How on earth do I choose an Orthodox congregation?

Old Order

Chicken
I want to thank you again brother, using the online locator I found one of these churches just ten minutes from my house, where the nearest acceptable orthodox denomination is over an hour away. From the website, it looks like exactly what I'm looking for. Other churches I looked at had obvious signs of globohomo within seconds of looking over their site. One had rainbow flags. Another had what looked like a rock band on the stage. And another had a black guy who looked like a rapper dressed for the night club as their youth pastor, in charge of guiding a bunch of young children. I was about to give up on the idea of attending church. But this one looks legit and I am really looking forward to trying it out. Pretty sure I'll go this next Sunday. Cheers.
No problem, all glory be to GOD! I pray it all goes well. What I can say is that no two fundamental baptist churches are the same, sometimes even within this group you have to look around. There are actually many different camps within these churches (some lean more "Calvinist", others are freewill, others are less conservative, some are too centered around a pastor like one poster said, some are friendlier than others, etc), so different people will have different experiences. No church is perfect, I just go to the one that I can fit in the best over the others without compromising the essentials. I personally, for example, find that theologically, my beliefs fall inline closer to an old order conservative mennonite (anabaptist) tradition, as I feel they are the closest to a new testament Biblical church (ironically, these churches can also vary a lot by conference, and I am not attacking one denomination over the other, this is just what I think, fellow Christian brothers). However, there are no close churches of this kind in my area, so I attend a fundamental baptist church, where I know that they will be conservative and follow the essential fundamentals. I don't agree with some of their theology, but what matters is that they aren't in deep error/heresy like so many "churches" these days.
 
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Hermetic Seal

Kingfisher
Orthodox
Gold Member
I appreciate the input. There are some things about Orthodoxy that I find very appealing, and some aspects that give me pause. I will continue to explore both directions and go to a few services of each, pray on the matter, and see what happens. My mind is not made up in either direction yet but the church I found looks great and I'm at least going to give it a shot. As a practical matter, the fact that the nearest American Orthodox church is an hour away means I'm less likely to make it out there every week and build community there. That is far from the only consideration but it's a setback.

Have you tried using this parish finder? Oftentimes people find that there are closer Orthodox parishes than they realized. It's pretty useful.
 

Slim Whitman

Sparrow
Orthodox
Have you tried using this parish finder? Oftentimes people find that there are closer Orthodox parishes than they realized. It's pretty useful.
Thanks, I did use that and found that there were Antiochan, Greek, Coptic, Serbian, Ethopian parishes all around me but the nearest OCA is in a different city an hour away. There is one ROCOR a bit closer but it's hard to tell if it's even open. The website doesn't work (a very common problem with all the churches I've researched) and they look to be sharing a building with a Serbian parish? I can't figure out what's going on there and not keen on driving through 35 minutes of urban traffic to find out. It really seems that in my area the Orthodox church doubles as an ethnic social club for immigrants, and as described in my OP I don't want to go and try to fit in to one of these clubs I don't belong in.
 

Liviu

Pigeon
Orthodox
I apologize if this has already been hashed out but I didn't see the answers I was looking for in another similar thread.
I'm a White American guy of Scots-Irish descent, raised in a non-denominational Christian church. I am interested in exploring the orthodox faith by attending services but there are a dizzying array of choices in my city. Nearly all of them appear to be strongly ethnic, and I imagine they double as social clubs for various immigrant communities. I feel my presence may be intrusive and unwelcome, though I'd probably be treated with a restrained politeness. I don't want to go where I'm not wanted, or be a perennial outsider, or struggle to fit in. I want to join a community that would be happy to have me there. So here are the offerings in my area, which would you advise me to check out?
Romanian
Coptic (tons of these...I gather they are Egyptians?)
Serbian
Greek
Ethiopian

Frankly none of these sound like they would work. I picture something like the classic movie scene where the White guy walks into a black bar and the needle scratches across the record, and everyone turns around to glare at me. If I were forced to choose I guess it would be Greek? But I'm not sure why. Help a brother out!

Hello, Slim. I am a Romanian Christian-Orthodox with a a degree in Theology who works at the Romanian Patriarchy in Bucharest. The best news for you: you are very close of the best thing on earth, being a son the True Church of Christ, The Universal (Orthodox) Church. Very important things for you to consider:

1. Stay away of the Oriental Orthodox Churches (Armenian, Coptic,Ethiopian, Syriac Ortodox,etc). They ARE NOT REAL ORTHODOX. And they woudn`t fit to your spirit anyway. Roosh found by experience that in his maternal church cannot be found the entire Truth https://www.rooshvforum.com/threads...an-church-for-rocor.40104/page-5#post-1483754

2.OCA is recognized only by 6 from the 14 autocephalous orthodox churches in the world. A friend from US is happy there. I think they have the Holy Liturgy in English but would be your decision.

