A Comparison of the Similarities and Differences in the Practices and Beliefs of the Roman Orthodoxy and the Eastern Orthodoxy

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It is noted that the Roman Orthodoxy and the Eastern Orthodoxy were once united as a single church more than a thousand years ago. However, it then happened that the Pope as created what is known as the Great Schism which involved excommunication of the Eastern leaders that refused to accept the Pope as the sole leader of the church. This led to separation of the Roman Catholic into the Catholic Church as well as the Orthodox Church. It is however noted that the tow, Eastern Orthodoxy as well as the Roman Orthodoxy all have similar roots but there are several differences in terms of their approaches to various issues and interpretation of the roots they profess.

In the case of the Roman Orthodox, the law, the Pope as well as logic are more important in ensuring they maintain the sacred governance of the church. The two churches have been able to develop theologies that relate to the Bible as well as the nature of human beings and God as well as how each of them views the other religions in the world.

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Some of the differences and similarities in terms of Mary – Assumption and Immaculate Conception of, salvation, and the trinity are as follows;

Mary – Assumption and Immaculate Conception of

The belief in Mary – Assumption and Immaculate Conception of by both churches is visible although to an extent there is slight difference. It is noted that in the case of the Eastern Orthodoxy, this assumption is acceptable and also, there is an agreement that indeed Mary did have an experience of the physical death.

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However, the Eastern Orthodoxy rejects the issue of Immaculate Conception. The belief held by this orthodoxy is that there is no way that the guilt that was felt as a result of the original sin can be passed on to other generations hence this obviates the view that Mary is sinless. It is the view of the Eastern Orthodoxy that the sin committed by Adam and Even as well as the guilt they felt cannot be transmitted through sexual activity hence in the case of Virgin Mary, there was no need for Immaculate conception so that she could be able to surrender herself before God as part of her Incarnation. Mary was able to inherit the mortality which was known to come to everyone based on the view of the fall. However, Mary was filled with grace that is divine so that she was able to deal with the situation she underwent as part of her obedience towards the word of God.

On the other hand, in the case of the Roman Orthodoxy, Mary – Assumption and Immaculate Conception of are dogmas that belong to the church. However, it is noted that a decision has not yet been reached on whether Mary experienced death or not as believed by the Eastern Orthodoxy. On the Immaculate Conception, it states that during the time of her conception, she was pure and without the original sin hence this should also not mean the same as being virgin’. All human beings are conceived and born hence bear the consequences that come with the sin that Adam and Eve committed. However, Mary did not have the burden of this sin which also involves reproduction because hers was a matter of obedience to the Word of God through grace so that she could be the “Mother of God” during her Incarnation. Moreover, the Roman Orthodoxy also considers Mary as the “Mother of the Church”.


Salvation is also another term that is used to help identify the similarities and the difference that exist between Eastern Orthodoxy and the Roman Orthodoxy. In the case of the Eastern Orthodoxy, salvation is considered as faith that works through the gift of love among people and it is a process that goes on throughout the life of an individual. The aim that every individual that believes in the teachings of the Eastern Orthodoxy is to become one and united with God and this can only be done by living a life that is considered as holy. Moreover, one has to ensure they work towards being closer to God every time. Furthermore, according to Eastern Orthodoxy, salvation is of great importance as it is the center of focus for this church. The church is against sin and one is expected to seek for repentance every time so that they can continue to living in salvation. The belief of the Eastern Orthodoxy is that salvation is best achieved when one practice love and at the same time maintains their faith in the church and God. The greatest objective is to practice love for everyone in the society as this is a great step that is seen towards salvation from sin.

On the other hand, salvation in the Roman Orthodoxy seems to be based on a different issue. Salvation is obtained through grace which sanctifies people from sin’l. This grace is given to people at the time of their baptism and the people have to maintain it through the many sacraments which act as the channels through which grace is obtained and maintained. The similarity that can be noted in this case of salvation is that both churches acknowledge the presence of sin and the importance of being closer to God as the ultimate goal of salvation. Moreover, salvation is viewed as a choice that an individual has to make based on their self interest and conscious decision making. Moreover, Roman orthodoxy similar to the Eastern Orthodoxy also agrees that salvation requires repentance from sin. One has to acknowledge their sins and ensures that they work towards not sinning against and in case that happens, they have to repent immediately.

