Whether or not the Eastern Orthodox Church has a pope, or whether or not it does not, is a question that many Christians have. The answer is not so simple as one might think.
Generally, Orthodox theologians do not use the word “transubstantiation” because it is associated with Latin scholasticism. Instead, the Eastern Church uses alternative terms for discussing the Eucharist. For example, it discusses the “trans-elementation” and the “metousiosis”.
The term “transubstantiation” was first used by the 12th century, but is not explicitly stated in Scripture. Instead, it was introduced into theological lexicon at the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215. It is also used in official documents.
Transubstantiation is a theological term that refers to the physical change of the elements at the Eucharist. The change takes place at consecration and involves the presence of the Holy Spirit. This change is not accompanied by a change in the empirical appearance of the bread and wine.
The term “transubstantiation” originated as a Latin term. Later theologians used Aristotelian substance to explain the phenomenon. The Latin term “transubstantiatio” is borrowed from Greek. The Greek term is “metousiosis” and has multiple meanings.
The Western Fathers were not as sophisticated as the Eastern Fathers, but they were able to use ontological language to explain the Eucharist. They believed that the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist was more important than the appearances of bread and wine.
Despite doctrinal similarities between the Catholic and Orthodox churches, Eastern Orthodox Churches do not share the same understanding of the Immaculate Conception as Western Churches. This article discusses how dissenting Orthodox theologians have argued against the Catholic dogma.
The Catholic dogma states that Mary was free from original sin before she was conceived. Eastern Orthodox Churches do not believe this and reject the dogma. Rather, they believe that Mary was preserved from original sin for her entire life.
The word prokathartheisa, a term used in progressive Byzantine discussions of Mary’s sinlessness, comes from the Greek words pro, meaning “before,” and katharta, meaning “purification.” In progressive Byzantine discussions of the Immaculate Conception, prokathartheisa is often used as an alternative to katharta. In the prayer life of the Church, it is emphasized that Mary was purified before she was incarnate.
Eastern Orthodox theologians often use Vincentian Canon as a rebuttal to the Catholic dogma. In this Canon, the Church affirms that the Blessed Virgin was believed “everywhere, always, and by all.”
The Catholic dogma teaches that Mary’s sinlessness from the moment of her conception is marked by the words “all-holy” and “ever-blameless” and is considered to be the “seed of the devil” as it exalts her to the status of a divine Queen. Moreover, the Catholic dogma denies that Mary is the “Coredemptrix,” the “equal of Christ,” and that the maternal tortures at the Cross have any significance.
Traditionally, Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox churches differ on their understanding of purgatory. While the Eastern churches acknowledge the intermediate state of souls between death and judgment, they do not believe that fire exists. They also do not confuse purgatory with Gehenna, the fire of the last judgment.
Although Catholics and Orthodox do not necessarily agree on the nature of purgatory, both agree on the importance of prayers to cleanse the souls of the dead. The Catholic Church does not believe that souls in Purgatory suffer a temporal penalty for their sins. In contrast, Orthodox believe that some sins will be forgiven after death.
It is not easy to defend this doctrine. Many modern opinions are based on speculative theories about purgatory. While the concept is not new, its origins and theological significance are ancient.
The idea of purgatory as a temporary punishment is well attested in early Christian literature. Augustine said that “the soul of the just is weighed down with impurities of varying degrees” and that “the soul in purgatory suffers only the temporal punishments of sins.”
The Orthodox also have a clearer idea of the same. They believe that “the purgatorial fire does not exist.” They also reject the idea that purgatory is a physical place. They believe that the fire is a metaphorical extension of redemptive suffering.
Throughout the centuries, Old Believers have endured persecution, as well as harsh government policies. They are often found in rural and isolated communities. These groups are spread across different regions of Russia, Turkey, South America, and Australia. Despite the differences, the Old Believers share a common belief: that the preservation of old traditions is important for salvation.
Although the Old Believers have undergone significant changes in the United States, they are committed to preserving their traditions. Several Old Believer groups continue to hold services in their traditional language and dress. The Old Believers are also well-known for their singing. They have a Znamenny chant, which is similar to Byzantine chant.
The Old Believers are divided into eleven groups. They have established churches in Russia, as well as in the United States and Canada. They also have groups in Brazil, Turkey, South America, and Australia.
In the United States, Old Believers primarily speak Russian. Their religious ceremonies are extensive. They celebrate 38 holy days a year, and they have religious ceremonies for every major event. They also have elaborate funerals.