Talk:Eastern Orthodox Church

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Page Name[edit]

Would it make more sense to move the name of the page to "Orthodox Christian Church"? (Seeing that there are multiple issues with defining this Church apart from the Roman and Non-Chalcedonian churches? Ri Osraige (talk) 21:21, 16 August 2016 (UTC)

Please see WP:COMMONNAME. Dr. K. 21:48, 16 August 2016 (UTC)
Amen, Dr. K.
Editors have discussed alternate names before. Consensus seems to be for Eastern Orthodox Church, per WP:COMMONNAME. Majoreditor (talk) 01:10, 17 August 2016 (UTC)

Then again, the fact that editors have taken bad decisions in the past is not much of a reason. I dare say no Orthodox churches refer to is as the "Eastern Orthodox Church" so this article imposes an outside definition that the church itself doesn't share. It's a bit as if we'd talk about the Heretic Lutheran Church. Less biased, of course - but still a clear bias. Jeppiz (talk) 00:12, 18 October 2016 (UTC)

That is not true. The term "Eastern Orthodox Church" is sometimes, even reasonably regularly, used by Orthodox Christians to refer to their church. Afterwriting (talk) 00:33, 18 October 2016 (UTC)
Sure, a better example would be the article Catholic church. That church is often called Roman-Catholic. The thing is, both churches claim to be "orthodox" (have the right teaching) and "catholic" (for everyone). Right now, Wikipedia appears to pick sides here, using the Roman-Catholic terms for both churches. We should either call them Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church or Catholic Church and Orthodox Church. Jeppiz (talk) 10:30, 18 October 2016 (UTC)

RfC about the names of both the Catholic church and the Orthodox church[edit]


(non-admin closure) Important note: this RfC closure rests on a finding of fact that no notices were posted to WT:X or Talk:Catholic Church. It may be summarily overturned if that finding is found incorrect, and the closer WP:TROUTed for failing to properly search the archives.

No consensus for any action could be formed by this RfC.

One of the options of the RfC would affect other pages, notably Catholic Church. However, I see no advertisement for this RfC, be it at WT:X or at Talk:Catholic_Church. As a consequence, options 2 and 4 were never really available per WP:LOCALCONSENSUS which makes the question malformed.

Ohff also suggested, in the section "suggested close", that this additional option made the interpretation of other !votes invalid (a known game theory problem, see e.g. [1]). Going by a straw poll nonetheless, the bulk of contributors splitted roughly equally between an argument for consistency between the two churches (i.e., "option 1 or 2") and an argument that the Catholic/Roman Catholic case was already settled while the Orthodox Church needed the disambiguation (i.e. option 3). This opposition fails to produce any meaningful consensus, as the concern outlined above applies.

In addition to this problem, and of particular interest for any future RfC at WT:X or elsewhere, that RfC did not specify its scope and its degree of enforcement. In particular, a subsequent RfC at WT:X could conclude that some form of disambiguation is needed for either church, but only when the context is unclear, or that existing established articles should keep the status quo, etc.

TigraanClick here to contact me 18:47, 20 December 2016 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Two major Christian churches, the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church both consider themselves both "catholic" and "orthodox". Sometimes a geographical qualification is given for both, as in the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. Should Wikipedia refer to these two major churches as
1. The Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church (no geographical qualification).
2. The Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church (geographical qualification for both).
3. The Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church (geographical qualification only for the latter)
4. The Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church (geographical qualification only for the former). Jeppiz (talk) 19:51, 19 October 2016 (UTC)