3.Greek Orthodox Church is too risky these days in US. You should avoid it.

4.ROCOR would be good. Roosh chose it.Receives people of others ethnicity . But is quite severe.Liturgical language is Old Slavonic .You could check it

5. Serbian Orthodox Church is more ethnical than ROCOR. Liturgic language is also Old Slavonic. Could be a little less strict than ROCOR. You could check it.

6. Romanian Orthodox Church. I underlined it because is a big probability to be your best choice. Arguments:

-Romanian people are more friendly to foreigners than all other Orthodox ethnicities. They are also more similar in character with Irish and Scots you say you descend of. They are warm and cheerful.You wouldn`t feel odd ever there.By the way, I know two Orthodox Americans who have Romanian confessors (one of them is the friend from OCA).

-The faith is about the same in almost all Romanian US parishes as that in Russian or Serbian parishes.

- Liturgical language is either Romanian (which is way closer to English than all other Orthodox liturgical languages) or English. That parish could belong to either Romania or Constantinople patriachates.

I hope these information help you if you haven`t aready taken a decision.
 

Hermetic Seal

Kingfisher
Orthodox
Gold Member
6. Romanian Orthodox Church. I underlined it because is a big probability to be your best choice. Arguments:

-Romanian people are more friendly to foreigners than all other Orthodox ethnicities. They are also more similar in character with Irish and Scots you say you descend of. They are warm and cheerful.You wouldn`t feel odd ever there.By the way, I know two Orthodox Americans who have Romanian confessors (one of them is the friend from OCA).

I can vouch for this. A Romanian family at my ROCOR parish have quickly become some of my best friends (the parents actually being my baptismal sponsors/godparents) and they are exactly as you describe. The Romanian parishes where I live serve the liturgy in Romanian, but I'm sure the people are wonderful.

Also try Antiochian parishes. Oftentimes they're like a more conservative version of OCA, with many parishes being majority converts, though some will have more Christians of Middle Eastern descent I don't think their parishes are ever as insular as some Greek or others can sometimes be.
 

Slim Whitman

Sparrow
Orthodox
Hello, Slim. I am a Romanian Christian-Orthodox with a a degree in Theology who works at the Romanian Patriarchy in Bucharest. The best news for you: you are very close of the best thing on earth, being a son the True Church of Christ, The Universal (Orthodox) Church. Very important things for you to consider:

1. Stay away of the Oriental Orthodox Churches (Armenian, Coptic,Ethiopian, Syriac Ortodox,etc). They ARE NOT REAL ORTHODOX. And they woudn`t fit to your spirit anyway. Roosh found by experience that in his maternal church cannot be found the entire Truth https://www.rooshvforum.com/threads...an-church-for-rocor.40104/page-5#post-1483754

2.OCA is recognized only by 6 from the 14 autocephalous orthodox churches in the world. A friend from US is happy there. I think they have the Holy Liturgy in English but would be your decision.

3.Greek Orthodox Church is too risky these days in US. You should avoid it.

4.ROCOR would be good. Roosh chose it.Receives people of others ethnicity . But is quite severe.Liturgical language is Old Slavonic .You could check it

5. Serbian Orthodox Church is more ethnical than ROCOR. Liturgic language is also Old Slavonic. Could be a little less strict than ROCOR. You could check it.

6. Romanian Orthodox Church. I underlined it because is a big probability to be your best choice. Arguments:

-Romanian people are more friendly to foreigners than all other Orthodox ethnicities. They are also more similar in character with Irish and Scots you say you descend of. They are warm and cheerful.You wouldn`t feel odd ever there.By the way, I know two Orthodox Americans who have Romanian confessors (one of them is the friend from OCA).

-The faith is about the same in almost all Romanian US parishes as that in Russian or Serbian parishes.

- Liturgical language is either Romanian (which is way closer to English than all other Orthodox liturgical languages) or English. That parish could belong to either Romania or Constantinople patriachates.

