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u/jaccarmac · 5 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

Recent (this Pascha) Protestant convert here. I can attempt to answer each of your questions, though my answers about more complex issues of doctrine/Catholicism will probably be worse than those about contrasts with Protestantism.

  1. I think this is really two issues, though you focus on one here more than the other.


    > lack of evangelism/out-reach within the Orthodox church

    The Evangelical type of outreach is definitely lacking, in terms of going door to door, consciously trying to evangelize acquaintances, tracts, etc. Since becoming Orthodox I've come to see this as largely a good thing, but that's my opinion, so let me focus on the outreach that the Orthodox actually do.

    There are still Orthodox missions throughout the world, youth groups still go on trips to Mexican orphanages like my Protestant YA group back in California, etc. Orthodox laity tend to focus more on personal/family spiritual growth, but don't take that to mean that there are no opportunities for evangelism if you are so called.

    Keep in mind two related issues as well. First, the Orthodox church in America is small and has less resources to leverage than America's Protestant denominations. Also, it has a rich tradition of monasticism which the Protestant tradition tends to lack and which fills in some gaps you might observe "in church".


    > some congregations felt more like ethnic clubs

    I was extremely blessed to find a parish full of converts. More ethnic congregations certainly exist, but largely this seems to be a myth/outdated truth about Orthodoxy. My own experience would indicate that the Greeks/Russians tend to have strong friendships with one another and language/culture barriers which can make it difficult to form relationships. That said, the times where that extends to hostility to outsiders is rare, in my experience.

    The parish I'm at is Antiochian. If you can find a similar church near you, you may find a surprising number of converts as well!

  2. My historical knowledge is a bit fuzzy, but as far as I know papal primacy was something which was accepted by all the churches up until the Schism. During the period of the split, the Eastern bishops rejected papal supremacy as a new doctrine. And the mutual excommunication was the end of any debate as such.

    This is definitely a question that someone more knowledgeable can elaborate on!

  3. There was a good article on this here a few days ago: When I first started attending my parish and began to become concerned about my salvation as a Protestant, it was explained thus: Because some of the image of God exists in every person and in all creation (the Orthodox view of the Fall is more nuanced than the one I grew up with), there are pieces of the Truth everywhere. However, the fullness of the Truth only exists where the fullness of Christ exists, in the Eucharist.

    Or, as my priest likes to say: The Orthodox are maximalists, not minimalists. We are not so concerned with what we must do to be saved but what we can do to live as if we are in the Kingdom of Heaven now.

  4. This (and Mary, which I'll address in a minute) was one of my biggest discomforts when I began to attend an Orthodox parish. Eventually, I came to view that discomfort as culturally-motivated rather than theologically-motivated. I won't speculate on your motivation and assume your knowledge is as shallow as mine was, but I would encourage you to attend services even if you are uncomfortable. No one should judge you for not venerating icons. If you are still deeply theologically uncomfortable, I would take the time to carefully consider what you think about the councils, since icon veneration was maintained as valid in them.

  5. I was never a Catholic, so again I'll leave the bulk of this question to those who know better. That said, here's what I do know about Orthodox Mariology: Mary was ever-virgin, she was the most important woman in Church history, we venerate her icon and pray for her to intercede with her Son for us, we love her, and we do not believe in the Immaculate Conception.

    Hope that's helpful! I don't know based on your post whether you've attended any services, so I'll exhort you to as if you have not. Orthodoxy isn't "real" until it's lived, and you can't live Orthodoxy outside the liturgy. The beauty of the services was the first step in my conversion, and I think everyone considering the Church for its theology should also visit a parish and let their whole person experience Orthodoxy before making up their mind.

    EDIT: Skimmed your previous posts. No idea where you are physically, but on the off chance you're in the Salt Lake City area, I'd love to meet you in person as the journey from Protestantism to Orthodoxy is near and dear to me. In either case, if you ever want to know more about my conversion experience don't hesitate to reach out on Reddit or elsewhere.

    TL;DR Wall of text has my rough thoughts. I highly recommend Becoming Orthodox; It's where my deeper exploration started.
u/edric_o · 8 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

There have been a lot of answers that touched upon this or that detail, but I'm not sure if anyone has clearly mentioned the most important thing:

The Orthodox Church is One, and you don't have to speak Serbian (or any other particular language) or be culturally Serbian (or any other particular culture) in order to be Orthodox.

You haven't mentioned which country you live in, but in most English-speaking countries it's not too difficult to find a nearby Orthodox church that does the services in English and where most of the people attending are native English speakers. If you happen to live in the US or Canada, here is an extremely useful Orthodox church locator:

Most parish churches belonging to the OCA (Orthodox Church in America) and to the Antiochian Archdiocese, are exclusively English-speaking. Here are the respective websites of the OCA and the Antiochian Archdiocese:

Obviously, as Aletheia mentioned, since this is the Orthodox sub, you are going to get responses encouraging you to convert to Orthodoxy - and my response is one of them. I just want you to know that language and culture are not a barrier. There are a lot of English-language Orthodox resources online. Here is just one of them:

I feel that, especially since you do not go to church regularly now, you should definitely give Orthodoxy a try. Find an English-speaking parish near you, attend a few services and talk to the priest. You may be pleasantly surprised. And maybe your fiance will be pleasantly surprised too, and get to learn more about his faith.

