How to Become Orthodox

When someone expresses interest in Orthodox Christianity, they are referred to as an “Inquirer”. An inquirer is someone who exploring Orthodoxy, and may be considering the possibility of being fully received into the Church. There are no commitments entailed in being an inquirer.

But should one wish to go from being an inquirer to becoming Orthodox, the following steps are involved:

1) Attend Catechesis Classes – These classes are designed to initiate inquirers and catechumens into the Orthodox ethos. Topics cover the principal dogmas and practices of the Orthodox Church. To be considered for Baptism/Chrismation, attendance at all catechesis classes is mandatory. An excused absence will require the prior blessing of the pastor.

2) Worship & Life – Prior to entering the Catechumenate—which is the last step before Baptism/Chrismation—an inquirer will need to take the first steps of living an Orthodox life. This means that he or she: a) Regularly attends services (Sunday morning Liturgy at a minimum); b) Stays for coffee hour after Liturgy and builds relationships with parishioners; c) Works with the pastor to develop a daily prayer rule; d) Strives to follow the fasting rules of the Church; e) Has ongoing spiritual reading.

3) Entrance into the Catechumenate – If an inquirer has faithfully attended the catechesis classes, and has made a commitment to adopting the Orthodox life described above, he or she can be received into the Catechumenate. The Entrance into the Catechumenate involves special blessings, prayers of exorcism, a pledge to renounce Satan and unite oneself to Christ, and the recitation of the Creed. For those being received into the Orthodox Church prior to Pascha, the Entrance into the Catechumenate usually takes place right before Great Lent. At this point, too, one will choose a baptismal sponsor, who will need to be approved by the pastor.

4) Life Confession – On the eve of Baptism/Chrismation, the catechumen makes a life confession to the priest of all transgressions he or she can remember. The priest will provide prompts for helping the catechumen prepare.

5) Baptism, Chrismation, and Eucharist – When you are baptized, your former sins are washed away, and you die to your old self. When you are chrismated, Christ comes to dwell in you through the Holy Spirit, just as He came to dwell in the Apostles on Pentecost. When you receive Christ’s Body and Blood in the Eucharist, you strengthen your participation in Christ. Through receiving these sacraments, the purpose of creation is fulfilled. And now, the rest of your life is about coming to terms with what took place in your Baptism and Chrismation, and becoming further deified.