A comparison of the SSPX to Russian Orthodoxy

One of my readers sent me a link to this post by Opus Publicum via email and I agree, it is most interesting.

The Society’s “crimes,” according to its critics, are threefold: rejecting modern liturgical reform; criticizing Vatican II’s teaching on religious liberty; and opposing ecumenism. But where does Eastern Orthodoxy come down on these three issues? A brief, but informative, glance at Orthodoxy’s largest canonical body, the Russian Orthodox Church, reveals no measurable deviation from the Society’s positions.

Again, I stress, this is not an SSPX blog and I do not want the comments sections on my blog flooded with either SSPX apologetics or criticisms, because usually they are off-topic and go on and on forever.

As for me, I hope for reconciliation and unity among all Christians.



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5 Responses to A comparison of the SSPX to Russian Orthodoxy

  1. Rev22:17 says:


    From your quotation: A brief, but informative, glance at Orthodoxy’s largest canonical body, the Russian Orthodox Church, reveals no measurable deviation from the Society’s positions.

    Within the Orthodox Communion, there seems to be a great divide between the Patriarch of Moscow and the Ecumenical Patriarch that’s very close to schism, even if not officially acknowledged as such. A couple decades ago, there was a major tiff when the Ecumenical Patriarch approved, or at least recognized, a restoration of the autocephalous Estonian Orthodox Church under the resurrected Patriarch of Estonia after Estonia regained independence. The Patriarch of Moscow was adamant that the church in Estonia remained under his jurisdiction because that was precisely what, in his analysis, the ethnic Russians in Estonia wanted. The Patriarchate of Moscow has subsequently refused to participate in ecumenical meetings that included representatives of the Patriarch of Estonia, its representatives actually leaving and going home when they have encountered the latter at a meeting. There was also a major tiff in which the Patriarch of Moscow approved ordination of bishops in North America for the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) in spite of direction from the Ecumenical Patriarch not to do so, after which the Ecumenical Patriarch refused to add the bishops thus ordained to the official list of recognized Orthodox bishops. The back story here is that the Ecumenical Patriarch was working to regularize the structure of the orthodox communion in the United States and in Canada, where it had previously been a diaspora of several autocephalous orthodox churches each ordaining their own bishops and answering to their own patriarchates. There are also other clear marks of fissure: representatives of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity routinely meet with Russian Orthodox representatives separately from representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarch and the other autocephalous churches of the Orthodox Communion.

    At this point, I expect that reconciliation between the Catholic Church the Orthodox Communion will not include the Russian Orthodox Church and that reconciliation between the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church will happen at a later time.

    You wrote: As for me, I hope for reconciliation and unity among all Christians.

    I’m with you completely on this — hence my choice of handle (Rev22:17).


  2. Matthew the Wayfarer says:

    I rather trust the Russian Church more than the SSPX.

    • John Walter S. says:

      I rather trust Roman Catholic clergy who dare to criticize errors of men than Russian clergy who are complicit to mistreatment of people who disagree with the will of their autocrat, their despot.

      The Russian Imperial Eagle has two heads for a reason, and they work hard to feed each other. All the eloquent venom Dostoevsky threw at the Catholic Church has to have come from somewhere.

  3. William Tighe says:

    There is not, nor ever has been, a “Patriarch of Estonia.” During the first period of Estonian independence (1919-1940) a local autocephalous Orthodox church was set up with the agreement of the Patriarch of Constantinople and under the loose authority of that patriarch; previously, the Orthodox Church in what became Estonia had been a part of the Russian Orthodox Church, After 1945 the Orthodox congregations and clergy in Estonia became fully part of the Russian Church.

    In 1995 a dispute within the Orthodox Church in now-independent Estonia (the majority of Orthodox there were probably of Russian ethnicity, with Estonians being a minority) resulted in a split there: Constantinople effectively tried to restore the situation of 1919-1941/5 by recognizing an Estonian Orthodox Church not under the jurisdiction of Moscow. Moscow responded by accusing C’ple of interfering in its canonical territory, briefly severed communion with C’ple, and, after attracting a number of Orthodox clergy in Estonia to its side, consecrated a bishop for Estonia within the Russian Church. To this day there are two Orthodox church bodies in Estonia, one under C’ple, the other under Moscow.

    I don’t expect there to be any reconciliation between Rome and part of the Orthodox Church. I doubt that Rome would want that – and, more importantly, any purported reconciliation between Rome and C’ple would most likely reject in the great majority of Orthodox Christians and churches worldwide repudiating the reconciliation as an act of betrayal on the part of C’ple.

    • William Tighe says:

      Curiously enough, there are a number of ethnic Estonians in those Orthodox congregations under the omophor of Moscow, and there are non-Estonians in those under C’ple (or so I was told a decade ago).

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