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.
 

Hermetic Seal

Kingfisher
Gold Member
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.
 
@Joseph-Schumpeter, due to my living situation, I'm only able to go to confession and attend divine liturgy once or twice a year. It makes things harder, but it's not an impediment to being orthodox. The best advice I got was, "If you can't go to church, say your prayers, keep the fasts, and be the church."
I find it helpful to follow the liturgical calendar (checking every day to see what feast or fast it is) and pray the church services that I can. Whenever my work has me travel somewhere with an Orthodox parish, I email the priest ahead of time so he's prepared to have a stranger come confess and commune. If you're not initiated into the Church yet, you can still attend intermittently whenever the opportunity arises, and ask a priest for guidance for your situation.
I hope this helps; I'll be keeping you in my prayers.
 
Why this evangelical couple became Eastern Orthodox (part 1)

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"Evangelicalism was not enough for Joel and Stephanie Dunn, though they come from several generations of Baptists.

And in desperate pursuit of God, they wound up amid candles, incense, beautifully-painted wooden icons, and Divine Liturgy — in the communion of saints whose lives they now say have provided the medicine for their sin-sick souls.

Though Orthodox Christians comprise only 0.5% of the United States population, many of them relatively recent immigrants, some believers in Jesus have found their way into Orthodoxy after experiencing profound dissatisfaction with various forms of modern Christianity. And while many in the contemporary West have abandoned the Christian faith entirely, which The Christian Post explored in a multi-part series last year, others have traveled a more ancient path.

For the Dunns, things came to a head in 2016 when they realized that their current faith tradition, Southern Baptist, was inadequate. They were received into the Eastern Orthodox Church in 2018. Having been in the church for over a year, they were catechized for about that long in an Antiochan parish in northern California, a parish reportedly "bursting" with new converts from Protestantism. The Dunns have since relocated to Texas.

Joel is an attorney and Stephanie a full-time mom with a background in social work."

 
This seems as appropriate a thread to make my first post as any. I never posted here because I generally am not one to talk much online, but I have lurked around here since spring finding the forums fascinating to read. As an aside, I came back to Christianity about 3 years ago, and E. Michael Jones was a big part of that journey, and who led me to discover who this “Roosh V” guy was around 2018. I’ve consumed almost all the Roosh’s content ever since, and he has been an amazing Christian ambassador especially for Millenials. Consuming Roosh’s content led me to explore Orthodoxy for the first time (was raised Catholic but consider Catholicism somewhat a lost cause), and I purchased an Orthodox Study Bible, downloaded Sayings of the Desert Fathers, studied the website “UnseenWarfare.net” (courtesy of Michael Witcoff), watch services online, and watch YouTube videos by Fr. Peter Heers, Fr. Spyridon Bailey, and Fr. Josiah Trenham often. Now I’m at the stage of exploring churches and hit my first roadblock. I randomly chose a Russian Orthodox church in September to visit, and it was the most holy experience I’ve ever been a part of/ witnessed. Unfortunately, as great as it was, to say I felt like an outsider there would be an understatement.

Today I went to an Antiochian Orthodox Church, and hence this post in the form of a “Field Report”- because quite honestly, I had to vent to somebody! It felt, if I had to put it in 1 or 2 words, “Compromised” and “Liberal”. I went there with my girlfriend who is Lutheran (but maybe open to change), and the first thing I notice is the place is tremendously wealthy. It sat on a private compound with a boulevard, a massive brand new building with a dominating dome and modern architecture. I always assumed Orthodoxy was more humble, and many churches (like the Russian one I attended) are basically in a converted old building or a basement of a building (many you wouldn’t even know existed unless you had the address), but this place seemed like a brand new Mormon church or something where money was no issue. We go inside, and a big sign says “STOP! You must be masked, wash your hands with sanitizer, take your temperature, and report it on the check-in sheet”. I should have told her then, “Alright babe, let’s get out of here and go somewhere else”, but we stuck to the plan. We then approach the nave, when a man stops us and eagerly introduces himself because he recognizes we are outsiders. I get a recruiting vibe from him, but that’s not necessarily bad. He explains that he is a converted Protestant, and that most of the parishioners are converted Protestants including the priest, and when my girl tells him she’s a Lutheran he says “That’s great!”. He then asks my background, and then unironically says “Oh, Catholic huh? Can’t say we’ve ever had one of you before” to which I just sort of laughed at. Anyway, at that point we’re earmarked for later recruiting, but they seat us (which was very polite) and I was a little surprised to see an Orthodox church with pews- everyone sat. The Divine Liturgy seemed similar to the Russian Orthodox service except much less energy and holiness- the place felt like callous new construction and cold, such as maybe a New Age church might feel. We get to the priest’s sermon which was 75% solid, but then he starts talking about vaccinations and says “I do hope the vast majority of you get vaccinated” and a five alarm warning goes off in my head instantly. Suddenly everything just felt wrong about the place. How are we supposed to avoid mixing politics with church, when a priest says something like this? Then they begin the Eucharist, which the clergy are wearing surgical gloves to administer (is this normal?). They invited us to receive communion, which we politely declined on assumption that it is wrong to accept communion in a denomination you aren’t formally a member of.

