Byzantine vs Roman Catholic: Difference and Comparison

After the death of Jesus Christ, the religion of Christianity continued to be united without any internal feud for more than one thousand years.

Although the difference between East and West was prominent as the Eastern part was more civilized compared to the Western, soon the relationship deteriorated,

and the Eastern Church became the Byzantine Church, and the Western Church became the Roman Catholic Church.

Key Takeaways

  1. Byzantine Christianity originated in the Eastern Roman Empire, while Roman Catholicism developed in the Western Roman Empire.
  2. The Byzantine Church follows the Eastern Orthodox tradition, whereas the Roman Catholic Church adheres to Western Christianity.
  3. Byzantine and Roman Catholic Churches have different liturgical practices, ecclesiastical structures, and theological perspectives.

Byzantine vs Roman Catholic

The Byzantine branch of Christianity is also known as Eastern Orthodoxy. It is the second-largest Christian denomination in the world, with over 250 million members. Roman Catholic Church is the largest Christian denomination in the world, with over 1 billion members.

Byzantine vs Roman Catholic

Byzantine Church is the Eastern Church that prays to the divinity of Christ.

They follow the Greek language in their religion, and even though Bishops hold the highest power, they are never thought to be infallible and more powerful than the church.

Roman Catholics are inclined to believe in the humanity of Jesus, and they give utmost power to their Pope.

The religion holds many Biblical notions as to their beliefs and considers Mary to be virgin and free from the ‘original sin’.

They worship statues, and during liturgies, the use of several instruments are seen.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonByzantineRoman Catholic
TheologyHere the divinity of Jesus is more important than his humanity.Here the humanity of Jesus is more emphasized than his divinity.
AuthorityHere the Highest Bishop is the ruler.Here the Pope is the ruler. 
Embodiment of beliefByzantines pray to icons.Roman Catholics direct their homage to statues.
Marriage of PriestsHere priests can marry before they are ordained. Here priests can not marry.
LanguageGreek is the official language here.Latin is the official language here.
Concept of PurgatoryHere the notion of Purgatory is absent.Catholics believe in the Purgatory stage.

What is Byzantine?

The Byzantine Church was formally known as Eastern Church that was spread in Northern Africa and the Middle East. The belief of this Church is focused on the divinity of Jesus rather than his humanity.

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Greek is the official language of this Church, and they do not follow any Latin rules.

The followers of the Church pray to the icon.

Byzantines used leavened bread during the Divine Liturgy. This symbolizes the risen Christ.

The head of the church is the Highest Bishop, but he is never considered to be higher than the church itself, and he is not regarded as infallible.

Religious thinking can be marked as very poetic, and the prayers tend to get repeated.

Eastern theology does not include the concept of Purgatory and Stations of Cross, but they have the notion of Original Sin, and according to them, Mary has committed the original sin.

Eastern Orthodoxy has the rule of priests getting married before they are appointed to the post.


What is Roman Catholic?

Roman Catholicism influenced the areas of Western Europe, as well as the Northern and Western parts of the Mediterranean. The Pope is the highest of this Church and is assumed to be infallible.

This church has no place for the Greek language in the scriptures. They only regard the Latin language to be authorized. 

Roman Catholics use unleavened bread because that is what Jesus used in the Last Supper. Roman Catholics put priority on the human side of Christ.

Catholics have statues to pay their homage to.

The church believes in the Purgatory stage, and Stations of Cross is also accepted by this religion. 

Catholics believe in ‘original sin’, but they do not think that Mary engaged in any sin. The Catholics have a strict policy regarding the marriage of their priests; the priests are not allowed to marry under any circumstances.

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This religion is linear, and their prayers are very simple and do not have repetitive verses.

roman catholic

Main Differences Between Byzantine and Roman Catholic

  1. The theology of the Byzantine Church was more focused on the divinity of Jesus than his humanity, while the Roman Catholic Church, on the contrary, believed the humanity side of Jesus more than his divinity.
  2. Byzantine has the Highest Bishop as their authority, while in Roman Catholic, the Pope is the highest, and he is regarded as infallible.
  3. Byzantines never use or follow Latin instructions as their official language is Greek, and similarly, Roman Catholics do not read Greek. They only follow Latin and use it as their official language.
  4. Byzantines pray to the icons while Roman Catholics pray to statues.
  5. The concept of Purgatory and Stations of Cross is not found in the Byzantines, but in Roman Catholics both, the concepts are found and believed.
  6. The priests of Byzantines can marry before they are ordained, but the priests of Roman Catholics are not allowed to marry under any circumstances.
  7. Both churches have the concept of the ‘Original Sin’, but while Byzantines believe Mary had committed the original sin, Roman Catholics deny it. They do not consider Mary to be an original sinner.
Difference Between Byzantine and Roman Catholic

Last Updated : 24 November, 2023

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7 thoughts on “Byzantine vs Roman Catholic: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The post gives detailed information about the differences between the Eastern Church and the Western Church. I think the main difference is about the belief in divinity between the two. Interesting topic.

    • I agree with you. One thing that called my attention is the marriage of priests before being ordained in the Eastern Church.

  2. Very informative post, no doubt about it, but I think people from both churches would disagree with the information. There are arguments from both sides.


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