Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I am new here, and have many questions. I am a catechumen in the British Orthodox Church, which is a small Orthodox Church in the UK which comes under the jurisdiction of Alexandria, and whose Metropolitan, Abba Seraphim, is a member of the Coptic synod.

I have been welcomed by the British Orthodox Church, and have found in it a spirit quite different to that I have seen in some of the Eastern Orthodox Churches in the UK. What seems sad to me is that so many Eastern Orthodox persist in thinking of the Coptic Orthodox Church as monophysite. That is so wrong, and so insulting.

Some EOs seem to think that theirs' is the only real Orthodox Church, but when challenged about the real differences between what we believe and what they believe, they seem rather lost. Their mindset sometimes seems like a left-over from imperial times. From what I have experienced of it, the Coptic mindset is quite different - much more welcoming to those of us coming in from outside, and much more patient. But then the Coptic Church has, for centuries, borne a great witness in hard times - perhaps that accounts, in part for the difference.

Anyway, greetings from a newbie in the UK who is just getting a taste of the huge richness of Orthodoxy.

In Christ,



  • Dear brother in Christ, we are happy and proud to have you. With God's grace, we all try to contribute by replying to each other.

    God bless you. Pray for me.
  • Dear John,

    Thank you for your welcome.

    One of the things I have already noticed about the Orthodox Church is the warmth of the welcome.

    It is always difficult for a newcomer, not least when, in the UK the Coptic Church has such a small presence - but when it is as vibrant as it is, that makes all the difference.

    I shall pray for you, and thank you for your prayers.

    In Christ,

  • Dear John,

    Welcome to Orthodoxy, and to the site. As a Copt I was very interested to read your take on the EO vs. OO matter. You will find that on our side, we place a very high level of trust in our Spirit-bearing and Spirit-lead Fathers, who themselves have been objective and fair enough to unanimously agree that the EO's Christology is not in fact Nestorian. As such, it will be a challenge for you to find just one OO lay person, let alone clergyman, who still propogates the age-old polemic that the EO's are Nestorian heretics.

    On the other hand, you will find EO's quite divided over this issue--from the Bishops, to the priests, to the monastics and even to the laity. There seems to be this tendency of everyone advocating their own personal interpretation of Tradition and thence drawing their own conclusions as to the implications that that interpretation has to recognising the Orthodoxy of our Church's Christology.

    Nevertheless, we are very grateful to those EO Churches (particularly the Greek Orthodox Patriarches of Alexandria and Antioch) who have exercised fairness and reasonableness in this matter and who have paved the groundwork to a potential future re-union. Practically speaking however, I don't think such unity can be achieved until the EO Church learns to achieve unity within her own boundaries first so that she can speak with one voice on this issue, just as our Church speaks with one voice.
  • Dear Iqbal,

    Thank you for your welcome. I am most interested in what you say, both about Nestorius and about the differences between EOs and OOs.

    Obviously, I mean no disrespect to anyone, but I must say that one of the things that has drawn me to the Oriental Orthodox is their greater Christian charity in their dealings with fellow Christians.

    I have found a tendency (and mercifully, as you indicate, there are many exceptions to it) among some EOs (usually Russian) to take a very 'hard' line against those considered 'schismatic' or 'heretical' - accompanied by a very wide definition of who fits into that category. This seems an unhelpful way of approaching our fellow Christians. The Copts, on the other hand, whilst maintaining the fullness of the Faith, seem more comfortable in their knowledge of the Faith, and less keen to rush to judgement.

    The patient and charitable approach I have witnessed among the Copts seems much more in line with what is written in 1 John 4:20

    If someone says, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?

    The Evangelist tells us [John 4:11]:

    Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

    and I have found this to be so amongst the Copts and the other Oriental Orthodox I have been fortunate enough to meet.

    I am struck by the way in which, as you say, the Copts and other Oriental Orthodox have been willing to see that the EO Christology is not Nestorian - as I am by the unwillingness of so many EOs to admit that the slur of 'Monophysite' should never have been levelled against the Copts, whose Christology has always been that of the God-guided St. Cyril of Alexandria.

    It is a pleasure to be on this site, and to be able to participate, in some small way, in this virtual community.

    I am pleased to say that my bishop has decided that I am ready to be received into the Church, and that I will be received during the Liturgy on 11 February. I feel unworthy, but honoured.

    In Christ,


  • I am from Serbian Orthodox Church and I must admit that many of clergy and laity who label Oriental Orthodox as monophysites are, let's say, not well informed. More I read about Eastern Orthodox - Oriental Orthodox relations, the more I realise that there is a sort of willingnessless among EO to read, listen and lear about what OO really believe in. In some way it is maybe ease simply to relly on second-hand sources about OO rather than to learn directly from OO. Of course, this is a little bit disappointing to me, since I feel that Oriental brothers and sisters believe the same essence of the Faith as we, Eastern Orthodox.

    We share the same (or at least the most similar) approach to spiritual life and experience,
    ascesis, liturgy etc.

    My opinion is that EO are generally suspicious about ecumenism. We have bad experience with Roman Catholic Church during the history. All dialogues (voluntary or forced) with RCC may be summarized at this simple question: Is the Roman Pope visible head of the whole Church? Many of particular EO Churches (Serbian Church, for example) suffered a lot due to its refuting to confess papal supremacy over the Holy Church..

    But the dialogue with OO is completely different... In my view, this dialogue is the only that can succeed i.e. it can result in restoration of the unity on the bases of the true Faith..

    I hope that our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, God Logos Incarnate, will bless our clergy in their efforts toward Orthodox unity...

    Best wishes from Orthodox Serbia!

  • and I have additional question:

    Why all topics related to Eastern Orthodoxy are put in "Non-Orthodox inquiries"  ???

    We, Eastern Orthodox are ORTHODOX in every way... ;)
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