  • Prefer option 1, open for option 2. My preference for option 1 is that it is the most neutral one, corresponding to how both churches usually refer to themselves (although I'm quite sure cases of both the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox Church can be found at times even in official pages of each church). If a geographical qualification is needed, I'm fine with option 2 though I admit to not seeing the need. I don't think option 3 or option 4 are good, as both of them has a certain inherent bias in which one church or the other is relegated to being called by the other one's terminology. My guess is that very few Catholics would prefer "Roman Catholic" over "Catholic" and that very few Orthodox would prefer "Eastern Orthodox" over "Orthodox". Jeppiz (talk) 19:59, 19 October 2016 (UTC)
  • Prefer option 2 (geographical qualifications for both), but I'm open to option 1. All of the options - both with and without the geographical qualifications - are in widespread common use, so I don't see that a WP:COMMONNAME argument can be made in favour of any of these options against the other ones. All of them satisfy WP:COMMONNAME. The question, then, is which option is better from the perspective of WP:NPOV. I think options 3 and 4 (of which the former is the current status quo) are evidently biased, as they allow one Church to have an article title that implies it is the only Catholic/Orthodox Church in existence, while the other is given a qualifying adjective. Adherents of both Churches would prefer the titles without qualifying adjectives. If you look at the versions of this article in the languages of majority-Orthodox countries, you will see that all of them call it simply "Orthodox Church" (el ru sr bg ro etc). Although members of this Church do indeed use the adjective "Eastern" themselves on many occasions, their preferred way of referring to their Church is simply "the Orthodox Church" - just as members of the Church headed by the Pope of Rome prefer to call it simply "the Catholic Church". So, then, why do I not favour option 1? Because allowing both articles to use the titles preferred by the adherents of each respective Church ignores the existence of other Churches, outside these two, which also use the names "Orthodox" or "Catholic" for themselves. Examples include the Old Catholic Church and Oriental Orthodoxy. Therefore I believe that all articles should have qualifying adjectives in the title. Ohff (talk) 20:31, 19 October 2016 (UTC)
  • I don't see any problem with the current title(s). Wikipedia users certain principles, most important of which is WP:COMMONNAME. @Jeppiz: All this that you are saying is a kind of WP:original research. We should not research what is the most logical title, we should use the most commonly used title. You are not even trying to prove that your preferred titles are most common. Also, WP:PRECISION is relevant here. There is Oriental Orthodox Church which is also quite large and important, so the title "Orthodox Church" is not precise enough. On the other hand, there is no other large or important body called "Catholic Church". Vanjagenije (talk) 21:26, 19 October 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for your comment, @Vanjagenije:, though I disagree with most of it. I'm not researching what's the most logic title and make no claim except my own view, which is what an RfC is for (also; if someone has statistics, then great). So I simply state my preference and why, exactly as you did. Your assertion that one or the other is the WP:COMMONNAME is also as much (or little) original research, failing any statistic. And if I may correct you, there's no such thing as the "Oriental Orthodox Church". There are several churches that are Oriental Orthodox, but they do not form one common church, unlike both the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. So with all due respect, I find both the argument about common name and oriental orthodox a bit weak, and not really a reason to impose any imbalance in naming the churches. That's not to deny the value of WP:COMMONNAME, but I don't see any proof that "Eastern Orthodox Church" is more common than "Orthodox Church". Jeppiz (talk) 21:37, 19 October 2016 (UTC)
  • Either 1 or 2, defaulting to 2 whenever there is ambiguity. But I oppose 3 and 4. I came here from the RfC notice, and have no other involvement. The way it looks to me, 3 and 4 are borderline POV. The advantage of 2 is that it is the least ambiguous. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:41, 19 October 2016 (UTC)
  • Option 3. This is the WP:STATUSQUO. "Eastern" is not strictly a "geographic" qualifier. "Oriental" is a synonym, but "Oriental Orthodox Church" refers to a different communion. "Orthodox Church" is ambiguous because of the existence of what I just mentioned. You did not suggest the official name, "Orthodox Catholic Church" which I would caution against using in an article title because people already constantly come through here and try to delete that information from the article. Elizium23 (talk) 23:14, 19 October 2016 (UTC)
  • Option 3, the status quo, which has been reached by lengthy (and seperate) debates in the past, on WP:COMMONNAME and other grounds. I don't see the need to raise the matter again, nor to conflate the two questions. Johnbod (talk) 03:20, 20 October 2016 (UTC)
  • Comment: WP:COMMONNAME keeps getting mentioned, but is there any actual indication or evidence that either of the variants is more common than the other? I've been an occasional participant in discussions on this page and other related ones, and I've never seen anyone provide anything to indicate that "Eastern Orthodox Church" is more commonly used than "Orthodox Church" to refer to this body (or that "Catholic Church" is more commonly used than "Roman Catholic Church"). Users have provided ample evidence that referring to this body as EOC is common, but not that it is more common than the OC designation. Likewise for the Catholic case: CC is common, RCC is also common, and there doesn't seem to be anything to indicate which is more common. Therefore I do not believe that WP:COMMONNAME can be used as an argument in this discussion, because all the options are equally good as far as that policy is concerned. But correct me if I'm wrong. Ohff (talk) 08:26, 20 October 2016 (UTC)
  • Option 3, which is status quo. Both of these have been discussed at length independently, and the discussion should be such. There are specific reasons for the differences in naming, each intrinsic to each church. English usage and common name is indeed an important reason, but it is not the only reason, nor it is necessarily the strongest. They are many idiosyncratic elements to each Church that affected those decisions, which by the way were able to reach consensus. If we want to combine both articles into a single discussion, then we would need to include also other articles that will be affected such as the Latin Catholic Church and the Eastern Catholic Churches (all of which are Roman), the Anglican Church (which is catholic), the Oriental Orthodox Churches, etc. Although the desire for consistency is commendable, consensus for a change will not be reached this way. Out of 8 opinions so far, already half are for leave as is, with the other options receiving split votes.--Coquidragon (talk) 08:55, 20 October 2016 (UTC)
  • Comment As Ohff already pointed, those who say that one or the other is the WP:COMMONNAME also has the burden to proof to show that it is the common name. The official web pages of most Orthodox churches seem to use "Orthodox Church" and not "Eastern Orthodox Church", so the claim that one is the default common name is very much unproven. I'm also doubtful as to the value of just saying "status quo" if no argument is presented for why the status quo is better. If "status quo" was a sufficient argument, no discussion would ever be needed. Jeppiz (talk) 11:45, 20 October 2016 (UTC)
  • Jeppiz, when other editors and myself say that "this consensus was reached by lengthy (and separate) debates in the past," we mean that we are not going to repeat here what you can find in the archives. How was the "common name" decided? What where the internal reasons to each church that affected this decision? How was consensus reached? Once again, this consensus was reach by many editors after both sides exposed their arguments with back up sources and data. Keeping the status quo doesn't mean we don't want to engage with you, it means that you have not bought forth any new information that may affect the consensus reached in the past. You are welcome to go through the archives and read all the argumentation. Also, since the current wording is the result of consensus, please assume good faith. To change this consensus, the burden of proof is on the "change," not on the "remain as is." Thanks for your desire to make Wikipedia as accurate as we all want it to be.--Coquidragon (talk) 19:28, 20 October 2016 (UTC)

