Comparison between Orthodoxy, Protestantism & Roman Catholicism
The light of the East has illumined the universal Church, from the moment . and thus an original way of living their relationship with the Savior. from full communion with the Eastern Orthodox Churches despite sharing in. Eucharistic theology is a branch of Christian theology which treats doctrines concerning the This view is taught by the Roman Catholic Church, including its Eastern Rites. .. Nicolaus Zinzendorf, a bishop of the Moravian Church, stated that Holy Communion is the "most intimate of all connection with the person of the . News > Inter-Orthodox relations > The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church has considered it impossible to remain in the Eucharistic.
Eventually, while the Eastern Churches maintained the principle that the Church should keep to the local language of the community, Latin became the language of the Western Church. Until the schism the five great patriarchal sees were Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem. Life and worship Life and worship Eastern Christianity stresses a way of life and belief that is expressed particularly through worship.
By maintaining the correct form of worshipping God, passed on from the very beginnings of Christianity. Eastern Christians believe that they confess the true doctrine of God in the right orthodox way. The wisdom of the Fathers of the Church is central to the Orthodox way of life as today's inheritors of the "true faith and Church" passed on in its purest form.
By maintaining the purity of the inherited teachings of the Apostles, believers are made more aware of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit being present both in history and at the present day.
A life of prayer At the centre of worship and belief is the Eucharist surrounded by the Divine Offices or the Cycle of Prayer. These prayers are sung particularly at Sunset and Dawn and at certain other times during the day and night.
Personal prayer plays an important part in the life of an Orthodox Christian. For many Orthodox Christians an important form of prayer is the Jesus Prayer. This is a sentence which is repeated many times; for example: The strict life of a monk or nun is seen as an important expression of faith. Mount Athos in north-eastern Greece is described as the centre of Orthodox monasticism. It is the only place in Greece completely dedicated to prayer and worship of God.
For this reason, it is called the Holy Mountain. Most monasteries are coenobitic: The peninsula is divided into twenty self-governed territories. Each territory consists of a major monastery and some other monastic establishments that surround it cloisters, cells, cottages, seats, hermitages. For monk and nun alike, their spiritual life should follow the same way of living that all Christians try to achieve by following God's commandants.
While not being against marriage, it is generally accepted that celibacy in the Church allows for a closer understanding of the Christian life away from worldly things. Fasting and prayer Fasting and prayer play an important part of the Orthodox Christian life. Orthodox believe that fasting can be the 'foundation of all good'. The discipline of training the body can enable a believer to concentrate the mind totally on preparation for prayer and things spiritual.
There are four main fasting periods: Eight days after Pentecost until 28th June. Nevertheless this mystery is continuously veiled, enveloped in silence, 35 lest an idol be created in place of God. Only in a progressive purification of the knowledge of communion, will man and God meet and recognize in an eternal embrace their unending connaturality of love.
Thus is born what is called the apophatism of the Christian East: This should not be confused with an obscure mysticism in which man loses himself in enigmatic, impersonal realities. On the contrary, the Christians of the East turn to God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, living persons tenderly present, to whom they utter a solemn and humble, majestic and simple liturgical doxology.
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But they perceive that one draws close to this presence above all by letting oneself be taught an adoring silence, for at the culmination of the knowledge and experience of God is his absolute transcendence. This is reached through the prayerful assimilation of scripture and the liturgy more than by systematic meditation. In the humble acceptance of the creature's limits before the infinite transcendence of a God who never ceases to reveal himself as God - Love, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ in the joy of the Holy Spirit, I see expressed the attitude of prayer and the theological method which the East prefers and continues to offer all believers in Christ.
We must confess that we all have need of this silence, filled with the presence of him who is adored: This is what man needs today; he is often unable to be silent for fear of meeting himself, of feeling the emptiness that asks itself about meaning; man who deafens himself with noise.
All, believers and non - believers alike, need to learn a silence that allows the Other to speak when and how he wishes, and allows us to understand his words. Thirty years have passed since the bishops of the Catholic Church, meeting in council in the presence of many brothers from other churches and ecclesial communities, listened to the voice of the Spirit as he shed light on deep truths about the nature of the Church, showing that all believers in Christ were far closer than they could imagine, all journeying towards the one Lord, all sustained and supported by his grace.
An ever more pressing invitation to unity emerged at that point. Since then, much ground has been covered in reciprocal knowledge.
