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Difference Between Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church

 Roman Catholic Church vs Eastern Orthodox Church

Do you know what the term ‘Schism’ means? Have you ever heard of this before? This term means a break or a split of an organization because of contrasting beliefs and which would cause the rise of two separate and different parties. This is what happened in the Roman Catholic Church before, around the 4th century. Christianity once seated at the five greatest centers of the world: Antioch (Greece), Alexandria (Egypt), Constantinople (Turkey), Jerusalem (Israel), and Rome (Italy). But with the threat of the growing Islam population, Constantinople and Rome took control. Later on, the powers of the five centers started to weaken and this led to the Great Schism called the East-West Schism. Hence the birth of the Eastern Orthodox Church or also commonly known as Greek Orthodox or Orthodox Church.

Although Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church’ beliefs were both based among the teachings and life of Jesus Christ and his apostles, there are numerous differences that you might want to remember. Here are some notable characteristics of each church.

The Roman Catholic Church believes in the following:

(1) The church places a high value on human reason. Since St. Thomas Aquinas incorporated philosophy in religion, the church set a high respect for human wisdom which also led to radical alterations of theology, mysteries, and institutions of the Catholic Church.

(2) The Roman Catholic still observes the belief that the Pope is the Head of the church, the successor of Simon Peter whom which Jesus Christ appointed as the’rock to build his church’¦.’ He is infallible (because the Holy Spirit forbids him to commit error) and could govern other Catholic churches.

(3) Roman Catholics believe that the human reason can prove that God exists. The church teaches that through man’s reason he knows that God is almighty and all knowing, bodiless, infinite, etc.

(4) Roman Catholics also believe that with man’s intellect and some assisting grace, he would be able to behold the Essence of God in the ‘Age to Come’.

The Eastern Orthodox Church spars with the Roman Catholic’s beliefs with the following:

(1) Orthodox does not seek to unite faith and reason because it promotes heresy and false doctrines. This church believes it would be best if the New Testament is preserved and unaltered in any way. The church considers Jesus’ warning, which was to be cautious about human traditions that are linked to His doctrines. Although Orthodoxy welcomes science and philosophy to be able for a believer to explain its own faith, it does not make any effort to use science or logic in order to prove what Christ gave and left to his followers for them to believe.

(2) The Eastern Orthodox has a highest bishop also known as the ‘first among equals’. However, the highest bishop is not considered infallible like the Roman Catholic’s Pope, and does not have power over all Orthodox Churches.

(3) Orthodoxy also believes that unless God has spoken to you, human reason cannot know more about God. The existence of God is inherent in human nature and that is how human beings know he exists.

(4) The Orthodox Church also believes that the saved man would only be able to see God in the glorified flesh of Christ. Man cannot and would not be able to behold the Essence of God in the ‘Age to Come’ because not even divine grace would give man such an awesome power.

Other differences are the language used in celebrating Masses. Roman Catholics prefer the Latin language while the Orthodox prefers native tongues. Roman Catholics have statues while Orthodoxy has icons. Roman Catholics priest cannot marry while Orthodox priests could marry prior to being ordained as priests.


Roman Catholic Church has high respect for the human reason whilst Eastern Orthodox Church does not because it promotes heresy.

Roman Catholic: the Pope is the infallible leader of the church and he has the power to govern other Catholic churches. Eastern Orthodox: the highest bishop, also called as ‘first among equals’ is the leader of the church, however, he is not infallible and he does not govern other Orthodox churches.

Roman Catholic’s belief about human reason and its capacity to know God is contradicted with the Eastern Orthodox’s belief that unless God speaks to you, you will never know more about him.

Roman Catholic: with man’s intellect and some assisting grace, he would be able to behold the Essence of God in the ‘Age to Come’. Eastern Orthodox disagrees with the fact that no divine grace could ever give man the power to behold the essence of God. He can however see him in Jesus Christ’s glorified flesh.

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  1. roman catholic also clbrated the mass in native tongues alrdy.

  2. What about the Trinity, I thought that The Eastern Orthodox did not believe this important doctrine.

  3. Thanks bro. Helped with my satanic party…. 🙂

  4. Question: I am a Roman Catholic and raised my family the same. One of my children recently decided to leave the Catholic Church. She is joining an Orthodox Church. All I ever wanted was Salvation for my family. I grew up with friends in the Greek Orthodox Church. I went to Confession at their Church several times. My friends went to Communion in my Church, although now I read that shouldn’t be practiced. Please tell me if my child (who, by the way is very conservative, as you may have guessed) will be able to go to heaven if she leaves the Roman Catholic Church, and joins the Greek or Russian Orthodox Church. Of course, I was raised believing what the Pope stands for and other differences. Thank you!

    • Pat,
      No need to worry! Jesus did not die and bring salvation just for Roman Catholics. Nor was it just for Christians. He died for us all. While it does make it easier to be Christian, even an athiest, if he or she lived a good, deserving life, is able to find salvation. I mean, Jesus even gave salvation to the soldiers who killed him! Jesus died for all good people! Good Christians, Good Jews, Good Muslims.

    • Pat – I followed the Greek Orthodox Church circa 1972-1992 when I was in the military and married a greek woman and married in that religeon (I was in the Mediterranean almost all of my career. Tough gig but someone had to do it!). My mother was (like you) appalled but then realized that the 2 religeons were “first cousins” in a sense and that I’d still go to heaven if I otherwise behaved (!). Although I’m back to the roman catholic church it was due to a 1994 divorce; otherwise I would likely have remained an eastern orthodox follower. Bottom line – relax. Your kids are on the right path either way – just a bit of different scenery along the way.

  5. I’m a little lost I was under the impression that Jesus preferred to talk to his flock outside and had no reference to building a church is this true or something changed?

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