Eastern Orthodox Church

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Crux Orthodoxa

The Eastern Orthodox Church refers to those Christians who are in communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople established during the Byzantine Empire (the eastern Roman Empire), which was originally united with the western European (Roman Catholic) Church.[1] It includes churches which date their foundation to the period of the Roman Empire in Antioch, Jerusalem, Constantinople, and Alexandria, and churches that hold they were established directly from these bodies, including those of Armenia, Georgia,Russia and Ethiopia. The topic is limited to those bodies who accept the canons of all of the original Seven Ecumenical Councils from 324 AD to 787 AD, and includes an account of those who have in the past accepted, but do not currently accept, these canons. It does not include those churches known as Monophysitic churches that employ the term 'orthodox' as part of their names. The Monophysite Churches embrace the belief that Jesus the Christ had only a divine nature and did not also have a human nature.

Defining the Eastern Orthodox Church

The Eastern Orthodox Church may also be called:

  • The Orthodox Christian Church
  • The Church of the Seven Councils
  • The Apostolic Church
  • The Ancient Christian Church.
  • The Church Ecumenical

Traditionally and formally the Eastern Orthodox Church refers to itself as the "One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church" (Ware, p. 307). Unlike the Western Christian Churches, it did not undergo a Reformation in the 16th century (wherein the Roman Church experienced significant separations from other churches within its jurisdiction) or a Counter-Reformation (Ware p. 1).[1].

The most basic statement of faith of the Church is the Nicene Creed (without the Filioque, see below).[2] The Creed, referred to as the 'Symbol of the Faith', is also at the heart of many Western Christian churches’ beliefs, but over the years there have been additions which are not shared by the Orthodox Church.

The Eastern Orthodox Church is a 'conciliar' Church, and consists of various national churches that share a common faith, history, tradition, and worship. The national churches cooperate with each other, but are each governed by their own local councils of bishops, in contrast to the centralized authority of the Papacy (Timothy Ware, p 23).[1]


The Eastern Orthodox Church is “canonical” in that The Canons of the Seven Ecumenical Councils established basic beliefs and administrative guidelines.[3] Adherence to these is the foundation of a church’s canonical status and thus its interaction with other Orthodox churches. Canonical churches are “in communion” with each other; those that are not canonical are removed from the list of those in communion.[4] Adherence to the Seven and only the Seven Ecumenical Councils is another distinguishing character of the Eastern Orthodox Church. The Roman Church convened other Councils in which the other churches did not participate or vote.

Patriarchates, Autocephalous and Autonomous Jurisdictions

The primary divisions in the Eastern Orthodox Church are administrative and not theological; they reflect geophysical, national, and often linguistic differences. The Ancient Church constructed jurisdictions around ancient Roman districts and countries from which the current regions have evolved.

Ancient Patriarchates

As of the 21st century, the four ancient patriarchates are claimed as still existing intact (Ware pp. 127, 133 & 134). [1]

  • The Patriarchate of Constantinople. Also known as the 'Ecumenical Patriarchate', this is the legal leader in a number of areas of the Eastern Orthodox Church, in that it can consecrate bishops and establish monasteries in other canonical districts.
  • The Patriarchate of Alexandria
  • The Patriarchate of Antioch
  • The Patriarchate of Jerusalem

The Roman Patriarchate, which technically still exists in the Pope and the Vatican, does not envisage itself as a patriarchate in the sense of being an equal with the other ancient patriarchates. This is one of the major divergence principles, and dates to the 11th century.

The jurisdictional regions also include other autocephalous and autonomous divisions. An autocephalous church may appoint their own metropolitan (archbishop) and is self-governing. Some of them are designated Patriarchates. An autonomous church receives a metropolitan or bishop that is consecrated (and thus appointed) by another jurisdiction but is otherwise largely self-governing.

