Another Question for Orthodox Members

Coming from my background (of a non-liturgical, low-church protestant), I don’t know the different perspectives between churches. I can see clearly the way that the Catholics view Orthodox, Lutherans, Anglicans, and I can see how protestants view one another, but what I’m less certain on is how the Orthodox view Lutherans and Anglicans, or even more non-liturgical protestants.

Would anyone want to fill me in, or even PM me? In short I’m interested in knowing how Orthodox view the Protestant world, and the more “high-church” denominations in particular. It would seem that the idea would be for the protestants, even high-church Anglicans, to join Orthodox congregations?

I’m truly wanting knowledge, not a fight between anyone, so again, if you want to PM me instead, feel free.

I can’t speak for the EO majority on this board (I know there is at least some history in interaction between Lutherans and Constantinople in the 16th century during the reign of Patriarch Jeremias, though it was ultimately fruitless), but I think it is safe to say that such divisions (high church, low church, liturgical, non-liturgical) don’t really matter. These are how you may identify yourselves and others may identify you, but what the Orthodox are most concerned is Orthodoxy vs. heterodoxy. So long as you are heterodox and outside of the Church, it is tragic but there is little we can realistically do other than continue to proclaim the true faith to you just as to anyone. The reception of non-Orthodox tends to vary by jurisdiction (e.g., I was baptized into the COC despite having been RC, which is certainly very “liturgical” in the sense I take you to be using it; I have been told that other churches of my communion would not baptize me, though I would assume they would all baptize Protestants), but I’m not sure that this corresponds to differences in the tradition from which the convert is received (I’m not sure it doesn’t, either, as I wasn’t any of those other things). Basically, what matters is that you are received and are now holding to the Orthodox faith, not what you were beforehand (though that may shape your experience as a catechumen, in that the sorts of questions that Catholics or Protestants may have are likely to be different than what Hindus, Muslims, or other non-Christians might wonder about).

I know this is a messy answer, but I hope it helps until someone else comes along. :slight_smile:

:curtsey: Thank you for your perspective. It helps to frame some of my questions.

What about the Lutheran and Anglican faith makes it heterodox from an Orthodox perspective? If one of the bases of Orthodox belief is the idea of Bishops that are over certain geographical areas, “from the outside” it would seem that esp. the Anglican faith would be orthodox in that regard. Perhaps my ignorance is making me miss something important in these matters.

In effect some of this connects back to my previous questions; how would a born and raised American with British ancestry find what Orthodox congregation to belong to? Perhaps the ethnic/cultural tie is no longer important? Or perhaps the Orthodox would send someone like me to the RCC? It is a bit confusing to someone not exposed to such teachings.

I can’t speak for all orthodox but can only relay my experience. I quite frankly like Anglicanism (conservative anglicanism) and (conservative) lutheranism more than all other forms of protestantism. I have received valuable incites and ideas from teachers of these traditions, in particular NT Wright. However ultimately they are denying the fullness of Christianity which is orthodoxy in the acceptence of doctrines like Sola scriptura and the denial of tradition as being equal and working with scripture.

There is a reason they cannot just join us, its more than just the papacy its the entire approach to Christinaity. Anglicanism and Lutheranism on a fundamental level reject many practices of the orthodox church like monasticism (or at least dissaprove of such practices), the veneration of the saints and the mother of God and the veneration of icons (in general I’m not sure if this is universal in their tradition). They also would deny the mysticism that is found in the orthodox church in favour of a more Augustinian approach to Chrisitanity.

We can agree on some things, like the trinity (except the filioque), the incarnation, the sacraments (in that they are essential but perhaps not on what exactly the sacraments are) but there is at the heart of it I think a different understanding of how salvation happens. These churches insist on faith alone, a doctrine which I have found the orthodox church has never really known nor has the orthodox church deemed it fit (if I am to be corrected on this point, then someone please correct) to define exactly how salvation works. As Dzrhemi reffered to the exchange between constantinople and the Lutheran theologians one of the things they debated was this exact issue and the patriarch insisted on the neccessity of works but I would not say it was an idea of earning ones salvation as if we could purchase the grace of God with our effort. This is probably the main issue which prevents any chance for communion.

Thank you, that helps me understand!

It really depends on the parish and the area of the country you’re located in. Some parishes are more “American” and some are more “ethnic” (whatever that means). However, I as a white American convert have never experienced any hostility or negative interactions of any kind with any Orthodox person based on the fact that I’m not from a traditionally Orthodox country.


This is a bigger question than any thread on a message board can really answer. I would agree with our friend IgnatianPhilo that it is isn’t a matter of a few issues, but the entire approach to the religion. I don’t mean that in any sort of derogatory manner. It’s simply a fact that this is transparently of a different mode and trajectory of Christianity than, say, this. The two preceding examples do not embody the same roots, doctrines, dogmas, principles, practices, etc., let alone the same faith, and I have a feeling they are hardly extraordinary (can’t comment on the Lutheran example, but the Coptic liturgy is basically the same as any you might find, with the caveat that it is the Gregorian rather than the much more common Basilian liturgy being prayed there).