Comments have been requested. Here's mine.
Part of the question is beside the point. "Roman Catholic Church" is not a geographical description but a description of a certain liturgy and church body. There are other Catholic churches, like the Greek Catholic Church. You may find a Greek Catholic Church and a Roman Catholic Church in the same Greek town.
The specification "Eastern" in "Eastern Orthodox Church" has a completely different character. It does not denote a particular church body but rather sums up a number of individual church bodies like the Greek Orthodox Church and the Russian Orthodox Church.
So, how should Wikipedia refer to these churches? There really can't be any question about that: It should be precise in referring to whatever it is talking about, respectively, and not make up its own vocabulary. -- (talk) 23:29, 20 October 2016 (UTC)

  • Option 3 is preferred since it uses both of the consensus names. Option #1 is OK. I'd prefer to stay away from options 2 and 4. There's been lots of discussion over the years about the name to use for the Catholic Church, and the consensus is for Catholic rather than Roman Catholic. I'd rather spend time on improving articles rather than rehashing discussions on church names ... after a while it feels like the movie "Groundhog Day". Majoreditor (talk) 02:26, 21 October 2016 (UTC)
I can understand that. Still, if a question keeps coming up, there may be a reason. That's not to say we should change just because a question is repeated, of course not. Just that it might be worth reconsidering it. I do think there is at least a hint of a bias here, and I cannot see (and yes, I've read the arguments) how calling the Orthodox Church "the Orthodox Church" would be a problem. We have a closely related situation in WP:MOSMAC. The term "FYROM" is widely used, as is "Eastern Orthodox". There is a region called Macedonia, just as there are smaller churches called Orthodox. There are outsiders who strongly want to impose the name "FYROM" and "Eastern Orthodox". In MOSMAC, however, we give a certain priority to how the people concerned actually refer to their country, and I'd think it fitting to do the same for the Orthodox Church. The name "Eastern Orthodox" will always come off as a (slight) insult, so of course people keep bringing it up. Wikipedia usually manages very well to settle on the most neutral and unbiased name, but has failed to do so in this article. That is not to say I suspect any participant, now or in the past, of any hidden motives or any intention to insult. The most I would say is that I think it reflects a bit of a failure to step out of one's own perspective. I don't think anyone wants to use "Eastern Orthodox" to insult, nor even think that it is insulting. That doesn't stop it from being a bit of an insult, which is unfortunate. Jeppiz (talk) 20:32, 21 October 2016 (UTC)
  • Comment Some users have said that the current name is the consensus name, the result of previous discussions. Actually, the opposite would seem to be true. The last time there was a discussion on whether to call the church the "Orthodox Church" or the "Eastern Orthodox Church", the result was in fact a rather clear consensus in favour of the "Orthodox Church". So unless I'm missing a later discussion in the archives between these names, the consensus is in fact the "Orthodox Church". The arguments about WP:COMMONNAME is equally troubling. Yes, there has been discussions on the common name, but this on whether to call it "The Orthodox Catholic Church", which was (correctly) rejected as that name is in very limited use. However, there is neither an established consensus for the "Eastern Orthodox Church" over the "Orthodox Church" nor any hint that the former is the common name. The only RfC from which we do have a previous consensus (as far as I can find) is the consensus to call this article the "Orthodox Church". Jeppiz (talk) 20:49, 21 October 2016 (UTC)
Seems to me that the controversy raged throughout Talk:Eastern Orthodox Church/Archive 6 and well into Talk:Eastern Orthodox Church/Archive 7 with no clear consensus on anything except a couple of decisions were taken. Temporarily named this article "Orthodox Church" after it had, for 8 years, been named "Eastern Orthodox Church" and a few months later renamed the article back to its stable name. I think any determination of consensus needs to take into account the totality of that discussion and the actions taken. Elizium23 (talk) 21:04, 21 October 2016 (UTC)
'Option 3, at least for the titles as WP:STATUSQUO and WP:COMMONNAME. The 'Eastern' here is the common collective, as opposed to saying 'Greek, Russian, Ukrainian, etc' Orthodox church. The shortening of Roman Catholic to just Catholic also seems common. The form "Orthodox Church" may be used for short, after it is made clear that it refers to the Eastern collective or a nationality has been specified. The longer "Roman Catholic Church" or "Holy Roman Catholic Church" in some cases I guess would be more proper as the more formal usage or in a title - see Roman Catholic (term) Markbassett (talk) 14:52, 22 October 2016 (UTC)
  • Option 1 or 3. Chicbyaccident (Please notify with {{SUBST:re}} (Talk) 16:25, 28 October 2016 (UTC)
  • Option 1 would be the most correct, representing the official name of each church. In both cases, it can be added "The Catholic Church, sometimes called the Roman Catholic Church" or "The Orthodox Church, sometimes called the Eastern Orthodox Church". It is true that each consider themselves possessing the quality expressed in the name of the other. But it is incorrect, purely and simply, to limit the Catholic Church to "Roman" or "Western" or the Orthodox Church to "Greek" or "Eastern", since both, by nature of being 'catholic', are universal churches, not simply national, ethnographic, or geographic churches. Each is a communion that includes western and eastern elements. There are Eastern Catholics and Western Orthodox. The only use of "Eastern Orthodox" is to distinguish from "Oriental Orthodox", a largely English-language convention, to represent two distinct communions. Protoclete (talk) 07:56, 29 October 2016 (UTC)
