Orthodox Christianity 101

Learn About Becoming an Orthodox Christian

Whether you're new to Christianity, exploring different Christian traditions, or seeking a deeper understanding of Orthodox Christianity, this page is designed to provide you with the information you need to embark on your journey. Orthodox Christianity is a vibrant and ancient faith rooted in apostolic tradition, rich liturgical worship, and profound spiritual depth. In the pages that follow, you'll discover the core beliefs, practices, and ethos of Orthodox Christianity, as well as practical guidance on how to engage with the Orthodox Church community. Whether you're drawn to the beauty of Orthodox worship, the depth of its theological insights, or the richness of its spiritual heritage, we invite you to explore and learn more about what it means to be Orthodox.

Orthodox Monastery

Introduction to Orthodox Christianity

Welcome to Orthodox Christianity, a faith that traces its roots back to the early Christian Church established by Jesus Christ and His Apostles. Orthodox Christianity is one of the oldest and most enduring traditions within Christianity, characterized by its rich spiritual heritage, liturgical worship, and unwavering commitment to preserving the teachings of the early Church.

Orthodox Christians believe in the Holy Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—as revealed in the Bible and affirmed in the Nicene Creed. They confess Jesus Christ as the Son of God, who became incarnate for our salvation, and they uphold the authority of Scripture, tradition, and the teachings of the ecumenical councils.

The Orthodox Church is a communion of self-governing churches, united in faith and sacraments, but diverse in language, culture, and tradition. Each local Orthodox church is led by a bishop, who oversees the spiritual life of the faithful and maintains the apostolic succession traced back to the Apostles.

Orthodox worship is characterized by its reverent and sacramental nature, with emphasis placed on the Eucharist as the central act of Christian worship. Liturgical services are conducted with meticulous attention to tradition and ritual, incorporating prayers, hymns, scripture readings, and the veneration of icons.

Orthodox Christianity also places great importance on personal piety, spiritual disciplines, and the pursuit of holiness in daily life. The faithful are encouraged to cultivate a deep prayer life, participate in fasting and almsgiving, and engage in acts of love and mercy toward others.

As you explore Orthodox Christianity, you will encounter a wealth of spiritual wisdom, theological depth, and cultural richness that has been preserved and passed down through the ages. Whether you are a lifelong believer or new to the faith, we invite you to journey deeper into the heart of Orthodox Christianity and experience the transformative power of the Gospel in your life.


History of Orthodox Christianity

Orthodox Christianity traces its origins to the time of Jesus Christ and His Apostles, who spread the Gospel throughout the Roman Empire and beyond. In the early centuries, the Church faced persecution but also experienced rapid growth, leading to the establishment of thriving Christian communities in major cities such as Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, and Rome.

The Great Schism of 1054 marked the formal division between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, driven by theological differences and disagreements over papal authority. Despite this schism, Orthodox Christianity continued to flourish in the Byzantine Empire, Russia, and other regions of Eastern Europe.

Throughout its history, the Orthodox Church has weathered numerous challenges, including invasions, wars, and political upheavals. Despite these trials, Orthodoxy has remained steadfast in its commitment to preserving the apostolic faith and traditions handed down from generation to generation.

In the modern era, Orthodox Christianity has experienced a revival in many parts of the world, with new churches established and a growing interest in ancient Christian spirituality and theology. Today, Orthodoxy is practiced by millions of faithful believers around the globe, united in their love for Christ and their commitment to the Orthodox faith.

As we explore the history of Orthodox Christianity, we encounter a tapestry of faith, resilience, and devotion that spans over two millennia. From the early martyrs and saints to the present-day faithful, the Orthodox Church continues to bear witness to the timeless truths of the Gospel and the enduring power of Christ's love for humanity.


Beliefs and Doctrine

Orthodox Christianity is founded upon the teachings of Jesus Christ as revealed in the Holy Scriptures and interpreted through the lens of sacred tradition. At the core of Orthodox belief is the affirmation of the Nicene Creed, which articulates the essential doctrines of the Christian faith, including the belief in one God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth; in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages; and in the Holy Spirit, the giver of life who proceeds from the Father.

Orthodox doctrine emphasizes the mystery of the Holy Trinity, affirming the co-equality, co-eternity, and consubstantiality of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This belief underscores the unity and diversity within the Godhead, as well as the relational nature of divine revelation and salvation.

