A Brief Chart Comparing Roman Catholic and
Eastern Orthodox Dogmas
From Lay-Brother Michael


TRINITY
Roman Catholic: The starting point is the divine nature, the Three Persons are relations of oppositions. Thus the Filioque means that the Father comes from None, the Son from One, and the Spirit from 'Two', which is needed to keep the Persons distinct.

Eastern Orthodox: The starting point is the monarchy of the Father, the source of unity in the Godhead. Each 'procession' of the Son and the Spirit from the Father is unique. The Persons are not 'relations' but mysteries.

ENERGIES
Roman Catholic: Essence and Energy are the same in God. As a Perfect Being, God IS Pure Act (operation-energy). Anything called energy is the same as essence since the essence is indivisible.

Eastern Orthodox: In God there are 'distinctions' which are different than the essence and the Three Hypostases (the Trinity), which naturally radiate from the essence which is indivisible but not indistinct.

GRACE
Roman Catholic: Grace is supernaturally created and deifies the creature by participation in God's grace.

Eastern Orthodox: The Energies of God are God's Revelation to man and the vehicle for deification.

CREATION
Roman Catholic: God created by the common will, and the world mirrors the divine ideas through participation- an imperfect copy.

Eastern Orthodox: God created by the common will through the Energies which are at the root of beings- 'thought wills'. Created Being- a new creation, not a copy.

VISION OF GOD
Roman Catholic: It is the actual Essence of God which must be the object of beatific vision.

Eastern Orthodox: There is no possibility of knowing the Essence of God. The vision of of God is through His Energies.

KNOWLEDGE OF GOD
Roman Catholic: God is inherently knowable 'understandable' in His Essence since God's knowledge IS His essence.

Eastern Orthodox: God is unknowable in His Essence (apophatic) but knowable in His Energies (cataphatic).

DEIFICATION
Roman Catholic: The Beatific Vision is the vision in the next life of the Essence of God, granted to some now on earth.

Eastern Orthodox: We partake of the 'Essence' of God through His 'Energies' and are made 'gods' by grace, qualities that God has by nature.

ORIGINAL SIN
Roman Catholic: A 'Sin of Nature' -all mankind sinned with Adam and are guilty of his sin. Free will is useless, only Grace saves.

Eastern Orthodox: No 'sin of nature'- Adam's sin created a condition of mortality in which it is easy to sin. Free Will and Grace are active in 'synergy', but only Grace 'deifies' the creature.