Joining the Orthodox Church

Coja Petrus Uscan

Hummingbird
Gold Member
@The Resilient, @PainPositive, @MichaelWitcoff, @Blade Runner, @Matianus
and others. I am looking for some advice.

I started going to Catholic churches in December 2019, when I was in Moscow. I had been drawn towards the church for some time, because I have long been interested in things such as having a large family and anti-abortion. Further, I'd long thought the church would have been a better place for me to seek another half, as my Victorian nature never really suited this thing we find ourselves in now. I though of this at least back to 2015. But I could not find a way to believe and I had no exposure to anything that would change that. That is where the forum came in.

I can't pinpoint that exact time I started to believe, because there wasn't one. But it was likely some time early last year.

Since I have been all over the place and with the CCP virus there has not been much opportunity to explore. When I have it's been in countries I can understand little to none of the language.

Yet I have always been troubled by the exterior of The Catholic Church. Their iconography always speaks to me of softness, some type of materialistic decadence and other things I can't really put my finger on. I still like the various renegade Catholic orders, but Rome is going off the rails. I have seen all sorts lefty proclamations emanating from Catholic bodies. A majority of American Catholics voted for abortionist Joe Biden. Someone quite knowledgeable on these things has told me that The Catholic Church has been through such fallen states, and that the answer is to remain within. It makes sense, but I feel myself drifting anyway.

I have long been attracted to the exterior of The Orthodox Church, though I know little of it, it seems to be more similar to my nature of calm, reserved, and northern; rather than the hot, exuberante Messicanisms of the Catholics. I have an Orthodox icon, which I keep next to my computer. I don't feel compelled to buy any Catholic paraphernalia.

Where I am staying the Catholic churches are full of Indians. What da?!? I don't feel much interest in going to them. There are also all kinds of other churches, which are mostly full of people I don't want to mix with. There are several Orthodox churches, but it seems they are all Coptic, bar a Greek one and a Russian one; and an Armenian one. The patronage of the Greek one appears to be primarily Greek, but I imagine it must be a catch-all.

Recently I have been speaking with someone from Serbia. I have known them for several years and never really knew they were religious. I have told them that it seems people (particularly in America) are turning to The Orthodox Church, probably in small numbers, but it seems to be a growing trend. They are quite interested in this. I guess as a sign of hope. They told me they had read about an Orthodox church in England and wondered if this might be due to this same phenomena. The church happened to be a short journey from my hometown. I knew of its existence, but assumed it was something to do with Bulgarian/Romanian immigrants. But it was created by English people, part of The Greek Orthodox Church. Though at this point it was too late to think about visiting it.

I have ancestors who were members of all the churches - Protestant, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox; with other less savoury influences (hold your wallet). But the latter two are quite distant, having been severed about 200 and 148 years ago respectively.

Some time ago Roosh published an article suggesting people go to the Antioch or American Orthodox churches. I seem to remember Greek was a maybe.

What would members suggest on going to a Greek church (their literature is in Greek, English and Arabic)? And what would you do as a first-time attendee?
 

Eusebius Erasmus

Woodpecker
@The Resilient, @PainPositive, @MichaelWitcoff, @Blade Runner, @Matianus
and others. I am looking for some advice.

I started going to Catholic churches in December 2019, when I was in Moscow. I had been drawn towards the church for some time, because I have long been interested in things such as having a large family and anti-abortion. Further, I'd long thought the church would have been a better place for me to seek another half, as my Victorian nature never really suited this thing we find ourselves in now. I though of this at least back to 2015. But I could not find a way to believe and I had no exposure to anything that would change that. That is where the forum came in.

I can't pinpoint that exact time I started to believe, because there wasn't one. But it was likely some time early last year.

Since I have been all over the place and with the CCP virus there has not been much opportunity to explore. When I have it's been in countries I can understand little to none of the language.

Yet I have always been troubled by the exterior of The Catholic Church. Their iconography always speaks to me of softness, some type of materialistic decadence and other things I can't really put my finger on. I still like the various renegade Catholic orders, but Rome is going off the rails. I have seen all sorts lefty proclamations emanating from Catholic bodies. A majority of American Catholics voted for abortionist Joe Biden. Someone quite knowledgeable on these things has told me that The Catholic Church has been through such fallen states, and that the answer is to remain within. It makes sense, but I feel myself drifting anyway.

