I read an answer here which explained the difference between the various branches of the Eastern Church.

I was thinking as an extension, what is the difference between Eastern Christianity and Protestant Christianity, as both seem to reject the claims of supreme authority from the Catholic Church? What are the major differences between Eastern and Western Orthodox Christianities? Why aren't the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox Churches in communion with each other?

  • 1
    Can you please provide the link to the answer you saw explaining the difference between the various branches of the Eastern Church.
    – Lesley
    Feb 18, 2021 at 14:29
  • When you say 'reject the authority of the church' to which 'church' do you refer as being 'rejected' ?
    – Nigel J
    Feb 18, 2021 at 14:31
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    @NigelJ The Catholic Church I assume. I edited the question.
    – curiousdannii
    Feb 19, 2021 at 3:06
  • 2
    I think this question is okay, but possible too broad. We'll see how the answers go.
    – curiousdannii
    Feb 19, 2021 at 3:06
  • Not a complete answer but I think the most fundamental issues are transubstantiation and the apostolic succession, which are both core doctrines in Eastern Orthodoxy but that Protestants reject.
    – user52135
    Feb 25, 2021 at 15:54

2 Answers 2


To limit the massive territory of how Protestants differ from Orthodox, I'm going to filter it down a couple times.

First, I'm not going to include points that the Orthodoxy and Catholicism agree on that Protestants (typically) disagree with: that the Eucharist is the body, soul, and divinity of Christ; that Mary is the Mother of God; Apostolic Succession; iconography; sacraments; communion of the saints; rejection of the Protestant solas; contemplative prayer & mystical theology; etc. The reason for this is that you can learn about all these points just from reviewing the Catholic-Protestant debate.

Second, I'm not going to include points that Protestantism and Catholicism agree on that Orthodox disagree with or don't share: original sin, the entire Augustinian framework, the strong emphasis on scholastic theology, a general emphasis on the sacrifice of Jesus' crucifixion rather than the Incarnation as the locus of salvation, some degree of reticience around hesychasm & Palamian theology, filioque, etc.

I could be wrong, but once you cross out all that stuff, I think all you're left with is the Pope, in Catholic understanding the principle of unity of the Church. Of course, Orthodox and Protestants "agree" on this in completely different ways, since Protestants reject the Orthodox understanding of apostolic succession that the Catholic papal ecclesiology requires, so I would be hard pressed to call this a point of true agreement.

  • Please comment if you think there's anything I've missed or if there's particular points that could use references.
    – semblable
    Apr 7, 2021 at 23:36

Neither Orthodox nor Protestant Churches are all the same. The most significant difference is the origin: Orthodox Churches have the same age as the Roman church, whereas Protestant churches have split off the Roman church. Most Protestant churches do not have any dogmas except the Bible. Protestants do not pray in front of pictures and to intermediates like saints or Mary; only some pray to Jesus en lieu to God.

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    – Lesley
    Feb 20, 2021 at 16:46

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