Which Orthodox church is best for me?

I’m asking this question because I couldn’t really navigate through the orthodox forums and when I asked on Yahoo Answers all I got was “None. Just be a good person.” Seriously??? (Though one also suggested Pentecostal). So I hope by my asking this none of you Catholics will feel insulted. I just have one question that maybe some Orthodox dudes here can answer.

So I live in Halifax, Canada and in my head I’ve been switching between Roman Catholic and Orthodox for about 2 months now (If you’ve read my other questions you’ll know) and now I want to be Orthodox again. I’ve never been baptized so that door is open for me.

There are 2 major Orthodox churches in my city (Actually 3, but that one sings in Arabic) that I found I would like to go to. Now I know both are same but I ask this not for any religious reasons, but as a social reason. Should I join a Greek or a Russian church? I’ll tell you a bit about them.

The Russian ( Or Ukrainian???) church: “St Vladimir’s” has always held my mind ( Because I like Russian history:shrug:) but it’s really tiny. According to the website about 150 families are connected with it but the problem is that it’s tiny as hell. The place where it’s at used to be an Anglican church and they’re landlords are going to need to vacate soon for some reason. My problem is that I can’t stand small churches. They make me feel insignificant ( I know I shouldn’t go to church based on it’s appearance, but still)

The Greek church: “St George’s” is enormous and really beautiful on the inside. Exactly as you would expect a major Cathedral in Greece or Russia to be. It really makes you feel in the presence of the divine. But the problem is that it’s also a community center (equipped with a language school) for Greeks. I don’t want to be the odd person in events who isn’t Greek. By the way I grew up in Brampton so I kinda developed a hatred for foreign community centers but I’m okay with this one.

So which one are you most familiar with, and which one should suit me? If it helps I should also add that I only know English and French but am willing to learn the words and meanings of their hymns.

I’m sorry to say a Catholic forum really isn’t the proper place to ask this question either. It’s just not respectful to our hosts.

The only problem I have is the criteria you have chosen to make the most important decision of your life. Wow! :confused:

To the second poster: I did say that my question was not concerning traditions or ways of worship. I know they’re the same. I was asking a non religious question as in "what would you do? "

Seraphim: duly noted. I apologize. Anyone know how to delete this thread? I don’t.

The best criteria for determining your religion is the truth of it. Pick the one which has the most truth. Naturally, we Catholics will think Catholicism holds the most truth, so, as nice as we may be ;), we can’t help you choose between Orthodox communities.

If you were to choose Catholicism, then you wouldn’t have to chose between these two Orthodox communities, neither of which seems to please you much. If you preder the Divine Liturgy, look into Eastern Catholic churches like the Byzantine.

ETA: I could not find a Byzantine Catholic church near you :frowning: But there are several Catholic churches!

Hello Renarax!
Im sorry that you dont see the truth of the Holy Catholic Church and have you searched widely? You know there are lots of different liturgical Rites in communion with the Holy See dont you?.
So if the Latin Church arnt the right way of celebrating mass for you please be aware that there are other ways to celebrate mass and still be in communion with Rome.
Anyway, you seem to have made an decition and I respect that.

At least its good that you choose to follow Christ even though its in the Orthodox Church (witch is a lot better than protestantism due to the validy of the sacraments).

And Im Catholic so of course Im not the right person to answer questions about Greek vs Russian Orthodox church.

But I do however find it a bit odd that the Greek Orthodox Church are where you dont feel like you would fit in as you arent Russian (Just my conclusion since you dont mention russian as a language you are familiar with) and that culture looks even further away for me at least than the Greek would be.
And the size of the church? Really?
how on earth is that the least important? Does it really matter?
What should matter is the teachings of each community not things like arcitecture and other trivial things like that.

I for one dont know how the Greek Orthodox church are different from the Russian Orthodox chruch, but it has to be something keeping them apart regarding their doctrine and those differences should be very important for you to look further into before you make your choice.