I have long been attracted to the exterior of The Orthodox Church, though I know little of it, it seems to be more similar to my nature of calm, reserved, and northern; rather than the hot, exuberante Messicanisms of the Catholics. I have an Orthodox icon, which I keep next to my computer. I don't feel compelled to buy any Catholic paraphernalia.

Where I am staying the Catholic churches are full of Indians. What da?!? I don't feel much interest in going to them. There are also all kinds of other churches, which are mostly full of people I don't want to mix with. There are several Orthodox churches, but it seems they are all Coptic, bar a Greek one and a Russian one; and an Armenian one. The patronage of the Greek one appears to be primarily Greek, but I imagine it must be a catch-all.

Recently I have been speaking with someone from Serbia. I have known them for several years and never really knew they were religious. I have told them that it seems people (particularly in America) are turning to The Orthodox Church, probably in small numbers, but it seems to be a growing trend. They are quite interested in this. I guess as a sign of hope. They told me they had read about an Orthodox church in England and wondered if this might be due to this same phenomena. The church happened to be a short journey from my hometown. I knew of its existence, but assumed it was something to do with Bulgarian/Romanian immigrants. But it was created by English people, part of The Greek Orthodox Church. Though at this point it was too late to think about visiting it.

I have ancestors who were members of all the churches - Protestant, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox; with other less savoury influences (hold your wallet). But the latter two are quite distant, having been severed about 200 and 148 years ago respectively.

Some time ago Roosh published an article suggesting people go to the Antioch or American Orthodox churches. I seem to remember Greek was a maybe.

What would members suggest on going to a Greek church (their literature is in Greek, English and Arabic)? And what would you do as a first-time attendee?
Reading this, you may want to examine your intentions first. There are two questions to ask yourself:

1. You say that your original motivation for seeking a church is your ‘Victorian’ attitude and your desire for a spouse. Is this the reason you want to join, or do you want to find communion with Christ? If the former, then the Orthodox Church won’t give you satisfaction.

2. You say that there are certain people/races you don’t want to mix with. This is not a good attitude for a Christian to have: we are to put aside our pride when dealing with others. Is your desire for the Orthodox Church due to ethnic nationalism? If so, do not seek the Orthodox Church.

I hope this helps. Blessings to you.
 

Coja Petrus Uscan

Hummingbird
Gold Member
1. You say that your original motivation for seeking a church is your ‘Victorian’ attitude and your desire for a spouse. Is this the reason you want to join, or do you want to find communion with Christ? If the former, then the Orthodox Church won’t give you satisfaction.

The answer to your question here is 'yes'.

2. You say that there are certain people/races you don’t want to mix with. This is not a good attitude for a Christian to have: we are to put aside our pride when dealing with others. Is your desire for the Orthodox Church due to ethnic nationalism?

I didn't say this specifically, and this is something I have thought a lot on. I have seen and heard about the types of men who move to certain countries to find young women to marry who don't look like them. I have heard both sides of the coin. When women end up brought back to The West and cut off from everything they knew and it didn't fit into their new culture. Or when Western men go elsewhere and are the lone white guy at, say, a church or family homes full of Philippians. It just doesn't work. People often make these choices for less than ideal reasons. This has been covered on the forum quite a bit, including quoting Christian thought, such as Thomas Aquinas. Mixing up people from different areas, countries, races doesn't lead to strong societies.

It doesn't feel right to be in a church full of Indians. I am a stranger among them and always would be. From your posts, I am guessing you are a Malankara from India. I don't believe I should be at your church. I would be interested to go for a visit with a member to see what it is about, but it is too far from my culture. And although some might find it good and interesting, there would no doubt be a significant number of members who don't want untold outsiders coming into the church.
 

