My Transition to Orthodoxy, in Q and A form

Some Orthodoxy Q and A from my own perspective.

I know a lot of you have noticed I have been attending Liturgies at an Orthodox Church for a while, and probably have some questions. I don’t claim to know everything, but I’m simply answering things from what I have observed and experienced.

  1. Aren’t the Orthodox schismatic?

It is impossible to be schismatic against an authority which one doesn’t have. It is well documented that in the first millennia of the Church, the West did not have jurisdiction over the East. It’s interesting that effectively Rome admits they’re wrong, and nothing is done about it. In addition, why would the pope of Rome even be willing to have a discussion about primacy, if it were set in stone, or even if the concept of universal jurisdiction was correct? It seems to me that Rome is arguing from a position, of it knows it’s wrong, and we have to have mental gymnastics to defend our erroneous position.

Let’s be very clear, the Orthodox are not sedevacantist. We acknowledge Francis as the present pope of Rome. We patiently await his return to Holy Orthodoxy, the humility to recognize the errors of universal jurisdiction.

We really can’t put an exact date on when things went wrong, as history isn’t quite black and white, and there was (and is) present day intercommunion albeit on a hush-hush level. Some might say things went wrong at Florence, or perhaps earlier

Rome can hardly govern itself, let alone everyone else. Have not many of the problems that are in the present day in the church of Rome due to Rome not nipping things in the bud that should have been stopped. (Whether it be the Filioque, the whole indulgence situation, modern abuses such as Communion in the hand, etc)

b. But what about the Filioque….

It should not be in the Creed, it wasn’t in the Greek original, it should have never been added to the Latin form of the creed. It’s really as simple as that. The Father is the single source, From the Father, to the Son, through the Holy Spirit. Yes, both fathers of East and West have spoken on this point, but there’s a reason it wasn’t in the creed. Additions to the creed is an anathema….There should have been another (ecumenical) council to discuss this point, there was not! There’s a reason most of the popes denied the addition to the creed. 

c. Why Moscow…

Do I really need to answer this? 

d. But why not stay in Eastern Catholicism?

In short, I’ve come to the conclusion that Eastern Catholicism, just like Western Rite Orthodoxy, should not exist….If we consider the Orthodox to be true churches, that have real jurisdiction and true orders, there should be zero need to have them separate from their mother churches. The Orthodox have been careful not to appoint an Orthodox Bishop of Rome, Yet, in many of the lands of the Orthodox, there is an equivalent Catholic Bishop of *insert jurisdiction here*….To me this is a major problem. In some ways it can be seen as an arrogance on the part of the church of Rome. Although, there have been steps made in the right direction, by the pope of Rome not appointing a patriarch of Jerusalem.

e. Aren’t the Orthodox divided? (What about the Non Chalcedonian churches?)

Perhaps that may well be legally so, but in the day to day practice of the Faith, this is hardly the case. Coptic Orthodox come to reverence the icons in the Chalcedonian churches, and there’s a various exchange with those in the non chalcedonaian tradition. Often from the convertski, do you see really the hard lines of olden past.

Truly Orthodoxy is Orthodoxy, whether one goes to a Romanian, Greek, Russian, insert your jurisdiction here, when one speaks of the Orthodox Faith, one is always understood. For example, when one refers to Theosis, all Orthodox know what one is talking about.

In Catholicism, perhaps on paper the Faith is the same, but in practice this is hardly the case. There’s a major divergence in the Faith, from St Reverent, to St Irreverent Roman parish. One says the word Theosis, and unless one is truly educated n the Faith, a Roman would be clueless as to what one is saying. In the West, one thing is meant by terms, in the East, and entirely different thing is meant by something. (Eg: Original Sin) There’s such a divergence between the Traditionalists, the Conservatives, the Sedevacantists, and the even harder sedevacantists, I don’t know if it can be argued that the Faith that is upheld is the same between them. 

The Faith, even if it were the same, it’s not treated as such. There’s headache upon headache to transfer between churches. Should it not be a simple as declaring allegiance to a Bishop, patriarch of a particular church that one wishes to join, instead of endless hoops of paperwork?  Witnessing the hell that it is for some priests to get faculties to be bi-ritual, it’s absolutely ridiculous, and hardly the way to treat the Faith, if catholicism is catholicism. 

Thus if the Orthodox are divided, I’d argue the Catholics are even more divided. After all, there was not a Protestant revolution in the East as there was in the West. 

f. Isn’t it just Francis opening his mouth too much?

Hardly, though it has accelerated the process. My thoughts towards the faith have long been eastern, even though I have not been much public about them. This is hardly a phase. It’s something that I’ve been living for a long time now, and it’s truly a transformation in ethos and approach toward everything. 

I don’t really care, what Francis says, it’s hardly having any impact on what I’m attempting to do on a daily basis. Every time he’s brought up, it’s an obstacle in my attempt to be half way decent of a person. 

As a general rule, when Francis opens his mouth, it’s not a good thing. He’s attempting to reduce the papacy (a good thing), however the means by which he’s going about it is the exact opposite of what he’s intending. (ruling with an iron fist, effectively equating himself to some popes of old who said, “I AM tradition”I, AM)

e. But isn’t the papacy instituted by Christ?

Yes, but not to the point that it has ballooned today. It’s not the pope’s job to micromanage the Church, and do what he wishes just because he feels like it. (As the present Bishop of Rome is governing.) The Pope’s job was to be last court of appeals in inner disputes between churches, but not a micromanager, and of course help affirm the Faith. The patriarchs were to help each other out, They kept one another in line. Rome, Constantinople, Antioch, Alexandria, Jerusalem. All Bishops, by being the High priest, are vicars of Christ. Every bishop by virtue of their ordination is equal. Administration is a separate aspect, and is not effective on episcopal dignity.

g. Aren’t you leaving the Church that Christ Himself established?

Absolutely not! All of the churches (Non Chalcedonian, Chalcedonian) make up the True Church (Christ can’t be divided, by the nature of the true orders, they are apart of the Church) I’m simply changing my bishop allegiance. (Abp Kyrill, and Patriarch Kirill respectively)

h. Will you still visit Catholic churches….

Of course! But with a different perspective! I don’t hate Rome, quite the opposite, but my path leads me a different direction. I’m just following that path,

  1. Aren’t you going to be alone?

Quite the opposite actually, I’ve felt that living in an Eastern Catholic perspective, it’s been rather lonely because finding those that share the exactly same perspective are few and far between. It can’t be explained really. 

j. You sure this is not a phase?

Absolutely, I made sure not to convert, not when I first stepped in an Orthodox Church :p…..This is something that has been gradually happening, my change in ethos, and the peace that I have attending Liturgy has returned to me after a several year absence. (Since I was out of seminary actually)…

H. Any last words.

Please pray for me….I need all the prayers I can get…There’s something else that’s happening that I really want prayers for. My classmate in Organic Chemistry was correct, as well as several Orthodox faithful that have commented to me, you’ll be home soon enough. There are many that are probably surprised I haven’t “converted” earlier….

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