For Those Who Converted, Why?

edited December 1969 in Non-Orthodox Inquiries
Dear Friends ~

for those who converted to Coptic Orthodoxy, i am wondering how your journeys progressed, why you converted, and what you found along the way.

what appealed to you about Coptic Orthodoxy, and what was difficult along the way?

for those still on the road to baptism, what has happened so far?

God bless you ~ Grace


  • I was raised rather liberally, both my brother and I. Neither of my parents really cared for religion or God. My father hated Catholicism because of the treatment he received in Catholic school, and my mother just didnt care. I can remember as a child wanting to go to church, I cannot remember how or who exposed me to it. After a while I had become run down by the world in all its desires and rejected God for Nihilism.

    In my 20's I lived in Las Vegas and I remember someone questioning my beliefs. They said how can you reject something you know nothing about? To which I had no answer. I had decided to study all major religions in search of truth, as my Nihilist views slowly withered away. Islam was quickly dismissed, for obvious reasons. I was hesitant to study Christianity because of my previous experiences, as I believed it to be shallow and fake.

    I fell in love with Judaism and longed to become a "Jew", only to be rejected by the Jews because my mother is not jewish. Along with that it lacked Christ, whom I could never seem to rid myself of, no matter how hard I tried. So reluctantly I delved into Christianity. Odd thing is my girlfriend at the time was Orthodox, I had the truth sitting right in front of me and I ignored it. I studied the basic doctrines and beliefs and realized that all the denominations differed from one another. I thought, how could this be true? Why would God tell them all different things?

    At this point I was beginning to lose my mind, literally. My girlfriend, who was Ethiopian, had exposed me to alot of their culture, to which I became obsessed with. I took all my savings and almost in an instant flew over to Ethiopia, knowing nobody. After a few years there, I met my wife. Her and I used to fight about Orthodoxy, to which I could not accept. I knew it was true, but I fought God every inch of the way. All those questions I had asked protestant churches, I started asking the Orthodox churches. They were spot on, every one of them. This still did not convince me. It was a book that my wife bought me, written by an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian. When he explained the nature of Christ it was as if something clicked. I remember reading it over and over and over again and every time it brought me to tears. When my wife came home she was wondering what was wrong and I told her that I wanted to be Orthodox, she took me to church, there were no services at the time it was just open for people to come in and pray.

    Once I set foot in that church, I remember saying: "I am home". There was alot I didnt understand but I promised God that I would not stop just because I am Orthodox. I was baptized 2 years ago, so I have alot to make up for. The hardest part of Orthodoxy is probably learning humility for me as it doesnt exist is most of the protestant churches here in america. It was difficult to deny myself basically. I had to rebuild myself and start from scratch. It is very difficult for many of the protestants, atleast here in america, to convert to Orthodoxy. We are taught that people like the Catholic and Orthodox are like pagans, or the pharisees. Atleast for me, it was the most difficult thing I had ever done, but when you fight with God, you always lose.

    Another thing I have learned is that just because I am Orthodox does not give me a free pass, that the devil will still come after me. I learned that the more you grow, the harder the fight. Hopefully this helps, sorry that it is so long I shortened it up quite a bit.
  • Ionnes, that is wonderful.... thank you, very much. it's funny, the harder you try to run from Truth, the harder it pursuits you.
  • Thank you for sharing.. God bless you both!
  • I believe this is why some converts can be very zealous. We know what it is like to live without truth, outside the church. Basically we know what it is like to be without this gift. This is why I know that if one earnestly seeks the truth, God will grant it to them and ultimately they will become Orthodox. It is clear how stubborn and unwavering I am just by my posts, but because the desire for truth was In my heart God never gave up, and He had every reason to. God in all His mercy saved me from the delusion. I love all of you, I am looking forward to hearing other stories.
  • my story is very long. i wrote it down yesterday and it came to 2 sides of paper! so send a person message if you want the full story but basically, i was looking for a deeper understanding of God and His love and i found it  :)
  • Mabsoota, I would like to hear your story. You can email it to me @ [email protected]
  • Ioannes -- God bless you and thank you for sharing.

    Btw, what was that book ?
  • wow thanx ioannes i really think thats amazing. please mention my name (jonah youssef) in your prayers that i may become renewed in my orthodox faith

    your brother in Christ
  • Hello, brothers and sisters! Happy Easter to all!

    Brother Ioannes, what a beautiful and wonderful story you've told us. I don't want to sound selfish but, I think you must be one of the few who is lucky enough to come to the Kingdom of God in such a “miraculous” way – you're blessed. Thank you, brother!

    Yes! Specially these days, “Humility” is one of the most important languages of the almighty -- a quality through which we could be able to identify the right way, it is indeed a perquisite quality to preserve a close relationship with the Divine Source. 

    It is sad to see this very quality absent in most (many ) Protestant churches. I think there are some wonderful followers and preachers of the Protestant movement, yet, I have never seen a Protestant keeping his/her eyes low in humility. Televangelists bring this particular phenomenon to our homes. Many of the well known Protestant preachers seem to be more concerned about their external qualities, about their personalities –  how they dress, move and sound than about demonstrating their submissiveness to the superior being. For instance, if we look around Evangelical congregations, we would  see a preacher wearing a formal style of dress – like a business man. Frankly speaking, I tend to disqualify people wearing ties as preachers. I believe, the words of our Lord "give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God." could apply to what a Preacher wears.

    What do you guys think? I've just opened a new thread on this subject...

    Bless you all!

