Is it true that the Greek Orthodox Church believes in infallibility, but not in the Catholic sense?

By March 14, 2015 22 Comments

Full Question

Is it true that the Greek Orthodox Church believes in infallibility, but not in the Catholic sense?


The members of the Greek Orthodox Church believe that the only infallible authority is an ecumenical council of all the bishops of the world. They believe that there were only seven such councils held before Eastern Schism, when the Eastern churches split from Rome. They say the charism of infallibility is now inoperative or nonexistent and will be until the Eastern churches are reunited with Rome. This is in stark contrast to their predecessors at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, who said “Peter has spoken through the mouth of Leo [the then-reigning Pope Leo I].The matter is closed. Let him who will not listen to Leo be anathema


  • James Sams says:

    In the End of Days, of mankind rule upon the earth, God will bring about Restoration…one new man (Jew and Gentile), one in Messiah Yeshua (Jesus); at that time, man made doctrines and traditions will be abolished, and replaced with God’s original teaching [Torah]. The Truth of God’s word, which was altered by man, will be restored; all of mankind will finally realize that Replacement Theology [the erroneous/satanic doctrine that the Church has replaced Israel] was one of the greatest lies ever propagated by Satan; all of mankind will finally realize that Yeshua didn’t change God’s Laws, He completed them; it was man who changed God’s Laws and Holy Days…due to hatred of God’s chosen people (Israel); everything that was considered Jewish was altered or replaced, with man made traditions and holidays. Scripture clearly reveals, that in the End of Days, there will be two primary Churches…the (1) harlot church and her offsprings, and (2) the True Church of God [the Called Out Ones], who will be persecuted by the harlot church, and the anti-christ; It must be noted that there isn’t anything ,inheritably, wrong with observing man made traditions and holidays; however, we should [as believers in Yeshua] make sure that those traditions and holidays are not grounded in paganism [worship of false gods]. When our Lord and Savior/Yeshua returns [second coming], many will say…Lord, didn’t we do great works in your name; however, the Lord will say ‘depart from me you wicked servant, I never knew you.’ It is imperative that all true believers [in Yeshua] study to show themselves approved [by God]; because, we will be held accountable [by God] for any false teaching/doctrines we convey [to others] that is not based on God’s Truth.

  • you got it backwards, you guys split from us, that is the historical fact. As for Leo, his tome was only accepted after THREE DAYS of examination to be sure it was compatible with St. Cyril of Alexandria’s theology OTHERWISE IT WOULD HAVE BEEN REJECTED. It was not an acknowledgement of Roman authority but praise that they had retained the true faith that was stated. chalcedon 28 makes it clear that Rome had status only on the basis of being the first city of the empire. Peter was bishop of Antioch before he was bishop of Rome so Antioch would have been the head church if the Petrine idea was involved back then.
    Not all Orthodox consider Rome must come back from schism (and heresy) for an ecumenical council to be held.

    • James Sams says:

      Christine, the lead “Church Congregation/Messianic Judaism” was headquartered in Yerushalayim [Jerusalem], until 70 C.E., when Rome destroyed the Temple. All of Yeshua’s [Jesus] talmidim [disciples] were sent ‘only’ to the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel [who had been scattered abroad]…Shaul [Paul] was the talmidim, who was sent to the gentile nations. Kefer [Peter] lived, and died, during the first century; Catholicism started emerging around 325 C.E…[ long after the death of Peter ], when emperor Constantine of Rome, invited all gentile Church leaders, to unity with Rome [Jewish Messianic Believers were not invited]. The Wall of Separation, between Jew and Gentile, that Yeshua tore down, was now rebuilt; this wall remained up, until June 1967, when Jerusalem was, finally, back in Jewish hands. God is once again, creating One New Man, Jew and Gentile, one in Messiah Yeshua.

    • PAT ALEX says:

      So in Other words even the ecumenical councils is not definitive, if each autocephalous church can go back and check with its past patriarchs to confirm if the decree of the council are consistent with a patriarch. Continue deceiving yourself, Jesus found one church on St. Peter and historical facts, acknowledged by but East and west have always affirmed that the bishop of Rome is the successor of the apostle Peter. Non of these churches deny it. Remain in your group of friendly churches turn apart from centuries long divisions amongst themselves.
      And do well to remember that even though both churches recognise that Peter was bishop in Antioch, the two churches have never argued that the bishop of Antioch has precedence over the bishop of Rome. that has never been risen, so don’t tarnish history and facts to suit your unfounded arguments.
      And mind you there is no such thing as Eastern Orthodoxy, that is merely a generic term used to describe a group of national churches turn apart over trivialities and a ceremonial leader, who acknowledges that from tradition the title ‘ecumenical patriarch’ belongs, by right to the bishop of rome and that he is merely holding it, pending when the bishop of rome accepts the absurd description of the office of st. peter.
      The church of Jesus Christ, which is the catholic church founded on Peter will never abandon the true meaning of Peter’s commission.

