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Attending non-Orthodox church buildings

esperant

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Hi,

I have a couple of minor questions that I haven't been able to find any kind of answer for by searching online. They concern visiting non-Orthodox church buildings. This is a 'convert issues' because I am at an ambiguous early stage of catechesis into Orthodoxy (the ROCOR church I'm going to has no formal catechumenate or cathectic process), and because it concerns my attachment to non-Orthodox churches.

While it's clear enough to me that canonically an Orthodox cannot worship together with non-Orthodox, it's not clear to me what Orthodoxy teaches about the status of non-Orthodox buildings and images. More concretely, I live a long way from my Orthodox church, but am close to a large old Anglican cathedral, and am converting from Anglicanism. What I want to know is whether it is appropriate or inappropriate for me to enter the Anglican church when there is no service going on to engage in private prayer? This is something that seems very natural to me as a former Anglican. A related question is about the status of images of Christ in particular in such a church, since it is the presence of such images that makes me think it might be appropriate to go into such a building to pray, by myself, in an Orthodox way. Is it appropriate to venerate icons or crucifixes in a non-canonical church?
 
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I am American & have been Orthodox for almost 15 years ( despite my post name) & I never really considered much of what you have mentioned. In the pre COVID 19 age, I attended, perhaps a couple dozen, non Orthodox services over about 14 years. I felt no anxiety or influence from them in any way. When I attended RC mass, I made sure I did not say the filioque but prayed the Lord’s Prayer. As far as non Orthodox religious art, I guess it depends on the subject & depiction. Probably there is a basic overlap in many cases. I know of a Georgian Orthodox Church near me that kept whatever Catholic artwork that remained in a former Catholic Church they purchased about 15 years back. I would think a discerning approach is ok like when reading non Orthodox Christian writings. For ex. C.S. Lewis is highly regarded while I would avoid Shelby Spong.

My journey to Orthodoxy was easier than most though. My late father was cradle Orthodox & I attend a local parish he was raised in his youth. I received a fine catechism ( reading Bishop Kallistos Ware etc.) however good or bad I express it, but I also had not heard of a lot of intense stuff as expressed by the late Fr Seraphim Rose( for ex.). I read some real serious writings like Orthodoxy & the religion of the Future by Sersphim Rose & The Arena by St, Ignatius Briannchaninov & but did not take to their sway (just me, not criticizing)So maybe take what I may say with care.
 
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Dominika

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Like recent convert, my father (not late yet, thanks God) is cradle Orthodox, mother Roman Catholic. So I've been used to attend two denominations (in Poland we rather don't have other, or rather, very few). In Catholic Church I make sign of cross, recite some prayers that are Orthodox. Actually Polish Roman Catholic Church has one very venerated Orthodox icon (Częstochowska), so for us it's normal to enter Catholic Church and pray there - also it applies to Vilnius, that used to be part of Polish state. and there is also very venerated icon, Ostrobramska. So both Orthodox and Catholics - the chapel belongs to the second ones - pray there.

Late rector of my parish was even saying that if we are on holidays and there is no nearby Orthodox church, that's better to find any church with cross on the top and enter there and pray a bit, than pray nowhere.

But of course it's obvious you can't take Sacrament, can't say anything unorthodox, feeling too much involved into heterodox community etc.
 

hecma925

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I'll go in for the architectural value and art. Most buildings being built nowadays are ugly, so I don't bother.
 

Alpo2

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^What's wrong with Gothic architecture?

I go to non-Orthodox churches for tourism and family occasions and when doing that I try to act "normal" i.e. like members of that denominations do just out of politeness. Wouldn't go for prayer unless there happens to be some icon or relics I'd like to venerate.
 

Ainnir

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I will echo Stephen Philips' point that an icon corner is the default spot for Orthodox private prayer. I started with an icon from the front of a Church bulletin, set in a napkin holder; it's ok to start small. 😊

It's fine to go in, though; the church building doesn't have cooties. 😁
 

Stephen Philips

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It is an electronic photograph of St. Pope Kyrillos the Sixth.
Here is a great biographical book to learn about the recent saint, who revived the Coptic church through his life of prayer and silence.
 

hecma925

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It is an electronic photograph of St. Pope Kyrillos the Sixth.
Here is a great biographical book to learn about the recent saint, who revived the Coptic church through his life of prayer and silence.
Thanks.
 

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I'll go in for the architectural value and art. Most buildings being built nowadays are ugly, so I don't bother.
When I was in France, I remember visiting the Catholic Gothic cathedral in Amiens (the largest church in France) while there was no service going on, and it was absolutely breathtaking. I venerated the relics of Saint John the Baptist there, and prayed the prayer written by his relics "Sancte Ioannes Baptista, ora pro nobis".
Makes me even sadder about the 1054 Schism. It would be a beautiful Orthodox Catholic cathedral
 

biro

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I will echo Stephen Philips' point that an icon corner is the default spot for Orthodox private prayer. I started with an icon from the front of a Church bulletin, set in a napkin holder; it's ok to start small. 😊

It's fine to go in, though; the church building doesn't have cooties. 😁
That’s nonsense. Everyone knows all Roman Catholics have cooties.
 

jayjay

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My nearest orthodox church is 660km (410 miles) away.
I'll drop into our local Lutheran church on occasion.
It's not the same by a long shot, but it is what it is.
 

Arachne

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My parish worshipped for 20 years in a 13th-century Gothic chapel. Recently we have acquired a larger building from the same period. I have zero issues with Western church architecture. Gothic arches and stained glass don't block my prayers. One of the first things I'm going to do once gathering and travelling restrictions are lifted, is go on the annual pilgrimage to Walsingham we organise.

The Emmanuel Church in Saltburn (my mother-in-law's parish) is gorgeous; too bad for the low-church, happy-clappy stuff happening there. Chichester Cathedral is a gem; the smallest cathedral in the UK, practically taller than it is long or wide. I follow the Association of English Cathedrals on social media and ache with every gorgeous photo of Salisbury, Ely, or York Minster they post. If I had a bucket list, church-hopping around Europe would definitely be on it.
 

RaphaCam

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I follow the Association of English Cathedrals on social media and ache with every gorgeous photo of Salisbury, Ely, or York Minster they post. If I had a bucket list, church-hopping around Europe would definitely be on it.
Today I can't believe I stayed in Salisbury for weeks and didn't enter the cathedral. :cautious:

Anyway, I only enter other denominations' churches for either tourism or major events like weddings.
 

Arachne

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Today I can't believe I stayed in Salisbury for weeks and didn't enter the cathedral. :cautious:
It's a vaccination centre right now. Their FB feed is full of locals squeeing over the opportunity (to see it a lot less crowded than normal, as well) and foreigners going 'I'm so jealous!'
 
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