Author Topic: Priest to seeker advice  (Read 516 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline NewEnglandMan

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 7
  • Faith: Roman Catholic
  • Jurisdiction: Burlington
Priest to seeker advice
« on: September 01, 2019, 08:36:06 PM »
I met with an Orthodox priest I know to talk about what I should do next since I'm interested in Orthodoxy. It was pretty interesting since he was a convert from Roman Catholicism and I'm currently Catholic.  He told my basically: "read some basic books, don't feel the need to read anything more than that. Don't really worry about if you believe everything Orthodox besides the nature of God, if you want to move forward with this, just come to divine liturgy and pray everyday. If you convert to Orthodoxy, it's really not about sparing beliefs and polemics, it's about if you know the spiritual life does what it says it does. I'd be perfectly happy if you stayed Catholic, you are seeking God so he will save you either way and Orthodoxy will only help you grow closer to Him if you actually practice. You're young, you have time to think, don't make a rash move."

I want to focus on something specific: how important is it for me to actually know the beliefs of Orthodoxy? I mean, there is obvious stuff like the nature of Christ, the Trinity etc. but, he wasn't particularly concerned with anything else really. Pretty much the nature of God and becoming holy. I've known people in the past who are Orthodox who can go into long speeches about toll houses and, the nature of salvation and what damnation is among other things. I think it's good advice. Just pray, go to liturgy and forget about figuring it out so much.

Have any of you been given similar advice?

Offline isxodnik

  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 489
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: ROC
Re: Priest to seeker advice
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2019, 08:57:30 PM »
Well, I can't agree with "I'd be perfectly happy if you stayed Catholic, you are seeking God so he will save you either way", and as for the rest I can repeat: whoever prays, is the theologian. A man who is not indifferent to his salvation will naturally study his faith. In the process of this study and repentance, questions arise that need to be addressed, leading to an in-depth study of faith and piety.
Besides, repentance cleanses, and the pure heart sees more and clearly.
kill commie for mommy

Offline Ainnir

  • Section Moderator
  • Protokentarchos
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,915
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Re: Priest to seeker advice
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2019, 11:41:33 PM »
Find a middle ground.  Because while I think understanding the bigger picture is pretty important, it really does come back to prayer, fasting, and repentance.  And the services are teaching instruments as well as prayers. 

I disagree that it doesn't matter if you don't convert.  Orthodoxy is still the fullness of the faith, and that's the most irenic thing we can say.

That said, you should certainly make a considered decision, because it is supposed to be an eternal commitment.  So no, don't be rash, start small, and try to be patient.  Even if you choose to "study your way in," you'll need to put the books down eventually and simply do the Faith.
Is any of the above Orthodox?  I have no idea, so there’s that.

Offline noahzarc1

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 542
Re: Priest to seeker advice
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2019, 12:09:56 AM »
I am glad to hear you met with a priest and it appears to me his advice is similar to what I've heard over and over from many priests on the exact same topic. You have to balance (and perhaps avoid) extreme traditional Catholicism, which tends to have fanatics who ultimately don't really understand every aspect of Roman Catholicism and thus demonize everyone. Similarly, there are many Orthodox fanatics on the internet who carry the same common denominator, i.e. anti-Rome.

Therefore, I suppose this ultimately begs the question as to whether you were you taken back by an Eastern Orthodox priest telling an Eastern Orthodox inquirer, "I'd be perfectly happy if you stayed Catholic?" What were you expecting him to say when you said you wanted to leave Rome to join the east?  I fear you may started this thread to seek to validate if what you were told is trustworthy and valid? As you can see in this thread, you've already received the advice of "I don't agree" in regards to the advice of an ordained Orthodox priest. Now you will have to balance the words of an ordained priest with laity with strong opinions one way or another.