Other Patriarchates

The coat of arms of the Serbian Patriarch, who is the supreme head of the autocephalous Serbian Orthodox Church. The Serbian Patriarch also holds the titles of Archbishop of Peć, Metropolitan of Belgrade and Metropolitan of Karlovci.
  • Armenia: also known as the 'Armenian Apostolic Church', the Armenian Orthodox Church is no longer in communion with the canonical churches; it separated from the Eastern Orthodox Church in 506 AD after the Council of Chalcedon (451 AD).
  • Bulgaria: Bulgaria’s autocephaly has been recognised more than once due to political and military upheavals which extinguished or exiled members of the church. Autocephaly dates first to 927 AD (declared in 919 in Bulgaria and recognised later by the Ecumenical Patriarchate) and was reinstated twice thereafter, in 1235 and 1945 following World War II. [5]
  • Georgia: originally part of the territory of the Patriarchate of Antioch, the Georgian Orthodox Church was granted autocephaly by the Patriarch of Antioch in 466 AD. It lost this status in 1811 when it was subsumed by the Russian Synod, and regained it in 1943 by the Russian Orthodox Church, recognised again in 1989 by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. [6]
  • Russia: autocephaly recognised in 1589 by Ecumenical Patriarchate
  • Serbia: autocephalous status dates from the mid 14th century; it was briefly lost and restored in the mid 16th century
  • Romania: although Romania’s Orthodox Church dates from the 1st century, it was only recognised as autocephalous in 1885 by the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Autocephalous and autonomous churches without Patriarchate status

  • The Church of Sinai. The Church is centered around St Catherine’s Monastery on the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. The original construction was a chapel denoting the site of Moses’ encounter with God (the Burning Bush), it was built by Helen, the mother of Emperor Constantine I. The Monastery was built by Emperor Justinian I in 527-565 AD. The Church of Sinai is autonomous, and its Archbishop is consecrated by the Patriarch of Jerusalem (Ware. p. 135).[1]
  • The Church of Cyprus: autocephalous since the Council of Ephesus (431 AD) (Ware, p. 136) [1]
  • The Church of Greece: autocephaly recognised in 1850 by the Ecumenical Patriarchate (Ware. p. 136). [1][7]
  • Poland: autocephaly was recognised by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 1924.[8]
  • Albania: autocephaly recognised in 1937 by the Ecumenical Patriarchate.[9]
  • Orthodox Church in the Czech Lands: autocephaly recognised in 1998 by the Ecumenical Patriarchate [10]
  • Orthodox Church in Slovakia: autocephaly recognised in 1998 by the Ecumenical Patriarchate
  • Orthodox Church in America: formerly known as the 'Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church in America', it was granted autocephalous status by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1970 and as yet has not been recognised by the Ecumenical Patriarchate.[11]
  • The Church of Japan: autonomy recognised in 1970 at the same time the Patriarchate recognised the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in America. Its primate (Bishop) is consecrated by the Russian Patriarchate.[11]
  • The Church of China: has a mission in Hong Kong whose Metropolitan is appointed by the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
  • The Church of Finland: autonomous status granted by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 1923. [12]
  • Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church: granted autonomy by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 1921 and again in 1996 [13]
  • Orthodox Church of Ukraine: autonomy recognised by the Russian Patriarchate in 1990. There are three churches in the Ukraine: the 'Church of Ukraine (Moscow Patriarchate)' is in communion with the Orthodox Church); the 'Church of Ukraine (Kiev Patriarchate)' and the 'Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church' are not in communion with the mainstream Orthodox Churches.

Nicene Creed

The Nicene Creed (also referred to as the Nicene-Constantinople Creed) embodies the fundamental beliefs of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages; God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God; begotten, not made, of one essence with the Father, by whom all things were made. Who, for us men, and for our salvation, came down from the heavens, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary, and became man; and was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate; and suffered, and was buried; and arose again on the third day, according to the Scriptures; And ascended into the heavens, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father; and shall come again, with glory, to judge both the living and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end. And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life; Who procedeeth from the Father; Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; Who spake by the prophets. In One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I confess one baptism for the remission of sins; I look for the resurrection of the dead, And the life of the age to come. Amen.[14]