And speaking of your fiance, here are some good books that serve as great introductions to Orthodoxy. No matter what you decide to do, I think you should definitely get one (or all) of these for him, to help him learn more about his faith:

Welcome to the Orthodox Church - this book tries to explain everything about Orthodoxy from the perspective of a fictional convert joining a fictional Orthodox parish; it's particularly good for understanding the Liturgy and other elements of Orthodox praxis

Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy - this book explains the differences between Orthodoxy and other forms of Christianity (and even talks a bit about non-Christian religions), and has a really good chapter on Catholicism

Know the Faith - this book explains Orthodox theology, particularly arguing against Protestant ideas that are common in the West

Of course, it may be that your future father-in-law really just wants his grandchildren to be Serbian, rather than just Orthodox. In that case, you can tell him that you will raise them in the Orthodox faith, but if on top of that he wants them to learn Serbian customs - well, that's what their father (your husband) will be there for.

But since faith and nationality are often seen as one and the same by most Serbs (and other cultures too), there's a good chance that raising the children Orthodox would be enough, for even the most patriotic Serbian father-in-law.

A few other points of note:

>We have decided to do two ceremonies to try to respect both religions and upbringings.

That is not possible - not unless you can find priests willing to break their respective Churches' rules. Marriage is a sacrament in both the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church. This means that you can only get married in church if both spouses have some level of commitment to that specific faith and if they agree to raise the children in that faith.

Basically, the Church that you do not want to raise your children in, will not agree to marry you. Unless you can find a priest who will break the rules for you. But you really shouldn't.

>He claimed that because I am a woman, it is expected that I conform to my husband's religion in terms of raising children. He said this is historically how it has always been amongst both of our 'patriarchal' religions.

He's wrong, but not in a way that changes your situation.

According to the Orthodox Church, it doesn't matter who is the man and who is the woman. If the husband was Catholic and the wife was Orthodox, the Church would still say that they should raise the children Orthodox, and they cannot get an Orthodox marriage if they don't want to raise their children Orthodox.

To get an Orthodox marriage, the official requirements are:

  1. At least one of the spouses must be Orthodox (doesn't matter which one)
  2. The other spouse must be a baptized Christian who believes in the Holy Trinity
  3. They must agree to raise their children Orthodox

    Some cultures insist more on this if the husband is Orthodox, but the Church doesn't.
u/aletheia · 7 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

Regarding the eternal state of those outside the Church: We can say nothing about the eternal state of anyone, except that we believe the saints are in heaven praying for us. We must ask for mercy on all people: Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, heretic, Muslim, atheist, etc. alike.

>'Tell me, supposing you went to paradise, and there looked down and saw somebody

>burning in hell-fire — would you feel happy?'

>'It can’t be helped. It would be their own fault,' said the hermit.

>The Staretz answered him with a sorrowful countenance:

>'Love could not bear that,' St. Silouan said. 'We must pray for all.'

We also don't think God is trapped in our altars. He can certainly worth other places, and even in other faiths if he so chooses. We believe ourselves to be the full expression of the Christian faith, but we acknowledge that other Christians have 'this or that' things correct as well. For example, most Christians can faithfully say they believe the Creed, with perhaps (what we regard as) a faulty understanding of what the 'One, Holy, Catholic and apostolic Church', or the addition of the filioque which regard as an improper insertion.

>The only way I can see to confirm any existing denomination is via the Bible, which seems kind of a backwards approach if we're not supposed to interpret the Bible and the Bible itself originates from these traditions. The Bible has earned my trust, but it has done so through reading and interpretation, which is apparently something I wasn't supposed to do.

This might be apropos to your thoughts here:

>how would one distinguish if someone in the Church is going against the Church if the Church itself is, in the first place, what they're supposed to listen to.

The teaching of the Church is not simply what is taught in this moment in history: We can look back on the census of the Church through the ages. That consensus is what we are to learn from.

>Specifically, the hierarchical clergy, as if someone is better than someone else.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but this system has existed even from the New Testament where Paul lays out the qualifications for an elder. Even most protestant groups have a similar structure.

No clergyman should think of himself as better than you. It does happen, but then, we are all sinful. The struggle for humility is one of the great battles of being a Christian. Even with the things that can go wrong though, we need these people to help guide us in our faith and growth so that we do not stumble off back into darkness.

>I dislike the whole "if you do X, we excommunicate you" approach

Excommunication is fixable through repentance. The reason excommunication exists is twofold. One is to distinguish who is 'not us' (although, properly, that's being declared anathema -- reserved for those teaching things contrary to the faith of the Church). The other is that it is a pastoral tool to help us. We believe communion to be the real body and blood of Christ, and to take communion with certain rots and attitudes in our hearts is harmful to us. Certain things need to be taken to confession and worked on so that we do not hurt ourselves. The desire for communion, since we regard it as the greatest expression of our faith, when it is denied to us can be a powerful incentive to mend our ways.

>Then, the icons, which I find difficult to reconcile with the commandment of "do not make any graven image of anything above or below".

I will be posting a lecture video in this sub on icons that was given at a university. In the mean time: |

>I feel like we should be humble instead of showing off with pretty things, before we start worshiping said pretty things.

We're not showing anything off. We have simply included beauty in our worship to remind us of the beauty we will encounter in heaven. If we worship the things then we are Doing It Wrong. I have seen plenty of Orthodox Churches that are decidedly ugly on the exterior, but still functioning and containing beautiful icons of Christ in the form of their people.