The advice you were given was sound and I would encourage you once again meet with this priest and seek him as a source in the matters that concern you most. People on the internet will confuse you more than a priest and people in your personal life will. 
"While we fight about words, take advantage of ambiguities, criticize authors, fight on party questions, have difficulty in agreeing, and prepare to anathematize each other, there is scarce a man who belongs to Christ." - Hilary of Poitiers (367)

Offline isxodnik

  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 489
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: ROC
Re: Priest to seeker advice
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2019, 01:07:28 AM »
What a delightful polemic to call an opponent a fanatic. What a fresh! noahzarc1, do not you ashamed, no?
It is useful to distinguish between reverence for the Holy orders, and unconditional acceptance of everything that says the bearer of this rank. More recently, I published a video in which an ordained Orthodox priest with a quarter-century of service strongly approves of women's+LGBT "priesthood", and communion of unrepentant sodomites living in same-sex marriage, because they do not consider it a sin. Do you have idea where this priest's advice might lead?

I fear you may started this thread to seek to validate if what you were told is trustworthy and valid?

In fact, only such a way of salvation, according to the Holy fathers, is available to our time (because of the impoverishment of spirit-bearing mentors): advice with reasoning. If it is done with a sincere desire for truth.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2019, 01:12:30 AM by isxodnik »
kill commie for mommy

Offline Brilko

  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 297
  • Faith: Christian
  • Jurisdiction: ?
Re: Priest to seeker advice
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2019, 03:42:00 AM »
I don’t believe that the final judgement is graduate level exam. Uneducated idiots can know plenty enough to be saved. So I do agree with the advice to not worry about knowing everything. Work on the fundamentals.

I have problems with the other part of what he said. Both Catholicism and Orthodoxy claim to be the one true Church. If there is only one true Church, it does matter which one you are part of. I don’t know the ramifications. I don’t know what the loss is if you get it wrong. It absolutely must matter, though.

If the invisible Church theory is true, then it doesn’t matter which one you are in.

I do agree that wherever you end up, you should practice. I do agree that you shouldn’t be rash.

Offline PorphyriosK

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 936
  • Господи помилуй
  • Faith: Russian Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: ROCOR
Re: Priest to seeker advice
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2019, 07:38:56 AM »
I do agree that Orthodoxy is best discerned through embracing and practicing the ways of worship, prayer and spirituality and getting to know the saints before delving into doctrinal controversies and polemics.  Orthodoxy is a way of life and a spiritual worldview.  As Ainnir said, it is also a commitment, so you should know exactly what it is you are committing to.  Orthodoxy is an ascetic faith.  Fasting is taken far more seriously than in Catholicism and is not just for monastics but for everyone.  Orthodox belief and praxis can't be separated.  The West believes as long as you have orthodox doctrines written in manuals, then deviations in worship, praxis, spirituality, and discipline are secondary issues and orthodoxy is still preserved, which is false.  Orthodoxy is right belief, worship, and praxis united.

The doctrinal issues and controversies will be discerned and understood far more easily if you are already immersed in the Orthodox ethos and praxis.  Although engaging in polemics and apologetics might not be everyone's cup of tea, it is certainly part of Orthodoxy and always has been.  The Fathers always strongly opposed heresy in all its forms.  In our easily offended culture of today, it might seem "not nice" to claim there is one truth and not many truths.  It might seem "not nice" to say the fullest expression of the Christian truth and faith is Orthodoxy.  We can't let the modern atmosphere of relativism cause us to lay aside all doctrinal debates and pretend there's no difference between East and West.  That would be embracing a kind of sentimentalism or pietism. 

Having said that, that doesn't mean we don't love our Catholic and Protestant brothers and sisters or that we can't unite with them in charitable works, etc.  I think there is much to admire in the Roman Catholic world, especially their commitment charitable work and the pro-life movement.  I myself converted to Orthodoxy from cradle-Catholicism and I also have many Catholic and Protestant friends I care deeply about.  One must just learn to separate personal feelings from religious convictions.  Just because I oppose the filioque and papal errors doesn't mean I'm "anti-Rome" or "against" Catholics, etc.