  • Option 1 with #2 an acceptable alternative given that both sets of names are commonly understood. The Orthodox Church self identifies as the "Catholic Church" spoken of in the Nicene Constantinopolitan Creed. However, most of its members and clergy routinely use the word "Orthodox" when speaking of their faith affiliation. The only thing one needs to be careful about when using the word Roman in reference to those in communion with the Pope of Rome, is that there are in fact a number of "sui juris" Eastern Rite Catholic Churches some of which partly follow the Orthodox form of worship and church discipline. They are very small in numbers (minuscule compared to the Latin Rite), but they do exist and are not correctly called Roman Catholics. -Ad Orientem (talk) 04:46, 2 November 2016 (UTC)
  • Prefer option 2, open for option 1. Options 3 and 4 are both borderline POV; why should Roman Catholicism be known as "the Catholic Church" and not Eastern Orthodoxy as "the Orthodox Church"? It's just double standards. Far better, in my opinion, to have both of the articles with the qualifier at the front, as I feel it unfair to have Wikipedia imply that either has an exclusive claim to catholicity or orthodoxy (furthermore, it could be argued that "Roman" can apply to the Eastern Catholics insofar as they are in communion with Rome; they may not be Latin, but they are Roman). At the very least, if Wikipedia is to allow Roman Catholicism to be known as "the Catholic Church", it should not require what is most commonly known as "the Orthodox Church" to have the qualifier of "Eastern". I would say that the status-quo currently has a strong pro-Catholic bias. Qwertyuiop1994 (talk) 09:03, 2 November 2016 (UTC)
Options 1 and 4 are wholly unviable. Because there are two communions which each claim the name "Orthodox Church" this appellation is completely ambiguous. Wikipedia is not in the business of siding with a particular point of view and therefore cannot claim the name "Orthodox Church" to mean strictly "Eastern Orthodox" without violating that neutrality. Elizium23 (talk) 21:38, 4 November 2016 (UTC)
There are several communions that claim the name "Catholic Church", too, but one of them is clearly the primary topic. Likewise, the Eastern Orthodox Church is clearly the primary topic for the term "Orthodox Church". Eastern Orthodoxy is often called simply "the Orthodox Church", without any qualifiers, while Oriental Orthodoxy is (to my knowledge) never called by that term without qualifiers. The word "Orthodoxy" is indeed ambiguous and just as often used for OO as for EO. But the appellation "Orthodox Church" - when it refers to a communion and not to a particular autocephalous church - is almost exclusively used for the EO communion. Ohff (talk) 04:27, 5 November 2016 (UTC)
Having said that, I do personally prefer option 2. So I do agree with you that it would probably be better for this article to continue having the qualifier in the title. Where I disagree with you is in your calling the option without the qualifier "wholly unviable". I think it's perfectly reasonable and viable, although it is not my top choice. Ohff (talk) 04:40, 5 November 2016 (UTC)
  • Prefer option 2 – I would also say that the status quo has a strong bias, towards the part of the Catholic church which is in communion with Rome. (This bias is not present in the category system as the categories are Category:Roman Catholic Church and Category:Eastern Orthodoxy.) Oculi (talk) 18:35, 2 November 2016 (UTC)
  • Prefer option 2 seems to be the preferred option in history textbooks. Rjensen (talk) 04:32, 5 November 2016 (UTC)
  • Strong preference for option 2. This has been discussed before, and were it not for Wikipedia's inherent pro-Catholic bias, this would not be a question. The arguments are well known: the Catholic Church, regardless of its subdivisions or which rite its constituent churches follow, is defined principally by its adherence to the Roman pope; it is no coincidence that historians speak of the "the Roman Church"; all other Christian Churches can equally claim to be "catholic". "Roman Catholic" is therefore both clear, in common use, and equitable towards the other churches. Roughly the same applies, mutatis mutandis, for the "Orthodox Church" vs. "Eastern Orthodox Church" argument. Constantine 11:21, 5 November 2016 (UTC)
In option 2, "Roman" is a reference not really to geography but the to the role of the Pope in Rome as head of the church. Rjensen (talk) 05:47, 6 November 2016 (UTC)
Precisely; and "Eastern" is a geographical reference only in regards to history and tradition, referring to the eastern patriarchates and/or the eastern Roman Empire. Today, such distinctions are traditional and don't reflect actual geographical realities any more. Constantine 10:11, 6 November 2016 (UTC)
Rjensen Actually "Roman" is a reference to the "Roman Rite" also called the Latin Rite which is the largest of the various sui juris churches in communion with the Pope. Most non-Roman Rite Catholics (i.e. Byzantine, Greek Rite, Coptic Rite, Maronites etc.) take exception to being labeled as Roman Catholics. -Ad Orientem (talk) 14:45, 6 November 2016 (UTC)
Nope, although seemingly a minority adhere to that defition, most consider it a factoid. In short: Your description, although fairly widely reproduced now and then, is not accurate. Chicbyaccident (talk) 14:49, 6 November 2016 (UTC)
