The Eastern Orthodox Greek Church
By Cohen G. Reckart, Pastor
Orthodox=from Greek orthodoxos; ortho=right, doxos=opinion; right in opinion or doctrine; holding the Christian faith as formulated by the Councils and embodied in various creeds (1).
The Orthodox Church is composed of several bodies, usually national Churches, nearly all of which recognize the primacy or headship of the Patriarch of Constantinople (2).
Constantine divided his empire into dioceses and the Eastern and Western Churches adopted a similar division (3).
1.) The Patriarchate of Constantinople or New Rome. The ancient patriarchate of Constantinople included the imperial dioceses of Pontus, Asia, Thrace, and Eastern Illyricumi.e. speaking roughly, the greater part of Asia Minor, European Turkey, and Greece, with as small portion of Austria (4).
2.) The Patriarchate of Alexandria. Consisting of Egypt and its dependencies (5).
3.) The Patriarchate of Antioch. The jurisdiction of this see once included Syria, Cilicia, and all of Mesopotamia (6).
4.) The Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Jurisdiction is over Israel or what is known as Palestine (7).
The Eastern Orthodox Church claims that it is the true Catholic Church and that the Church of Rome broke away from it. It claims that the Church of Rome altered the Nicene Creed by adding the words "and the son," in the clause dealing with the Filioque or procession of the Spirit from the Father. The Eastern Church claims this alteration was done without the sanction of an Oecumenical Council and without consulting with the Eastern Church (8).
The Eastern Church denies that it was a split off of the Roman Catholic Church as claimed by Rome and most Protestants. What is often deemed a split in 1054, was when Pope Leo XI issued an excommunication to Michael Cerularius and the whole of the Eastern Greek Orthodox Churches (9). This was not a break in unity, but a break in fellowship. There had never been a formal union between the Greek and the Roman Churches, except in the joint acceptance of the matters of the first seven Councils.
The Greek Church has always claimed that it was the true Orthodox Church, giving as evidence their strict acceptance and adherence to the decrees of the first seven Councils. They also offer as proof that the first seven councils were largely of the Asia Churches and less of the Western under Rome.
By Orthodox, the Greek Churches mean they subscribe to the original opinions or decrees of the first seven Councils (10). It is the dogma of the Greek Church that the Holy Spirit guides the Church of God assembled in an Oecumenical Council and that He keeps it from error (11).
Athanasius, in his letter to the bishops of Africa, exclaimed: "What God has spoken through the Council of Nicaea endureth for ever" (12).
Gregory the Great said: "I venerate the four first Oecumenical Councils equally with the four Gospels" (13).
The first seven Councils are:
1.) Nicaea 325 AD, The trinity, The Lord's Passover, Baptism.
2.) Constantinople 381 AD, The divinity of the Holy Ghost and formalizing the full trinity.
3.) Ephesus 431 AD, Nestorianism, Mary made the mother of God.
4.) Chalcedon 451 AD, The two natures in Christ confirmed.
5.) Constantinople 553 AD, The errors of Origen.
6.) Constantinople 680 AD, The human and divine wills in Christ.
7.) Nicaea 787 AD, Acceptance of veneration of icons and images.
Other Councils that are rejected:
8.) Constantinople 869 AD, Over the Schism of Photius.
9.) Lateran 1123 AD, Crusade and lay investiture
10.) Lateran 1139 AD, Doctrines of Arnold of Brescia
11.) Lateran 1179 AD, Doctrines of the Albigensians and Waldensians
12.) Lateran 1215 AD, New confessions of faith.
13.) Lyons 1245 AD, Crusade and deposition of Frederick II
14.) Lyons 1274 AD, Reunion of the Eastern Orthodox, papal election
15.) Vienne 1311AD, Knights Templars and Fraticelli practices
16.) Constance 1414 AD, The doctrines of Hus and Wycliff
17.) Basel 1431 AD, Reunion with East, reform
18.) Lateran 1512 AD, Crusade, Sanction of 1438
19.) Trent 1545 AD, Doctrinal definitions and reform
20.) Vatican 1869 AD, Modern errors, papal infallibility
(1) Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, Second Edition, 1934, p 593.
(3) Encyclopedia Britannica, 1910 Edition, Vol. 20, p 337
(8) Ibid, p 334
(9) Ibid, p 334
(10) Ibid, p 333
(11) Charles Joseph Helefle, A History of The Christian Councils, To The Close Of The Council of Nicaea AD 325, p 52.
(12) Ibid, p 53.
Copyright Notice | Tribute | Introduction | The Eastern Greek Orthodox Church | Greek Claims of Orthodoxy
The Cabbalist Jewish Connection | Nicaea Where Truth Was Declared Illegal | Constantine Takes The Bait
Constantinople A Rival Religious Papacy | A Religion Of Works For Salvation
Things Greek Orthodoxy Must Admit | The Curse Of Nicaea Upon Constantine And His House
Additional Trinity Notes | Patripassianism | Gnosticism
Quotes Worthy Of Notice | True Orthodoxy
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