Eusebius Erasmus

Woodpecker
I didn't say this specifically, and this is something I have thought a lot on. I have seen and heard about the types of men who move to certain countries to find young women to marry who don't look like them. I have heard both sides of the coin. When women end up brought back to The West and cut off from everything they knew and it didn't fit into their new culture. Or when Western men go elsewhere and are the lone white guy at, say, a church or family homes full of Philippians. It just doesn't work. People often make these choices for less than ideal reasons. This has been covered on the forum quite a bit, including quoting Christian thought, such as Thomas Aquinas. Mixing up people from different areas, countries, races doesn't lead to strong societies.

It doesn't feel right to be in a church full of Indians. I am a stranger among them and always would be. From your posts, I am guessing you are a Malankara from India. I don't believe I should be at your church. I would be interested to go for a visit with a member to see what it is about, but it is too far from my culture. And although some might find it good and interesting, there would no doubt be a significant number of members who don't want untold outsiders coming into the church.
I’m not sure what Aquinas says about this, but don’t particularly care: we Orthodox don’t revere Aquinas’s writings.

I agree that artificially mixing people from different races and ethnicities is wrong, like the globalists are doing now.

However, as Christians we are all of one race since we are adopted children of God. I have no problem with my children marrying people from other ethnicities, as long as they’re practicing Orthodox Christians.

There are no ‘ethnic churches in Orthodox understanding, though there are churches that have geographic boundaries.

As for the Malankara Church, you should come and see a service. Most parishes are welcoming to outsiders. I have even been welcomed at a Serbian Orthodox parish, and taken communion there.

The racial right wing politics that has infested Christianity is inconsistent with the gospel.

Ask yourself: would Christ have been uncomfortable visiting churches with different people?
 

DanielH

Pelican
I’m not sure what Aquinas says about this, but don’t particularly care: we Orthodox don’t revere Aquinas’s writings.

I agree that artificially mixing people from different races and ethnicities is wrong, like the globalists are doing now.

However, as Christians we are all of one race since we are adopted children of God. I have no problem with my children marrying people from other ethnicities, as long as they’re practicing Orthodox Christians.

There are no ‘ethnic churches in Orthodox understanding, though there are churches that have geographic boundaries.

As for the Malankara Church, you should come and see a service. Most parishes are welcoming to outsiders. I have even been welcomed at a Serbian Orthodox parish, and taken communion there.

The racial right wing politics that has infested Christianity is inconsistent with the gospel.

Ask yourself: would Christ have been uncomfortable visiting churches with different people?
Wait, so you're not Eastern Orthodox but you took communion in an EO church?
 

Coja Petrus Uscan

Hummingbird
Gold Member
There are no ‘ethnic churches in Orthodox understanding, though there are churches that have geographic boundaries.

This is not my finding from having spent a year in Serbia and six months in Russia. There are two guys I have spoke to from the forum, Orthodox; and their requirement is white and Orthodox for marriage. With the quality of 'Orthodox' women in America they have queried Ethiopian. If you are talking about Serbs and Russians, replace white with Serb/Russian for many.

As for the Malankara Church, you should come and see a service. Most parishes are welcoming to outsiders. I have even been welcomed at a Serbian Orthodox parish, and taken communion there.

I probably will, it seems there are about 6-7 churches here that are either Coptic or Malankara. When I was in Orlando (what da?!?) in 2019 I noted there was a Coptic church down the road. I was not a believer then, but the pull had been there for a few years prior. I just had no further cues than a few fragments that I had picked up that had kindled my interest. Regarding the Coptic church, I also had no idea what they would think to random, out-group, non-believers wondering in.

@Eusebius Erasmus,

I have ancestors who were members of all the churches - Protestant, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox; with other less savoury influences (hold your wallet). But the latter two are quite distant, having been severed about 200 and 148 years ago respectively.

What type of people do you think have Oriental and Eastern Orthodox ancestors? Jews aren't the only ones you need to hold your wallet around.
 
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Eusebius Erasmus

Woodpecker
This is not my finding from having spent a year in Serbia and six months in Russia. There are two guys I have spoke to from the forum, Orthodox; and their requirement is white and Orthodox for marriage. With the quality of 'Orthodox' women in America they have queried Ethiopian. If you are talking about Serbs and Russians, replace white with Serb...
I’m not talking about what races you find attractive. That’s a separate question. The Orthodox Church doesn’t say that you should avoid certain persons or ethnicities, or proscribe marriage with certain racial groups.

