The Eastern Orthodox Church?
To understand the situation with the Eastern Orthodox Church vs the Roman Catholic Church, we first must go back and focus on how the Church was established by Christ Himself 2000 years ago.
Matthew 16:17-19; after Jesus instructed Peter to "Feed my sheep", Christ went on to say to Peter; "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona (Peter); thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell (heresy) shall not prevail against it. I will give to THEE (Peter) the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou (Peter) shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou (Peter) shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven."
Jesus gave Peter the keys of His house (the Church) for when He would be absent after He was raised up to return to heaven; just as when Hezekiah, King of Judah in 700 BC gave the key of city of David to Eliakim, governor of the King to rule in King Hezekiah's absence as described in Isaiah 22:20-22; "I will lay the key (of the house of David) upon his shoulder: and he shall open, and none shall shut: and he shall shut, and none shall open." Eliakim changed his name to Jehoiakim when he became King of Judah in 609 BC shortly before Nebuchadnezzar II besieged Jerusalem.
There are many scriptural accounts of how the other apostles treated Peter. (Click on Peter below)
The main objection to Roman Catholicism by the Eastern Orthodox Church is the Papacy.
(Click on Peter below)
How the Eastern Orthodox Church Came About
The Eastern Orthodox Church evolved out of disputes raised by a number of bishops (Patriarchs) of Churches in the areas mainly from former Byzantine (Eastern Roman Empire) and regions of Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East Europe, Cyprus, in the Caucasus region and from Siberia to Russia. These Eastern bishops, for theological and political reasons objected to being ruled and controlled by one Bishop in Rome; St Peter and his successors. The Eastern Patriarchs established a new capital in Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey) after the Council of Ephesus in the 5th century. Since then, the Eastern Orthodox Church operates as a communion of "autocephalous" (self-ruled) and independent churches, each governed by its bishops in each local synods (regions), as "primus-inter-pares" (first among equals) of the bishops.
Michael Cerularius, a Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople was a prominent figure involved with leading the Eastern Orthodox bishops splitting from the Roman Church in 1054. Though referred as the "Great Schism", the reality is that thee was nothing "great" about the fact that many of the Churches of the East split from Rome when Eastern patriarchs (bishops) decided "on their own" to separate from the Vicar of Christ, the chair of St Peter in Rome as Christ commanded.
The three main issues the Eastern Orthodox patriarchs had with Rome:
1. The Papal primacy - Highlighted above
2. The Filioque - See below
3. Immaculate Conception of BVM - Below and on BVM page
While there are several other issues the Eastern Orthodox church has with Rome, these three are the main objections. To fully understand the situation with the Eastern Orthodox Church and Roman Catholicism, one must consider the history facts along with the many learned men over the centuries have studied on this subject, not just those supporting and promoting the Easter Orthodox Church today. One such person was Fr. Adrian Fortescue, an English Roman Catholic priest who wrote many books and specifically, "The Orthodox Eastern Church" in the late 1800's. Of particular note is the chapter of Church history involving Photius, highlighting a number historical points that underscore the real reasons that started the eventual permanent split of the Eastern Churches from Rome to this very day. The theological divisions were not really at the forefront of the schism, but rather a sad and tragic display of secular intrigue and corruption that included avarice, deceit, blasphemy and murder; read specifically what history tells us of Photius on pages 135-171. Then there's the schism of Celarius covered on pages 172-198. The picture below has a link to the digital copy of the book.
Another discussion of an 19th Century Scholar and an Eastern Orthodox Convert
Orestes A Brownson (1873) a Catholic convert, challenged Réné-Francois Guettée, a French historian and Roman Catholic priest who became convinced that the Orthodox Church was the true Church; not Rome. In 1860 Guettee became "Fr" Guettée. (Click Guettee photo; 184 pgs "if" you want more proof)
THEN THERE'S THE MATTER OF "FILIOQUE"
2. Filioque: The term filioque is Latin for "and the Son"; referring to how the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father "and the Son". Filioque was added to the Nicene Creed in 325 to clarify that the Holy Spirit is "in fact" (ipso factor) one of the three personages of the Holy Trinity and that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father "and the son". Bishops in the East (Constantinople) objected to this understanding of the person of the Holy Spirit proceeding from the son and how it was highlighted in the Creed. This became one of the three main reasons for why the Eastern Churches split from Rome (the West) in 1054 and why history calls it the Great East-West Schism, when these Eastern bishops separated from Rome (the West). Click on the illustration below for clarification.
The two scriptures make it clear that Eastern Orthodox refusal to accept "filioque" is blasphemous.
Apocalypse 22:1; “And he shewed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, PROCEEDING FROM the throne of GOD "AND" THE LAMB.”
