Differences in the East and West



1.         Purgatory with fire

2.         Rosary                                                             

3.         Pope as supreme head.
4.         Mary - adoration, immaculate conception, assumption

5.         Saints - Prayer to...

6.         Necessity of salvation

7.         Necessity of baptism

8.         A.D. 1054

9.         Celibacy

Father Ted:   St. Katherine’s Church 722 Knob Hill Avenue Redondo Beach  310-540-2434

A.D. 330         Constantine moved the Roman Capital to Constantinople in A.D. 330. The void was filled by the Bishop of Rome.  There were language and cultural differences, i.e. Greek in the East.  Augustine did not read or speak Greek.

A.D.  800        Charlemagne made Papal authority a political matter. Charlemagne had the Pope crown him as Holy Roman Emperor as a rallying force for the world. The East refused to recognize Charlemagne and Papal authority.  The East had their own Emperor of the Roman Empire.  Church authority was held in a college, one man one vote.  The Roman Bishop was first among equals.  James at Acts 15 presided over the council.  It was not Peter who pontificated. At this time there was no Roman Bishop and no Roman Catholic Church.

Patriarch- He is the permanent one in Istanbul today, but not infallible in faith or morals.

A.D. 1054- Eastern Orthodox and Rome were one. The delegate from Rome excommunicated the East and the East in turn excommunicated the West.

Papal authority, Filioque clause were the main issues in the excommunication.

  • No purgatory in the East and condemned, therefore no indulgences.
  • There was an original sin, we are born with a propensity to sin.   However, we are judged by our own decisions. We all fall short of God’s standard. Yet our condemnation is not inherited from Adam.
  • There was a first sin of Adam. We are distorted but do not inherit his guilt.
  • No immaculate conception of Mary= no original sin (Augustinian: guilt). If Mary could be kept sinless in the womb of her mother, so could Jesus be immaculately conceived in the womb of Mary without Mary’s innocence.
  • Mary died and was resurrected.       
  • No “Hail Marys” or rosaries.
  • We do have a communion of saints who benefit us by our prayers.
  • No statues in the Eastern churches, instead icons or paintings.
  •  No holy water.
  • Sin is sin, no separation into mortal and venial.
  • Dueterocanonical apocrypha.
  • May 29, 1453 - Constantinople fell to the Turks (Muslims).
  • Not in communion with Rome since A.D., 1054, nothing has changed.
  • How can we believe in Purgatory, the Immaculate Conception or the Pope?
  • Communion elements, a mystery, yet more than a symbol.
Father Ted continued

  • The Orthodox Church has not changed. No reformation since the time of Christ.
  • Baptism: uniting the human being to Christ not washing away guilt.

Augustine did not read Greek, therefore he was not able to read his contemporaries.  He was therefore influenced by Aristotle. 

Neo-Platonic - the soul is a prisoner in the body and seeks to be set free.

I.         St. Vladimir’s            800-204-2665            N.Y.    914-961-2203

II.        Holy Cross                  800-245-0599             Boston

The more we know God, the more we know we miss the mark.  We miss the mark whether we know it or not.  All salvation is by grace.  No one goes to Heaven because they are sinless.

The Assumption of Mary

The Orthodox Church is not opposed to the Assumption of Mary. This is theological opinion and not dogma.  Jesus’ resurrection is necessary for salvation but not Mary’s.

The Virginity of Mary

Perpetual virginity is not an option for debate. It is central. It is truth, but does not effect salvation.


Total depravity is heresy.  All created goodness is not destroyed by Adam’s sin.  Adam’s sin tarnishes and distorts human nature but does not annihilate our capacity for good.

We have self-determination. Without freedom we cannot have sin. Sin must be a choice.  Foreknowledge is not predestination.  Salvation is not done against our will, we do not go to Heaven kicking and screaming.


Ware, Timothy. The Orthodox Church. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 1993.

Ware, Bishop Kallistos. The Orthodox Way. Crestwood, NY:        

St.Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1993.  (1-914-961-2203)


Lola of St. Andrew’s in El Segundo - Eastern Catholic Church (about 50 members)


A.D. 451 to 500 - strained relationship between East and West.

A.D. 800-1453 - Schism

Greek was the language of the Church.  Latin originated in North Africa and became the language of Rome.  This caused strained relations and theological problems.  A.D. 1054 and A.D. 1204 were cultural, political, and religious.