>Is there anything I need to know before going to an EO church as a non-baptized Christian who knows approximately nothing?

>Is there such a thing as an EO Bible?

In English we have a study bible. I don't know much about the Russian bible market. The only difference is the inclusion of the deuterocanon, and we base our OT off the Septuagint instead of the Masoretic text.

u/Malphayden · 6 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

First off, Welcome! You are a special snowflake, and don't let anyone tell you different! Also, I love cream cheese brownies and wine. Something in common already :). Secondly, I'm a catechumen (officially in the process of joining the Church) so take anything I say with a grain of salt as I'm definitely still learning. Other more experience Ortho folks will chime in I'm sure.

Having already attended some services with the intention of continuing I'd say you've got the right idea. Others here, like myself, experienced Orthodoxy first in books. It can be easy to read and read while never going to see and experience for yourself. So, good on ya.

If you're interested in supplementing what you're learning in the services and conversations with the priest, there are lots of good books and web resources. A couple books I’d recommend would be “The Orthodox Way” by bishop Kallistos Ware and “The Orthodox Church” by the same author. The first book deals more with Orthodox spirituality and the second starts off with some history in the first half and teaching/doctrine in the second half. Search through this sub-forum and you’ll find a lot of great questions/answers and links to some great articles.

I’m also a big fan of this blog by Fr. Stephen Freeman.
Feel free to ask any questions you have, there are some really great people in the sub-reddit that will be glad to help you out.

ps...My wife's interest in Orthodoxy isn't at the same place as mine. In my opinion it's best not to rush them or try to crame Orthodoxy down their throats in our new found enthusiasm. Pray for them, be patient and trust God to work on her heart is His own timing :)

u/scottishclaymore · 6 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

Things you can do at home: I'd recommend getting a prayer book (I started with this one: and start reading the morning, afternoon, and evening prayers. They won't take long and, practiced consistently, they will begin to incline your heart towards God. They did mine.

Regarding the Jesus Prayer: God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love and of a sound mind. You need not be afraid of invoking the name of Jesus "wrongly" as long as you are doing it out of love and a sound mind. Say it reverently and with great love.

"Beginning to Pray" by Met. Anthony Bloom is a wonderful read if you are trying to understand prayer better: It has the added virtue of being short.

And to echo what others have said, find a way that you can stand in the Church and apprehend this with more than just your noggin'. Seriously. Even if that means you can only get out once or twice a month. That's where my family is at right now, at least through the end of the year. Orthodoxy is such a wonderful thing to experience, but it's also so rich that for inquirers like you and me, even once or twice a month may be enough beauty to feed on until our situations improve.

u/[deleted] · 2 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

Sorry for the late reply :)

Be the Bee is aimed at a younger audience, but good nonetheless;

Father Barnabas puts a lot of stuff online, and I would say I am a fan;

St. Vassa is popular, but I never really watched her stuff;

The Orthodox Church is said to be a good book for beginners to read, but I only have experience with The Orthodox Way (second link);

The Orthodox Study Bible is also a great tool;

Adoption is a great and selfless thing to do. Absolutely nothing wrong with it.

Good luck, and I hope your journey goes well.

u/seeing_the_light · 2 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

Well, the proof is in the pudding, not in the list of ingredients on the side of the packaging of the pudding. To me, by the time I came to the point where I was asking myself what I really believe about the Eucharist, I had for the most part already seen enough to take the word of, not only the Church, but the earliest Christians, considering that's all we have to really go on. I mean, we're not just talking about some random people here but 2nd generation Christians, those who were taught by the Apostles themselves. If that is to come under scrutiny, then why not any other number of things they tell us? Why accept Christ's divinity or the doctrine of the Trinity or the Resurrection? All these things which were taught by the Apostles.

At some point, you become convinced of not just single subject matters, but of the legitimacy of the Church as a whole, you believe in the Church - not the individuals per se, but the body of teachings, and, more importantly, the transformative power of the way of living.

I would encourage you to more fully explore the links given in the thread I linked to, there is a wealth of information there which can take several months to take in and digest. And don't get hung up on single things like this, continue to investigate the Church as a whole. Have you read this book yet? It is probably the best introduction to the Church, both theologically and socially/historically.

Peace in Christ.

u/jw101 · 1 pointr/OrthodoxChristianity

I didn't have any chance to speak to the priest tonight, but I did speak with one of the other Monks, and what he had to say was most interesting.

Basically, if I could paraphrase him, is that our joy as Orthodox is really the joy of the resurrection, and never is this more clearly seen than at Pascha which is fast approaching, and that if you really want to understand Orthodox joy you should really try to be there for Pascha. It is the joy of Pascha that gets us through the year.

As far as books go, he recommended "Wounded by Love" by Elder Porphyrious. I've heard it's very good, but I haven't had a chance to read it yet myself.

Amazon link to the book

u/_innocent · 2 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

They aren't Orthodox theologians, but:

  • Christianity: The First 3000 Years - can't beat this for an academic, accessible, comprehensive, and fair point of view of every corner of the Christian world in history. Literally every corner. You can skip chapters/parts that don't apply to Orthodoxy if you wish.

