Does the Orthodox Church Recognize the Pope?
In order to understand whether the Orthodox church recognizes the pope, we must look at the differences between the two main Christian denominations. One difference between the two is that the Orthodox church does not have Apostolic Succession and Sacraments. The other is that the Orthodox church rejects the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary.
Orthodox church recognizes the pope
Orthodox Christians and Catholics have long been at odds over whether the pope is the supreme leader of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church believes that the pope is infallible in matters of doctrine, while Orthodox Christians view the pope as a human being. While the pope does hold the title of pontiff, the Orthodox believe in the primacy of local church primates.
The Orthodox church is divided into 14 autocephalous ecclesiastical bodies. The ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople holds the titular primacy. Although the number of autocephalous churches has risen over the centuries, they have always retained a token canonical dependence on their mother see.
While the Catholic Church recognizes the pope as the leader of the western church, the Eastern Orthodox Church refuses to recognize the pope as the de jure leader of the whole church. This is because the pope is not a de jure leader of the entire church, and each church under a bishop is a complete, full church. Furthermore, the church is the image of the Trinity, and it reflects the reality of incarnation.
The Orthodox church is organized on a territorial principle. It recognizes the pope as the leader of the universal church, but it does not recognize him as the supreme leader. Rather, it recognizes the pope as the head of one of the three main branches of Christianity. The Orthodox Church has been governed by the territorial principle of Christianity since the Middle Ages.
Orthodox church lacks Apostolic Succession and Sacraments
In a polemical argument, St. Irenaeus shows how the doctrine of apostolic succession is not necessary or sufficient for the true Church. True apostolic succession is the faithful handing down of the teachings of the Apostles, with or without the office of bishop. While institutional continuity has some value, it is neither necessary nor sufficient.
This argument fails to take into account the fact that the Apostolic Tradition is dependent upon the Apostolic Succession. This means that those who are in Apostolic Succession have not embraced heresy and have continued to teach the teaching of the apostles.
According to this view, the role of the bishop is to serve as guardian of the faith and center of the community’s sacramental life. However, the Orthodox church maintains the doctrine of Apostolic Succession. Essentially, the role of a bishop is to continue the ministry of the apostles of Jesus. However, the Orthodox church distinguishes between an apostle and a bishop, with the former having universal witness to Jesus, and the latter having pastoral responsibilities for the local community.
In the case of the Orthodox church, Apostolic Succession cannot be transferred from an Anglican priest to an Orthodox bishop. This is because the Anglican priest was not an Orthodox bishop. Furthermore, the Anglican priest’s consecration was not an Orthodox episcopal consecration, and the bishop did not appoint him as a bishop.
Orthodox church rejects Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary
The Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is widely rejected by the Eastern Orthodox Church. Among Eastern Orthodox theologians, the doctrine is confusing, because it emphasizes the effects of original sin while neglecting its essence. Many leading Orthodox theologians believe that original sin consists of hereditary mortality.
While the Catholic doctrine is a well-known concept in the Catholic faith, the Orthodox church believes it is not. The Orthodox Church argues that Rome has introduced new dogmas since the early centuries. This is because the Roman Catholic catechism includes dogmas that did not exist in the previous centuries. Furthermore, the language used in the catechism suggests that newer generations of Catholics know their faith better than their older peers.
Another doctrine that the Orthodox church rejects is the idea that Mary was impure before her incarnation. According to the Orthodox Church, Mary had been prepurified by the Holy Spirit before she was born and that is what made her immaculate. Before her incarnation, Mary was conceived without stain, and the grace she received was enough to prevent her from acquiring a stain.
The Orthodox Church rejects the Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception as a dogma. The Immaculate Conception doctrine states that Mary was born without sin before her soul was created by the Holy Spirit. As a result, Mary had no sin until her conception.