Every once in an while, I hear a Roman Catholic argue that the proof that they are the one holy, catholic and apostolic Church may be found in their “catholicity” (i.e. “universal-ness.”) They have all different rites (including the Eastern Rites), believers in six continents and all different races, diverse litrugical languages, and etcetera. I always find arguments like these to be anachronistic.–I don’t mean this in an argumentative way, just objectively speaking.
This is because between the years 1054 to 1492, the Roman Catholic Church was found only in Western Europe and it was made up of Italians, Spaniards, Portuguese, or some country that was an offshoot of some Germanic invader (Holy Roman Empire, France, England, etc.)
The Orthodox Church was made up of Arabs, Slavs (a group including many sub groups like Bulgarians, Serbs, Ruthenians, Russians, etc), Caucasians, Greeks, Romanians (Latins), and a sprinkling of Egyptians.
The Orthodox had several liturgical languages (Greek, Arabic, Georgian, Slavonic, etc) and the Roman Catholics had Latin, Latin, and Latin…now that’s diversity and catholicity!
It is possible that until the 13th century, demographics suggest that the East had more Christians than the West. At the very least, the East had a higher population in the eleventh century.
In the modern day, the Roman Catholic Church is larger than the Orthodox Church chiefly due to colonization and imperialism after the year 1492. This is a well established fact. The ethnic diversity of Roman Catholicism (Filipinos, Latinos, North Americans, Subsaharan Africans, etcetera) are all due to the often violent expanisionism of Western powers.
Ironically, if you compare the 2018 populations of European Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy, they are wrongly equal (in the high 200 millions.) Roman Catholicism’s edge in numbers is purely because of Western expansionism. Period. Perhaps this is the providence of God, but it would have not been a mark of “catholicity” for about 500 years after the West was in schism…which makes it a questionable criteria at best.
Missionary activity, as we know it today, where Christianity is spread through education and peaceful means was, you guessed it, first found among the Orthodox. Saints Cyril and Methodius did not convince slavic peoples, nor did Saint Photius convince Kiev Rus, to become Christians by violent means. To this day, Orthodoxy remains in countries where it was principally evangelized peacefully and not by force.
And this is the crossroads Orthodoxy is at today. Orthodoxy hit its low-point (Turkish domination and then Communism) when the West hit its economic and political zenith. The modern form of evangelization (by education and charity) didn’t really take root in the West until the 20th century, after Imperialism fell apart. Ironically, modern evangelism has more in common with modern corporate-promotion than historical evangelism. This not a bad thing necessarily, but it shows how we take for granted that evangelism should look like soup kitchens and schools, when for most of Christian history this would have been largely alien. Modern evangelism is a reflection of modern, consumer culture.
I will happily concede that Orthodoxy is playing catch up in this Department and simply does not at present have the resources to draw upon to build massive churches and fund massive projects throughout the world, which we see especially among Protestants–the Roman Catholics mostly stay to the lands which were imperialized by Roman Catholic powers.
So, what will “catholicity” look like in another 500 years? Who knows
To this day, Orthodoxy remains in countries where it was evangelized peacefully and not by force.
So, do tell me about Orthodoxy in the Ukraine…
Orthodoxy has been in Ukraine since the 9th century and has remained in Ukraine, and has faced schisms due to violent impositions by the Poles and Lithuanians.
Please, Piast and Jagellonian dynasties were some of the most religious tolerant of all the monarchs of Europe. And Russian Orthodoxy has been working years with Soviet government to exterminate Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church…
** To clarify to eliminate Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in effort to promote a Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Or the Massacre of the Latin…
That was not forceful conversion to a religion, that was a race riot. WHy would you conflate the two?
The monarchy incited a mob to eliminate Latins, this has been boiling for years. The leading professor of Medieval studies in the United States Thomas F. Madden writes extensively on the subject in his book Istanbul.
Should I keep going?
Plus your view of Christianity in North America in regards to Franciscans in the West and the Jesuits in Central America being violent is highly compromised by Protestant historicism. Ulrich Lehner has written a peer reviewed book on the Catholic Enlightenment which dispel these myths. As well as Rodney Stark, who is a Baptist I believe, wrote a book Bearing False Witness that most of you’ve written here is a result of historicism from Anti-Catholic bigotry.
