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. 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.
Coptic Nativity celebrations in Bolivia: Yes, one of these things is not like the others…