Why Do Orthodox Not Actively Seek Converts?

katherineofdixie

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Hinterlander said:
It may be wrong to think that as Orthodox parishes in America become less identified with cultures/ethnicities that they will attract considerable numbers of converts. 
I agree it is wrong to think that. Simply becoming less ethnically-identified will probably not attract visitors or converts. My point was that ethnic religious communities and consequent assimilation are not a uniquely Orthodox "problem" or situation, but rather the common experience of immigrant churches in the US (as you have pointed out, with your post about your Dutch church.)
 

IXOYE

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Arachne said:
Look at it like door-to-door selling vs. setting up a shop. Which one do you think sells more? The one who accosts people unsolicited, or the one who lets them come in willingly?
Great answer!
 

Gunnarr

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Basil 320 said:
I think due to our history since the middle of the 15th century, Orthodoxy has been preoccupied with introspection, establishment of its churches or reestablishment of what it once had.

There are great missionary endeavors in the history of the Orthodox Church; the conversion of the Slavs by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople beginning in the 9th century; and the Church of Russia's Far East Missions in Japan and Korea, and of course its holy missionary work in Alaska.

But the scourge of captivity under the Moslem Ottoman Turks forced the church to be introspective, focused on preservation.  The Ottoman Empire oppressed all the Ancient Patriarchates, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, and the Churches of Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Albania and Greece--which were part of the Ecumenical Patriarchate; likewise, administratively, essentially for the others too.  This oppression existed largely from the middle of the 15th century until the early 20th century.

Without elaborating herein, the Ecumenical Patriarchate remains subjugated today in the Republic of Turkey.

Around the time the church was riding itself of the oppression of the Ottoman's, beginning in 1917 Russia and in Georgia, and after WWII, spreading throughout the Eastern European Patriarchates of Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria, and the Church of Albania, these of the largest of the Orthodox Christian populous, were suppressed by the evil of Communism; again, rendering us focused on preservation. And since the fall of Communism (1990 more or less), these churches are focused on rebuilding.

Other than the missionary support provided by the Church of Russia before 1917, thereafter, the administration of the Archdiocese of the Aleutians and North America essentially fell apart. Since the early 1920's, the churches in the Western Hemisphere have been concerned with establishing churches and institutions for themselves.

Although controversial, since the Orthodox Churches involvement in the ecumenical movement in the middle of the 20th century, the church consciously decided not to preach to Trinitarian Christians.  It was under this principle that caused the National Council of Churches of Christ (NCCC) to criticize the Evangelical Christian Churches that were proselytizing in Eastern Europe, Ukraine, and the Russian Federation after the fall of Communism, upon reports of its investigatory commissions, which had included Orthodox representatives.

I recently heard Fr. Thomas Hopko comment that the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America's acceptance of the Evangelical Orthodox Churches in 1988 was the spark that awakened the Churches of North America to our missionary calling.  Only in recent times do we have national offices for church missions.

But, let's remember too, we do have the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) doing exemplary work, largely in Africa, but elsewhere too, if I'm not mistaken.

Again, much of our history kept us introspective, but our theology calls us to mission.  And that may become more of a prominent aspect of our church as time goes by.
This makes sense I agree

also another thing in my mind at least, perhaps traditional ways of conversion is not as effective anymore since the way people are educated. it used to be, a vast majority of the worlds population were uneducated peasent farmers. and to be honest, those peasants were not educated, nor did they have as high of values of original thinking and criticism of what they are told by authorities as we do today. they would listen to what they are told

Today, most young people are taught to think for themselves, to question EVERYTHING. living in a completely different world. for many young people, they might ask, what is the use for religion? Why do I need it? I am fine right now without it, i am having fun. I already have my answers to death and life, through scientific approaches. How do you convert someone like that? All I know is knocking on their door is defiantly never going to work for this generation, nor I don't think is street evangelism.  you will just be laughed at, and they will take pictures of you with their phone. they will quote whatever they want in an instant just by googling facts about the earth about history ectect or just quote richard dawkins and the like, to counter any argument you have if you are a street evangelist. at least my opinion..

this reminds me, who was that greek saint that went around Greece reviving Orthodoxy? I remember, this saint would have a very large cross and speak next to it. I think it was during the 19th century, or 18th century
 

LBK

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this reminds me, who was that greek saint that went around Greece reviving Orthodoxy? I remember, this saint would have a very large cross and speak next to it. I think it was during the 19th century, or 18th century
That would be St Kosmas Aitolos (of Aetolia). He traveled all over northern Greece in the mid-to-late 1700s.
 