Anyway, I hope you find peace in the Orthodox Church and remember that we are brethren despite our differences and that the Holy Catholic Church always will be there for you if you decide to convert at any point in the future.

Again I pray that you will find peace.

Yours brother in Christ

  • MarianCatholic

Have you actually been to either of these churches? Go to the services at both, stay for coffee hour after Sunday liturgy and see which one you prefer.

Hi Renarax. My first thought on this thread was a bit of confusion, because I didn’t realize you meant which parish.

But second, it just seems a very difficult question to answer. Even if you were asking about choosing between two Catholic parishes (which would be a more commonplace question on CAF) I don’t know how I could answer it.

Third, I think you and Seraphim may be right about this being slightly inappropriate on CAF, especially if you used to be Catholic (note that you don’t have to tell me). But I hope you
Iike the forum anyhow. :slight_smile:

Go with the Russians.

I would recommend none of them-in the USA-Canda_Australia the Orthodox Churches are very ethnic and the vast majority of the congregants are first or second generation for example Greek canadians or russian Canadians

If you have never been baptized you should first decide if you want to be a Christian and believe in the principles stated in the Nicene Creed-if you do I would ecommend that you try the Roman Catholic Church first-the ethnicity is broad and they have the same sacraments as the Orthodox-

I would not recommend the Church of canada as they as well as my Church are having significant issues which a new Christian should not have to deal with

First of all I’m not sure how qualified and Episcopalian is to give advice on Orthodoxy. Second what you say is simply not true. Even though this isn’t the appropriate place to discuss Orthodox conversion I can’t let an untruth like this stand. Very large numbers of Orthodox parishes are not “ethnic” at all. Even many that are ethnic are extremely welcoming of converts. So please refrain from giving false information like this.

I know almost nothing about Orthodoxy (other than what shared theology we have), but I really think you should re-evaluate the methods of choosing a church based on population and the ethnic group that makes up that church (unless of course, you’re part of that ethnic group and/or speak that language, but then you’d not need to decide so it’s clear that isn’t the case). Maybe you should do some soul searching about why you really want to be Orthodox. It has to be stronger than “I really like Russians.” My natural bias is of course to tell you to look into Eastern Rite Catholic churches, but that’s to be expected though. Either way, your decision should be based on theology rather than human factors.

Also, cmodrmac, I’ve never been to an Orthodox service, but I’ve been to various Eastern Rite Catholic churches and I can tell you not ONCE have I ever been looked down upon for not being whatever ethnic group makes up the majority of whatever liturgy it was. I can only imagine it’s similar with Orthodoxy.

I would be glad to change my opinion if you can provide any data relating to an increase in the ethnic diversity of the Orthodox Church is the Americas:I never implied that one is “looked down upon” for not being of the same ethnic group



The notion of “one state – one Church” was historically a very characteristic of the Eastern Christianity. Therefore, when Orthodox Church is mentioned, one tends to think of its ethnic aspect. The Orthodox Christians being asked about religious affiliation almost always add an ethnic qualifier: Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox, etc. Consequently, many Orthodox Churches which have faithful in U.S. have organized in North America their own jurisdictions (first, the individual separated parishes that were later united into dioceses) with a purpose to minister to the religious needs of the corresponding ethnic communities of immigrants from the Old World: the Greeks, Russians, Serbians, Romanians, Armenians, Copts, etc. It should be pointed out, there is no doubt for the first generation of immigrants the national Orthodox jurisdictions have brought a big measure of order and unity to ethnic groups that otherwise would have remained fragmented and enfeebled in an “American melting pot”.

Sorry, but you could not be more wrong. I have never been to an Orthodox parish that is completely dominated by just one ethnic group. And I have been to many during my travels.

But let’s just talk about my parish. The priest converted from the Episcopal church and came from FL. The deacon converted from LCMS. Out of the whole parish we have exactly two ethnic families. one Arab and the other Ukrainian. All the rest are children of converts or converts them selves. WASPs to a person.