Edit:  Sorry, my post was partly addressed to the OP, but also to noah and also partly just my own reflections.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2019, 07:48:55 AM by PorphyriosK »

Offline noahzarc1

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 542
Re: Priest to seeker advice
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2019, 07:40:42 AM »
What a delightful polemic to call an opponent a fanatic. What a fresh! noahzarc1, do not you ashamed, no?
It is useful to distinguish between reverence for the Holy orders, and unconditional acceptance of everything that says the bearer of this rank. More recently, I published a video in which an ordained Orthodox priest with a quarter-century of service strongly approves of women's+LGBT "priesthood", and communion of unrepentant sodomites living in same-sex marriage, because they do not consider it a sin. Do you have idea where this priest's advice might lead?
Are you thus putting a priest who recommends to a seeker into Eastern Orthodox and advises, "I'm okay if you remain Catholic" in the same camp as this priest in your video? By a sleight of hand, it sounds as though you are making a similar comparison. The comparison I see by your question, "do you see where this priest's advice might lead" leads naturally to the same conclusion that the advice of the priest in the OP's opening would lead to the "same destruction." 

I fear you may started this thread to seek to validate if what you were told is trustworthy and valid?

In fact, only such a way of salvation, according to the Holy fathers, is available to our time (because of the impoverishment of spirit-bearing mentors): advice with reasoning. If it is done with a sincere desire for truth.
And thus rather than the ordained clergy of the visible church of Jesus Christ administering this salvation, he instead is now using Internet personalities who go by pseudonyms to ensure this salvation is in fact carried out? The faith once for all entrusted to the saints is still available for our time still. You commit the same fallacy I hear over and over again, which is why you used the analogy of the evil priest in your video you published. Apparently this one priest is an example of why you and the Holy Fathers are now on the same plane to ensure the way of salvation because no priests can be trusted I assume?
"While we fight about words, take advantage of ambiguities, criticize authors, fight on party questions, have difficulty in agreeing, and prepare to anathematize each other, there is scarce a man who belongs to Christ." - Hilary of Poitiers (367)

Offline isxodnik

  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 489
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: ROC
Re: Priest to seeker advice
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2019, 08:46:16 AM »
Are you thus putting a priest who recommends to a seeker into Eastern Orthodox and advises, "I'm okay if you remain Catholic" in the same camp as this priest in your video?

It was an example. I'm sorry you took it that way.

Quote
And thus rather than the ordained clergy of the visible church of Jesus Christ administering this salvation, he instead is now using Internet personalities who go by pseudonyms to ensure this salvation is in fact carried out?

Not exactly. Study of the Holy Scriptures, study of the Holy Fathers and in General the Tradition of the Church, advice with other believers - online or offline. Personality, name and authority in these advice are secondary, the main thing - their compliance with the teachings of the Church. And private/yourself reasoning, prayer, their own efforts.

Quote
You commit the same fallacy I hear over and over again,

fallacy?

Quote
Apparently this one priest is an example of why you and the Holy Fathers are now on the same plane to ensure the way of salvation because no priests can be trusted I assume?

This is called "she invented - she was offended" ))
Yes and no. No - you are mistaken in attributing to me " no priests can be trusted." And yes - I always try to be on the side of the Holy fathers, as far as I can. That is why it is almost physically painful for me to see statements that are alien to the truth and often deadly harmful.
kill commie for mommy

Offline noahzarc1

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 542
Re: Priest to seeker advice
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2019, 12:02:14 PM »
Are you thus putting a priest who recommends to a seeker into Eastern Orthodox and advises, "I'm okay if you remain Catholic" in the same camp as this priest in your video?

It was an example. I'm sorry you took it that way.
Why is this the only example you could think of when dealing with advice from a priest to a Roman Catholic that it is okay to remain with Rome? If the priest had told the OP to be baptized into Orthodoxy, would you still have thought of the example of this wayward priest? Do you see why I challenge your adjoining this wayward priest with any priest who would tell a Roman Catholic to stay with Rome? Clearly the evil was the same in your eyes.

And thus rather than the ordained clergy of the visible church of Jesus Christ administering this salvation, he instead is now using Internet personalities who go by pseudonyms to ensure this salvation is in fact carried out?

Not exactly. Study of the Holy Scriptures, study of the Holy Fathers and in General the Tradition of the Church, advice with other believers - online or offline. Personality, name and authority in these advice are secondary, the main thing - their compliance with the teachings of the Church. And private/yourself reasoning, prayer, their own efforts.
Both sides are afforded the opportunity to appeal to and follow the Holy Fathers. They do not belong to the East alone.