  • A Short History of Byzantium -
    focuses more on the Byzantine Empire and so leaves out a lot of stuff, but it does cover the Ecumenical Councils and a lot of Orthodox history. There is also a harder-to-find 3 part trilogy of this abridged book.

    Orthodox Writings:

  • Bishop Ware's The Orthodox Church has an overview, but it's pretty light.

  • Orthodox Alaska provides a historical look at the history of Orthodoxy in Alaska, which is pretty great (and super interesting).

    There are probably not many good histories of the Church by Orthodox theologians, to be honest.

u/Chelle-Dalena · 16 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity
  1. Nope. Not rude or disrespectful.
  2. (If you speak Arabic, here is an Orthodox on-line radio station. If not- you'll be just as lost as I am with this! However, if you like chants, there is some good chanting to be found here. If you prefer or know English better, then this might be more up your alley: Ancient Faith Radio (music/chanting, podcasts, blogs)

    Well, I'll just share books and links with you that I just shared to someone else on another thread. I don't know how useful some of them will be for you, since you don't have a Christian background, but there they are anyway. Regarding specific differences between Copts, Armenians, Old Believer, and Eastern Orthodox, I don't know of any books that specifically address the differences (but Ethiopians are Copts and Greeks/Russians/Antioch are all Eastern Orthodox). ;)

    The Orthodox Faith by Thomas Hopko (It's all on-line- so no need to buy anything here.)

    Beginning to Pray by Anthony Bloom (Wonderful resource for anyone.)

    On the Incarnation by St. Athanasius (Catholics of all stripes should approve of this, but this is definitely something the East looks at more frequently in my observation. Also all on-line.)

    The Meaning of Icons by Vladimir Lossky (Icons are often overlooked in book recommendations on Orthodox Christianity. It's a shame. It's one of the most fascinating subjects.)

    On Acquisition of the Holy Spirit by St. Seraphim of Sarov (Even the pope has recognized him as a saint. This is a wonderful and deceptively simple (i.e. heavy) read. This is also all on-line. There are also six you-tube videos for this so you can just listen: )

    Also, I don't think this has much to do with theology, but I really liked them:

    The Way of a Pilgrim (I recommend this book to everyone. Always.)

    How to Live a Holy Life by Gregory Postnikov (This is a small book. It's deceptively simple. The doing of what's in it is more difficult.)

  1. For an Orthodox view, I highly recommend this podcast series on the bible to you. Dr. Constantinou of the University of San Diego essentially covers what she would in one of her survey courses. This goes in-depth on the topics of scripture (old and new). It truly starts with the second podcast (Inspiration and Inerrancy) and moves on to cover oral tradition, bible manuscripts, the septuagint, the canon, translations and versions, patristic interpretation, the school of Alexandria, the school of Antioch, and the Latin fathers in other podcasts. Search the Scriptures: Introduction to the Bible (Lesson 2)
u/Brotolph · 4 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

I just want to recommend a book that's not in the sidebar, but which I would nevertheless recommend much more than anything in the sidebar:

Welcome to the Orthodox Church by Frederica Matthewes-Green

As a convert herself, she goes through many comparisons with the big sticking points of many Catholic and Protestant approaches/ideas, and she covers a lot of what you describe.

More importantly, she introduces you to the Orthodox Church not by handing you a stack of dense history or theology textbooks, but in the same manner that for 2000 years people have always been introduced to Orthodoxy: by walking you through the experience of a Church service.

Incidentally, the real beauty of Orthodoxy is that the nexus of all of its history, theology, and beauty is in its services. Because of that, while walking you through the services, she's able to point out things you might notice, and then go on little tangents, fleshing them out in more theological and historical detail. So the history and theology is still all there - just laid out in a much more sensible and digestible manner.

From there, I'd say you'll know the lay of the land well enough to know what subjects you want to delve more deeply into, and you'll have the right framework for approaching all of these other books. As a graduate from seminary, I've read a whole lot of those other books, and I think Frederica's book deserves WAY more attention than it usually gets as a primer for them.

Finally, feel free to shoot me a message if you have any specific questions or need some direction or guidance, or just want to bounce ideas/criticisms/worries around with someone. A lot of these subjects are pretty meaty, and at some points in your journey you'll just have to take a step back and chew the fat for a minute.

u/silouan · 2 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

I use the Jordanville prayer book, which is similar in feel to the HTM. My sense is it's less elegant than HTM at its best, but also less uneven. It's still kind of idiosyncratic, but I've learned to like it. This has become the standard prayer book, among Orthodox converts who feel the need for a standard prayer book :-)

Fr Ephrem Lash has published a modern-English edition of the usual daily prayers. He's a highly-educated British priestmonk, with a style that's modern but more refined than most chatty modern English Orthodox texts. Here's his edition for sale at Amazon. It's not very cheap, and I haven't read it - but to give you a taste of his style, here's his website, and here's his translation of Small Compline.

More versions here...

Incidentally, about all the faux retro-English: Bishop Kallistos (Ware) and Bishop Basil (Essey) have both proven very good at writing retro-English that's understandable, consistent, and doesn't get in the way of the sense of the text - while a number of Greek, Arab and Russian clergy and scholars have tried their hands at translation into English (modern and retro) and produced texts that are either impenetrable or just silly. Given the current state of canonical oddness here in Barbarian Territory, and the continuing influx of Protestants-In-Recovery with strong opinions, I don't expect an agreed-upon, high-quality body of translations in ordinary unaffected English to coalesce in my lifetime.