Orthodox Christians also affirm the doctrine of the Incarnation, which teaches that the eternal Son of God took on human flesh and became fully human while remaining fully divine. This central mystery of the faith highlights the profound union between God and humanity in the person of Jesus Christ, who reconciled fallen humanity with God through His life, death, and resurrection.

In addition to these foundational beliefs, Orthodox doctrine encompasses a wide range of theological teachings on topics such as salvation, eschatology, sacraments, prayer, and the nature of the Church. These teachings are articulated through the writings of the Church Fathers, the decisions of ecumenical councils, and the liturgical life of the Church, providing a comprehensive framework for Orthodox faith and practice.

Orthodox doctrine is not merely a set of abstract beliefs but a living expression of the Church's encounter with the living God. It is through the sacramental life, prayer, and participation in the divine services that Orthodox Christians deepen their understanding of the faith and grow in communion with God and one another. As such, Orthodox doctrine is not static but dynamic, continually unfolding in the life of the Church as believers seek to live out the Gospel in their daily lives.

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Sacraments and Liturgical Life

Sacraments are central to Orthodox Christianity, serving as visible signs of God's invisible grace and presence in the life of the Church. Rooted in the teachings of Jesus Christ and the apostolic tradition, sacraments are sacred rituals through which believers participate in the mysteries of salvation.

The Orthodox Church recognizes seven sacraments, each imbued with profound spiritual significance: Baptism, Chrismation (Confirmation), Eucharist (Holy Communion), Confession (Penance or Reconciliation), Holy Unction (Anointing of the Sick), Matrimony (Holy Matrimony), and Holy Orders (Ordination). These sacraments are administered by ordained clergy and are celebrated within the context of the Church's liturgical life.

Liturgical worship forms the heartbeat of Orthodox spirituality, with divine services conducted according to ancient rites and rituals that have been preserved and handed down through generations. The Divine Liturgy, the primary worship service of the Orthodox Church, centers around the Eucharist, where the faithful partake of the Body and Blood of Christ in remembrance of His saving sacrifice.

In addition to the Divine Liturgy, Orthodox Christians participate in a rich tapestry of liturgical services throughout the year, including Matins (Orthros), Vespers, Compline, and various feasts and commemorations. These services are characterized by solemn prayers, hymns, Scripture readings, and ritual actions, all of which contribute to the spiritual formation and nourishment of the faithful.

Through sacraments and liturgical worship, Orthodox Christians encounter the living presence of Christ in their midst, uniting themselves with Him and with one another in worship and communion. Liturgical life not only strengthens the bonds of faith and community but also serves as a pathway to spiritual growth, transformation, and union with God, as believers journey toward theosis, the process of becoming more like Christ.


Church Structure and Hierarchy

The Orthodox Church maintains a hierarchical structure that reflects its apostolic origins and the unity of faith and governance across its various local and national jurisdictions. At the head of each autocephalous (self-governing) Orthodox Church is its primate, typically titled as a patriarch, metropolitan, or archbishop, depending on the historical and ecclesiastical context.

The highest-ranking bishop within the Orthodox Church is the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, who holds a position of honor and spiritual leadership among the primates of the various Orthodox Churches worldwide. While the Ecumenical Patriarch does not exercise direct jurisdiction over all Orthodox Christians, his role as "first among equals" underscores the unity and conciliar nature of the Orthodox communion.

Below the primates are bishops, ordained clergy who oversee specific geographic regions known as dioceses or eparchies. Bishops are responsible for shepherding the faithful within their respective jurisdictions, ensuring the integrity of doctrine and practice, and maintaining ecclesiastical discipline. They are consecrated through the laying on of hands by other bishops and are regarded as successors to the apostles.

Priests, also known as presbyters or elders, serve as assistants to bishops and are entrusted with the pastoral care of local parishes. They preside over the celebration of sacraments, offer spiritual guidance and counsel to their parishioners, and administer the life of the church within their communities.

Deacons, ordained assistants to bishops and priests, play a vital role in the liturgical and administrative life of the Church. They assist in the celebration of the sacraments, proclaim the Gospel, and serve the needs of the poor and marginalized within the community.

The hierarchical structure of the Orthodox Church emphasizes both unity and diversity, with each level of authority working in harmony to preserve the apostolic faith, uphold sacred tradition, and nurture the spiritual life of the faithful. While individual Orthodox Churches may vary in their administrative practices and customs, the underlying principle of conciliarity ensures that decisions affecting the entire communion are made through consensus and mutual agreement among the bishops gathered in council.


