Orthodox vs Catholic
Christianity seems to be divided into the Eastern and Western churches that are referred to as Orthodox and Catholics respectively. To a casual observer, or someone from any other religion, Orthodox and Catholics might appear the same, but there are differences in doctrine and authority that will be highlighted in this article. The basic beliefs and practices remain the same. It is some minor differences that crept in slowly starting from 5th century AD that led to a great schism in 1054 AD. These differences continue till date even after a thousand of years. Let us take a closer look.
• While Pope in Rome is the highest authority and Vatican the seat of Christianity (for the Catholics), he is not recognized as supreme by the Orthodox. Eastern Orthodox recognizes bishops with archbishop as the highest authority though he is not infallible like the Pope for the Catholics. Papal authority is on the wane as though he is still the figurative head in the west. He cannot advise for a change of leadership in any country even if he feels that the government in a country is moving in a direction not desired by the Church.
• While Latin remained the language of the Catholic Church for long, Orthodox Church did not accept Roman language and preferred using native languages for the start. It is only after the second Ecumenical Council that Catholic Church has started to use native language for mass services.
• Western Church or the Catholics believe Vatican in Rome to be the seat of Christianity while Constantinople is considered to be the seat of Christianity by Orthodox.
• Catholics believe Mary to be one without original sin and hence appropriate to be the mother of the son of god. Orthodox Church feels that Mary was ordinary but was chosen to be the mother of Jesus as she had led a virtuous life.
• Catholics prefer statues, whereas orthodox believe in icons instead of statues.
• You may be surprised but even the most important events in calendar; Christmas and Easter are calculated in a different manner by the Orthodox and Catholics. This is because Eastern Orthodox does not recognize the Gregorian calendar formulated by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582.
• Priests are not allowed to marry in Catholic Church while, in Orthodox, marriage before ordination is allowed. It was in 1054 AD that celibacy was forced upon all priests in Western Church.
• While the Orthodox Church believes Catholic Church to be legalistic and one that relies too much on speculation, Catholics consider Orthodox to be mystical in nature relying far too often on spiritual practices.