I keep reminding myself to be grateful: Only a generation ago, there were almost no English Orthodox materials to be had. You could read your Bible, follow the basic services from Hapgood and Orloff, and (from 1963) read The Orthodox Church and that was about it in English, until the 1980s or so. So even if it's an esthetic trial, I remind myself the current selection of awkwardly-translated material is still an embarrassment of riches comapred to what young Timothy (Bp. Kallistos) Ware or Eugene (Fr Seraphim) Rose had available to them :-)

u/internetiseverywhere · 12 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

>but I feel like I can't make an intellectually honest assent to the faith until I can tell the full story of how I got to Orthodoxy.

Yeah, this is where you're going wrong. Craft the narrative later -- there is work to be done.

Pick up Beginning to Pray by (Metropolitan) Anthony Bloom. The first chapter should be a good punch in the gut.

You're as far as you need to go right now intellectually. But this isn't a thought experiment. You won't have any intellectual certitude about our risen Lord until you meet Him.

If you wish to save your soul and win eternal life, arise from your lethargy, make the sign of the Cross and say:

In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Faith comes not through pondering but through action. Not words and speculation but experience teaches us what God is. To let in fresh air we have to open a window; to get tanned we must go out into the sunshine. Achieving faith is no different; we never reach a goal by just sitting in comfort and waiting, say the holy Fathers. Let the Prodigal Son be our example. He "arose and came" (Luke 15:20)

-Way of the Ascetics

u/LewisTolkien · 3 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

I find study bibles to be the most helpful because they have very detailed notes at the bottom of each page as well as thorough introductions. That way, if you get hung up on something, there are references. Also, Bible Gateway allows you to type in a verse or book and see what other translations have for that verse. Very nice for comparison

Maybe Orthodox posters can provide a better opttion but on Amazon, this is the top Orthodox study bible

ESV study Bible is a favorite among a lot of r/Christianity posters

Good luck with your journey, brother

u/NotADialogist · 2 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

I don't know whether a catechism is the best kind of resource to provide. He should contact the priest nearest to him and establish a relationship - let the priest guide him. One way or another, he will need a spiritual father.

Depending on your friend's disposition, I might be more inclined to recommend Elder Cleopas' The Truth of Our Faith. Personally, I would definitely not recommend any of Clark Carleton's books. They are not inaccurate - I just think they are too polemical.

I would also strongly recommend Everyday Saints. The book is not any kind of catechism, but it gives a very strong sense of what an Orthodox life feels like, even though it is written from a Russian monastic perspective. The same holds true for Mountain of Silence, which is from the perspective of a Greek layperson.

u/frodwith · 11 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

You've asked some pretty big questions. It'd be hard to answer them in a reddit comment. My primary recommendation would be to talk to your priest.

On the other hand, if you're not comfortable with that for some reason, maybe you could try to ask some more specific questions. If you just don't know what to ask, I recommend reading The Orthodox Way.

You can also try listening to some podcasts at Ancient Faith Radio.

If you'll indulge my curiosity - I am a convert, and it seems somewhat astonishing to me that you are asking this question :) How old are you, roughly? How is it that you are here with us (thank God!) and do not have more of an understanding of your faith? Please don't take offense at my question - the parish I attend is about half converts and has a wonderful Sunday School program for the youth. I understand this isn't the norm, but would just like to hear more about your circumstance. Thank you :)

u/kosmastheaetolian · 2 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

I have heard a number of atheist/agnostic types who have come to love the book "Everyday Saints." I don't know why this is (although it's a marvelous book).

Although again, as others have noted there sometimes is no "magic book."

Another book that someone else already recommended is "Wounded by Love." Funny enough, in either that book or another book by him called "Christ is Fullness of Life," St. Porphyrios seems to speak against trying to coerce/force children (I am assuming older ones) even into coming to church and instead advises parents to simply pray for their children and respect their free will. I am in no way evaluating this position, it's just an interesting perspective.

u/tachynic · 3 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

The Roman Catholic Liturgy of the Hours is a completely different text from the Orthodox Liturgy of the Hours, although it is similar in some respects, such as having times of prayer throughout the day. However, the prayers themselves are different.

They are also used differently. The Catholic Liturgy of the Hours has been somewhat abbreviated and can be used at home by individuals. The Orthodox Liturgy of the Hours is typically used only in monasteries and parishes by those who have access to the numerous hymn books required.

At home, Orthodox typically pray a morning and evening (and sometimes midday) prayer rule. You can find typical Orthodox morning and evening prayers in a prayer book such as the Jordanville Prayer Book.

