Diocese of Whithorn
Dumfries & the Marches

Abbey of Sts. Alban and Æthelwold

Buittle Castle

near Castle Douglas

Scotland, DG7 1PA

United Kingdom

mail@botelabbey.org

01556 509072

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@2017-2019 by Botel Abbey

The Catechumenate

Becoming Orthodox

The first step towards becoming an enquirer, is to attend the services of the church as often as one is able. All the services of the Church have a catechetical nature, and being present at them, and following attentively, has always been the traditional means by which the Church passes on the faith. Furthermore, the lives of the saints of the Church provide us with a great treasury of stories of men and women who have lived out the Orthodox Faith in every state of life, in every circumstance the world over. We commemorate these saints through the services written to them, in the didactic chants and prayers which recount their merits and lives during the Liturgy of the Hours, and at the celebration of the Mass, all of which teach us about their example. Through their example and intercession we may make ourselves more like them, for truly 'God is glorious in His saints' (Psalms, 67:35).

The ordinary means by which men and women are brought into the Orthodox Church is through baptism, the first of the Sacraments, and Christ, at the Epiphany (or Theophany), shared in our humanity in receiving baptism at the hands of St. John, his Forerunner. The Orthodox Church, however, recognises that there is a seed present in the baptisms of adherents to other confessions, when these are performed using water, three times, in the name of the Holy Trinity. It is possible, therefore, for the Holy Church to exercise economy in the reception of such people, and to Chrismate (or Confirm) them, completing the sacrament, sealing them with the Holy Spirit through anointing with the sacred Oil of Chrism. Even so, some converts to Orthodoxy request, for a variety of reasons, that they undertake the full Sacrament of Baptism within the Orthodox Church, and, as this is canonically normative, the Church is happy to oblige.

If you are interested in embracing the Orthodox Faith, or simply learning more, you are most welcome to contact us and we can provide you with catechetical material through which you can learn more about the rich spiritual and theological traditions of the Orthodox Church. We are keenly aware of the important task of teaching people about the Orthodox Church in all its rich manifestations, but we also pay particular attention to the traditions of the Orthodox West, which has a rich patrimony unto itself, a great deal of which is native to the British Isles, and in which all who share in our common heritage, and have a true desire for the Aposolic Faith as expressed in these lands should feel very much at home.