The Creed is sung or read at every celebration of the Eucharist and twice daily at Midnight Office and Compline. The Nicene Creed, unlke the Apostles Creed or the Athanasian Creed, is the only creed proclaimed by an Ecumenical Council and thus the only creed vested with the authority of the Orthodox Church. The Apostles Creed is an ancient statement of faith whose use as a Baptismal Creed and inherent teaching is respected by the Orthodox Church but it is never used in Orthodox Service. The Athanasian Creed is also not used in Orthodox worship services but is occasionally printed in the Book of Hours (Horologian) without the Filioque [1]


The Filioque is an important difference between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church [15][16] and, arguably, was one of the causes of the Great Schism of 1054. [17] The divergent opinions on the Filoque that are expressed today by these Churches are often couched in strong terms.[18][19]

In 589 AD, the Synod of Spain at the Third Council of Toledo added “filioque” (Latin for from the son) to a phrase in the Nicene Creed:

“Credo ... in Spiritum Sanctum, Dóminum et vivificántem: qui ex patre [filioque] procedit. Qui cum Patre et Fílio simul adorátur et conglorificátur: qui locútus est per Prophétas.” (“And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father [and from the Son] who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.”)[20][21]

The Filioque, simply put, is a dogma in which the Holy Spirit (pneuma Theou)[22] proceeds from the Father and the Son. The Western Church argued that, although the text of the Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan Creed did not contain the Filioque, it was implicit and known to the participants in the Council; they contend that the change merely clarifies the Creed. The Eastern Church denies this, and interprets the original Creed as asserting that the Spirit proceeds exclusively from the Father.

The dispute engages another principle that the Eastern Orthodox Church rejects, the Primacy of the Roman Catholic Pope, an issue that it believed had been resolved at the Fourth Ecumencial Council by Canon XXVIII in which the Ecumencial Patriarchate was recognised.[23] However, Western churchmen argued that the Bishop of Rome, as the ultimate arbiter of truth in the Church, could modify the creed as he saw fit.

The inclusion of Filioque in the Creed was not consistently adopted by Western Churches until the reign of Benedict VIII (1014-15). Western theologians drew upon scripture to justify its inclusion, and upon the writings of both Western and Eastern theologians, in particular, Augustine and Hilary of Poitiers who came very close to the doctrine of the Filioque in their writings.[24]

The issue is a very particular doctrine, since the Eastern Orthodox Church's concept of the divinity of the three involves their eternal nature and their one substance--not three but one--and must not imply a beginning, hence the use of procedit (proceeds).[25] The canonicity of the placement of filioque in the creed is disputed on the basis that it was not in the original creed of Nicea nor subsequent amendments in the Seven Councils. Its theological import is that it indicates a different relationship between the Father and the Son and the Son and the Spirit which, in the Eastern Orthodox Church, is not confirmed by the Scriptures. As such, it is a paramount issue in the beliefs of Orthodox Christians.[22]

Apostolic Succession

The Eastern Orthodox Church adheres to the concept of Apostolic Succession, by which the Church hierarchy has a heritage of ordination descended directly from the original Apostles. This has three essential components: beliefs handed down from the Twelve Apostles [26]; a physical succession of ordination of the church hierarchy unlike most other churches [27] and a spiritual lineage. This line of succession therefore dates to the Twelve Apostles [28] without break over nearly 2000 years.

The primary reference for the Apostolic Succession is in the New Testament, Matthew 16:13-19. When Peter declares “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God”, Jesus replies “Blessed are you, Simon bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

In the Eastern Orthodox Church, some important concepts are derived from this passage: [29]