If one of the bases of Orthodox belief is the idea of Bishops that are over certain geographical areas, “from the outside” it would seem that esp. the Anglican faith would be orthodox in that regard. Perhaps my ignorance is making me miss something important in these matters.

Relating back to the above, it is not a matter of picking out a particular feature of Orthodox practice and belief and saying “we have that, so we’re Orthodox in that matter”. I suppose some could say that (in that there are Protestants who have kept more and Protestants who have kept less of the traditions we all once held in common centuries ago), but there isn’t really a “tipping point” into Orthodoxy in that fashion, at least not on a communion-wide level (for individuals, of course, things may be conceptualized differently…the famous Abbe Guettee is recorded to have said that he converted to Orthodoxy upon realizing that he was basically already Orthodox in his beliefs prior to finding the Church). It is not possible to be Orthodox outside of the Orthodox Church, so even a Protestant or a group of Protestants who held to absolutely everything that the Orthodox Church does, and forbade all of their former Protestant beliefs and trappings, would not be (canonically) Orthodox until entering actual, visible communion with the Orthodox Church. You might call Orthodoxy the “show me” religion in that way. :slight_smile: We are very serious about this whole lex orandi, lex credendi thing. It cannot be compartmentalized and still be lived.

In effect some of this connects back to my previous questions; how would a born and raised American with British ancestry find what Orthodox congregation to belong to? Perhaps the ethnic/cultural tie is no longer important? Or perhaps the Orthodox would send someone like me to the RCC? It is a bit confusing to someone not exposed to such teachings.

For Britons or those specifically attracted or tied to that cultural background, there is the British Orthodox Church within the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate (one of the Oriental Orthodox churches), though I get the sense that your question is more about whether or not they are welcoming to those outside of whatever ethnic/national identifier you might find on the church sign. Of course, any individual parish may vary (parishes are composed of people, and some people are quite frankly jerks), but I have never had any problems, despite the fact that I made what is probably the most extreme/least likely switch of anybody on this board (from garden variety Roman/Latin Rite Catholic to Coptic Orthodox). I don’t know what to say except that you can’t let that scare you (and, really, most people will probably not care; the most I ever had to deal with was people who were confused as to why I am in a Coptic church, since most non-Egyptians don’t know or care about it, or think it’s somehow something “Roman” because we have a Pope :eek:). To put things in perspective, if you were to visit the Coptic Church in Bolivia, you wouldn’t find any Coptic/Egyptian people other than perhaps the priest or some missionary teams volunteering at the church-run orphanage. The church there is basically 100% native Bolivian, made up of converts who began attending services at a time when the Coptic population of the country was only one individual.

If one Egyptian can help bring 400+ Bolivians to Orthodoxy essentially by showing up,
maybe the key really is in showing up, even if you’re different than everyone else. :smiley:
Coptic Nativity celebrations in Bolivia: Yes, one of these things is not like the others…

Two questions: what Orthodox have you been talking to, and how can I meet them?

:wink: :smiley:

**ETA: PLEASE remember, I’m trying to understand this, not to start a “We’re right and you’re wrong” back and forth between Orthodox and Catholics. So, do PM me if you think that any reply might not be charitable to the other side.
Ok, so this bit is for everyone; Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant because I think it is going to take more than one perspective for this to sink in with me.

Earliest church model; who has it? This is all connected in with my previous questions and the answers too. We have the earliest Apostles going out in the world in different geographical areas to preach the gospel. When those Apostles arrived somewhere and they accepted the gospel the church there started to form. Then the believers there were taught and leaders appointed. Those leaders, in large part, and the congregation would have been native to the area. And, the church there got the name of the area.

When I look at the Orthodox church, that is where some of the confusion for me comes in. Let’s take the New World. Would not the earliest church model dictate that missionaries with the gospel come over, preach, those that believe form their own congregation, leaders are then taught and put in place from that local area. Is that not the claim of the Orthodox church? So, why is there a “Greek Orthodox Church” in say, Boulder, Colorado. Why is it not “The Church at Boulder” with Boulder natives in the church and leading it?

That is why I ask about an Orthodox Church perhaps pointing someone like me to a Catholic church; why? Because my people are from an area in the British Isles that was first Christianized by RCC missionaries, not Orthodox. So, perhaps the answer is that the Orthodox church as a whole does not recognize the RCC as a true orthodox church, and their people need to become part of an already established Orthodox church… but then should that established church not become a native labeled church? Hence my questions about the Anglican church; they are claiming, in effect, to have orthodox and catholic belief sets and congregations and leaders made up of the ethnic groups of the area.

