My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ Our Only True Lord, God, and Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
INFALLIBILITY AND THE ORTHODOX CHURCH
The first Vatican Council in the Roman Catholic church (1869-1870) in its decree ‘Pastor Aeternus’ (1870) declared that the Pope was infallible when he spoke ‘ex Cathedra’ (‘from the Chair’) on matters of faith and morals. “In his encyclical ‘Lumen Gentium’ (1964), during Vatican II (1962-1965), Paul VI (1963-1978) defined papal infallibility more clearly when a pope speaks EITHER ‘ex Cathedra’ OR in an ecumenical council on a matter of faith and morals.”
On of the numerous major differences between the Orthodox Church and Roman Catholic church is the infallibility of the pope. Orthodoxy does NOT believe in the infallibility of the pope of Rome nor of any other individual. Orthodoxy upholds the reality that the Church gathered together in Synod (Council) under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is guided in making correct decisions and in enunciating truth. Orthodoxy believes that ONLY Christ is the Head of the Church and that the Church AS A WHOLE IS INFALLIBLE, but not any individual person or bishop.
Orthodoxy also rejects the idea that the pope has universal jurisdiction over all Christians and that he can define doctrines without the consent of the Church. Our Holy Orthodox Church traces its origins to the Apostolic Church and Seven Ecumenical Councils that defined the core doctrines of Christianity. Orthodoxy believes itself to be the True continuation of the ancient Church, while viewing the Roman Catholic church as having departed from the original faith by introducing innovations such as the filioque clause, the doctrine of the papal; supremacy and infallibility and other dogmas that were not accepted by the consensus of the Church.
The sacred writings of the Holy Fathers of the Church, never recognized any infallible authority in the bishop of Rome or any other bishop. The Orthodox Church throughout the ages has maintained a continuity of faith and Tradition in accordance with the Apostolic Constitution. Orthodoxy believes that she is the only authentic Church of Christ and therefore has preserved and taught the historic Christian Faith, FREE FROM ERROR AND DISTORTION, from the time of the Holy Apostles. She also believes that there is nothing in the body of her teachings which is contrary to Truth or which inhibits real union with God. The air of antiquity and timelessness characterizes Eastern Christianity is an expression of the desire TO REMAIN LOYAL TO THE AUTHENTIC CHRISTIAN FAITH.
Orthodoxy believes that the Christian Faith and the Church are inseparable. It is impossible to know Christ, to share in the life of the Holy Trinity, or to be considered a Christian, apart from the Church. It is in the Church that the Christian Faith is proclaimed and maintained. It is through the Church that an individual is nurtured in the True Faith.
It is only when the fundamental Truths of the Faith are seriously threatened by false teachings (heresies) does the Church act to define dogmatically an article of faith. For this reason, the decisions of the Seven Ecumenical Councils of the Ancient Undivided Church are highly respected. The Councils were synods to which bishops from throughout the world gathered TO DETERMINE THE TRUE FAITH. The Ecumenical Councils DID NOT CREATE NEW DOCTRINES BUT PROCLAIMED IN A PARTICULAR PLACE AND PARTICULAR TIME, WHAT THE CHURCH HAS ALWAYS BELIEVED AND TAUGHT.
The Nicene Creed (Symbol of Faith), which was formulated at the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D., and of Constantinople in 381 A.D. has been recognized since then AS THE AUTHORITATIVE EXPRESSION OF THE FUNDAMENTAL BELIEFS OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCH. The Creed is often referred to as the “Symbol of Faith.” This description indicates that the Creed is not an analytical statement, but that IT POINTS TO A REALITY GREATER THAN ITSELF AND TO WHICH IT BEARS WITNESS. For generations the Creed HAS BEEN THE CRITERION OF AUTHENTIC FAITH AND THE BASIS OF CHRISTIAN EDUCATION. THE CREED IS RECITED AT THE TIME OF BAPTISM AND DURING EVERY DIVINE LITURGY.
“Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostomos
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With sincere agape in His Divine and Glorious Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God