A Major Change in Christianity Coming Soon?
Two great leaders!
A Major Change in Christianity coming soon?
Change doesn’t always happen all at once. It can come down in
a series of key events. We see this happening now in the Catholic
Church and its relationship to Eastern Orthodox Christianity.
Originally the two Christian denominations were one and the
same. However in the 11th century the split came down
with one of the key causes being Roman Emperor Constantine’s
sons splitting the Roman Empire into two separate dominions.
Since then these two forms of Christianity have kept their
distance. This distance took its extreme turn when Russian
Orthodox leader Patriarch Alexy II accused the Catholic
Church of aggressive missionary activity and banned the
Pope John Paul the II from visiting his country in 2004.
Recently however there have been some changes indicating
the reduction of this distance and animosity. When Pope
Francis was inducted into his seat of the papacy in 2014
the head of the Orthodox Church in Constantinople (Istanbul)
arrived to celebrate his ceremony of installation. This was
the first time in nearly a thousand years that a Constantinople
patriarch visited a papal ceremony of election!
Another first came recently as Pope Francis has announced
he will meet with Patriarch Kiril in Havana very soon. This
will be the first time a Russian Patriarch meets with a Pope.
This increased interaction and friendliness may indicate a
Potential reunion of these two religions. It would make a
lot of sense. These two faiths have so much in common
and little in difference in their rules and beliefs. Both of
these religions accept as their core beliefs transubstantiation,
reconciliation and baptism.
One of the few points of dispute between these two faiths resides in the concept of Papal authority. The Catholic Church asserts that the Pope is the supreme authority on matters of faith while the Orthodox church states that the pope is one of several high authorities in Orthodox Christianity.
This is a substantial rift but Pope Francis is exceptionally diplomatic
and open minded enough to be a logical bridge between these
two faiths. Furthermore if the Orthodox Church does decide to
reunite with the Catholic church it would have a very comfortable
place of entry: The Eastern Catholic branch of Catholicism.
This branch of Catholicism only has about 10 million people
(out of about 1 billion total Catholics) but follow many of
the same practices and traditions of Orthodox Christianity.
Most notably among the similar practices is the allowance
Of priests to marry and similar liturgical practices. This branch
Of Catholicism would be useful in easing their transition.
As the 1960s folk singer Bob Dylan once said “the times
they are a changin’”, this line seems quite appropriate
for Christianity in the 21st century.