It is not coincidence that the Phillipines and certain African countries are Roman Catholic, certain other African countries are Anglican…or that SIberia is Orthodox for that matter.
THe difference is that Orthodoxy was never compelled by force or inquisitions. The death penalty did not exist for heresies. While soft-support exists all around (i.e. in Siberia, it helps get a good education to be Orthodox, same is true in the Philippines,) the West has always had more of a leather glove, iron fist approach while the east has pretty much lacked anything other than the glove.
Naturally, the East couldn’t expand due to being pinned between the West and Islam. Furthermore, in many instances Catholic missionaries along with their secular governments used soft conversion tactics all the same, this is what is now being taught at the University levels. Just pick up and read the newest books coming out University presses.
Hence iron fist and leather glove. What you dont find in Orthodoxy are inquisitions and forced conversions.
Yeah, just genocide… oops I mean in your words “race riot.” See Latin Massacre and the forced suppression of the Ukranian Greek Catholic Church. “We can’t have blood on our hands, so we get other people to do the dirty work.”
“In April 1182, Andronicus sent agents into the city to spread the news the people were free to cleanse Constantinople of its western European filth. The carnage began early in the morning. Tens of thousands of Greeks pouted into the streets and swarmed into the Italian quarter along the Golden Horn. No Catholic was safe. The mob broke into their homes, churches, and hospitals, killing, raping, and torturing those they found. Thousands were killed in their beds before they even knew what was happening. The easiest targets were women, children, and the aged, who were but down mercilessly. Catholic priests and monks were brutally massacred. Even the papal legate, who was in the the city on an official embassy, was dragged into the streets and decapitated…The massacre was not finished until every Westerner in Constantinople was dead or had escaped.” (Thomas F. Madden, Istanbul, 170.
You are making no sense. How was the massacre of the latins have to do with evangelism or converting latins (or anyone else) to Orthodoxy? This is a non sequitur and you know it.
Sure… non sequitur… so you don’t think massacring your opponent doesn’t psychologically influence any other opposition to conversion… okay buddy 👌
Doesn’t matter the Russian Orthodox history, and reason being an arm of a state with muscle, which mostly accounts for Orthodoxy’s lack of force, proves your entire assertion a flat out lie.
Should we talk about the forced conversion of Chelm Eparchy after you read the other Russian Orthodox citation. It’s not bad logic your dealing: just lies. Don’t bear false witness.
How many cleansed someone may ask? “One contemporary estimate put the number of dea at sixty thousand, whic may be too low.” (ibid)
And this guy literarly has the audacity to seek the Orthodox Church doesn’t shed blood! It’s laughable.
“No Forced Conversions…” – Craig Truglia
Here from another book off the shelf from the Northern Illinois University Press…
“A Joint Russian and Cossack attack on Lithuania ensued. In the late summer of 1655, the invaders, led by Tsr Alexei Mikhailovich himself, besieged Smolensk for a full three weeks and suceeded in taking other cities of the Grand Duchy, including Vilnius. The capture and burning of Vilnius was particularly tragic. Vilnius had long known peace, and the capital of the Grand Duchy was a flourishing city, full of life and abounding riches…The crusading nature of the Russian attack–to reclaim the region for the Orthodox world–mwnat that not only Catholics but also Uniates and Jews were to be eliminated. The only path to temporal salvation was conversion to Orthodoxy.”
Patrice M Dabrowski, Poland: First Thousand Years (Dekalb: Nothern Illinois University Press, 2016), 207.
Now, this particular historical thesis renders your entire blog piece false. Now, you can either retract your misinformation or keep articulating your anti-Catholic lie. Should I keep picking peer reviewed history books off my shelf?
Nonsense. The premise of the article **is not** that Orthodox countries never fought in wars (which of course is wrong, Bulgaria attacked Romania in WW1 and both are Orthodox countries.) The point is whether there was a protracted policy of forced conversions–which you have not shown (and believer cannot show.) Russia re-taking Smolensk from Poland in the 17th century, after losing it during the time of troubles, hardly qualifies. Further, it is arguably a defensive war, being that Smolensk is Russian **and not** Polish…but just-war theory si beyond the purview here.
