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Author Topic: Differences between the expressions of the Orthodox Faith  (Read 458 times) Average Rating: 0
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MarianCatholic
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« on: September 04, 2014, 09:37:07 AM »

Hi, Although I'm a firm Catholic without any desire to leave my church I'm interested in Orthodoxy and one of my main questions is what the differences is between the different directions of the Orthodox faith.
Why is there so many different churches?
To narrow it down I guess its easier to look at the differences between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Greek Orthodox Church.
Why is there need for more than one of them is it solemn due to Liturgical differences or is it about dogma?



Thanks in advance for any clarifications given by you all:)




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« Last Edit: September 04, 2014, 09:37:57 AM by MarianCatholic » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2014, 10:07:07 AM »

The Russian and Greek churches believe the same things. Being Catholic, I'm sure you're familiar with Tradition (with a capital "t") versus tradition (with a lowercase). The Traditions between the different jurisdictions (Russian, Greek, Antiochian, Ukrainian, etc) are the same, it is the traditions that differ. I started out in a Ukrainian parish, then briefly went to a Russian, now I finally settled in my current parish - there have been no theological differences.

All of the canonical EO churches are in communion with each other and are part of the one EO church.
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« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2014, 10:08:16 AM »

First of all, it would help to know what you mean by "different directions"?

And I'm also not sure what you mean by "many churches"? Aren't there many Catholic churches?
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« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2014, 10:09:32 AM »

First of all, it would help to know what you mean by "different directions"?

And I'm also not sure what you mean by "many churches"? Aren't there many Catholic churches?

I think the amount of different jurisdictions in Orthodoxy can be confusing for anyone who isn't Orthodox. Most would assume they are separate churches with different beliefs than each other.
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« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2014, 10:26:28 AM »

First of all, it would help to know what you mean by "different directions"?

And I'm also not sure what you mean by "many churches"? Aren't there many Catholic churches?

I think the amount of different jurisdictions in Orthodoxy can be confusing for anyone who isn't Orthodox. Most would assume they are separate churches with different beliefs than each other.

Yes! Thanks for understanding dear Kelly:)
and to answer Katherineofdixie: yes there are a huge varity of Rites within the Catholic Church, but they are all under the authority of the Pope.
So you could say its more like different rooms in a building under the same roof (my anology:P).

And bear with me if my questions come of as insulting or outright stupid.
Its because I know very little about the Orthodox faith.

And yes Im familiar with the TRADITION in opposition to the "tradition" Smiley

(a side note, could my profile image of our Holy Father be seen as provoking at a Orthodox forum somehow? if thats so please let me know as the last thing I will do is to insult anyone)


Yours in Jesus and Mary
- MarianCatholic

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« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2014, 11:06:21 AM »

and to answer Katherineofdixie: yes there are a huge varity of Rites within the Catholic Church, but they are all under the authority of the Pope.
So you could say its more like different rooms in a building under the same roof (my anology:P).

There are not many rites in the Orthodox Church. Even if the Divine Liturgy is celebrated in Greek or Russian or Romanian, and although there may be subtle differences (slightly different style of vestments or local customs), it is the same service.
Orthodox Churches are united in one faith, not a person. (I don't mean to be derogatory but that's just the way it is.) I can attend and commune in any Orthodox Church. And not that long ago, I believe, Catholic churches were similarly "divided" along ethnic lines, such as Irish Catholic or Polish Catholic parishes. My husband grew up in such a parish: an Irish Catholic parish in St. Louis.

A priest I know jokes that the main difference in Russian, Arabic, Serbian, Greek, Romanian etc. parishes is the kind of pastry you get at coffee hour.
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« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2014, 11:18:37 AM »

They way it is SUPPOSED to work is Greek Orthodox is Greek, Russian Orthodox is Russian, Serbian Orthodox is Serbian. Brazilian Orthodox is Brazilian, American Orthodox is American (although there are no American or Brazilian Orthodox Churches). This has become complicated because of immigration, particularly in the US where you have different cultural groups moving here and not always meshing well with each other.  It is the hope of many in the US that we will get our own church at some point rather than a sprinkling of various jurisdictions in one geographic area, but as with anything, there are complicating factors.
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« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2014, 11:30:44 AM »

and to answer Katherineofdixie: yes there are a huge varity of Rites within the Catholic Church, but they are all under the authority of the Pope.
So you could say its more like different rooms in a building under the same roof (my anology:P).

