Differences between Coptic & Catholic Church

edited December 1969 in Faith Issues
Hi. We do not live near a Coptic church but with three children, we are attending a Catholic church nearby. Can someone succinctly give me the major/minor differences between the two? While I am Coptic...I grew up in Canada and I'm now living in the U.S. and have at various times attended Baptist churches as well.

While I consistently miss the rituals of the Coptic Orthodox church, I want to be sure I fully understand the subtle differences as well so that I may articulate them to our children down the road.

Thank you! Ash


  • [quote author=frnicholas link=board=1;threadid=69;start=0#msg255 date=1073973108]
    If you are unable to find an Orthodox Church, please attend an Episcopal Church. Their theology is fully Orthodox, thus no confusion and their priests are more than willing to accomodate vaerious ethnic Orthodox Christian traditions. The Roman Catholic Church is still determined to keep Ceasar alive and, at last, attain world domination.
    Peace and love
    Abuna Nicholas

    The Episcopal Church does share in some traditions and rites as the Orthodox churches but there are many differences. Some recent ones are allowing the ordination of women and ordaining homosexual priests which our church opposes vigorously (See Coptic Orthodox Church Formally Condemns Homosexuality, Ordination of Homosexuals and Same-Sex Marriage).

    Whatever problems you have personally faced with the Catholic Church, they are not out to "attain world domination". Catholics are still Christians and although there are several differences between Coptic Orthodoxy and Catholocism, there are also many common similarities.

    Responding to your firs quesiton, we will post a list of the major differences between the two churches.
  • Dear Orhodox friend. my post was certainly not intended to cause any sort of provocation. It was simply to express the eternal suffering our our Holy Orthodox Church, through out the world and my loving sympathy for the Ancient See of Saint Mark. If you would be so kind as to read the web pages Crucified Kosovo and the sufferings brought about by the turks and blessed prince Lazar,s murder, began 6 hundred years of slavery. Then came the false roman catholic church blessing the murder of thousands of innocent Serbian Orthodox Christians who refused to convert. They now go to Medgegory for miracles. No one mentions that the rail stop and the top of this mountain was used to slaughter innocent Serbian Orthodox women and Children. Who do you think the Holy Mother is comming to bless? Also, please check the Web news from the Moscow Patriarchate. the pope has been refused air rights and landing rights. This site is very informative. History forgotten is always repeated. The Episcopal Chruch is going through the trial by fire. Their problems are brought about by converts from the baptist and assemblies of God who saw the church as a way to climb the social ladder, Drink dance, and smoke and step with the higher social class. Water has now begun to seek its' own level. My grandmother, Margaret Westmoreland Bolles from Westmoreland County Virginia, direct descendent of the Westmorelands who landed in America before there was an america, may 7, 1610, was famous for saying Anglicans are born, not made. The problems now facing the Episcopal Church and being brougt about by trashy converts who never belonged in the church. We as Orthodox Christians profess that we are people of the true Faith and the true light. It this is indeed the case we should be so very busy rejoicing in this pure light that not darkness can never come near us.The light will always make us free and we should leave humansexuality to The Holy Spirit and the Holy Patriarchates, bishops and priests. Please read Crusified Kosovo web pages and the history of the Nazis in Serbia. There is no personal grudge match between myself and rome, simply history, history forgotten will repeat its, self.

    Peace and love from one Orthodox Christian to another
    Abuna Nicholas

  • I can understand your frustrations regarding the Catholic Church. What you have to understand is that as Coptic Christians we have also had to endure hardships at their hands. They treated us during the crusades as they treated your people, with utter contempt.

    Also quite similarly to your situation, they have canonized the apparitions at Zeitoun as an official miracle and they also celebrate with us this great blessing that occurred.

    However in light of the recent apologies of Pope John Paul and the efforts ecumenism efforts that have taken place, I would like to think that we can all put these sad matters behind us and start to witness orthodoxy to them so they might recognize their heterodox beliefs.

    Anyway back to the original post.

    There are a few differences between us and the Catholic Church, I'm going to list all the ones I can recall from my foggy and unreliable memory so this is list is by no means definitive.

    1. Purgatory

    During the time of one of the Popes (Leo I believe), they were faced with the issue of what happens to people if they don't repent from sins during their lifetime?

    From this an idea was created that we went to place which was neither heaven nor hell but a place where you would suffer until you were purified of sin.

    Our concerns with this are that it puts a finite value on sin, in that a certain degree of suffering can forgive a sin. This is quite contrary to St. Athanasius teaching on sin/propitiation.

    Also this implies if you follow it that the devil suffer and then be allowed into heaven after his time is up.

    2. Indulgences

    During the middle ages the church became quite corrupt and offered people the forgiveness of sins through payments towards the building of churches.

    3. Holiness credits?

    I'm not exactly sure the name of this difference is correct and I believe it is in some way related to the indulgences but it is believed that some people like saints become so good in their life time that they have over attained their right to the forgivness of sins.

    They are now free to distribute this as a gift to others.....

    4. Salvation without Christ

    The Catholic church now believes that you can be saved without Christ by a 'secret' participation of grace in the heart of an unbeliever. This is a modern teaching which has come as a result of the ecumenical movement.

    5. Quasi-Nestorian interpretations of the Tome of Leo

    While our church does not formally accept or even like the way the tome of leo is worded, we have accepted that EO Churches have a orthodox understanding of the document. However many modern theologians in the Catholic Church tend to interpret it in a way that has a worrying Nestorian bias.

    They also signed a Christological agreement with the Assyrian Church of the east which is the modern day equivalent of the Nestorian movement. This is in conflict with one they signed with us earlier agreeing to our Cyrillian theology.

    6. St. Paul’s Indulgence

    This is rarely used but they believe through a misinterpretation of one of Paul’s discourses that it is okay for a Christian to marry a non-believer.

    7. The filoque

    This is the most famous difference and caused the split between the Catholics and the EO. They altered the creed so that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son rather than just the Father. This is based on a misinterpretation of the Son's ability to 'send' the Holy Spirit.

    8. Papal infallibility

    The Catholics believe that when the Pope is sitting on the seat of St. Peter he is give the ability to never utter a wrong teaching.

    9. The supremacy of Rome

    The Catholics believe that their Pope is the head of the Church on earth and has authority over all. This is a belief we can't accept because Christ is the head of the Church.

    10. Penance

    Catholics seem to have disturbing ways of performing acts of penance. An example is Lourdes where people travel long distances on their knees, having them all cut and bruised by the time they arrive at the site.

    Umm, I'm starting to run out of obvious differences.....

    There are other lesser things like their belief in the Co-demprix which isn't an official belief but some Catholics want to elevate Mary to the status of being a co-redeemer.

    There are also some not "fully" orthodox ideas which they have adopted from St. Augustine like his suggestion that the Holy Spirit was the love relationship between the Father and the Son and also his views on the Original Sin from the City of God.