Orthodox Praxis

Orthodox praxis encompasses the lived experience of faith within the Orthodox Christian tradition, encompassing a rich tapestry of liturgical worship, spiritual disciplines, and ethical living. At its core, Orthodox praxis seeks to cultivate a holistic approach to spirituality that integrates belief with action, worship with service, and personal piety with communal responsibility.

Central to Orthodox praxis is the observance of the liturgical cycle, which structures the rhythm of the Church's worship throughout the year. From the solemnity of Great Lent to the joyous celebration of Pascha (Easter) and the festal commemorations of saints and feasts, Orthodox Christians participate in a calendar of sacred time that reflects the mysteries of salvation history.

Prayer is a cornerstone of Orthodox praxis, with believers engaging in a variety of forms, including personal prayer, communal worship, and the use of prayer books and devotional aids. The Jesus Prayer, a simple invocation of the name of Jesus Christ, holds a special place in Orthodox spirituality, serving as a means of continual remembrance of God's presence and a path to inner stillness and union with the divine.

Fasting and asceticism are integral aspects of Orthodox praxis, offering opportunities for self-discipline, purification, and spiritual growth. The fasting seasons of the Church, particularly Great Lent, encourage abstention from certain foods and activities as a means of heightening awareness of spiritual realities, fostering empathy for the poor, and strengthening self-control over passions and desires.

Almsgiving, or acts of mercy and charity, are fundamental expressions of Orthodox praxis, reflecting the Church's commitment to social justice, compassion, and solidarity with the marginalized and oppressed. Orthodox Christians are called to share their material resources generously, care for the needy and vulnerable, and advocate for the dignity and rights of all people, in imitation of Christ's love and mercy.

Orthodox praxis extends beyond the walls of the church building into every aspect of daily life, guiding believers in their relationships with God, neighbor, and creation. It emphasizes the cultivation of virtues such as humility, patience, forgiveness, and love, as well as the pursuit of moral integrity, ethical conduct, and social responsibility in accordance with the teachings of Christ and the moral tradition of the Church.

In essence, Orthodox praxis is a way of life, a spiritual journey marked by the continual striving for holiness, the pursuit of communion with God, and the transformation of heart, mind, and soul in the image and likeness of Christ. It is an invitation to participate fully in the life of the Church, to walk the path of discipleship with faith, hope, and love, and to bear witness to the gospel in word and deed for the salvation of the world.


Scripture and Tradition

Scripture and Tradition are foundational pillars of Orthodox Christianity, forming the bedrock upon which the faith is built and practiced. In Orthodox theology, Scripture refers to the canonical texts of the Bible, comprising the Old and New Testaments, which are regarded as inspired by the Holy Spirit and authoritative for faith and practice. Tradition, on the other hand, encompasses the teachings, practices, and beliefs passed down by the apostles and preserved within the life of the Church through apostolic succession.

The Bible is revered as the Word of God, containing divine revelation and the record of God's interactions with humanity throughout history. Orthodox Christians hold the Scriptures in high esteem, reading and interpreting them within the context of the Church's living Tradition and guided by the Holy Spirit. The Bible is read and proclaimed in the liturgical services of the Church, serving as a source of spiritual nourishment, moral instruction, and theological reflection for believers.

Tradition, understood as the living transmission of the faith from one generation to the next, encompasses various elements, including liturgical practices, doctrinal formulations, theological insights, and spiritual disciplines. Orthodox Tradition is rooted in the apostolic witness to Christ and is manifested in the life of the Church through her worship, sacraments, teachings, and lived experience. It is dynamic and adaptive, yet steadfast in preserving the deposit of faith entrusted to the Church by Christ and the apostles.

The relationship between Scripture and Tradition in Orthodoxy is one of synergy and harmony, with each informing and enriching the other in a mutually reinforcing manner. Scripture is interpreted within the context of Tradition, which provides the framework for understanding the Scriptures in light of the Church's apostolic heritage and the consensus of the Fathers. Likewise, Tradition is grounded in Scripture, which serves as the primary source and normative standard for Orthodox belief and practice.

Orthodox Christians affirm the principle of sola scriptura, acknowledging the authority of the Scriptures as the inspired Word of God. However, they also recognize the indispensable role of Tradition in interpreting and applying the Scriptures within the life of the Church. Tradition is not seen as static or separate from Scripture but as the living expression of the gospel in the community of faith, guided and safeguarded by the Holy Spirit.