If you are interested in a general introduction to prayer from an Orthodox perspective, I highly recommend Beginning to Pray by Met. Anthony Bloom.

edit: Also, the "Liturgy of the Hours" (aka "Divine Office") is not to be confused with the "Divine Liturgy," which is what we call the Roman "Mass," i.e. the service in which the sacrament of the Eucharist is performed.

u/fili-not-okay · 5 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

Met. Kallistos's The Orthodox Church is a good start, but I recommend the older version if you can find a copy. I also cannot recommend Clark Carlton too highly. He is a philosophy professor, did a superb podcast entitled "Faith and Philosophy," and has written several books about Orthodoxy; check out hisintroduction to Orthodoxy for Roman Catholics.

u/StTakla1 · 1 pointr/OrthodoxChristianity

Those interested in this topic would do well to read the book Everyday Saints. And Father Arseny. The revolution was utter destruction, but did not come out of the blue. As far as the Church is concerned, and this Father Arseny explains beautifully, the revolution was a result of the clergy especially and the laity forgetting God, living an ungodly life, ... So the Church was in a bad state before the revolution and the revolution nearly destroyed what was left of it. Expecting everything to be rosy right away is, well, expecting somewhat of a miracle! And so far as I understand, much of the Russian clergy understands this quite well. The ones who survived Communism know what it's like to keep the flame burning despite dire circumstances, and they know that today's circumstances though better, are still dire.

u/hobojoe9127 · 2 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

The Ancient Commentary on Scripture Series (published by InterVarsity) has in-depth patristic commentary on individual books of the Bible. It goes verse-by-verse, so it sounds like what you're looking for. If you want patristic/medieval commentary for free, this site is quite good: .

As for Bible translations, Fr. Thomas Hopko once recommended the RSV (plus the apocrypha) for balancing readability and literalness. I myself like the KJV, but the RSV is quite good: Ignatius press publishes a good edition.

Fr. Laurent Cleenewerck, an OCA (?) priest, is working on translating the Bible from the official Greek of the Orthodox Church. He has only finished the New Testament. But you can pair it with Lancelot Brenton's (old) translation of the Septuagint.

For what its worth, Richard Hays has recently published a book explaining figural exegesis (the method for interpreting the bible that the Fathers use), called [Reading Backward] (

u/Celsius1014 · 4 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

I can assure you, as an ex Catholic, the Orthodox church is not just conservative. Our practices and liturgy have evolved and will keep doing it. But holding to the traditions doesn't limit us, it enriches us. My priest once stood up and gave a homily that I will paraphrase badly. He said the Church exists for the people and their salvation. The rules and traditions exist because these are the things that have been found over the centuries to work. Again. They help us achieve salvation. Then he said that yes, it's possible to strike out on your own or go find God on the mountain top, but most of us need a lot more help than that. So if the rules are getting in the way of your relationship with God, don't follow them. But if you're ignoring the rules because you think you can do it better, try taking them on. Because the evidence shows that they work.

You're not going to be able to understand Orthodoxy by reading, you'll have to come and visit and absorb it. But you should check out the book For the Life of the World. From what you've written here I think you would appreciate it.

u/ThreeEyedGoat · 1 pointr/OrthodoxChristianity

Here is some information about bible versions:




I recently bought a new bible myself, because I was unsure which would be the best version to use. However, I don't think anyone can go wrong by reading The Orthodox Study Bible

Having grown up in the faith, throughout Sunday School and other various learning opportunities, we never talked about the Apocrypha. It wasn't until later on in life (via a college classmate that asked me about it) that I found out about it.
Giziti says some good stuff. Although I haven't finished Tobit, what I have read is quite interesting!

I also believe that some of the traditions taught in church comes from the Apocrypha. Such as: When Christ descends into Hades, he raises up Adam and all the prophets from their graves. I chatted to one of my protestant friends and they never heard of this, I think it is because it is in the Apocrypha and they do not include that in their bibles.

u/SomeVidsHaHa · 3 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

Book 1

Book 2

Book 3


Also download the app called "Catena" on your phone. It's free and it's the bible with patristic commentary for pretty much every verse.


EDIT: my best advice would be to ask for book recommendations from your spiritual father; i.e. the priest you confess to. They would have a better idea of what you should be reading. When I first started meeting with my priest regularly I told him I had been reading some of the ascetic fathers and he told me to stop. He was right, I wasn't ready for that and am still not ready for that. Let the Church guide you.

u/Comrade_Bender · 5 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

Our priest gave us this one and said it's one of the best intro books he's read. I'm half way through, and it's not bad. It's very basic and covers the bases pretty well.

>specifically Greek Orthodoxy

All Orthodoxy are the same (minus Oriental). Greek, Russian, Antiochian, etc. We all teach and profess the same theology and Christianity, we just use different languages and have slightly different cultures.

u/scchristoforou · 8 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

I haven't read it yet, but have heard great things about "Welcome to the Orthodox Church." It also comes with supporting videos. Frederica Matthewes-Green (author/presenter) is a former Protestant herself.

I'm also excited to see "Journey to Fullness." Fr Barnabas is a former Pentecostal pastor, so he too can speak from a former Protestant perspective.

u/snake_case-kebab-cas · 3 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

Divine Liturgy in Orthodoxy is going to closer resemble Jewish temple services (I don't know much about Judaism myself).

Here's an Orthodox book:

Here's a Catholic book:

Hope this random comment helps!

u/not_irish_patrick · 1 pointr/OrthodoxChristianity

A Crown of Life: A Novel of the Great Persecution is a good book, written by a Orthodox man (a deacon I believe).

Everyday Saints and Other Stories isn't fiction, but is still an interesting read.

u/unsubinator · 1 pointr/OrthodoxChristianity

Here's my own book recommendations, if you don't mind. Unfortunately, they're not exactly what you asked for.

Frank Sheed's "Theology and Sanity" on the Catholic side. I would also recommend "Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux.

On the Orthodox side, The Way of the Pilgrim and Everyday Saints and Other Stories.

