM »

Often times you will hear Orthodox say things like "The Orthodox Faith is "unchanged" from the time of the apostles, and only the Orthodox Church holds that faith", or "The Roman Catholics added to the faith, the Protestants subtracted from it". Is this really an accurate statement?

What exactly did the Catholics "add" to the faith? A "western" view of things? It is my understanding that the Western church always held a different way of approaching the faith, different terminologies, etc. This is confirmed by Metropolitan Kallistos in "The Orthodox Church", where he states that the historic Eastern and Western Churches both had different approaches to the faith, that complimented each other and both made up the fullness of Catholic tradition. Wouldnt this mean that the Orthodox, being the East, would only hold half of the Catholic tradition?

Again, what did the RC's add to the faith? Wouldnt the Orthodox have added just as much? How can the Orthodox Church hold the "Fullness of the Faith" if its mindset and approach to the faith is all eastern? What does "Fullness of the Faith" even mean?
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« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2011, 11:16:46 PM »

Often times you will hear Orthodox say things like "The Orthodox Faith is "unchanged" from the time of the apostles, and only the Orthodox Church holds that faith", or "The Roman Catholics added to the faith, the Protestants subtracted from it". Is this really an accurate statement?

Yes, it is accurate.

What exactly did the Catholics "add" to the faith? A "western" view of things? It is my understanding that the Western church always held a different way of approaching the faith, different terminologies, etc. This is confirmed by Metropolitan Kallistos in "The Orthodox Church", where he states that the historic Eastern and Western Churches both had different approaches to the faith, that complimented each other and both made up the fullness of Catholic tradition.

The Western and Eastern Churches did have a separate cultural understanding of the Faith and expressed them differently. There are significant differences in terminology, liturgical rite, etc. that always existed between East and West (and even more within both Eastern and Western traditions as we define them today). However, this does not mean that each only had "half" of the Catholic tradition. As St. Ignatius of Antioch reminds us. "where there is the bishop, there is the Catholic Church." The fullness of the Church is found everywhere a bishop is surrounded by his flock, and is therefore inherently local. The growth of metropolitan bishops (and later patriarchs) having territories than encompassed the territories of other bishops came along after the legalization of Christianity, several centuries into Church history. The give-and-take of the West and East, for 1,000 years, was a beautiful display of the fullness of the Orthodox Faith.

Wouldnt this mean that the Orthodox, being the East, would only hold half of the Catholic tradition?

No. Both the West and the East held the fullness of the Orthodox Faith. The way they spoke about it was somewhat different, and definitely complimented each other very beautifully, but it wasn't that the West had part and the East had part...both churches maintained the fullness of Orthodoxy, they simply expressed them in different ways, the Truth was the same.


Again, what did the RC's add to the faith? Wouldnt the Orthodox have added just as much? How can the Orthodox Church hold the "Fullness of the Faith" if its mindset and approach to the faith is all eastern? What does "Fullness of the Faith" even mean?

When we talk of "Fullness of the Faith" we mean that it is the Faith which was taught from the beginning, in the Old Testament, fulfilled by Christ, entrusted to the Apostles and passed down throughout the centuries without change. Sure, clerical dress, liturgical rites and other trappings have and do change, the Church is revealed within history not apart from it, but the Faith itself, what is taught and believed, does not. It may be further expounded in the face of heresies to clarify the Faith (as the Councils of the Church do), but this is not a change of what we believe, only a clarification that heresy be seen for what it is and cut off from the True Vine.

The RCs have added ideas to the faith that the Orthodox would say are not originally part of that which was delivered to the saints. Such ideas as Original Guilt, the Infallibility and Supremacy of the Pope of Rome, the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Purgatory (as it is understood in RC theology) are all examples of dogmas from the Roman Catholic Church that we view as additions to the Orthodox faith.

I hope that helps!
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« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2011, 12:24:10 AM »

Benjamin has given an excellent summary of the situation regarding the differences between the RCC and Orthodoxy.  I would add our different view of the Atonement, the RCC belief in a "Treasury of Merits" and the RCC idea of "Acts of Reparation"

"In his encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor, Pope Pius XI defined reparation as follows:
The creature's love should be given in return for the love of the Creator, another thing follows from this at once, namely that to the same uncreated Love, if so be it has been neglected by forgetfulness or violated by offense, some sort of compensation must be rendered for the injury, and this debt is commonly called by the name of reparation."  

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acts_of_reparation

This includes the idea of "Acts of Reparation to the Virgin Mary"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acts_of_Reparation_to_the_Virgin_Mary

« Last Edit: December 06, 2011, 12:26:44 AM by peteprint » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2011, 11:53:14 PM »

Bumping this.
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« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2011, 12:13:28 AM »

Often times you will hear Orthodox say things like "The Orthodox Faith is "unchanged" from the time of the apostles, and only the Orthodox Church holds that faith", or "The Roman Catholics added to the faith, the Protestants subtracted from it". Is this really an accurate statement?