There are not many rites in the Orthodox Church. Even if the Divine Liturgy is celebrated in Greek or Russian or Romanian, and although there may be subtle differences (slightly different style of vestments or local customs), it is the same service.
Orthodox Churches are united in one faith, not a person. (I don't mean to be derogatory but that's just the way it is.) I can attend and commune in any Orthodox Church. And not that long ago, I believe, Catholic churches were similarly "divided" along ethnic lines, such as Irish Catholic or Polish Catholic parishes. My husband grew up in such a parish: an Irish Catholic parish in St. Louis.

A priest I know jokes that the main difference in Russian, Arabic, Serbian, Greek, Romanian etc. parishes is the kind of pastry you get at coffee hour.

Attacking the Papacy a real classic...
We both know that we consider ourselves (Catholics) to be guided by the Pope/ the holy see (The Church through the Holy Spirit) and united in Christ.
So not the person, but the position that the pope has been given by Christ himself.
So the matter of fact it is a bit provoking to have false accusations trown our way.

I know that the Papacy might be the biggest issues that the Orthodox church has with the Catholic church and that's not something new so it may be a topic we`re better of not discussing all together as it seems it only widens the gap between us which is unfortunate when trying to establish a dialogue.


yours in Jesus and Mary
- MarianCatholic

« Last Edit: September 04, 2014, 11:36:59 AM by MarianCatholic » Logged
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« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2014, 11:31:40 AM »

Actually the differences between the different "jurisdictions" is less like those between Eastern and Western Catholics and more like those between a Catholic Church in Hamtrack, MI and one in South Bend, IN.  Same liturgy, same sacraments, same beliefs but differences in culture.  Because of the canonical anomaly of multiple jurisdictions in one land that we have in the US (and many other places in the west) it seems more pronounced but as time goes by you will start to see it become less about the language(s) used in the liturgy and more about whether they have Greekfest or a Slavic Heritage Festival every year.
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« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2014, 11:37:25 AM »

Attacking the Papacy a real classic...

I really don't think she was attacking the papacy at all.  The fact is all "Catholic" churches  are united by being under the jurisdiction of the Pope and have him as their earthly head.  This does not preclude them also being subject to Christ.  Perhaps her wording was a bit off and may have been better off saying something along the lines of "united by one faith and not also one person" but I will give her the benefit of the doubt and not assume she meant that "Catholics" are not also united by a common faith.
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« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2014, 11:39:24 AM »

Hi, Although I'm a firm Catholic without any desire to leave my church I'm interested in Orthodoxy and one of my main questions is what the differences is between the different directions of the Orthodox faith.
Why is there so many different churches?
To narrow it down I guess its easier to look at the differences between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Greek Orthodox Church.
Why is there need for more than one of them is it solemn due to Liturgical differences or is it about dogma?

While it's not an exact parallel, I would compare it to the current set up in your Church.  

For instance, you have any number of dioceses in the US, and their bishops are members of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.  Just north of the US is another country with any number of diocese and their own Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.  Many countries have this set up, and there are even regional Conferences.  Each bishop has jurisdiction in his own diocese, but the Conference can exercise some jurisdiction on matters which apply to all whom they represent (e.g., new Missal translation, liturgical calendar proper to the country).  

In the Roman Catholic Church, none of those Conferences are, technically, Synods, and none of those "national Churches" are considered independent administrations: they are an administrative convenience, but all are basically under Rome.  In the Orthodox Church, those Conferences would be Synods, and the dioceses they represent would constitute a self-administering independent local/regional Church.  

In both cases, the faith and discipline is the same.  We are just more decentralised than you, and so it looks like "different directions", but essentially it's no different a direction than the "USCCB" vs "CCCB".      
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« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2014, 11:42:20 AM »

and to answer Katherineofdixie: yes there are a huge varity of Rites within the Catholic Church, but they are all under the authority of the Pope.
So you could say its more like different rooms in a building under the same roof (my anology:P).

There are not many rites in the Orthodox Church. Even if the Divine Liturgy is celebrated in Greek or Russian or Romanian, and although there may be subtle differences (slightly different style of vestments or local customs), it is the same service.
Orthodox Churches are united in one faith, not a person. (I don't mean to be derogatory but that's just the way it is.) I can attend and commune in any Orthodox Church. And not that long ago, I believe, Catholic churches were similarly "divided" along ethnic lines, such as Irish Catholic or Polish Catholic parishes. My husband grew up in such a parish: an Irish Catholic parish in St. Louis.

A priest I know jokes that the main difference in Russian, Arabic, Serbian, Greek, Romanian etc. parishes is the kind of pastry you get at coffee hour.

Attacking the Papacy a real classic...
We both know that we consider ourselves (Catholics) to be guided by the Pope/ the holy see (The Church through the Holy Spirit) and united in Christ.
So not the person, but the position that the pope has been given by Christ himself.
So the matter of fact it is a bit provoking to have false accusations trown our way.

