Student’s Full Name
Reflection about the Class
In this essay, I shall speak about the subjects that interested me the most during the course. In that way, I intend to provide a full picture of the subjects that caught my attention and, in the space provided, argument on them. The subject that caught our attention was the differences between the Eastern and Western Catholic Churches. I knew that the Eastern Church existed, but what I did not know, was the history behind it, and all the complex power relations existing between them. To think that the Christian Church was in the beginning, just one and that those frictions that originated irreconcilable differences among the church, separated what in the beginning was just one creed, is amazing. The Church have lasted so much time because the apparent unity that exists in it, but the great schism of the 11th century, shows us other picture. In the same way, the separation of both churches has created a cultural gap between the East, and the West that still exists. Not only in matters of religion, but cultural; architectonic, and artistically. The schisms severed the ties we had with the west, and that is why we perceive the Eastern European culture as alien, in many cases.
However, when closely scrutinized, and in a layman’s eyes, the differences between Eastern, and Western Church are not as big. Nevertheless, there are some differences that albeit small, represent huge doctrinal gaps. The Eastern Church considers that the doctrinal truths were proposed in the first seven ecumenical councils, and the rest of the councils, are far from the “orthodox” belief. In that way, orthodox does not mean retrograde, it means that to the Eastern Church, they are the holders of the right path or the right opinion regarding the faith dogmas. Another important difference between both churches is that the Eastern Church does not have a pope, they have patriarchs, but they do not hold the truth of the whole church. Instead, they are primus inter pares, which means that they are all equal in doctrinal, and religious matters.
Sin; grace, and salvation are pivotal points of the Christian doctrine. For Western Christians, including the Protestant Church, God gave humans freedom, but they did not use it well and broke the commandments, which caused the fall from grace. Nevertheless, Jesus’ sacrifice washed all the sins from the Christians, and they returned to grace. To Eastern Christians, the question is seen in a different light. To them, humans have never fallen out of the god’s grace, as it is what makes us human. To fall out from the grace would mean to lose all the communion with God, and die, as humans are most human when they are in communion with God and the teachings of the Church. To the Eastern Church, sin blurs the image of God and establishes a barrier between God, and men. This barrier can be lifted by a process where men repair their unity with God, and join God, and live a divine life.
On the other hand, there are some similarities between both churches. For instance, both share certain doctrines such as the sinfulness of man; the mystery of the Trinity, and the resurrection of Christ. In the same way, both churches affirm Christ’s state as a fully divine, and fully human being, who came to earth to earth to wash our sin, and show us that communion with God is possible.