Catholic daughter in relationship with Greek Orthodox

Hi, I am new to this site and came here for some ideas suggestions on my daughter. My daughter is a sophomore in college and has begun dating a man who is 23, who also went to her college. She has known him a while. He is Greek Orthodox. I know she really likes this guy and he seems very nice. However, being the parent, I tend to try to predict what will come of this, which I know I probably should not, but because of his faith, I see this as a potential problem. I am married to a Lutheran and my husband has been very supportive of my children being raised Catholic as it was never an issue. Anyway, I know this guy is faithful to his religion as well. My concern is that should this progress (I believe he is looking for a wife esp because he is older and out of school), where does this leave his faith vs. ours should marriage occur? I so want to talk with my daughter about this but don’t want to jepordize our relationship. I know my daughter and she could very well become hooked on this guy and I would want her to know this before she got too serious with him. Is there a way I could discuss this or just let things go…I know if I had to do it over again, I would have married a Catholic even though my husband has done everything right, there still is that division. I would hate to see her have to make a choice the other way…it would break my heart. Please comment, thanks

Morning Diane!

I would let the relationship kind of run it course and wait and see what comes of it. Things can change in a day. You may not have to have the conversation.

I would just wait and see how it goes. If they start to really get serious then maybe you can lovingly ask her about the different communions they are in and what she thinks about that. Kind of make her think about it without pointing out the elephant in the room. lol
Good luck dear and it is wonderful to see a parent being a parent! :thumbsup:

Thanks for that bit of advice. I know 9 out of 10 things we worry about never come to fruition but it was on my mind and I must catch myself and stop…worry ends where faith begins… hangs in my kitchen…I need to read it more!! Time to just enjoy today and try not to analyze tomorrow! Happy Thanksgiving! God Bless!

This is something I speak about with my children from the time they are young. They know the issues that can come from interfaith marriages. My nephew is interested in a girl from my church. I’ve told him he may be friends, but nothing more. He is not a Christian and nothing can come of it unless he settleshis views on faith and depending upon how he settles it. He is young.
That said, generally by the time children start coming along, the couple will settle one way or the other. IME, the ones I know, it was the Catholic spouse that converted to Orthodoxy.

It’'s not a bad idea to talk to her in general terms. With GO it’s not just faith but culture too, and the two are tied together.

The GO will not recognize the marriage unless it is done in the GO. The Catholic Church has specific guidelines for a Catholic marrying a GO, and it does need to be in the GO Church with a GO priest.

Both are true particular Churches, but each is going to want the children brought up in the faith of their Church.

I dated a GO guy briefly. We liked each other very much. He was very involved in his GO Church and I was involved in my Catholic Church-- both on parish council, both attend Mass/Divine Liturgy regularly, both involved in parish life. Very early on, we simply decided we should not date because we could very easily have fallen for each other and neither of us was willing to convert to the other’s Church and we both realized a mixed faith situation would be bad for children. So, we decided to end it.

I am happily married to a wonderful Catholic man now.

Hi Diane,

I have had lots of conversations with our children about this. There are not a lot of Lutherans in our neck of the woods, and so they need to be very aware of their suitor’s beliefs on two things in particular:

*]Infant Baptist

*]the Real Presence of our Lord in the Eucharist

In my extended family, Lutherans that married Catholics usually raised their children Catholic, and most of the Lutherans eventually converted.

Lutherans that married into Reformed or Baptist traditions had many struggles (and I can speak from personal experience on this).

You were a lot wiser than I. I dated a Russian Orthodox woman and it got really ugly from her church’s side. Mocking Catholic saints, mocking Marian apparitions in the Catholic Church, mocking the Eucharist in the Catholic Church. They believe the Catholic Church is devoid of grace, devoid of valid Sacraments, devoid of a valid Eucharist.

Our Popes Bl. John Paul II, Benedict 16 were all committed to reconciliation with the Eastern Orthodox, but it takes two sides to accomplish it, and in my personal experience, at least some of the Eastern Orthodox are very hostile to anything Catholic.

So, my relationship with my Russian EO date crashed and burned…

To the OP: please warn your daughter, and try to find out where the young Greek EO man stands in relation to Catholicism. Even if he personally is benevolent, the official position of his Church could be a whole lot different, possibly hostile to the Catholic Church. Never ever underestimate how much turmoil and pain could that bring into your daughter’s life…

I was not a practicing Catholic when I married, I was attending a Baptist church. I did marry a Christian, however he did not want anything to do with the Catholic church…until now, over 30yrs later. For me, that was a long time to live in the desert.