I know that the Papacy might be the biggest issues that the Orthodox church has with the Catholic church and that's not something new so it may be a topic we`re better of not discussing all together as it seems it only widens the gap between us which is unfortunate when trying to establish a dialogue.


yours in Jesus and Mary
- MarianCatholic


I don't think she intended to attack the Papacy, it is just a reality that it tends to be the biggest struggle with Roman Catholics who are learning about Orthodoxy to understand that. Many Catholics just equate the Ecumenical Patriarch as the "Orthodox Pope", but that is not at all how we look at it.  It is very much a conciliar approach; the EP has no jurisdiction over something the Russian Patriach or the Antiochian Patriarch might say or do.
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« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2014, 12:14:44 PM »

Attacking the Papacy a real classic...

I really don't think she was attacking the papacy at all.  The fact is all "Catholic" churches  are united by being under the jurisdiction of the Pope and have him as their earthly head.  This does not preclude them also being subject to Christ.  Perhaps her wording was a bit off and may have been better off saying something along the lines of "united by one faith and not also one person" but I will give her the benefit of the doubt and not assume she meant that "Catholics" are not also united by a common faith.

I wasn't attacking the Papacy at all - the OP said that all Catholics are united under the authority of the Pope. There is no Pope in Orthodoxy so we are all united by a common faith and not a particular person. I even said that I didn't mean anything derogatory. Believe me, if I wanted to attack the Papacy, I could do so. But it is not productive and has been discussed often here. In such discussions, it has been pointed out that to be united under the Pope is necessary to be Catholic - it is the essence, so to speak. I'm no expert in Catholic theology, but the same is not true in Orthodoxy. We are not united under a particular Bishop or Hierarch but by the common faith that we hold.
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« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2014, 12:23:23 PM »

So now that I've inadvertantly offended the OP, let me go further. One of the difficulties that I find in discussions with Catholics is a sort of assumption on their part that there are no real differences between our churches and whatever difference exist are due to a silly misunderstanding centuries ago, or to anti-Western or anti-Catholic bias on the part of the Orthodox. While individual Orthodox folks can be just as biased as anyone else, this is generally not the case. There are very real, substantive differences. The opinion of most Orthodox is that we do not share the same faith.
Oh, and also the tendency to see every remark about the way the Orthodox Church is organized as a criticism of the Papacy. Or the Pope. Whom most Orthodox respect, and recognize as the Bishop of Rome.
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« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2014, 12:27:38 PM »

The confusion is in the use of the word churches. In fact, it refers to the jurisdictions of the One Orthodox Church.

The governing body of the Orthodox Church is the Synod, which is the chair of the Apostles and of St. Peter. It is composed of the Patriarchs and heads of the autocephalous jurisdictions/churches and is presided by the first-among-equals Patriarch of Constantinople. His authority as first-among-equals is over the synod, not over any other jurisdiction besides his own or over the church as a whole.

This Synod is most of the time virtual, and the more so in previous centuries. They meet among themselves on occasions and rarely, all of them meet together as happened this year. Not all their meetings are "councils" per se and there are hopes and plans (more hopes than plans) that a council will be possible in 2016.

We also believe this is the Orthodoxy of Catholic governance of the Church, from which Rome deffected in a slow process from about the 9th (Photian Council) to the 14th century (Palamite Councils).

Please, understand that we mean no offense in this, but from our point of view *we* are the Catholic Church, and Rome, once the first patriarchate, left the orthodoxy of catholicism due to its heterodox beliefs about the governance of the church and the filioque. Thus, due to our insistency on the orthodoxy of the catholic faith, we became known in the West as the Orthodox Church, although in Orthodox lands you will hear the terms "Catholic" and even "Roman" being attributed to the church known here in the West as "Orthodox".

The "Roman" being used by us occurs because some theologians and historians understand that the religion that was adopted in the old city of Rome is not the religion of the Christian Roman Empire, whose capital was, after all, Constantinople. These critics believe that a heretic form of Christianity was created by the Franks and eventually by force and cunning, managed to conquer the city and the see of Rome, deposing the religion of the Romans for this new religion of the Franks. In this perspective the Roman church is Roman only in the same sense that the Coliseum is Roman, because it is located in Rome, but not in the ecclesiastical sense of the word "Roman" as meaning that continuation of the Apostolic church, the imperial form of Christianity.
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« Reply #15 on: September 04, 2014, 01:14:30 PM »

So now that I've inadvertantly offended the OP, let me go further. One of the difficulties that I find in discussions with Catholics is a sort of assumption on their part that there are no real differences between our churches and whatever difference exist are due to a silly misunderstanding centuries ago, or to anti-Western or anti-Catholic bias on the part of the Orthodox. While individual Orthodox folks can be just as biased as anyone else, this is generally not the case. There are very real, substantive differences. The opinion of most Orthodox is that we do not share the same faith.
Oh, and also the tendency to see every remark about the way the Orthodox Church is organized as a criticism of the Papacy. Or the Pope. Whom most Orthodox respect, and recognize as the Bishop of Rome.