I hope these information help you if you haven`t aready taken a decision.
Thank you very much for the recommendation Liviu. There is a Romanian Orthodox parish favorably located near me, so I will attend a service some time in the next month and see how it feels. I'll report back if it looks like a good fit for me.
God Bless
 

Liviu

Pigeon
Orthodox
Thank you very much for the recommendation Liviu. There is a Romanian Orthodox parish favorably located near me, so I will attend a service some time in the next month and see how it feels. I'll report back if it looks like a good fit for me.
God Bless
You`re welcome, Slim. Anytime. I hope God will guide you to the most appropriate confessor for you because that is the key. Of course, the feeling you have in the parish is important also. We all wait you to let us know that you found the right confessor and parish. Don`t bother if would be a Romanian parish or not, despite the fact I would be glad to be. God knows what is best for you. Important is this: Orthodox Church is Universal Church, the rest is of lesser importance.
 

psyrus

Pigeon
Orthodox
A related but much less important question: I haven't been to church in many years but was raised to always wear a suit and tie to Sunday services. I'm guessing these days people are wearing sweatpants and flip flops judging by what I see around me. What is the typical dress code at orthodox churches?
In the summer months the laymen often wear polos. But I serve behind the kliros as an un-tonsured reader so I usually wear long sleeves, slacks and comfortable sneakers.
 

Eusebius Erasmus

Kingfisher
Orthodox
I can vouch for this. A Romanian family at my ROCOR parish have quickly become some of my best friends (the parents actually being my baptismal sponsors/godparents) and they are exactly as you describe. The Romanian parishes where I live serve the liturgy in Romanian, but I'm sure the people are wonderful.

Also try Antiochian parishes. Oftentimes they're like a more conservative version of OCA, with many parishes being majority converts, though some will have more Christians of Middle Eastern descent I don't think their parishes are ever as insular as some Greek or others can sometimes be.
I would be careful with Antiochian parishes: they’re better than the OCA, but in my experience are hit-or-miss. The ones with Arab priests tend to be based, but a number of Antiochian parishes here in Canada are following the COVID narrative.

On the plus side, Metropolitan Joseph is a competent bishop, and doesn’t seem to be fully on board with the Covid agenda.
 

Basilus of Moro

Pigeon
Orthodox
I apologize if this has already been hashed out but I didn't see the answers I was looking for in another similar thread.
I'm a White American guy of Scots-Irish descent, raised in a non-denominational Christian church. I am interested in exploring the orthodox faith by attending services but there are a dizzying array of choices in my city. Nearly all of them appear to be strongly ethnic, and I imagine they double as social clubs for various immigrant communities. I feel my presence may be intrusive and unwelcome, though I'd probably be treated with a restrained politeness. I don't want to go where I'm not wanted, or be a perennial outsider, or struggle to fit in. I want to join a community that would be happy to have me there. So here are the offerings in my area, which would you advise me to check out?
Romanian
Coptic (tons of these...I gather they are Egyptians?)
Serbian
Greek
Ethiopian

Frankly none of these sound like they would work. I picture something like the classic movie scene where the White guy walks into a black bar and the needle scratches across the record, and everyone turns around to glare at me. If I were forced to choose I guess it would be Greek? But I'm not sure why. Help a brother out!
Forgive me for my boldness, but thank God you actually have choices. Some places have no Orthodox Churches, although you likely know the Coptics and Ethiopians are only "Orthodox" in name, having been separated from the Orthodox Church for 1500 years.

It is very difficult early on, and there are many potential pitfalls. Satan does not want anyone to join the Orthodox Church in such a way that they are making spiritual progress. Of course, he'd rather no one join it, but he'll settle on entering in with confusion or bad practice.

The best route is to first find someone who can direct you. It would be good to visit either the Serbian, Greek, or Romanian, or all three, but to also seek out a monastery for guidance. I recommend one of Elder Ephraim's monasteries. There you will be given the tools to understand Orthodoxy internally. Then, wherever you go, you will have good guidance from confessors of the faith.

See this map:

https://www.stanthonysmonastery.org/about-monastery/affiliated-monasteries.html
 

Philosopher

Kingfisher
Orthodox
A related but much less important question: I haven't been to church in many years but was raised to always wear a suit and tie to Sunday services. I'm guessing these days people are wearing sweatpants and flip flops judging by what I see around me. What is the typical dress code at orthodox churches?
Orthodox wear suit and tie
 

Aboulia

Woodpecker
Orthodox
Orthodox wear suit and tie

NO NO NO. ANATHEMA. We do not wear ties. A tie is a noose hanging downwards, symbolizing those who are tying themselves to the earth. I believe it was St John Maximovitch who absolutely refused to serve in the altar with those who wore ties.
 
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Hermetic Seal

Kingfisher
Orthodox
Gold Member
Very few suits at my ROCOR parish. I usually just wear a long-sleeved shirt and chinos. I only bust out my suit if it's Pascha or a bishop is visiting or something.
 
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