The fact you are misconstruing battles and race riots with historic western evangelism and forced conversions shows that you are either woefully misinformed…or intentionally obfuscating the issue.
The peered review book literally talks about “forced conversions” and you deny it! Oh my… I suppose I’ll just start denying history too! I’d admit fully that there were less than ethical means of hr spread of Western Christianity but then for you to juxtapose it by claiming Orthodoxy didn’t in light of being shown a citation from an expert!
Yeah so if the Chelm Eparchy doesn’t fit your “qualifications” for forced conversions, you’re behind reason denying straight facts.
Fair enough. Having read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conversion_of_Che%C5%82m_Eparchy I would agree there are small, isolated examples of “forced conversions” (though even then I think this to be a misnomer…the policy with the Uniates was no different than the policy with Old Believers. The Orthodox CHurch in Russia was under state control in Russia, and liturgical rites were regulated. Even so, what happened to the Uniates paled in comparison to what happened to Old Believers, who were not being converted to anything, or what the West did normatively as we have at least one Pope explicitly endorsing forced conversions.)
Further, I think arguing over the degree of violence of RC or EO conversions really does not address the point of the article, which is, moder RC Catholicity is the result of colonization and imperialism. As I said in the article itself, this may be the providence of God in of itself, but to ignore that this was the main facotr behind RCism’s expansion is a major error historically.
As the Russian Orthodoxy shows and with your examples; the correlation between violent coercion is just as like when the faith becomes intertwined within a powerful state. As secular society as come forth since the Enlightenment; the state is no longer in a partnership with more faith communities, except maybe the Russian Orthodoxy with Putin and various 3rd world counties.
Colonization and imperialism are buzz words on liberal college campuses and the media; in fact, if you want an “A” from your professor just write those words down on any essay—oh and your use of “race riots” will definitely help!
Colonialism done in the right way, for example, presenting an idea or culture that is better is not intrinsically evil as what your post Siemens to imply because of your mention of violent conversions, which is such. However, the irony is that liberalism, which abhors colonialism, is doing the same right now with character assassinations and the like to make people conform to their ideologies. However, as you’re trying to persuade readers on the Internet, your attempting an a colonization of the mind.
So, I’d stop and think about why you use this terminology, where the terminology and the ideas developed before opining on any historical topics.
Other than the comment on coercion which i should qualify existed in some but not all corcumstances do you concede to the premise of the article that western expansion since several centuries after the schism accounts for catholicity?
The spread of both force and/or the ideas certainly spread Catholicism and all that goes with it—including a common uniform language with its Liturgy but not necessarily all uniform, but none of which do I concede is unique to Catholicism or different from other Christian sects or other religions in that case. More or less, I conclude that it was a product of the era and the violent behavior of people’s living during that time.
Your article is a smear on the many great missionaries who spent their life proclaiming Christ at great personal cost and often ended up martyrs for the faith, the likes of Father Damien, Father Laval, St Francis Xavier, etc, etc.
The fact that some people in the church have committed abuses, like Judas, does not invalidate the whole church. Never has, never will.
You are back with your divisive Protestant anti Catholic instinct.
Thank you for writing this post. I find that this argument concerning universality crops up fairly often. First, let me just say that I don’t think your post has any hint of anti-Catholic sentiments, contrary to what Philip Augustine and waterandthespiritapologetics assert. Nonetheless, I would like to push back against the seemingly stainless record of Orthodoxy. First, it must be acknowledged that post-Constantine, Orthodox missionary activity, especially in more rural areas in Gaul and Germania, involved significant levels of violence ranging from the burning of pagan sacred groves to forced baptism. In many hagiographical texts, these violent actions are often praised and acclaimed as traits of sainthood. Even in the Greek East, repressions and pressures to convert were quite harsh, especially for the remaining pagan Neoplatonists during the sixth century and the Paulicians.
As for the anti-Latin riots in Constantinople, I am more inclined towards treating that less as a religious issue and more as a race issue. That doesn’t make the crime any less serious, but it should be separated from discussions concerning missionary activity. The Venetians and the various Latin merchants were not there in Constantinople to convert people. Neither did the Greeks care so much as to convert them, if they even saw them as distinctly different as we do with each other today (EO and Catholics). Rather the riot was the result of resentment and envy built up over many decades pertaining to financial gain and constant agitation on account of increasing contact between Byzantium and a rising Latin West.
