Orthodox vs Protestant Christianity: Difference and Comparison

The Orthodox Church preaches that the Holy Spirit “proceeds from God the Father,” while for Protestants, the Holy Spirit “proceeds from the Father and the Son.”

Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based upon the life and learnings of the Jesus of Nazareth, having approximately 2.4 billion followers worldwide, making it the world’s largest religion.

There are multiple versions of the Bible. These are based on different theologies, cultures, traditions, and groups or denominations.

Orthodox Christianity and Protestant Christianity are two of the major groups.

Key Takeaways

  1. Orthodox Christianity believes in seven sacraments and the intercession of saints, while Protestant Christianity only acknowledges two sacraments and emphasizes direct communication with God.
  2. Orthodox Christianity follows a hierarchical structure with the Patriarch as the supreme head, while Protestant Christianity has a decentralized structure with no central authority.
  3. Orthodox Christianity emphasizes tradition and the Church’s importance, while Protestant Christianity focuses on individual interpretation of the Bible and personal relationship with God.

Orthodox Christianity vs Protestant Christianity

The difference between Orthodox Christianity and Protestant Christianity is that the Orthodox follow the ‘Holy Inspiration of Church’ and the Bible.

Whereas protestants follow only the Bible.

Many other differences exist in their foundations, beliefs, views, and opinions.

Orthodox Christianity vs Protestant Christianity 1

The word ‘Orthodox’ combines the two words, Ortho- right/ correct/ true and Doxa- glorification. The meaning of which is the proper worship or the correct belief.

Eastern Orthodox Christians follow the faith and practise defined by the first seven ecumenical councils.

A Protestant is an adherent of the Christian bodies or their descendants that separated themselves from the Roman Church during the Reformation Movement in the 16th century.

The word Protestant was hardly used outside of German politics during the Reformation. The Reformation followers believed it was a movement against the flaws in the Catholic Church.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonOrthodox ChristianityProtestant
OriginIt originated around the 1st century CE.It originated around the 16th century CE.
Divine InspirationTheir divine inspiration is the ‘Holy Inspiration of the Church’ and the Bible.Their divine inspiration is only the Bible.
MaryThey believe the Virgin Mary is the bearer of god.They reject this concept.
HierarchyThere is a hierarchy in the church.There is no such hierarchy in the church.
CelibacyCelibacy is obligatory for Bishops.Celibacy is not obligatory.
Old TestamentOld Testament based upon Septuagint.Old Testament is based on Judaism. 

What is Orthodox Christianity?

Orthodox Christianity, the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptised members worldwide.

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It is an Eastern Christian church with a communion structure. Their members follow the faith and practices defined by the first seven ecumenical councils.

They consider their path the original and the right or the correct one. Orthodox Christianity follows the Bible consisting of 27 New Testament books and 39 Old Testament books. The material of the old testament is based upon Septuagint. Simultaneously, several quotes in new testament books are also based on the old testament books.

It originated approximately around the 1st Century in Judea, Roman Empire.

According to ‘The Holy Tradition’, the founder of Orthodox Christianity is believed to be Jesus Christ. The divine inspiration of Orthodox Christianity is the Holy Inspiration of the Church and the Bible. They believe that the Virgin Mary, or Mother Mary is the bearer of god and a virgin.

There is a hierarchy in the church’s working: Christ- High Priest, Bishops- Overseers, Priests- presiding ones, Deacons– church servants.

Celibacy, the vow of abstaining from marriage and sexual relations, is compulsory for Bishops but optional for priests and deacons. 

orthodox christianity

What is Protestant Christianity?

Protestant Christianity is also famously called Protestantism. Protestantism is a religious movement that took place in the 16th Century reformation.

Martin Luther started the protestant reformation in 1517 Germany after he published his book Ninety-Five Theses. The Christian movement was to mark the errors in medieval roman catholic doctrines and practices.

They also opposed certain beliefs and practices in Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy.

It began in the late medieval ages, around the 15th century, and many religious wars took place in Europe in the early 16th century. Later from the 17th to 19th century, it spread worldwide.

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And now, Protestantism is one of the primary forms of Christianity. 

The divine inspiration of Protestant Christianity is only the Bible.

In protestant Christianity, the old testament books are based upon the official canon of Judaism.

In the Roman Catholic church, biblical references suggest that Mother Mary is the bearer of God, a virgin and ‘Queen of Heaven. The Protestants reject these ideas.

There is Clergy in the Protestant Church, but there is no hierarchy.

Celibacy in Protestantism is optional.

protestant christianity

Main Differences Between Orthodox Christianity and Protestant Christianity

  1. Orthodox Christianity originated around the first century, whereas Protestant around the 16th century.
  2. Protestants follow the bible as their divine inspiration and the orthodox church’s holy inspiration of the church bible.
  3. Orthodox Christians believe in the Virgin Mary as the bearer of God, but the protestants reject this belief.
  4. Protestantism has no such thing as a hierarchy, but the orthodox church follows a hierarchy among the clergy.
  5. Celibacy is compulsory only for the bishops in Orthodox Church but not for the protestant.
  6. The scripture- the old testament books in Orthodox Christianity are based upon Septuagint. On the contrary, the old testament books in Orthodox Christianity are based upon Judaism rather than Septuagint.
Difference Between Orthodox Christianity and Protestant Christianity
  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=YuwLA0p9ozcC&oi=fnd&pg=PA7&dq=Orthodox+Christianity+and+Protestant+Christianity&ots=zY_4y-GCaH&sig=ayVYWzXzvEcEunI6hiGO2ogklp8
  2. https://ixtheo.de/Record/619489243

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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13 thoughts on “Orthodox vs Protestant Christianity: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The article effectively highlights the divergent perspectives on the role of the Old Testament in Orthodox and Protestant Christianity. It’s a compelling study of theological differences.

  2. The article portrays a balanced comparison of Orthodox and Protestant Christianity, acknowledging the complexities and nuances of their theological foundations. A valuable read.

  3. The historical background of the Eastern Orthodox Church and Protestantism is enlightening and supports the comprehensive comparison presented in this article. Thank you.

  4. This article provides a clear and concise comparison between Orthodox and Protestant Christianity, highlighting their differences in beliefs and practices. Thank you for sharing this informative piece.

    • I completely agree, Aiden. It’s important to understand the distinctions between these two major Christian groups.

  5. I find the emphasis on hierarchies and traditions in Orthodox Christianity fascinating. It’s a testament to the diversity within Christian denominations. Great article!

  6. It’s intriguing to delve into the differences in divine inspiration between Orthodox and Protestant Christianity. The article effectively encapsulates these distinctions in a scholarly manner.

  7. The detailed comparison table makes for a comprehensive understanding of the distinctions between Orthodox and Protestant Christianity. Well-researched and informative.

  8. The article’s exploration of the origins and divine inspirations behind Orthodox and Protestant Christianity is thought-provoking. The rich historical context enhances the understanding of these faiths.

  9. I never knew the etymology of the word ‘Orthodox.’ Learning about the meanings behind the terms used in religious contexts adds depth to the discussion.

  10. As a Protestant myself, it’s interesting to see a detailed breakdown of the differences between Orthodox and Protestant Christianity. The historical context provided is valuable for understanding the origins of these faiths.


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