I beg to differ. Eastern Rite Catholics are not factoids. Further there are multiple reliable sources that do not agree with you. Just a quick and random selection from the first couple pages of a Google search... [2], [3], [4], [5], and [6]. I have not been able to find a single reliable source that says it is OK to refer to Eastern Rite Catholics as Roman Catholics. I think we need to show some deference to how the Catholic Church self defines itself as opposed to mainstream media and press sources who are notoriously ill informed about religious matters. If we are going to lump all Catholics into the Roman Catholic Church we need to find Catholic sources that say this is OK. -Ad Orientem (talk) 15:36, 6 November 2016 (UTC)
You're mixing things up. I still don't agree with that minority position but anyway, that is another discussion which should be held at Roman Catholic (term). Chicbyaccident (talk) 23:20, 6 November 2016 (UTC)
No definition and naming is perfect in such a topic, and whatever we choose, someone is bound to be dissatisfied. But if we are to show "deference" to the Catholic Church, why not showing the same "deference" to the other churches, that are equally "catholic"? There's certainly enough systemic pro-Catholic bias in WP, e.g. by lifting Catholic Encyclopaedia articles wholesale, or (what I come across very often in my area of interest) editors conveniently "forgetting" that all but a few of the multitude of Catholic titular sees in the East were never Catholic residential sees and/or are still active Orthodox sees, so that IMO, if we need to show "deference" to anyone, it is to the other churches, who get swept under. On the Eastern Catholic Churches, they are significant, but they are nevertheless bound to the wider body of the same Church by one and only one bond: the allegiance to the Roman pope. Arguing about rite differences is putting trappings before substance. It is a bit like the United States and its associated territories; sure you have Puerto Rico, and Guam, and other territories, but they pale into insignificance before the "actual" United States, which is why they are lumped together with the "big brother". Constantine 16:05, 6 November 2016 (UTC)
I don't disagree that there are some issues with pro-Catholic bias and I have long been concerned about WP articles that are substantially just copy-pastes from the Catholic Encyclopedia. However I don't think showing deference to how a church self identifies falls under that heading. I don't know of any other prominent church that self identifies as Catholic in its normal conduct of business. The Anglicans use the word in the Creed but when self identifying they are the Church of England or Ireland or the Episcopal Church etc. We Orthodox (full disclosure- I am one) call ourselves Orthodox (often adding Greek Russian etc.). The term Eastern is not altogether accurate for us but it's not a big issue and it helps to distinguish us from the non-Chalcedonian Orthodox. There are a number of small independent Catholic Chuches that use the word Catholic in routine self identification, and we do in fact respect that. See the Polish National Catholic Church, Old Catholic Church of America etc. And for the record, the term United States is in fact the correct name for the federal union of the 50 states +sundry territories. In the end though, we go with what reliable sources tell us. And in this case, as far as I am able to see thus far, those RS sources which address this specific issue are pretty much uniformly coming down on the side of Catholic Church (sans Roman) when referring to the entire papal communion. -Ad Orientem (talk) 16:16, 6 November 2016 (UTC)
Puerto Rico and Guam? You seem to have a poor idea of what it means to be a sui iuris Catholic Church. Each of the 24 Churches are equal in dignity and significance to each other. It would be like saying that Idaho and Florida want recognition next to California and Texas. Just because the Latin Church is larger in numbers, recognition, and hierarchy does not mean that it has some kind of priority over the Russian Catholic Church or the Eritrean Catholic Church. Elizium23 (talk) 22:23, 6 November 2016 (UTC)
The problem is that the current status quo shows deference to how the [Roman] Catholic Church defines itself (despite the existence of other, much smaller churches with "Catholic" in the name), but does not show any deference to how the [Eastern] Orthodox Church defines itself, under the argument that "other, smaller churches call themselves Orthodox too, so we have to call this one Eastern". That is a major inconsistency, and I am very firmly in favour of fixing it somehow. We should apply the same principles consistently to all articles. The EO communion gets called simply the "Orthodox Church" by sources just as often as the communion of the Pope gets called simply the "Catholic Church" by sources. Either both articles should use the title with the qualifier (Roman/Eastern) in deference to the existence of other churches claiming the "Catholic" and "Orthodox" titles, or both articles should use the title without the qualifier, in deference to self-identification. Ohff (talk) 00:20, 7 November 2016 (UTC)
I'm fine with just "Orthodox Church." The term Eastern isn't terribly useful much less correct. The only thing is we would need to come up with some form of distinguishing the non-Chalcedonian Orthodox. -Ad Orientem (talk) 00:24, 7 November 2016 (UTC)
