Christian Cyclopedia

About the Cyclopedia

Eastern Orthodox Standards of Doctrine.

The whole E Orthodox Ch. accepts the doctrinal decisions of the 7 oldest ecumenical councils (see Councils and Synods, 4). Some add the Quinisext* (ca. 691–692) and the one held 879–880 at Constantinople under Photius.* After these councils the doctrinal system in the E Orthodox Ch. remained fixed till manifestos were evoked against Romanism and Protestantism in the 17th c.

A. Confessions Formally Endorsed.

1. The Orthodox Confession of the Faith of the Catholic and Apostolic Eastern Church, written ca. 1640 by P. Mogila* as a catechism for the Russ. Ch., revised, sanctioned 1643 by a Gk. and Russ. syn., sanctioned again 1672 at Jerusalem, was a defensive measure against RCm (Jesuits*) and Protestantism (Calvinism,* promoted by C. Lucaris*; see par. C below). It treats doctrine under 3 heads: Faith (Nicene Creed), Hope (Lord's Prayer, Beatitudes) and Love (virtues, vices, and the Decalog).

2. Decrees of the Synod of Jerusalem, or Confession of Dositheus* (1672). The 1672 syn. at Jerusalem is the most important in the modern hist. of the E Ch. and may be compared to the Council of Trent.* It issued a new Defense, or Apology, of E Orthodoxy directed chiefly against the Calvinism of C. Lucaris* and his followers. It endorsed the answers given by Jeremias* II to M. Crusius,* sanctioned the confession of P. Mogila,* and condemned that of C. Lucaris. It consists of Six Chapters and Confession of Dositheus. The latter contains 18 decrees: (1) single procession of the Spirit; (2) Scripture not of private, but ecclesiastical interpretation; (3) double election is conditioned on man's use of his free will; (4) creation; (5) providence; (6) sin, with Christ and Mary exempt; (7) incarnation, death, resurrection, ascension, and judgment of Christ; (8) work of Christ - He is the only Mediator, but Mary, saints, and angels bring petitions to Him; (9) faith, which works by love, alone saves; (10) Cath. and Apostolic Ch. contains all believers, and bps. are necessary; (11) mems. of the ch. are those who hold the faith of Christ, apostles, and holy syns.; (12) the Cath. Ch. cannot err or be deceived; (13) man justified by faith and works; (14) in the fall man did not lose his intellectual and moral nature or free will; (15) 7 sacraments; (16) necessity and effect of Baptism; (17) Eucharist both a sacrament and a sacrifice; (18) souls of dead are either at rest or in torment (those dying in penitence but without satisfaction go to Hades, whence they may be delivered by prayers of priests, alms, unbloody sacrifice of the mass).

3. Synods of Constantinople (1672, 1691). The 1st adopted a statement in harmony with the Confession of Dositheus; the 2d condemned logothete John Caryophylles, who accepted views of C. Lucaris.*

4. Russian Catechisms. Platon's* Catechism shows a tendency to go directly to the Bible; Philaret's* Catechism of 1823 is one of the best summaries of E Orthodoxy.

5. Answers of Patriarch Jeremias II of Constantinople to Lutherans. When Jakob Andreä* and M. Crusius* sent the AC to Jeremias* II they received in his Answers (1576) a rejection of nearly all distinctive Luth. doctrines.

B. Private Confessions.

1. Of Gennadius* II (1453). Prepared for the Sultan after the fall of Constantinople; philos. in approach.

2. Of Metrophanes* Kritop(o)ulos (1625). Metrophanes was sent by C. Lucaris* to study theol. in Eng. and on the Continent; became close friend of G. Calixtus,* at whose request he prepared the confession, which opposed Romanism but was conciliatory to Protestantism.

C. Confession of C. Lucaris* (1631); tried to graft Ref. teachings on Orthodox creeds. First 8 chaps. are Orthodox, last 10 Ref. in spirit. EL

See also Eastern Orthodox Churches. 3.

P. Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom, rev. eds., 3 vols. (New York, vol. 1 preface date 1931); W. Walther, Lehrbuch der Symbolik (Leipzig, 1924); C. N. Callinicos, The Greek Orthodox Catechism (New York, 1953; 2d print. 1960); Die Orthodoxe Kirche in griechischer Sicht, ed. P. I. Bratsiotis (Mpratsiotes), 2 vols. (Stuttgart, 1959–60); N. Zernov, Eastern Christendom (New York, 1961).

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

Internet Version Produced by
The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod

Original Editions ©Copyright 1954, 1975, 2000
Concordia Publishing House
All rights reserved.

Content Reproduced with Permission

Stay Connected! Join the LCMS Network:

Contact Us Online
(Staff Switchboard)
(Church Info Center)
1333 S Kirkwood Rd
Saint Louis, MO 63122-7226 | Directions


Featured Publication

The Lutheran Witness

LCMS Communications

Interpreting the contemporary world from a Lutheran Christian perspective.
Visit TLW Online