That is the confusion to a low-church protestant like me. You have 2 claims of being the earliest and only correct form of the church; Catholic and Orthodox. Protestants such as I don’t see it the same, hence community churches in each community named for that community; Boulder Community Church, for example.

So, in light of all that, why is there still all the different labels of Orthodox church if that is not the way it was in the beginning of the church? So, using the Bolivia example, you’d have “The Church at Bolivia;” it wouldn’t be “Coptic Orthodox” any more, but rather “Bolivian Orthodox.” :confused:

Hahaha, I wish there were Orthodox Christians around my area to talk to. That’s why I’m here asking the questions. The closest Orthodox church would be a several hour round trip for me.

I want to give you two answers to that. Answer number one: Eastern Catholics are in communion with Rome, just like the East was in communion with Rome in the first millennium. Thus, becoming like the early church would mean that the Orthodox Churches should likewise be (as some put it) “Orthodox in communion with Rome” in the future.

However, the recent dialogues between Catholics and Orthodox suggest a different approach to answering your question. You should read “Uniatism, method of union of the past, and the present search for full communion”. (Keep in mind, of course, that it is a joint statement produced by a dialogue, not an authoritative or binding document. Hence the need for two different answers.)

Thanks, Peter, will do!


Would be correct to state the EC are Orthodox that are in communion with Rome? I have a friend that is a Marionite and a friend that is a Melkite (forgive me if the spelling is wrong).

The Maronite states that he is a Orthodox in communion with Rome and the Melkite states that he is a Eastern Catholic.

America (and even Australia) is an anomaly. Many of those that brought Orthodoxy with them, came over as immigrant, not missionaries. They built churches for themselves and brought over priests that spoke their languages. The intent was to come over as community, bring their community (and faith), and set up community. They were not out to convert the entire country, but rather make a place for themselves. America is relatively young and it’s not set up as many countries a thousand plus years ago were. Now, the Russians did have a foothold earlier than the rest with the areas now known as Alaska and California. There were missionaries, initially and mostly Russian. In America it’s more about individual spirituality and conversion…not national or large groups (tribes, clans, etc) as it was throughout Europe, Russia, etc when they converted pre-Schism. We are dealing with a whole different ballgame here. Now, there is an American Orthodox Church (OCA), but it’s still pretty much in it’s infancy, there are some growing pains being dealt with, etc. It’s taking a bit. Some of those are Western Rite (meaning they will share more in style with the West, Catholics, etc). There are Celtic Orthodox, from my understanding. Orthodox monasticism is regaining a foothold on Iona (YAY! My godmothers go there yearly). I know that each parish has a different flavour. I was in a large Greek parish was very open and was only about 50% Greek now…that flavour will be different than a parish where you still have many new immigrants and is smaller. I’ve been part of a parish was full of converts and only a couple of cradles; that parish had it’s own flavour. I’m part of a parish that is under the Russians, has a Greek priest, and it filled with converts, immigrant Russians and Eastern Europeans, and those that are of Greek-American mixed marriages…it’s a very unique parish. Basically, the Church over here hasn’t melted into a homogeneous style, because we are a young country with not only recent immigration of a few generations ago, but continuous new immigration and a mix of cultures that are in different degrees of Americanization. Some of us enjoy the cultural mix.

British Isles were christianized pre-Schism…so it’s not “they were Catholic, not Orthodox”…they were one church. The Early British Church resembled more Orthodox, imo, than Catholic (the Church in the West grew and changed over time) and we share some saints (my patroness is St. Brigid of Kildare, one child has St. Aidan of Lindsfarne, and another has St. Margaret of Scotland, who was born pre-Schism and died post-Schism…one of my godmothers is chrismated for St. John of Columba).

:confused: What is the distinction from answer one, which stated simple facts, and did not describe a method of achieving union at all?

My bad. I meant that as an answering-the-question-without-repeating-the-question kind of thing, but I can see now that it was too terse. Answer number one was the “We have the model” answer to Kliska’s question,

Originally Posted by Kliska
Earliest church model; who has it?

I sometimes use the phrase “Orthodox in communion with Rome”, but I put it in quotation marks because, literally speaking, we’re Catholic not Orthodox. (I’ve also compared it to someone saying “Blank is my home away from home.” But if he/she later says “my home” you don’t need to ask “Which one?” because you’d assume that he/she means his/her literal home.)

P.S. Easy to remember if you think of St. Maron. :slight_smile:

Answer number one: Eastern Catholics are in communion with Rome. :thumbsup:

Cultural and ethnic is each and every individuals baggage, not required to enter Gods City, its judged and purified at the Kingdoms throne of which there can be no hiding from. Tis been a slight problem now and again though. We specialize in the accommodation of the cultural and ethnic weary. :smiley:

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