Anyway, afterwards they were again nice and invited us to a room where we could ask questions. I asked them “Do you believe it is our duty as Christians to follow the orders of our nation’s leaders, even if they seemingly conflict with our faith?” and she tried to walk around the question claiming “we don’t mix politics and religion here” (patently false, to my eyes) and then when on a long winded opinion on it where she even suggested “such as abortion; it’s been around for 40 years so it’s not going anywhere, so we’re not going to spend time worrying about it” and I thought “Not with that attitude it’s not going anywhere!” She also mentioned that the priest, who was a converted Protestant, tries to stay in close relations with Christian leaders all around the city across all denominations to “keep a finger on the pulse”. That also didn’t quite sit right with me. Even my Lutheran girlfriend thought the church seemed a bit too liberal.

Sorry for the long first post, but it’s been 7 hours since then and I can’t stop thinking about it. I can deal with formerly conservative American towns flipping woke, but if Orthodoxy has churches going rogue and liberal, then that legitimately concerns me. I will continue exploring Orthodox churches, but this Antiochian one seemed quite foreign to the overarching ethos of Orthodoxy I perceived beforehand. I hope this is not common in Orthodoxy as it is in other denominations- at least one denomination must hold their ground!
 

Hermetic Seal

Kingfisher
Gold Member
That is very surprising coming from an Antiochian parish. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that from OCA or GOARCH, but I thought Antiochian was better than that. Hopefully it's an isolated example.

I'm astonished they knew you were visitors and offered you communion anyway. That's absolutely inexcusable and suggests the parish is operating way outside of the appropriate oversight.

I don't blame you one bit for being wary after an experience like that. I think there is a certain type of older liberal convert to Orthodoxy attracted to it because of its Eastern-ness, who would love the Orthodox Church to become Eastern Rite Episcopalianism, but much of the growth today is coming from based guys fed up with compromise in their former traditions.

I'm fortunate to attend a parish that's pretty much the opposite of what you described, in ROCOR. Even if the ROCOR parish you visited before seemed a bit exotic, it might be worth it to try to get to know people and see if you can make it there, as it's the most conservative and uncompromising Orthodox jurisdiction in America. My parish has a nice blend of Eastern Europeans and American converts, so it's pretty accessible, but I know that's often not the case and some parishes are all Russian and Slavonic.

You can also try visiting parishes in other jurisdictions, if you have the option. Even though OCA and GOARCH have their issues, there are many individual parishes that are solid.
 
This seems as appropriate a thread to make my first post as any. I never posted here because I generally am not one to talk much online, but I have lurked around here since spring finding the forums fascinating to read. As an aside, I came back to Christianity about 3 years ago, and E. Michael Jones was a big part of that journey, and who led me to discover who this “Roosh V” guy was around 2018. I’ve consumed almost all the Roosh’s content ever since, and he has been an amazing Christian ambassador especially for Millenials. Consuming Roosh’s content led me to explore Orthodoxy for the first time (was raised Catholic but consider Catholicism somewhat a lost cause), and I purchased an Orthodox Study Bible, downloaded Sayings of the Desert Fathers, studied the website “UnseenWarfare.net” (courtesy of Michael Witcoff), watch services online, and watch YouTube videos by Fr. Peter Heers, Fr. Spyridon Bailey, and Fr. Josiah Trenham often. Now I’m at the stage of exploring churches and hit my first roadblock. I randomly chose a Russian Orthodox church in September to visit, and it was the most holy experience I’ve ever been a part of/ witnessed. Unfortunately, as great as it was, to say I felt like an outsider there would be an understatement.

