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Why do we call ourselves 'Orthodox' and not 'Catholic'?

Discussion in 'The Ancient Way - Eastern Orthodox' started by Canadian75, Nov 26, 2005.

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  1. Canadian75

    Canadian75 Peace-loving Warrior of God

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    We are the 'Catholic and Apostolic Church' yet we go by the adjective 'Orthodox'. At what point did we take on this adjective? Why did we drop 'Catholic'?

    Wouldn't it make more sense to call ourselves the Orthodox Catholic Church (The correct-doctrine/worship universal church)? It seems 'Catholic' is regularly used by the Church Fathers and the Roman Catholics constantly try and use these quotes in support for thier position. Yet, we are that 'Catholic' Church and when we try to use support from the Church fathers we have to go the extra step to explain that though we use the term 'Orthodox' we in fact are the 'Catholic' Church described in the writings. It makes little sense to me.:scratch:


    Peace.
     
  2. moses916

    moses916 Lord have mercy

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    Well at that time, the Church wasn't called Orthodox or Catholic, instead it was called The One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, however when Rome split, it took the title "universal" and applied it to its Church, and the East took the title "right worship" which i think is better because it basically states that we are smack on in terms of worship and everything else. I think i confused you more than trying to answer your question. :)
     
  3. Matrona

    Matrona Lady Godiva Freedom Rider

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    We never dropped "Catholic". It only fell out of common usage among us because in the West, it's so common to refer to the RCC as the "Catholic Church" even among secular sources, and it's easy enough as it is for many people to think we're just a branch of the RCC or a schismatic sect. Common use of the "C" word has exacerbated the confusion, so in a lot of places we elect not to use it.

    If you don't think the confusion is that big of a deal, know that the Antiochian Archdiocese's official name is the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. IIRC, "Christian" had to be added because so many people thought Orthodox meant we were Jewish, or the Middle-Eastern appearance of many of our members meant we were Muslim. To this day a lot of American Antiochian clergy wear Roman-style collars and shirts rather than cassocks, because at least that way people know they're Christian. :)

    We do. Many of our service books and other text materials are marked with our name as the "Orthodox Catholic Church". And it is definitely not considered wrong to refer to the Orthodox Church as the "Orthodox Catholic Church"... it's just that on materials used for evangelism and education among laypersons, it can greatly interfere with our missionary purpose to use terms that, while correct, could foster misconceptions.

    I have no qualms about using the ECF quotes that refer to the Orthodox Church as the "Catholic Church". I think that it helps people when thinking about the Orthodox Church as the Christian Church. But I still think we need to do all we can to avoid confusion with the RCC in our mission work. Nothing against them, obviously, it's just that a lot of times people who see some of the unique doctrines and practices of the RCC as problematic might assume that the Orthodox Catholic Church embraces those things as well, and try to compel us to defend doctrines and practices that we have nothing to do with or don't agree with ourselves. Sometimes, when we explain that we don't share those doctrines, people have gotten it in mind that we split off from the RCC over those things, that we're some kind of little synod in resistance, and from there it's even more difficult to turn things around and explain that the RCC split off from us, not the other way around.

    Also, it's easier to help people develop an Orthodox mindset if they don't constantly have heterodox ideas in mind to compare us to.
     
  4. MariaRegina

    MariaRegina New Member

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    The Holy Mystery of Baptism and Chrismation is called the Holy Mystery of Iniation into the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

    When a child or adult is christened, the Orthodox Priest does use the phrase "The One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church."

    We do call ourselves Orthodox Catholics - especially those of us who do not come from protestant backgrounds because we recognize that we are right-thinking, correct-worshiping Christians who hold to the universal or catholic faith, that unchanging faith which was once delivered by Christ to the Apostles and their successors for all people of all times.

    Several Orthodox Christian jurisdictions use the term "Catholic" with a capital "c" in their title:

    The Holy Orthodox Catholic Church is a title that is used and one that His Grace Bishop KALLISTOS Ware used in his book on the Orthodox Church.

    We say I believe in "One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church" every time we say or sing the Nicene Creed which was defined at two Holy Ecumenical Councils (324 and 381 AD).

    I think that speaks for itself.
     
  5. Maximus

    Maximus Orthodox Christian

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    I like the name Catholic, but it can be confusing for those who automatically associate it with the Roman Church.

    The name Orthodox can be confusing, too, when one is discussing Church history and, for example, the numerous patriarchs of Constantinople who were heretics come up.

    How can one be an "Orthodox" patriarch and yet not orthodox?
     
  6. Canadian75

    Canadian75 Peace-loving Warrior of God

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    These answers seem to clear things up somewhat. I can understand not wanting to confuse us with the Roman Catholics. It is dissapointing that we chose to mask our Catholicism on their account. But c'est la vie.

    I guess the adjective 'Eastern' added to Orthodox is used to avoid confusion with Orthodox Judaism then? Even though I'd consider myself a 'Western' Orthodox Christian. ;)


    Peace.
     
  7. Maximus

    Maximus Orthodox Christian

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    Me too.

    Besides, Christianity is not really considered an "Eastern" religion.

    As a whole it is considered a Western religion.
     
  8. Theophorus

    Theophorus ...

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    Well, I do not read a lot of theology or history, but what I read outside of those classifications, refers to the Church as "the Church of Christ". For me this is a personal irony.
     
  9. Petronius

    Petronius Senior Member

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    Well, we can not change what is in use for many many centuries: Abuse makes use.

    Eastern is used on an ecumenical forum like this (and in any "classification") to make the dstinction to the Oriental Orthodox Church....
    As I can remember no (Eastern) Orthodox Church has in its official designation the word eastern. The same is valid for (Oriental) Orthodox Churches...
     
  10. OnTheWay

    OnTheWay New Member

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    My priest encourages all of us not to use the adjectives outside of the proper context. Thus the Greek Orthodox Church refers to the Church in Greece, the Russian Orthodox Church refers to the Church in Russia, and so on. When speaking in general terms we should refer to ourselves as Orthodox or Orthodox Christians.
    This came up at the Bazaar this year when a woman wanted to know how it came to be that all the "splits" in Orthodoxy occurred exactly along national lines. She, of course, had come to be under the impression (because of the adjectives) that the national Churches were so titled because of schisms.
     
  11. Indrid Cold

    Indrid Cold All that glitters is Cold . . .

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    This actually was my first impression of Orthodoxy - but I quickly (and easily) learned otherwise.
     
  12. Petronius

    Petronius Senior Member

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    It could be a good reason to follow the example in America and title them in the same manner: the Orthodox Church in America, ... in Russia, ... in Greece....
     
  13. Michael G

    Michael G Abe Frohmann

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    The night I was Chrismated Fr. Basil said to me "Michael, do not look at this as turning your back on your catholicism, but rather as the fulfillment of it." I will admit that up until that point I was still a bit skeptical that what I was doing was the right thing. But that comment set me at ease and from that point on I knew I had made the right choice.

     
  14. Gwendolyn

    Gwendolyn trying to figure things out

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    This has nothing to do with anything but I found it amusing:

    I met a lovely young Orthodox girl last week and we had a fantastic chat about Orthodoxy, but she was so cute because she said to me: "Thank God you know that I mean 'Orthodox Christian'! Most people think I am Jewish!"

    She was so appreciative that I actually knew a fair amount about Orthodoxy... we talked about fasting and she was so touched that I knew that she is currently fasting for Advent. :) I guess I have all of you to thank for that! I have learned so much from reading your interesting and insightful posts! :angel:
     
    Theophorus likes this.
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