Crisis Of Faith In The Orthodox Church

I have been Orthodox for nearly a year, attending an OCA church. Previously I was a Catholic, born and raised Catholic. I am Italian, Spanish and Irish, so Catholicism is deep in my blood and in my ancestral heritage. I am very well briefed on the Theology of The Orthodox Church and Of The Catholic Church and am familiar with the debate. I am convinced that Orthodox Theology is correct but in all honesty I truly don't care.

The OCA church that I go to has bent the knee completely, the OCA in general from what I've heard has completely bent the knee. But it isn't so much about that. It's more about when I attend the OCA church I go to I feel like these are not my people, I feel very much like an outsider, as opposed to the Catholic Church which I feel at home. The Orthodox Church has not been resonating with me for the past month or two. It's beginning to feel more and more synthetic and fake as I attend. It's not apart of me nor of my Identity. I feel like I'm only attending because I read some books and watched some online debates and lectures and feel that this is intellectually true. I don't want to attend a Russian Orthodox Church or Greek Orthodox Church, the ones around me conduct the Liturgies in those languages only anyway. I feel a strong impulse to return to the Catholic Church and attend an SSPX church instead. Yet I am convinced Orthodox Theology is correct. What does this make of me?

Not to mention the conduct of a-lot of these so called orthobros online is absolutely repulsive and the way they attack Catholics with such animosity is a bit ridiculous and seems to me like a big LARP. A good majority of them just seem like a rude, condescending bunch, I haven't seen that with Catholics online at all. And as of recent I've found myself coming to the defense of the Catholics. Christianity in general is being attacked by the mob and orthobros are out here acting like children attacking Catholics for ridiculous reasons. Don't get me wrong Doctrine and Debate is important but these nerds are taking it to a whole new level. But I digress. I would never let childish online banter steer me away from The Church as I don't even spend that much time online to be honest, nevertheless influence my opinion. I'm just saying I don't even feel welcome by the online Orthodox community.

I'll admit I hesitated to even comment on this matter as I feel like a fool, a hypocrite and a idiot bunched up in one but I recently spoke to a person who converted from Catholicism to Orthodoxy (he was a trad cat before) and is going through the same situation so I figured it would be worth sharing.
 

Eusebius Erasmus

Woodpecker
I partly understand your concerns. I was Catholic before becoming Eastern Orthodox, and there are aspects of Catholicism that I prefer.

Ultimately, you should speak with an Orthodox priest about the concerns you're having.

However, I'll give you my two cents, FWIW.

There are two questions you must ask yourself:

1. Did you 'read' your way into Orthodoxy? It is good to read and gain knowledge, but accepting Christ is not a matter of intellect. If you became Orthodox for primarily intellectual reasons, then that might be a problem. Our struggle with Christ is about experience, it is not academic.

2. Are your feelings more important, or the Truth of the faith? You say that you feel at home in the Catholic Church. However, Christ doesn't call us to 'feel' at home, but rather to come home to Him. The Orthodox Church is His bride, and being in communion with it allows us to fully experience Christ. Parts of Orthodoxy make me uncomfortable/bored/annoyed, but these are selfish character flaws within me that I must struggle against.

Christ calls us to struggle, brother. May God bless you in your future decisions, and forgive me if I speak incorrectly about your situation.
 
One of the best pieces of advice I ever got, even back when I was just an inquirer, was to completely avoid the Orthodox internet (social media). It tends to attract the worst elements of our faith and then amplifies those voices far beyond their real-life impact. I also defend Catholics when I see them improperly caricatured, mainly by Protestants, but if you believe that Orthodox theology is correct then you'd be knowingly separating yourself from the Body of Christ over a bunch of random people on the internet who have bad attitudes.

If Orthodoxy is not "part of your identity," then your path is to reform your identity so that it's centered around Christ and His Church. It's not to Church-shop until you find one that suits the way you already are, it's to transfigure yourself to align with the true faith. It is a big temptation to want to reshape the Church in our image, which is ultimately satanic and a rejection of God. Realigning ourselves to align with Christ is difficult; it's probably the most difficult thing a human being can do. But that is the path set out before us, it is the Way to salvation and the key to our theosis.

That said I'm told Metropolitan Benjamin of the OCA is, uncharacteristically according to people who know him, deeper into Covid-hysteria than many of the other major hierarchs. If you can't tolerate the way your archdiocese is being run, then you can find an archdiocese (or parish within yours) that is more concerned with reality than with the Gates agenda. It's really a matter of degrees within Orthodoxy, but parishes run the full spectrum of full-on lockdown hysteria all the way to complete disregard for the entire situation.
 

