Visiting Churches

If you don’t like what you see or hear – or don’t see or hear – when visiting an Orthodox parish, it’s possible you’ll like a different one. The diversity among Orthodox churches in the Western world means there are varieties of ways of saying and doing things, not only between jurisdictions but also within them. Consider it a blessing in disguise!

In the USA, many parishes now worship all or mostly in English (especially the OCA, the Antiochians, or the Carpatho-Russians)…but some still worship predominantly in Biblical Greek, Old Church Slavonic, or another language. Many parishes are welcoming to visitors and inquirers…but some simply can’t understand why you’d be looking at them if you’re not of that ethnic background (unless you’re marrying into their Church!). Which is not to say the experience of ‘breaking down their door’ wouldn’t be worthwhile for you and them…! Racially, we’re mostly white at this time, but with increasing converts from other groups; and in Alaska most Orthodox are Alaska Natives.

And if you don’t have your choice of parishes, well, you might be surprised that you’ll learn something almost anywhere.

Anyhow, it’s said a potential convert should attend a parish for a year before ‘taking the plunge.’ Some priests or jurisdictions may allow less time, or more.


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