This has increased our respect and has frequently enabled us to pray to the one Lord together and to pray for one another, on a path of love that is already a pilgrimage of unity. After the important steps taken by Pope Paul VI, I have wished the path of mutual knowledge in charity to be continued. I can testify to the deep love that the fraternal meeting with so many heads and representatives of churches and ecclesial communities has given me in recent years.
Together we have shared our concerns and expectations, together we have called for union between our churches and peace for the world. Together we have felt more responsible for the common good, not only as individuals, but in the name of the Christians whose pastors the Lord has made us.
Sometimes urgent appeals from other churches, threatened or stricken with violence and abuse, have reached this See of Rome. It has sought to open its heart to them all. As soon as he could, the Bishop of Rome has raised his voice for them, so that people of goodwill might hear the cry of those suffering brothers and sisters of ours. In the course of the thousand years now drawing to a close, even more than in the first millennium, ecclesial communion has been painfully wounded, 'a fact for which, often enough, men of both sides were to blame.
These sins of the past unfortunately still burden us and remain ever present temptations. It is necessary to make amends for them and earnestly to beseech Christ's forgiveness. I feel the need to increase our common openness to the Spirit who calls us to conversion, to accept and recognize others with fraternal respect, to make fresh, courageous gestures, able to dispel any temptation to turn back.
We feel the need to go beyond the degree of communion we have reached. Every day I have a growing desire to go over the history of the Churches in order to write, at last, a history of our unity and thus return to the time when, after the death and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus, the Gospel spread to the most varied cultures and a most fruitful exchange began which still today is evidenced in the liturgies of the Churches.
Despite difficulties and differences, the letters of the Apostles cf. The common experience of martyrdom, and meditation on the acts of the martyrs of every church, sharing in the doctrine of so many holy teachers of the faith, in deep exchange and sharing, strengthen this wonderful feeling of unity. When the ecumenical dialogue first began, the Holy Spirit enabled us to be strengthened in our common faith, a perfect continuation of the apostolic kerygma, and for this we thank God with all our heart.
We have increasingly learned that it was not so much an historical episode or a mere question of pre - eminence that tore the fabric of unity, as it was a progressive estrangement, so that the other's diversity was no longer perceived as a common treasure, but as incompatibility. Even when the second millennium experienced a hardening of the polemics and the separation, with mutual ignorance and prejudice increasing all the more, nonetheless constructive meetings between church leaders desirous of intensifying relations and fostering exchanges did not cease, nor did the holy efforts of men and women who, recognizing the setting of one group against the other as a grave sin, and being in love with unity and charity, attempted in many ways to promote the search for communion by prayer, study and reflection, and by open and cordial interaction.
The way of charity is experiencing new moments of difficulty following the recent events which have involved Central and Eastern Europe. Christian brothers and sisters who together had suffered persecution are regarding one another with suspicion and fear just when prospects and hopes of greater freedom are appearing: We are united in these martyrs from Rome, from the 'Hill of Crosses,' the Solovets Islands and so many other extermination camps.
We are united against the background of these martyrs; we cannot fail to be united. If those who want to be first are called to become the servants of all, then the primacy of love will be seen to grow from the courage of this charity. I pray the Lord to inspire, first of all in myself, and in the bishops of the Catholic Church, concrete actions as a witness to this inner certitude. The deepest nature of the Church demands it.
Every time we celebrate the Eucharist, the sacrament of communion, we find in the Body and Blood we share the sacrament and the call to our unity. In view of our reciprocal exclusion from the Eucharist, we feel our poverty and the need to make every effort so that the day may come when we will partake together of the same bread and the same cup.
Particularly significant anniversaries encourage us to turn our thoughts with affection and reverence to the Eastern Churches.
First of all, as has been said, the centenary of the Apostolic Letter Orientalium Dignitas. Since that time a journey began which has led, among other things, into the creation of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches 49 and the foundation of the Pontifical Oriental Institute 50 by Pope Benedict XV. These are signs of an attitude that the Church of Rome has always felt was an integral part of the mandate entrusted by Jesus Christ to the Apostle Peter: Attempts in the past had their limits, deriving from the mentality of the times and the very understanding of the truths about the Church.
But here I would like to reassert that this commitment is rooted in the conviction that Peter cf. Therefore he must not create obstacles but must open up paths. Nor is this in any way at odds with the duty entrusted to him by Christ: It is significant that Christ said these words precisely at the moment when Peter was about to deny him.