Hermetic Seal

Kingfisher
Gold Member
Like others have said, the Western Rite might be the way to go. Coming from a Protestant background it's a bit hard for me to appreciate since Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy seemed equally exotic to me, but it seems tailor-made for people in your situation. Both the Antiochian jurisdiction and ROCOR have Western Rite parishes, so that would have the effect of getting you out from under OCA and into a more conservative jurisdiction. The only downside is that there aren't a lot of Western Rite parishes out there, and this suggestion is going to be useless if there aren't any in your area. But hopefully, there are.

Regarding online animosity, it can seem excessive to me. I can butt heads with protestants (especially Calvinism/Reformed and Baptist theology) but have no antipathy toward Catholics, feeling more like they're my estranged cousins of a sort. I was never hostile toward Catholics to begin with and had only positive interactions with the few that I've known in real life, but becoming Orthodox has actually made me more sympathetic toward Catholics and aware of how I mischaracterized their beliefs when I was protestant.

The thing to keep in mind about guys like Dyer is that their behavior toward Rome is something of a side effect of years spent actually inside trad Catholic movements and a reaction to some of the stuff they saw within. So it's not just an irrational hate-boner fueled by Baptist mischaracterizations, most of the time. I'd say, just stay away from the online Orthodox community if it's not edifying. It can be a bit spicy and I get some benefit from it, but also acknowledge some of the polemic issues with it. Try to focus on online figures who put out edifying content - Fr. Josiah Trenham, Fr. Spyridon Bailey, Abbot Tryphon, Fr. Barnabas Powell, or Hieromonk Kosmas from Orthodox Talks.

When I was visiting Orthodox parishes six months ago I also visited an OCA parish. While I loved the priest, the fact the whole parish was converts gave it something of a LARPy vibe that didn't quite feel right to me. At the ROCOR parish I attend there's a healthy blend of mature Eastern European Orthodox, long-time practicing converts, and newcomers, so I think the overall environment is strengthened by the range of experience. To me, this seems ideal and something I would suggest those looking for a parish to pay special attention toward.
 

get2choppaaa

Pelican
My priest's sermon yesterday on the Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy was centered around living through Church History and the Judgement we will all face when this is all over. After he read the heresies and had a brief explanation he spoke in depth about our circumstances now as Christians who are struggling in a time of growing worship of Lab coats and civil experts over Christ and The Church.

While he didn't say anything to contradict a bishop or name a particular Church jurisdiction, it was pretty clear that the Covid fear is not grounded in Christian reality. Especially considering that the Church had always said that one cannot get sick from partaking in the Sacraments.

What I got was: How are you as a Christian living your life? Are you aware you will be judged for the way you handle these tests and will you succumb to fear because of the panic and worldly concern expressed by the people around you? Do you live your life giving glory to God and recognize that your soul is eternal and your actions on this earth, during these trying times are under judgement, not from peers and society, but from God?
 

OrthoLeaf

Pigeon
I have been Orthodox for nearly a year, attending an OCA church. Previously I was a Catholic, born and raised Catholic. I am Italian, Spanish and Irish, so Catholicism is deep in my blood and in my ancestral heritage. I am very well briefed on the Theology of The Orthodox Church and Of The Catholic Church and am familiar with the debate. I am convinced that Orthodox Theology is correct but in all honesty I truly don't care.

The OCA church that I go to has bent the knee completely, the OCA in general from what I've heard has completely bent the knee. But it isn't so much about that. It's more about when I attend the OCA church I go to I feel like these are not my people, I feel very much like an outsider, as opposed to the Catholic Church which I feel at home. The Orthodox Church has not been resonating with me for the past month or two. It's beginning to feel more and more synthetic and fake as I attend. It's not apart of me nor of my Identity. I feel like I'm only attending because I read some books and watched some online debates and lectures and feel that this is intellectually true. I don't want to attend a Russian Orthodox Church or Greek Orthodox Church, the ones around me conduct the Liturgies in those languages only anyway. I feel a strong impulse to return to the Catholic Church and attend an SSPX church instead. Yet I am convinced Orthodox Theology is correct. What does this make of me?
Read the bolded. This whole post of yours is an emotional outburst almost certainly built upon demonic suggestion. Say the Jesus prayer and begin to fight back, for heaven sakes! Return to a false church because of your ancestry? How is this different from the Jews rejecting Christ, due to their ancestry again? Or Muslims following Mohammad because of theirs? You know Holy Orthodoxy is correct, but you're allowing yourself to be swayed and tempted by demons, who utterly despise you, and are doing everything within their power to damn your soul by having you leave the true Church. Not one, literally not one single argument was made in your entire post! Just demonic suggestion and prelest.

