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starshine's avatar

What is the difference between Greek Orthodox and Christianity?

Asked by starshine (576points) March 16th, 2010

Can someone explain to me the difference between the Greek Orthodox Church and Protestantism? What is the basis of the G.O. church? Is it similar to Catholicism? What are their basic beliefs? What are their beleifs about sin and salvation?
Thanks for your help.

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28 Answers

thriftymaid's avatar

Greek Orthodox is a Christian denomination.

Shae's avatar

The Roman Catholic Church has a Pope. He is seen as infallible. He has authority over all other Catholics.

The Greek Orthodox does have one bishop that is considered above the others but he is not seen as perfect and does not have complete control over the others.

When Catholic Church was only doing masses in Latin, the Greek Orthodox did masses in native languages.

Catholics believe Mary was born without sin. Greek Orthodox believe Mary was just a good woman.

Greek Orthodox do not believe in Purgatory.

Both use baptism to wash away sin.

starshine's avatar

@thriftymaid , yes, but as it says in the details, I’m looking to see if Greek Orthodoxy lines up with my personal beliefs. Do you know of any list or something that compares, say, the Baptist chruch against Greek Orthodoxy?

Shae's avatar

@starshine In what religion were you raised?

thriftymaid's avatar

@starshine It would be closest to the Catholic Church I believe. There are plenty of things to read by just googling it. Your question indicated you did not know that Greek Orthodox was within the Christian Faith.

starshine's avatar

@thriftymaid , I’m sorry for being unclear about that. I did know that, I suppose I should have worded it differently.
@Shae , I was raised as a Fundamental Baptist, minus the skirts. Recently I have been seeking a different denomination because I am finding that my beliefs do not quite line up with Fund. Baptists anymore.

thriftymaid's avatar

@starshine There is a lot of difference between fundamental Baptist and Catholic/Greek Orthodox, some of the differences are quite material. You might want to look at United Methodist or Presbyterian (USA). I was also raised in a Baptist Church and left it when I left my mother’s home.

starshine's avatar

@thriftymaid , I realize there are a lot of differences, I’m not really looking at switching to it, i just have some friends that are Greek Orthodox and I’ve been kind of wondering what the differences are between that and what I believe.

Shae's avatar

It would probably be easier to help you if we knew what it was you didn’t agree with in the Baptist Church.

What do you believe to be your truth, your path to salvation?

plethora's avatar

@starshine You might also want to consider Presbyterian PCA. There is a radical difference between Pres USA and Pres PCA. Also Evangelical Presbyterian.

starshine's avatar

@Shae , I’m kind of going through this hazy patch, where I’m changing alot of what I believe. I am still a Christian, but I don’t believe in the whole “I’m better than you” attitude that a lot of Baptists have. I believe that having a good job and making a lot of money don’t matter at ALL. I’ve basically given up on the societal norm. I believe in evangelism and doing God’s will, not hiding myself away form the world. Jesus spent his time teaching people the right way, not shaking His finger at them or Bible-thumping them. Fundamental Baptists seem to have this hatred for sinners, they don’t want to have anything to do with them, because fundamental Baptists believe they are elite (not all, but most do). I am not better than anyone who does not have Jesus in their life. I’m trying to be different, but I’m not sure where to turn.

Shae's avatar

@starshine I grew up in the Southern Baptist Church so I know where you are coming from. I left and it was wonderful. Not having someone stiffle my love of God with their prejudices.

You might want to try the The Episcopal Church.


I have a friend that is a Quaker and I have really enjoyed talking with him about his beliefs. If there was a Quaker congregation near me I would definitely try them.

susanc's avatar

@starshine – this is a HUGE question. I wonder if you would be well served by finding a comparative-Christian-religions course? As a serious Baptist you probably know your Bible pretty well, but as you say, each denomination has a different take on, for example, salvation.
A tiny answer to your initial question is this: what we now call the Eastern, Russian, Greek, Romanian and maybe other versions of the Orthodox churche arose from the earliest Christian conversions in the Middle East. The Roman Catholic church, with its entirely different set of rules for the priesthood and for worship, developed later, creating a schism within the church, since the Orthodox church was not replaced by the new Roman Catholic church. The Roman Catholic church later suffered schisms as well, when people like Martin Luther began to protest against some of its precepts and either broke away or were excommunicated.
Now Christianity consists of three coexisting “generations”: Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant, all going strong. Only the Roman Catholic has such a strong central authority that it hasn’t broken into separate communities with their own practices.
I’m happy to stand corrected on any of these points.

