Help for Seekers

The very best advice I can offer for those curious about the Orthodox Church is simply to visit an Orthodox service, stay afterwards, and introduce yourself to a few people, and especially the priest. This is often first approached through a short Vespers service (Saturday evening) and then when you’re ready, followed with visit to a Divine Liturgy (Sunday morning). Some will do fine diving in to the deep end, but more of us have waded in slowly. Better yet, folks are often encouraged to make a commitment to visit a number of services to get the feel and flow of things… and not just in one place, but in more than one… to see not just a parish… but the Church and her people as a common fold. The latter was my path.

And though it may seem an imposition, I would recommend calling the priest before your visit to explain your interest so that you might be assured of someone to help you along when you arrive. Allow him through your cordial inquiry to offer his hospitality and live up to his responsibility to offer the Gospel. The Church has waited thousands of years for you for precisely this day that you will visit… and over 200 years just on this continent alone. It would surely like to manage a good introduction – if you’ll give it the chance to do so… but equally, it knows that our ways may seem mysterious, intimidating, and out-right unfamiliar.

As we used to be we got few visitors in these parts, some discomfort surely stems from our awkward pre-occupation with survival through the brutal persecutions of the past, the disconnection between East and West, and an increasing disbelief within and without. And now with your arrival… all this changes and if you have the interest to warm your heart within, and God so wills as no doubt He does, our communion in the life of Jesus Christ may have a greater and more glorious fullness than it has had in sometime. Thanks be to God! Thanks for the kindness of your visit!

But hear also that as you first join our worship… more than likely our gaze is directed to Living God than in our midst. With our thoughts far off in this way, it may actually take a moment or two to see you, to remember to kill the fatted calf, put the ring on your finger, and treat you as the Prodigal you are. But indeed, this is our deepest longing. If even then we take a moment to warm up to each other… understand as well we wish not intimidate, but to cautiously recognize and welcome each other with true hospitality, with respect, and with love that meets you as you are and where you are… as you meet us in turn.

Whether you know it or not, the adventure you’re about to begin is akin to joining a Family Re-union already-in-progress – and you’re invited as our newest member. But the rest of these folks haven’t seen each other in a while and if things seem a bit tight and leave you feeling a bit out of sorts, try to relax… someone will (eventually) offer you hospitality. Maybe if we’re lucky… not the jokester who thinks its funny to spill coffee on the guests… but families…. what more can I say? They’re what they are. And… duh… we’re not here because we’re perfect.

Visiting an Orthodox Service:

Why We’re Here:

What Lies Beneath:

Conversion:

Catechesis Materials:

Materials on Specific Inquiries:

Suggest saving these for speaking with a priest if you can. I don’t get inquiries… and surely there’s a reason. 🙂

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