Do I have to be Greek to join the Greek Orthodox Church?
No! When researching the Orthodox Church, one is likely notice that many of the churches are tied to either countries or ethnic groups, such as the Greek Orthodox Church, the Russian Orthodox Church, the Romanian Orthodox Church, etcetera. When thinking about these names it would be more accurate to think about them in terms of geography and ecclesiastical structure. In other words, the Greek Orthodox Church could also be called the Orthodox Church in Greece. While our Greek heritage plays an important role in the Church's traditions, and has shaped the life of our parish as we know it today, it is by no means a requirement. The whole of the Orthodox Church is catholic, meaning that is universal for all people of all nations.
So... are you Catholic or Protestant?
While the Orthodox Church is "catholic" in the sense that it is for all people of all nations, it is not a part of the Roman Catholic Church, nor it's Eastern Rite. Additionally, the Orthodox Church did not spring out of the work of the Protestant Reformers. So where does that put the Orthodox? Why, we are Orthodox of course! The Orthodox Church is the second largest Church in the world with numbers of around 250 million people, spanning much of the eastern world. Our history can be traced with an unbroken line to the days of the Apostles.
What does the Orthodox Church believe?
While our "bare minimum" beliefs are addressed in the Nicene Creed and the decrees of the Seven Ecumenical Councils of the Church, completely spelling out every belief of the Orthodox Church could be the subject of many volumes.
But I have so many more questions!
Wonderful! The best way to learn about the Orthodox Church is to come worship with us on Sunday, meet the congregation and clergy, and to attend our Catechism classes. We hope to see you soon!