I find myself in a very particular and difficult position regarding an earnest and pressing desire to convert to the Eastern Orthodox Church...perhaps some of you might have some ideas that would be of help. I am Byzantine Catholic and am staying in a church apartment in preparation for entering seminary next August. I have been looking for work to hold me over until then, but after 6 months and over 150 job applications, I find myself facing an important crossroads. I cannot continue to receive financial assistance from my family, because it is putting an undue burden on them, and I have recently received an offer for a teaching position overseas. They pay for my acomodations, airfare, and the salary is quite substantial, so it appears that the Lord wants me heading back to East Asia where I had lived some years previously. The main problem however, is that I have come to find those particular items of Roman Catholic doctrine unacceptable which run contrary to the message of Christ, Sacred Scripture, the Divine Liturgy, and the Nicene Creed. In particular, the primacy of the Pope, and all the rest that follow from that, papal infallibility, immaculate conception, purgatory, and indulgences...I didn't mention the filioque because as Byzantine Catholics we don't say it, but it is implied in the Roman understanding which permeates all of Roman Catholic doctrine, just as does the primacy of the Pope. Byzantine Catholics are very much Catholic, as I've come to realize, and there is no way to really "straddle the fence" as it were and be both Orthodox and Catholic, without in some way, shape, or fashion, compromising the Truth, which I cannot allow myself to do, nor would ever want to. So, here I am, moving to Eastern Orthodoxy in my heart and mind, Byzantine Catholic in communion with the Pope and Rome, and ready to leave for East Asia in a month. They have both Catholic (Roman) and Orthodox churches in that country, though only a few of the latter. I want to join the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, but my priest (and landlord) is good friends with all the Orthodox priests in the city where I'm now living (not to mention the fact that he's a dual-rite priest, orignally Roman Catholic)...if I become a member of the Orthodox Church of the country where I'll be teaching (and I won't be able to speak their language, at least not originally), could I join the Greek Orthodox Church upon returning to the US? More importantly, there is the Eucharistic issue (The priest and I celebrate the Divine Liturgy about 7 or 8 times a week), and how that applies to one in transition, especially one whose heart has already turned to where the body cannot as yet...Seminary and then Priesthood is the destination, and this year or two abroad is strictly about economic necessity...so, any advice or suggestions anyone might have concerning this sticky situation would be very welcom.
Yours in Christ,