In summary, Scripture and Tradition are inseparable and complementary aspects of Orthodox Christian identity, embodying the continuity of the Church's faith and practice from the apostolic era to the present day. Together, they form the basis for Orthodox theology, spirituality, and ecclesial life, guiding believers in their journey of faith and communion with God.


Orthodox Worship and Iconography

Orthodox worship is characterized by its rich liturgical tradition, vibrant hymnography, and profound sacramental life, all of which are deeply rooted in the Church's understanding of worship as a foretaste of the heavenly kingdom. Central to Orthodox worship is the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, the primary service where the faithful gather to offer praise, thanksgiving, and communion with God. The Divine Liturgy follows a prescribed order of prayers, hymns, scripture readings, and Eucharistic rites, culminating in the reception of the Holy Mysteries (Sacraments), particularly the Eucharist, which is believed to unite believers with Christ and with one another in the mystical body of the Church.

Iconography, the sacred art of depicting Christ, the Virgin Mary, saints, and biblical scenes in painted images known as icons, holds a prominent place in Orthodox worship. Icons are not mere decorations but are venerated as windows to the divine, serving as aids to prayer, meditation, and contemplation. Orthodox theology teaches that through the incarnation of Christ, God became visible and tangible, making it possible for humanity to depict the divine in material form. Icons are thus considered to be vehicles of divine grace, conveying spiritual truths and serving as channels of encounter with the divine presence.

The use of icons in Orthodox worship is guided by strict theological principles and iconographic traditions, ensuring fidelity to the biblical and doctrinal teachings of the Church. Icons are venerated with gestures of reverence, such as kissing, bowing, and incensing, as expressions of love and devotion to the persons and events they represent. Iconography is not static but dynamic, evolving within the context of the Church's living Tradition while remaining faithful to its timeless truths and spiritual insights.

Orthodox worship and iconography are intimately connected, with icons adorning the walls, ceilings, and icon screens (iconostasis) of Orthodox churches, creating a sacred environment conducive to prayer and worship. The iconostasis, a partition adorned with icons separating the sanctuary from the nave, serves as a visual representation of the heavenly realm and the communion of saints. During worship, the faithful are surrounded by icons, immersed in a spiritual atmosphere that transcends time and space, drawing them into communion with the divine and with the community of believers, both living and departed.

In summary, Orthodox worship and iconography are integral components of the Church's liturgical life, expressing the faith, theology, and spirituality of Orthodox Christianity in visible and tangible forms. Together, they engage the senses, awaken the soul, and lead believers into deeper intimacy with God, inviting them to participate in the eternal worship of heaven and to behold the beauty of holiness in the divine presence.


Orthodox Ethics and Morality

Orthodox Christianity places a strong emphasis on ethics and morality, guiding believers in living a life of virtue, righteousness, and love in accordance with the teachings of Christ and the moral principles of the Church. Central to Orthodox ethics is the understanding that human beings are created in the image and likeness of God, endowed with free will and called to participate in God's divine life. As such, Orthodox morality is grounded in the pursuit of holiness, the cultivation of virtues, and the practice of love, mercy, and compassion towards all people.

The ethical teachings of Orthodox Christianity are derived from Holy Scripture, particularly the teachings of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Gospels, as well as the moral precepts found in the writings of the Church Fathers and the decisions of ecumenical councils. These teachings provide guidance on a wide range of moral issues, including honesty, integrity, justice, humility, forgiveness, and the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death.

Orthodox ethics is characterized by its holistic approach to morality, emphasizing the integration of faith and life, spirituality and ethics, worship and daily conduct. The Church's moral teachings are not seen as a set of rules to be followed legalistically but as a pathway to spiritual transformation and union with God. Orthodox Christians are called to live lives of integrity and authenticity, reflecting the love and grace of Christ in their relationships with others and in their engagement with the world.