    It is at this point that I would like to put a disclaimer on all that I have written. If I am mistaken about anything please respond to let me know.
  • CopticSoldier. it would seem that the Serbs and the Coptic Orthodox have very much in common. Along with faith and Holy Orthodox Truth we have a common enemy. My soul and heart are in pain for both our churches. Slavery to the Turks and slavery to the Moslems are another common ground. When our young people arrive in America, they are inundated with man made cults and many fall prey to the charlatons.We must protect them from mixed marriages and receiving Holy Communion in these false churches. In the Holy LIturgy we express that we have seen the true light and the true faith. Let us live this profession of faith. Being born in America and acquainted with the hundreds of man made churches, all trying to take our youth, I can from my heart say that the protestants are roman catholics who simply replaced the pope with the King James Bible. From this bible they, by taking verses out of context, can prove any false doctrine. My prayer are always for the suffering Serbian and Coptic Orthodox Faithful. Let us both be soldiers and work together to find more soldiers prepaired to defend our Holy Orthodox Faith. Peace and Love
  • The following summary is from a lecture given at St. Mark's, Jersey City, NJ during a youth meeting. Download pdf file for entire summary (click on link all the way on bottom of this post "Comparative_Theology.pdf".


    [center]Orthodoxy and Catholicism[/center][center]Comparative Theology[/center]

       Orthodoxy and Catholicism are distinct bodies with significant differences. Our church traces its origins back to the apostles themselves and even the Catholic church recognizes this. In the year 451 AD in the council of Chalcedon the Church of Christ split into West and East, Rome and Alexandria. In 1054 AD the Roman Church split from Byzantine Orthodox. Ever since they assumed the primacy of the pope and the infallibility of the pope which is incorrect as we will see later.
       We will discuss certain major differences between us and the Catholics.

    The first is the nature of Christ. Jesus Christ is God the Incarnate Word. He is the Word of God who took flesh and became Man. He possessed a Godhead and a perfect manhood. His divine nature was One with His human nature yet without mixing, or alteration. The unity of those two natures was into one nature, which is “the nature of the incarnate Word”.

       The issue of the Holy Spirit coming forth or proceeding from the Father only or from the Father and Son. In the Creed we mention: Yes we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord the Life giver who proceeds from the Father, who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified. St. John reveals in Jn 15:26 “the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father” Sending is different than proceeding. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my Name”Jn 14:26. The Latin word “filioque” meaning and the Son was added by the Roman Catholic Church to the original creed set by Council of Nicea 325 AD and Constantinople 381 AD. This concept of “double procession” was introduced at the Council of Toledo 589AD and placed in their creed.
    The Spirit will proceed from the Father only-but be sent by the Son. Jn 15:26/Jn 16:7
    As HH Pope Shenouda says: This dogma makes two Fathers in the Holy Trinity for there would be two origins. Double procession also makes the Father’s procession of the H.S. imperfect since there was a need to be proceeded from the Son as well. This filioque clause was added without an ecumenical council and caused great division between Orthodox and Catholics for many years. It also caused dispute among Catholics themselves. It opposes the teaching of the Bible, the ecumenical councils, didaskalia of the fathers, and the Holy tradition of the the church.

       The next issue is the one of purgatory and the question is really whether this is biblical. It is not biblical. The catholics believe that the soul after death has to pay off its debts for its sins that were committed for on the earth. The souls suffer for a time so they can enter heaven. The purpose of purgatory is to cleanse one of imperfections, venial sins, and faults, and to remit or do away with the temporal punishment due to mortal sins that have been forgiven in the Sacrament of Penance or are venial and not repented for. Purgatory will last only until the general judgement. One of the verses used by the catholics is I Cor 3:15 which mentions “If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” St. Paul was talking about ministers and service and not the people or the faithful. God forgave us our sins, how can He go back on his word and execute punishment on sins he forgave and blotted them out. “For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more”. (Jer 31:34) Purgatory is against the redemption and salvation by our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ. A. All we like sheep have gone astray, and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all(Is 53:6) B. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our inquities.Is 53:5 C. And the Blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin (1jn 1:7) d. The only requirement for our sanctification is repentance if we confess our sins, and if we walk in the light 1Jn 1:7,9. The intermediate state in the Orthodox view is not a state between heaven and hell in which some souls must spend time before entering heaven. It is rather, a state of repose where all souls rest in anticipation of the Last Day . The Orthodox Church teaches, that these souls benefit from the prayers of the faithful. These prayers as acts of love, which comfort the souls of the departed .
  • Well done CopticSoldier on outlining the differences. Just a small clarification..

    If you look at modern Roman Catechism, you will see the doctrine of Co-Redemptrix being fully part of Roman theology. The current Patriarch of Rome made sure that was pushed through. If you look on the American Catholics website, you will find this.

  • Thanks Mina!

    Much appriciated! :)

  • Another good book to read is entitled"Heavenly Serbia - from myth to Genocide". I'm suggesting this to you as a way for you to form your own
    opinion about "Crucified Kosovo" - and the Balkan conflicts.
    My understanding is that Orthodox only take communion with other Orthodox. My grandmother is Roman Catholic, I love her very deaply, but I do not take communion in her Church. Neither does she in mine , our views differ in many ways, but in matters of the Gospel
    we are in total accord - Faith,Hope, and Love .
  • hello all
    I am a catholic, i just want to say that we are all following the Christ, and i consider orthodox and coptic as my brothers. Maybe some of you think that the catholics offend the coptics before, maybe it is true, and as a catholic i apologise for any harm the catholics did for u.
  • I hear you christian - and don't let anyone
    tell you that this has all been one sided - the
    aggressor being the catholics , at least where
    the Serbian orthodox church is concerned .
    I would also like to add that Churchs on all sides
    have been used as an excuse to commit attrocities by people who do not behave in a very christian manner in the first place.
    Personally I have never heard of The Coptic Church being used in such a manner - I cannot say the same about the serbian Church - which I
    find upsetting as my patron Saint is also the patron Saint of serbia - Revered by both Catholics & Orthodox - SAVA
  • If you are considering sending your children to the local Catholic school, here is a resource to be familiar with:


  • I would advise strongly against attending any Protestant or Catholic Churches. I would first seek any Orthodox church in my community like Syrian, Ethiopian, Indian, Eritrian. These Churches are in communion with the Coptic Church; meaning that we can participate in their communion and the rest of the Holy Sacraments. My next step, if there are none of the above churches existe, is to seek one of the following: Antiochian, Russian, Greek, Serbian, Ukranian, or other oriental church. Although these churches are not in full communion with the Coptic Church, they are still the closest to her faith and the mass is almost the same as hers.

    Adding to the list of differences between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church in general:

    Immaculate Conception

    Chrismation of Infants

    Faith in two Natures and two Wills of Christ

    Baptism without Immersion (just sprinkling)

    Supremacy of the Roman Pope

    Non-Communion from the Blood (for the congregation)

    Entrance to Heaven before Judgement Day

    Leniancy during Fasts (e.g. meat is allowed during Great Lent)

    Prohibition of marriage to the Clergy (led to severe problems within the Catholic Church)

    The list goes on.
  • Hi everyone,

    I would like to add one more thing regarding the differences between Coptic & Catholic Church. From what I see, these differences are just on the interpretation of the Bible and not in the essence of the faith. (Please correct me if I am wrong).