  • Jesus states the intention to form a corporate Body, the Church ('corporate' in that it has a physical form). Believers are not to be disassociated individuals, but are to be members of this Church, with a shared faith.
  • Peter is a rock upon which the church will be built, metaphorically, the essence of the foundation. St. Paul elaborates on this in his Letter to the Ephesians (2:20), “the church has been built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, Jesus Himself being the chief cornerstone.” In the Gospel of John, (21:15-23) Jesus states Peter’s mission (“Feed my sheep”) and gives Peter the “keys of the kingdom of heaven," with the authority to bind on earth what is bound in heaven. While this authority is given to Peter first, it is also given to the other Apostles (John 20:20-23).
  • The 'Rock' upon which the Church is built is faith, embodied in Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Thus the Christ Himself, the Truth, is the One upon whom the Church is built. A premise of Apostolic Succession is that the Christ is the 'Truth Incarnate', or 'God made flesh'. The concept of Jesus as God and Man is integral to the Nicene Creed and is axiomatic in the Ancient Christian Church. Truth, from this perspective, is not a body of ideas or a proposition but a physical manifestation, the Christ.[29]

By contrast, the Roman Catholic Church hold that Peter is the one and only Rock, and hence that authority rests with his direct successors in Rome. It also diverges from Protestant and non-denominational Christian beliefs that the concept of succession is to all Christians, and is wholly spiritual or metaphorical in that there is no actual physical succession handed down through a church hierarchy and, therefore, no unified corporate body of the Church. [30]

Apostolic Succession places the authority of church in the priests and bishops who are fulfilling the sacramental office as the officers of the first true believer, Peter the Disciple. [31]

The early church sent leaders to the new Christians:

  • Acts 8:14. Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John
  • Acts 8:15. Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost

The Eastern Orthodox interpretation is that those who heard the Word of God were not a church nor in the Church per se, and having heard the Word of God they had yet to undergo the act of receiving the Holy Ghost. By the doctrine of Apostolic Succession, although the Christians of Samaria had heard the Word of God, they had yet to be administered directly to by the Apostles. The doctrine draws on the recorded act of going to the Christians of Samaria and taking part in their leadership physically as well as spiritually: while they had only been baptised, they were still not yet a part of the Church.[32]

Earlier, Philip the Evangelist, one of the original deacons, had gone to Samaria to preach.[33] Philip had been made a deacon (Acts 6:3-6), along with six others who were not of the original Apostles, to serve the church and tend to the needs of Christians. He later went to the Gaza desert to speak to the Eunuch (Acts 8:27-39) and then to Caesarea (Acts 8:40). Philip was at Samaria at the same time as the Apostles Peter and John, but as a deacon and evangelist he had specific roles, and they had roles that he did not. In other words, deacons could preach and baptise, but a bishop (an Apostle or one had received the Succession) had to confirm the baptism and pray for them to receive the Holy Spirit.

The process of Apostolic ordination

For the Eastern Orthoxox Church, the act of making Philip and the others deacons sets a precedent, in that the Apostles themselves (including Matthias who had replaced Judas Iscariot) ordained the seven deacons. This appointment and ordination and its attendant process and its ultimate goal further defines the doctrine of Succession. The Apostles had a role to fulfil, while members of the community complained that some of their number were not being taken care of. The Christian community at that time was Jewish, and followed the traditions of that faith. The needy in Jewish communities were administered to through the synagogue collections that provided food, the weekly kuppah (basket) and the daily tamhui (tray). The early Christian Church did the same for their community. However, Greek-speaking Jews felt that their widows were not receiving the same daily distribution of food as Hebrew-speaking widows. The Twelve Apostles dealt with this by directing the main body of disciples to choose seven men to fulfil the required roles, so that they would not have to “abandon the word of God to serve tables.”[34]

Seven men were chosen (Acts 6:5) and the Apostles prayed for them and laid hands on them. The process then included an appointment by the disciples and subsequent ordination by the Apostles, which included placing their hands on the heads of the seven (the laying on of hands). The act of physically ordaining and preserving a direct corporeal lineage is supported in several places in the New Testament

  • Acts 8:14-19: Peter and John placed their hands on new Christians in Samaria;
  • Acts 9:12,17: Ananias places his hands on Saul (later known as Paul the Apostle);
  • Acts 13:2-3: The Apostles lay hands on Barnabas and Saul before sending them out;
  • Acts 19:6: Paul the Apostle administers the laying on of hands;
  • Acts 28:8: Paul the Apostle administers the laying on of hands.