I don't think we need to change anything about the article titles referring to the non-Chalcedonian Orthodox. The main article about the communion as a whole has always been called Oriental Orthodoxy (and not "Oriental Orthodox Church"). The names used by sources for that communion include "Oriental Orthodoxy" and "Oriental Orthodox Churches" (plural), but almost never "Oriental Orthodox Church" (singular), and absolutely never just "Orthodox Church" without qualifiers. Most likely this is due to the much more heterogeneous nature of Oriental Orthodoxy, with each member church maintaining its separate rite and unique traditions and being only loosely associated with the others. The EO communion is clearly the primary topic for the title "Orthodox Church" (singular, without qualifiers). Ohff (talk) 00:44, 7 November 2016 (UTC)
  • Leaning option 2, but I'm surprised these are the only options. Do we need to decide? Do we need consistency across all articles? There is certainly a great diversity in reliable sources, and I think it can vary from article to article. If there is likely to be ambiguity, then we should be more specific with geographic qualifiers. I note the East–West Schism starts with "The East–West Schism, also called the Great Schism and the Schism of 1054, was the break of communion between what are now the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic churches..." That seems wrong, somehow - we should have the word "Roman" there to distinguish. StAnselm (talk) 08:21, 7 November 2016 (UTC)
  • Question for clarification: Is this RfC asking about article titles (i.e. a potential double-RM), or references within articles, or both? StAnselm (talk) 08:56, 7 November 2016 (UTC)
  Without a lot better reason that the two names should be linked and only the two being linked non of the above. (talk) 14:49, 7 November 2016 (UTC)
  • Qualified option 2. As there are many Catholic churches (including the Orthodox Catholic Church, one name for Eastern Orthodoxy), the qualification Roman is essential for precision. For article titles, at a minimum, Roman Catholic Church should be the standard. (This is Britannica's usage, as well.) Within an article, where it is clear that the Roman Catholic Church is meant, the shortened form Catholic Church is quite adequate and perhaps often preferable for the sake of concision and flow. As others have noted, there is an asymmetry with the Orthodox terminology, however: there is no "Eastern Orthodox Church" per se, but rather an Eastern Orthodoxy (or Eastern Orthodox tradition) within which various churches exist: Greek Orthodox Church, Russian Orthodox Church, etc. References should be clear: we should refer to the Eastern Orthodox churches = Eastern Orthodoxy (these terms are roughly equivalent), or to a specific church within this tradition (e.g. the Russian Orthodox Church). Clean Copytalk 17:29, 10 November 2016 (UTC)
As a side note (but an important one): Eastern Orthodox Christians refer to their communion as a Church, not (merely) a tradition. In terms of organization, this overarching Orthodox Church is quite fluid. Its various component Churches have often merged and separated and re-merged. In the immediate aftermath of the East-West Schism, there were 4 autocephalous Churches within Eastern Orthodoxy. By the 14th century there were 9. Then a series of mergers followed, and by 1825 there were only 5. Today there are 14. The common Orthodox identity has remained throughout these relatively-frequent administrative changes, and an Eastern Orthodox Christian can move from the jurisdiction of one autocephalous Church to another as easily as moving between parishes of the same autocephalous Church. One can get baptized in a Greek church, get married in a Russian church, and have one's funeral conducted by an Antiochian priest. Ohff (talk) 18:39, 10 November 2016 (UTC)
But having said that, I agree with your views on all issues under discussion (article titles, and the style that should use used within articles). I just wanted to bring some potentially-relevant information to the table. Ohff (talk) 18:49, 10 November 2016 (UTC)
Yes, I accept that "the Eastern Orthodox Church" is often referred to as a single body of tradition, even though this is technically-organizationally more a collection of Churches.
Here's a nice complication: "officially Orthodox documents consistently refer to 'the Eastern Orthodox Church' as 'the Catholic Church'" -- Achim N. Maseko, Church Schism and Corruption, p. 127
Finally, yet another construct frequently found: "Western Catholicism," which appears to be a linguistically parallel construct to "Eastern Orthodoxy," with the important caveat that the former generally refers to a single (Roman Catholic) Church, not a collection of Churches with a great commonality of traditions. Clean Copytalk 08:45, 11 November 2016 (UTC)
  • Option 3 Referring to the Catholic Church as Roman Catholic would be factually incorrect because of the Eastern Catholic Churches and Eastern Orthodoxy is distinct from Oriental Orthodoxy. Arguably "Roman Catholic Church" is a synonym for Latin Church and applying that to the Church as a whole would be inappropriate. The "Eastern" modifier is important in front of the Eastern Orthodox Church because of the existence of Oriental Orthodoxy, which also considers itself to be orthodox. The Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches also consider themselves to be catholic, but they are not widely known as that, while all the sui iuris Churches in communion with the Bishop of Rome are widely known as the Catholic Church. TonyBallioni (talk) 23:05, 20 November 2016 (UTC)
  • Option 2. Vincent J. Lipsio (talk) 15:14, 22 November 2016 (UTC)
  • Option 3/Status quo. "Eastern" is needed distinguish from the "Oriental" Orthodox. Catholic/Roman Catholic, has been discussed numerous times. Links to discussion archives can be found here: Wikipedia:Catholic or Roman Catholic?. --Zfish118talk 00:17, 25 November 2016 (UTC)

