Hi Dan this is Dan There are several articles about the Reformers and the Orthodox Church online. Just look under Reformers and Orthodox Church. Among the facts of history were there were 7 letters between the Reformers and The Patriarch. It is not widely known that the Reformers did not believe they were starting another denomination in the beginning but rather were seeking to join what they viewed as the True Church because they believed that the Roman Catholic Church had become apostate.
There are several reasons that the Reformers did not join The Orthodox Church but I believe here are some that are perhaps less emphasized but I believe important.
- Apostolic Succession: The Orthodox Church would not accept the authority of the Reformers as Overseers/Bishops and the two sides were in disagreement concerning the term Apostolic Church in the Nicene Creed
- The Sack of Constantinople: A crusade of the West sacked Constantinople in 1204 which ultimately led to its capture in the 1400s. The Roman Catholic Church pillaged many artifacts and writings in the care of the Orthodox Church and their was a lot of bad blood between East and West.
- The Sacraments and Sacramental Grace: There were significant differences even among the Reformers on this issue and consequently this resulted in the Orthodox Church insisting that if the Reformers joined the Orthodox Church they would have to accept all Orthodox Theology not just the principal points. Again the Church getting into an argument on non-essentials even though they agree on essentials.
I have put below a general history of the Church that I made up for my Sunday School class that you might find interesting. Its purpose is to show how the Western Church became so divided.
Historical Events surrounding the Reformation
313: Edict of Milan – Roman Empire become Christian, Church divides into Eastern Church (Church of East and Oriental Church) and Western Church (Church of Rome and Church of Constantinople)
325: Council of Nicaea – Nicene Creed
381: Council of Constantinople 1 – Athanasian Creed, Affirmation of New Testament Canon (Council of Laodicea)
413: Augustine’s City of God introduces Amillennialism and Post-Millennialism
431: Schism of Church of East Council of Ephesus.
451: Schism of Oriental Church, Council of Chalcedon
495: Roman Synod ascribes Vicar of Christ to Bishop of Rome
1054: The Great Schism of Roman and Orthodox Church
1204: Sack of Constantinople by Crusaders
1274: Thomas Aquinas- Summa Theologica
1440: Printing Press Invented
1492: Pope Alexander VI (Very Corrupt)
1492: Discovery of Americas by Columbus
1517: Luther- 95 Thesis
1534: Anglican Catholic Church separates from Roman Catholic Church
1536: Calvin- Institutes of the Christian Religion
1543: Copernican System Published
1545-1563: Council of Trent (Roman Catholic Reformation)
1595: Arminianism response to Calvinism
1550-1715: European Wars of Religion
1854: Immaculate Conception of Mary declared Article of Faith by Roman Catholic Church
1870: Pope declared infallible by Roman Catholic Church
1950: Assumption of Mary declared Article of Faith by Pope