I'm wanting to convert to Orthodoxy but there aren't any Orthodox churches near...

Andrew Ortiz
Andrew Ortiz

I'm wanting to convert to Orthodoxy but there aren't any Orthodox churches near where I live. There are a lot of Catholic churches around here, but I can't bring myself to accept a lot of what the Catholic Church teaches and it seems dishonest to Catholic merely out of convenience. What should I do?
I know, I know, "le orthoprot XDD le ortholarp XDDD."

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orthodox-world.org
orthodox-christianity.org

Nolan Myers
Nolan Myers

What can't you accept among what the Catholic Church teaches?

Isaac Peterson
Isaac Peterson

A lot of different things. Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus, the Catholic view of it at least, is one example. But I really don't want this to turn into another Catholic vs Orthodox thread.

Benjamin Sanders
Benjamin Sanders

Contact a priest from the nearest parish you could possibly go to, and ask him about it.
If you really can't make it to church, then just read the scriptures, pray often, and give charitably to your neighbor. God will not condemn you because you can't hammer a nail without a hammer (see also 2 Chronicles 30:18-20), and besides, these three things I have mentionned are sacraments in themselves, and will give you communion with Christ if you do them with unadultered and simple faith. Fasting is good as well, but it should be done in community, and if you don't belong to a parish yet, gaining something from fasting would be more difficult than it normally should be, in my opinion.

However, God will not hear yourr prayers or look upon your sacrifices favorably if you do not hold to the proper faith to begin with, that is, if you do not worship Him truly. Inform yourself on what the 7 ecumenical councils taught, in matters of faith, and hold on to it (or rather to the Orthodox intepretation of it, as the Monophysites claim the Council of Ephesus adhered to their doctrine, or the Catholics claim the First Council of Constantinople did not exclude Filioquism, for instance). If you are not being given a catechesis, or if you can't even meet up with a priest regularly to ask questions about the faith, or if you can't find or understand Orthodox commentaries of the scriptures online, then at least hold on to the Ecumenical Councils, which give proper faith about the Trinity (for the 1st and 2nd councils) and the Incarnation (for the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th councils), and interpreting the scriptures will not be very difficult - at least God will certainly give you enlightenment if you seek Him with true faith.

Josiah Garcia
Josiah Garcia

How is Ortho EENS different?

Jayden Green
Jayden Green

user, grab this book. amazon.com/Arena-Guidelines-Spiritual-Monastic-Complete/dp/0884652874/ref=mp_s_a_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1549837483&sr=8-2&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=the arena book&dpPl=1&dpID=51NqGdimNRL&ref=plSrch
God can help you to make progress however and wherever if you just only make the effort. David was all alone for long whiles. Jesus was all alone for long whiles. Monks are all alone on purpose sometimes.
Book is by orthodox monk for orthodox monks. Provides practical step by step advice for monks in every possible circumstance almost, and cites sources. It describes HARD mode. I have not come anywhere close to implementing the suggestions in there , but I have definitely taken a lot out of it. Highly recommend it, it has been very spiritually productive.
God speed, brother!

.

Jeremiah Davis
Jeremiah Davis

There are different views, from "if you are not canonically and visibly a member of the Orthodox Church you will be eternally condemned" to "we can't know who among the non-Orthodox is inside or outside the Church, and that there are holy people outside of the visible Church shows that there is a kind of invisible communion, but no one is saved apart from the Church". Basically a spectrum from the most strict interpretation of "no salvation outside the Church" to "what we really mean is no salvation -apart- from the Church, but we can't really know who's inside or outside until the final judgement".
As such there are obviously some who have the same interpretation as Catholics do. So I'm not sure what OP has in mind. As far as I'm concerned, my catechsis taught me the former, "strict" interpretation, and anything else sounds like nonsense to me, but there are some very respectable figures in the Church who hold to the latter interpretation and it would be unwise of me to accuse my brethren of heterodoxy on non-dogmatic matters.

Oliver Thomas
Oliver Thomas

Ultra Mode:
Become Catholic and subvert the clergy and laity so they begome Ordodogs. That way you dont have to travel far to begome

Either way you persue it, best of luck to you and I hope you make it into the fold.

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Xavier Phillips
Xavier Phillips

Some of those who have that strict view are a little depressing. I've even heard of some not very accepting of those who ARE in the church (unlike the OP.. or myself tbh). but the strict types think they didn't do it "right". And they re-baptize them and tell them they live without any grace. I've seen this reiterated online at orthodoxchristianity.net more than a few times too.

What's even more depressing is these types actually don't do much missionary work (if they did, there'd be more churches). So apparently, everyone is damned while they sit around smugly not doing their own part to rectify whatever it is they see that's so wrong with the world.

Sorry to rant. On the positive side, this user's post was very enlightening and encouraging .

Carter Murphy
Carter Murphy

Heh. If only. Catholic laity seem like the most disempowered and ignored group out of all Christian denominations (while we might be able to say Protestant laity have a little too much say-so..hence all the offshoots… imHo).

