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When the Reformation began to take hold, the Orthodox may have been in decline, but were definately still present. I'm curious to know what what the two "breakaways" thought of each other - is it a case of "my enemies' enemy is my friend," or was the doctrinal difference too great?

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Orthodoxy is still very present. Clocking in at about 230 million, they beat out any given Protestant super-denomination (eg. Presbyterian instead of PCUSA, Lutheranism instead of ELCA) hands down. – cwallenpoole Mar 23 '12 at 8:43
Sorry, didn't mean to insinuate anything other than the church was in decline - which even the Orthodox state - after the Fall of Cinstantinople in 1453. – Affable Geek Mar 23 '12 at 11:06
The Finnish Lutherans have recently published several books about how close Luther may have been to the Orthodox notion of theosis in his understanding of salvation. For more on that see "Union with Christ: The New Finnish Interpretation of Luther" by Braaten and Jensen, "One with God: Salvation As Deification and Justification" by Veli-Matti Karkkainen (VMK), or "Christ Present in Faith" by Tuomo Mannermaa. – Dan Mar 23 '12 at 14:06
up vote 9 down vote accepted

I linked to this article in another question, but it's certainly relevant here:

Luther Had His Chance

Some Lutherans did make contact with Patriarch Jeremias II of Constantinople. They gave him a copy of the Augsburg Confession and requested his reaction. The Patriarch politely thanked them and, later, gave a detailed reply, indicating where the various points of the Lutheran document were in conflict with Orthodox doctrine.

The Reformers, in turn, composed a detailed reply to explain themselves and assert that doctrinally the two churches were not really so far apart. The Patriarch replied at greater length, again explaining which doctrines were not acceptable to the Orthodox faith.

The Reformers sent one more letter, but the Patriarch felt things were at an impasse. He replied requesting no more correspondence on matters of doctrine, but rather "for the sake of friendship."

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This makes my heart ache. I wonder what would have happened if the correspondence had continued, if some part of the Protestant reformation could have been baptized into the Orthodox Church. – Josiah Oct 22 '15 at 17:43

It is doubtful that, considering the pressures every hour placed on Martin Luther at the time, he gave a great deal of thought to the Eastern Orthodox. If so, it surely would have been left in his abundant writings, of which we have volumes. Communication between Orthodox and the Roman Catholic West, were limited at best. this was about the same era as the Fall of Constantinople to the Turks, so I doubt greatly that the Orthodox Divines were much concerned about the stir of a lone Augustinian Monk in Germany.

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