With the increasing liberalism of Main Line Protestant churches (like your own) we are getting more and more converts.

Why not visit both and see which one calls out to you more? A small parish with 150 families can often be a great blessing, by the way, because far from making one insignificant, the priest is likely to have more time to devote to each parishioner. Smaller parishes in my experience also have a very tightly knit dynamic (many will notice newcomers and shower them with attention), which larger parishes lack.

Many of us add a qualifier so we don’t have to further explain what we are talking about. :wink:

Friend: “So what religion are you”?
Me: “I’m Orthodox.”
Friend: “You’re what”?
Me: “Orthodox”
Friend: “You’re Jewish”?
Me: “No Christian.”
Friend: (Blank stare)
Me: “Ok, I’m Greek Orthodox.”
Friend: “Oh cool. I love Greek food…”

And just a question for you. How many Orthodox parishes have you attended?

I’ve attended Divine Liturgy at about ten Orthodox parishes on more than one occasion each; 4 within the Orthodox Church in America (which as I understand it, received autocephaly from its mother Russian church), 3 within the Russian Orthodox Church (Outside Russia), 2 within the Greek Orthodox Church, and 1 within the Serbian Church.

I can only speak anecdotally, but it has also been my experience that the majority of Orthodox parishes I’ve visited were very ethnically homogenous. This isn’t to say that they were in any way racist or prejudice, or even insular. I’ve noticed the Russians to be a little more welcoming to outsiders than the Greeks, but in all cases I’ve been approached by parishioners, given explicit welcomes with firm handshakes and hugs, and I’ve left all very well fed! :smiley:

The one major exception to my observation of ethnic homogeneity has been the OCA. Every single parish I’ve visited has been as diverse if not more diverse than the local Catholic parishes, and I was also shocked to see the relatively high concentration of ethnically Western European parishioners. It seems the OCA attracts more converts for whatever reason. When and if the Orthodox Bishops in the New World figure out the problem of overlapping jurisdictions I’d like to see the OCA become The Orthodox Church in America. I’d also love to see a more substantive attempt at implementing Western Rite Orthodoxy here in the US where (let’s face it), Western European patrimony dominates.

I actually have a question about Western Rite Orthodoxy. Do parishes that offer such liturgies constitute actual churches in and of themselves, or are they simply parishes of Eastern churches that just so happen to celebrate a Western rite (analogous to the “Russian Catholic” parishes I’ve seen which are truly within a Latin Diocese)?

No they don’t constitute a different Church. The Antiochian Archdiocese has a Western Rite Vicariate and ROCOR I believe has a diocese. I know at least one ROCOR bishop Jerome I believe vests as a western bishop.

The funny thing was this is how it was initally, before everything got into a mess. All Orthodox churches regardless of “ethnicity” were under the North American diocese of the Russian church which later became the OCA.

Hi people thanks for all your replies.
But you’ll be happy to know that I have decided not to rush into this again. Actually this is about the 2nd time I’ve thought about eastern orthodoxy and changed my mind. The last time this lasted for 2 days as well as now. So I might be catholic after all! who knows?:thumbsup:

I think the reason why I was so attracted to orthodoxy in the first place was because of what I read on a Wikipedia article :
“Through baptism, Orthodox Christians enter a new life of salvation through repentance, whose purpose is to share in the life of God through the work of the Holy Spirit. Christian life is a spiritual pilgrimage in which each person, through the imitation of Christ and hesychasm cultivates the practice of unceasing prayer (often with use of the Jesus Prayer). This life occurs within the life of the church as a member of the Body of Christ. It is through the fire of God’s love in the action of the Holy Spirit that the Christian becomes more holy, more wholly unified with Christ, starting in this life and continuing in the next. Born in God’s image, each person is called to theosis, fulfillment of the image in likeness to God. God the creator, having divinity by nature, offers each person participation in divinity by cooperatively accepting His gift of grace.”

I thought whoever wrote this was brilliant. But now I guess Catholics believe in the same thing more or less right?

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