5 Differences Between the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church

Difference #1 – The Orthodox Church Doesn’t Have a Pope Figure
Difference #2 – The Involvement of the Children
Difference #3 – What Happen After Death
Difference #4 – Liturgical Revision
Difference #5 – Asceticism and Fasting

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qdr7u6IP6sg

Transcript:

Difference #1 – The Orthodox Church Doesn’t Have a Pope Figure

Probably the biggest, and most obvious, difference between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, is that the Orthodox Church doesn’t have a Pope figure. For Roman Catholics the Pope is not only supreme, that is to say, he has immediate jurisdiction in every Church in the whole world, but he is also infallible under certain circumstances. The Orthodox Church doesn’t agree with either one of those doctrines. We don’t see any one Bishop as being supreme throughout the whole world, nor do we see any of them as being preserved by God infallibly, when they speak on faith and morals. We have essentially a College of Bishops, and they make decisions together and they typically will have a patriarch or primate with another title who presides at their meetings, but is not the absolute ruler of them all. For us, all bishops are fundamentally equal, even if some might have a little bit more positional authority than others. None of them has this kind of theological place that the Pope does for the Roman Catholic Church.

 

Difference #2 – The Involvement of the Children

For the Orthodox kids, our children, are fully included. Roman Catholic children are baptized, but they can’t fully participate until later on depending on what it is you’re talking about, whether it’s communion or confirmation. Whereas Orthodox Christian babies are fully engaged in the whole life of the congregation sacramentally and children grow up having received communion from their earliest memories, because they literally being communed as as babies.

 

Difference #3 – What Happen After Death

The Roman Catholic teaching about purgatory and then also the system of indulgences. The Orthodox do not believe in any of that. We don’t believe that there is this kind of stopover place where we have to wait, and to suffer, to have all of the the temporal consequences of sin wiped away and paid paid for. Purgatory and indulgences are simply not part of Orthodox Christian life at all .

 

Difference #4 – Liturgical Revision

Not only the Second Vatican Council, but then there was this big liturgical revision There was a big change in the normal worship life of your average Catholic. The mass was totally changed and a lot of other things were changed in the worship life as well. For the Orthodox Church we never have experienced anything like that. Certainly both East and West experienced liturgical change over the centuries, but typically those changes were very slow. If there were reforms, they were nothing anywhere near as major as what Catholics experienced in the late 60’s and the early 70’s. What what was the normal Catholic life prior to the 1960’s is no longer than normal Catholic life, after this period. For the Orthodox Christians there’s very, very little difference. The question is for each of us is, really, just sort of how much we actually participate in what is the normal Orthodox Christian life.

 

Difference #5 – Asceticism and Fasting

It used to be that Roman Catholics had them a moderately rigorous fasting tradition. Now largely speaking the only obligation for most Catholics is that you don’t eat meat on Fridays during Lent only.The Orthodox Christian who is really following what’s expected of us we end up fasting almost half the days of the year. That doesn’t mean that all the Orthodox Christians are that good at fasting. Some are pretty good at it, and some are not so good at it, but nonetheless, the expectations have really not changed very much at all for the Orthodox. Throughout history, we can see some adjustments here and there, but there was a big change in the 20th century for Catholics where fasting was almost completely set aside. What you’re experiencing in day to day life, as a Catholic, changed significantly in terms of what you are expected to eat or not to eat. Whereas for the Orthodox, we’ve never really had that big change.