    • PAT ALEX says:

      help yourself with this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmEAuLNoP-Q and stop deceiving yourself.

  • ashwani says:

    Testing Bro………

  • ashwani says:

    Testing ……

  • ashwani says:

    testing 222

  • ashwani says:

    Hello Testing…..

  • ashwani says:

    Hello Testing

  • Eric H. says:

    James Sams, you would do well to heed your own words. We will be held accountable for false teachings we spread, for they are the fruit of the devil. The one hope we have for the church, despite the devils without and within, is Jesus’s promise that the gates of hell would not prevail against her. Church teaching is now, and has always been, divinely inspired. There are many, however, within the church, even in the halls of the Vatican who are wolves in sheeps clothes. But they are not the Church and they are not followers of Christ. And despite his best efforts, the Devil continues to flail hopelessly against the spouse of Christ, but her doctrine has not nor shall ever change or be “updated” for this new, immoral era we find ourselves in. God bless you in your search for the truth.

    • James Sams says:

      Eric H. My search was completed, with revelations from our Lord and Savior, who actually spoke to me, following the death of my 21 months old son, whose death almost destroyed me. You see, this child was the only person, who ever made me feel loved…I knew my parents, siblings, etc…loved me; but they never made me feel loved. After my son’s death, I went into a deep depression, I wanted to die, but I knew God’s Word pertaining to murder, even self murder…as a result, I was led back to studying the Bible. I had already read the Bible, several times before, from Genesis to Revelation, as well as, having taken Theological Courses at Mercer University, alone with Political Science Studies, which entailed the early history of the Church; hence, I learned how and when the Church of Yeshua was divided into many denominations. From studying the Scriptures, I knew already that Yeshua [Jesus] was a Jew; I knew that all of His Talmidim [disciples] were Messianic Jews; I knew that the 3,000 converts were also Messianic Jews, etc…I learned, from studying Political Science, that the Roman Empire were persecuting all believers, in Yeshua, both Jew and Gentile; then, starting around 325 C.E., Rome made a deal with Gentile believers [Jewish believers were not included]…Rome would stop persecuting them, in exchange for their separation from their Jewish brothers and sisters, in Yeshua; they [the Gentiles] accepted Rome offer; however, Rome wasn’t satisfied with separations only [from Jewish believers], Gentiles believers were admonished not to worship, in the same manner, as their Jewish counterparts; thus, the Wall of Separation, between Jew and Gentile, that Yeshua had torn down, was rebuilt…God’s Holy Days, and His Seventh Day Sabbath were replaced with man-made traditions and holidays…God’s Holy Sabbaths were then labeled Jewish holidays. Jews were labeled Christ Killers; thus, persecution against Jews continue…to this very day; this persecution, eventually, decimated the Messianic Jewish Congregations, until 1967, when Jerusalem was once again, back in Jewish hands; Messianic Jewish Congregations started popping-up all around the world.
      Now, back to my story. After I started reading the Bible again, God’s Holy Spirit led me to cross reference, using all Bible translations available. When I came to passages that I had read, many times before, a light went off…I saw things I had never seen before; all I could do was glorify god with thanksgivings. After receiving these revelations, I wasn’t able to keep them to myself…this caused problems, in the Baptist Congregation that I attended; from that time forward; the people got up-set; got the Pastor, who told me…you’re right, 100% correct, but kept all of that to yourself. There is a lot more to this story, but I will cut it short. In 1997, my beautiful 4 year old granddaughter was shot and killed, by a 16 year old, playing with a shot-gun; then, three years later, her father [my son] died of colon cancer, at age 32. I went into depression again; but afterwards, I made the greatest decision of my life…instead of deciding for myself where to worship, I got on my knees and prayed…asking God to show me where I should go. That is when I heard God’s Voice…directing me to a Messianic Jewish Congregation. I’m not biological Jewish; however, as Gentiles, we are drafted into the Olive Tree [Israel] through adoption, not the xmas tree.

  • Nikos Dellas says:

    The spirit of this article should reveal to the discerning reader if this mindset is in accordance with Christianity or not.

  • aka says:

    The Orthodox understanding of the infallibility of ecumenical councils is a little off here. There have been many councils that could easily have been defined as ecumenical – and, in fact, considered themselves to be – but were not accepted as such by the church subsequently. And this was before the Schism.
    There’s a joke reportedly told by Fr. John Behr, Dean of St. Vladimir’s Seminary in the U.S.: “Perhaps, we Orthodox haven’t called an ecumenical council in over 1200 years not because we don’t have an emperor to call it, but because we don’t have a pope who won’t be there”.
    For more on the Orthodox understanding of and response to papal infallibility, see the Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs, 1848
    A Reply to the Epistle of Pope Pius IX, “to the Easterns”: http://legacy.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1848orthodoxencyclical.asp.

