I am Orthodox considering becoming Catholic

Hi. I am Oriental Orthodox and am considering converting to Catholic. Can you please answer a few questions for me.

What is the procedure of conversion? Would I be baptized again, or would I give confession of faith? Can I convert right away, or will the priest have me wait a few weeks?

If I give confession of faith, does the priest give some sort of absolution afterwards? (This question is most important)

Also, I am under the impression that the Oriental Orthodox church is excommunicated/anathematized from the Catholic church. Is that correct? (This question is very important)

Also, are eastern Catholics in full communion and insubmission to the pope of Rome? In other words, can they be considered equivalent of Roman Catholic.

not even one answer?!!!

What kind of Oriental Orthodox are you?

At least when you convert from Eastern Orthodoxy, you do not have to be baptized or confirmed again. I have friends from Russia who converted over there, and the procedure was quite simple for them. It may be that they had to do Confession again, I am not quite sure. They had however been living in the Catholic parish for quite some time by then, and I am quite sure the Priest who receive you will want to know that you actually know our Holy Faith.

And yes, Eastern Catholics are indeed full members of the Church! Maybe you should consider one of our Oriental Catholic Churches though, who are also completely Catholic.

I hope someone else can help you describing the status of the Oriental Orthodox Church in Rome. Normally they are described as Monophysite which is indeed heretic…

We are all lay people on this site and if you have no answer that means we dont know the answer, so the best thing get it straight from the person best to ask -A Priest- who will able to help and give you all the answers, welcome to the Cathoilic Church if you do deceide to arrive, you will have plenty of brothers and sisters in the faith, with the Holy Father successor of St. Peter as the head of the Church. Once again welcom.:thumbsup::signofcross:

Thanks for your reply, Nils.

But you didn’t answer my question about absolution. Since an anathema is upon me, I think there must be some special procedure for having it removed. I am worried that with all the liberalism there is here in America, the priest that accepts me into Catholic church may neglect an important detail such as that.

I would suggest a bit of patience…You posted your questions at perhaps the slowest time on the boards - Sunday Afternoon in the U.S - It may take a bit longer for someone knowledgeable to spot your request…

In regards to the possible Anathema…I doubt that there would be any “special procedure”.

Is your plan to join an Eastern Rite Catholic Church or are you joining the Latin Rite Church.


Dear brother Nightrider,

Here’ s recap of where the Oriental Orthodox are at in its relationship with the Catholic Church:

The Coptic Orthodox Church does not officially recognize the “validity” of the Sacraments and Orders of the Catholic Church(es), though at the parish level in some cases, you may find it differently.

The Armenian Apostolic Church officially recognizes the “validity” of the Sacraments and Orders of the Catholic Church(es), but there is no formal agreement on the practical application of this mutual recognition. There is, however, informal sharing on the parish level.

The Syriac family of Oriental Orthodox Churches officially recognize the “validity” of the Sacraments and Orders of the Catholic Church(es), and there is formal agreement for limited sharing of Sacraments in certain extenuating circumstances, and a lot of informal sharing on the parish level.

The anathemas no longer apply from the Catholic end to the OOC’s. These anathemas were based on a misunderstanding of our Christology as being monophysite. The Catholic Church now officially recognizes the distinctive miaphysite Christology of the OOC’s, and so though the anathemas still exist, they no longer apply to us who adhere to the Oriental Orthodox Christology.

I came into the Catholic communion from Coptic Orthodoxy and was received by Profession of Faith alone. I also benefitted from the Sacrament of Confession when I joined, but I’m not sure if that was necessary (i made a confession for the sake of my own conscience). I was received while I was in Egypt, so the “American liberalism” concern was not an issue.


Being a cradle Latin-Rite Catholic, I only know the basics, but here’s this:

1.) Considering that you’re Oriental Orthodox, it’s probably best to talk with either the pastor or the religious education head because you might already have a valid baptism and Chrismation/Confirmation at hand, and then all you would need to do is make a profession of faith. But all of that would depend on how much you know about the Faith and its particular theology – in that case, you may get lumped into RCIA just so they can make sure you know your stuff before joining.

2.) This one I’m not so sure. Now, perhaps if a person was raised Catholic, became Baptist, and then came back, it could be the case, but I don’t know what Father would do with a person who’s Orthodox. . . .

3.) I am also not sure on this one: I’ve tried to Google this (since I know that the churches did split over Council of Chalcedon), but I couldn’t find anything clear on their *present *status – are there any Eastern Catholics who could probably answer this question better?