The physical act of laying on of hands is also mentioned in 1 Timothy 4:14 and 5:22, 2 Timothy 1:5-6, and is listed in the elementary teachings about Christ in Hebrews 6:1-2

Another aspect of act of ordination shows that the Church was developing as a structured institution, consistent with Christ’s commission in Matthew 16:13-19.[34]

The demarcation between the administrators and managers was also clear: the Apostles defined roles for the deacons and for the Apostles, and they were not the same. These role models are developed through the New Testament. The differences between Philip the Evangelist (one of the ordained deacons in Acts 6:1-7) and the Apostles becomes apparent in later events related in the Acts of the Apostles.

Christian and Church

The doctrine of Apostolic Succession does not say that one cannot be a Christian unless one is in the Apostolic Church.[35] It simply does not support the idea found in many non-Catholic communities that they are of the Christian Church.

A great deal might happen to an individual before entering the Church. An individual might experience divine visions, baptism of the Holy Spirit might precede the baptism with water, but the presence of an Apostle or one who has received the Succession is still paramount in the act of joining the Church.[32] A centurion by the name of Cornelius (Acts 10) was instructed in a vision to locate the Apostle Simon Peter. When they met, Simon Peter preached, and the centurion and others received the Holy Spirit:

  • Acts 10:44: While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word."

An integral aspect of Acts 10 is that the centurion required the intervention of an Apostle to complete the transition into the Church.[36]

Apostolic Commission

The Commission inherent in the Apostolic Succession is a directive issued by the Christ to the original disciples, sending them out into the world as he had been sent by God. The implications for the role of the Orthodox Clergy are stated in John 20:21-23. The Disciples are to “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them, if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Historical Perspective

Clement, the third Bishop of Rome in the first century, referred to the purpose of the Apostolic Succession when dealing with a problem in the Church of Corinth. Members of that Church had deposed their ordained leaders, and Clement reminded them that the purpose of Apostolic Succession was to provide continuity and to prevent strife over the office of the bishop[37]

  • 1Clem 44:1 And our Apostles knew through our Lord Jesus Christ that there would be strife over the name of the bishop's office.
  • 1Clem 44:2 For this cause therefore, having received complete foreknowledge, they appointed the aforesaid persons, and afterwards they provided a continuance, that if these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed to their ministration. [38]

Tertullian, a priest in the Church of Carthage[39], writing at the beginning of the third century, referred to the Apostolic Succession to confront heresy (false teachings). He declared that heresies were to be revealed by the roll of bishops from that day back to the beginning to demonstrate that any Church in question had initially received its commission from an Apostle: “Let them produce the original records of their churches; let them unfold the roll of their bishops, . . . to show for his ordainer and predecessor some one of the apostles or of apostolic men,“ In this passage Tertullian also confirms the Apostolic Succession of Polycarp in the Smyrnaean Church and that of Clement in the Church of Rome.[40][41]

The Seven Ecumenical Councils

See also this list of Ecumenical councils, only the first seven of these are recognised by the Eastern Church.

The doctrines of the Eastern Orthodox Church were estabished in seven ecumencial councils that took place in the first millennium; they comprise infallible statements of faith and constitute "an abiding and irrevocable authority". [1][42]

The Eastern Orthodox Church recognises only the canons of the Seven Councils, whereas the Roman Catholic Church also recognises later canons, notably, in the case of the Filioque, those of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215), the Second Council of Lyons (1274), and the Council of Florence (1438-1445). This last council was declared fully ecumenical by the Latin Church, in that the Eastern Orthodox Church had sent representatives. At the time, the Greek Empire (Constantinople) was attempting to enrol allies in their conflict with the Ottoman Turks. To this day, Roman Catholic sources insist that a reunification of the ancient patriarchates was effected at the Council of Florence [43]; Orthodox sources emphatically deny this. [23]

Ecumenical Patriarchate

At the Fourth Ecumenical Council in Chalcedon in 451 AD, the 150 bishops present resolved, in Canon XXVIII, that the Bishop of New Rome (Patriarch of Constantinople) should have the same honour as the Bishop of Old Rome (the Pope), and he was charged with ordaining the metropolitans (leaders of the clergy in specified areas) of Pontus, Asia, Thrace, and Barbarian bishops.[44] [45] However, this decision was not accepted by Pope Leo.