In terms of your characterization of missionary activity in the European colonies, although I am sure it differed from region to region, on the whole I roughly agree with your characterization. A particularly strong example comes to mind with the destruction of the Incan sun cult during the Spanish conquest of the Incan Empire. After the conquest was completed the Spanish colonial government in conjunction with the Catholic Church actively sought out remaining pagan practices and idols in order to destroy them, which they did with much success although never quite completed. The further dismantling of remaining Incan aristocracy/elite after the rebellion of 1780 probably dealt another pretty devastating blow to the cultural continuity and tradition of Incan civilization, despite the fact that the aristocracy had already long converted as I understand it.
Thank you Alura, and I am sorry in 500 words or less I could not slice and dice the issue more accurately. 🙂
The consensus of social historians view the common idea is racism being a product of 16th-17th century chattel slavery as laws were put into place in European nations, mostly in the colonies. Again, let’s not simply opine on the matter and take my word for it. Professor Battalora, I believe of Northwestern University, has written extensively on the topic. So, to conclude that the Latin massacre is strictly about race is the truest since of our modern views and is an anarchronism. What is most important to people during that particular period of time—religion.
Dear Philip Augustine,
My apologies for the unclear language. By race, I did not intend for it to mean it in its early modern understanding. Rather I intended it as a more general term for denoting particular peoples as a singular group. Perhaps xenophobia would be the more accurate term. Stereotypes and the derision towards the “other” based on gens/gentes is most certainly present in medieval sources, which by no means is mutually exclusive from issues of religion. I merely wanted to point out that conversion, as far as my knowledge of the riots is, was not really at the heart of the matter when people were busy murdering people.
The tally of number of dead is about 60,000 low estimate by historians. In my view, that constitutes as a genocide of a particular group of people. And we’re to assume that doesn’t pressure folks into conversion?
No it pressures them out of trade and the crafts which was the whole point u r reaching here
I don’t agree. The idea that people in the 12th century were primarily motivated for economic means is a product of 19th century anachronistic historicism—see Edward Gibbon for prime example.
You are making a habit of being disagreeable. Name a single forces conversion from the race riot. Without that you are essentially making up a motive out of whole cloth.
Sure, I’ll look into some after the event. No names in this particular event as the Orthodox murdered everyone.
Yes, many people died. But do you have records of any forced conversion during this massacre? We have records of forced conversions of Rhineland Jews nearly a century prior, so surely if this same phenomenon is occurring in Constantinople, we would have primary documentation detailing that. If you have this evidence, then please provide it. I would also like to note that Constantinople had mosques during this time as well, yet Muslims did not suffer the same fate. I think this adds further weight that it was based more (and let me stress more, not only) on severe xenophobia against Latins, rather than a fundamental intolerance towards other religions or religious denominations.
Documentation, I’d have to look into it in more detail for certain but assuming most of them were exterminated in a genocide by Orthodoxy, probably not, which I wonder if you can say genocide is relation to this particular event as you related it to “yes many people died.”—many people die in earthquakes and mudslides too.
However in regards to cultural conflict to assume that a massive murder doesn’t lead to future conversions is disingenuous and a limit on academic honesty.
Lehner’s research also indicates that soft conversions were more the norm than violent conversions. In fact, the Jesuits in Central America built a community, a country even preserving elements of the culture within Catholicism until the government forced the Jesuits out of the region. He also indicates that the Franciscans did more work to protect rights of the native populations against the crown rather than being a arm of the crown as both you and Craig seem to believe. And these are two of the more prominent examples, I can think off the top of my head. Later today, when I can get to the book I can certainly provide the examples in detail.
Surely having read Thomas F. Madden and perhaps even Jonathan Phillips you are aware of Venetian economic interests, power, and policy, no? The Venetian merchants were granted huge tax exemptions in Constantinople, which contributed greatly to the growing anti-Latin resentment.