^Wait, scratch that. I think the poster above me just answered that question! Man, I post too slow . . . . :stuck_out_tongue:

4.) Yes, Eastern Catholics are in full communion with the Holy See, submit to the Pope, and are considered equal to the majority-population Latin Rite. :thumbsup:

Oh, and here’s another thread dealing with Orthodox folks that may help you here: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=208022

But do ask your Catholic priest though – he’ll be able to steer you in the right direction! And good luck in your conversion! :smiley:

I was baptized Antiochian Orthodox and had converted to the Coptic Church prior to becoming Catholic. The procedure that mardukm experienced is the same one that I experienced. Except, while being allowed to partake in the Sacraments, I still had to attend RCIA catechism classes before making a public profession of the Catholic Faith. I converted in the USA.

I am technically a Melkite Catholic, however, I hold to St Cyril’s miaphysite Christology. :thumbsup:

Marduk- you’re Egyptian? Whoa!! Always assumed you were American- Excellent English! :smiley:

:thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:


Thanks, guys, but just one last question.

When you give a confession of faith, what exactly happens. Please describe the process in detail.

The reason I’m asking is because it seems to me that the priest should have to lay hands over you or cross you. Almost like a sacrament. Is this how it happens? I think there must be some sort of formality for removing excommunication/anathema.

My heart belongs to the Coptic Catholic Church, however, there are only two parishes to my knowledge in the USA thousands of miles away from me. :shrug:

There is no anathema or excommunications that apply to the Eastern/Oriental Orthodox Churches at this time. My confession of faith was maybe two sentences long. I made the confession on Easter.

As long as you are properly prepared for Communion (no mortal sins on your conscience), you may partake of the Catholic Eucharist. You may also partake of Catholic confession of sins should you need to.

I recently read that there are actually three Coptic Catholic parishes in the States. I’m not aware of where the third one is, however (I’m only aware of the ones in Los Angeles and Brooklyn). It’s most likely a new mission parish.


As has already been answered, you are under no anathema or excommunication and it does not need to be removed. Excommunications are personal penalties of a medicinal character. They may only be imposed on members of the same Church, in the hopes that this member will return to the Church in full communion. They have no juridicial effect on members of another Church. You are not a Catholic, there is no canonical penalty that is on you now or can be rightly pronounced until you are received into the Church. The only penalties that could exist would be those of your own Church, and the Catholic Church would not recognize those, now or upon your reception.

Prior to your profession of faith and your reception of the Eucharist in the Catholic Church, you would be expected to make a general Confession. Since you are already baptized, this Confession would cover your entire life between baptism and the current time. It may take you a few hours. You would receive sacramental absolution at the end of this session. This is where your sacramental forgiveness takes place. The way would be cleared for your reception into the Church. The Confession would take place, in private, very soon before your reception ceremony, in order that you not commit any sins between those times.

Welcome home and may God bless you for your courageous decision to join the Church!

Cool! Pope St Cyril of Alexandria, Doctor of the Incarnation, pray to Christ our God that the Coptic Catholic Church to populate more cities in America. :signofcross:

Oriental Orthodoxy is not in communion with the Catholic Church. It is in almost the exact same situation as Protestantism, except that the Church recognizes the validity of Oriental Orthodox Holy Orders. If you have been baptized in an Oriental Orthodox Church, then you are validly baptized and a re-baptism upon joining the Catholic Church would be sacrilegious. An Oriental Orthodox Confirmation would probably also be valid, so you would not be re-confirmed either. All that would be necessary is that you make a profession of faith and be absolved of the excommunication that you have incurred by being a member of a schismatic sect. The parish priest may request or require that you attend RCIA classes first, but this is not strictly required under Church law.

And nightrider, you’re not anathema. Anathema hasn’t been used as an ecclesiastical censure since the 1917 Code of Canon Law was put into force. It is now synonymous with excommunication.

If you’re worried about “American liberalism”, try to find a traditional Catholic parish. You will find no liberalism here.

Zekariya, where did you hear that there is no anathema/excommunication. If there isnt any, then there should be no need for a confession of faith.

Since the Catholic Church accepts the validity of Orthodox confession, he would only have to confess mortal sins that he has yet to confess. He is also allowed as an Orthodox Christian to avail himself of the Sacraments of the Catholic Church (except ordination).

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.