To this day the Eastern Orthodox Churches must maintain, by definition, communion with the Patriarchate in Constantinople (modern day Istanbul) where the current Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew maintains the Patriarchate. [46][1]

Schism with Rome

See also discussion in the Roman Catholic Church article.

The schism, or separation of the Western and Eastern Churches, is variously referred to as "The Great Schism", "The Eastern Schism," "The East-West Schism" or the "Schism of 1054".[47]

The schism did not happen all at once, and had contributing factors, including: fragmentation brought about by the division of the Roman Empire into two parts with two emperors and the establishment of an Eastern capitol in Constantinople by emperor Constantine at the end of the third century and the barbarian invasions which began in the fifth century; the rise of Islam and the control of the Mediterranean by the Arab world which made travel difficult; and decentralisation of the Church's collegial authority beginning with the pope’s coronation in the year 800 of Charlemagne as Emperor. The steady decline of the use of Greek in the West and of Latin in the East also contributed to poor communication between the two halves of the Church. Over time, the two halves became alienated.[48]

In 1009, the newly elected Pope Sergius IV [49] is purported to have sent out a systatic letter, the Synodicon, notifying the other patriarchs (including Sergius II who was elected patriarch of Constantinople, about July 1001) of his election. In the 'Synodicon' he was to have included the filioque in the creed for the first time.

The story goes that the response of Patriarch Sergius II was to omit Pope Sergius IV’s name from the diptychs (Byzantine prayer intercessions) which are the official lists read out at the Eucharist. This has been refuted as an invention of 12th-century controversialists[50] and the episode is not mentioned in many standard Roman Catholic sources. However, the omission of the Pope from the diptychs in Constantinople had started some time before 1054. (Whether the omission was an oversight or deliberate is not clear given the exigencies of communication at the time)[48].

By the 14th century, both churches had come to suppose that, in 1054, Pope Leo IX and Ecumenical Patriarch Michael Keroularios had excommunicated each other and the two churches had been separate ever since. Modern historical research shows this tradition to be mistaken. In fact, Leo had died and his successor not yet elected when the events happened, and it was his legate, Cardinal Humbert of Silva Candida, and Michael who issued mutual anathemas. The legate's authority after the Pope's death is doubtful, as is whether these events constituted a schism. If they did, it was both local and temporary. Patriarch Peter III of Antioch (1052-6) refused to split with Rome, and a few decades later Pope Urban II and Eastern Emperor Alexios Komnenos, supported by his Patriarch and clergy, agreed there was no schism.

However, when the First Crusade (1095-9) captured Antioch and Jerusalem, the crusaders deposed the Greek patriarchs and replaced them with Latins, and these actions were ratified by the Pope. There was then a schism between Rome and those Greek patriarchs. The same thing happened at Constantinople in the Fourth Crusade in 1204.

Even after this, Alexandria remained in communion with both sides for some time, and there were a number of short-lived reunions between Rome and one or other Eastern patriarchate over the ensuing centuries. The last of these was with Antioch in the early 18th century. Following this, the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church decreed excommunication for anyone reconciling with Rome. This in turn was followed by a disputed election for Patriarch of Antioch in 1724, resulting in a split of the patriarchate into Orthodox and Catholic patriarchates. From that point on, the two churches have been entirely separate.