Apparently this one priest is an example of why you and the Holy Fathers are now on the same plane to ensure the way of salvation because no priests can be trusted I assume?

This is called "she invented - she was offended" ))
Yes and no. No - you are mistaken in attributing to me " no priests can be trusted." And yes - I always try to be on the side of the Holy fathers, as far as I can. That is why it is almost physically painful for me to see statements that are alien to the truth and often deadly harmful.
The Op asked if anyone else had received similar advice. I replied I had received it more than once. How many Orthodox priests must there be for there to be a consensus the Orthodox do not see a problem if a Roman Catholic who is an Orthodox inquirer ultimately decides to stay with Rome? I am not attributing anything to you. I am taking you at your own words and position you are presenting. You are portraying your position as that which is on the side of the Holy Fathers, which ultimately is that the OP should depart Roman Catholicism. Now you are saying that an ordained Orthodox priest telling a baptized Roman Catholic that to remain with Roman Catholicism is "alien to the truth."
« Last Edit: September 02, 2019, 12:03:03 PM by noahzarc1 »
"While we fight about words, take advantage of ambiguities, criticize authors, fight on party questions, have difficulty in agreeing, and prepare to anathematize each other, there is scarce a man who belongs to Christ." - Hilary of Poitiers (367)

Offline NewEnglandMan

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 7
  • Faith: Roman Catholic
  • Jurisdiction: Burlington
Re: Priest to seeker advice
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2019, 12:10:10 PM »
Therefore, I suppose this ultimately begs the question as to whether you were you taken back by an Eastern Orthodox priest telling an Eastern Orthodox inquirer, "I'd be perfectly happy if you stayed Catholic?" What were you expecting him to say when you said you wanted to leave Rome to join the east?  I fear you may started this thread to seek to validate if what you were told is trustworthy and valid? As you can see in this thread, you've already received the advice of "I don't agree" in regards to the advice of an ordained Orthodox priest. Now you will have to balance the words of an ordained priest with laity with strong opinions one way or another.

The advice you were given was sound and I would encourage you once again meet with this priest and seek him as a source in the matters that concern you most. People on the internet will confuse you more than a priest and people in your personal life will.

To be honest, I was kind of taken aback by the hands off nature of his reply. I'm used to people giving me a hard sell on their church ("join or burn in Hell"). I guess in the end he is the one with the teaching authority and the knowledge, so I think looking back it was probably a bad idea to start this thread as I should have just trusted him as a priest in good standing over a forum on the internet.

I'll be meeting with him again.

Offline Luke

  • Formerly Gamliel
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,476
  • Ευλογημένη Σαρακοστή
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Metropolis of San Francisco
Re: Priest to seeker advice
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2019, 12:13:06 PM »
^For basic books, you may want to read The Orthodox Church / Kallistos (Timothy) Ware.

Offline WPM

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,911
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: United States
Re: Priest to seeker advice
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2019, 12:37:12 PM »
Depends on what kind of Priest and what the topic is about.

Offline noahzarc1

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 542
Re: Priest to seeker advice
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2019, 01:16:47 PM »
Therefore, I suppose this ultimately begs the question as to whether you were you taken back by an Eastern Orthodox priest telling an Eastern Orthodox inquirer, "I'd be perfectly happy if you stayed Catholic?" What were you expecting him to say when you said you wanted to leave Rome to join the east?  I fear you may started this thread to seek to validate if what you were told is trustworthy and valid? As you can see in this thread, you've already received the advice of "I don't agree" in regards to the advice of an ordained Orthodox priest. Now you will have to balance the words of an ordained priest with laity with strong opinions one way or another.

The advice you were given was sound and I would encourage you once again meet with this priest and seek him as a source in the matters that concern you most. People on the internet will confuse you more than a priest and people in your personal life will.