Math lover

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One of the worst type of proselytizing is knocking on doors, I dislike it. And as far as I remember, I have seen only JWs knocking on my door.
 

Dominika

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Math lover said:
One of the worst type of proselytizing is knocking on doors, I dislike it. And as far as I remember, I have seen only JWs knocking on my door.
Yes. It's just annoying people and making them laugh. Last Sunday I experienced it. I mean, Jehova's Witnesses knocked to my door. They were shocked my father and me are Orthodox and there was a nice, long discussion that shocked me, as usually after a few my quotations of the hymns they're giving up.


Basil 320 presented the issue very well. I can add that I think the best missionary work is, along with modern media such as Internet and this kind of personal experience that we're able to offer (as we can get to the people by all senses: sound - our sacred hymns; smell - the incense, the holy oil; vision - the icons, the vestments, the architecture, etc. taste - e.g the holy bread; touch - e.g. kissing icons, relics etc.) is just our attitude and everyday life, in truly Orthodox spirit
 

arnI

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While festivals do help keep parishes afloat, these are also an opportunity to answer questions from those unfamiliar with Orthodoxy. Perhaps just a small percentage among those that attend a festival express interest, but there are a few that ask questions each year. How visitors to a Liturgy are welcomed and greeted are important obviously. So after the fruits of being an example everyday show up at the door, will they return again? I have read about efforts to welcome visitors and provide information to them on the Liturgy and such. Perhaps an area that could be improved.
 
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Once I heard that Metropolitan Kallistos Ware was not made to feel very welcome by the Greek Orthodox. In this case, if a person goes to the church and is interested but is discouraged or turned down, then what?

Also, why did the Russians in the course of their eastern expansion from the 15th century onwards conduct missionary activities among the native peoples of Siberia and the Russian Far East? Why was there active efforts to convert people in this case?



Hierarchical title added to bishop's name to enforce compliance with forum rules mandating how we are to respect our clergy  -PtA
 

BTRAKAS

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Studying_Orthodoxy said:
Once I heard that Kallistos Ware was not made to feel very welcome by the Greek Orthodox. In this case, if a person goes to the church and is interested but is discouraged or turned down, then what?
No.  Metropolitan Kallistos, Titular Metropolitan of Diokleia, of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Thyatira and Great Brittan, is very much respected throughout the "Greek Orthodox" circles of which I am acquainted.  For many years, his book "The Orthodox Church" was the standard given by GOAA priests to catechumens for study about Holy Orthodoxy.  His title is indicative of the respect his ruling Archbishop and His All Holiness have for His Excellency. During his various visits to the U.S. he is always well received in parishes of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
 

Asteriktos

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Basil 320 said:
"Less predictably, most of the Orthodox whose counsel I sought likewise offered me little encouragement. They were honest and realistic — and for this I remain grateful — in directing my attention to the historical shortcomings of the Orthodox Church, as well as to the particular difficulties it confronts in the Western world. There was much in Orthodoxy, so they warned me, that was very far from “heaven on earth”! When I approached the assistant bishop at the Greek Cathedral in London, Bishop James (Virvos) of Apamaea, he spoke to me kindly and at length, but urged me to remain a member of the Anglican Church in which I had been brought up. A Russian priest to whom I spoke in Paris gave me exactly the same advice..."

You can read more here...
 

Asteriktos

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Studying_Orthodoxy said:
if a person goes to the church and is interested but is discouraged or turned down, then what?
"And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force." (Matt. 11:12)

Keep trying until you get in. I'm assuming the violence here is spiritual warfare, of course  :angel:
 

BTRAKAS

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Oh, Reply No. 67 was referring to Metropolitan Kallistos' encounters with the Greek Orthodox Church, prior to his conversion and ordination.  I didn't understand it that way.
 
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