In 1729, the Pope forbade sharing of worship and sacraments with the Orthodox, and in 1755 the Orthodox Church decreed that Catholics converting to Orthodoxy must be rebaptized. More recently there has been some movement in the opposite direction. In 1965, Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras publicly cancelled the events of 1054. The Vatican has allowed the Latin patriarchates of Constantinople, Alexandria and Antioch to lapse, though that of Jerusalem continues, as do various Eastern-rite ("Uniate") patriarchates.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Timothy Ware “Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia” (1963) The Orthodox Church. New Edition. Reprinted 1997. London:Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-014656-3. Bishop Ware, who carries the title, Most Reverend Kallistos (Ware), Metropolitan of Diokleia,[1] was the Spalding Lecturer of Eastern Orthodox Studies at Oxford University from 1966 to 2001 and is currently the Metropolitan of the Eastern / Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate, a position he has held since 1982
  2. FL Cross & EA Livingstone, eds., The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 2nd Ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press 1989), s.v. "Filioque", p 512
  3. The Seven Ecumenical Councils Schaff, Philip Ed., The Seven Ecumenical Councils. Volume XIV of Series II of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers from The Early Church Fathers [2] This publication, originally published in 1900, is in the public domain, accessed from Christian Classics Ethereal Library, Calvin College
  4. Eastern Orthodox Church PHILTAR, University of Cumbria
  5. History of the Bulgarian Church
  6. History of the Orthodox Church of Georgia
  7. The Church of Greece
  8. The Holy Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church
  9. Church of Albania; From 1767 to 1937
  10. The Orthodox Church in the Czech Lands
  11. 11.0 11.1 The Road to Autocephaly 1963-1970 Orthodox Church in America
  12. Finnish Orthodox Church
  13. History of the Orthodox Church of Estonia
  14. Prayer Book (1986). Jordanville, New York: Holy Trinity Monastery (page 125) 4th edition
  15. The Filioque Pelikan, Jaroslav (1988) excerpt from The Melody of Theology: A Philosophical Dictionary Harvard University Press
  16. Historical Excursus on the Introduction into the Creed of the Words "and the Son", in Philip Schaff, The Seven Ecumenical Councils, The Second Ecumenical Council. Christian Classics Ethereal Library. (Note that the Filioque was probably in use before the Synod of Spain in 589 A.D.)
  17. These are not the only significant differences. For example: Immaculate Conception - (this was added in the 19th century as a dogma that the Theotokos was born sinless.) Orthodox believe, unlike the Latin Church, that although the Mother of God (Theotokos) didn't sin, she still wasn't sinless, i.e. nature. This only belongs to God and the angels that didn't fall. She exclaimed "my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!" Another issue is the idea of scholasticism vs spirituality in the medieval period. Another is the use of force to spread the faith (i.e. Crusades) vs the Orthodox/Apostolic ideal of expose, not impose one to the faith. Force has been used in Orthodox countries for defense of a homeland, but not for exporting one's faith.
  18. Dogmatic Meaning of Filioque Maas, Anthony. "Filioque" The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 6. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. 10 Nov. 2008
  19. Alexander Kalmiros (1967) Against False Union Translated by George Gabriel. Seattle, Washington: St. Nectarios Press
  20. Filioque Controversy Multiple sources provided by "A Christ Walk Church"
  21. Historical Excursus on the Introduction into the Creed of the Words "and the Son", in Philip Schaff, The Seven Ecumenical Councils, The Second Ecumenical Council Christian Classics Ethereal Library. (Note that the Filioque was probably in use before the Synod of Spain)
  22. 22.0 22.1 An Agreed Statement of the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation Saint Paul’s College, Washington, DC October 25, 2003 US Conference of Catholic Bishops
  23. 23.0 23.1 Ivan N. Ostroumoff (1971) The History of the Council of Florence Translated by Basil Popoff Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery
  24. Jaroslav Pelikan, The Christian Tradition vol. 2 The Spirit of Eastern Christendom (600-1700) pp 183-198
