If you’re interested in meeting the Russian Orthodox church, there are many ways to do so. You can attend a service, meet with a priest, visit a parish or attend a seminar.
You can also learn about your options through our missionary partners, SEND. They have been reaching out to Russian Orthodox Christians for decades and serve in communities all over Russia, including those living in the former Soviet Union.
1. Attend a service
If you want to connect with the russian orthodox church, one of the best ways is to attend a service. This can be a great way to get to know the faith and its traditions, as well as meet some of the people that make it up.
You may find that some of the services are a bit more formal than your modern American church, so you should be prepared to dress accordingly. If you do, it will be easier for you to interact with people and make your way around the church.
In an Orthodox service, prayer, music, gestures and the material creation of art and architecture all come together in a beautiful expression of worship. This is a special time when God’s presence is felt and expressed, where we experience communion with the Holy Trinity.
The Russian Orthodox Church is a large denomination that has over 100 million members. It is an autocephalous, or self-governing, branch of the Eastern Orthodox Church.
2. Meet with a priest
If you’re not sure whether the Russian Orthodox church is for you, it’s helpful to speak with a priest. He can give you more information about the religion and help you understand how it works.
If he doesn’t seem to be a good fit, he may be able to refer you to another church. But the main point of meeting with a priest is to ask him questions and listen to his answers.
For example, he might ask you how often you go to church or if there’s a particular saint you pray to. You could also tell him if you’re having a difficult time.
He might also offer you a prosphora, which is liturgical bread that is given out during communion. Some churches will even collect food for the poor parishioners.
3. Visit a parish
Whether you’ve been to a service before or are exploring meeting the russian orthodox church, you should take time to visit a few different parishes. This will help you get a feel for what the church is like and how you might connect with it.
The Orthodox liturgy is a lot different from what you may be used to. At the beginning you might find it overwhelming, but it will become less so as you get more comfortable.
One of the biggest differences you’ll notice is that most Orthodox faithful stand throughout the entire service. That’s because they believe that the whole point of church is to be a community that stands together and prays.
The priests in the russian orthodox church are all men, but women are also welcome to participate in every area of church life. This includes leading congregational singing, painting icons, teaching classes, reading the epistle and serving on the parish council.
4. Attend a seminar
Seminars are a great way to connect with the russian orthodox church. They are smaller than lecture classes and often focus on a topic in depth. They also offer one-to-one support with a teacher.
A typical seminar class may involve a few students sitting around a table, with the teacher facilitating discussion and introducing the topic for the day. They might even set a task that the students work on in groups.
During seminars, teachers don’t necessarily hover over their students like they do in lectures. Instead, they let the students discuss and share their ideas with each other.
The Russian Orthodox Church wants to see Church Slavonic back in schools, arguing that learning the liturgical language is important for culture and intellectual development. They believe it will make the church more attractive to young people and help them develop their faith.