If your parish has bent the knee, you fight! You condemn your church for heresy, yet you speak of apostasy? Oh, but it gets worse! You don't even care about the heresy infecting your church, threatening the very souls of your priest and Christian brethren around you - no, no, you care about...what exactly? Emotional conjecture? Sad that the ancient Church hasn't molded herself into your idealized vision of her? Brother, give your head a shake and snap out of it! You're under attack and you don't even realize!

I speak this harshly out of love, brother. Somebody here needs to slap some sense into you. Pray and fight back! For the love of God, fight back! Time to double up your praxis, brother. I'm no spiritual father and have no right to say this, but that'll be 300 Jesus prayers and 30 prostrations a day for the next week, pal.

Ask St. Paisios to pray for you. Trust me, he'll respond. He always does. I'll pray for you and I ask everyone else in this thread to pray for you. There's a full on war going on in your soul, and you're in la-la land wondering what all the ruckus is.
 

Stadtaffe

Woodpecker
Gold Member
I don't want to attend a Russian Orthodox Church or Greek Orthodox Church, the ones around me conduct the Liturgies in those languages only anyway.
I had that issue in Germany, with it being in Russian, and attended one once where I couldn't work out what language it was and after about half an hour I asked someone in the congregation and it was Arabic. Not sure if it is practical to be Orthodox in many regions. Be flexible when you need to go, any church is better than no church.
 

FactusIRX

Kingfisher
I'm in a similar situation as you. I attend an SSPX Church. The priests have held the line against COOFID since it's started and have been explicit about it. The faithful wear 0 masks. The Latin Mass is exceptionally beautiful and nourishes the soul. It's familiar as someone who grew up Catholic. However, the traditional Catholic faith requires 100% commitment on all its doctrines. There must be 0 doubt about its teachings. Therefore, if there's 1 ounce of you that doesn't agree, then you cannot make that commitment to God and to the Church.

I'm looking at Orthodox Churches, and so far my experience has been frustrating. Some churches have heavy mask mandates. Others seem to have no administration capable of dealing with converts. But I will preserve until God tells me what Church I am to join. Perhaps he will enlighten me that the SSPX is the correct Church, but it's also possible I'll have to attend a Liturgy that is 100% in Serbian, surrounded by Serbians.

I honestly think the journey is meant to be difficult and to test your Faith. Perhaps, I'll wander for 40 years like the Jews, without a Church to call home. But God will save me, so if I have to wait, then I'll wait.
 

Eusebius Erasmus

Woodpecker
I'm in a similar situation as you. I attend an SSPX Church. The priests have held the line against COOFID since it's started and have been explicit about it. The faithful wear 0 masks. The Latin Mass is exceptionally beautiful and nourishes the soul. It's familiar as someone who grew up Catholic. However, the traditional Catholic faith requires 100% commitment on all its doctrines. There must be 0 doubt about its teachings. Therefore, if there's 1 ounce of you that doesn't agree, then you cannot make that commitment to God and to the Church.

I'm looking at Orthodox Churches, and so far my experience has been frustrating. Some churches have heavy mask mandates. Others seem to have no administration capable of dealing with converts. But I will preserve until God tells me what Church I am to join. Perhaps he will enlighten me that the SSPX is the correct Church, but it's also possible I'll have to attend a Liturgy that is 100% in Serbian, surrounded by Serbians.

I honestly think the journey is meant to be difficult and to test your Faith. Perhaps, I'll wander for 40 years like the Jews, without a Church to call home. But God will save me, so if I have to wait, then I'll wait.
God bless you in your struggle.
 

get2choppaaa

Pelican
I'm in a similar situation as you. I attend an SSPX Church. The priests have held the line against COOFID since it's started and have been explicit about it. The faithful wear 0 masks. The Latin Mass is exceptionally beautiful and nourishes the soul. It's familiar as someone who grew up Catholic. However, the traditional Catholic faith requires 100% commitment on all its doctrines. There must be 0 doubt about its teachings. Therefore, if there's 1 ounce of you that doesn't agree, then you cannot make that commitment to God and to the Church.