It was as if the Master himself wanted to tell Peter: You are able to strengthen others only insofar as you are aware of your own weakness.Coptic Orthodox Answers (Q&A) E14: Is the Eucharist really essential for my salvation?
I entrust to you as your responsibility the truth, the great truth of God, meant for man's salvation, but this truth cannot be preached or put into practice except by loving. We know that this can take place only on the basis of the love of Churches which feel increasingly called to manifest the one Church of Christ, born from one Baptism and from one Eucharist, and which want to be sisters.
If divisions exist, that is one thing; they must be overcome, but the Church is one, the Church of Christ between East and West can only be one, one and united. Today we are conscious - and this has frequently been reasserted - that unity will be achieved how and when the Lord desires, and that it will require the contribution of love's sensitivity and creativity, perhaps even going beyond the forms already tried in history.
The Eastern Churches which entered into full communion with Rome wished to be an expression of this concern, according to the degree of maturity of the ecclesial awareness of the time. And if sometimes, in their relations with the Orthodox Churches, misunderstandings and open opposition have arisen, we all know that we must ceaselessly implore divine mercy and a new heart capable of reconciliation over and above any wrong suffered or inflicted. It has been stressed several times that the full union of the Catholic Eastern Churches with the Church of Rome which has already been achieved must not imply a diminished awareness of their own authenticity and originality.
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For these are guaranteed by ancient tradition, and seem to be better suited to the customs of their faithful and to the good of their souls. A constant, shared conversion is indispensable for them to advance resolutely and energetically towards mutual understanding. And conversion is also required of the Latin Church, that she may respect and fully appreciate the dignity of Eastern Christians, and accept gratefully the spiritual treasures of which the Eastern Catholic Churches are the bearers, to the benefit of the entire catholic communion; 60 that she may show concretely, far more than in the past, how much she esteems and admires the Christian East and how essential she considers its contribution to the full realization of the Church's universality.
Meeting one another, getting to know one another, working together I have a keen desire that the words which Saint Paul addressed from the East to the faithful of the Church of Rome may resound today on the lips of Christians of the West with regard to their brothers and sisters of the Eastern Churches: The Apostle of the Gentiles then immediately and enthusiastically stated his intention: Here, the dynamic of our meeting is wonderfully portrayed: It is an incentive which the Spirit constantly inspires in the Church and which becomes more insistent precisely in the moments of greatest difficulty.
I am also well aware that at this time certain tensions between the Church of Rome and some of the Eastern Churches are making the path of mutual esteem more difficult with regard to future communion. Several times this See of Rome has made a point of issuing directives favoring the common progress of all the Churches at so important a time for the life of the world, especially in Eastern Europe, where dramatic events of recent history have often prevented the Eastern Churches from properly fulfilling the mandate of evangelization which they nevertheless felt keenly.
I would like forcefully to affirm that the communities of the West are ready to encourage in every way - and many are already working along these lines - the intensification of this ministry of "diakonia," making available to such Churches the experience acquired in the years when charity was more freely exercised.
Woe to us if the abundance of some were to produce the humiliation of others or a sterile and scandalous rivalry. On their part, Western communities will make it their duty above all to share, where possible, service projects with their brothers and sisters in the Eastern Churches, or to assist in bringing to successful conclusion all that the latter are doing to help their people. In any case, in territories where both are present, the Western communities will never show an attitude which could appear disrespectful of the exhausting efforts which the Eastern Churches are making, efforts which are all the more to their credit, given the precariousness of the resources available to them.
To extend gestures of common charity to one another and jointly to those in need will appear as an act with immediate impact. To avoid this or even to witness to the contrary, will make all those who observe us think that every commitment to a rapprochement in charity between the Churches is merely an abstract statement, without conviction or concreteness. I feel that the Lord's call to work in every way to ensure that all believers in Christ will witness together to their own faith is fundamental, especially in the territories where the children of the Catholic Church - Latin and Eastern - and children of the Orthodox Churches live together in large numbers.
After their common martyrdom suffered for Christ under the oppression of atheist regimes, the time has come to suffer, if necessary, in order never to fail in the witness of charity among Christians, for even if we gave our body to be burned but had not charity, it would serve no purpose cf.
