Arab and Greek Orthodox?

Ok so I am a Roman Catholic male. I met this girl that I really like, nothing serious yet but it could get there. In regards to religion, all I know is that her family is Greek Orthodox. I’m a little ignorant do what exactly it means to be Greek Orthodox. I know it’s a form of Christianity but is it a form of Catholocism? If not, what are the differences between Roman Catholocism and Greek Orthodox? I love being Roman Catholic but if I were to pursue something with her we’d prob have to make a choice whether we practice as a Greek Orthodox or a Roman Catholic and I dunno the difference. Also, she’s part Cuban/Lebanese and Palestinian mix, and as such her fam speaks English, Spanish and Arabic. I bring this up cuz I wanted to know, what are some forms of Christianity (preferably closely related to Roman Catholicism) that have a lot of Arabic services or are prodeominatly in the Arabic language.

Ooh, Greek Orthodox! One of my favorite musical artists is Greek Orthodox! (Steven Delopoulos)

I’m sure you’ve realized by now that no one had replied because this is such a broad question. Just go ahead and Wiki the phrase and you’ll get a lot of questions out of the way. Basically so far as I understand it the Orthodox/Eastern rites are indeed Catholic and they do believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, but there are marked differences. Off the top of my head I know that Orthodox/Eastern Catholics have a patriarch council instead of one Pope, and contact between ethnic groups is minimal. Also, where Roman Catholics believe the Holy Spirit is sent from both the Father and the Son, Orthodox/Eastern Catholics say only the Father can send forth life. They do have Confession, though, and beautiful icons and devotions.

I’d say it’s a good excuse to learn Arabic and Spanish :thumbsup:

Eastern Orthodoxy (of which Greek Orthodoxy is an informal subgrouping within) is distinct from Roman Catholicism but holds a significant amount of common ground with it. For example we both have a strong emphasis on Tradition, and both can trace themselves quite legitimately back to the Apostles.

Catholicism and Orthodoxy are not however, (contrary to what some like to claim) the same, and people who go in with that expectation do seem to have rude awakenings at some point on their journey.

Rather than going into specifics about the similarities and differences my suggestion to you would be to go to Orthodox forums or read Orthodox books to find out for yourself what it is without consideration to what Catholicism is. It is something quite unique on its own.

If you want to find Orthodox services in Arabic, your best bet is to look for an Antiochian Orthodox parish.

However, most Antiochian parishes in America (mine own included) conduct services in English. However, some members (including the clergy) might speak Arabic.

Regarding conversion: only do it if you truly believe that the Orthodox Church is the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. We permit marriages to Roman Catholics provided it is done in an Orthodox Church. You would need to clear things with your own bishop, but there will probably be no need to convert if you still believe the truth lies in the Roman Catholic Church.

Of course, then there are issues about raising your children… but it sounds like you just met this woman, so I wouldn’t worry about any of this for now.

Catholicism and Orthodoxy are not however, (contrary to what some like to claim) the same, and people who go in with that expectation do seem to have rude awakenings at some point on their journey.

This is very wise advice I would say.

Besides going to an Orthodox church, a good place to start is to read The Orthodox Church and The Orthodox Way, both by Kallistos (Timothy) Ware. A good, but dense article, about the differences between Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy can be found here:

Greek Orthodox is not in communion with Rome, but holds many of the same beliefs. I believe the biggest thing keeping them out of communion with us is that they do not recognize our pope as infallible. The faiths are close enough that you probably have enough common beliefs to make a relationship work.

Also, look into the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, it is the Catholic counterpart to the Antiochian Greek Orthodox Church which your female friend is a member. I’m pretty sure she would have family or know some Melkites.

I believe it a serious sin to convert to Orthodoxy. You could check out the Melkites who are in communion with Rome.

This article by Jimmy Akin may Jeep:

The OP just wanted to know more about the Greek Orthodox faith that his new partner practices, particularly its differences from Catholicism.

He wasn’t asking for apologetic articles against Orthodoxy.

Also, I would consider it an insult to both Melkites and Antiochians to equate the two. While we share much in common, we are not the same faith. To become Melkite isn’t some “halfway point” for someone who wants to be Orthodox but doesn’t want to leave Rome.

I am not encouraging the OP’s conversion by any means, but such misinformation can, in my views, only prove spiritually damaging in the end. It should be clear that the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church are separate entities, for the sake of both the OP and this woman with whom he will undoubtedly discuss these issues.

I would say as a Catholic I found Jimmy Akin’s article not particularly well written on many fronts.

Agreed. I’m disappointed that such a popular apologist resorts to the numbers game to prove Catholicism is The One True Faith.

By all means, attack us for being a bunch of quibbling ethnics who can’t get anything done and also smell bad, but don’t say you’re right just because there’s more of you.

Regardless of what many Orthodox believe, on the ground, inter-communion is fairly common between Antiochian Orthodox and Melkite Catholics. I’ve witnessed myself first hand more than once. And while Orthodox Christians may deny that the Melkites are Orthodox, many do self-profess as Orthodox in communion with Rome. For many families in the OP’s situation, practicing as a Melkite does indeed become a happy medium. Is that ideal or correct? That is another debate, but it does happen.

If the OP wants to practice as a Melkite, then by all means, he should. You are correct that a Melkite and Antiochian marriage would probably present less potential issues than one between a Latin and an Antiochian.

However, I still believe that the OP should only practice as a Melkite if he believes it is a part of the True Faith, not a halfway home for people who want Orthodoxy but don’t want to leave Rome.

Also, I’m not sure what you mean by “what many Orthodox believe.” You mean in regards to there being inter-communion? That might be true, but I for one knew that in parts of the Middle East, inter-communion is somewhat common.

If you mean the whole “Orthodox in Communion of Rome” thing, yes, you will find many Orthodox object to that term used to describe Melkites. Personally, I don’t really care how they see themselves, but I do think it’s dishonest to present things like that. But I suppose they would say it’s completely honest, so :shrug:

My wife is Russian Orthodox so I’d probably avoid those attacks as having no dinner for several days can be troublesome…

I agree, I would not present Akin or Likoudis as references for any Orthodox. I find their anti-Orthodox writings mostly troubling.

Yeah this article in particular is notorious in Orthodox web circles for being so highly misrepresentative of Orthodoxy. It certainly shouldn’t be taken as a serious critique.

But to the OP and I wouldn’t be surprised if JharekCarnelian backs me up. In my experience the Orthodox priests I know would quite possibly recommend that she become Catholic as the man is the head of the household. I know of situations where that has happened. Of course a lot of it depends on how much friction attending different churches causes in the relationship.

As it turns out in real life most Orthodox are not the Catholic haters some imagine us to be. :wink:

The canons already forbid marriages outside of Orthodoxy, though this can be dispensed by oikonomia. But to recommend that one leaves the faith I think is not within the purview of oikonomia.

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