Adam White
Adam White

Some of those who have that strict view are a little depressing. I've even heard of some not very accepting of those who ARE in the church (unlike the OP.. or myself tbh). but the strict types think they didn't do it "right".
If you are not Orthodox, you will go to Hell. If you are Orthodox but get cut off from the chalice because you have gravely sinned and have not confessed it, you will also go to Hell - the only difference is that you will try (and fail) the toll houses.
Again, this is what my catechsis has taught me, though. I'm not proclaiming this as dogma or something.

And they re-baptize them and tell them they live without any grace. I've seen this reiterated online at orthodoxchristianity.net more than a few times too.
AFAIK the only people who would re-baptize an Orthodox Christian are a handful of weirdos on Mount Athos.
This is literally Donatism.

What's even more depressing is these types actually don't do much missionary work (if they did, there'd be more churches). So apparently, everyone is damned while they sit around smugly not doing their own part to rectify whatever it is they see that's so wrong with the world.
Incidentally, my observation is the opposite - people with a "lax" interpretation of "no salvation outside the Church" do not care much about evangelization, because they think that Catholics and Protestants are likely to be saved as well, and most of the Western world is already Catholic or Protestant.
Well, I don't disagree 100%. The "strict" ones are also lazy with missionary work. Actually the Church as a whole, at least in the West, is really really bad at this whole "evangelization" thing.

On the positive side, this user's post was very enlightening and encouraging
I mean, I am the same user.

Robert Hall
Robert Hall

I mean, I am the same user.
Sorry. I wasn't looking at IDs. Why instruct the OP to be dilligently and privately faithful then? Or what am I missing? Can one be Orthodox in belief, but be separated communally? That's how I took your first post. But you've just taken a harsher view it seems (from your catechesis).

Personally, I would tell you that I already had the mind of the church through the Spirit and the Word.. which is why I want to join the "Church". It rings so true to me, because of what I was already led to… and maybe why I've felt so uncomfortable for decades with the options of churches around me. Precisely because of what you said here:

at least God will certainly give you enlightenment if you seek Him with true faith.

Jacob Diaz
Jacob Diaz

I should precise that if someone holds to the true faith and seeks to join the Orthodox Church, whether consciously or not, they can be saved too. This is what Catholics call "baptism of blood" and "baptism of desire". That is why I said what I said earlier in the thread - if you hold onto the true faith regarding the Trinity and the Incarnation at least, and if you seek Christ with a truthful heart, you are Orthodox to me, even if you have not formally gone through the "normal" steps of belonging to the Church. After all, we cannot say that all those who invoke the name of Jesus without being under the canonical hierarchy are recognized as being His (see Acts 19:11-17) but we also cannot say that all those who aren't under the canonical hierarchy necessarily misuse the name of Jesus or aren't recognized as His (see Mark 9:38-41).

However, if your faith is not true and goes against the dogmas defined at the Ecumenical Councils, I do not believe that salvation is possible for you at all. Either you are an atheist and therefore cannot please God, or you worship a caricature of God that is truly a demon or something of your own imagination. (see Hebrews 11:6; Matthew 12:30; Proverbs 15:29…)

Well, turns out I was responding in advance to what you just said.
Note that I am only a random, anonymous layman online. I can express what I was taught, what I read in the scriptures, and what my experience has shown me, but I am not a teacher or a source of authority. If there's anything you're unsure about, you can find ressources online written by clergymen; or better yet, you can contact a priest directly and ask him to redirect you to good books on the subjects you would like to know about.
Then there is of course the writings of the Fathers, although one saint is rarely sufficient to express the whole faith so you should read what several saints have had to say about the same subject.

Zachary Parker
Zachary Parker

And yes, the conclusion I take from this is that Roman Catholics and Oriental Orthodox (who hold to the teachings of their church that go against the ecumenical councils, of course) are not really Christians at all, or rather they are as Christian as Mormons are.
Since that is not a view that is expressed often, even by rigorists, this should be enough to show you that this is just the perspective of a random stranger and layman online. Maybe my words will gain more weight if I get canonized, lol

Landon Morales
Landon Morales

Thanks. I know this thread was meant for the OP, but this is all very helpful and encouraging (I hope it is for the OP too, and haven't distracted anything). If I could, I'd move to a better area, but I take care of family and can't. I continue to read a lot and never tire of that part.. and live ascetically (not solitary, since I'm still with family), but I do wish I had a better life in a church. I know something is still missing..

