I also live in Australia and I have to say the state of the faith amongst cradle Orthodox youth here is abysmal (do we even have any converts?). Almost all belong to the twice-a-year crowd and seem to believe Orthodoxy to be little more than Roman Catholicism with funnier hats.
I am the only male under 30 who attends liturgy every Sunday at my parish (apart from those serving at the altar). My church also happens to be the cathedral of the archdiocese.
After my long engagement to my ex (who was baptised but unbelieving) ended in betrayal, I've become more and more motivated to find a partner who shares a commitment to the faith and has similar values to my own. It is not an easy thing in this context.
God forbid I should ever seek to use the church as a place to "pick up", but I am a bit jealous of my Protestant friends, who seem to have no trouble meeting suitable partners at Christian fellowship groups and similar events. Knowing the Orthodox faith to be the true faith, I can't attend such things even just to form Christian friendships.
I've spoken to my father confessor about this dilemma and he told me that it is important to seek to find a person, not an embodiment of a list of criteria of acceptability. This seems to imply that it is okay to approach someone who is not Orthodox, as long as you hold fast to the faith and realise that there may be some heavy issues to work out before you both approach sacramental marriage.
This post is more empathy than advice for my part, but I hope my father confessor's wisdom helps you!
Brother I too see this, I attend Sunday service but not weekly, may God forgive me. When I am there the overall population of the service will be over 30 years old minimum. Besides the little children. The problem with our youth is we are far too westernised and I actually makes me quite sad and angers me at the same time, we've lost our faith, simple. What I like about the Muslims in Australia is they keep their faith, the greater majority of Orthodox brothers and sisters here just attend Pascha if that and usually attend church just to talk with fellow friends etc. Great disrespect for their faith and to God himself.
I'm only 17 years old, but I have become quite religous on my own. At school 7 Orthodox brothers and I have organised daily prayers at our school where we will recite the daily readings etc. It is the only form of Orthodoxy I have seen amongst our youth.
May God guide the miss-guided and deliver them from the perils and afflictions of evil.
Brother are you from Melbourne?
It's an awesome thing (in both senses of the word) to be called brother by you, for we are indeed brothers in our Lord, God and Saviour.
I think it's laudable that you are worried about this issue, as forming abiding and healthy human relationships can contribute positively towards our salvation. This is especially true of a marriage. However, as Handmaiden says you're only 17 -- time is on your side! Don't stress too much about it now.
I have no doubt you'll cross paths with a girl who you will like a lot and who will like you a lot in the coming years. If she happens to be Orthodox, all the better! Just never stop running the race of your own salvation and you should be okay. You might get a broken heart on the way, as I have, but there's no other way to know if a girl is good for you than by giving her your heart and seeing what she does with it. The Lord will preserve you.
You seem to have a disdain for worldliness and lukewarm faith. If you've read the Desert Fathers, you would know that is a spiritually fruitful thing. I have personally struggled with letting my disdain for this world (over which our great enemy rules) turn into disdain for people
. Please try not to let this happen to you! As Handmaiden says, although we are not of this world, we are called to work out our salvation from within it. All of us are broken and spiritually sick to one degree or another. Try to look past the spiritual illness to the person who is suffering it. Like my father confessor told me, we will never encounter ideals, only persons
By the way, I'm 25 and live in Sydney.
I am sometimes in Melbourne -- what parish do you attend, if I may ask?
I'm really glad you've found some people at school to pray with. That is a powerful thing.
I really share your pain about not being able to share your faith with people your own age at church. I sometimes really despair about just how bad the situation is here. Just today on facebook, my cousin posted "[expletive beginning with the letter F omitted] getting up at church at 8:00 for communion -- back to bed". It is hurtful to see our Lord's Precious Body and Blood blasphemed in such a manner. I would rather my cousin not go to church at all than to partake of the holy mysteries with such an attitude. This Christianity-as-cultural-obligation is especially offensive to me, for some reason. I try not to judge, but it's really difficult when the disdain for spiritual things in our generation is so explicit and brazen. Lord, have mercy.