I know a couple, the wife is Eastern Orthodox and the husband is Roman Catholic. All their kids chose to remain Catholic. They go back and forth every other Sunday. The mom laments this.

If it were my daughter, I’d want her to be solid in her Catholic faith before she makes any permanent decisions as to marrying someone and converting just because of that.

To quote Maggie Smith from an episode of Downton Abbey, ‘Marriage is a long business’.

With all due respect,but your daughter is an adult and she needs to decide. I am not saying to blow it off,but God gives free-will. Hey look at this way, at least the man she likes is Christian and Orthodox. I prefer my daughter date an Orthodox than a Mormon or JW,if I had a daughter. Pray on it. God Bless.

1000 years ago, we were ONE Church.

GO has the seven sacraments and are our closest cousins (separated brethren).

If you were to go by the “Fullness of Truth” scale, GO is the Silver medal to our Gold medal.
There are many thousands in that race to heaven.

Hoping and praying that SOME day there will be unity again.

It must be borne in mind that in the past Catholics caused deep wounds to the Orthodox and the Russian Orthodox remember some of those and to an extent are naturally suspicious of us. Often because they associate us with forced conversion in lands bordering Russia which are an ugly stain on the Church’s history. However by no means all Russian Orthodox have the outlooks you describe above. I should know been married to a member of that Church. Generally the Orthodox tend to be sceptical of Marian apparitions but the usual rule is that many of them will not speculate on the validity of sacraments outside their own communion.

It should be noted that the poster who pointed out that if this relationship between the girl and young man came to marriage that they would have to be married in an Orthodox Church is correct. The Orthodox will view a member of the faithful as excommunicating themselves should they atttempt to marry in a Catholic Church. That may seem hostile but it is no more so than the fact that our communion is closed to many we still recognise as Christians.

The issue of children is a real one, for my wife and I as we married late in life it is unlikely to trouble us but for a couple of the age of the two people in the original post it is likely to be a divisive issue if both are devout.

As a father with kids, 20, 24 & 30, I don’t believe in the idea of “he/she is an adult and he/she needs to decide”. I think it’s mistake to ever stop giving your children advice, or stating your opinion, or attempting to influence them… you never stop being a mom or dad and if you have a good relationship with your adult children they, in most cases take your advice and often times, seek your advice. They may legally reject your advice but that doesn’t negate your responsibility as a parent, nor does the 4th Commandment have an age limit.

When I turned 18, I felt like for the most part, I no longer needed advice from my parents.

By the time I turned 30, my outlook started to change…

After I got 40, I was eagerly listening to my parents’ wisdom, and I actively sought out their advice!

I suppose my parents got a lot wiser during that time frame :wink:


I mean, what other explanation could there be to that, that I didn’t need their advice when I was 18, but 20 years later, I came to cherish their advice? :confused: :stuck_out_tongue: :smiley:

I dunno… I’m a Catholic and I never caused any deep wounds to Orthodox folks, be they Russian or from whatever other nation. I was the very definition of naivety, when I turned up at their church with my Russian date. I was full of excitement and good will… I knew that our Pope (John Paul II at the time) was so interested in the Eastern Orthodox, he asked the monks from a Benedictine monastery I knew about, to pray together with Orthodox monks, using their Orthodox prayers…

I was deeply offended when these Russian EO folks, with their priest, started mocking our Catholic saints.

Frankly I don’t get your point, JharekCarnelian.

I never offended the EO, and I never caused any deep wounds to them, or whatever.

Our Catholic saints, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Theresa of Avila, never offended the EO, and never caused any deep wounds to them.

So, why were a bunch of Russian EO, with their priest to begin with, a bunch of 21st century Americans in the USA who happened to be Russian EO, mocking my Catholic saints and Marian apparitions and the Eucharist of my Catholic Church?

Why did they have a chip on their shoulders?

I never offended them. My Catholic saints never offended them. Holy Mary in her apparitions to Catholics never offended them. Jesus Christ in the Eucharist of the Catholic Church never offended them.

Yet they were insulting and sarcastic towards my Catholic Church, Catholic saints, Mary, and the Eucharist in the Catholic Church.

I don’t understand and more, I frankly reject the notion that we Catholics somehow so greatly offended and wounded a bunch of EO Americans in the USA, that they were justified in attacking and ridiculing the Catholic saints, the Marian apparitions in the CC, or the Eucharist in the CC.