  25. On the Question of the Filioque John Meyerndorff, The Orthodox Church, Crestwood, NY, 1981
  26. The concept is also claimed by many other Christian churches who may or may not incorporate the term “Apostolic” in their own title and tend to interpret this in diverse ways
  27. With the exceptions of the Anglican Church (Apostolic Succession-A Primer Anglican Independent Communion); and the Roman Catholic Church (Apostolic Succession Catholic Answers, San Diego California)
  28. At the time of the events related in the Acts of the Apostles, Judas Iscariot had been replaced by Matthias
  29. 29.0 29.1 Fr. Gregory Rogers (1989) Apostolic Succession Ben Lomond CA: Conciliar Press
  30. There are many interpretations integral to other creeds and denominations which diverged from the original Orthodox doctrine.
  31. Meyendorff J et al. (1963) The primacy of Peter and the Orthodox Church Bedfordshire, Great Britain: The Faith Press” p 11. Quoted in Fr. G. Rogers The Apostolic Succession
  32. 32.0 32.1 Rogers, Gregory (1989) Apostolic Succession Ben Lamond CA:Conciliar Press
  33. St. Philip the Apostle There were two Philips in the early Church, one the Apostle and the other a deacon and evangelist referred to in Acts 6:3-6; 8:5-6 and elsewhere.
  34. 34.0 34.1 Barclay W (1976) The Acts of the Apostles (revised edition). Philadelphia: Westminster Press
  35. see for instance the position taken by Pope Benedict. If it isn’t Roman Catholic then it’s not a proper Church, Pope tells Christians Times Online July 11, 2007
  36. This section is also important in that it is the clear message that the Gospel be taken to the Gentiles (non-Jews)
  37. Clement of Rome Kiefer, James E. The letter itself does not bear Clement’s name but is referred to later in a letter the Church of Corinth wrote to the Church of Rome
  38. The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians Lightfoot, J.B. (translator) in Early Christian Writings
  39. Tertullian Chapman, John. (1912) "Tertullian" The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 14. New York: Robert Appleton Company
  40. Prescription Against Heretics Latin Christianity: Its Founder, Tertullian. Schaff, Philip (Ed), Chapter 1. Holmes, Peter (translator) Christian Classics Ethereal Library accessed 10.11.08
  41. The Demurrer Against the Heretics The Early Church Fathers on Apostolic Succession, Stay Catholic.com
  42. The Seven Ecumenical Councils Schaff, Philip and Wace, Henry (1900) The Seven Ecumenical Councils of the Undivided Church: Their Canons and Dogmatic Decrees Online archive. The Canons and the commentaries of the original Seven Ecumenical Councils Includes canons of local synods which have received ecumenical acceptance, Edited by HR Percival
  43. Filioque
  44. Philip Schaff and Henry Wace (Eds) (1900) The Seven Ecumencial Councils. Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Second series. Peabody MA: Hendrickson Publishers. Reprint of original edition published in 1900 By Chas. Scribner & Sons
  45. All Ecumenical Councils-All Decrees see Councils 1-7. This is a site that includes councils after the 7th Ecumencial Council as accepted specifically by the Roman Catholic Church as opposed to just those seven accepted by the Eastern Orthodox Church. It also notes that the Canon XXVIII was not accepted by Pope Leo
  46. Official site of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
  47. Schism of 1054 "Schism of 1054" Encyclopædia Britannica. 2008. Encyclopædia Britannica Online 14 Nov. 2008; The Eastern SchismFortescue, Adrian. (1912). The Eastern Schism. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved November 15, 2008 from New Advent; Great Schism OrthodoxWiki, retrieved 15 November, 2008; Runciman, Steve (1955) The Eastern Schism: A Study of the Papacy and the Eastern Churches During the Xith and Xiith Centuries. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press; The Great Schism Bishop Kallistos Ware (excerpt from the Orthodox Church cited above)
  48. 48.0 48.1 The estrangement of Eastern and Western Christendom Ware, Timothy. The Orthodox Church
  49. Peter Pig's Snout (Bucca Porci) Date of birth unknown; consecrated about 31 July, 1009; d. 12 May, 1012) Pope Sergius IV Mann H (1912) Pope Sergius IV. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved December 6, 2008 from New Advent:
  50. "Sergius II." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2008. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 05 Dec. 2008