Sure, I’d admit economics have a portion of it. However, as Madden has dispelled in regards to the Crusades, economics is not a primary motivating factor of people during the period—as I’m sure you’re aware.
That does not mean that a bunch of people, without state sanction let alone church, murdered their competition in the hope of converting them. Merely to suggest it is not only intellectually dishonest, but borderline unintelligent.
Your position is based on dismissive nature of cultural history. It makes conversing with you on the matters of history rather silly since you just blindfold and and plug your ears and keep repeating. Even when I’ve produced experts on the subject. Where are your experts saying that Orthodoxy didn’t take such measures? I’m not stressing authority but rather I’m asking you to introduce arguments that have been researched. I have done so and he. You call it intellectual dishonesty. Absurd my friend!
Philip are you embarassed you made up that the slaughter of the latins was evangelical in nature? I give you the last word.
Embarrassed ? Why would I be embarrassed? It clearly incentives future converts, you have to logically inept not to come the conclusion.
Or you’re a liar!
You know Craig this is silly. It’s dawned on me. And yes I’m embarrassed for that reason. I’m sorry. You’re not a liar. Our dialogue here pretty much summed up the stupidity of every disagreement of our two great traditions.
I can clearly concede that the west benefited from Western power with Evangelization but not to the extent of what is commonly said. I hold that the East does have it in their history as well not to the extent of the West for various reasons such has not having the ability of the state in their pocket.
Our traditions disagreements are founded in our traditions inability to make concessions. I enjoy your blog even if we vehemently disagree at times.
Philip thank you for the conciliatory note. It humbles me. I think your synopsis here is accurately summarizing the point I was trying to make.
On my own conciliatory note, I’ll reiterate that nothing happens by mistake. If RCism has 1 billion Christian believers, it is not by mistake. The question is “why?” I don’t know. God works in the world mysteriously.
When I decided to first become Orthodox (I believed them to be less likely in schism), it helped I was a former Calvinist. Surely, if God chose to save mostly Slavs, there is no unfairness in God, no? Because I agree with you, on the face of it, it does seem to the casual observer that RCism or the invisible church of Protestantism is more obviously small C catholic.
God bless and thanks again for your posting here.
And i am not accusing you of being unintelligent i am just saying that particular allegation you are making about Orthodoxy is.
And you haven’t made a good case for it.
Right, I don’t deny that Catholics extended a modicum of accomidation and preservation of preexisting cultural practices. That sort of policy at least goes as far back as Gregory the Great. And I am well aware that some Catholics, such as the Augustinians, did embrace some Incan visual aspects in religious art, such as the sun. However, it should be noted that this was far from uniform, especially when it comes to the Dominicans.
I will not deny atrocities, what I do deny that they were as normative as 19th-20th century historians have led many to believe.
I will have to fix up my article because i honestly was not trying to conveybthese things were normative, rather i was just debunking the criteria people use for catholicity as anachronisitc.
Thomas F. Madden is hardly the first person to make the case that economic factors were not the primary motivations for the Crusades. Furthermore, it should be noted that Venetian economic interests and Crusader interests are quite different, as the Fourth Crusade well attests.
That maybe the case, however, it doesn’t negate the possibility that people of the same period aren’t motivated for much of the same reasons. Perhaps the Byzantine emperor was motivated by economic measure as the Spanish crown in the Americas… however, the mobs tend to be motivated by other reasons.
Who in the mob dod u speak to? What did he say?
What a silly comment, basically you’ve dismissed the whole sub-genre of social and cultural history. You ever take a historiography class?
I think they hated italian food and thats what caused the riot, and their motive was to encourage everyonr to eat greek food. Prove me wrong.
What’s Italian food are you speaking of? Tiramisu? Didn’t exist at the time. You’re wrong! Liar!
See what we know about the period of time can lead to conclusions…
Also in regards to your rhetoric on what happened in the Colonies, please read peer-reviewed book, 2016, The Catholic Enlightenment by Ulrich Lehner, which illustrates that your position on what happened is a caricature and a result of anti-Catholic histories. Historians have now discovered it just isn’t the truth. Let’s look at the new research rather than continuing the lie.