Key ethical principles in Orthodox Christianity include:

1. Love and Compassion: Following the commandment of Christ to love one another as He has loved us, Orthodox ethics prioritizes love and compassion towards all people, including enemies and those in need.
2. Virtue and Holiness: Believers are called to cultivate virtues such as humility, patience, kindness, generosity, and purity of heart, striving for holiness and moral excellence in all aspects of life.
3. Justice and Righteousness: Orthodox ethics upholds principles of justice, fairness, and respect for human dignity, advocating for the protection of human rights, social justice, and the common good.
4. Stewardship and Responsibility: Recognizing that all creation belongs to God, Orthodox ethics promotes responsible stewardship of the environment, resources, and talents entrusted to humanity, fostering sustainability and care for future generations.
5. Integrity and Honesty: Orthodox Christians are called to live with integrity and honesty, speaking the truth in love, upholding moral values, and resisting the temptations of deceit, corruption, and exploitation.

Orthodox ethics and morality are not abstract concepts but are lived out in the context of community life, worship, and service. Through participation in the sacraments, prayer, fasting, and acts of charity, believers are empowered by the grace of the Holy Spirit to grow in virtue and to bear witness to the transformative power of the Gospel in the world. Ultimately, Orthodox ethics seeks to lead individuals and communities to a deeper communion with God and to the fulfillment of the commandment to "be holy, for I am holy" (1 Peter 1:16).


Orthodox Spiritual Practices

Orthodox Christianity encompasses a rich tapestry of spiritual practices designed to nurture the soul, deepen one's relationship with God, and cultivate a life of prayer and devotion. Rooted in ancient tradition and inspired by the examples of the saints, these spiritual practices serve as means of grace, leading believers on the journey of salvation and union with God. Here are some key Orthodox spiritual practices:


Central to Orthodox spirituality is the practice of prayer, which involves both formal prayers from liturgical texts and spontaneous prayers from the heart. Orthodox Christians are encouraged to pray daily, using prayers such as the Lord's Prayer, the Jesus Prayer ("Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner"), and prayers from the Psalms.


Fasting is a spiritual discipline observed by Orthodox Christians as a means of self-discipline, purification, and spiritual growth. Fasting periods, such as Great Lent and Advent, involve abstaining from certain foods and practices as a way of focusing on prayer, repentance, and almsgiving.

Reading Scripture

The reading and study of Holy Scripture are integral to Orthodox spirituality, providing nourishment for the soul and illumination for the mind. Orthodox Christians are encouraged to read the Bible regularly, meditating on its teachings and applying them to their lives.

Participation in the Sacraments

The sacraments, or mysteries, of the Orthodox Church are sacred rites through which believers receive the grace of God. These include baptism, chrismation, the Eucharist, confession, marriage, holy orders, and anointing of the sick. Regular participation in the sacramental life of the Church is essential for spiritual growth and communion with God.

Liturgy and Worship

Orthodox worship is characterized by its beauty, reverence, and ancient traditions. The Divine Liturgy, celebrated regularly in Orthodox churches, is the primary worship service in which believers gather to offer praise, thanksgiving, and supplication to God. Other liturgical services, such as Vespers, Matins, and the Hours, provide opportunities for prayer and spiritual contemplation throughout the day and week.

Iconography and Veneration of Icons

Icons, sacred images of Christ, the Virgin Mary, and the saints, play a central role in Orthodox spirituality. Believers venerate icons as windows to the heavenly realm and as aids to prayer and contemplation. The practice of iconography, the creation of icons according to traditional styles and symbolism, is considered a form of spiritual artistry and devotion.

Asceticism and Self-Denial

Orthodox spirituality emphasizes the importance of asceticism, or the practice of self-denial and renunciation of worldly pleasures for the sake of the kingdom of God. Ascetic disciplines such as fasting, prayer vigils, almsgiving, and obedience to spiritual elders are seen as ways of crucifying the passions and drawing closer to Christ.

Spiritual Direction and Guidance

Many Orthodox Christians seek the guidance of spiritual fathers or mothers, experienced guides and mentors in the spiritual life who offer counsel, encouragement, and direction on the path of salvation. Spiritual direction helps believers discern God's will, overcome spiritual struggles, and grow in holiness.

By engaging in these spiritual practices with faith, humility, and perseverance, Orthodox Christians seek to deepen their union with God, cultivate virtues, and become vessels of His grace and love in the world.


Community Life and Fellowship

Community life and fellowship hold a vital place within Orthodox Christianity, reflecting the communal nature of the faith and the importance of mutual support and encouragement among believers. Orthodox communities serve as spiritual families where individuals come together to worship, pray, learn, and serve God collectively. Here are some aspects of community life and fellowship in Orthodox Christianity:

Worshiping Together

The communal aspect of Orthodox worship is central to community life. Believers gather regularly in churches to participate in the Divine Liturgy, Vespers, Matins, and other liturgical services. Worshiping together strengthens the bonds of faith and fosters a sense of unity and communion among the faithful.