Today I went to an Antiochian Orthodox Church, and hence this post in the form of a “Field Report”- because quite honestly, I had to vent to somebody! It felt, if I had to put it in 1 or 2 words, “Compromised” and “Liberal”. I went there with my girlfriend who is Lutheran (but maybe open to change), and the first thing I notice is the place is tremendously wealthy. It sat on a private compound with a boulevard, a massive brand new building with a dominating dome and modern architecture. I always assumed Orthodoxy was more humble, and many churches (like the Russian one I attended) are basically in a converted old building or a basement of a building (many you wouldn’t even know existed unless you had the address), but this place seemed like a brand new Mormon church or something where money was no issue. We go inside, and a big sign says “STOP! You must be masked, wash your hands with sanitizer, take your temperature, and report it on the check-in sheet”. I should have told her then, “Alright babe, let’s get out of here and go somewhere else”, but we stuck to the plan. We then approach the nave, when a man stops us and eagerly introduces himself because he recognizes we are outsiders. I get a recruiting vibe from him, but that’s not necessarily bad. He explains that he is a converted Protestant, and that most of the parishioners are converted Protestants including the priest, and when my girl tells him she’s a Lutheran he says “That’s great!”. He then asks my background, and then unironically says “Oh, Catholic huh? Can’t say we’ve ever had one of you before” to which I just sort of laughed at. Anyway, at that point we’re earmarked for later recruiting, but they seat us (which was very polite) and I was a little surprised to see an Orthodox church with pews- everyone sat. The Divine Liturgy seemed similar to the Russian Orthodox service except much less energy and holiness- the place felt like callous new construction and cold, such as maybe a New Age church might feel. We get to the priest’s sermon which was 75% solid, but then he starts talking about vaccinations and says “I do hope the vast majority of you get vaccinated” and a five alarm warning goes off in my head instantly. Suddenly everything just felt wrong about the place. How are we supposed to avoid mixing politics with church, when a priest says something like this? Then they begin the Eucharist, which the clergy are wearing surgical gloves to administer (is this normal?). They invited us to receive communion, which we politely declined on assumption that it is wrong to accept communion in a denomination you aren’t formally a member of.

Anyway, afterwards they were again nice and invited us to a room where we could ask questions. I asked them “Do you believe it is our duty as Christians to follow the orders of our nation’s leaders, even if they seemingly conflict with our faith?” and she tried to walk around the question claiming “we don’t mix politics and religion here” (patently false, to my eyes) and then when on a long winded opinion on it where she even suggested “such as abortion; it’s been around for 40 years so it’s not going anywhere, so we’re not going to spend time worrying about it” and I thought “Not with that attitude it’s not going anywhere!” She also mentioned that the priest, who was a converted Protestant, tries to stay in close relations with Christian leaders all around the city across all denominations to “keep a finger on the pulse”. That also didn’t quite sit right with me. Even my Lutheran girlfriend thought the church seemed a bit too liberal.

Sorry for the long first post, but it’s been 7 hours since then and I can’t stop thinking about it. I can deal with formerly conservative American towns flipping woke, but if Orthodoxy has churches going rogue and liberal, then that legitimately concerns me. I will continue exploring Orthodox churches, but this Antiochian one seemed quite foreign to the overarching ethos of Orthodoxy I perceived beforehand. I hope this is not common in Orthodoxy as it is in other denominations- at least one denomination must hold their ground!

Interesting... they are Orthodox and that is great, but since most of the congregation are relative newcomers to the faith - it means that they may not have personal experience and relation to tradition, that say a Russian is born with.
A Russian Orthodox person may have stories of their parents, grandparents, great grandparents etc. being greatly persecuted under soviet rule. This may allow the person to develop a sense of fondness for their Orthodox faith, and the importance of keeping the faith in the face of persecution (which their family and ancestors are familiar with). This is likely one reason why your visit to the Russian Church was significantly better.
Of course this isn’t a prerequisite to be Orthodox, but it greatly helps and could be a reason why your Church is not in tune with the real issues of the world.
 

Roosh

Cardinal
This seems as appropriate a thread to make my first post as any. I never posted here because I generally am not one to talk much online, but I have lurked around here since spring finding the forums fascinating to read. As an aside, I came back to Christianity about 3 years ago, and E. Michael Jones was a big part of that journey, and who led me to discover who this “Roosh V” guy was around 2018. I’ve consumed almost all the Roosh’s content ever since, and he has been an amazing Christian ambassador especially for Millenials. Consuming Roosh’s content led me to explore Orthodoxy for the first time (was raised Catholic but consider Catholicism somewhat a lost cause), and I purchased an Orthodox Study Bible, downloaded Sayings of the Desert Fathers, studied the website “UnseenWarfare.net” (courtesy of Michael Witcoff), watch services online, and watch YouTube videos by Fr. Peter Heers, Fr. Spyridon Bailey, and Fr. Josiah Trenham often. Now I’m at the stage of exploring churches and hit my first roadblock. I randomly chose a Russian Orthodox church in September to visit, and it was the most holy experience I’ve ever been a part of/ witnessed. Unfortunately, as great as it was, to say I felt like an outsider there would be an understatement.