Suggested close[edit]

It appears that Wikipedia:Catholic or Roman Catholic? already answersaddresses the question for the Catholic/Roman Catholic Church. As regards the Orthodox/Eastern Orthodox terminology, Options 2 and 3, the overwhelmingly favorites in this RFC, are in agreement that WP should use Eastern Orthodox. Unless there are disagreements, I would suggest the RFC is closed with this conclusion. Clean Copytalk 03:34, 25 November 2016 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Catholic or Roman Catholic? is, of course, an essay. In any case, I am disappointed that my request for clarification went unanswered. StAnselm (talk) 03:55, 25 November 2016 (UTC)
Yes, you are right. This is an essay composed recently by user:Zfish118. It does not represent WP consensus. Sorry about the confusion. My bad.
It would seem that this RFC was about article titles only, if only for the fact that local consensus about every single reference in every single article, Wiki-wide, would be positively unenforceable. Elizium23 (talk) 04:06, 25 November 2016 (UTC)
Agree with close - so no change then. It was always a mistake to lump the two together. Whatever these endless talk page marathons produce, it isn't "clarification". Johnbod (talk) 04:31, 25 November 2016 (UTC)
Except that it isn't clear that the consensus is in favour of Option 3... StAnselm (talk) 04:57, 25 November 2016 (UTC)
There is also no strong consensus to change anything either, which is how many of these naming discussions end. --Zfish118talk 09:16, 26 November 2016 (UTC)
There exists a clear consensus on this page to keep Eastern Orthodox Church. There exists no clear consensus to change Catholic Church to Roman Catholic Church. The status quo should remain because of that. Additionally, I think Talk:Catholic Church is a better place to have that conversation than here to have that conversation, since it is the talk page of the article in question (though it would likely not result in a different outcome.) TonyBallioni (talk) 01:38, 27 November 2016 (UTC)
No, I don't think there exists a clear consensus on this page to keep the title "Eastern Orthodox Church", because the RfC is not about the title of this page in isolation. It is about the titles of two pages, and the votes for option 2 should not be considered endorsements of the status quo here. Take my vote for example: I voted for option 2, not because I think the title of this page is fine the way it is now, but because I want consistency across Wikipedia, and I thought consistency would be better achieved by changing the title "Catholic Church" to "Roman Catholic Church" (option 2), rather than by changing the title of this page (option 1).
If you asked me to vote on the title of this page alone, in isolation, I would vote to change it to "Orthodox Church". So, again, votes for option 2 should not be considered endorsements of the status quo here, necessarily. Ohff (talk) 10:21, 2 December 2016 (UTC)
I support closing the discussion. Like I said above, the naming question for both of these has been discussed at length independently. There are specific reasons for the differences in naming, each intrinsic to each Church. They are many idiosyncratic elements to each Church that affected those decisions, which by the way were able to reach consensus. If we want to combine both articles into a single discussion, then we would need to include also other articles that will be affected such as the Latin Catholic Church and the Eastern Catholic Churches (all of which are Roman), the Anglican Church (which is catholic), the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Old Catholic Church, etc. Although the desire for consistency is commendable, consensus for a change will not be reached this way, as we have seen here.--Coquidragon (talk) 23:14, 2 December 2016 (UTC)
I agree. Majoreditor (talk) 02:36, 6 December 2016 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Relations with Islam[edit]

