Orthodox And Catholic Church Essay Research Paper

Orthodox And Catholic Church Essay, Research Paper


In 1054 an important event happened which divide the Christianity and led the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Romean Catholic Church in collision for matters that had to do with doctrines and disciplinary such as:

+ The worship of the icons that the Rome defended and struggled the iconoclasts.

+ The Papal Primacy in which the Eastern Orthodox Church was opposite.

+ The problem of the clerical celibacy.

+ The “Filioque”.

+ The use of the unleavened bread in the Eucharist from the Catholics and the leavened from the Orthodox.

There were many disagreements between the Rome and the Constantinople and the Rome accused the Constantinople for changing the balances. The first signs of the Schism appeared the 9th century upon Bishop Photious but the final happened on 1054 upon Bishop Michael Ceroularious, who was excommunicated from a committee of Romeans priests that had been sent from Pope Leo IX in purpose to impose the Papal Primacy. The people rose, the priest returned to Rome and Ceroylarious excommunicated the Pope.

Also Rome wanted her Church to have more power and more prestige from the patriarchates of Constantinoples, Jurisalims, Alexandrias, and Antiochias something that was not acceptable.

Papal Primacy

All the Bishops of the Catholic Church is under the authority of Pope, who derives all his powers from the primacy that the Catholic Theologian award only to Saint Peter, the Pope is recognized as the ultimate leader, Bishop of Rome, and representative of Christ in earth. When he talks for any matters that have to do with faith and ethic of the Catholic people, the Pope is considered “infallible” and the decisions that he takes are irrevocable and finals. That has as a result all the loyals to accept these decisions. The validation determined on the Batican Synod A’ (1869-70) where the doctrine of the Papal Primacy formulated.

Contrary the Orthodox does not recognize the primacy and the doctrine for the “infallible” of Pope. The Patriarch of Constantinople has only the honor priority and he is the first Bishop of the Orthodox Church but his jurisdiction does not extend beyond the boundaries of his area.


Another problem that existed in that age was the worship of the icons. The Rome was upward but the Byzantium was against. That had as a result to start many persecutions. The persecutions started on 726 By Emperor Leo after his edict in which he declared that all icons are idols, and he ordered their destruction. The persecutions continued by his son Constantine V and in the Synod of Hieria (753) alleged that since an icon represent only the humanity of Christ, worshiping it either divided Christ’s unity or confounded his two nature. Worse, worshiping icons of Mary or the Saints was pure idololatry. Persecutions continues until 843 when the regent Irene had the Monk Methodius elected Patriarch and a great feast celebrated in honor of the icons.

The Holy Trinity

One matter by which the two churches are in contra to each other is the “filioque” matter. Catholics believe that the Holy Spirit proceeds not only from the Father but also from the Son, which was added to the Nicene Creed.

Contrary to Orthodox belief where the Father alone is the origin of both the Son and the Holy Spirit which is why the Orthodox would not accept this change.

Orthodox View Catholic View



The Sacraments


Baptism and confirmation

Baptism in Orthodox Church is fullfilled with the washing of the body which involves the use of water and the Trinitirian invocation “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”, while the body is being partly or wholy immersed in water, or otherwise the water may be poured over the head or a few drops may be sprinled or placed on the head. After the baptism has taken place the priest anoints the forehead, eyes, nostrils, mouth, ears, breast, hands, and feet with a Chrism, a mixture of olive oil and a balsm blessed by a bishop.


Both churches use the words of institution (”This is my Body…,”"This is my Blood”) where as the Orthodox prayer not only refers to the remembrance of Christ’s act but in the invocation of Holy Spirit. Also in Orthodox Church use leavened bread and wine while the Catholics use unleavened bread and only the priest is permitted to receive Communion with wine.


The Orthodox Church recognizes three major orders: the diaconate, the priesthood, and the episcopate, as well as the minor orders of lectorate and the subdiaconate. All the ordinations are performed by a bishop and during the eucharistic liturgy. The consecration of a bishop requires the participation of at least two or three bishops, as well as an election by a canonical synod. (Encyclopedia Britannica 1998)


In Orthodox Church there is a variety in both the practice and the rite of penance. For example in Greece only certain priests who they are appointed by the bishop can do confessions. In Russia confession was necessary before the communion. The rite of confession in the Euchologion retains the form of a prayer, or invocation, said by the priest for the remission of the penitent’s sins. It is more a kind of healing than a judgment.

Anoint Of The Sick

This sacrament is a healing by prayer. In the eastern Orthodox Church they use seven, five or three priests for recover the health of the faithfulls and not for extreme situations such as near death. Also in Greece they do this every year for all the congregation on the evening of the Holy Wednesday.


Marriage is celebrated through a rite of crowning, performed with great solemnity and signifying an eternal union, sacramentally “projected” into the Kingdom of God. Orthodox theology of marriage insists on its sacramental eternity rather than its legal indissolubility. Thus, second marriages, in cases of either widowhood or divorce, are celebrated through a subdued penitential rite, and men who have been married more than once are not admitted to the priesthood. Remarriage after divorce is tolerated on the basis of the possibility that the sacrament of marriage was not originally received with the consciousness and responsibility that would have made it fully effective; according to this view, remarriage can be a second chance. (Encyclopedia Britannica 1998)


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