If there’s one thing I profited from my involvement with the Russian EOC, it is that I learned about and developed a heightened appreciation to their saints (St. Innocent of Alaska and Aleut, St. Herman of Alaska, St. John Maximovitch of Shanghai and San Francisco), and to their Marian apparitions and wonder working Holy Icons of Theotokos (the Icon of Kazan, the Icon of Kursk).

But I learned my lesson. They behaved like rabid dogs, viciously attacking anything Catholic. I removed myself from their company, in order to protect my own sanity, and the peace of my soul. May God have mercy on them, and may Holy Mary change their hearts, which are full of pride and hatred towards our Catholic Church. :gopray: :signofcross:

What they did was wrong. However the offenses spoken of are old ones that have rooted suspicion of Catholics in their culture. So pray for them. Not all Russian Orthodox are like this. Other Orthodox are are not generally like this. You ran into a group with particular hang ups and they handled themselves inappropriately. Just as you did not feel it was just to be treated that way for hurt caused by other Catholics from another time, please also do not judge all Orthodox harshly for the actions of a few that misbehaved.

Wow, I can’t believe all of the responses, I am going to re read these after thanksgiving. However, this afternoon, I did have a small discussion with my d about her boyfriend. The subject came up about all his cousins he has and he is anxious for her to meet them all. Anyway, I did tell her that their Christmas is Jan 7 and sometimes Easter is not the same day. I did some research but did not tell her I had done so about marriage and both faiths want the children raised in their respective faiths. That being said, I told her I was concerned with her getting serious with him because while you don’t think of these things now, it does become an issue later. Then she told me she thought his mom was GO and dad catholic but was not sure. She proceed to tell me she did not want me to hold it against him and it was not going to stop her from seeing him. I told her just to keep what I said in the back of her mind but she is an adult and it ultimately would be up to her although hurt me deeply. Then she said well “You married a non catholic” (Lutheran-her father) but my husband never blocked me raising the kids catholic. and I probably would not have married him if he did. Although it is harder to be on your own with raising kids in the faith as I feel they get a watered down version with just me. I told her that. I am hoping she will hold those thoughts as I would never want to cause a problem between us. My love is greater than that. I love comments…keep them coming. thank you.

You answered lovingly and kindly.

btw, his Christmas might not be different than yours. Most Greek Orthodox follow New Calender (Dec. 25) and some follow Old Calender (Jan. 7). We Americans often joke that we are Hobbits…well, we had First Christmas, but what about Second Christmas? :wink: Pascha coincides with Western Easter only every so many years.

To cut right to the chase, my recommendation is to read

Who ever said anything about stop being a parent? I never said to not give advice. Unfortunately, your children will become adults and in the end, they do have to make their own choice or decisions. Doesn’t scripture also say one leaves his family so a man and woman can be one-right?

Thanks for your kind and level-headed posts, MommaduckofMany. Indeed, my experience does not necessarily represent all Orthodox Churches and faithful’s behaviors. The OP, Dianeusa, will have to find out where exactly does the young Greek EO man stand, and where does his Church stand in relationship to Catholicism.

Dianeusa, please find out whether the young Greek man’s Church has friendly relationships with the Catholic Church. Based on what I learned, Orthodox attitudes towards the Catholics can range from friendly and respectful all the way to downright nasty, disrespectful and hostile.

Here’s a quote from the USCCB’s document, which was linked to by Peter J:

Couples should place high priority on becoming familiar with
each other’s traditions, customs, and devotions.

In this way, a Catholic and an Orthodox married to each
other can provide a concrete example of how the faithful of
our two churches can relate to one another with respect and

Well, in my case, I just never saw it coming, that an ancient Church that our own Pope and Catholic Bishops treat with so much love and respect, could have this downright nasty attitude towards my Catholic Church.

I just felt I needed to give a fair warning to the OP, because the USCCB’s official documents never mention that in spite of our Churches (Catholic and Orthodox) being so close to each other on doctrinal issues, the real-life experience of a Catholic trying to meet the Orthodox may very well turn out to be unmitigated pain and disaster. It almost seems as if our good Bishops had some rose-colored glasses on while writing that document. The USCCB’s document mentions “how the faithful of our two churches can relate to one another with respect and love”, but beware, there are some EO Churches that are as anti-Catholic as they come, and they are not going to relate to Catholics with respect and love.

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