Another interesting book, if you're coming from a western background, is Augsburg and Constantinople: The Correspondence between the Tubingen Theologians and Patriarch Jeremiah II of Constantinople on the Augsburg Confession.

I don't know of books like you're asking for, but I'll be sure to check this thread later to see what gets suggested.

u/SineAnima · 2 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

A work that details the nature of the eucharist/the sacraments in a broader Orthodox context.

A work penned by the finest Russian author in modern history--an amazing, poetic, simple introduction to the subtext and symbolism of the Divine Liturgy.

And, as mentioned, Nicholas Kabasilas' work on the Liturgy.

u/SSPXarecatholic · 2 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

Amazon has a really good clean simple one. It's the one I have, and many people I know who converted have. It's well priced and stainless steel so it won't tarnish and it'll last a lifetime.

u/athanasius3 · 5 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

If there's any way you could make contact with an Orthodox monastery, or even just a parish, some elders and priests are willing to give guidance and hear confession over the phone.

Also, you may benefit from reading "Wounded by Love" by St. Porphyrios.

u/greyandlate · 3 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

> that the devil basically wrote the Deuterocanonicals/Apocrypha

That is a bit extreme, I never heard that in my years in fundamentalist churches.

The importance is that the (Greek) Bible of the early church included them. Early Fathers frequently quoted them, especially Sirach and Wisdom. There are many narratives that are profitable to read, and give context to practices that are common among Orthodox, but neglected by Protestants, such as the idea of a guardian angel, praying for the dead. Just this morning I read an inspiring story of the seven brothers martyred for their faithfulness to the Jewish law from IV Maccabees.

The consensus that I have heard among Orthodox teachers is that the RSV is better because the NRSV was translated with an agenda to prefer gender sensitive terms. There is an edition of the RSV with the extra books from the LXX that is widely available, I found mine used. It would serve you well until you get an orthodox study bible, if you so choose later.

u/z1011 · 3 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

Ex-catholic-baptist-orthodox-seeker here. I just started reading this today:
Clark Carlton The Truth: What Every Roman Catholic Should Know About the Orthodox Church (Faith Catechism)

Hope it helps you on your journey.

u/pancake-breakfast · 2 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

I just finished listening to a Fr. Thomas Hopko podcast about reading the bible. He mentioned the OSB, but recommend getting ahold of an old revised standard edition study bible, like this one.

u/questioningfaith1 · 4 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

Ignorant people exist everywhere.

Now, the stuff about the antichrist is complicated because the notion of a man who masquerades as the Messiah and fools the world IS part of Christianity. Obviously, fooling the world would include things like World Peace, and if he wants to win Israel over, he may build the Temple or something. But this is really all conjecture. All we know is that if Christ is the Godman (Theoanthropos) then the AntiChrist will be the perfect inverse of this, the Mangod (Anthropotheos). That's what we should all be on the look out for (keep your eye on the Transhumanists). Maybe he'll be Jewish, maybe he'll be Italian, who knows? I doubt it'll be so blatantly obvious.

Also, you may like this book, written by an Orthodox Jew who converted to Eastern Orthodoxy

u/EsquilaxHortensis · 6 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

There's an excellent book called Welcome to the Orthodox Church by Frederica Mathewes-Green that is exactly what you're looking for right now. If you don't want to wait to read it, it's available in audiobook form and read by the author, which in Frederica's case I always recommend.

u/Palamite · 1 pointr/OrthodoxChristianity

A book about a heroic soul named Fr. Arseny. May it edify you like it has edified me.

u/stebrepar · 3 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

For reference: Becoming Orthodox by Fr Peter Gilquist, formerly a leader of Campus Crusade, recently reposed.

Also, it's been a long while, but I recall also enjoying a book called Common Ground.

u/Isaac_L · 1 pointr/OrthodoxChristianity

Off the top of my head, these should be helpful to you, though I'm certain there are others. These are scholarly works, which is what it sounds like you're looking for, though I would strongly suggest simply reading various Church Fathers, starting with the "Apostolic Fathers" collection, then becoming familiar with the Cappadocians. I cannot overemphasize how helpful and illuminating simply reading various Fathers is.

His Broken Body
and The Primacy of Peter: Essays in Ecclesiology

u/geardownlandings · 3 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

The Orthodox Study Bible has extensive footnotes full of great explanation placing Scripture within the context of Holy Tradition, often citing and quoting from the Church Fathers. There are color prints of icons interspersed throughout the text!

u/PM_ME_YOUR_ICONS · 1 pointr/OrthodoxChristianity

I got these:

The Orthodox Church by Kallistos Ware

The Orthodox Way by Kallistos Ware

The Mountain of Silence by Kyriacos C. Markides

The Sayings of the Desert Fathers

I'm still reading them but I hear that this selection will cover a lot of bases. Check eBay too, they can found pretty cheap.

u/psarsama · 1 pointr/OrthodoxChristianity

This book by Fr Vladimir Lossky is a really good place to start. Also, (as /u/CollectsWelfare said) Bishop Kallistos Ware's The Orthodox Church/Way books are solid starting points. Fr Alexander Schmeman's For the Life of the World is another goldmine.