Sacramental Life

The sacraments, or mysteries, of the Orthodox Church are celebrated within the context of the faith community. Baptisms, weddings, chrismations, and other sacramental rites are occasions for the entire community to come together in support of those receiving the sacraments and to reaffirm their commitment to the life of faith.

Fellowship Activities

Orthodox parishes often organize various fellowship activities to nurture community bonds and promote camaraderie among members. These activities may include social gatherings, potluck meals, picnics, parish festivals, and cultural events that provide opportunities for members to interact and build relationships outside of formal worship.

Education and Formation

Community life encompasses opportunities for spiritual education and formation. Orthodox parishes typically offer religious education programs, Bible studies, catechetical classes, and adult education courses to deepen members' understanding of the faith and nurture their spiritual growth.

Service and Outreach

Orthodox communities are called to embody Christ's love by serving others and reaching out to those in need. Parishioners engage in various forms of charitable work, including feeding the hungry, visiting the sick and elderly, supporting orphanages and shelters, and participating in missions and outreach programs both locally and globally.

Hospitality and Welcoming Spirit

Hospitality is a cherished value in Orthodox community life. Members are encouraged to extend hospitality to visitors and newcomers, welcoming them warmly into the parish family and helping them feel at home. This spirit of hospitality fosters inclusivity and a sense of belonging within the community.

Support and Encouragement

Orthodox communities provide a network of support and encouragement for members during times of joy and sorrow. Parishioners rally around one another in times of celebration, such as weddings and baptisms, as well as in times of hardship, offering prayers, practical assistance, and emotional support to those in need.

Intercessory Prayer

Intercessory prayer is a powerful expression of community life in Orthodoxy. Members of the faith community pray for one another, lifting up their joys, concerns, and needs before God. This practice of communal prayer fosters a sense of solidarity and interconnectedness among believers, knowing that they are upheld by the prayers of the entire community.

Through active participation in community life and fellowship, Orthodox Christians experience the richness of belonging to the Body of Christ and the joy of sharing their faith journey with others. In the supportive and nurturing environment of the faith community, believers find strength, encouragement, and companionship on the path of discipleship.


Becoming Orthodox

Becoming Orthodox is a deeply personal and spiritual journey that involves embracing the beliefs, practices, and traditions of the Orthodox Christian faith. While the specifics of the journey may vary from person to person, there are common steps and considerations for those seeking to become Orthodox. Here is an overview of what it means to become Orthodox:

Exploring the Faith

The journey to Orthodoxy often begins with a period of exploration and inquiry. Individuals interested in becoming Orthodox may attend Orthodox services, read Orthodox literature, and engage in discussions with Orthodox clergy and members of the faith community to learn more about the beliefs, teachings, and practices of the Church.

Seeking Guidance

Many individuals who are drawn to Orthodoxy seek spiritual guidance and direction from Orthodox clergy or spiritual mentors. These guides can provide support, answer questions, and offer insights into the Orthodox faith, helping seekers navigate their journey toward becoming Orthodox.

Attending Services

Regular participation in Orthodox worship services is an essential aspect of the journey to becoming Orthodox. Attending Divine Liturgy, Vespers, Matins, and other liturgical services allows seekers to experience the beauty, reverence, and spiritual depth of Orthodox worship and to immerse themselves in the life of the Church.

Receiving Instruction

Seekers who wish to become Orthodox typically undergo a period of catechesis or instruction in the teachings and practices of the Orthodox Church. This may involve formal catechetical classes, one-on-one sessions with clergy or catechists, and participation in educational programs offered by the parish or diocese.

Preparation for Sacraments

As part of their journey to becoming Orthodox, individuals may prepare to receive the sacraments of baptism (for those who have not been previously baptized in a Trinitarian Christian tradition) or chrismation (anointing with holy chrism and reception of the gift of the Holy Spirit) and, if applicable, confession and Holy Communion. This preparation typically includes spiritual reflection, repentance, and readiness to embrace the Orthodox way of life.

Making a Profession of Faith

Before being received into the Orthodox Church, seekers are typically required to make a public profession of faith, affirming their belief in Orthodox doctrine and their commitment to living according to Orthodox teachings and traditions. This profession of faith may take place during the sacramental rites of baptism or chrismation or at another appropriate time designated by the parish or diocese.