    Let's take the question of purgatory for example. Jesus himself did not mention clearly if purgatory exists or not. But some passges of the Bible can be interpreted as if it exists while other passages can be interpreted as if it does not exist. In Matthiew 5:26, the prison can not symbolise the hell because nobody goes out of hell that's why Catholics say it must symbolise the purgatory. In Luke 23:43 Jesus said to the right thief : Today you will be with me in Paradise. The Coptics say since he told him TODAY, this can be interpreted as the purgatory does not exist, otherwise Jesus should tell him: After you finish the purgatory, you will join me in paradise.

    That's why I think the fact of recognizing or denying the existance of purgatory does not exclude somebody from the true faith and it's a secondary point since Jesus himself did not mention it explicitly. On the other hand, if somebody denies the existance of Hell, that excludes people from the right faith. Because Jesus mentioned it and talked about it. So nobody can deny it. (Both Coptics and Catholics recognize the existance of Hell).

    I think all differences between Coptics and Catholics are of this kind. Just difference in the interpretation and not in the Bible itself. And even false interpretation does not exclude from the true faith as long as it does not contradict anything in the Bible.

    Anyway, let's all pray for the unity of all Churches as Jesus prayed in the Last Supper that all His Followers should be one as Him and The Father are ONE. (John 17:11).

    Pray for me.

  • :)

    It is good to be able to see and hear the Divine Liturgy here. There are some differences but I like to see the similarities.

    I have also seen that this year we will all celebrate Holy Week at the same time! Perhaps someday together, but I doubt in any of our lifetimes... :-[
  • lol Marina,
    administrators have the option to edit forums I guess. Whats the deal Mikesl? Can you do that? I noticed some of mine have disappeared too. As for this topic, Marina is right. Try to get them to our Coptic Church.
  • With my respects to Barboora, I totally disagree with the way she approaches the differences between the Catholics and the Orthodox.

    First, the differences are theological differences with respect to all the Orthodox Church and not just the Coptic one. Here, I will focus just on the Purgatory issue.

    The ides of the pugatory existence diminishes the function and the power of Jesus' blood shed on the cross and negate the Redepmtion.

    First, the only way sins are forgiven is through Christ's blood. No other way can sin be forgiven. So, how purgatory fit in this theological belief? Purgatory or hell fire replaces Christ's blood and salvation could be attained through Hell! Is that possible? If it is, then what Jesus did on the Cross is of no use.

    Second, when someone commits sin, it is both the flesh and soul partnered in committing the sin. Purgatory is after life; after flesh dies and the soul departs. Is it fair to punish only the soul, what about the flesh that committed the act of sin.

    Third, The holy Fathers never mentioned the idea of purgatory. The idea is a new one that was introduced in the West during the 15th century and with it the idea that Saints deeds can be used to forgive sins was also introduced.

    My friends, we should not take lightly our differences. Yes, we love each other and respect each other but when it comes to our beliefs, we should stand and holf firmly to ours.

    It is not merely difference in looking at bible passages, rather it is denying the power of Jesus' salvation.
  • This is part (the rest to follow) of a paper by Fr. Michael Azkoul of the Serian Orthodox Church. It was very helpful to me I hope it is for you too.

    This question has been asked many times. Most Orthodox, in attempting to distinguish between Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism, usually mention the Pope or Purgatory, sometimes the filioque. Historically, the differences, however, are far more numerous and quite profound.

    Also, in modern times, since Vatican II of thirty years ago, that major, if not tragic attempt, to "update" Roman Catholicism (e.g., the revision of canon law), the differences between Orthodoxy and the followers of the Pope have widened.

    In our present discussion, however, the concern will be those differences which have grown since Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism separated almost a thousand years ago.

    1. Faith and Reason

    Following the Holy Fathers, Orthodoxy uses science and philosophy to defend and explain her Faith. Unlike Roman Catholicism, she does not build on the results of philosophy and science. The Church does not seek to reconcile faith and reason. She makes no effort to prove by logic or science what Christ gave His followers to believe. If physics or biology or chemistry or philosophy lends support to the teachings of the Church, she does not refuse them. However, Orthodoxy is not intimidated by man's intellectual accomplishments. She does not bow to them and change the Christian Faith to make it consistent with the results of human thought and science.

    St. Basil the Great advised young monks to use Greek philosophy as a bee uses the flower. Take only the "honey," ---- the truth --- which God has planted in the world to prepare men for the Coming of the Lord.

    For example, the Greeks had a doctrine of the Logos. The Gospel of John opens, "In the beginning was the Word (Logos, in Greek). For the pagans, the Logos was not God, as He is for Christians; rather he is a principle, a power or force by which "God: formed and governs the world. The Fathers pointed to the similarity between the Logos or Word of the Bible and the Logos of Greek philosophy as a sign of Providence. The difference between them, they attributed to the sinfulness of men and the weakness of the human intellect. They remembered the words of the Apostle Paul, "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ" (Col. 2: 8).

    Roman Catholicism, on the other hand, places a high value on human reason. Its history shows the consequence of that trust. For example, in the Latin Middle Ages, the 13th century, the theologian-philosopher, Thomas Aquinas, joined "Christianity" with the philosophy of Aristotle. From that period til now, the Latins have never wavered in their respect for human wisdom; and it has radically altered the theology, mysteries and institutions of the Christian religion.

    2. The Development of Doctrine

    The Orthodox Church does not endorse the view that the teachings of Christ have changed from time to time; rather that Christianity has remained unaltered from the moment that the Lord delivered the Faith to the Apostles (Matt. 28: 18-20). She affirms that "the faith once delivered to the saints" (Jude 3) is now what it was in the beginning. Orthodox of the twentieth century believe precisely what was believed by Orthodox of the first, the fifth, the tenth, the fifteenth centuries.

    To be sure, Orthodoxy recognizes external changes (e.g., vestments of clergy, monastic habits, new feasts, canons of ecumenical and regional councils, etc.), but nothing has been added or subtracted from her Faith. The external changes have a single purpose: To express that Faith under new circumstances. For example, the Bible and divine Services were translated from Hebrew and Greek into the language of new lands; or new religious customs arose to express the ethnic sensibilities of the converted peoples, etc.; nevertheless, their has always been "one faith, one Lord, one baptism" (Eph. 4: 4).

    The fundamental witness to the Christian Tradition is the holy Scriptures; and the supreme expositors of the Scriptures are the divinely inspired Fathers of the Church, whether the Greek Fathers or Latin Fathers, Syriac Fathers or Slavic Fathers. Their place in the Orthodox religion cannot be challenged. Their authority cannot be superseded, altered or ignored.

    On the other hand, Roman Catholicism, unable to show a continuity of faith and in order to justify new doctrine, erected in the last century, a theory of "doctrinal development."