But, and you'll find that at least one person says this to almost every question on this sub, nothing beats talking to a priest (and in your case, going to the liturgy, which you said you do).

u/Stirtoes1 · 0 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

Talk to her about Christian History, particularly from the Eastern side of the Roman Empire. There's a well of knowledge there that is essential to any Christian to know. Maybe you guys could connect on the history of Christ's Church, and she wouldn't see it as going away from Christ, but coming home to His Church which has been here for over 2000 years.

ADDENDUM: I might recommend this book for people who are juuuuuuust barely starting out on their way home.

Also this one:

u/shmoopie313 · 3 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

For the Life of the World by Fr. Alexander Schmemann. I was raised Southern Baptist, and then loosely protestant as an adult. This is the book that answered so many questions for me. It's beautifully written, for one, and goes really in depth to Orthodox theology in a way that I could understand.

u/valegrete · 6 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

This is the book you’re looking for if you want a fair rundown of the historical and theological divergences. Others can suggest more general books on Orthodoxy, such as those by Ware. Happy reading!

His Broken Body: Understanding and Healing the Schism between the Roman Catholic: An Orthodox Perspective - Expanded Edition

u/BraveryDave · 1 pointr/OrthodoxChristianity

The Mountain of Silence by Kyriacos Markides might help with this.

Edit: I would recommend this book to anyone interested in Orthodoxy regardless of what you're trying to learn about, but one thing it helped me with was the issue you raise in the OP.

u/IkonsR · 4 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

Surprised by Christ “Surprised by Christ.” Is a book by Fr. James Bernstein, a convert from Judaism and now an Orthodox Priest! I highly recommend!

u/wisdomattend · 2 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

If you're looking for a solid Orthodox New Testament with study notes; I recommend EOB: The Eastern Greek Orthodox New Testament

u/habent_ex_arguendo · 1 pointr/OrthodoxChristianity

My favorite edition of the DL: here

Some outside references: For the Life of the World and this pdf that details all of the biblical references in the Liturgy.

u/whole-hearted · 2 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

I haven't read it yet, but Christ the Eternal Tao compares Taoism to Christianity. Mainly in our understanding of God, Logos, and for them, Tao.

u/durdyg · 3 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

I'm fairly sure the Orthodox Study Bible is the Septuagint translation of the OT and Psalms.

u/ratherbeinperelandra · 3 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

This book is helping me through this same question at the moment. The basic thrust is that the Orthodox view St Peter’s chair as being held by all bishops, not just the bishop of Rome

u/horsodox · 2 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

Welcome to the Orthodox Church by Frederica Mathewes-Green

The Orthodox Church by Timothy Ware

are both good books on the subject.

I can dump a few lectures on YouTube if you want.

u/feeble_stirrings · 1 pointr/OrthodoxChristianity

This might be worth checking out if you’re looking for a book.

u/Jademists · 3 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

Here’s the link the above poster recommended Orthodox Study Bible

u/HEXAEMERON · 6 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

In addition to the other two books listed here, you may also want to look into Vladimir Lossky's The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church.

u/disciple75 · 2 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

I believe there’s a book written by Seraphim Rose on this subject.

Edit: not Seraphim Rose, but by the Hieromonk Damascene who wrote a biography on Fr. Seraphim. Here’s the book I referred to Christ the Eternal Tao

u/LittleHelperRobot · 1 pointr/OrthodoxChristianity


u/NiceGuyJoe · 5 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

You can go to confession, but they just won't pray the prayer of absolution over you yet. At least where I'm at.

Watch and pray. After you fall the next time, take some moments and reflect on the thoughts you were having that led up to it. There are always choices and always thoughts that lead to those choices. I don't have the same struggle, but it's analogous to me and alcohol. A little voice that says "you can feel better."

If you haven't you should read
[The Mountain of Silence](

Also, read this.

Every day is a new day.

u/HastyDecisions · 5 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

Try this combination of books. The first is fantastic in terms of notes, references, etc., and is complete for Eastern Orthodoxy but not for Ethiopian, and has some material that the Ethiopians don't consider. The second should fill in the gaps with Ethiopian material - I don't know how good this version is and would have to rely on the reviews.

There is one single version in English but it is expensive and gets poor reviews.

You might try following some of the links here to see if they can help, perhaps even contacting one of the Churches near you.

Directory - not sure how good it is.

u/JavidanOfTheWest · 2 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

> The OSB's Old Testament is either based on the NKJV text with corrections from the Septuagint or a fresh translation from the Septuagint, depending on who you ask or perhaps on which book.

Every septuagint I've seen uses the combination of 167, 969, 188, 600, and I'm actually looking for a Septuagint that has an other combination. Many Biblical names translate to something that defines their life. Methuselah translates to the idea that the flood will come when he dies. In the Masoretic Text, Methuselah dies the exact year of the flood. The problem with the numbers of every Septuagint I've come across so far is that Methuselah doesn't just not die in the year of the flood, but he actually lives 14 years past the flood even though he wasn't on the Ark and should have drowned, which makes me believe that it was a translation error or a sign of from God that the septuagint has been corrupted.

> The numbers there are: 187, 969, 188, 600.

> I suspect they might have missed updating the first one (187), as the Septuagint says 167.

I've never seen the combination of numbers that you mentioned, and that makes me very curious. I don't think they missed it if that is true, because it means that Methuselah dies 6 years before the flood instead of surviving it. I read that the Eastern Bibles rely on different manuscripts than the West; that was the reason I started this discussion.

Is this the Orthodox Study Bible that you use?