Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity, both branches of Christianity with rich histories, share many core beliefs but also exhibit significant differences. One fundamental distinction lies in the authority structure. In Catholicism, the Pope in Rome serves as the supreme spiritual leader and has the power to make doctrinal decisions for the entire Church. Orthodox Christianity, on the other hand, operates under a more decentralized system, with multiple self-governing churches, each led by its own patriarch or bishop, and there is no equivalent to the Pope.
Another key difference pertains to the understanding of the Holy Spirit's procession. Catholicism follows a doctrine which asserts that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son. Orthodox Christianity however, states that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father alone, and they reject the addition of "and the Son."
While both traditions feature elaborate and sacramental worship, the Roman Catholic Mass is typically celebrated in Latin, with occasional use of vernacular languages after Vatican II. In contrast, Orthodox Christian liturgy is predominantly conducted in local languages, preserving ancient Byzantine rituals.
Lastly, there are other differences in theology, traditions, and the role of icons in worship. These distinctions have historical, cultural, and theological roots, contributing to the unique identities of both Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity while highlighting their shared commitment to the Christian faith.