    Following the philosophical spirit of the time (and the lead of Cardinal Henry Newman), Roman Catholic theologians began to define and teach the idea that Christ only gave us an "original deposit" of faith, a "seed," which grew and matured through the centuries. The Holy Spirit, they said, amplified the Christian Faith as the Church moved into new circumstances and acquired other needs.

    Consequently, Roman Catholicism, pictures its theology as growing in stages, to higher and more clearly defined levels of knowledge. The teachings of the Fathers, as important as they are, belong to a stage or level below the theology of the Latin Middle Ages (Scholasticism), and that theology lower than the new ideas which have come after it, such as Vatican II.

  • This is part (the rest to follow) of a paper by Fr. Michael Azkoul of the Serian Orthodox Church. It was very helpful to me I hope it is for you too.

    All the stages are useful, all are resources; and the theologian may appeal to the Fathers, for example, but they may also be contradicted by something else, something higher or newer.

    On this basis, theories such as the dogmas of "papal infallibility" and "the immaculate conception" of the Virgin Mary (about which we will say more) are justifiably presented to the Faithful as necessary to their salvation.

    In any case, the truth of these dogmas have always belonged to the Christian Tradition. They have been present from the beginning of that Tradition as "hints," seeds that only waited for the right time to bloom.

    3. God

    Roman Catholicism teaches that human reason can prove that God is; and, even infer that He is eternal, infinite, good, bodiless, almighty, all-knowing, etc. He is "most real being," "true being." Humans are like Him (analogous), but we are imperfect being. The God of Roman Catholicism, born in the Latin Middle Ages, is not " the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but the God of the savants and the philosohers," to adapt the celebratted phrase of Blaise Pascal.

    Following the Holy Fathers, Orthodoxy teaches that the knowledge of God is planted in human nature and that is how we know Him to exist. Otherwise, unless God speaks to us, human reason cannot know more. The saving knowledge of God comes by the Savior. Speaking to His Father, He said, "And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom Thou has sent" (John 17: 3).

    Roman Catholicism teaches, also, that, in the Age to Come, man will, with his intellect and with the assistance of grace, behold the Essence of God. The Fathers declare that it is impossible to behold God in Himself. Not even divine grace, will give us such power. The saved will see, however, God as the glorified flesh of Christ.

    Historically, the Roman Catholic theology never made the distinction between God's Essence (what He is) and His Uncreated Energies (by what means He acts). St. Gregory Palamas tried to explain this distinction through a comparison between God and the Sun. The sun has its rays, God has His Energies (among them, Grace and Light). By His Energies, God created, sustains and governs the universe. By His Energies, He will transform the creation and deify it, that is, He will fill the new creation with His Energies as water fills a sponge.

    Finally, Roman Catholicism teaches that the Holy Spirit "proceeds from the Father and the Son" (filioque). In so doing, it spurned the Apostolic Tradition which always taught that God the Father is the single Source ("monarchy") of the Son and the Spirit. Thus, the Latins added words to the Nicean Creed

    "I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, Who proceeds from the Father and the Son . . .

    They made this change on the authority of the Pope, in the 11th century, not any Council of the whole Church (Ecumenical Council).

    4. Christ

    Why did God become man? The Roman Catholic answer to this question differs from the teachings of the Holy Orthodox Church.

    Following the holy Fathers, Orthodoxy teaches that Christ, on the Cross, gave "His life a ransom for many" (Matt. 20:28). "For even the Son of man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45). The "ransom" is paid to the grave. As the Lord revealed to the Prophet Hosea (Hosea 13:14), "I will ransom them (us) from the power of the grave, I will redeem them from death." In a sense, He pays the ransom to the devil who has the keeper of the grave and holds the power of death (Heb. 2:14).

    The man Christ voluntarily gave Himself on the Cross. He died for all ("a ransom for many" or "the many"). But He rose from the dead in His crucified body. Death had no power to hold Him. It has no power over anyone. The human race is redeemed from the grave, from the devil. Free of the devil is to be free of death and sin. To be free of these, we become like God (deification) and may live with Him forever.

    According to Roman Catholic theology, God became man in order to satisfy the divine Justice which was offended by the sin of Adam. In other words, by his sin Adam offended the infinite God and, therefore, his sin had infinite consequences. It was not within the power of sinful and finite man to make amends, for the sin of Adam ("original sin") passed to us; but it is our obligation to do so. Only Christ, Who was God and man, could pay this "debt of honor."

    He pays the debt by dying on the Cross. His death makes up for what Adam had done; the offense is removed. God is no longer angry with man. Christ rises from the dead, the promise or "earnest" of the believing man's future. For a long time, the Latins, whether among ordinary Catholics or intellectuals, little attention was given to the idea of deification. Not much attention was devoted to the concepts necessary to understanding this doctrine.

    Roman Catholic theology is customarily legalistic and philosophical. For example, a "valid" (legal term) baptism into Christ is the result of the right intention (having the same understanding of baptism as the Church) and using the correct formula or words during the ceremony or rite. Thus, even an atheist, under certain conditions, could baptize a person. "Sprinkling" of water (effusion) over the head of the baptized is reasonable and sufficient.

    Lately, some Latin theologians are rethinking the Christian teaching of salvation (soteriology). They are beginning to take the idea of deification (baptism as the first step) very seriously. They rightly insist that it belongs to Christian tradition, including "St. Augustine" and other Latin Fathers. In point of fact, a revolution in its theology is necessary if it is to become Scriptural and patristic; if it ever hopes to achieve the right understanding of Christ and His salvation.

  • This is part (the rest to follow) of a paper by Fr. Michael Azkoul of the Serian Orthodox Church. It was very helpful to me I hope it is for you too.

    5. The Church

    The Roman Catholic view of the Church (ecclesiology) differs from the Orthodox teaching on this subject in several ways.

    The Latins teach that the visible head of the Church is the Pope, the successor to St. Peter, who was appointed to that sacred position by the Lord Himself with the words, "Thou art Peter and upon this rock I shall build my Church . . . " (Matt. 16:18).

    The Pope is, then, "the Bishop of the Catholic Church," her teacher, the vicar (agent, deputy) of Christ on earth. He is the interpreter of the Christian Tradition. When he speaks for the whole Church (ex cathedra), the Holy Spirit does not permit him to err. He is, therefore, infallible on matters of morals and doctrine. Other bishops are his lieutenants. He is the symbol of the episcopate's unity.

    The Orthodox Church teaches that all bishops are equal. To be sure, there are different ranks of bishops (patriarch, archbishop, metropolitan, bishop); nevertheless, a bishop is a bishop. Such differences apply to the administration of a church or group of churches, not to the nature of the bishop. The president of a synod of bishops is called archbishop (Greek custom) or metropolitan (Russian custom).

    According to Latin ecclesiology, each local parish is part of the universal or whole Church. The totality of Catholic parishes form the Body of Christ on earth. This visible Body has a visible head, the Pope. This idea of the Church implies that the local parish has two heads: the Pope and the local bishop. But a body with two visible heads is a monster. Also, the local bishop seems stripped of his apostolic authority if the Pope may contradict his orders. Indeed, he cannot become a bishop unless the Pope allows it.