Dear Philip Augustine,
I must confess that I have not read Prof. Ulrich Lehner’s book, so I cannot speak directly to it. Nor do I really understand what exact point you are saying Prof. Lehner makes. Are you saying that he argues that some Catholics opposed violence and coercion against Native Americans on matters of conscience and religious practice? That much I do not deny. Or are you suggesting that it never happened? That much I would deny. I can say that I have a fair modicum of knowledge and understanding of the rise and fall of the Incan Empire and its various institutions. A brief description can be found in Mary Van Buren’s “Fragmentation and Continuity in the Andean Highlands,” in Order, Legitimacy, and Wealth.
Scripturally, we have a universally sovereign Lord and a universal call to spread the Gospel. But no prophecy as to that call’s success. Meanwhile we are told that “narrow is the way, and few there are who find it.”
To me, 1.4 billion Catholics worldwide may point to their NOT being the true church rather than vice-versa. Certainly, when the Nicene Creed was written, the church was nowhere near worldwide. I think we must look for a different significance to the character of catholicity.
Augustine castigated the Donatists for being regional…but the Catholic Church at the time–though more widely spread–was still regional.
Oh, and there is not one single Catholic (or Orthodox) believer in the Maldives. At the moment, Islam may well have the best claim to technical “catholicity.”
No muslim eskimos, but we have orthodox eskimos!
But i think you agrer with my premise, augustines amd prosper of aquataines arguments has limitations.
I was thinking more along the lines of nations, not people groups.
Looking online, there were several guesses as to countries with zero Muslims: Tonga, San Marino, Bhutan.
The one everyone agreed on was this:
Craig and Philip–
As far as evaluating churches/denominations as to their peaceableness or lack of coercion, I doubt we’d rank either Rome or Constantinople very high. We’d look instead to the Moravians or the Amish or the Mennonites or the Quakers.
The Catholics are guilty of something akin to genocide against the Lutherans in the Thirty Years’ War (half the population wiped out in certain areas) and against the Huguenots in France (4,000 or so on St. Bartholomew’s Day and tens of thousands thereafter).
And aren’t the Orthodox guilty of something akin to coercion in the Erastian nature of pretty much every one of their national governments?
To my mind, both the RC and EO churches are mostly about money and power and prestige, (kind of like the Anglicans).
Simple goodness and truth are much farther down the priority list for them.
There is no shortage of Catholics having been persecuted and discriminated against by Protestants, that is if you want to be honest about it. As for money and power and prestige, look no further than American televangelists and megachurches.
You say: “Simple goodness and truth are much farther down the priority list for them.”
You obviously do not know the Catholic church very well.
Thanks, Hans, for that sweeping statement. I’m delighted to see such charity in broad strokes.
I’m not RC but they are the world’s largest charitable organization, by far! They are also at the forefront of the pro life movement in the US.
If you like, please come visit my Orthodox parish and meet them before you paint them all as mostly about money and such. Come meet my bishop, Bishop Anthony, in person before ascribing such motives to him.
Greed isn’t a distinctly RC or EO feature. I think it’s a feature of fallen human nature. While the Amish and Mennonites might be nice people generally, I certainly don’t think the practice of shunning, which not all of them practice, admittedly, is very Christ like at all. Heck, the Mormons are extremely pleasant folks all around, but they aren’t even Christian. Simple goodness doesn’t mean much if you have a defunct Christology.
And thank you, John, for that sweeping response.
I don’t deny that the Roman church is extremely charitable. But how should that figure into my estimation of them as a whole? Do I ignore the ongoing sex scandals (and the tendency of administrators to sweep things under the rug)? Do thousands of schools and hospitals and orphanages buy one carte blanche on everything else?
Yes, they are indeed one of the greatest forces for good the world has ever seen. But there have also been times and places when they have been one of the clearest embodiments of pure, unadulterated evil this earth has ever witnessed. And it is more than just being a conglomeration of less-than-perfect individuals with ordinary human foibles. At times the Roman church, the church taken as a whole, has been BAD. Really bad.
And though they are at the vanguard in the pro-life movement, they are also at the vanguard of the pro-choice movement. For whatever reason, the church refuses to excommunicate political leaders like Nancy Pelosi and John Kerry and Joe Biden and Dick Durbin.
