Eastern Orthodoxy from the Catholic Perspective Part 1

The history of the Eastern Orthodox Churches from the Catholic perspective.

Perhaps I should explain my purpose in making this video a bit more fully. My intent is not to give a full, detailed history as though I were making a documentary, as interesting as that would be. Rather, my guiding intention throughout is to emphasize and underscore the identity of the Catholic Church as Eastern and Western in the first millennium, bound together by communion with the Bishop of Rome, and by the authority of the Ecumenical Councils in which the Church spoke with a common voice as confirmed by Rome. This entire series of videos is intended primarily for Roman Catholics, in order to combat the notion that it is right or proper that the Catholic Church ought to be considered solely Latin or composed only of Roman Catholics.

To this end, I neglected historical details peripheral to the main thrust of my intended message, in order to keep my explanation somewhat contained and not an hour long. Some of these historical details include:

– The schism of a great number of Bishops in the Middle East following the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus in A.D. 431, who followed the teachings of the heretic Nestorius and rejected the witness of the Patriarch of Rome and the other four Patriarchs and all the Bishops with them to the identity of Christ. Eventually these Nestorian Bishops coalesced into a group that later became known as the Assyrian Church of the East. Over the centuries, the teachings of Nestorius became less and less important to the Assyrian Church, and the particular Church became much less obviously heretical. Today at this point the Church, while heretical on some points such as the number of the Mysteries (Sacraments), the Catholic Church recognizes her preserved Apostolic Succession and recognizes her as a true particular Church, even though in error on a fair number of points.

– The schism of the Patriarch of Alexandria from the Patriarch of Rome together with the Patriarchs of Antioch, Jerusalem, and Constantinople, and with him all of the Bishops of his Patriarchate and their flocks following the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon in A.D. 451. The Patriarch and the Bishops who sided with him from his Patriarchate became known as the non-Chalcedonians, and were heretics who to the best of our knowledge professed the heresy of monophysitism at least for a time after Chalcedon. Gradually, other Bishops joined their schism from Ethiopia and Armenia, and they coalesced to form the Oriental Orthodox communion, a counter communion to that of the one, holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church which continued to exist in the other for Patriarchates. Today, the Catholic Church regards the Patriarch of Alexandria to be the actual Patriarch of his See and has concluded that, at this point in history, Oriental Orthodoxy holds to the theological concept of miaphysitism, which is not a heresy as monophysitism is. At one point, however, it is likely that Oriental Orthodoxy was highly heretical and tainted with monophysitism. Therefore, they only demand attention and respect in the modern era, otherwise they may be regarded as peripheral to the Catholic Church which continued to exist in the Patriarchs in communion with the Patriarch of Rome.

– The effect that Islam had on both the Eastern Roman Empire and Christianity in North-Western Africa, as well as the Iberia peninsula, from the late 600’s through the turn of the millennium. To be sure, this is vital to the continuing existence of the Eastern Roman Empire, as well as the Patriarchal Sees of Antioch and Jerusalem, however it did not affect the Patriarch of Constantinople in a substantial way until far later in the 14th and 15th centuries. What’s more, the Patriarchal Sees, though beset with difficulties from the onslaught of Islam, did not cease to exist, and therefore can be considered, together with Constantinople and in communion with Rome, the continuing Catholic Church through history. Christians never disappeared from the Middle East despite Muslim persecution, nor did they cease to orthodox Catholic Christians.

– The details surrounding the ascendancy of Charlemagne to the position of Western Roman Emperor.

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