    Orthodoxy teaches that every bishop, "the living icon of Christ," and his flock constitute the Church in a certain place; or, as St. Ignatius the God-bearer says, the Church of Christ is in the bishop, his priests and deacons, with the people, surrounding the Eucharist in the true faith. All bishops and their flocks so constituted, together composing the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

    In other words, there can be no Church without a bishop, no bishop without the Eucharist, and no bishop or Eucharist without the true faith, the Apostolic Faith, "the faith once delivered to the saints." (Jude 3) "The Church is in the bishop and the bishop in the Church," wrote St. Cyprian of Carthage.

    Put another way, there is no Church where there is no bishop, and there is no bishop where there is no succession of bishops from the Apostles (apostolic succession); and there can be no succession from the bishops without the faith of the Apostles.

    Also, there can be no Church without the Eucharist, the Sacrament of unity, because the Church is formed through it. The Body and Blood of Christ unites the Faithful to God: This fellowship or koinonia is the whole purpose of Christianity. At the same time, there can be no Eucharist - and no other Mysteries - without a bishop who teaches the true faith to the baptized.

    6. The Holy Canons

    A canon is a "rule" or "guide" for governing The Church. Canons were composed by the Apostles, the Fathers, the local or regional and general or ecumenical Councils (in Latin) or Synods (in Greek). Only the bishop, as head of the church, applies them. He may use them "strictly" (akreveia) or "leniently" (economia). "Strictness" is the norm.

    Unlike the Latins, the Orthodox Church does not think of canons as laws, that is, as regulating human relationships or securing human rights; rather, Orthodoxy views canons as the means of forging the "new man" or "new creature" through obedience. They are training in virtue. They are meant to produce holiness.

    The Latins continue to change their canons, ignoring the old for the new. Not more than two decades ago, Rome revised its Canon Law. It composes new canons to keep up with the times. On the other hand, Orthodoxy, albeit adding canons from time to time and place to place, never discards the old ones, for they, too, are inspired by the Holy Spirit. In any case, human problems and spiritual needs do not really change. New canons are generally simple refinements of old canons.

    7. The Mysteries

    Both the Orthodox and the Roman Catholics recognize at least seven Sacraments or Mysteries: The Eucharist, Baptism, Chrismation, Ordination, Penance, Marriage and Holy Oil for the sick (which the Latins have traditionally called "Extreme Unction" and reserved for the dying).

    Concerning the Sacraments in general, the Orthodox teach that their material elements (bread, wine, water, chrism, etc.) become grace-filled by the calling of the Holy Spirit (epiklesis). Roman Catholicism believes that the Sacraments are effective on account of the priest who acts "in the person of Christ."

    At the same time, the Latins interpret the Sacraments in a legal and philosophical way. Hence, in the Eucharist, using the right material things (bread and wine) and pronouncing the correct formula, changes their substance (transubstantiation) into the Body and Blood of Christ. The visible elements or this and all Sacraments are merely "signs" of the presence of God.

    The Orthodox call the Eucharist "the mystical Supper." What the priest and the faithful consume is mysteriously the Body and Blood of Christ. We receive Him under the forms of bread and wine, because it would be wholly repugnant to eat "real" human flesh and drink "real" human blood.

    According to Roman Catholic teachings about the Sacraments (mystagogy), a person becomes a member of the Church through Baptism. "Original sin" is washed away. Orthodoxy teaches the same, but the idea of an "original sin" or "inherited guilt" (from Adam) has no part in her thinking. More will be said later on this matter.

    Roman Catholics speak of "Confirmation" and the Orthodox of "Chrismation." "Confirmation" is separated from the Baptism and is performed by the bishop and not the priest; but "Chrismation" is performed with Baptism by a priest who has received "chrism" from the bishop. The Sacrament of "Confirmation" and "Chrismation" both mean the giving of the Holy Spirit. The Latins delay "confirming" (with "first communion") baptized infants not more than seven years, that is, until the time they have some appreciation of the gift of God.

    The Orthodox Church links Baptism, Chrismation and Holy Communion, first the threefold immersion into sanctified water, the "new Christian" rising from the water into the fellowship of the Holy Spirit which leads to union with God. Such is the purpose of membership in the Church.

    Ordination is the ceremony which, by the grace and calling of God, elevates a man to the priesthood. The sacerdotal priesthood has three orders: Bishop, presbyter (elder) and deacon. All Christians are priests by virtue of the baptism into Christ Who is priest, prophet and king - for which reason St. Peter refers to the Church as a "royal priesthood" (I Pet. 2:9). The bishop is the "high priest," the "president of the Eucharist and all the Mysteries. Presbyters and deacons are his assistants. The Latins hold that the presbyter acts "in the person of Christ" when, in fact, he does no more than represent the bishop who is "the living icon of Christ."

    Strictly speaking, Penance - sometimes called "Confession" - should only be received by the believer as a means of re-admission to the Church. For a long time, Penance, or confession of sins, prayer and fasting was employed only for those who had been expelled from the Church ("excommunication") or who had voluntarily departed (apostasy). The present practice is to receive Penance from a bishop or presbyter for some serious sin before receiving Holy Communion.

    Both the Orthodox and the Roman Catholics consider Penance as a Sacrament. Each has different customs surrounding it, such as the confessional booth so common among the latter.

    For Roman Catholics, Holy Matrimony is a binding, ostensibly an unbreakable, contract. The man and the woman marry each other with the "church" (bishop or priest) standing as a witness to it. Hence, no divorce under any conditions - no divorce but annulment of the marriage contract if some canonical defect in it may be found which renders it null and void (as if it never took place).

    In Orthodoxy, Holy Matrimony is not a contract; it is the mysterious or mystical union of a man and woman - in imitation of Christ and the Church - in the presence of "the whole People of God" through her bishop or his presbyter. Divorce is likewise forbidden, but, as a concession to human weakness, it is allowed for adultery. Second and third marriages are permitted - not as a legal matter - out of mercy, a further concession to human weakness (e.g., after the death of a spouse). This Sacrament, as all Sacraments or Mysteries, is completed by the Eucharist, as St. Dionysius the Areopagite says.

    As already mentioned, the Latins conceive Extreme Unction as the final Sacrament, the Sacrament which prepares the believer for death, purgatory and the Age to Come. In Orthodoxy, Holy Oil is received for healing. Often sickness is caused by sin; therefore, Holy Oil or Unction involved Confession of sins. At the end of the rite, the anointed receives Holy Communion.

    The Orthodox Church also recognizes kingship, monasticism, blessings of the water, etc. as Mysteries.

  • 8. The Nature of Man

    Human nature was created good, even in communion with the blessed Trinity which made "him." Male and female were created "in the likeness and image of God" (Gen. 1:26): "likeness" in virtue; "image" meaning to rule the earth rationally, to act wisely and freely. The woman was made as a "help-meet" to the man (Gen. 2:18; I Cor. 11:8-9). They were to live together in harmony and mutual respect.

