Denomination Differences

Eastern Orthodox vs. Oriental Orthodox Beliefs

Eastern OrthodoxOriental Orthodox
a.k.a.
  • Miaphysite
  • Coptic
Number of Members210,000,000[1]52,000,000[1]
How does one get saved?Repent of your sins, believe in Jesus Christ's death and resurrection, and be baptized.[2]Repent of your sins, believe in Jesus Christ's death and resurrection, and be baptized.[3][4][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.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 believing but unsaved get baptized as part of their salvation.
How should baptism be done?Baptism should be by triple immersion.Baptism should be by triple immersion.
When does one receive the Holy Spirit?The Holy Spirit is received at chrismation, generally immediately after baptism.The Holy Spirit is received at 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 intrinsically good but is wounded and incapable of choosing God in our fallen environment.[6][7]Human nature is corrupt and naturally inclined to evil.[8]
Are we guilty of Adam's original sin?No, we are not guilty of Adam's sin, nor did we inherit a sinful nature from him, but we did inherit the consequences.[9]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.[8][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.Yes, all Old Testament laws are binding on Christians.
Can Christians become sinless in this earthly life?Yes, Christian perfection is possible.Yes, Christian perfection is possible.
Do the elements of communion become the body and blood of Christ?Metousiosis: Yes, the bread and the wine change in essence into the body and blood of Christ.Yes, the bread and the wine change into the body and blood of Christ in an unknown way.[11][12]
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?There is no purgatory, but Christians will continue in theosis after death.[13]Once Christians leave their sinful bodies, nothing else is needed to receive glorified, sinless bodies.[14]
Did Mary ever sin?Mary was prone to sin like anyone else, but no, through her own free will she still never did.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?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.[15][16]
What are the requirements for clergy?Priests must be men over 30 ordained by bishops.
How many church ordinances/​sacraments are there?The church has seven sacraments: Baptism, Chrism, Holy Eucharist, Confession, Ordination, Marriage, and Holy Unction.[17]The church has seven sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Penance, Holy Eucharist, Unction of the Sick, Matrimony, and Priesthood.[18][19][20]
To whom do Christians need to confess their sins?Confession should be made to God before a priest.[21]Sins must be privately confessed to a priest within 40 days.[22][23][24][25]
How should a church be structured?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.Episcopal: Churches should be governed by the bishop in that eparchy, who in turn is governed by a patriarch of an autocephalous church.
What day of the week should Christians worship?Christians worship on Sunday.Christians worship on Sunday, although the Sabbath should be observed on Saturday.
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.[26]
How many books are in the Bible?There are 76 canonical books of the Bible: 39 protocanonical books, 10 deuterocanonical books, and 27 New Testament books.Varies widely
Who can speak with God's authority today?The church as a whole speaks with God's authority at ecumenical councils.
What is marriage?Marriage is a covenant before God between one man and one woman.Marriage is a covenant before God between one man and one woman.[27][28][29]
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 permissible for adultery, abuse, or abandonment.[30][31]Divorce is seldomly permissible upon investigation by a clergical committee, usually instigated by infidelity.[32]
May a Christian remarry while his former spouse is still alive?Yes, a Christian may remarry a second or third time for human weakness.[31]The innocent party to the adultery may remarry.[33]
When does a fetus become human?Humanity begins at conception.[34]Ranges from humanity beginning at fertilization to 40 days after conception[35][36][37][38]
Is contraception permissible?Most believe that yes, contraceptives are permissible.[39][40]Varies widely[37][41][42][43]
Are blood transfusions permissible?Yes, blood transfusions are permissible.Yes, blood transfusions are permissible.[44][45]
Should women cover their heads?Varies widely
Should Christians drink alcohol?Yes, drinking alcohol is fine as long as one does not get drunk.No, alcohol should be totally avoided aside from Eucharist.[46]
Should Christians fight in wars?Yes, Christians can fight in just wars.[47][48][49]Yes, Christians can fight in just wars.[50]
Whom does the Holy Spirit come from?The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father alone.The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father alone.[51]
Do icons glorify God?Yes, icons are holy and should be venerated.[52]
Where does a Christian's soul go after death?After death, souls sit conscious in an Intermediate State, with a foretaste of heaven for Christians.[53]After death, souls sit conscious in an Intermediate State, with Christians being with Christ.[54]