Joining the Orthodox Church

I struggle with this question: should we do nothing as Orthodox ? Or should we fight ?
This is one of those questions to which the answer depends entirely on who you ask. You'll find Saints and Church Fathers on both sides of the equation; some were pacifists to the fullest extent of the word, others believed the Church and State should work together to physically fight against not just enemies of the nations, but heretics as well. The Byzantine Empire, which was Christian from start to finish, fought against its enemies as much - and as violently - as any other nation of its time. You'll find St. Augustine writing his theory of Just War, and other Saints saying never to fight. You'll find Saints saying that we have no homeland on Earth, and St. Philaret of Moscow saying that enemies of the nation should be destroyed.

It's one of those things where you have to search the Word and your own conscience, thinking carefully through your approach to each situation. Personally I agree with St. Augustine's Just War: you exhaust every possible means of solving the problem peacefully, but if you have no other options you commit the smallest amount of violence necessary in order to restore peace. Obviously this is done only in defense, never as the aggressor in any situation. I also think it's crucial to apply the theory differently depending on who is being attacked and why; if you're being attacked for your faith, as an individual, then the martyrs have made the answer clear. If your family or community are being attacked, then personally I think it's fine to do whatever you have to. There is certainly no virtue in cowardice, and I reject the fake meekness espoused by cowards who think the righteous thing to do is allow their own family and friends to be killed so as not to be "violent" or "bad." They are condemning others to death in order to make themselves feel virtuous, which is despicable to any honorable man.

The Russian Orthodox political philosopher Ivan Ilyn wrote a book called "On Resistance To Evil By Force." He has a pretty good breakdown of the topic, though admittedly I'm only partway through the book. You might find some helpful answers in it.
 

Enigma

Hummingbird
Gold Member
Are there any Eastern Orthodox bible commentaries online?
Bible Gateway has the Orthodox Study Bible, but it looks like it requires a subscription to access.

CatenaBible.com allows you to show commentaries by Byzantine (and early Church) Fathers.

There’s also a digital version of the OSB. Keep in mind that not only does it have the notes from an Orthodox perspective, the Old Testament is translated from the Septuagint (Greek) not the Masoretic (Hebrew) that most other English bibles use, which is why so many Orthodox use it.
 

Matianus

Sparrow
I visited two Orthodox Christian churches this weekend to inquire about the Faith and had a very different experience in each.

The first church was Antiochian. As I walked into the church and greeted the Father, he nor any of the parishioners were wearing a mask. I shook his hand. At the time, I thought this was great and a rejection of the liberal agenda. I share similar views of most members in RVF. After the Vesper service, I met with him in his office and we spoke for 20 or so minutes. I asked him about Coronavirus and he said it was a falsehood of the evil one. He also mentioned that the Orthodox way is the truth and all else is heresy. It was not *what* he said but *how* he said it. While I am fallen and only in the beginning stages of my faith, and most likely not in any position to judge a priest, I felt an immense amount of pride coming from him. It was almost as if he was in rebellion. He extended no invitation to return to his church nor advice for my spiritual journey. My meeting with him felt rushed.

The second church was Greek. I attended a Divine Liturgy but was required to wear a mask and remain in a designated area. In other words, it was "social-distance" complaint. Likewise, I met with the Father after. We spoke for more than an hour about the faith, the history of the church, and the modern times we live in. He mentioned that the church took social-distancing seriously and that every day he prays for healing of the sick and a return to a normally operating church in which parishioners can worship God together. In the back of my mind, I thought that maybe the church was "cucked" for adherence to protocols from the Governor. But, importantly, I did not feel any pride from the Father. He was humble and kind. He felt holy to me. It is difficult to describe in a forum post but there was a radiance from him. He invited me to return to his church and offered to set up weekly meetings to help guide my path in the faith.

I hope you all found this anecdote interesting. I am learning not to make choices based on "free will", and instead trust in God to guide me on the path that was always meant for me.
 

Roosh

Cardinal
I visited two Orthodox Christian churches this weekend to inquire about the Faith and had a very different experience in each.