Christian Gray
Christian Gray

Sorry for talking so much, but let me also address this:
I would tell you that I already had the mind of the church through the Spirit and the Word.. which is why I want to join the "Church". It rings so true to me, because of what I was already led to…
Cyrus was not Jewish, but God chose to enlighten him. Job was not Jewish, but not only did God choose to enlighten him, He even showed Himself to him directly. And in Acts 10:44-48, God Himself gave the Holy Spirit to people who were seeking Him but had not been baptized yet. It is absurd to claim that God's gifts can only come after "normal" reception into the Church, when both experience and the scriptures show that some gifts of the Holy Spirit (faith, love, or speaking in tongues as it was in the book of Acts) can manifest themselves before "formal" reception into the Church.
If I could put it this way: if you truthfully and humbly repent and seek God, without worshipping a distorded, heretical image of Him, then you may not be "canonically" in the Church but your hand is on the doorknob of the entrance, so to speak. That is sufficient for Christ to open the door for you. After all, the Church isn't only "visible" by its canonical hierarchy, it is also "visible" by the visible fruits it gives. (see, again, the balance between Acts 19:11-17 and Mak 9:38-41)

Understandable. I pray that the Lord has mercy on you, on the OP, and on us all.

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Lincoln Wood
Lincoln Wood

Understandable. I pray that the Lord has mercy on you, on the OP, and on us all.
Amen

God willing, I won't have to wait as long as St. Mary of Egypt.. but she is one my inspirations for now.

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Aaron Carter
Aaron Carter

toll houses
Wait, the toll house meme is real? I thought Fr. Rose got in a lot of trouble with the Orthodox Church for talking about that.

Tyler Price
Tyler Price

It's only controversial in America, for whatever reason.

Isaac Campbell
Isaac Campbell

Again, I'm not Orthodox, but this is one of those things that puzzles me. Because the Councils don't teach it. Details of afterlife are oddly absent, are they not? It seems an open ended issue, and something Church fathers were free to discuss. I recall St. Macrina teaching an entirely different lesson to her brother (a story I'm rather fond of, but was probably too close to universalism for some people's comfort).

But if the Church is the Church of the Councils, I'm puzzled when things outside the Councils get held up like this.

In any case, I'm not sure what difference it'd make. I've seen the demonic here on earth…especially earlier in my Christian walk, when I had more pride. Praise God I've found relief, but maybe there's more to come.. in this life or after.

I can't and won't explain how I know this (and feel free to ignore me anyways), but God made sure for me to not forget his presence. Maybe we all go through this? I hope so.

I think this is where something like demons after death would be especially dangerous though. They will hurl accusations at you and point at sins that you forgot you even did. And "every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment". We must not fall into this, and confess that we are sinners and be aware of God at all times.. or as much as we can.

Gabriel Bailey
Gabriel Bailey

I mean, yeah, as you said, no council has found it necessary to define it, and even the scriptures do not talk about it. It's not a dogma, or the fullness of the Church's tradition on the subject of the fate of the soul after death.
I mean that both people saying it is a dogma, and people saying it is a gnostic heresy, is a particularly American phenomenon for some reason.
Some saints talk about the toll houses, with different interpretations of what it means. Some saints do not mention them at all when discussing what happens at the hour of death. It's not an important subject at all.

Logan Roberts
Logan Roberts

Ill make my own beliefs then find a church that agrees with them
Not how faith works lad

Mason Kelly
Mason Kelly

Forgetting about St Augustine

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Sebastian Phillips
Sebastian Phillips

I'm wanting to convert to Orthodoxy
[-]

Isaac Foster
Isaac Foster

Is that directed at the OP or me? Who said I made up beliefs? I heard a voice that said "Read".. then immersed myself in scripture and then moved to church fathers for decades and practically came out Orthodox. The few times I tried something else and listened to people around me, it went terribly wrong. Or I recoiled at the taste of stale bread they offered.

Or do you think someone just throws their whole life away for Christ because they "mentally" came to it? "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit." God built his Church, but his grace is not restricted to working with it, in order to call people to it. He's the only one with the ability.

Michael Adams
Michael Adams

That's becoming a real problem nowadays, people that want to convert but can't find churches near them, especially in the west. I guess there was a sharp rise of interest in Orthodoxy that cought the church unprepared. I believe you will have to do your part and try to reach them first. Contact them and i'm sure they'll find a solution for you. Have in mind that the Orthodox church is relatively poor in contrast to the Catholics and Protestants.

Brayden Nguyen
Brayden Nguyen

Fair enough. I think a lot of informal and less defined things like this will always be a problem for those of us in the West. Like there's a lot of other minor things I never grew up with and I see Orthodox do, but don't understand and would feel phony if I followed.. because it doesn't seem essential to the faith on dogmatic grounds. Like when I see Russians (or others?) bow down twice and cross themselves. That's one of those things I'd never be able to learn without growing up around it. And I honestly don't understand prayer corners pointed East, incense, and candles. Like I said above, we should be praying without ceasing.

Elijah Hall
Elijah Hall

The orthodox have extra ecclesia nulla salus as a dogma too. It's literally in the bible (no one gets to the father except by me)

Noah Long
Noah Long

there aren't any Orthodox churches near
Have you tried these tools:
orthodox-world.org
orthodox-christianity.org

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