Witnessing to Eastern Orthodox Practitioners

  • Thread starter Thread starter Billicus
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I apologize for the length of this series of questions.

I’m discussing our faith with a fellow of the Eastern Orthodox faith. He’s very knowledgeable about Church history as his sources have communicated it, and he has a tendency to resort heavily to history (as opposed to scripture or Tradition), especially to the sacking of Constantinople, the other crusades, and various other events in Church history to support the contention that “you’re the heretics who left us” (as he put it).

I’m reading a book by Timothy Ware on orthodoxy, as well as some Catholic texts, that describe varying perspectives on the Great Schism. I’m also trying to understand the nature of the two primary doctrinal differences that lead up to it. I’m hoping you can point me to resource that would help me answer the following questiosn:
  • What is the difference between how the Eastern Orthodox churches understand the filioque and what we mean from the clause “proceeds from the Father and the Son”?
  • How should we respond to the litany of complaints the Church’s actions in relation to the crusaders’ clearly un-Christian behavior, particularly the sacking of Constantinople in 1204. (That one still seems to be a sore point for them.)
  • Where does Church Tradition and scripture clearly demonstrate that the filioque has been part of our dogma since before the schism? (I think the Nicene Creed has enough to support this contention without the filioque, given that Christ is “God from God, Light From Light, True God from True God.”)
  • What neutral sources are valuable in countering common arguments that Eastern Orthodox practitioners pose to Catholics?

I recommend the following sources for understanding the Great Schism:

“The Russian Church and the Papacy” by Vladimar Soloviev
(available from the Catholic Answers Shop)

Catholic Answer tracts:


Also, read the articles in the original Catholic Encyclopedia titled:
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