[St. Pachomius Library]


There are several approaches to understanding the term "catholic faith". One is the "Vincentian canon": "that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all." However, as St. Vincent himself noted, this can only be approximated.

To modern Roman Catholics, it is the papacy which guarantees the Church's universality. Obviously, the Orthodox reject this view, saying that Christ is the head of the Church and needs no vicar, and that the conciliarity of the Church assures unity better than any central authority.

The question of the Church's boundaries is also implicit in any discussion of catholicity. This issue arises frequently in the current debate over ecumenism.

This page contains links concerning the general concept of the Orthodox Church as an universal institution, including St. Vincent's canon, but additional information may be found on the other pages mentioned in this introduction.

Norman Hugh Redington


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