No Marrying Outside the Oriental Orthodox Church?

Hi there,

I am currently a seeker who has been looking into Oriental Orthodox for some time. Looking into Oriental Orthodox is very daunting, as all of the churches, Ethiopian, Coptic, Syriac, etc, all seem somewhat ethnically exclusive. I am not a member of any of these ethnic groups, I am a black West African. I have come to the conclusion that the Coptic Orthodox Church is probably the least ethnically exclusive out of all the churches. However, there is nobody in my ethnic group that is a member of any Oriental Orthodox church, so does that mean if I was to convert to Coptic Orthodox then I would not be able to marry someone from my own ethnic group?

I was born in the United States, but I regularly fly to my ancestral home where there are no Coptic Orthodox parishes. Would I be able to still attend non-Orthodox mass and take Eucharist while there?


  • For more information, I am Catholic and the majority of my ethnic group is Catholic.
  • The church itself is not supposed to be ethnically exclusive this is a problem in the lands of immigration where the churches are so Syriac or so Egyptian there are actually some parishes in the United States that are working on this. Basically the whole liturgy is in English those would be a good option for you if you live in one of the areas where they do that as far as marriage goes anyone u marry would have to be baptized or chrismated into the church if they are not oriental orthodox as for taking communion from other denominations we are against this because we believe we partake of the Eucharist we are in communion with the rest of the body of Christ which is the church and the church has one faith so all who partake of the Eucharist must have the same faith
  • Do you to exclusively marry only within your ethnicity? Or are you open to marry interracially?

    There might be an exception to this rule if you found someone in the Eastern Orthodox Church. We tend to have good marriage agreements with EOs.

    If you're looking for someone ethnically close to you, and you still visit your country of origin in West Africa, we do have some Orthodox missions all over Africa, EO and OO.
  • edited March 2017
  • @Aba

    I live in the United States and I plan on checking out some Coptic Orthodox churches in a few months. I admit, I have not regularly attended church for a long time now and I really want to return.

    I exclusively marry within my own ethnicity, not for any bigoted reasons, but just because I wish to be with someone who knows my culture and can raise my children in my culture. I didn't know the Oriental Orthodox is allowed to marry from Eastern Orthodox, and although those in my ethnic group are mostly Catholic, it still helps a lot to know this.

    Everybody in my family is Roman Catholic, and any woman that I will likely meet will be Roman Catholic. I love the Roman Catholic faith, however I do not agree with papal infallibility. So are you saying that it would be better if I remained in the Roman Catholic Church? I am not Orthodox, however, I always felt that the Orthodox faith was almost the same as our own.
  • Luckyluke,

    It is perfectly understandable that you have your preferences. I do not blame you for that.

    If you don't mind mentioning, which country are you from?
  • edited March 2017
  • @minasoliman

    I was born in the United States, but I am Nigerian. I am also strongly considering relocating to Nigeria within the next 10 years, so I do not know how practical it would be for me to convert as there are no Coptic churches where I am from in Nigeria which would mean I would not be able to partake of the Eucharist or attend church at all.
  • @minasoliman

    I will try to check out the church in Lagos the next time I am in Nigeria, but neither of the churches are in my village. Thanks
  • I hope that helps.
  • If you are interested in Orthodox Churches in Nigeria, the Eastern Orthodox (under the Patriarchate of Alexandria) has an Archdiocese in Lagos. There have a few churches.

    There is also an Eastern Orthodox Mission (Antiochian patriarchate)

    In addition, if you are worried about your whole family shunning you because they are Roman Catholic, and you don't want to be Roman Catholic, you do have the option to be Orthodox/Byzantine Catholic.

    Antiochian Orthodox Catholic

    Nigerian Holy Orthodox Catholic Church (Independent)

    Just stay away from the Protestant Churches. 

    Of course we would love to have you in the Coptic mission but whatever God leads you to will be his will. Please keep us updated at what you have decided and keep us in your prayers as you are in ours.

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