    So far Roman Catholicism agrees with the Church; it differs with Orthodoxy on the nature of man's fall and the human condition. Following Augustine of Hippo, the Latins teach that Adam and Eve sinned against God. The guilt of their sin has been inherited by every man, woman and child after them. All humanity is liable for their "original sin."

    Following the Holy Fathers, the Orthodox Church holds that when Adam sinned against God, he introduced death to the world. Since all men are born of the same human stock as Adam, all men inherit death. Death means that the life of every human being comes to an end (mortality); but also that death generates in us the passions (anger, hate, lust, greed, etc.), disease and aging.

    Roman Catholicism has ordinarily paid little attention to the Orthodox conception of man as slave to death through his passions as manipulated by the devil. In fact, the devil has been pushed to the background. Thus, the Crucifixion has been understood by the Latins as Christ suffering punishment for the human race ("vicarious atonement"), when, in truth, Christ suffered and died on the Cross to conquer the devil and destroy his power, death.

    In any case, Orthodoxy has always put great stress on "mastery of the passions" through prayer (public worship and private devotions), fasting (self-denial) and voluntary obedience and regular participation in the Eucharist (sometimes called "the Mysteries"). Thus, the highest form of Christian living ("the supreme philosophy") is monasticism. Here all human energy is devoted to struggle for perfection.

    Monasticism, in this sense, among Roman Catholics has all but disappeared. As a "supernatural religion" so-called, it has become increasingly "this-worldly." Therefore, it has abandoned its medieval heritage, and its understanding of man, his nature and destiny has become increasingly secular.

    9. The Mother of God

    The doctrine of the place and person of the Virgin Mary in the Church is called "mariology." Both Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism believe she is "Mother of God" (Theotokos, Deipare) and "the Ever-Virgin Mary."

    However, the Orthodox reject the Roman Catholic "dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary," which was defined as "of the faith" by Pope Pius IX, on the 8th of December 1854. This dogma holds that from the first instant of her conception, the Blessed Virgin Mary was, by a most singular grace and privilege of Almighty God, and in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of the human race, preserved from all stain of Original Sin. It is a doctrine revealed by God, and therefore to be firmly and steadfastly believed by all the faithful (from the Bull Ineffabilis Deus).

    Such a theory has no basis in the Scriptures nor the Fathers. It contains many ideas (such as "the merits of Christ") likewise without apostolic foundation. The idea that the Lord and His Saints produced more grace than necessary. This excess may be applied to others, even those in purgatory (see below).

    But to return: the Church does not accept the idea that the Mother of God was born with the (inherited) guilt of Adam; no one is. She did, however, inherit the mortality which comes to all on account of Adam's Fall.

    Therefore, there is no need to do what Latin theologians have done. There is no reason to invent a theory to support the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. There is no need to teach that, on account of "the merits of Christ," the Holy Spirit was able to prevent her from inheriting the guilt of Adam.

    In fact, she was born like every other human being. The Holy Spirit prepared the Virgin Mary for her role as the Mother of God. She was filled with the Uncreated Energy of the Holy Spirit of God in order that she might be a worthy vessel for the birth of Christ. Nevertheless, several of the Fathers observed that before the Resurrection of her Son, she had sinned. St. John Chrysostom mentions the Wedding at Cana where she presumed to instruct Him (John 2:3-4). Here was proof of her mortality.

    Receiving the Holy Spirit once more at Pentecost, she was able to die without sin. Because of her special role in the Divine Plan ("economy" or "dispensation"), she was taken into the heavens, body and soul. She now sits at the foot of her Son, making intercession for all those who implore her mercy. The Orthodox Church honors the miracle of her "assumption" with a feast on 15 August; likewise, the followers of the Pope.

    Both also believe in the intercessions of the Virgin Mary and all the Saints. Such intercessions reflect the unity of the Church in heaven and the Church on earth.

    Both also believe that there is a sense in which the Mother of God is the Church. The Church is the Body of Christ. Those who belong to the Church are identified with Him. But He is also our "brother" (Rom. 8:29). If Christ is our brother, then, the Virgin Mary is our mother. But the Church is our mother through Baptism. Therefore, the Virgin Mary is the Church.

    10. Icons

    The icon is an artistic depiction of Christ, the Mother of God and the Saints. God the Father cannot be painted, because He has never been seen. God the Holy Spirit has appeared as a dove and as "tongues of fire." He may be shown in this way. God the Son became a man, and He may be painted in His human form.

    Icons are more than sacred pictures. Everything about them is theological. For example, they are always flat, flat so that we who inhabit the physical world will understand that the world of the spirit where Christ, His Mother, the angels, the saints, and the departed dwell, is a world of mystery which cannot be penetrated by our five senses.

    Customarily, Roman Catholicism has historically employed statues in its worship. The statues are life-like and three-dimensional. They seem to imitate the art of ancient Greece. Both arts are naturalistic. The Latins portray Christ, the Mother of God, the saints, even the angels, as if they were in a state of nature. This "naturalism" stems from the medieval idea that "grace perfects nature."

    The person or persons are represented on the icon as deified. He or she is not a perfect human being, but much more: They are transfigured and glorified. They have a new and grace-filled humanity.

    Important to remember is the Latin theory of grace: It is created by God for man. Orthodoxy teaches, as we recall, that grace is uncreated, and impacts all creation. It is a mysterious extension of the Divine Nature. Orthodox iconography reflects this truth, even as Roman Catholic statues reflect its idea of grace.

    Again, icons are a necessary part of Orthodox piety. The Orthodox honor and kiss icons, a devotion which passes from the icon to the person or persons represented in them. Icons are not idols and the Orthodox do not worship them. Worship is reserved for God alone. The statues set up in Roman Catholic temples are not commonly venerated; they are visual aids and decorations.

  • 11. Purgatory

    Purgatory is a condition of the departed before the final judgment. According to Roman Catholic theology, those souls destined for heaven (with a few exceptions) must endure a state of purgation, or purification. They must be cleansed of the sins committed on earth. The rest go to hell for eternal punishment.

    Moreover, from a "treasury" of merits or extra grace accumulated by the virtue of Christ, the Virgin Mary and the saints, "indulgences" may be granted. The grace is applied to those in purgatory in order to shorten their time there.

    Orthodoxy teaches that, after the soul leaves the body, it journeys to the abode of the dead (Hades). There are exceptions, such as the Theotokos, who was borne by the angels directly into heaven. As for the rest, we must remain in this condition of waiting. Because some have a prevision of the glory to come and others foretaste their suffering, the state of waiting is called "Particular Judgment."

    When Christ returns, the soul rejoins its risen body to be judged by Him. The "good and faithful servant" will inherit eternal life, the unfaithful with the unbeliever will spend eternity in hell. Their sins and their unbelief will torture them as fire.

    12. Other Differences

    There are other minor differences between the Orthodox Church and Roman Catholicism.

    The Orthodox do not fast on Saturday (except Holy Saturday) or Sunday. Roman Catholics experience no such restriction.

    Orthodox do not kneel on Sunday; Roman Catholics do. Orthodox have no "Stations of The Cross;" Roman Catholics do.