  • Mike says:

    Eastern Orthodox is unfortunately built on a secular rock of Constantinople. That is why hell did prevail on Constantinople. The See of Constantinople is not a original See. It really should have no any primacy or high honor that it is currently having. During the early years of Christianity, a lot of heresy came from the Church of the East to only be rejected by the Pope and later by the Councils. The Councils normally follow the Pope’s decision and ratification. The Eastern Orthodox or Followers of Bishop of Constantinople rejected the long standing tradition of Authority of the Seat of Peter. They follow that the Seat of Peter has only primacy of honor, but history speaks otherwise. They may claim to preserve what they have long time ago, but actually they already changed their stand on divorce, contraception, and others. Eastern Orthodox knows it, their schismatic Church has not long been the Center of Orthodoxy. They can not develop anymore their Theology because they are not anymore connected with Rome. They reject Original Sin, Immaculate conception, Papacy and other doctrines are infallibly spoken by Rome and later councils.

    • Peter F says:

      If Papal Supremacy is true then explain why Rome is the only See out of 5 Holy Sees that is out of communion with the others? To this day Alexandria, Jerusalem, Antioch, and Constantinople all remain in communion. The only one in Schism is Rome. Common denominator?
      Constantinople got its “primacy” for the very same reason Rome did. Because it was the Capitol of the Empire. Also if Constantinople was not an original See then neither is Rome. They both had Bishoprics installed by Apostles.
      We reject Original Sin as put forth by the Roman Catholics because it is not found in any of the Fathers except for partially by St. Augustine. We reject the Immaculate Conception on the same basis. Mary had no “Original Sin” and thereby needed no sanctification from it, in the sense that RC’s put forth. If RC’s did not believe in Original Sin they would not believe in the Immaculate Conception. If only Roman Catholics would read the Fathers on these issues and not cherry pick proof texts as they like. Perhaps though Roman Catholics believe that their children should be punished for their mistakes, wouldn’t that be nice.
      It does not take a history professor to see the many innovations through time that the RC church has made. It also does not take a history professor to see the resoluteness in doctrine, liturgical practice, faith, saints and teachings of the Orthodox Church through the centuries. The RCC is in crisis and this is admitted by its own cardinals, bishops and priests.

  • Chris says:

    Being orthodox, I can tell every reader that this article — yet again — is false. I paid me that Roman Catholics won’t even take the time to research this stuff. If we believed that we must be united to Rome to have an Ecumenical Council “infallible” then why do we have one scheduled to convene next year? Simple answer: this article is wrong and is written by a badly misinformed Roman Catholic who naïvely believes that Papal Supremacy was believed and practiced by the Church prior to the Latins breaking off of her.

  • Apostolos says:

    Once again, the Catholics are taking things out of context regarding Leo. And once again, they make a false statement that “the Eastern churches split from Rome.” In fact, it was ROME that split from the Eastern Churches. The Bishop of Rome (a.k.a. the Pope) initiated the Schism by sending representatives to Constantinople, who laid a writ of excommunication on the Holy Altar in the middle of a Divine Liturgy. As they were leaving, they shook the dust from their feet as if to say, we are done. And any good Roman Catholic theologian worth his salt KNOWS this, and knows that Orthodoxy is the Mother Church, the true continuation of the One, Holy, Catholic (i.e. “Universal”) and Apostolic Church.

  • polyphemus69 says:

    The Orthodox church has remained stable in doctrine and dogma for 1200 years. The “innovations” of Rome lead to the Reformation. The so called Christians of the 4th Crusade sacked Constantinople, killed the royal family, raped and pillaged without restraint taking a great deal of the wealth and Holy Relics back to Rome. Rome forbade the Western armies to come to the aid of Constantinople and it fell to the Turks. The fall of Constantinople is a pivotal point in world history.
    The Schism had more roots in socioeconomic and Imperial motives of the Franks. than religion. Granted the Filioque is very poor theology and was rejected by six popes. The Franks wanted to invade Eastern Europe so at the point of a sword Rome declared the five patriarchies that were united schismatic.

  • Michael K. Hampu says:

    Excuse me, but historically it was the church of Rome which broke away from the Orthodox Church in 1054. The primary differences being acceptance of the Bishop of Rome as the only leader of the Christian Church and the infallibility of said Bishop. The Roman Catholic Church didn’t exist (as autonomous) until the schism when it declared itself to be supreme.

  • Grandmom says:

    This is shameful. Keep snarking at one another. Just what the devil enjoys. Our brethren divided because of pride. It breaks my heart. How can we reach out to one another in love?

  • Luke says:

    Actually, Catholic friends, only the full Church is infallible..clergy and laity alike agreeing in faith. The Ecumenical Councils were not such when they were called. They became such in the fullness of time. On a more fundamental level, all truth is infallible. Therefore your popes are infallible every time they speak the truth. Unfortunately they have not always done so. The Orthodox Church has never dogmatically taught error. The Lord have mercy on us and save us!

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