I'm looking at Orthodox Churches, and so far my experience has been frustrating. Some churches have heavy mask mandates. Others seem to have no administration capable of dealing with converts. But I will preserve until God tells me what Church I am to join. Perhaps he will enlighten me that the SSPX is the correct Church, but it's also possible I'll have to attend a Liturgy that is 100% in Serbian, surrounded by Serbians.

I honestly think the journey is meant to be difficult and to test your Faith. Perhaps, I'll wander for 40 years like the Jews, without a Church to call home. But God will save me, so if I have to wait, then I'll wait.
How far are the nearest Orthodox Chruches? Would you be able to drive 1 Hour for something less "ethnic". Are there any Antiochian/ROCOR churches in your area?

What general part of the country are you in? (state)
 

Enea

Pigeon
The Orthodox Church represents the fullness of Christianity without a doubt in my mind. The mystical mindset and skepticism of purely intellectual endeavor is something that our fellow westerners need to reaquire and this can’t be emphasized enough.

That being said I’m not comfortable joining an ethnic church. It seems kind of awkward to join say a Greek church as a nonGreek or a Serbian church as a nonSerb for example. In such a situation it is completely understandable and right that the outsider would be regarded as such (though not in a malicious or nasty manner, that would be wrong). These people are ethnically-minded and that is their right and duty. A healthy state of affairs which we should try to recreate for our own people.

Now that means the individual who converts to Orthodoxy from a non-Orthodox background has the task of bringing his family and his fellow countrymen to the Truth, with a vision to establishing a church for his own nation in the future. But to do this he first has to acquire the Orthodox mindset for himself.

The situation becomes further complicated if you are an American ‘convert’ (or one who is simply convinced Orthodoxy is true but hasn’t joined a church) because not only does there not exist a national church (and with that no national legacy of Orthodoxy), there does not even exist an American ‘nation’ in the first place! Things are so deracinated here that the individual person has only his family. Beyond that such communities do not really exist for the most part. So the OCA is an artificial entity as a whole, though there may be many great individual parishes contained therein.


As an ethnically-minded American citizen of Catholic Southern-European ancestry that’s been convinced of the truth of Orthodoxy these are the thoughts that come to mind on this issue.
 

Louis IX

Pelican
I am a bit surprised at people who "want to find" their church. While I understand that the path to meeting Jesus is not easy - it seems to me that many people want to choose a religion based on what is the most convenient for them.
A bit like a man choosing a soccer team or a woman choosing the best supermarket.
The choice of a church should be based solely on one thing : The Truth.
An additional criteria would be your family tradition or the religion belonging to the history of your nation. If your nation is ecumenical or your roots are mixed , then read the Gospels. With good explanations if possible.
Then watch conferences and read books both praising and criticizing Catholicism , Orthodoxy and Protestantism (all denominations).
I dont think that "the atmosphere" of the Church should be a criteria.
 

Louis IX

Pelican
The Orthodox Church represents the fullness of Christianity without a doubt in my mind. The mystical mindset and skepticism of purely intellectual endeavor is something that our fellow westerners need to reaquire and this can’t be emphasized enough.

That being said I’m not comfortable joining an ethnic church. It seems kind of awkward to join say a Greek church as a nonGreek or a Serbian church as a nonSerb for example. In such a situation it is completely understandable and right that the outsider would be regarded as such (though not in a malicious or nasty manner, that would be wrong). These people are ethnically-minded and that is their right and duty. A healthy state of affairs which we should try to recreate for our own people.

Now that means the individual who converts to Orthodoxy from a non-Orthodox background has the task of bringing his family and his fellow countrymen to the Truth, with a vision to establishing a church for his own nation in the future. But to do this he first has to acquire the Orthodox mindset for himself.

The situation becomes further complicated if you are an American ‘convert’ (or one who is simply convinced Orthodoxy is true but hasn’t joined a church) because not only does there not exist a national church (and with that no national legacy of Orthodoxy), there does not even exist an American ‘nation’ in the first place! Things are so deracinated here that the individual person has only his family. Beyond that such communities do not really exist for the most part. So the OCA is an artificial entity as a whole, though there may be many great individual parishes contained therein.


