Difference between Western and Eastern Christianity

A Look at the How the Eastern and Western Churches Differ

Have you ever wondered if Christianity in the West is the same as Christianity in the East? Well, for starters, Western Christianity refers to Roman Catholicism and Eastern Christianity refers to the Greek Orthodox Church. While the practices of the two sects are very similar, there are some major and minor differences that you should take note of. Here are some of those differences:

Pope

As you probably already know, the Roman Catholic Church is headed by a Pope. The Pope is considered infallible and can make decisions over smaller sectors of the church, headed by a priest or bishop for example. In the Greek Orthodox Church, however, the power of the Pope is not recognized. Instead, the highest leader, who is the highest bishop, is called the first among equals. He does not have supreme dominion over the other church leaders.

Marriage of Church Leaders

In the Catholic Church, the priests and other clergy cannot marry at all. They believe that they cannot serve the Church efficiently if they do. In the Greek Orthodox Church, on the other hand, the clergy can marry over ordination.

Language Used During Mass

Before Vatican II, the Roman Catholic clergy hold their masses in Latin. The Greek Orthodox churches were already using the native languages of the ones attending the mass. Today, the Roman Catholic masses are held in the different languages of the people who are hearing mass. You can now hear and also understand mass whether you are a Roman Catholic or a Greek Orthodox parishioner.


Calendar Observed

The Roman Catholic Church follows the Alexandrian calendar, which the rest of the world is familiar with. On the other hand, the Greek Orthodox Church still follows what is already considered the obsolete and inaccurate Julian calendar. Because the two Churches follow different calendars, they do not celebrate Easter and Christmas at the same time.

Statues versus Icons

If you enter a Roman Catholic Church, you will notice the intricately sculpted statues of saints, heavenly beings and even of Jesus Christ. Greek Orthodox churches merely make use of icons. Icons generally refer to religious paintings.

The Idea of Original Sin

You may wonder whether the Roman Catholic Church and the Greek Orthodox Church merely differ some of the more apparent characteristics. However, the Eastern and Western churches also differ in terms of some of the religious teachings. For example, they differ in their idea of original sin, at least to some extent. Both Churches believe that there is a need for baptism to erase original sin. The Roman Catholic Church believes that Mary, the mother of Christ, was born without original sin. On the other hand, the Greek Orthodox Church believes that Mary is just like any other person but one who has lived a virtuous life.

Other Beliefs and Practices

There are also some differences in other beliefs and practices. The Roman Catholics may believe in purgatory or in practicing the Stations of the Cross but the Greek Orthodox believers do not. Unleavened wafer is used in a Catholic mass compared to the leavened bread in an Orthodox mass.

Comments

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1040768034 Alex Hamdar

    actually , i’m from the east, and there’s a Huge Difference Between the east and the west ,
    let’s take it as simple as we can :
    Eastern Christians suck

    In other Words , (thanks to my Friend Jill White From Alabama-USA)
    Eastern Christians Say : ALLAH , and this word exists in the Old/new testament .

    However , The Word Allah Didn’t exist before Mohammad , and so , as you can see, the eastern Christians are using it, which means :
    The arabic Translation is a result of Islam.

    • Micke

      Hi Alex ,

      Why you say that ? I hope that you can read more

      cuz all what you write is rubbish ” sorry to say that ” but that mean that you dont have any knowledge about any things

      please read more

    • JoyBus47

      …Allah literally means “the God,” why the hell wouldn’t they it? And the word most certainly existed before Mohammad. And you’re confusing “Eastern Orthodox” with “Middle Eastern Christian” (Roman Catholics Arabs say “Allah” as well, moron). Literally everything you said is baloney.

  • Someonesexy101

    your comment was rude i hope satan finds you. 

  • Dtruong

    Differences are common everywhere… Lets not argue…

  • shmic

    are these differences just for modern times or were they the same during the 1000-1400′s (like the different calenders)