It is noted also that just like the Roman Orthodoxy, salvation in Eastern Orthodoxy also starts with the process of baptism of an individual using water. This has seen the Eastern Orthodoxy make the claim that it is not possible for one to be saved unless they have been baptized using water just like the scriptures say about Jesus Christ. Moreover, the two churches often teach their people that it is possible for any man to work closely with God as part of bringing salvation and that the final results are the products of man’s as well as God’s efforts. Furthermore, the word that is used to describe salvation in the Eastern Orthodox Church is the word theosis which simply means “becoming God.” This refers to the progressive process and the kind of transformation that an individual goes through to be more like God both in terms of the body as well as the soul. This also requires the application of faith as well as good deeds or works. Moreover the two churches are also similar as they both deny the existence of difference between justification as well as sanctification. It is also noted that the false doctrine that is promoted by Eastern Orthodoxy regarding theosis is a form of conflation of regeneration in terms of justification as well as sanctification.


It is important to note that both the Eastern Orthodoxy and the Roman Orthodoxy are in agreement of the existence of the Holy Trinity whereby God is made of three main parts; the Father, The son and The Holy Spirit. The two churches believe in the trinity with God the Father being the creator of everything while the Son in this case makes reference to Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit according to the two churches often becomes part of the believers as they go about living their lives but in accordance to the commandments of the churches. However, between the two churches, the Roman Orthodox tends to follow what is known as the Nicene Creed. This creed states that the Father and the Son are the main source of the Holy Spirit. This is one of the statements that caused a lot of controversies and also contributed towards the Great Schism which saw the two churches split”.

However, a comparison between the Eastern Orthodoxy and the Roman Orthodoxy indicate that they have some differences on the issue of trinity. The Eastern Orthodoxy holds the belief that indeed Jesus Christ was a simple human being hence there is no way that he can be considered to be the same as God. Furthermore, they also hold the belief that it is only possible that the Holy Spirit comes from God the Father and not from the Son. The Eastern Orthodoxy also believes that the Father is the sender of the Spirit to the people but with the Son being the intercessor. This implies that the Son is seen as an agent that ensures that the Holy Spirit reaches the people.

Furthermore, in the case of the Roman Orthodoxy, there seems to be a different view at all from that of the Eastern Orthodoxy. The Romans on the issue of the Trinity tends to agree with Protestants and not with the Eastern Orthodoxy. As noted that the Spirit proceeds from the Father as well as the Son, this implies that the Holy Spirit is not separate and not part of the Father. Moreover, the Holy Spirit is not also separate and not part of the Son”9. The Roman Orthodoxy bases their argument on reason that if God exist, it implies that the attributes of God are inferred to the Son and also to the Holy Spirit hence the belief that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are all one.


It is noted that the Eastern Orthodox tends to deviate from the teachings provided for in the scriptures and rather relies on the man-made doctrines. The above differences and similarities between the Roman Orthodoxy and the Eastern Orthodoxy demonstrate the great gap that exists between the two despite being the same at one point in time. Therefore, it is a matter of personal decision when deciding on which church to attend based on the doctrines that each promotes in the society.


  1. Clendenin, Daniel B. Eastern Orthodox Christianity: A Western Perspective. Baker Academic, 2003.
  2. Humfress, Caroline. “Roman law, forensic argument and the formation of Christian orthodoxy (III-VI Centuries).” (2000).
  3. Schmemann, Alexander. The historical road of eastern orthodoxy. Harvill Press, 1963.


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A Comparison of the Similarities and Differences in the Practices and Beliefs of the Roman Orthodoxy and the Eastern Orthodoxy. (2021, Sep 27). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/a-comparison-of-the-similarities-and-differences-in-the-practices-and-beliefs-of-the-roman-orthodoxy-and-the-eastern-orthodoxy-essay

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