What exactly did the Catholics "add" to the faith? A "western" view of things? It is my understanding that the Western church always held a different way of approaching the faith, different terminologies, etc. This is confirmed by Metropolitan Kallistos in "The Orthodox Church", where he states that the historic Eastern and Western Churches both had different approaches to the faith, that complimented each other and both made up the fullness of Catholic tradition. Wouldnt this mean that the Orthodox, being the East, would only hold half of the Catholic tradition?

Again, what did the RC's add to the faith? Wouldnt the Orthodox have added just as much? How can the Orthodox Church hold the "Fullness of the Faith" if its mindset and approach to the faith is all eastern? What does "Fullness of the Faith" even mean?

A few examples of RC innovations/additions. The Filioque, the Papacy, the immaculate conception, purgatory, indulgences, witholding the chalice from communion, sprinkling water baptism, treasury of merits...I could go on.
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« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2011, 02:45:39 AM »

Often times you will hear Orthodox say things like "The Orthodox Faith is "unchanged" from the time of the apostles, and only the Orthodox Church holds that faith", or "The Roman Catholics added to the faith, the Protestants subtracted from it". Is this really an accurate statement?

What exactly did the Catholics "add" to the faith? A "western" view of things? It is my understanding that the Western church always held a different way of approaching the faith, different terminologies, etc. This is confirmed by Metropolitan Kallistos in "The Orthodox Church", where he states that the historic Eastern and Western Churches both had different approaches to the faith, that complimented each other and both made up the fullness of Catholic tradition. Wouldnt this mean that the Orthodox, being the East, would only hold half of the Catholic tradition?

Again, what did the RC's add to the faith? Wouldnt the Orthodox have added just as much? How can the Orthodox Church hold the "Fullness of the Faith" if its mindset and approach to the faith is all eastern? What does "Fullness of the Faith" even mean?

A few examples of RC innovations/additions. The Filioque, the Papacy, the immaculate conception, purgatory, indulgences, witholding the chalice from communion, sprinkling water baptism, treasury of merits...I could go on.

Dont Orthodox believe in purgatory?
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« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2011, 03:30:11 AM »

No, we don't.  Purgatory as understood by the RCC has never been part of Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2011, 03:40:28 AM »

The following is an article by an Eastern Rite Catholic which might be helpful:

"As a general rule, all Eastern Christians do not use the word "Purgatory." This includes both Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christians. The word "Purgatory" is specific to the Latin tradition, and carries some specific historical baggage that makes Eastern Christians uncomfortable.

In the Medieval West, many popular theologians defined Purgatory as a specific place, where people essentially sat around and suffered. Some theologians went so far as to imply that a literal fire burns those who suffer in Purgatory. It was also popular to tally periods of time that people spent in purgatory for various offences. It is worth noting that contemporary (emphasis mine) Roman Catholic theology has (thankfully) moved beyond this approach, to a more Patristic understanding of Purgatory.

In the Catholic understanding, only two points are necessary dogma concerning "purgatory": 1) There is a place of transition/transformation for those en-route to Heaven, and 2) prayer is efficacious for the dead who are in this state.

The Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches agree with the Latin Church fully on both of these points. In practice, we routinely celebrate Divine Liturgies for the dead, and offer numerous prayers on their behalf. We would not do so if we did not agree with the above two dogmatic points.

But again, we do not use the word "Purgatory" for two reasons. First, it is a Latin word first used in the Medieval West, and we use Greek words to describe our theology. Second, the word "Purgatory" still carries specific Medieval baggage that we aren't comfortable with."

http://www.east2west.org/doctrine.htm

As can be seen from the article above, by a Catholic, the RCC has a "developing theology," so their position on Purgatory has changed over time.  The Orthodox position regarding the subject has remained consistent.  Also, the "baggage" he refers to is where we as Orthodox have most of our problems with the RCC view, namely indulgences (which then lead to the "Treasury of Merits" concept), and the idea of being punished for "venial sins".  As so often has been the case, the RCC has taken something and altered the understanding of it in such a way that we cannot accept it.  But since they have a belief in doctrinal development, there is no telling what their position on a subject will be down the road.  The RCC of today is not the RCC of even 70 years ago.  The prayers that we offer for the dead have nothing in common with indulgences.  Orthodoxy is much more consistent.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2011, 03:53:18 AM by peteprint » Logged
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« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2011, 07:22:43 AM »

Quote
In practice, we routinely celebrate Divine Liturgies for the dead,

Correction: The Orthodox serve memorials (panikhidi, mnemosyna) for the dead, not Liturgies. In some Orthodox traditions, a memorial may be served within a Divine Liturgy, but the Liturgy itself is not specifically dedicated to the deceased.
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« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2011, 08:47:05 AM »

"The Roman Catholics added to the faith, the Protestants subtracted from it". Is this really an accurate statement?

