Sign up ×
Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

What things in general have been brought with time into the Eastern Orthodox Church that the main stream protestant Christianity considers as not being able to be traced back to the times of the church of the first century?

share|improve this question
I apologize, but I don't really understand the question. I thought I did, but the response given doesn't relate as I thought I understood it. Please clarify. – Dan Mar 21 '12 at 10:15
@DanO'Day - My question is about what kind of things the main-stream protestantism sees as new in the today's Eastern Orthodox Church. We know, for example, that the "Sola Scriptura" principle that was put forth by the Protestants has been deemed as something new by both the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox Churches (meaning that originally there was no such thing as "Sola Scriptura" in the early Church of the time of the 12 apostles). So, here is the question about some such new things (as Protestant would deem them) in the Eastern Orthodox Church today. – brilliant Mar 21 '12 at 11:37
Ahh, I see. Thanks for the clarification! – Dan Mar 23 '12 at 14:13
@Daи - "The current answer is abysmal and does not answer the question. I'm not even sure why it was accepted" - I accepted this question because once in stackexchange somebody scolded me for not accepting answers for a long time saying that that was a bad practice causing me to be shunned upon by the community. However, I think the point about non-sainthood in the answer does hit the mark. – brilliant Mar 16 '14 at 3:14
@brilliant yes but it provides no sources, doesn't elaborate on any of its assertions, and doesn't fully answer the question. Something like this would be better to leave unaccepted IMHO. But you are the OP so you are free to accept whatever you wish. – Dan Mar 16 '14 at 17:34

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

In Eastern Orthodox Christianity certain paintings of Jesus or one of the saints are called Icons. Depending on the church these are venerated to a lesser or greater degree, and such veneration is rejected by Protestants. In and of themselves the paintings are not sinful, but if they are venerated that is considered sinful, just as veneration of relics in the Roman Catholic Church is considered sinful by protestants. Additionally there are associated beliefs which would be rejected by Protestants, like that some of the icons weren't painted by humans but instead appeared miraculously.

It's not certain when icons were first used by Christians, but Irenaeus (c. 130-202) argues against Gnostic use of them. In the Spanish Synod of Elvira (c. 305) the bishops concluded that "Pictures are not to be placed in churches, so that they do not become objects of worship and adoration."

Icons were used before the Great Schism and so could be argued not to be strictly an Orthodox innovation, but today they are very characteristic of the Orthodox church as the other branches of Christianity don't use them.

(Sourced largely from the Wikipedia page on Icons)

share|improve this answer
If you downvoted my answer I would appreciate an explanation why so that I can improve it. – curiousdannii Jun 2 '14 at 5:42
what is Irenaeus (c. 130-202) ? – Малъ Скрылевъ Jul 21 at 14:20
this sentence ` In the Spanish Synod of Elvira (c. 305) ` is also under argue. – Малъ Скрылевъ Jul 21 at 14:21
@M that's a person's name. "C. year" means he lived approximately those dates. – curiousdannii Jul 21 at 14:22
did you mean the Irenaeus the bishop of Lion? – Малъ Скрылевъ Jul 21 at 14:34

Separation of layperson from clergy would be a big one in my book as well as glorification (formal recognition of sainthood). To many protestants, if you're not a saint you're not a christian, because all christians have been sanctified by the blood of Jesus. The two states are inseparable. Additionally, most protestants also reject the veneration of Mary.

share|improve this answer
"protestants also reject the divinity of Mary" - Do the Orthodox recognize the divinity of Mary? – brilliant Mar 19 '12 at 17:17
What is the "formal recognition of sainthood" in your answer? Can you, please, elaborate? – brilliant Mar 19 '12 at 17:20
@brilliant that's a good question, I'm pretty sure the answer is no. – Peter Turner Mar 19 '12 at 17:50
Orthodox believe that Mary, as a human being, could have sinned but chose not to. In Roman Catholic understanding, Mary is exempted from the guilt of original sin (Orthodox do not accept that humans share the guilt of the first sin but, rather, only the consequences) before all eternity, and thus could not have sinned. Jesus Christ is Mary's Savior, as well as ours, as testified in her own statement in Luke (the Magnificat). If Mary had been "sin-proof" from all eternity, Orthodox would argue as to why she would need a Savior. Mary is the new Eve who said yes to God where the first Eve said no – Dan Mar 21 '12 at 10:12
Also, while this is a little late, how does this even answer the question? Both practices mentioned by @JoelCoehoorn predate Protestantism, which means it doesn't answer the question. I thought this was looking for practices that have become novel within Orthodoxy since the inception of Protestantism.... – Dan Jul 15 '13 at 4:54

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.