1 Corinthians 5:11 clearly advocates a type of shunning. Obviously, there is room for abuse in this regard, but are you rejecting the idea of church discipline?
RC excommunication is not such a big deal nowadays, but at one time it was almost certainly a harsher punishment than shunning. People under interdict might very well despair of any access whatsoever to grace and absolution. In certain eras, excommunicants would be locked out of the marketplace and left to fend for themselves.
Look, it is not personal animus that drives me to say these things. The picturesque little town where I reside is something like 96% Catholic. They’re great people. I love, love, love, love my neighbors!
And I have visited all kinds of parishes, big and small, Catholic and Orthodox. The two Orthodox priests I have gotten to know best are extraordinary men: brilliant, humble, affable. The family in town to whom my family is closest, though Anglican themselves, have an aunt and uncle (from Lebanon) living with them who are Orthodox. Dear, dear folks, precious to our hearts.
My point, in general, is NOT that Rome or Constantinople are horrible churches. Both have come a long, long ways from Medieval times till now. What they are NOT is infallible in any conceivable manner.
May they continue to reform…until they are fully Reformed!
THe Reformed have scandals, sexual and financial too. If your definition of the church starts with yourself, the n it is easy to look past your own corruption.
Not aware of vast eo coercion. The old believers is one exception
Erastianism is pretty much universal among the Orthodox. Perhaps you don’t consider it coercive.
I dont disagree, but forced conversion is under force of death i.e. overt persecution. There is a difference between being taken out of business for not making a cake and being killed.
W & S–
American televangelists are, by and large, not Christian, let alone Protestant.
The number of Protestants executed by Catholics during Mary Tudor’s short five-year reign equaled the number of Catholics killed by Elizabeth I in all her 45 years!
You’re the one who needs to begin to be honest concerning the butchery inflicted by Catholics on others over the years. I’m not going to whitewash the Protestant record. In terms of slavery and exploitation and imperialism and militarism…monstrous! But we don’t claim to be infallible. We pick ourselves up and brush ourselves off and do the best we can to improve. You claim a sort of perfection when it comes to faith and morals which you do not possess. Drop the pretension and I’ll give you a break, but not until.
You’re the one who hasn’t bothered to study Catholic history. And you’re the one who doesn’t see that Roman claims to infallibility are preposterous.
That is if you consider Jesus’ words fallible.
I’ve not come across that one before. That American televangelists are not Protestant or Christian ( not that there are not serious defects in their beliefs – as is the case with other Protestants in my understanding ), presumably the same applies to their followers and many other Evangelicals in the USA?
I am a Maronite, my late parents were from Lebanon. I must disagree here to some degree. In the Middle East Byzantine Greek Orthodox was not and never was in the majority. Nor were the Latins. Generally it was forced on us Semites by the Eastern Byzantine Emperor many centuries ago. Greek Orthodoxy is generally found in eastern Europe (slavic/ greco), while Latin Catholicism is in central and western Europe.
The see of Antioch has been split since 431/451. Present day you have Syrian (Oriental) Orthodox (though not of the Byzantines), Melkites, Greek Orthodox of Antioch, Maronites, Syriac Catholics, and even if you want to throw in the Chaldeans and Assyrians. As you can see, Eastern Orthodox style Christianity is easily in the minority.
Eastern Orthodoxy tends to be a pan Hellenic clique, while same (to an extent) for the Latins in Rome. Granted there are or were a good number of Greek Orthodox in Syria, though they never were the overwhelming majority. There are more Maronites in Lebanon and even far more in the Dispersion, and far more Cops (though of Alexandria), and to an extent Syrian Jacobites than those following Greek style Christianity in Syria and the Middle East in general.
I am glad that you have left Protestantism. I love my Christian brothers in the ME (Latins or Greeks) we have a common enemy in radical Sunni Islam. We are a dying breed. But you Europeans/Americans must remember that Christianity was born in the Middle East. It does not have Athens (Constantinople) or Rome as its Father-
for the record I don’t think I ever made the point that Orthodoxy was the majority of Arab Christians
The roots of the Christian faith are diverse and complex. Especially when trying to apply them to the modern-day expression of these ancient rites and beliefs.