The first church was Antiochian. As I walked into the church and greeted the Father, he nor any of the parishioners were wearing a mask. I shook his hand. At the time, I thought this was great and a rejection of the liberal agenda. I share similar views of most members in RVF. After the Vesper service, I met with him in his office and we spoke for 20 or so minutes. I asked him about Coronavirus and he said it was a falsehood of the evil one. He also mentioned that the Orthodox way is the truth and all else is heresy. It was not *what* he said but *how* he said it. While I am fallen and only in the beginning stages of my faith, and most likely not in any position to judge a priest, I felt an immense amount of pride coming from him. It was almost as if he was in rebellion. He extended no invitation to return to his church nor advice for my spiritual journey. My meeting with him felt rushed.

The second church was Greek. I attended a Divine Liturgy but was required to wear a mask and remain in a designated area. In other words, it was "social-distance" complaint. Likewise, I met with the Father after. We spoke for more than an hour about the faith, the history of the church, and the modern times we live in. He mentioned that the church took social-distancing seriously and that every day he prays for healing of the sick and a return to a normally operating church in which parishioners can worship God together. In the back of my mind, I thought that maybe the church was "cucked" for adherence to protocols from the Governor. But, importantly, I did not feel any pride from the Father. He was humble and kind. He felt holy to me. It is difficult to describe in a forum post but there was a radiance from him. He invited me to return to his church and offered to set up weekly meetings to help guide my path in the faith.

I hope you all found this anecdote interesting. I am learning not to make choices based on "free will", and instead trust in God to guide me on the path that was always meant for me.
Which church would you consider joining?
 

Matianus

Sparrow
Which church would you consider joining?
I am considering the Greek Orthodox parish that I visited close to my house (the second parish mentioned in my story). Despite the parish's adherence to social-distancing protocols and the social justice agenda being promoted by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, both of which I am clearly opposed to, it strangely felt like the right place. Prior to visiting, I would not have imagined this sentiment. Above all, I suffer from the passion of pride (quickly leading to anger) which has only grown in the last few, mask-wearing months. I hope the Rev. Father who radiated humility and goodness will be an inspiration in my spiritual journey.
 

HermeticAlly

Kingfisher
What was the congregation like? Was the Greek church heavily ethnically Greek, and the Antiochian more American? That would seem like an important consideration, but I realize that it can vary a lot from one parish to the next, and that there are Greek churches that aren't all Greek, etc.
 

Matianus

Sparrow
What was the congregation like? Was the Greek church heavily ethnically Greek, and the Antiochian more American? That would seem like an important consideration, but I realize that it can vary a lot from one parish to the next, and that there are Greek churches that aren't all Greek, etc.
No, they both felt American. The clergy were American and the laity (even though relatively few were in attendance) seemed the same. I live in one of the largest cities in the country too and did not sense an ethnic presence. Both churches I visited were on the smaller side; I did not attend the large, historic churches in the Downtown area. Perhaps those are more ethnic.

One thing I will mention is that there was a discernible difference in the way the hymns were sung. Although both churches were entirely in English, the Antiochian parish used a more Arabic sounding melody -- especially in the way the words were drawn out and emphasized. It was not bad but it was different. That was the only way in which I felt "foreign" while in attendance.
 
Since the last time I posted in this thread, my situation has changed, and there is no longer any Orthodox Church within a 2 hour drive.

I get that I can't really be Orthodox without attending and Orthodox Church.. I wonder if there is anyone else is experiencing this challenge.
I have a prayer rule, and I enjoy spiritual reading. I enjoy learning Orthodox theology, but I have no spiritual father. Coming from protestantism, due to my new situation, the only church options I have available are protestant. It's hard to express how uncomfortable that is.

All I want is God's will for my life. I'll stick to my prayer rule, spiritual reading, and theological learning.. and probably have to attend a protestant church with very different theology.. I suppose it depends on the protestant church in question. I believe some churches do more harm than good, but partly this appears to be my cross to bear.. Maybe I can help spread some sense among the prots.. Sounds fairly dangerous for a number of reasons, but here I am.
 
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