    Orthodox presbyters and deacons may marry before ordination; Roman Catholic clergy are celibate.

    Orthodox worship towards the East; Roman Catholics, not necessarily.

    In the Orthodox Liturgy, the "bread" of the Eucharist is "leavened" (zyme); in the Roman Catholic Mass it is "unleavened" (azyme).

    The Orthodox faithful receive both the "body" and "blood of Christ" in Holy Communion; Roman Catholics receive only the "bread," a wafer.

    There are no orders of Orthodox monks (male and female) as there is among Roman Catholics (Jesuits, Dominicans, Benedictines, Cistericans, etc.). More recently, many Roman Catholic monks and nuns have put away their traditional habits.

    Orthodox clergy wear beards; Papist clergy are generally beardless.

    There are many other differences, often the product of culture. Also, it is noteworthy that many of these differences, whether profound or not, do not apply to the contemporary religious situation. Ecumenism has brought great confusion, so that it is not always easy to say with any precision what Roman Catholics believe, while so-called Orthodox have abandoned the traditional teachings of the Church.

    I hope this helpful to anyone who has read it.
  • Hey Marina,
    Theres a maximum amount of words you can fit in a reply. Peter probably had to post 5 times because it would never fit into 1 post.
  • The Roman Catholic Church is relatively similar to our beloved Church, but there are some key differences.
    The Catholics believe in Purgatory, which our church does not believe in. Purgatory is "a place or condition of temporal punishment for those who, departing this life in God's grace, are, not entirely free from venial faults, or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions." (New Advent) It might be easier to see it as a place before Heaven to pay off some 'remaining debt' before entering Heaven. There is no biblical evidence of such a place or condition. This belief is based on Catholic Tradition (and Catholic Church Fathers etc.) Our Church does not believe in the concept of Purgatory. If anyone is interested in reading more about Purgatory, you can visit http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12575a.htm.
    Another difference between our Church is the infallibility of the pope. The Catholics believe that the Pope (HH Pope Benedict XVI), while teaching from Seat of Peter (also known as Ex- Cathedra)(representing Apostolic succession) cannot be wrong. i.e. his teachings are always correct. Our Church does not believe in that. Although the Pope does not use this authority a lot, it has been used once recently. I'm not sure which Pontiff did it, but he Ex-Cathedra d the Immacualte Conception of St. Mary.
    The Immacualte Conception of St. Mary is a belief that we do not share with Catholics. This belief has no biblical evidence as well. This belief originated from a supposed apparition to Bernadette Soubiroux of Lourdes, France. St. Mary appeared to her, referring to herself as the Immaculate conception. The concept of being conceived immaculately means to be born without the original sin, the sin of Adam. Catholics believe that St. Mary was born without sin and lived sinless for all of her life. If someone wants to discuss this issue, we can open another discussion board, so that we don't stray away from the issue at hand.
    I'm not 100% sure about this, but I think the Catholics use the Jubilee Calender and we use the Gregorian Callender, giving us the different dates for the same Christian feasts.
    There are several reasons for the different methods of celebration (i.e. Liturgies) between our Church and the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church used to do a lot of what we do, but this was all reformed by the Second Vatican Council. Some differences between the two services are the fact that the Catholic priest faces the congregation, they don't raise much incense. In addition, the priest is not the only one that administers the Holy Eucharist. Other members of the congregation assist him.
    There are more differences than the ones that have been layed out above between us and our brothers the Catholics (for instance the procession of the Holy Spirit). I just wanted to stop talking about the differences and start talking about the simmilarities.
    The Catholic Chuch has the same stances on the main controversial issues that we face in today's secular societies, namely same sex marriages, euthenasia, abortion, cloning etc. (I'm not sure about the Coptic Orthodox view point on contraceptives, but I know the Catholic Church prohibits the use of contraceptives.) The Roman Catholic Church and the Coptic Orthodox Church share the core of their beliefs, morals and values.
    As Mark had said earlier, we are all Christians and we all believe in Our Lord Jesus Christ. The above is not meant to "bash" other denominations of Christianity, but is rather meant to point out the differences. I personally love the Catholic Church, went to school in a Catholic environment for 12 years, and I personally loved it. If anyone wants to look anything up with regards to Catholicism, the website of choice (I think) is

    by the way, this isnt mine...its my friends but i think it would be ok if i shared it with you

    ~ Daughter of God
  • Would you take Our Lord Jesus words for that?

    Luke 12:
    54 He said to the crowd: "When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, 'It's going to rain,' and it does. 55 And when the south wind blows, you say, 'It's going to be hot,' and it is. 56 Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don't know how to interpret this present time? 57 Why don't you judge for yourselves what is right? 58 As you are going with your adversary to the magistrate, try hard to be reconciled to him on the way, or he may drag you off to the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison. 59 I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny."

    Luke 13:6
    6 Then he told this parable: "A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, 'For three years now I've been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?' 8 'Sir,' the man replied, 'leave it alone for one more year, and I'll dig around it and fertilize it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.' "

    Luke 13:22
    Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. 23 Someone asked him, "Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?" He said to them, 24 "Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, 'Sir, open the door for us.' But he will answer, 'I don't know you or where you come from.' 26 Then you will say, 'We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.' 27 "But he will reply, 'I don't know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!' 28 "There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. 29 People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. 30 Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last."

    Matthew 15:9
    They do not mean it in their hearts when they worship me. Their teachings are only the words of men.

    Colossians 2:8
    Do not let anyone fool you by his wise words. They are not true. They are what men say. They are the teachings of this world and not what Christ says.

    Colossians 2:19
    He is not joined to the real head which is Christ. It is from him that the whole body receives strength and is held together by its joints and muscles. It is from him that the body grows as God makes it grow.

    And written years earlier (still valid nowadays):

    Psalm 14:
    You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor, but the Lord is their refuge.

    Psalm 26:
    I abhor the assembly of evildoers and refuse to sit with the wicked.

    Psalm 36:
    See how the evildoers lie fallen— thrown down, not able to rise!

    Psalm 59:
    Deliver me from evildoers and save me from bloodthirsty men.

    Psalm 119:
    Away from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commands of my God!

    Psalm 141:
    Keep me from the snares they have laid for me, from the traps set by evildoers.

    Isaiah 1:
    Ah, sinful nation, a people loaded with guilt, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the Lord; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him.

    Jeremiah 23:14
    And among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen something horrible: They commit adultery and live a lie. They strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns from his wickedness. They are all like Sodom to me; the people of Jerusalem are like Gomorrah.

    Malachi 3:15
    But now we call the arrogant blessed. Certainly the evildoers prosper, and even those who challenge God escape.

    Temporarily! can it be also about modern times media?

    Due to new doctrines the RCC very sadly lost so many faithful in the last few hundred years.. I think it's time for RCC to reconcile with the Orthodox doctrine (which is in fact the reliable catholic, i.e. universal doctrine). Time is tight for all and divisions are but of the devil's targets, to confuse and deceit the simple minded.

    God have mercy on us and help us to love, understand, follow and explain your Glorious Will to everybody.

