Which Orthodox churches are recognized by the Catholic church? Are there any churches older than the split that are not recognized by the Catholic Church and that are still active?

Edit: "recognize" can be exemplified by that it is possible for an orthodox to receive a sacrament from a catholic priest.

  • 3
    Can you clarify what you mean by "recognized"? The official Catholic discipline on intercommunion in the US permits the Orthodox to receive Communion at a Catholic mass, in principle -- although these people are "urged to respect the discipline of their own Churches". This implies that the Catholic Church "recognizes" quite a bit about Orthodox belief and practice but a more precise question would probably help get to a focused answer.
    – Ben Dunlap
    Dec 22, 2011 at 18:25
  • Furthermore, the fact that Orthodox are permitted to receive the Eucharist (for instance) at a Roman Catholic parish doesn't necessarily mean that they will do so. We Orthodox are not in communion with the Roman Catholic Church, and we are not to receive their sacraments except in extraordinary cases. Such a case might be imminent death with no Orthodox priest nearby. From the Orthodox point of view, "recognition" by the Roman Catholic Church has little to no significance.
    – Kyralessa
    Dec 22, 2011 at 23:35
  • That I am aware of. For an orthodox the question is irrelevant and that is why I ask what the official roman catholic standpoint is in this matter. Thanks for adding this aspect.
    – froderik
    Dec 23, 2011 at 7:33

2 Answers 2


The Catholic Church allows both Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox churches to receive the sacrament if they request it of their own accord and are properly disposed. However, both Orthodox groups don't recognize that and tell their members they should not.

This came up in my Bulgarian friend's wedding. His wife is Catholic and he's Orthodox; the church was willing to let his parents take the sacrament but they refused it on that basis.

The Catholics consider the Orthodox sacraments to be valid, but not so much vice versa, is the problem.

  • So all orthodox groups are the same relative the catholic church?
    – froderik
    Dec 24, 2011 at 21:52
  • 1
    There are like 30 Eastern Orthodox sub-groups, some of which aren't in communion with the rest, so it's hard to be definitive, but all the major Catholic statements on the topic only differentiate down to the EO/OO level.
    – mxyzplk
    Dec 24, 2011 at 22:16

The Orthodox Church is older than the Catholic Church. They broke away from us; we didn't break away from them. However, the Orthodox Church will still respect them as Christian brothers.

  • 2
    Hello and welcome to this site! I see this answer has already attracted a couple of downvotes. Please don't be disheartened! I imagine that the reason is that what you have written here does not answer the question, which is about the Catholic view of the Orthodox as opposed to the Orthodox view of the Catholics.
    – James T
    Oct 24, 2013 at 19:20
  • Do take some time to review our site description and help pages, as well as why we are different from other sites.
    – James T
    Oct 24, 2013 at 19:20

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .