Joining the Orthodox Church

FactusIRX

Kingfisher
I'm seriously considering converting to Orthodox. I'm having extreme difficulties with the Pope's position at the head of the Catholic Church, and I don't really "buy" the explanation by the SSPX that post-Vatican 2 teachings are not Papal directives, but just omissions.

About a year ago, I checked out the Orthodox Church of America and didn't like it. I'm thinking of visiting a Greek Orthodox Church. Anyone from the Greek Orthodox Church can tell me how it is?
 

jarlo

Woodpecker
I'm seriously considering converting to Orthodox. I'm having extreme difficulties with the Pope's position at the head of the Catholic Church, and I don't really "buy" the explanation by the SSPX that post-Vatican 2 teachings are not Papal directives, but just omissions.

About a year ago, I checked out the Orthodox Church of America and didn't like it. I'm thinking of visiting a Greek Orthodox Church. Anyone from the Greek Orthodox Church can tell me how it is?
What did you not like about the OCA parish you went to? The Greeks have a reputation for being relatively liberal compared to other dioceses, but there are still plenty of great Greek Orthodox priests and devout Greek Orthodox laity. I wouldn't let the Internet reputation of Greek Orthodox prevent you from going to a Greek Orthodox church.

There can be a lot of variation within a diocese in the quality of parishes. This can be due to a priest who's just mailing it in in terms of doing his job, because of parishioners who treat church like an ethnic club, or due to poor leadership from a bishop. Orthodox institutions still have their problems like anyone else. I wouldn't necessarily rule out the OCA due to one bad experience. Just keep emailing/meeting with priests and visiting different parishes until you find one that clicks with you.
 

get2choppaaa

Pelican
What did you not like about the OCA parish you went to? The Greeks have a reputation for being relatively liberal compared to other dioceses, but there are still plenty of great Greek Orthodox priests and devout Greek Orthodox laity. I wouldn't let the Internet reputation of Greek Orthodox prevent you from going to a Greek Orthodox church.

There can be a lot of variation within a diocese in the quality of parishes. This can be due to a priest who's just mailing it in in terms of doing his job, because of parishioners who treat church like an ethnic club, or due to poor leadership from a bishop. Orthodox institutions still have their problems like anyone else. I wouldn't necessarily rule out the OCA due to one bad experience. Just keep emailing/meeting with priests and visiting different parishes until you find one that clicks with you.
The Bishop for the Denver area is Isiah for the Greek Orthodox in America. He is as conservative as they come.

Heard him give a sermon around the impeachment time. It was amazing.

Its really dependent on the Bishop within the Greek Church.

Antiochian Orthodox (where I go now) is much more open to concerned than some of the more heavily ethnic branches.

If you can find any of them that have the liturgy in English or are set up as a convert's church, I would start there.
 

OrthoLeaf

Pigeon
I'm seriously considering converting to Orthodox. I'm having extreme difficulties with the Pope's position at the head of the Catholic Church, and I don't really "buy" the explanation by the SSPX that post-Vatican 2 teachings are not Papal directives, but just omissions.

About a year ago, I checked out the Orthodox Church of America and didn't like it. I'm thinking of visiting a Greek Orthodox Church. Anyone from the Greek Orthodox Church can tell me how it is?
Take it all on a parish by parish basis. There are plenty of "based" branches with "pozzed" parishes and vice versa. With that said, I still recommend ROCOR, Serbian, Romanian first, simply because they have a recent history of communist oppression and it shows in their more consistent defiance of these covid draconian laws. Don't hesitate to join a Greek parish, if you find an excellent priest but be aware of a potential schism forming in the Church, due to the actions of the Ecumenical Patriarch - Fr. Spyridon Bailey spoke on this as one of the issues why he left the Greek branch several years back. This sad state of affairs could place you into a difficult position going forward.

All that said, both Greek and Old Church Slavonic are absolutely beautiful and experiencing a liturgy with both English and these ancient languages is truly a wonderful experience.

P.S. You're correct about Vat II - It's considered "infallible and irreversible"
 

DanielH

Pelican
I'm seriously considering converting to Orthodox. I'm having extreme difficulties with the Pope's position at the head of the Catholic Church, and I don't really "buy" the explanation by the SSPX that post-Vatican 2 teachings are not Papal directives, but just omissions.

About a year ago, I checked out the Orthodox Church of America and didn't like it. I'm thinking of visiting a Greek Orthodox Church. Anyone from the Greek Orthodox Church can tell me how it is?
I'm a member of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

The two closest parishes to my hometown are Greek and OCA. The OCA one is by FAR the more liberal of the two*. Multiple communion spoons, wiping mouths with napkins after communion, then throwing Christ's Blood in a literal Trader Joe's bag, female chanter wearing men's clothing with an uncovered head. In the entire world I've never heard of a worse parish in Orthodoxy.

If that was your experience I don't blame you for leaving that place. Go ahead and try the GOARCH parish, they might have a great priest and community but don't have high expectations as far as the administration goes. I've had great experiences with my Greek parish but that's from personal connections, namely the priest and the family which essentially adopted me when I became Orthodox. At first I disliked that the liturgy was 50% or more in Greek, but it is growing on me. It's not as hard to learn the important parts as you'd think and it sounds beautiful. But if it's in English that's fantastic as well.

Don't let any of this deter you from becoming Orthodox, people will always be fallen.

*The other OCA parishes I've gone to are the exact opposite and are among the most beautiful experiences I've ever had.

I've also visited two ROCOR parishes. One was amazing and treated me as if I was always a part of their family, even though I was just visiting, the other not so much. It varies a lot, obviously, because of our nature.
 

FactusIRX

Kingfisher
I'm a member of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

The two closest parishes to my hometown are Greek and OCA. The OCA one is by FAR the more liberal of the two*. Multiple communion spoons, wiping mouths with napkins after communion, then throwing Christ's Blood in a literal Trader Joe's bag, female chanter wearing men's clothing with an uncovered head. In the entire world I've never heard of a worse parish in Orthodoxy.

If that was your experience I don't blame you for leaving that place. Go ahead and try the GOARCH parish, they might have a great priest and community but don't have high expectations as far as the administration goes. I've had great experiences with my Greek parish but that's from personal connections, namely the priest and the family which essentially adopted me when I became Orthodox. At first I disliked that the liturgy was 50% or more in Greek, but it is growing on me. It's not as hard to learn the important parts as you'd think and it sounds beautiful. But if it's in English that's fantastic as well.

Don't let any of this deter you from becoming Orthodox, people will always be fallen.

*The other OCA parishes I've gone to are the exact opposite and are among the most beautiful experiences I've ever had.

I've also visited two ROCOR parishes. One was amazing and treated me as if I was always a part of their family, even though I was just visiting, the other not so much. It varies a lot, obviously, because of our nature.
That was my experience with the local OCA church. It also has a really strict mask mandate. Thank you for the the advice on the GOARCH parish. As someone who attends Latin mass, I'm used to having the liturgy or mass being in another language. I only need the sermon to be in English. God Bless.
 

FactusIRX

Kingfisher
Take it all on a parish by parish basis. There are plenty of "based" branches with "pozzed" parishes and vice versa. With that said, I still recommend ROCOR, Serbian, Romanian first, simply because they have a recent history of communist oppression and it shows in their more consistent defiance of these covid draconian laws. Don't hesitate to join a Greek parish, if you find an excellent priest but be aware of a potential schism forming in the Church, due to the actions of the Ecumenical Patriarch - Fr. Spyridon Bailey spoke on this as one of the issues why he left the Greek branch several years back. This sad state of affairs could place you into a difficult position going forward.

All that said, both Greek and Old Church Slavonic are absolutely beautiful and experiencing a liturgy with both English and these ancient languages is truly a wonderful experience.

P.S. You're correct about Vat II - It's considered "infallible and irreversible"
Interesting. Thank you for the information.

It's hard for the SSPX to claim, on the one hand, the infallibility of the Catholic Church when the SSPX rejects the last 70+ years of the Catholic Church teachings. It's also hard to accept the SSPX claiming the infallibility of the Catholic Church hierarchy and structure when the Catholic Church hierarchy barely tolerates the SSPX.

I'll be praying to God and will be checking out multiple different parishes, knowing God will direct me to the appropriate church for myself and for my family.
 

OrthoLeaf

Pigeon
Interesting. Thank you for the information.

It's hard for the SSPX to claim, on the one hand, the infallibility of the Catholic Church when the SSPX rejects the last 70+ years of the Catholic Church teachings. It's also hard to accept the SSPX claiming the infallibility of the Catholic Church hierarchy and structure when the Catholic Church hierarchy barely tolerates the SSPX.

I'll be praying to God and will be checking out multiple different parishes, knowing God will direct me to the appropriate church for myself and for my family.
Sorry in advance for the long and tedious nature of this reply, but I wanted to demonstrate using their own words and according to their own dogmas that Vatican II is to be considered as a divinely revealed, infallible and irreversible dogma of the Catholic Church. This puts the Catholics in a bind. Either:

A) The Catholic Church is correct and Vat II is the infallible word of God.
B) The Catholic Church has been in error for 70 years now, which according to her dogma should not and can not be possible, and thus demonstrating she is no longer being led by the Holy Spirit, and therefore, the papal ecclesiology has not worked to preserve true doctrine, as Catholic apologists like to claim.

Denzinger: Sources of Dogma (https://patristica.net/denzinger/#n1600)

1578 - The prescription of the synod about the order of transacting business in the conferences, in which, after it prefaced "in every article that which pertains to faith and to the essence of religion must be distinguished from that which is proper to discipline," it adds, "in this itself (discipline) there is to be distinguished what is necessary or useful to retain the faithful in spirit, from that which is useless or too burdensome for the liberty of the sons of the new Covenant to endure, but more so, from that which is dangerous or harmful, namely, leading to superstition and materialism"; in so far as by the generality of the words it includes and submits to a prescribed examination even the discipline established and approved by the Church, as if the Church which is ruled by the Spirit of God could have established discipline which is not only useless and burdensome for Christian liberty to endure, but which is even dangerous and harmful and leading to superstition and materialism,--false, rash, scandalous, dangerous, offensive to pious ears, injurious to the Church and to the Spirit of God by whom it is guided, at least erroneous.

1683 - While, in truth, We laud these men with due praise because they professed the truth which necessarily arises from their obligation to the Catholic faith, We wish to persuade Ourselves that they did not wish to confine the obligation, by which Catholic teachers and writers are absolutely bound, only to those decrees which are set forth by the infallible judgment of the Church as dogmas of faith to be believed by all [see n. 1722]. And We persuade Ourselves, also, that they did not wish to declare that that perfect adhesion to revealed truths, which they recognized as absolutely necessary to attain true progress in the sciences and to refute errors, could be obtained if faith and obedience were given only to the dogmas expressly defined by the Church. For, even if it were a matter concerning that subjection which is to be manifested by an act of divine faith, nevertheless, it would not have to be limited to those matters which have been defined by express decrees of the ecumenical Councils, or of the Roman Pontiffs and of this See, but would have to be extended also to those matters which are handed down as divinely revealed by the ordinary teaching power of the whole Church spread throughout the world, and therefore, by universal and common consent are held by Catholic theologians to belong to faith.

1698 - Nor do they blush to profess openly and publicly the axiom and principle of heretics from which so many perverse opinions and errors arise. For they repeatedly say that "the ecclesiastical power is not by divine right distinct from and independent of the civil power, and that the distinction and independence of the same could not be preserved without the essential rights of the civil power being invaded and usurped by the Church." And, we cannot pass over in silence the boldness of those who "not enduring sound doctrine" [2 Tim. 4:3], contend that "without sin and with no loss of Catholic profession, one can withhold assent and obedience to those judgments and decrees of the Apostolic See, whose object is declared to relate to the general good of the Church and its rights and discipline, provided it does not touch dogmas of faith or morals." There is no one who does not see and understand clearly and openly how opposed this is to the Catholic dogma of the plenary power divinely bestowed on the Roman Pontiff by Christ the Lord Himself of feeding, ruling, and governing the universal Church.

1792 - [The object of faith] .Further, by divine and Catholic faith, all those things must be believed which are contained in the written word of God and in tradition, and those which are proposed by the Church, either in a solemn pronouncement or in her ordinary and universal teaching power, to be believed as divinely revealed.

- Vatican 2 was a Ecumenical Council. Therefore, the teachings are as binding, according to the aforementioned Catholic dogmas, as the Trinity.

"And today, there is still work to be done in this direction, in particular by rediscovering the reasons for the decisions taken with regard to the liturgical reform, by overcoming unfounded and superficial readings, a partial reception, and practices that disfigure it. It is not a matter of rethinking the reform by reviewing the choices in its regard, but of knowing better the underlying reasons, through historical documentation, as well as of internalizing its inspirational principles and of observing the discipline that governs it. After this magisterium, after this long journey, We can affirm with certainty and with magisterial authority that the liturgical reform is irreversible."
 
The Bishop for the Denver area is Isiah for the Greek Orthodox in America. He is as conservative as they come.

Heard him give a sermon around the impeachment time. It was amazing.

Its really dependent on the Bishop within the Greek Church.

Antiochian Orthodox (where I go now) is much more open to concerned than some of the more heavily ethnic branches.