  • The West was more missionary minded and went out to evangelize the world. The East was busy fighting the Turks.  They emigrated to America as a group.
  •  Russian; Greek Catholic Orthodox, a.k.a. Eastern Catholic; Byzantine Catholic.
  • Transubstantiation: Communion is a statement of community not just a personal reception of Jesus.
  • We are in communion with the Roman Catholics, but not in union.
  • No purgatory; a 3rd place of punishment is a foreign idea to us.
  • No immaculate conception, no rosary, but communion of saints and icons.
  • No papal infallibility or headship.
  • Filioque Clause: “The Spirit proceeds from the Father and The Son”
Lola continued

  • The Nicean Creed was changed in the 6th century in Spain by Rome only.
  • The East accept only the first seven ecumenical councils.
  • Charismatic renewal.
  • In the USA only celibacy is imposed on the Roman Catholic Church.
  • Priest can be married before ordination, but a bishop cannot be; too much work to do and too expensive.
  • Mary = Theotokos = the one who gave birth to God.
  • Eating meat on Friday is not a sin.
  • Sin is sin: not mortal nor venial.
  • No sin in not attending church, i.e., no threat of fear or bribery to come to church.

For political reasons and fear in the West, attempts were made for reconciliation.

Over the centuries 1400's, 1500's, 1600's, offers were made to return to the fold of Rome under the promise to retain culture, theology and practice.

Orthodox Catholic Church views the  Roman Church as  renegades at a doctrinal level.


Father Doyle:            St. Matthew’s Church, 4201 Hickman Drive, Torrance

(182nd & Prairie, W. of Prairie, N. of 182nd Street).

1.         Get Timothy Ware’s book from them.

2.         English only.

We descend from the ancient patriarchate of Antioch not Constantinople.  We have the same faith and practice.  Patriarch of Constantinople is one among equals.

World War I and Russian Revolution.
  • No purgatory: we remember the dead in prayers.

1.         Nothing in scripture supports the doctrine of purgatory.

Priesthood of all believers is an Orthodox doctrine.

2.         There were attempts to adopt purgatory but it did not take.

a.  Treasury of merit is foreign to what was taught.

  • No one person or pope wielded total authority.  James presided in Acts 15 but did not pontificate.  The church agreed that Paul was right in Galatians 2:9ff.
  • Original sin in Roman theology equals inherited guilt.
  • Orthodox inherits falleness and consequences.  Adam had potential for sin and must cooperate with God’s grace, i.e. work out salvation with fear and trembling, though we do not earn salvation.
  • Do not accept total human depravity of JohnCalvin.
  • Infant baptism: though age is not mentioned, it is compared to circumcision.  The crossing of the Red Sea included kids in baptism.
  • No limbo.
  • Age of reason at 7 years old.
  • West allows kids to receive communion.
  • The problem of the guilt of original sin: Rome felt it was necessary to separate Mary from this, hence the immaculate conception.
  • Mary died and was raised: strong church tradition.  The Apostles gathered at the death of Mary.  Thomas wanted to see her, they opened the tomb and she was not there.  Though not a dogma in the East.

Father Doyle continued

  • Immaculate conception is unnecessary, makes God into a quadrinity.
  • The Patriarch of Constantinople lifted certain anathemas against the West but not all.  Pope Paul VI misunderstood.  No unity at the altar with Rome.
  • Filioque Clause: the original creed from A.D. 325 condemning Arius who taught that Jesus was not divine.  The dockworkers in Alexandria used to chant “There was a time when he was not.”  Arius was very popular.  In A.D. 381 the council at Constantinople again condemned Arius.  In Spain 6th century Arianism was still being fought.  The Roman church added “The Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son (filioque).”  The attempt was to further promote the divinity of the Son but it detracts from the Spirit.  Rome changed the creed on its own.  The new creed was not approved in the East.
  • Orthodox Rule: Peter had a wife.  As the church grew, the bishop became the center.  The parish priest would serve the community.  After A.D. 313 in the 500's the bishop was not married - probably a monk.
  • In the West they applied this rule to the priest as well.
  • Orthodox believe, the Romans Church left as apostates.
  • Charlemagne emphasized Roman authority for his own political purposes.