Today I went to an Antiochian Orthodox Church, and hence this post in the form of a “Field Report”- because quite honestly, I had to vent to somebody! It felt, if I had to put it in 1 or 2 words, “Compromised” and “Liberal”. I went there with my girlfriend who is Lutheran (but maybe open to change), and the first thing I notice is the place is tremendously wealthy. It sat on a private compound with a boulevard, a massive brand new building with a dominating dome and modern architecture. I always assumed Orthodoxy was more humble, and many churches (like the Russian one I attended) are basically in a converted old building or a basement of a building (many you wouldn’t even know existed unless you had the address), but this place seemed like a brand new Mormon church or something where money was no issue. We go inside, and a big sign says “STOP! You must be masked, wash your hands with sanitizer, take your temperature, and report it on the check-in sheet”. I should have told her then, “Alright babe, let’s get out of here and go somewhere else”, but we stuck to the plan. We then approach the nave, when a man stops us and eagerly introduces himself because he recognizes we are outsiders. I get a recruiting vibe from him, but that’s not necessarily bad. He explains that he is a converted Protestant, and that most of the parishioners are converted Protestants including the priest, and when my girl tells him she’s a Lutheran he says “That’s great!”. He then asks my background, and then unironically says “Oh, Catholic huh? Can’t say we’ve ever had one of you before” to which I just sort of laughed at. Anyway, at that point we’re earmarked for later recruiting, but they seat us (which was very polite) and I was a little surprised to see an Orthodox church with pews- everyone sat. The Divine Liturgy seemed similar to the Russian Orthodox service except much less energy and holiness- the place felt like callous new construction and cold, such as maybe a New Age church might feel. We get to the priest’s sermon which was 75% solid, but then he starts talking about vaccinations and says “I do hope the vast majority of you get vaccinated” and a five alarm warning goes off in my head instantly. Suddenly everything just felt wrong about the place. How are we supposed to avoid mixing politics with church, when a priest says something like this? Then they begin the Eucharist, which the clergy are wearing surgical gloves to administer (is this normal?). They invited us to receive communion, which we politely declined on assumption that it is wrong to accept communion in a denomination you aren’t formally a member of.

Anyway, afterwards they were again nice and invited us to a room where we could ask questions. I asked them “Do you believe it is our duty as Christians to follow the orders of our nation’s leaders, even if they seemingly conflict with our faith?” and she tried to walk around the question claiming “we don’t mix politics and religion here” (patently false, to my eyes) and then when on a long winded opinion on it where she even suggested “such as abortion; it’s been around for 40 years so it’s not going anywhere, so we’re not going to spend time worrying about it” and I thought “Not with that attitude it’s not going anywhere!” She also mentioned that the priest, who was a converted Protestant, tries to stay in close relations with Christian leaders all around the city across all denominations to “keep a finger on the pulse”. That also didn’t quite sit right with me. Even my Lutheran girlfriend thought the church seemed a bit too liberal.

Sorry for the long first post, but it’s been 7 hours since then and I can’t stop thinking about it. I can deal with formerly conservative American towns flipping woke, but if Orthodoxy has churches going rogue and liberal, then that legitimately concerns me. I will continue exploring Orthodox churches, but this Antiochian one seemed quite foreign to the overarching ethos of Orthodoxy I perceived beforehand. I hope this is not common in Orthodoxy as it is in other denominations- at least one denomination must hold their ground!
Since you've done your own study before finding a parish, I think it would be safe to trust your instinct. Your description of this Antiochian parish suggests it is not suitable. Be patient as you continue the search, and pray to God that he puts you in the right parish.
 

NickK

Robin
Then they begin the Eucharist, which the clergy are wearing surgical gloves to administer (is this normal?). They invited us to receive communion, which we politely declined on assumption that it is wrong to accept communion in a denomination you aren’t formally a member of.
You used the word "compromised". It very clearly is compromised.

You also felt the church was "cold". There is no Grace in places where people blashpeme God so openly, by wearing gloves when administering Christ. Hence the coldness you felt. The fact that you did feel it is a good sign.

Keep searching for a better parish! God Bless.
 

Aboulia

Woodpecker
Interesting... they are Orthodox and that is great, but since most of the congregation are relative newcomers to the faith - it means that they may not have personal experience and relation to tradition, that say a Russian is born with.
A Russian Orthodox person may have stories of their parents, grandparents, great grandparents etc. being greatly persecuted under soviet rule. This may allow the person to develop a sense of fondness for their Orthodox faith, and the importance of keeping the faith in the face of persecution (which their family and ancestors are familiar with). This is likely one reason why your visit to the Russian Church was significantly better.
Of course this isn’t a prerequisite to be Orthodox, but it greatly helps and could be a reason why your Church is not in tune with the real issues of the world.
No they're not. That's the problem, they pose as Orthodox, but are not Orthodox if beserker2001's description is accurate. Orthodoxy is not wearing a set of robes and having a nicely decorated church. It's adherence to the truth no matter the consequences.

They may be ignorant of what they're doing wrong. It just calls into question who ordained this priest, and who's supporting this diocese, someone dropped the ball somewhere, or let corruption seep in.
 
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