Is conversion between different EO churches meaningful?

The Eastern Orthodox communion is composed of several different churches, most of them arranged by country. There are the Russian Orthodox Church, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Orthodox Church in America, and others. All of these churches are in full communion.

Is it meaningful for a person to “convert” or “transfer” from one to the other? For example, if a Greek citizen who is a member of the Greek Orthodox Church moves to Russia, would he be expected or required to “convert” or formally transfer his membership to the Russian Orthodox Church? Is there even a procedure for this, or does the very fact that he has moved into a Russian Orthodox diocese mean that he is now under the aegis of the Russian Orthodox Church as a full participant?

It is not a conversion, it is a transfer of jurisdiction. And yes, if one is staying for a good amount of time in another jurisdiction, they should transfer so they will be in the care of the bishop and priest of that jurisdiction. They can always transfer back if they do go back to their previous location.

Now in North America where there are overlapping jurisdictions, I am not sure what the rules are but I do know some people do transfer jurisdictions even though they never move.

I’ve never heard of anybody needing to transfer anything. Here in town there’s a Greek parish and a Serbian parish. I know a woman who was going to the Serbian and decided to start attending the Greek parish. All she did was start going there. She spoke to the priest telling him, but that’s all.

When my wife studied abroad in England she had a letter form her priest in America telling whom it concerned that she was a practicing and devout Orthodox Christian so she could receive Communion. That was all she needed. My wife hasn’t heard of such a thing either, and looked at me like I was ridiculous when I just asked her lol.

If I were to move to Russia or Greece I’d carry a similar letter, but I don’t know that a bishop would need to be informed or anything. I’ve never heard of anything like that, but I’ve also never traveled abroad. I can’t imagine though that it would be required. Why would it?

What Constantine is describing fits exactly the Eastern Catholic practice, but I don’t think it’s the Orthodox one.

Transfers in the Eastern Catholic Church is not simple and straightforward, and you probably won’t be able to transfer more than once without some more compelling reason.

Is there no formal process if you want to belong to another jurisdiction even though it is not as complex as it is in the Catholic Church?

Transferring is only necessary if one holds a clerical rank within the Church, and that applies for any movement from one Bishop to another, regardless of Church affiliation.

If all goes according to plan I’ll be switching Churches/jurisdictions later this year. The only thing I’ll need to do before taking Communion in my new parish will be to introduce myself to my new priest. Nothing more.

Not really, especially since throughout most of the world there is only one Orthodox Church available, the only reason to change church is due to moving to a new land. North America is different, and you’ll certainly raise eyebrows if you switch churches, but there is nothing formal.

I know this is slightly off topic to the thread, but something Constantine said about overlapping jurisdictions made me think of it. I remember resding something about an Orthodox council to address jurisdictional issues that was supposedly being arranged. Any word on this?

I have changed jurisdiction three times due to circumstance, I live in a small town and there has never been more than one Orthodox church at a time.

Here in overwhelmingly baptist and fundamentalist land Orth churches are very hard to find. We have a history of missions opening and then closing, orten years apart. Then I go to Catholic or Episcopal churches, so times one has to make do.

But I never had a problem switching. Except for the ROCOR church that re-baptised me,

They say we are very close, which is what they have been saying for a while now. So who knows. While the situation of ecclesiology in North America and in many “diaspora” lands are irregular, it is not like the faith will come tumbling down if it is not resolved soon.

No, you’re right (you would be, having gone through it lol). I didn’t mean to imply it was easy, I just didn’t read your comment as implying that it was. I suppose saying that one can switch back might though.

Is there no formal process if you want to belong to another jurisdiction even though it is not as complex as it is in the Catholic Church?

As others have said, no. You have to remember, the Orthodox Church isn’t as divided as people think she is. Switching from Greek to Russian is like switching from Polish to Italian in the Roman Church. You just walk down the street, introduce yourself to Father Giovanni, say you we baptized and have been confessing to Father Karol and done is done. The downside is that we have the problem of a Polish and Italian bishop in the same city to go with it. Still though, switching the jurisdictions is much more like that situation than switching from Latin to Byzantine Catholic.

The Orthodox Church moves at its normal pace. :smiley:

The jurisdictional issue is just one of many to be dealt with, which slows things even more.

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