One of my absolute favorite parts about running a blog like this is that I get to interact with many interesting and lovely readers.
-Some of those readers are lifelong Orthodox Christians who want to help their families live out the Faith.
-Some are new to Orthodoxy and are looking for resources to help them as they begin.
-And, many are simply interested in learning more about Eastern Orthodoxy and stumble across this blog.
I definitely remember being in that last category. My husband and I became Orthodox a little over ten years ago, and we spent nearly two years learning more about the Faith before we decided to become catechumens. So, I particularly enjoy talking with people who have so many questions they don’t know where to begin. I can relate!
Over the next few months I will be sharing some reader questions about Orthodoxy as well as my responses. If several people ask the same question, I am sure that many more have that question but haven’t asked yet!
A few disclaimers:
-I am (obviously) not a priest. A priest will be your best resource as you seek to learn more about Orthodoxy, and I encourage everyone to find a priest near them and ask those tough questions.
-A blog (or a book) can never replace the Church. Find a local Orthodox church to go see for yourself!
Interested in Orthodoxy: Where to Begin?
Reader Question: I am very interested in learning more about Orthodoxy but am feeling overwhelmed. Where should I start?
Hello! It can definitely seem overwhelming as you begin your inquiry into Orthodoxy. When my (now) husband and I began our journey to Orthodoxy over eleven years ago, there was a steep learning curve!
I would say that where to start depends on your personality.
Readers/ Intellectuals (i.e. Those who “read their way” into the Church.)
If you enjoy reading, Timothy Ware (Bishop Kallistos Ware)’s book The Orthodox Church can be a good place to start. The book can get a bit bogged down in history at points–especially near the end–but it has a ton of good information on the basics of the faith.
If you are more of an experiential learning person, there is no substitute for attending an Orthodox Church. Going to a Vespers service–generally on Saturday evenings–can be a good place to start. The service is a lot shorter (around an hour compared to two hours for a Sunday Divine Liturgy) and contains many Psalms and Old Testament references that feel a bit more “comfortable” for Protestants.
Do you know any Orthodox Christians near you? They would also be great resources. My husband became good friends with a man who taught an inquirer’s class at his local Orthodox church. They would go out for beers and talk Orthodoxy! If it doesn’t seem too intimidating to you, many Orthodox priests are also very welcoming and love to talk with people who are interested in the Faith.
Have you listened to Ancient Faith Radio yet? If you go to their website, they have tons of good podcasts. We try to listen to “The Path” (the day’s Scripture readings with commentary from the Church fathers) and “Saint of the Day” (a short description of one of the saints celebrated that day). Abbot Tryphon’s “The Morning Offering” is also nice, as is Fr. Barnabas Powell’s “Faith Encouraged.”
I hope that is helpful! Please let me know if I can do anything else. May God bless you.
What would you add? What advice do you have for those just beginning to learn more about Orthodoxy?