Move Towards Orthodoxy

edited December 1969 in Personal Issues
One of the biggest issues I am having in my move towards the Orthodox Church is whether or not to invest in the Coptic Orthodox Church or an Eastern Orthodox Church (specifically the Antiochian Orthodox Church).  My difficulty is that, although I currently live near a current Coptic Orthodox Church, there are only pockets of Coptic churches throughout.  My fear is that I would join the Coptic Orthodox Church and then in a year (when I finish my Master's degree) I will have to move somewhere where there is no Coptic Orthodox Church nearby.  If this case arose I would not be able to attend the liturgy or participate in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. 

However, there are many Antiochian Orthodox Churches across the U.S. and if I had to move where one was not close by I could always attend another Eastern Orthodox Church as they are not divided as are the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches.

What advice would you all lend me in making this decision?


  • Your on a Coptic Forum so were all going to say go to a Coptic Orthodox Church lol. I Don't live in the U.S but I know there are a lot of Coptic Churches there, i'm sure you can find them around where ever you go. Talk to people from the Coptic Church nearby you and tell them where you plan on going after your done your masters degree, they should know where other Coptic churches are near where your going. Don't just pick a church based on how convenient its location is.
  • You would also be able to receive the sacraments in any Oriental Orthodox church, not only Coptic. Where are you thinking of studying? Is it somewhere remote?
  • yes, there are millions of armenians in america and plenty of ethiopians and eritreans. i suppose there are lots of syriac and indian orthodox as well, i just know less about them.

    if, in a year, you need to move, let us know, some of us have quite a few contacts.
    oh, and, of course join our church!  ;)

    may God guide you  :)
  • [quote author=Father Peter link=topic=10839.msg131673#msg131673 date=1298762494]
    You would also be able to receive the sacraments in any Oriental Orthodox church, not only Coptic. Where are you thinking of studying? Is it somewhere remote?

    I am already studying for my master's in Denver, CO.  I am thinking ahead about when I graduate in a year's time and will have to move where I am able to find employment in my field.  When I search for Coptic Orthodox Churches in the U.S. the majority are located around the larger cities and I will not be guaranteed that I will be working in a big, metropolitan area.
  • I am in a comparable situation, only there aren't any non-Chalcedonian churches here (the local Ethiopians and Eritreans, who are many, go to the OCA). I can't tell you what to do, but what I'm doing is praying a lot, reading a lot (in books and here on Tasbeha), and then praying some more. What more can be done? It sounds like God has given us both natural timetables, rather than sending lightening bolts from the sky to shock us into making a move. I think that in my case this time is a gift He has given to prepare me so that when the time runs out and I have to take the leap, I will have that many more hours of prayer and reflection about it, and thus be more spiritually mature and willing to place all my trust in Him. I don't know you, but I wouldn't be surprised if there aren't at least shades of the same lessons in your search. Just remember the words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ from the Gospel of Matthew: "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
  • But then again, metropolitan areas tend to have more jobs right? There's loads of churches in New Jersey and New York and California.... but there are some in other places like Florida, Tennessee, Texas..... and other states, use the find a church function on

    Orthodoxy in itself is beautiful, but there is a different between East in West not only in terms of traditions, but more importantly in theology. If you are not already aware of it, do the research. They are not the same thing so that should also be an important factor in your decision.

    God be with you.
  • Thank you all for your responses and advice.  Although I grew up Protestant, I hold "Church membership" in high esteem.  I have no desire to "Church hop" as many among Protestant, Evangelicals do here in the U.S.  This is the reason for my hesitation in joining an Orthodox church.  Once I join I want to be an active participant in both the liturgy and the life of the church body. 

  • i am glad you don't want to 'church-hop'.
    but if you have to move house, then it's normal to go to another church there!
    thank God there were coptic churches available for my last 2 house-moves (in the 2 1/2 years i have been orthodox), but if there weren't, i would go to an eastern orthodox church, attending a coptic church maybe once a month if i could for the Holy Communion.

    i pray in our lifetime we will have communion with the other orthodox churches, then moving house won't be a problem at all. the theology is really not significantly different, although i prefer our oriental orthodox practice of having the Holy Communion in a manner which is easier to see (no preparation behind a screen with the deacons singing psalms in front) and encouraging everyone to participate regularly in it.
    so, just as i would recommend a EO church if there was one nearby, i now recommend the coptic church near you.
    of course it's hard to move house, but it didn't kill me yet!  ;)
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