Jeremiah 6:16 “Thus says the LORD: “Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls.”
Maybe you are interested but not sure where to start?
It seems this is a common position to be in, when wanting to act on a kind of attraction to Orthodoxy.
Of course, there are various books and videos available which can give some more information on what Eastern Orthodoxy is – including its historical dimension as well as shedding some light on liturgical practices and the Tradition of the Church, on icons, church music etc., all of which are useful starting points, which people often have already explored to a degree when they contact us.
Then comes the more daring and potentially risky step of making actual contact with what is available locally, and leaving the relative anonymity of the internet and interacting with real people. This can be done in the first instance by email or fb messenger or sometimes by telephone…
To take some of the inevitable inner tension out of the equation you can read an email to an enquirer below – and this could be addressed to you with your name above just the same… :
“You are indeed very welcome to join us for any of our services and to come for a little chat over a cup of tea before and/or after.
We are a tiny mission outpost here in Belfast of the ancient and profound Christian Tradition, so the grandeur of so many beautiful churches and Cathedrals all over the world will not be what you will meet when joining us here for worship. However, in keeping with the Tradition of the Church you will find the same services and practices as would be found in those bigger venues and you will find also our best attempt at living as fully as possible according to the mindset of Orthodoxy, which is really at the heart of the faith – to live a life of continual conversion and repentance. (“Lord have mercy on me a sinner”).
Orthodoxy is both universal and very personal to each believer…
We are all fallen sinners and come to the church as one comes to the hospital for healing. Some of us are carrying deep wounds from the past and come as people in the process of healing. Therefore, any expectation or hope to come upon a bunch of saints would invariably meet with disappointment. However, everyone is welcome to join us in our struggles for purification and toward wholeness, while hopefully aiming to make abundant allowances for each other in the process…
So much for the backdrop of our little parish here.
I assume you found my email address on the website – maybe you have also seen our facebook page. They are also resources to shape an understanding of what Orthodoxy offers. Other fine resources include u-tube… there are wonderful talks… say for example of our bishop, Vladyka Irenei, from before he was our Bishop, when he was still called Archimandrite Irenei, there are also beautiful recordings of Orthodox choir music available there and talks on any aspect of the faith eg icons, repentance, confession, etc.
There are also many books available for the person who likes reading, such as “The Orthodox Way” or “Orthodoxy” which are good as an introduction, but you have really hit the nail on the head when you are talking of worshiping with us. All the theoretical and historical and theological richness Orthodoxy offers meets in the act of communal worship of God – both a personal and communal experience of engaging with God. So this is an essential part of growing in an understanding and an ability to live this understanding of what life and faith and salvation is all about through the mindset of the church of the apostles…
You come as yourself and you really do not need to know much, just join in as best you can – you are welcome just as you are. Prayers are mostly sung/chanted standing upright facing the altar, but it is better to sit down than to start thinking about a sore back instead of the prayers. The only time where standing is prescribed is for the Gospel. Ladies are advised (but not required) to cover their heads in church, and the sign of the cross is made from right to left … those are outer manifestations of the theology carrying the faithful forward, and they are again not requirements for any interested person, you can join in at any level you feel comfortable with….”
There is a world of ancient faith ( – also feel free to check out ancient faith radio, which has podcasts on a huge number of topics -) to be experienced even among a few sinners in a simple set up here in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Be encouraged to contact us or just appear to any of the services. You are very welcome!
Another idea to help build up a rounded picture of Orthodoxy and ROCOR Orthodoxy in our Diocese in particular, would be to spend some time exploring the extensive website of our mother parish in Liverpool, where Archpriest Fr Paul Elliott – who is also the secretary of our Bishop and the Chancellor of the Diocese – is parish priest, by clicking on this link https://www.newmartyr.info/ or of course by looking at the Diocesan Website by clicking here: https://orthodox-europe.org/
Wishing you a blessed time of preparation, and looking forward to you.