Preparing to Become an Orthodox Christian at St. Sophia
For more information contact Fr. Michael
Christ is in our midst! He is and ever shall be!
Thank you for visiting St. Sophia Orthodox Church, and for your interest in learning more about Orthodox Christianity. It is a joy for us to welcome you to our church and we look forward to getting to know you more. Our own Christian faith is renewed whenever we see it through new eyes, so your presence is a blessing to us.
The process of becoming Orthodox, converting to Orthodox Christianity, and formally entering the Orthodox Church through baptism and chrismation takes about a year, and involves personal reading and formal catechism classes; but, more importantly, it involves practicing and adopting a whole new way of life.
The following requirements are guideposts for you as you undertake this journey with us, and we pray that you will come to know God more deeply and feel His presence in your life as you make each step:
1) Meet with Fr. Michael (firstname.lastname@example.org) one-on-one (or as a couple) to introduce yourself, discuss your religious background, and to start working on a prayer rule.
2) Attend church services at St. Sophia on a regular basis – the Divine Liturgy on Sundays is the most important, but you are also encouraged to attend other services offered throughout the week.
3) Read (at least) one of the following books as an introduction to Orthodox Christianity (all are available in the St. Sophia church bookstore and the lending library):
a. The Faith: An Orthodox Catechism by Clark Carlton (the Catechism Class is based on this book, and most will read it chapter by chapter while working through the class)
b. Surprised By Christ: My Journey from Judaism to Orthodox Christianity by Fr. James Bernstein
c. Welcome to the Orthodox Church: An Introduction to Eastern Christianity by Frederica Mathewes-Green
4) Meet with Fr. Michael one-on-one (or as a couple) every four to six weeks to discuss the reading (above), topics from the catechism classes, Church life or the spiritual life in general, and how things are going for you so far.
5) Attend the catechism classes at St. Sophia when they are offered. They begin in the month of October and generally meet every other week through Great Lent.
Converting to Orthodox Christianity involves two formal steps: 1) Becoming a catechumen (a learner who is officially preparing to become Orthodox), and 2) Becoming Orthodox.
If you have reached the point of decision and are sure that you want to enter the Orthodox Church through baptism and/or chrismation, then you are welcome to become a catechumen if you have finished one of the books above, have been attending services regularly, and have met with Fr. Michael one-on-one at least three times or more.
If you have been an inquirer (someone who is exploring Orthodox Christianity) at St. Sophia for nearly a year or more and have completed all of the steps above, then you should be ready to become an Orthodox Christian. However, the precise timing of becoming a catechumen and becoming Orthodox is something that you should discuss one-on-one with Fr. Michael.
Our Lord Jesus Christ says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you” (Mat. 7:7). May God bless you in every way as you seek to follow Him!
Other Recommended Resources for Beginning to Live an Orthodox Christian Life:
(All are available in the St. Sophia church bookstore)
1) The Orthodox Study Bible
2) A Pocket Prayer Book for Orthodox Christians (contains morning and evening prayers, a guide for preparing for confession, and pre-communion and post-communion prayers)
3) Beginning to Pray by Met. Anthony Bloom