Nullo's avatar

Check out the Evangelical movement. A lot of those denominations (and non-denominations) started out by moving away from groups like the Baptists.
You might also look for non-conventional Baptists; these guys, for instance, do stuff like have Bible studies at the local brewery, and have no dress code.

Jeruba's avatar

You might try this quiz (not entirely frivolously) to find out which belief systems match up with yours.

Buttonstc's avatar

This may be of interest to you. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Francis Shaeffer, who was a prominent leader in Evangelical Christianity back in the day.

His son Frank was so dissatisfied by the holier than thou attitudes of SOME of these groups and people that he converted to the Orthodox church.

I believe he’s written a book(s) about his journey but am unsure about the exact title.

There is another interesting small group you can ask as many questions about the comparisons of the Orthodox church to other branches of Christianity as you wish. I originally stumbled into it by accident while researching Protestant monasticism. I asked a ton of questions and instantly felt welcome there and stayed.

I used to hang out more there in times past but haven’t dropped in much with any kind of consistently lately.

There are several participants who are Orthodox ( DJ is one) as well as Methodists, Episcopaleans, as well as Anglicans now hanging out with Southern Baptists.

Robin, is pretty amazing for his knowledge and overview of church history and praxis.

What I’ve always appreciated about this small group is their willingness to answer any and all questions, their warm wel oming of newcomers and their ability to disagree on various points without being disagreeable and the very intelligent level of discourse. Kinda the same quality as Fluther with an orthodox slant to it but minus the arm twisting and judgementalism which you find so irksome about the Baptists.

A very convivial educated bunch. They not only know what they believe but also why they believe it. All without being obnoxious about it.

I can’t to links on iphone, but just put the exact phrase below into Google as it is the EXACT official title of the group:

Orthodox Episcopal Bulletin Board

Have fun.

JeffVader's avatar

Greek Orthodoxy combines some of the Ancient Greek pagan philosophies with Christianity. Most prominently the ability of humans to get close to, or mingle with the gods. In Ancient Greece they brought this about by inventing the idea of Demi-Gods. In Greek Orthodoxy they achieve this through Icons. The pictures or Icons literally get you as close to heaven or God as is humanly possible… I think.

Buttonstc's avatar


I think you need to do some further research on that one :)

JeffVader's avatar

@Buttonstc Quite possibly, it’s not a subject thats ever really grabbed me :)

OleSicilian's avatar

Greek Orthodoxy is the Original Christian faith & church. Every other church came out of the Greek Orthodox Church. In the year 1054 AD, there were by then 5 Christian churches, Constantinople (Greece), Alexandria, Jerusalem, Antioch and Rome. All these churches had a leader called a Patriarch, Rome chose the word Pope for their Patriarch. Out of nowhere and for whatever reason, the Pope of Rome in 1054 declared himself higher then the other Patriarchs, and told them they must acknowledge this. They did not, so the Pope of Rome excommunicated all the other Patriarchs and churches. This was the first split in Christianity. There has never been a split before or since then in the remaining Orthodox churches. Ever since that time, every split that happened came out of Rome, including Protestantism, which has split like an atom time and time again.

OleSicilian's avatar

Also, if you would like to learn more about Orthodoxy, here is a page that just touches the tip of the ice burg, when it comes to the Miracles associated with Orthodoxy.

OleSicilian's avatar

And here is my home page, if you would like to check it out.

laureth's avatar

Re: “Greek Orthodoxy is the Original Christian faith & church.” We know because Jesus was Greek, right? ;) (My point was that it had already morphed enough to have ‘patriarchs’ by then…)

Re: “every split that happened came out of Rome, including Protestantism” – The Germans might have some problems with this, especially around Wittenberg.

OleSicilian's avatar

I don’t have the time energy or willpower to bandy about with a statement such as this.

laureth's avatar

That’s okay. I find that arguing religious subjects with believers usually drains more of my energy than I would like, too.

CatalinMot's avatar

@thriftymaid and starshinehere is a link for you to explore more about Our Faith (Greek Orthodox).://

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