Yesterday I deleted all the unsourced content from this article section - not normally an action I like to take. And since it came pretty close to blanking the section, I thought today that I had better explain the action a little more here.

This is one of several sections in the article which have historically been underreferenced for a long time, and upon which I have cast my own disparaging looks. But I have not acted before because, first, they were of less interest to me, and second, because I did not feel they were a priority for me. However, in just a couple of days recently, there's been an exchange of opinion over a tagging in the section (asking for references), and then a contribution that overturned some fairly long-existing material in favor of other material, none of either of which were referenced.

This article has suffered a great deal of disruption and controversy during years of time, over POV and and pointy issues, and has upon occasion been the recipient of a bunch of tagging, some of it in the nature of attacks. This kind of disruptive nonsense has driven many editors away from Wikipedia, and the toll on Orthodox writers has been particularly high. I myself took a breath from it for what I thought was going to be about a month, and enjoyed that so much that I've returned only after more than a year. And now when I see only artifacts of this stuff again, even when the editors involved are not actually misbehaving, the refreshed memory is still obnoxious.

So, for the sake of the article, I judged that in this one case that it was better to remove long-standing unsourced material that practically invites controversy, and certainly invited unhelpful activity. For without sourcing, the article lies open to continued hassle. So do we editors, and I have given my indications on why I think that is no small matter either.

Anyone is still free to edit as he or she sees fit, and pull me in if they think they see me overstep. But be assured that I won't be editing lightly. I want to get these things right also, so I *do* want to discuss issues if they come up. Therefore, expect me to come to this page at need. I don't mind it at all if someone disagrees with me. I do mind it if someone doesn't justify what they do, or if they dump their own opinions into the article. And I may well spend some time looking through it and finding more material to clear out, because nobody can call this article fit for improved status unless it is documented, and I expect there is still cruft of this kind that has remained too long. Evensteven (talk) 18:04, 23 December 2016 (UTC)

Consensus on Wikipedia on groupings of Christian denominations[edit]

I opened a discussion on groupings in Christianity, of which there currently seems to lack a consensus on Wikipedia. The discussion might be of interest for followers of this talk page. Please see: Talk:Christianity#Denominations. Chicbyaccident (talk) 12:20, 6 January 2017 (UTC)