What individual Orthodox find attractive is their own business. However, the Orthodox do not have ethnic churches according to canon.


My original statement was in response to your claim that you don’t feel comfortable with certain ethnic groups. I’m just wondering if Christ would feel the same way.

The very concept of ‘race’ as such is a liberal post-Enlightenment one, predicated upon supposedly scientific categorization.
 

Coja Petrus Uscan

Hummingbird
Gold Member
I’m not talking about what races you find attractive. That’s a separate question. The Orthodox Church doesn’t say that you should avoid certain persons or ethnicities, or proscribe marriage with certain racial groups. What individual Orthodox find attractive is their own business.


My original statement was in response to your claim that you don’t feel comfortable with certain ethnic groups. I’m just wondering if Christ would feel the same way.

The evidence is that despite the self-loathing and adjacent practices, whites have by far the highest in-group preference for marriage, particularly white women. This is anecdotal, but I have only seen it more strong among Eastern European (Orthodox) people. This does not necessarily mean they will interact with out-groups any differently. There is a survey of immigration preferences in Europe and the least open to immigration by a long way were Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro. While faith is in decline and they have lost their way in most of the same ways as other European countries they are still much stronger than in Catholic/Protestant Europe. Serbs are very friendly to guests, but like Russians and Armenians, they are more insular, and thus more protected. Though I have ancestry from one of those peoples and have had an attraction to perusing a life as one. It doesn't feel right and I know I could never belong. I don't believe this is an ideal model for society, particularly en mass. With Indians, I could neither belong and I a have no desire to become an Indian-adjacent. I can and have spent good times only with Bengalis, but that's as far as it can go in any sensible way of living your life.

I am living as a small minority around people whom, I guess, mostly look like you. This is not an issue. I am not uncomfortable around them on a day-to-day basis. But being the sole white person in a community of hundreds of Indians does not feel right. I do not feel the desire to mix with them. If this makes me spiritually deficient, then so be it. I don't wish any ill will to them, the opposite. I am sure many feel the same in return, and I would not feel resentment for that. It's not that there could be some sort of respect or short-term camaraderie, but there is no real bond.

The very concept of ‘race’ as such is a liberal post-Enlightenment one, predicated upon supposedly scientific categorization.

I don't think this is true. Medieval English/European writing/art shows quite distinct lines drawn between English/Europeans and Saracens (Arabs), blacks and Jews. This work was typically composed by clergy. There is a stream of art history that used it to deliniate the intersection between Christianity and terrorism. The same is found in early Islamic texts. Coptic clergy were engaged in the Arab slave trade, castrating blacks and burying them in the sand - an act which few survived. That this was a fate only blacks were meted out shows a clear distinction. The Egyptians had a much clearer distinction between themselves and the Nubians, than they did with Greeks or Anatolians.

Categorisation by appearance seems to be an inherent human trait. When empires have fallen, people have very quickly reorganised much more on ethnic lines, which may have been blurred over 100s of years. They haven't reorganised around Christianity. Is this a failing of Christ? Yes.
 
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Aboulia

Woodpecker
Coja, Your outlook is understandable, and I don't see anything that will get in your way of being Orthodox. Men like to marry those that share culture, speak the same language, and look like them. It's completely natural to have a preference in this direction, for like wants to reproduce like. As long as you aren't harbouring any ill-will, or feel superior to anybody solely for ethnic group belonging (which you don't seem to be) it's a non-issue.

Eusebius you are correct, the Church is universal, but it must have an ethnic expression because that's how people live their lives. it has to be rooted in a people, and a culture, otherwise it's an abstraction. You're going too far in the other direction. Yes, Christ is the universal form of man, but at the same time it retained ethnic distinctions for a reason. It's to keep the peace between peoples.


What would members suggest on going to a Greek church (their literature is in Greek, English and Arabic)? And what would you do as a first-time attendee?

The primary importance for starting out is to look for services in a language you understand, there's no point to the services if you can't understand them. As a first time attendee, I suggest you contact the priest, and while you're not following his advice, I suggest you stand there, pay attention to what's going on, but don't expect to understand, while trying to listen to the service.
 

