Denomination Differences

Catholic vs. Eastern Orthodox Beliefs

CatholicEastern Orthodox
Number of Members1,360,000,000[1]210,000,000[2]
How does one get saved?Repent of your sins, believe in Jesus Christ's death and resurrection to save you, be baptized, participate in the Eucharist, and don't die with any unconfessed mortal sins.[3][4]Repent of your sins, believe in Jesus Christ's death and resurrection, and be baptized.[5]
Who gets saved?Anyone who chooses by his own free will to believe and accept God's gift of grace will be saved.Anyone who chooses by his own free will to believe and accept God's gift of grace will be saved.
Can one lose his salvation?Yes, a Christian can lose his salvation by apostasy or by committing a mortal sin.Yes, a Christian can lose his salvation by apostasy.
Who gets baptized and why?The unsaved, typically as infants, get baptized as the first sacrament of Christian initiation, cleansing them of all sins.The unsaved, typically as infants, get baptized as the first sacrament of Christian initiation, cleansing them of all sins.
How should baptism be done?Baptism should be by pouring water on the head.Baptism should be by triple immersion.
When does one receive the Holy Spirit?The Holy Spirit is received at baptism.The Holy Spirit is received at chrismation, generally immediately after baptism.
What is the trinity?The Trinity is God existing as one god in three equal, eternal, cosubstantial persons: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit.The Trinity is God existing as one god in three equal, eternal, cosubstantial persons: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit.
What is the human nature?Human nature is not totally corrupt but is wounded and inclined to evil.[6]Human nature is intrinsically good but is wounded and incapable of choosing God in our fallen environment.[7][8]
Are we guilty of Adam's original sin?No, we are not guilty of Adam's sin, but we did inherit the consequences and a corrupt human nature from him, causing us all to sin.[9]No, we are not guilty of Adam's sin, nor did we inherit a sinful nature from him, but we did inherit the consequences.[10]
Are Christians required to keep the Old Testament ceremonial laws?No, the ceremonial laws of Judaism were fulfilled and done away with by Jesus.No, the ceremonial laws of Judaism were fulfilled and done away with by Jesus.
Can Christians become sinless in this earthly life?"Christian perfection" is attainable in this life, but this does not mean one is sinless, as one will always commit minor "venial sins".Yes, Christian perfection is possible.
Do the elements of communion become the body and blood of Christ?Transubstantiation: Yes, the bread and the wine change into the body and blood of Christ.Metousiosis: Yes, the bread and the wine change in essence into the body and blood of Christ.
Can one be baptized of behalf of someone who has died?No, the dead cannot be baptized.No, the dead cannot be baptized.
What happens if a saved person dies without being perfect?Christians who die imperfectly purified must be purified through purgatory.[11]There is no purgatory, but Christians will continue in theosis after death.[12]
Did Mary ever sin?Immaculate conception: No, Mary was free of original sin and remained sinless throughout her life.Mary was prone to sin like anyone else, but no, through her own free will she still never did.
What spiritual gifts are available today?Most believe that all spiritual gifts are still available to believers.Continuationism: All spiritual gifts are still available to believers.
What is the gift of tongues?Speaking in tongues is sometimes unintelligible and sometimes foreign human languages.[13][14]
What are the requirements for clergy?Priests must be unmarried men over 25 ordained by bishops.Priests must be men over 30 ordained by bishops.
How many church ordinances/​sacraments are there?The church has seven sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Penance, the Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony.[15]The church has seven sacraments: Baptism, Chrism, Holy Eucharist, Confession, Ordination, Marriage, and Holy Unction.[16]
To whom do Christians need to confess their sins?Mortal sins must be privately confessed to a priest at least annually.[17][18]Confession should be made to God before a priest.[19]
How should a church be structured?Episcopal: Churches should be governed by the bishop in that diocese, who in turn is governed by an archbishop, who is governed by the Pope.Episcopal: Churches should be governed by the bishop in that episcopacy, who in turn is governed by a patriarch of an autocephalous church. The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is first among equals.
What day of the week should Christians worship?Christians worship on Sunday.Christians worship on Sunday.
How does God's revelation come to us today?Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition have equal authority and comprise one finished deposit of faith.Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition have equal authority and comprise one finished deposit of faith.
How many books are in the Bible?There are 73 canonical books of the Bible: 39 protocanonical books, 7 deuterocanonical books, and 27 New Testament books.There are 76 canonical books of the Bible: 39 protocanonical books, 10 deuterocanonical books, and 27 New Testament books.
Is the Bible inerrant?No, the Bible was written inerrantly on matters of salvation but may contain errors in other matters.
Who can speak with God's authority today?The Pope speaks infallibly with God's authority when speaking ex cathedra.[20][21]The church as a whole speaks with God's authority at ecumenical councils.
How was the earth created?The earth was formed by gravity pulling dust together, which ultimately came from the Big Bang.
What is marriage?Marriage is a covenant before God between one man and one woman.[22]Marriage is a covenant before God between one man and one woman.
Is sex permissible outside marriage?No, sex outside of marriage is not permissible.No, sex outside of marriage is not permissible.
When is divorce permissible?Divorce is never permissible.Divorce is permissible for adultery, abuse, or abandonment.[23][24]
May a Christian remarry while his former spouse is still alive?Divorce is never permissible.Yes, a Christian may remarry a second or third time for human weakness.[24]
When does a fetus become human?Humanity begins at conception.[25]Humanity begins at conception.[26]
Is contraception permissible?No, contraceptives are not permissible.[27]Most believe that yes, contraceptives are permissible.[28][29]
Are blood transfusions permissible?Yes, blood transfusions are permissible.Yes, blood transfusions are permissible.
Should women cover their heads?No, head coverings are no longer required due to cultural changes.[30]Varies widely
Should Christians drink alcohol?Yes, drinking alcohol is fine as long as one does not get drunk.[31]Yes, drinking alcohol is fine as long as one does not get drunk.
Should Christians fight in wars?Yes, Christians should fight in just wars.[32][33]Yes, Christians can fight in just wars.[34][35][36]
Whom does the Holy Spirit come from?The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.[37]The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father alone.
Do icons glorify God?Yes, icons are holy and should be venerated.Yes, icons are holy and should be venerated.[38]
Where does a Christian's soul go after death?Some Christians first go to purgatory to be purified when they die.[11]After death, souls sit conscious in an Intermediate State, with a foretaste of heaven for Christians.[39]