I believe that one important way to grow in mutual understanding and unity consists precisely in improving our knowledge of one another. The children of the Catholic Church already know the ways indicated by the Holy See for achieving this: In addition to knowledge, I feel that meeting one another regularly is very important.
In this regard, I hope that monasteries will make a particular effort, precisely because of the unique role played by monastic life within the Churches and because of the many unifying aspects of the monastic experience, and therefore of spiritual awareness, in the East and in the West. Another form of meeting consists in welcoming Orthodox professors and students to the Pontifical Universities and other Catholic academic institutions.
We will continue to do all we can to extend this welcome on a wider scale. May God also bless the founding and development of places designed precisely to offer hospitality to our brothers of the East, including such places in this city of Rome where the living, shared memory of the leaders of the Apostles and of so many martyrs is preserved. It is important that meetings and exchanges should involve Church communities in the broadest forms and ways.
We know for example how positive inter - parish activities such as "twinning" can be for mutual cultural and spiritual enrichment, and also for the exercise of charity. I judge very positively the initiatives of joint pilgrimages to places where holiness is particularly expressed in remembering men and women who in every age have enriched the Church with the sacrifice of their lives. In this direction it would also be a highly significant act to arrive at a common recognition of the holiness of those Christians who, in recent decades, particularly in the countries of Eastern Europe, have shed their blood for the one faith in Christ.
A particular thought goes to the lands of the diaspora where many faithful of the Eastern Churches who have left their countries of origin are living in a mainly Latin environment. These places, where peaceful contact is easier within a pluralist society, could be an ideal environment for improving and intensifying cooperation between the Churches in training future priests and in pastoral and charitable projects, also for the benefit of the Orientals' countries of origin.
I particularly urge the Latin Ordinaries in these countries to study attentively, grasp thoroughly and apply faithfully the principles issued by this Holy See concerning ecumenical cooperation 65 and the pastoral care of the faithful of the Eastern Catholic Churches, especially when they lack their own hierarchy.
I invite the Eastern Catholic Bishops and clergy to collaborate closely with the Latin Ordinaries for an effective apostolate which is not fragmented, especially when their jurisdiction covers immense territories where the absence of cooperation means, in effect, isolation.
The Eastern Catholic Bishops will not neglect any means of encouraging an atmosphere of brotherhood, sincere mutual esteem and cooperation with their brothers in the Churches with which we are not yet united in full communion, especially with those who belong to the same ecclesial tradition. Where in the West there are no Eastern priests to look after the faithful of the Eastern Catholic Churches, Latin Ordinaries and their co - workers should see that those faithful grow in the awareness and knowledge of their own tradition, and they should be invited to cooperate actively in the growth of the Christian community by making their own particular contribution.
With regard to monasticism, in consideration of its Importance in Eastern Christianity, we would like it to flourish once more in the Eastern Catholic Churches, and that support be given to all those who feel called to work for its revitalization.
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Nor should it be thought that this would diminish the effectiveness of the pastoral ministry which in fact will be strengthened by such a vigorous spirituality, and thus will find once more its ideal place.
This hope also concerns the territories of the Eastern diaspora, where the presence of Eastern monasteries would give greater stability to the Eastern Churches in those countries, and would make a valuable contribution to the religious life of Western Christians. Journeying together toward the "Orientale Lumen" In conducting this letter, my thoughts turn to my beloved brothers and sisters the Patriarchs, Bishops, Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the men and women of the Eastern Churches.
On the threshold of the third millennium we all hear in our Sees the cry of those oppressed by the burden of grave threats, but who, perhaps even without realizing it, long to know what God in his love intended. These people feel that a ray of light, if it is welcomed, is capable of dispelling the shadows which cover the horizon of the Father's tenderness.
Mary, "Mother of the star that never sets," 67 "dawn of the mystical day," 68 "rising of the sun of glory," 69 shows us the Orientale Lumen. Every day in the East the sun of hope rises again, the light that restores life to the human race.
It is from the East, according to a lovely image, that our Savior will come again cf. For us, the men and women of the East are a symbol of the Lord who comes again. We cannot forget them, not only because we love them as brothers and sisters redeemed by the same Lord, but also because a holy nostalgia for the centuries lived in the full communion of faith and charity urges us and reproaches us for our sins and our mutual misunderstandings: We are painfully aware that we cannot yet share in the same Eucharist.