“..Jesus ... saying: 'If any man thirst, let him come to me, and drink. He that believeth in me, as the scripture saith, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. Now this he said OF THE SPIRIT, which they should receive, who believed in him: for as yet THE SPIRIT was not given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.'” (Received from Jesus, the lamb)
More on the Filioque
More proof that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father "and the Son"; filioque. (Click on photo and what 2 more hours of scriptural and Eastern Orthodox Patriarchs comment on this issue)
Fr Adrian Fortescue on Filioque
Open to pages 372-384 in Fr Fortescue's digital copy of "The Orthodox Eastern Church" above.
THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
AND ORIGINAL SIN
3. Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary: You're welcomed to go to the "BVM" page on this site for a great deal more information on the Blessed Virgin Mary presented by mystics and saints of the Church through the ages. To refute this is blasphemy to our Lord and His Holy Mother.
Eastern Orthodox Church Schism - Again?
Leaders within the Constantinople Patriarchate, historically the most influential center of the global Orthodox Church, recently took several administrative steps to grant ecclesiastical independence “autocephaly” to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
The Russian Orthodox Church is among the most influential churches in the Orthodox world. Its 150 million adherents comprise about half of Orthodox Churches worldwide. Since the collapse of the (officially atheistic) Soviet Union in the 1990s, it’s also become increasingly powerful politically. In recent years, the Russian Orthodox Church’s alliance with Vladimir Putin’s nationalist government has essentially rendered it a form of Russian ideological “soft power” with the church and its head, Patriarch Kirill, often serving as a mouthpiece for Russian nationalist ideology.
A standalone Ukrainian Church would also effectively check Putin’s efforts to establish Russia as a “third Rome”: the heart of a religiously and ethnically united Christian empire, heir to Rome and Constantinople. He has mandated, for example, that state officials read Russian religious philosophers like Nikolai Berdyaev and Ivan Ilyin, two thinkers known for their support of a united Christian Russian empire. He’s also staged photos for himself at centers of Orthodox Christianity, like Mount Athos in Greece, where the Russian media breathlessly, if slightly inaccurately, reported that he sat upon the traditional throne of Byzantine emperors. (The historic chair in question was, in fact, designed for honored guests.)
Some believe the city of Kiev to be the birthplace of the Russian Orthodox tradition. Ukrainians comprise up to 40 percent of the current Russian Orthodox Church and tend to attend services at double the rates of their Russian neighbors. For Ukrainians, the promise of autocephaly represents both spiritual and symbolic freedom from Russian influence. The Ukrainian Church has been subject to the Russian Church since 1686, a few decades after the territory came under Russian political control. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko recently told reporters that an autocephalous Ukrainian church was “an issue of Ukrainian national security. It’s an issue of Ukrainian statehood.”
A standalone Ukrainian Church would also effectively check Putin’s efforts to establish Russia as a “third Rome”: the heart of a religiously and ethnically united Christian empire, heir to Rome and Constantinople. He has mandated, for example, that state officials read Russian religious philosophers like Nikolai Berdyaev and Ivan Ilyin, two thinkers known for their support of a united Christian Russian empire. He’s also staged photos for himself at centers of Orthodox Christianity, like Mount Athos in Greece, where the Russian media breathlessly, if slightly inaccurately, reported that he sat upon the traditional throne of Byzantine emperors.
If the Russian Orthodox Church ends up schisming from Constantinople, it would represent the most significant break in the Eastern Church since 1054 AD. The current crisis over the Ukrainian Church is the most significant in 1,000 years. The modern conflict over Ukrainian autocephaly is, like the 1054 schism, as much about territory and influence as it is about theology, if not more so.
The Patriarch of Constantinople, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, due to his “first among equals” status, can render the Ukrainian Church autocephalous without Russia’s approval. Patriarch Bartholomew has taken steps to grant the Ukrainian Church independence, including revoking the 1686 decree giving Moscow power over Kiev, but he has not yet.
The crisis over the status of the Ukrainian Church isn’t the first time the promise of a former Russian territory’s autonomy has threatened Russia-Constantinople relations. In 1996, the Russian Orthodox Church briefly severed ties with Constantinople over the fate of the Estonian Church, which likewise sought independence. (Ultimately, a compromise was reached, and two parallel churches — one under Moscow, one autocephalous — now exist in that country.) However, the controversy over Ukraine is much more politically significant, both because the country is much larger and because of the way the conflict reflects wider Russia-Ukraine territorial tensions.
It is unclear whether Russia will reemphasize its position. While Russia has called for the support of the 12 remaining Orthodox national churches against Constantinople, it has not asked them to break with Constantinople directly. Already, however, the Serbian Church — a longtime Russian ally — has signaled its support for Russia. Thus far, its consequences remain to be seen.
If the information contained on this page including the links to reference material isn't enough to demonstrate the erroneous position of the Eastern Orthodox Church since the "Schism" in 1054 AD, then perhaps the reader needs to look inward to find the answer. God bless the reader.