I have heard it said that the Catholic and the Orthodox are two different churches but I don’t buy that. There may be a fissure in the full unity, but they are not two different Churches. I believe this because after all these hundreds of years the Holy Spirit has preserved orthodoxy in the whole. Oh there is a fissure, made by man, maintained by man, but the guardianship of the Holy Spirit is evidence to me that both are part of God’s one Church.
God has one Church (visit the Bible to read up on this). You can recognize a particular church as being part of the one Church by the degree to which they have the marks of that ONE Church. The one Church is apostolic and universal, has 7 Sacraments, and a true Eucharist. Does that particular church have an ordained priesthood that traces back to the Apostles? Are there Bishops/Patriarchs, also ordained and tracing themselves back to the Apostles themselves? Does that particular church have all seven of the sacraments instituted by Christ for the spiritual health of His Church? Do they have a valid Eucharist?
Orthodox or Catholic, all seven Sacraments have been preserved, a true priesthood has been preserved, leadership by Bishops/Patriarchs has been preserved, the deposit of the Faith has been preserved, and each has a true Eucharist. The disputes that create the fissure suggest to me that neither side has them correct, and an ecumenical council on those points is in order, but they do not separate from the oneness of the one Church.
I also note that the Catholic-Orthodox fissure is very different from the splinter groups that came about during the “reformation” period with their wholesale abandonment of the fullness of the Faith, and whittling down the sacraments to only one or two, and rejection of many elements of the fullness of the Christian Faith.
The “reformation” period was a rebellion against the one Church, not a dispute between groups within the one Church. The evidence for this is that they have continued to splinter and multiply theologies. The Holy Spirit did not protect them from wholesale error and heresy. So while they are united with the one Church in little bits and pieces (like all religions that have bits of the Truth), unlike the Orthodox and the Catholic, they lack the signs of being fully united to the One Church.
I am sure there will be some who disagree.
Dear Lord, please heal the fissure in the Church and bring those separated from the one Church back to orthodox belief. +Amen.