Can someone please tell me the similarities and differences between the Orthodox and Catholic religions?
First of all, I need to inform you that there is no such thing as the Orthodox and Catholic religion. There is the Christian religion and the Orthodox and Catholic Church. These are two Christian denominations and not different religions. Up until the year 1054, these two denominations were one single church, even if there were already differences in practice because one was located in the Western half of the Roman Empire and the other in the Eastern half. Since these 2 denominations existed together as one church for almost 1,000 years, we know that there are many similarities between them.
The most important similarity is the fact that both denominations accept the Holy Scriptures, the 66 books of the Canon, both the Old and New Testaments. Both have also added the Apocrypha writings as well to their respective Canonized versions of the Bible, although they both mention that these are not canonical books.
Both Catholic and Orthodox believers have a canon of writings known as the “Holy Traditions” but the traditions differ in the respective churches. A portion of the saints who are considered the forefathers in the Orthodox Church are not recognized by the Catholic Church and vice versa.
They both follow the holy sacraments such as baptism in the church, wedding in the church, priests, the Eucharist etc. In some area they have and follow the same sacraments and in other areas they do not. For example, if a Catholic decides to become Orthodox, then he must be re-baptized. He must be re-ordained if he were a Catholic priest and wants to become an Orthodox priest. Most of the other sacraments are accepted in by both churches.
In both denominations, the believers fast, abstaining from certain foods. The only difference is the types of food which are allowed and not allowed.
They both believe that there is another chance for a person to be saved after death, to leave Hades and go to Heaven. The Catholics teach purgatory while the Orthodox teaching is that this is possible through the prayers of the Church. These denominations follow these teachings while Jesus Christ clearly taught that unless a person is born again he will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
Both denominations also believe that during the Eucharist, transubstantiation takes place. This means that the wine becomes blood and the bread becomes flesh, both of Jesus Christ. The Catholics claim that the Eucharist must be performed with unleavened bread while the Orthodox Church uses leavened bread.
Both of them consider themselves the only true Church which means that they both exclude each other.
There are many other similarities and differences between the two groups but I think that I have covered enough here in this article.
Translation by: Erik Brewer