I was baptised and raised Ukrainian Greek Catholic, though I am now Ukrainian Orthodox. My Ukrainian Greek Catholic background introduced me to Orthodoxy because of its seemingly Orthodox exterior; however, Greek Catholicism left my spirit unfulfilled, as though I could only smell, but not taste, the most delicious of meals. I grew to intuitively reject a number of "Catholic" notions: the infallibility of the Pope of Rome (even if while speaking ex-cathedra) or any human being, the ban on married priesthood, and the existence of Purgatory to name but a few. This "intuition," I am convinced, was the vector through which the Holy Spirit acted and guided me spiritually. In rejecting so-called "Catholicism," I, like many of my so-inclined contemporaries, rejected holy tradition and Christianity, thus "throwing the baby out with the bathwater." I became an agnotstic. It wasn't until my first child was born that I considered re-attending church and re-connecting with Christianity. I half-heartedly began attending a Canadian Protestant church - the United Church of Canada. After six or so years of Protestantism, I feel somewhat qualified to speak on the spirituality of that church in comparison to that of the Orthodox Church. What follows is not intended to offend, and I humbly submit the following generalization as my own opinion on the matter.
Protestants seem to be very pragmatic in their faith. Mysticism is absent. Theirs is a faith that "issues in action," which is not undeserving of commendation. Their relationship with God is personal, as witnessed by the practice of personal and private confession. The faith is rather text-centred, and can be inordinately so in the case of the "fundamentalist" Christianity we now see becoming popular. Under these conditions, individuals pursue individual paths to God, and justify the paths taken based on individual interpretations of the Holy Bible. Individuals are free, therefore, to "tailor" their beliefs to suit their individual needs, which is a significant spiritual risk of this Protestant "zeitgeist." Certainly, the history of Protestantism has been one of "divorce:" divorce from the Roman Catholic Church, and further divorces within Protestant ranks once the original divorce had become acceptable and internalized within Protestantism. The result? A number of tailor-made, so-called "Christian" splinter churches entertaining gatherings of like-minded individuals, each pursuing their individual paths to God, and each prepared to divorce themselves from their own particular brand of Protestant church if it should no longer suit their needs. How presumptuous that an individual could proclaim himself or herself so well versed in their relationship with our Lord and our God that they can, on an individual basis, negotiate a satisfying relationship with God! The Greek word "hubris" comes to mind - metaphysical conceit!
The Orthodox Church preaches and attempts to preserve the true faith and true Christian traditions as established by Jesus Christ 2000 years ago. The traditions and basis of our true Christian beliefs have been established, confirmed and verified through the activities of the Divinely inspired seven Ecumenical Councils. The Orthodox faith has endured because of its Truth, because only the Truth can endure. The Orthodox Church has never "divorced" itself from any other church, and thus is the only preserver of the True Faith. Orthodox faith and tradition has not been influenced by individuals asserting individual paths to God, the notion that has diluted and distorted the faith of the Protestants. Is this evidence enough to support the fact that we, as individuals, must humbly submit to the notion that we can only safely and satisfactorily negotiate our relationship with God as one of a community of Orthodox believers? The Orthodox community provides us with the support and spiritual guidance necessary to achieve the Grace of God - a community which includes the living and the dead, many of whom founded our church, set examples for us to follow, and were truly Christian ("Saints"). Does this not also support the notion that, if we ourselves are to be truly Christian, then we must be Christians of the One Holy Orthodox and Catholic Church, which has been the only Church to preserve the faith in its entirety? I believe that it does. Therefore, I converted, and have never looked back!
Your friend in Christ
David (aka boilerguy)