Conversion question

Hello everyone,

I hope that you are all well and thank you for making these forums available!

I just had a hypothetical question (not thinking of converting, but always intrigued with Oriental Orthodox): I am a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church. I am married to a Catholic (in name only as she prefers to go to Protestant services). My understanding of Oriental Orthodox is that a member of your churches cannot marry outside of the Church. However, how do you treat converts wishing to join, but with spouses that will remain in their church?

Thanks in advance for your help.


  • In the Coptic Church (I can't speak for other Oriental Orthodox churches), our doors are open, even if one spouse wants to convert.  But the situation is a case-by-case basis depending on the relationship he/she has with the spouse, and how the spouse will react to his/her conversion.

    For instance, I hear stories about, let's say a particular religion that may threaten the life of someone who apostatizes.  If someone truly wishes to convert, the Church may recommend separation, even divorce in such a dangerous situation.

    If the spouse however is at peace with the conversion, then I believe it is encouraged that you stay, but that you are warned of some inner family friction and struggles with the conversion that you might have to bear.

    If anyone else has more experience to share, please do.  I can ask my priest when I get back from overseas on this question.
  • The Priest would strongly prefer that the husband or wife convert as well. This is seen mainly in marriages, obviously. But, if you are could start the process without your spouse and hopefully through your influence your spouse would be intrigued to join. I know a good number of Greek Orthodox folks who married Roman Catholics and had two different wedding ceremonies.

    Also, there is a family in my church where the father was married in the Coptic church, but still communes and takes the children to both the Coptic and Catholic Churches. So, it is possible to convert in a sense and still attend another denomination although it not suggested.
  • Hello. I am new on this forum. I was raised Catholic, Roman rite. I live now in California, in the SF Bay Area. I attended Divine Liturgy at St Antonius Coptic Orthodox Church, in Hayward, last Saturday. I used to attend Divine Liturgy at St Mark Coptic Orthodox, in Bellaire Texas, several times. It is a small city, surrounded by Houston.

    I want to ask if someone in this forum would like to give me an idea of the procedure to pass from the Catholic, Roman rite, to the Coptic Orthodox Church. I am single, was divorced around 1994. I am still single. I like the Divine Liturgy and would like to receive communion in the Orthodox Church. But I don't know what is the procedure, and what papers are required. I can learn the doctrines and be tested, if required. I met the priest outside the church, for a few seconds. He was rather busy, so I did not want to take a lot of his time. This is why I ask in this forum, about moving to or transferring to, the Coptic Orthodox Church. Since some time ago, I want to be closer to St Mark Evangelist. I know he is the founder of the Holy See of Alexandria.

    I did receive the baptism, the confirmation, and the first holy communion, a long time ago, in the Catholic Church, Roman rite. These sacraments (mysteries) I received in Mexico City. I have the papers, related to them.

    I guess it will take a long time to transfer from one Church to another. I am not in a hurry. I would like to see if it is possible. Thank you for your reply and time.
  • edited February 2017
    Hey Cairo. I am also a convert from the Roman Rite. There are not as many strick rules to conversion like the Eastern Orthodox churches and also every conversion is different.

    Feel free to PM if you would like some help with the process or any questions about the differences in denominations or what you will or will not, more than likely be required for conversion.
  • Grazie, ItalianCoptic. Io parlo un piccolo po d'italiano. I have a long way to go, to be fluent. I do not know what you mean by "PM". Please explain. I like the Coptics, since I was in Houston. I lived there from the summer of '86 to the summer of 2010. I am following a relatively long path (academic) to earn an MLIS (Master of Library and information Science) and become a professional librarian. My interest in the Coptic Orthodox faith began since at least 15 years ago, maybe more. I like the Divine Liturgies. I want to be close to St Mark Evangelist. Yes, I am curious about some differences between or among denominations. I have my papers for the first 3 sacraments (mysteries).
    I was married many years ago, according to both laws (civil law and Catholic law). She divorced me, according to civil law. I later requested annulment, according to Catholic canon law. After several years, the annulment was granted. I have papers about that as well.
    I am curious about what papers are required, and if there is a procedure to follow, to join the Coptic Orthodox. I do expect to talk with the Rev Athanasius in the church I attend. But he is a busy man, so it is somewhat difficult to find him for complex matters. But, I will keep trying.
    I realize I am not allowed to receive communion with the Coptics, until there are signed papers that say I am accepted. To get to that point, I guess there is a process of studies, something like Sunday school for adult inquirers.
    I do not know if the first 3 sacraments I received, in Mexico City, are regarded as valid, according to Coptic canon laws. They are 100% valid, according to Catholic canon laws. I know that some denominations accept the baptism performed by some others, but not always. I understand the same applies to the other sacraments (mysteries). So I wonder if I will need a sponsor, and who will that person be.
    The previous priest was there during around 10 years, according to what I viewed on you tube. The church has its own You Tube channel. I will try to add it here below, for your information.
    But I do not know how long Rev Athanasius has been at this particular church. I trust he will guide me and help me to do this process.

    I will appreciate your advice and comments.
  • I don't think you need to sign papers to join the Coptic Church, btw "PM" mean Private Message
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