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The Eastern Church Vs. The Western Church

1031 words - 5 pages

The Eastern Church vs. the Western Church
In the year 1054, due to political, cultural and religious reasons, the Great Schism divided Christianity into the Eastern Church (the Orthodox Church) and the Western Church (the Catholic Church). As a result of the Schism, differences increased between the two. The primary differences are the Papal claims of authority and the insertion of the filioque clause into the Nicene Creed (Ware, 1963). Since the two were one prior to the Schism, there are similarities; for example, both celebrate the seven Sacraments, partake of Holy Communion, have Apostolic origins, have a hierarchical priesthood and celebrate Easter; however, even within these ...view middle of the document...

..Who proceeds from the Father and the Son..." ("Filioque clause," n.d.). In Orthodoxy, it is believed that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father; whereas, in Catholicism, it is believed that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. Besides the subtle theological changes which deal with the nature of the Holy Trinity, the Eastern Church objected to the fact that the West changed the language of the Creed without bringing the issue to a general council of the Churches. This is how the Creed was written and they felt any changes should be discussed and voted in general council.
Having been one Church prior to the Great Schism, there are similarities between the Western and Eastern Church; for example, the celebration of the seven Sacraments (baptism, chrismation/confirmation, holy communion, confession, holy orders, marriage and Holy Unction/the anointing of the sick). The difference in some of these most blessed Sacraments is in the timing of celebrating baptism, chrismation/confirmation and first communion. As in the Eastern Church of the early centuries, Orthodox children are baptized, confirmed and given first communion in infancy. These three Sacraments are given in infancy because Jesus said, "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these" (Matthew, 19:14). Similarly, in the Western Church, the sacrament of baptism is often celebrated in infancy; however, children receive their first communion and are confirmed around the age of seven.
Differences exist also within the Sacrament of Holy Communion. One of the variances is the form of Holy Communion. In the Orthodox Church, Holy Communion is the combination of wine with leavened bread, which is traced to the Last Supper when Jesus instructed His disciples to offer bread and wine in His memory. The reason the Orthodox Church uses leavened bread is because, according to the Gospel of Saint John, leavened bread was eaten at the Last Supper as it took place during Passover ("Eucharist," n.d.). In the Catholic Church, Holy Communion is a separate combination of a host, or wafer made of wheat and water, and wine. Furthermore, in the Orthodox Church,...

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