Eusebius Erasmus

Woodpecker
Eusebius you are correct, the Church is universal, but it must have an ethnic expression because that's how people live their lives. it has to be rooted in a people, and a culture, otherwise it's an abstraction. You're going too far in the other direction. Yes, Christ is the universal form of man, but at the same time it retained ethnic distinctions for a reason. It's to keep the peace between peoples.
The Church doesn't have 'ethnic' organization. Church episcopacy is organized around geographic land mass, not ethnicity.

Should the Orthodox Church cater to particular cultures, on the other hand? Of course, this is historical practice. I'm happy that the Divine Liturgy is in English, and that there are various other accoutrements.

That, of course, is separate from modern definitions of ethnicity, which are not 'natural,' but rather part of a post-Enlightenment paradigm. Nobody in Early Modern or Ancient times had the strange notions of 'race' that we have today, for example.
 

Aboulia

Woodpecker
The Church doesn't have 'ethnic' organization. Church episcopacy is organized around geographic land mass, not ethnicity.

What the hierarchy does, and their squabbles whether Russia has jurisdiction here, or Greece has jurisdiction there is largely irrelevant to the average parishioner (unless of course, the hierarchy is trying to impose some new novelty in practice). There's a reason why I said expression, and not organization. Of course the Church is not rooted around physical appearances, it's rooted in Christ, but that doesn't change the reality that each person is born in this world in an ethnic group, that speaks a particular language and has specific customs.

Furthermore, now that I think of it. If it's geographical boundaries that organize the Church, why did the Bulgarians split from the Greeks? Was that illegitimate? Or are foreign nations exploiting others a good thing? God allows nations due to human weakness because people are naturally more compassionate to those of the same ethnic group, there's an expected trust. It's why King David is lamenting in Psalm 55. Knowing those bonds also, is why the Jews were used as tax collectors, and why the Jews were vastly overrepresented in the soviet Cheka.

Ethnos historically includes faith, I know I've mentioned several times on this forum that the Russian Prayer books mention the Theotokos as the salvation of the "Christian race".

Back when I was a Protestant, and was looking for churches, I will always remember the time I stepped into an all black church. I'm sure they're nice people, but they're not my people, and I don't belong. I know when I'm an outsider, I'm generally on the margins with my own people, let alone another ethnic group.

So for Coja to seek out a similar ethnicity in a time when:
A) The Western world is unstable, and
B) diversity propaganda is rammed down everyone's throat

is entirely understandable, I'm not saying it's 100% ideal, it's just understandable.
 

PainPositive

Kingfisher
Gold Member
@Coja Petrus Uscan
Have you asked God? I would start by doing that.
I'm a baby in terms of Orthodoxy, but I would say to pray to God, Christ, The Holy Spirit, The Mother of God, your Guardian Angel, and Saints to help you first.

1. Set up a prayer rule. https://orthodoxprayer.org/Prayer Rule.html
2. Pray using that rule as often as you can, but at least in the morning and before bed.
3. Talk to a priest.

I would like to help you more, but I'm afraid my "advice" might not be what God would have you do. My advice might be full of pride and lead you astray. Ask God first.
 

Grow Bag

Woodpecker
I've been interested in Orthodoxy since I first read Way of the Pilgrim about 10 years ago. I've always been attracted to mysticism, and have practiced the prayer of the heart for 2 years solid. A nights ago I listened to Met. Jonah give a talk on the nous and found myself in tears and tingling all over. That was the sign for me to try to make contact with the Orthodox church and finding a spiritual director.

I won't comment over negatively on the Roman Catholic Church, apart from some not too pleasant nuns, I've not had bad experiences with RC, but I simply cannot fulfill it's requirements anymore. I do not respect the current pope or the way the Vatican have handled child predators historically. And I'm sick and tired of the remorseless drive to help poor Africans I see in so many churches, when we have plenty enough poor people in the West. It's also just plain paternalism. Africans would be better served by being encouraged to deal with their own poverty and problems by the Church and Western governments. I've still got that "Irishman" (((Bob Geldoff))) ringing in my ears to this day.
 
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