  • vomo, that is beautiful. God continue to bless you and guide you within Orthodoxy!

    he who is much forgiven, loves much.
  • I am currently a Catechumen, being Baptised into the British Orthodox Church tomorrow.

    I was raised by a non-practicing protestant family, and had pretty much no interest in Christ or any faith until I was about 16.

    When I went to college (which would be High School in the USA) I studied religious studies and became more interested in studying faith, but still rejecting Christianity because of the way it is treated in the UK. (People in the UK that are Christian tend to either be very lazy about it and not even attend a Church, or are very evangelical protestants.)

    After studying Abrahamic Religions and the History of Judaism, Christianity and Islam at university I looked into Judaism and Islam, both of which seemed to lack something for me, I admired the devoted nature of Islam, and it's pure and uncomparimising approach to worship, and admired the scholarly nature of early Judaism, but they lacked the love that I feel now through Christ.

    From my third year of university I started attending lessons on Byzantine History, which introduced me to the Church Fathers and Byzantine Orthodox Christianity. Here I found the devotion and Intelligent faith I had been looking for, though again I was very Sceptical, as someone that has always looked down on Christianity in ignorance. unfortunately this interest became overshadowed, as I again started to leave the path I seemed destined to follow.

    After spending a year living in Pakistan as an English and Sports teacher, I again contemplated Islam, due to the amount of time I spent studying with my students, though there was an Indian Orthodox lady working as a Matron there that spoe to me much about her faith and explained to me how she had struggled to find Christ, especially under the condition her family fell into through persecution by the community in which she lived. When I returned home I spent a long time struggling with this burning desire to find God, especially after all I had been to in order to do so, so I put it on the back bench and decided he will find me.

    Last year I went with my sister to Visit Northern Italy, and went to Venice where some of the artefacts of the sacking of Constantinople are kept. These reminded me of my time studying the Church fathers and the Orthodox faith in University, and how contented this made me. So I decided to start attending the Russian Church in my City. After attending this twice, I felt somewhat an outcast. As I am not Russian I naturally seemed not to fit in, which led me to discover the BOC who showed me how God's love can lead us on a wild Goose chase for many years, but will eventually find us. Since then I have developed a strong love for my fellow Christians in the British Orthodox, and the mother Church in Alexandria. I have met so many people here and through our contacts in Egypt and worldwide that this family of Churches seems flawless to me.

    In this last year since attending the BOC, I have found that the uncompromising, loving and wise faith I have always seeked is right here. I look back and do not know how I missed it, maybe God wanted to teach me that though it may seem like there are many paths, his path will always be the right one, or maybe I was just being stubborn, but in the end he did find me, and I have never been so happy.

    (I Apologise for the length of this post, but it has been a long journey and I am ever so happy to be home!)
  • DanieM, do not apologize! that is a beautiful post, and your struggles to find and know God sound a lot like mine. God bless you, and be praised for bringing you home.

    is the BOC a mix of Coptic Christians and non-Coptic Christians?

    i am amazed by how many people find Christ for who He is, and then find Orthodoxy. Orthodoxy seems to kind of complete the "how" of following and living for Christ.
  • The BOC is a daughter church to the Coptic Church, their patriarch is HH as well. I'm sure in a church you will most likely find british people, maybe Father Peter can answer if its mostly british or copts as well?
  • from my experience it is mostly british people interested in Orthodoxy, but feeling a bit awkward because of the cultural or language differences they experience when attending coptic or Byzantine Services. At ourt Church here in Portsmouth all of those that attend are British, with a few Coptic friends that attend sometimes.
    One of our good Coptic friends, Mina, has also expressed great happiness at how the British Orthodox Church is made up of people that found Orthodoxy rather than those born into it. I think this sense of being a missionary Church is howthw british Orthodox Church serves Christ and the mother church, as being a path to Orthodoxy for those that have not experienced it before.
  • welcome again daniel  :)
    wanted to say it again, now it's after your baptism, and i feel like i (we) have a new brother  :D
    about the british orthodox church, also people attend from other orthodox backgrounds (russian, romanian, eritrean etc) and visitors to britain etc. it would be GREAT if more coptic people could go along and help them spread the good news to the british, or if more british/ american /french etc (whatever the country of immigration) people could go to coptic churches to help them make their british neighbours feel welcome in church.

    for those of you in egypt/ sudan etc, please welcome the visitors/ tourists as well as your usual neighbours, especially those who do not know our Great Saviour and lets pray for each other as we share the good news of Jesus, who will give us true life.

    gracia, you answered your own question:

    'i am amazed by how many people find Christ for who He is, and then find Orthodoxy. Orthodoxy seems to kind of complete the "how" of following and living for Christ.'

    i could not have put it better.
  • thank you all for your answers, and Mabsoota, i agree that it would be great to see more coming together of different communities into Orthodoxy, and in her name.

    my husband and i had a conversation the other night, basically expressing our concern over the lack of reverence, discipline, morality, and orthodoxy we see in so many Protestant churches. we were shocked the other day to hear that one denomination determines matters of morality and doctrine by a show of hands! "is same-sex marriage ok? show of hands!" God's Word is no longer consulted, respected, or read, and God's will is no longer sought or humbly submitted to. my husband suggested that if things get any worse, we may well stop going to any church.

    i have not breached the subject of Orthodoxy with him, but will keep praying and following God day to day. thank you everyone for your stories, answers, and witness. keep the testimonies coming!  :D

    God bless you all, and God's peace.
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