Reception into the Church

Once prepared and ready, seekers are formally received into the Orthodox Church through the sacraments of baptism, chrismation, and/or confession, as appropriate. This reception marks the culmination of the journey to becoming Orthodox and the beginning of a new life in Christ within the Orthodox faith community.

Integration into the Community

Becoming Orthodox is not just a one-time event but an ongoing process of growth, learning, and spiritual formation within the Orthodox Church. Newly received Orthodox Christians are welcomed into the faith community with open arms and are encouraged to actively participate in the life of the Church, including worship, fellowship, service, and ongoing education in the Orthodox faith.

Continuing Spiritual Growth

The journey of becoming Orthodox is a lifelong journey of deepening one's relationship with God and growing in faith, love, and holiness. Orthodox Christians are called to continually strive for spiritual growth and transformation through prayer, repentance, participation in the sacraments, study of Scripture and the teachings of the Church, and engagement in acts of charity and service.

Becoming Orthodox is a profound and transformative journey of faith, marked by a sincere desire to know God, to live according to His will, and to be united with His Church. It is a journey that requires openness, humility, and a willingness to surrender to God's guidance and grace, trusting in His love and mercy every step of the way.

More Resources

Resources for Exploring Orthodoxy

Here are some helpful resources to aid in your exploration of Orthodox Christianity:


The Orthodox Church by Timothy Ware

Timonthy explains the Orthodox views on such widely ranging matters as ecumenical councils, sacraments, free will, purgatory, the papacy and the relation between the different Orthodox churches.


The Orthodox New Testament Volume One

Delve into the profound teachings of the Holy Gospels alongside esteemed figures of Orthodoxy. Featuring hundreds of concise, trustworthy, and uplifting commentaries, this Orthodox New Testament offers invaluable insights into challenging passages, fostering a deeper comprehension. Revered as a premier edition among Orthodox Christians, it incorporates elucidations by luminaries such as St. John Chrysostom, St. Basil the Great, St. Athanasius, and St. John of Damascus, among numerous others.


The Orthodox Way by Kallistos Ware

This book is a general account of the doctrine, worship and life of Orthodox Christians by the author of the now classic The Orthodox Church. It raises the basic issues of theology: God is hidden yet revealed; the problem with evil; the nature of salvation; the meaning of faith; prayer; death and what lies beyond.


Lives of the Saints Calendar

Each page is enriched with insightful teachings from revered Saints and elders, daily commemorations, Gospel and Epistle readings, fasting guidelines, and feast references. The Orthodox Calendar 2024 is an essential addition for both newcomers and long-time followers of the Orthodox Christian faith.


Wisdom of the Divine Philosophers

The Wisdom of the Divine Philosophers Volume Four resonates with today's pressing concerns. This edition speaks on several new categories such as modern society, diversions, modesty, womanhood, chance, adultery, motherhood, raising children, and the importance of church attendance.


The Way of a Pilgrim

This classic of world spiritual literature is the firsthand account of a pilgrim's journey as he endeavors to live out Saint Paul's instruction to “pray without ceasing.”


The Philokalia

A collection of texts written in Greek between the fourth and 15th centuries by spiritual masters of the Orthodox tradition. Compiled in the 18th century and first published in Venice in 1782, it has had a profound influence on the spiritual life of the Eastern Churches,"---Theology Digest.



Orthodox Christianity 101

A resource for all people ranging from those just interested in Orthodox Christianity to those looking to deepen their faith.


Orthodox Calendar Company

The Orthodox Calendar Company is dedicated to bringing you an immersive experience into the lives of saints through our curated collection of Daily Lives, Miracles, and Wisdom of the Saints and Fasting Calendar.



Ancient Faith Radio

A collection of spiritual writings from Orthodox Christian monastic traditions.


Daily Orthodox Scriptures

A collection of spiritual writings from Orthodox Christian monastic traditions.


Online Forums and Discussion Groups:


A collection of spiritual writings from Orthodox Christian monastic traditions.


Reddit r/OrthodoxChristianity

A collection of spiritual writings from Orthodox Christian monastic traditions.


These resources can serve as valuable tools to support your journey of discovery and growth in Orthodox Christianity. Explore them with an open heart and a willingness to learn, and may they enrich your spiritual quest.

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