Dear Katherineofdixie I'm glad to see that I read your post different than your intentions:)
I'm a bit more on edge maybe than most Catholics as well due to the fact that I'm a convert to the faith from Lutheranism with a lot of familymembers within the Pentecostal direction of Protestantism and therefor Ive faced criticism over the Papacy and my firm believe in it more than once.
So again if I read an insult into anything who wasn't meant to be so at all please forgive me.



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« Reply #16 on: September 04, 2014, 01:20:49 PM »

The confusion is in the use of the word churches. In fact, it refers to the jurisdictions of the One Orthodox Church.

The governing body of the Orthodox Church is the Synod, which is the chair of the Apostles and of St. Peter. It is composed of the Patriarchs and heads of the autocephalous jurisdictions/churches and is presided by the first-among-equals Patriarch of Constantinople. His authority as first-among-equals is over the synod, not over any other jurisdiction besides his own or over the church as a whole.

This Synod is most of the time virtual, and the more so in previous centuries. They meet among themselves on occasions and rarely, all of them meet together as happened this year. Not all their meetings are "councils" per se and there are hopes and plans (more hopes than plans) that a council will be possible in 2016.

We also believe this is the Orthodoxy of Catholic governance of the Church, from which Rome deffected in a slow process from about the 9th (Photian Council) to the 14th century (Palamite Councils).

Please, understand that we mean no offense in this, but from our point of view *we* are the Catholic Church, and Rome, once the first patriarchate, left the orthodoxy of catholicism due to its heterodox beliefs about the governance of the church and the filioque. Thus, due to our insistency on the orthodoxy of the catholic faith, we became known in the West as the Orthodox Church, although in Orthodox lands you will hear the terms "Catholic" and even "Roman" being attributed to the church known here in the West as "Orthodox".

The "Roman" being used by us occurs because some theologians and historians understand that the religion that was adopted in the old city of Rome is not the religion of the Christian Roman Empire, whose capital was, after all, Constantinople. These critics believe that a heretic form of Christianity was created by the Franks and eventually by force and cunning, managed to conquer the city and the see of Rome, deposing the religion of the Romans for this new religion of the Franks. In this perspective the Roman church is Roman only in the same sense that the Coliseum is Roman, because it is located in Rome, but not in the ecclesiastical sense of the word "Roman" as meaning that continuation of the Apostolic church, the imperial form of Christianity.

Even though I obviously dont agree with this at all I can see some of the points you are making.
I know that you see yourselves as the Original Catholic church and that it may create some room for misunderstanding between us because we obviously do likewise and that the terminology makes room for confusion indeed.



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« Reply #17 on: September 04, 2014, 01:34:28 PM »


anyways digressions put aside, thanks for all the replies Ive recieved and for your honest attempts to educate me in liturgical part of the Orthodox Faith:)
I may post further questions at some later point if I wonder about certain things:)
Also I hope despite our differences that I may continue to ask questions about your faith as it interess me to find out more about the Orthodox faith.

Again thanks for answers:)



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« Reply #18 on: September 05, 2014, 05:23:36 PM »

...

(a side note, could my profile image of our Holy Father be seen as provoking at a Orthodox forum somehow? if thats so please let me know as the last thing I will do is to insult anyone)


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« Reply #19 on: September 08, 2014, 06:28:50 AM »

...

(a side note, could my profile image of our Holy Father be seen as provoking at a Orthodox forum somehow? if thats so please let me know as the last thing I will do is to insult anyone)


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« Reply #20 on: September 08, 2014, 11:47:57 AM »

Its really not that hard to understand. The Orthodox church is structured exactly like the Catholic church, but instead of the Pope as the penultimate authority we have the Holy Spirit.
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« Reply #21 on: September 23, 2014, 09:00:37 PM »

Given the above statement, where do the Orthodox Patriarchs fit into the structure? 
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« Reply #22 on: September 23, 2014, 09:14:10 PM »

Given the above statement, where do the Orthodox Patriarchs fit into the structure? 
Hopefully under the Holy Spirit.
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