If you can find any of them that have the liturgy in English or are set up as a convert's church, I would start there.
I had a great experience with Metropolitan Isaiah. I literally dropped in his office in Denver asked if he was free to talk. He was available and very gracious; we ended up talking about 45 minutes. He greatly aided Elder Ephraim of Arizona in his efforts.
 

get2choppaaa

Pelican
I had a great experience with Metropolitan Isaiah. I literally dropped in his office in Denver asked if he was free to talk. He was available and very gracious; we ended up talking about 45 minutes. He greatly aided Elder Ephraim of Arizona in his efforts.
Thats amazing. His story is pretty interesting also. Serving as a Marine during the Korean War. I found him to be incredibly patriotic about the good virtues of America and the Constitution, while aware of the way our country and government have been weaponized against the very people whom give it authority.

In his sermon he actually pointed out the hypocrisy of judgement most Americans go on about as they castigate other nations as well as castigate each other. He literally said that there are people in America that compare their enemies within the country to Nazi's meanwhile we have killed over 60 million babies since Roe V Wade and that America. We have no moral authority to pretend to know what is best for others since we as a nation have strayed from God. He harped on the Constitution being the ultimate document for civil government and he called out the dems for trampling it for political means during the Trump Era.

I also found the priest at that church there to be very conservative. When I met with him we talked about faith for a while then talked about guns and hunting for about 20 mins. His sermons were always VERY VERY right wing. He called out BLM saying they were literally possessed by demons. SOOOOO all this is to say, that while there may be more liberal leaning priests in different parishes regardless of jurisdiction.... The Bishop is the one who oversees the conduct of his priests.

I currently go to an Antiochian Church, the priest is very conservative, but his messages are generally more liturgically focused and less social commentary (though he is very anti Covid hysteria and said we are all going to be judged by the way we react to this). The service is also more friendly for the kids (5 boys all in all) and a convert's church with everything in English and a wonderful choir.
 

budoslavic

Owl
Gold Member
That was my experience with the local OCA church. It also has a really strict mask mandate.
In case if anyone is unaware, The Assembly of Bishops put out a statement regarding COVID-19 vaccinations & immunizations last January. Check to see if the parish's diocese you're interested in is on that list.

Note: The Assembly of Bishops currently represents all canonical jurisdictions in America except for the Moscow Patriarchal Parishes and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR). My parish's diocese is on that list, which greatly disappointed me when I found out about it via my parish's newsletter. (facepalm)


 
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DanielH

Pelican
In case if anyone is unaware, The Assembly of Bishops put out a statement regarding COVID-19 vaccinations & immunizations last January. Check to see if the parish's diocese you're interested in is on that list.

Note: The Assembly of Bishops currently represents all canonical jurisdictions in America except for the Moscow Patriarchal Parishes and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.


So "trust your doctor." Well, what if the doctor isn't Christian, or hates Christians or people like me? How can I know? Doctors don't have the personal relationship - at least with healthy people - that priests do, nor do they have good morals most of the time. There was even a local synod which forbade(forbids? I'm not well versed in canon law) Christians to seek medical care from Jewish doctors. There was a reason for that canon, no?
 

Roosh

Cardinal
In case if anyone is unaware, The Assembly of Bishops put out a statement regarding COVID-19 vaccinations & immunizations last January. Check to see if the parish's diocese you're interested in is on that list.

Note: The Assembly of Bishops currently represents all canonical jurisdictions in America except for the Moscow Patriarchal Parishes and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR). My parish's diocese is on that list, which greatly disappointed me when I found out about it via my parish's newsletter. (facepalm)


It looks like a non-statement statement. They just punted the issue onto the faithful, giving no real guidance for us, and ignoring the elephant in the room that the coronavirus vaccine was developed from aborted fetal cells and was not properly tested before release. Well, it could have been much worse... they could have advised we take the vaccine.
 

get2choppaaa

Pelican
It looks like a non-statement statement. They just punted the issue onto the faithful, giving no real guidance for us, and ignoring the elephant in the room that the coronavirus vaccine was developed from aborted fetal cells and was not properly tested before release. Well, it could have been much worse... they could have advised we take the vaccine.
My priest said the same thing... "Its a mess they have now, not coming back one way or the other."

I suppose it was a calculated examination of the fact that the political ramifications of condemning it outright would bring more trouble for the church... and yet supporting it would draw ire from The Faithful. So they took the "The Church's role is to stay out of personal medicinal decisions." While I dont agree with that, I also understand there is extreme pressure globally and domestically on the Orthodox Church.

I kind of look at it akin to the sorts of political acquiescence the Russian Church had to deal with during the Bolsheviks.

Compared to the Catholic funeral I went to 2 weeks ago where there were several announcements that masks must be worn correctly and the priests conducted the entire service wearing masks...I find their statement is less rather innocuous.
 
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