Now that the millennium is drawing to a close and our gaze turns to the rising Sun, with gratitude we find these men and women before our eyes and in our heart. The echo of the Gospel - the words that do not disappoint - continues to resound with force, weakened only by our separation: Christ cries out but man finds it hard to hear his voice because we fail to speak with one accord.
We listen together to the cry of those who want to hear God's entire Word. The words of the West need the words of the East, so that God's word may ever more clearly reveal its unfathomable riches. Our words will meet for ever in the heavenly Jerusalem, but we ask and wish that this meeting be anticipated in the holy Church which is still on her way towards the fullness of the Kingdom. May God shorten the time and distance.
May Christ, the Orientale Lumen, soon, very soon, grant us to discover that in fact, despite so many centuries of distance, we were very close, because together -- perhaps without knowing it -- we were walking towards the one Lord, and thus towards one another.
May the people of the third millennium be able to enjoy this discovery, finally achieved by a word that is harmonious and thus fully credible, proclaimed by brothers and sisters who love one another and thank one another for the riches which they exchange. Thus shall we offer ourselves to God with the pure hands of reconciliation, and the people of the world will have one more well - founded reason to believe and to hope. With these wishes I impart my Blessing to all. From the Vatican, on May 2, the liturgical memorial of Saint Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, in the yearthe seventeenth of my Pontificate.
The Pope recalls the esteem and the concrete help which the Holy See has given the Eastern Churches, and its willingness to safeguard their specific qualities; in addition, cf. Apostolic Letter Praeclara gratulationis June 20,l. Saint Augustine notes in this regard: In the event of serious sin, however, confession is a necessary preparation for Holy Communion. Marriage God is active in our lives. It is He who joins a man and a woman in a relationship of mutual love. The Sacrament of Marriage bears witness to His action.
Through this Sacrament, a man and a woman are publicly joined as husband and wife. They enter into a new relationship with each other, God, and the Church. Since Marriage is not viewed as a legal contract, there are no vows in the Sacrament.
According to Orthodox teachings, Marriage is not simply a social institution, it is an eternal vocation of the kingdom. A husband and a wife are called by the holy Spirit not only to live together but also to share their Christian life together so that each, with the aid of the other, may grow closer to God and become the persons they are meant to be.
In the Orthodox Marriage Service, after the couple have been betrothed and exchanged rings, they are crowned with "crowns of glory and honor" signifying the establishment of a new family under God. Near the conclusion of the Service, the husband and wife drink from a common cup which is reminiscent of the wedding of Cana and which symbolized the sharing of the burdens and joys of their new life together.
Through ordination, men who have been chosen from within the Church are set apart by the Church for special service to the Church.
Each is called by God through His people to stand amid the community, as pastor and teacher, and as the representative of the parish before the Altar.
Each is also a living icon of Christ among His people. According to Orthodox teaching, the process of ordination begins with the local congregation; but the bishop alone, who acts in the name of the universal Church, can complete the action.
He does so with the invocation of the Holy Spirit and the imposition of his hands on the person being ordained. Following the custom of the Apostolic Church, there are three major orders each of which requires a special ordination. These are Bishop, who is viewed as a successor of the Apostles, Priest and Deacon, who act in the name of the Bishop. Each order is distinguished by its pastoral responsibilities. Only a Bishop may ordain. Often, other titles and offices are associated with the three orders.
The Orthodox Church permits men to marry before they are ordained. Since the sixth century, Bishops have been chosen from the celibate clergy. Anointing of the Sick Holy Unction When one is ill and in pain, this can very often be a time of life when one feels alone and isolated.
The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, or Holy Unction as it is also known, remind us that when we are in pain, either physical, emotional, or spiritual, Christ is present with us through the ministry of his Church. He is among us to offer strength to meet the challenges of life, and even the approach of death. As with Chrismation, oil is also used in this Sacrament as a sign of God's presence, strength, and forgiveness. After the reading of seven epistle lessons, seven gospel lessons and the offering of seven prayers, which are all devoted to healing, the priest anoints the body with the Holy Oil.
Orthodoxy does not view this Sacrament as available only to those who are near death. It is offered to all who are sick in body, mind, or spirit. In addition to the Eucharist she accepts the above six Mysteries as major Sacraments because they involve the entire community and most important are closely relation to the Eucharist.
There are many other Blessings and Special Services which complete the major Sacraments, and which reflect the Church's presence throughout the lives of her people.