To be honest, I was kind of taken aback by the hands off nature of his reply. I'm used to people giving me a hard sell on their church ("join or burn in Hell"). I guess in the end he is the one with the teaching authority and the knowledge, so I think looking back it was probably a bad idea to start this thread as I should have just trusted him as a priest in good standing over a forum on the internet.

I'll be meeting with him again.
If that was his position, I would feel safe in saying it is also the Bishop's position. The priest is not going to be saying something that is contrary to the Bishop. The Bishop is the authority on what is taught in his diocese. I think this is the whole point of what I'm stressing, what you're hearing the priest say, you're hearing the Bishop say. Perhaps it is not always as perfect as that, but generally that is the sense. I was not excoriating you for bringing it to a forum, but to stress how quickly Internet personalities will quickly depart from the church in favor of their own understanding; be it of the fathers, canon or church law, etc.

There is much to love, learn and cherish from the east. God be with you.
"While we fight about words, take advantage of ambiguities, criticize authors, fight on party questions, have difficulty in agreeing, and prepare to anathematize each other, there is scarce a man who belongs to Christ." - Hilary of Poitiers (367)

Offline PorphyriosK

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 936
  • Господи помилуй
  • Faith: Russian Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: ROCOR
Re: Priest to seeker advice
« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2019, 04:37:54 PM »
Therefore, I suppose this ultimately begs the question as to whether you were you taken back by an Eastern Orthodox priest telling an Eastern Orthodox inquirer, "I'd be perfectly happy if you stayed Catholic?" What were you expecting him to say when you said you wanted to leave Rome to join the east?  I fear you may started this thread to seek to validate if what you were told is trustworthy and valid? As you can see in this thread, you've already received the advice of "I don't agree" in regards to the advice of an ordained Orthodox priest. Now you will have to balance the words of an ordained priest with laity with strong opinions one way or another.

The advice you were given was sound and I would encourage you once again meet with this priest and seek him as a source in the matters that concern you most. People on the internet will confuse you more than a priest and people in your personal life will.

To be honest, I was kind of taken aback by the hands off nature of his reply. I'm used to people giving me a hard sell on their church ("join or burn in Hell"). I guess in the end he is the one with the teaching authority and the knowledge, so I think looking back it was probably a bad idea to start this thread as I should have just trusted him as a priest in good standing over a forum on the internet.

I'll be meeting with him again.
If that was his position, I would feel safe in saying it is also the Bishop's position. The priest is not going to be saying something that is contrary to the Bishop. The Bishop is the authority on what is taught in his diocese. I think this is the whole point of what I'm stressing, what you're hearing the priest say, you're hearing the Bishop say. Perhaps it is not always as perfect as that, but generally that is the sense. I was not excoriating you for bringing it to a forum, but to stress how quickly Internet personalities will quickly depart from the church in favor of their own understanding; be it of the fathers, canon or church law, etc.

There is much to love, learn and cherish from the east. God be with you.

First I'll say I don't disagree with what the OP's priest said as I believe no one should ever be "pressured" to become Orthodox or made to feel uncomfortable in any way, but simply invited to "come and see".  The priest is simply removing his personal ego from the situation and allowing the Holy Spirit to work, which is as it should be. 

I also believe God can save anyone and Catholics can certainly be saved in their own Communion, but I just think it can be a more difficult road for them to find the true Apostolic path amidst all the modern nonsense and heresy going on, especially from their own hierarchy.  It is not a given that a Catholic can trust his own bishop, unfortunately.  Catholics have no choice but to undertake their own study and practice of their traditions under the guidance of the few traditionally-minded Roman bishops in existence.  What else are Catholics to do considering the current state of things and what other option do they have but to think and discern for themselves?  And as for Catholic priests, would a priest be "departing" from the Church for refusing to give full obedience if his bishop were one of these?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9b9mG_ZXUo



If they depart from the heretical guidance and understanding of these sort of bishops in favor of the guidance of the holy fathers, I'd argue they are entering more fully into the Church, not departing from the Church.