    Pray for me.
  • I would just like to say that the Catholic & Coptic church are very different but the Roman Catholic Church and the Coptic Orthodox Church are similar in many ways, but disagree on some key points and that's what differentiates them from us. So we cannot say "It's the same church" ...we are both Christian but there are still many differences.

    Coptic Love
  • from inside the dialogue between Orthodox and catholic churches in 1993 the roman Cardinal Walter Kasper said to HH Pope Shenouda : "We will give u full authority on the coptic catholic churches , only if you confess Roman Primacy ... what do u say?"
    HH holiness said : "this reminds me when the devil asked jesus to worship him and the prize is that the devil will give the christ the world"
    I think the problem of Chalcedon wont be solved
    Catholic church and papal Imperial Suprimacy is their sick will. we wont accept a human to be the head of the church ... Christ is the head not a sinner like roman pope ... we have a different definition for the concept 'Pope' ... at least we don't call for infallibility.
    Martin Luthar and protestant movement appeared because of such heresies ... and till this moment , Roman church people are leaving their church in a very large number... I'm one of them. I left the RCC because it could not satisfy any spiritual needs...

  • This might be helpful as well:http://www.stmark-la.com/book.html
  • Congratulations deep from my heart to all who decide to reintegrate into our grandfathers Coptic Orthodox Church because it's surely under the Lord's guidance. Eternal Glory be to Our Lord.

    Historically, here is an hundred and 50 years earlier cited event about an RCC emissiary to the Coptic Orthodox Church:

    An RCC emissiary came to meet HH Pope Kyrillos IV (1855), inviting him to join the RCC if he would officially accept the practices of the RCC, her leadership and the supremacy of the Roman Pope.

    The RCC emissiary was waiting while HH was turning the Holy Bible pages from cover to cover many times, with an obviously worried facies and he made many sighs.

    The RCC emissiary finally got impatient and asked:"Holy Father, what are you searching for?" HH answered:"Could you help me find a clue so I may too apply the system of Indulgences: for many years I wanted to build a big new Cathedral but could not, I wasn't able to raise enough budget for the project."

    The RCC ambassador apologized politely and then silently left!

    A note: some of this site text could need a revision.
    Does the quoted text fully conform as Orthodox practice?

    - Latin Catholicism uses unleavened bread for communion, and seperates the "body" and "blood". Orthodoxy follows the apostolic practice of using leavened bread, and mixes the "body" and "blood" into one chalice. Latin Catholicism did a good deal of speculation regarding the eucharist, while Orthodoxy perserved it's largely mysterious nature. Latin Catholicism does not invoke the Holy Spirit in the same manner that the early Church did.
    - There are many smaller issues of difference in praxis. Latin Catholics "cross themselves" from left to right, while the Orthodox continue to cross themselves right to left. Many within modern Latin Catholicism focus on Marian apparitions; while Orthodoxy does not dispute the such apparitions are possible, few Orthodox Christians focus on the phenomenon. Latin Catholics tend to venerate Mary more in personal devotions, while the Orthodox tend to venerate her more in liturgical services. The Orthodox also tend to speak more of the Trinity and the saints in liturgical prayer than the Latin Catholic Church does.

  • hey
    im sure someone may have said this, but i didn't read all the above; two major differences:
    1 catholics don't believe in the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary
    2 they believe in two natures of Jesus Christ

    in our masses we say his humanity parted not from his diviny for a single moment nor a twinking of an eye, but they believe that Jesus is divine in heaven, and human on earth, we believe he is always both, not 50-50, but 100-100

    you can see this in any catholic picture of Jesus: he has two fingers up instead of one (two natures)

    in more orthodox pictures, he has only one finger up, teaching his true nature

    hope this helped
  • 1 catholics don't believe in the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary
    Last I've heard, they still do. (Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia . com) " In the Constitution Ineffabilis Deus of 8 December, 1854, Pius IX pronounced and defined that the Blessed Virgin Mary "in the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin."

    "The Blessed Virgin Mary . . ." The subject of this immunity from original sin is the person of Mary at the moment of the creation of her soul and its infusion into her body.

    ". . .in the first instance of her conception . . ." The term conception does not mean the active or generative conception by her parents. Her body was formed in the womb of the mother, and the father had the usual share in its formation. The question does not concern the immaculateness of the generative activity of her parents. Neither does it concern the passive conception absolutely and simply (conceptio seminis carnis, inchoata), which, according to the order of nature, precedes the infusion of the rational soul. The person is truly conceived when the soul is created and infused into the body. Mary was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin at the first moment of her animation, and sanctifying grace was given to her before sin could have taken effect in her soul.

    ". . .was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin. . ." The formal active essence of original sin was not removed from her soul, as it is removed from others by baptism; it was excluded, it never was in her soul. Simultaneously with the exclusion of sin. The state of original sanctity, innocence, and justice, as opposed to original sin, was conferred upon her, by which gift every stain and fault, all depraved emotions, passions, and debilities, essentially pertaining to original sin, were excluded. But she was not made exempt from the temporal penalties of Adam -- from sorrow, bodily infirmities, and death.

    ". . .by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race." The immunity from original sin was given to Mary by a singular exemption from a universal law through the same merits of Christ, by which other men are cleansed from sin by baptism. Mary needed the redeeming Saviour to obtain this exemption, and to be delivered from the universal necessity and debt (debitum) of being subject to original sin. The person of Mary, in consequence of her origin from Adam, should have been subject to sin, but, being the new Eve who was to be the mother of the new Adam, she was, by the eternal counsel of God and by the merits of Christ, withdrawn from the general law of original sin. Her redemption was the very masterpiece of Christ's redeeming wisdom. He is a greater redeemer who pays the debt that it may not be incurred than he who pays after it has fallen on the debtor.

    Such is the meaning of the term "Immaculate Conception." "

    2 they believe in two natures of Jesus Christ

    No they do not. They believe that Jesus is God in human flesh. They also believe He is not half God and half man. He is fully divine and fully man. That is, Jesus has two distinct natures: divine and human. BUT neither have changed or altered the other. Jesus is the Word who was God and was with God and was made flesh, (John 1:1,14). This means that in the single person of Jesus is both a human and divine nature.

    The divine nature was not changed. It was not altered. He is not merely a man who "had God within Him" nor is he a man who "manifested the God principle." He is God, second person of the Trinity. "The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word," (Heb. 1:3). Jesus' two natures are not "mixed together," nor are they combined into a new God-man nature.

    They are separate yet act as a unit in the one person of Jesus. This is called the Hypostatic Union whom the Catholics definitely believe in.

    A doctrine that is related to the Hypostatic Union is the communicatio idiomatum (Latin for "communication of properties"). It is the teaching that the attributes of both the divine and human natures are ascribed to the one person of Jesus. This means that the man Jesus could lay claim to the glory He had with the Father before the world was made (John 17:5), claim that He descended from heaven, (John 3:13), and also claim omnipresence, (Matt. 28:20). All of these are divine qualities that are laid claim to by Jesus; therefore, the attributes of the divine properties were claimed by the person of Jesus.
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