I would have to accept that as a simple fact. It is splitting hairs as the end result remains the same, but to my limited knowledge the intention of early Protestant reformers was to 'subtract' what Catholicism added. As I learn more about Orthodoxy and the early Protestant reformation I'm beginning to wonder if the term 'over compensate' might apply.   
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« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2011, 10:48:01 AM »

I recall hearing a Protestant pastor say that a major shift in understanding salvation came with the Greek translation of the NT correcting mistranslations of the Vulgate. A major example I heard mentioned was in Matthew 4:17 when the Lord says, "Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (KJV). This was said to be previously understood as an emphasis on  penance in endless tasks for salvation instead of living penitentially in faith. Perhaps the western mindset could not shake its previous legalist concept of penance & shifted it to an overemphasis of understanding salvation by grace according to faith while losing the sense of the role penitance & works play to abide in faith unto salvation.
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« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2011, 12:44:45 PM »

I recall hearing a Protestant pastor say that a major shift in understanding salvation came with the Greek translation of the NT correcting mistranslations of the Vulgate. A major example I heard mentioned was in Matthew 4:17 when the Lord says, "Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (KJV). This was said to be previously understood as an emphasis on  penance in endless tasks for salvation instead of living penitentially in faith. Perhaps the western mindset could not shake its previous legalist concept of penance & shifted it to an overemphasis of understanding salvation by grace according to faith while losing the sense of the role penitance & works play to abide in faith unto salvation.

I was always under the understanding that the New Testament was originally written in Greek, or I think more correctly 'common Greek'. I guess that is now a matter of debate in some circles. At any rate the Latin Vulgate was certainly one of the matters of contention with the Protestant reformation. 
To what extent that led some denominations to overemphasize faith in regards to repentace, and salvation, is beyond my knowledge or Truth as I have received it.
I think its an interesting question though.
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« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2011, 02:57:38 PM »

I still want to get a copy of a Latin and English Bible, just because I love the sound of the old language. That's just me, though.  Wink  angel
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« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2011, 03:25:37 PM »

"The Roman Catholics added to the faith, the Protestants subtracted from it". Is this really an accurate statement?

I would have to accept that as a simple fact. It is splitting hairs as the end result remains the same, but to my limited knowledge the intention of early Protestant reformers was to 'subtract' what Catholicism added. As I learn more about Orthodoxy and the early Protestant reformation I'm beginning to wonder if the term 'over compensate' might apply.   

Throwing the baby out with the bathwater, yes...I think this is a very accurate summation.
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« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2011, 03:26:33 PM »

"The Roman Catholics added to the faith, the Protestants subtracted from it". Is this really an accurate statement?

I would have to accept that as a simple fact. It is splitting hairs as the end result remains the same, but to my limited knowledge the intention of early Protestant reformers was to 'subtract' what Catholicism added. As I learn more about Orthodoxy and the early Protestant reformation I'm beginning to wonder if the term 'over compensate' might apply.   

That has a ring of truth to it.  Smiley
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« Reply #15 on: December 12, 2011, 04:09:43 PM »

"The Roman Catholics added to the faith, the Protestants subtracted from it". Is this really an accurate statement?

I would have to accept that as a simple fact. It is splitting hairs as the end result remains the same, but to my limited knowledge the intention of early Protestant reformers was to 'subtract' what Catholicism added. As I learn more about Orthodoxy and the early Protestant reformation I'm beginning to wonder if the term 'over compensate' might apply.   

Throwing the baby out with the bathwater, yes...I think this is a very accurate summation.
I agree! It's like cutting off your nose to spite your face. Making some decisions for the sole purpose of distancing yourself from the original church...well, some Protestant denominations seem like that anyway. Can't resemble those Catholics! (In most of the Protestant churches I attended, Orthodoxy is a non-issue because many of the people I knew really didn't know anything about the Church...)
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« Reply #16 on: December 13, 2011, 11:43:21 AM »

"The Roman Catholics added to the faith, the Protestants subtracted from it". Is this really an accurate statement?

I would have to accept that as a simple fact. It is splitting hairs as the end result remains the same, but to my limited knowledge the intention of early Protestant reformers was to 'subtract' what Catholicism added. As I learn more about Orthodoxy and the early Protestant reformation I'm beginning to wonder if the term 'over compensate' might apply.   

Throwing the baby out with the bathwater, yes...I think this is a very accurate summation.
I agree! It's like cutting off your nose to spite your face. Making some decisions for the sole purpose of distancing yourself from the original church...well, some Protestant denominations seem like that anyway. Can't resemble those Catholics! (In most of the Protestant churches I attended, Orthodoxy is a non-issue because many of the people I knew really didn't know anything about the Church...)
Yeah, the more I learn, the more sure I am that alot of things Protestant reformers did was simply to be the opposite of Roman Catholics.

PP
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« Reply #17 on: December 13, 2011, 04:38:34 PM »

Its alot like politics. how everyone wants to do everything opposite of the other party, even if some of the stuff is ok or good. Guilt by association, so they try to seperate themselves as much as they can. It's no different.
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