« Last Edit: September 02, 2019, 04:39:12 PM by PorphyriosK »

Offline isxodnik

  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 489
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: ROC
Re: Priest to seeker advice
« Reply #15 on: September 02, 2019, 07:48:06 PM »
Why is this the only example you could think of when dealing with advice from a priest to a Roman Catholic that it is okay to remain with Rome? If the priest had told the OP to be baptized into Orthodoxy, would you still have thought of the example of this wayward priest? Do you see why I challenge your adjoining this wayward priest with any priest who would tell a Roman Catholic to stay with Rome? Clearly the evil was the same in your eyes.

Because that's bad advice. That's why I gave an example of bad statements. The Roman Church has fallen away from the true Church, it has damaged dogmatics, asceticism, canons. A whole choir of Holy fathers says there is no salvation in Catholicism. If the priest OP, not forcing his will and not hurrying him, offered/helped him to get acquainted with Orthodoxy, it would be good advice.

Quote
Both sides are afforded the opportunity to appeal to and follow the Holy Fathers. They do not belong to the East alone.

Yes, and have the possibility of salvation. In Orthodox Church.

Quote
The Op asked if anyone else had received similar advice. I replied I had received it more than once. How many Orthodox priests must there be for there to be a consensus the Orthodox do not see a problem if a Roman Catholic who is an Orthodox inquirer ultimately decides to stay with Rome?

It is not quantity that matters, but conformity to the teaching of the Church.

Quote
I am not attributing anything to you. I am taking you at your own words and position you are presenting. You are portraying your position as that which is on the side of the Holy Fathers, which ultimately is that the OP should depart Roman Catholicism.

If he wants true worship and salvation, Yes.

Quote
Now you are saying that an ordained Orthodox priest telling a baptized Roman Catholic that to remain with Roman Catholicism is "alien to the truth."

We have already talked about the ordained priest, I have said everything.

Dear noahzarc1, this is a fruitless conversation, we only scare the OP. Let's do this: now you will defeat all my arguments, you will win a crushing victory, and we will calm down.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2019, 07:49:29 PM by isxodnik »
kill commie for mommy

Offline recent convert

  • Orthodox Chrisitan
  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,422
  • St.David of Wales pray for us
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Patriarchate of Antioch
Re: Priest to seeker advice
« Reply #16 on: September 02, 2019, 08:39:49 PM »
I think there is some sort of threshold a person may reach in needing to be Orthodox. Other Christians are in churches that vary from a healthy C.S. Lewis type of belief to outright disintegration. I do not know if yet the writing is on the wall for the RCC but some Catholics, I think, wonder. Regardless, many ( individuals, not multitudes) have realized their discipleship is Orthodox. It seems that you may have reached this point & should be encouraged to be Orthodox but not condemned if some uncertainty still remains.
Antiochian OC NA

Beware the wrath of the guardians of "love."

Offline Agabus

  • The user formerly known as Agabus.
  • Section Moderator
  • Taxiarches
  • *****
  • Posts: 6,230
  • Faith: without works is dead.
  • Jurisdiction: DNA compatible with Alexander
Re: Priest to seeker advice
« Reply #17 on: September 03, 2019, 10:19:28 AM »
The priest is more or less right. Get a birds-eye view of the faith. Stay out of the weeds until you've attended services for a while. I don't know if I affirm the school of thought that says you'll get a complete Orthodox education by attending Matins, Liturgy and Vespers every week, but you'll certainly get the feel of the ethos if you make services regularly.

There's this HUGE problem with inquirers in the OC where they somehow think they have to divine and comprehend the depths of every theological jot and tittle. Some people encourage that without acknowledging the truth that most seminary-educated clergy can't answer all those questions. A lot of ink has been spilled over a lot of ideas for the last 2,000 years, and I'm amazed at how many people think 'x' should be their deal breaker when 'x' never, ever comes up in lived Orthodoxy.

You're probably already in line with the basics (i.e. the Creed). Read a general primer and attend services. Pray that God makes it clear to you that the OC is where he wants you. "Thy will be done." Anything more is making the narrow way narrower.
Blessed Nazarius practiced the ascetic life. His clothes were tattered. He wore his shoes without removing them for six years.

THE OPINIONS HERE MAY NOT REFLECT THE ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED ORTHODOX CHURCH

Take a breath, read Ecclesiastes 1:9.