As an ethnically-minded American citizen of Catholic Southern-European ancestry that’s been convinced of the truth of Orthodoxy these are the thoughts that come to mind on this issue.
Although phyletism was condemned officially by Orthodoxes themselves , the Orthodox patriarchats/autocephalous churches are very often falling in this trap. Added to the recent schisms politically driven in Ukraine and Montenegro (both creations of the Kiev and the Podgorica patriarchates) Orthodoxy , as the least cucked of the three main cults (trad caths aside) is becoming very vulnerable .

I personally do not understand how can someone with fully western roots (from countries which are not traditionally orthodox) can convert to Orthodoxy . It seems like giving up the boat and giving in to exotism.
 

Hermetic Seal

Kingfisher
Gold Member
I personally do not understand how can someone with fully western roots (from countries which are not traditionally orthodox) can convert to Orthodoxy . It seems like giving up the boat and giving in to exotism.

I'm of Anglo-Saxon and Scottish descent. The Anglican church was borne from adultery and is hopeless cucked in its present incarnation. Scottish presbyterianism is built upon the appalling foundation of Calvinism and there is no reconciliation possible for me with that ideology. The Roman church is falling apart and I disagree with distinctives such as the filioque and Thomist philosophy. What home could I find in any of that?

But England and Scotland were Orthodox for centuries before the Norman invasion imposed post-Schism Latinism upon them. I am simply returning to the faith of my ancestors and the veneration of their Saints, which my Russian friends courteously safeguarded. The Bolshevik Revolution that Satan meant for evil, God used for good by spreading the seeds for Orthodoxy across the world through the Russian diaspora. And now is the time for Orthodoxy to blossom forth in un-Christian and post-Christian lands.
 

Enea

Pigeon
The so-called ‘Orthobros’ could open up an avenue to Orthodoxy for their fellow westerners however the utter contempt, condescension, and triumphalism often on display in their rhetoric towards the ‘West’, western history etc. only serves the cause of alienation.

It’s as if upon conversion to Orthodoxy they fall under the impression that they themselves have become Greek or Russian or Romanian etc. That they have dewesternized themselves. That western history is not theirs and that it was all bad and that our Protestant and Catholic ancestors do not deserve consideration but dismissal and were not even Christian for that matter. It takes them a great deal of effort to say something positive about the West.

These are the vibes I perceive from the ‘Orthobros’. A sad display of self-hatred, cuckery, larping and fawning over foreign cultures. And this at a time when our people’s very existence is under attack!

If you have found the pearl of great price and you want others to find it, the way not to make that happen is to strut around victoriously and triumphantly.
 
If you have found the pearl of great price and you want others to find it, the way not to make that happen is to strut around victoriously and triumphantly.

There’s a balance to it that the Orthodox internet as a whole is not particularly good at striking. But if you focus on the right stuff and ignore the bad stuff, it’s easy to find a good noise to signal ratio.
 

DanielH

Pelican
@Enea once upon a time there was a Pagan somewhere in the Roman Empire who had a rant that went something like this:

The so-called ‘Christians’ could open up an avenue to Christianity for their fellow Romans however the utter contempt, condescension, and triumphalism often on display in their rhetoric towards the ‘Pagans’, Roman history etc. only serves the cause of alienation.

It’s as if upon conversion to Christianity they fall under the impression that they themselves have become Jews. That they have de-Romanized themselves. That Roman history is not theirs and that it was all bad and that our Roman and Greek ancestors do not deserve consideration but dismissal. It takes them a great deal of effort to say something positive about Rome.

These are the vibes I perceive from the ‘Christians’. A sad display of self-hatred, cuckery, larping and fawning over foreign cultures. And this at a time when our people’s very existence is under attack by the barbarians!

If you have found the pearl of great price and you want others to find it, the way not to make that happen is to strut around victoriously and triumphantly.


I'm not writing this to be a jerk, it's just that I frequently see this appeal to tradition or blood which is strange when our ancestors once gave up their pagan/Catholic/Orthodox/other cultural roots to become what they are now.
 

Enea

Pigeon
The pagan may have had legitimate points.

Also in your example it is a pagan staying pagan and thus affirming his cultural relativism, whereas in my case I have already said Orthodoxy is the answer and said we must bend to the Truth.

I was merely pleading against the absolute gleefulness with which many of the Orthobros shit on their Western identity, history, legacy. This is a poor representation for the faith. Do you not see how this can turn people away?


 
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