My journey to Orthodoxy began with taking steps that changed many aspects of my life simultaneously. I left New York and headed for the West Coast, leaving behind my adult children, family, friends, and a busy holistic medical practice of 20 years, but also leaving behind the high tax expenses, congestion, and painful memories! I moved to Las Vegas with my fiancée, Charity, and was planning to attend Naturopathic Medical School in Portland. In Las Vegas I felt unsettled by my new unfamiliar surroundings. Anxiety grew despite attending church, joining choir, praying, speaking with a Christian counselor and reading books. In a moment of despair I confessed to God, “I am not content with the fruitlessness of my life.” Immediately, I heard a voice I recognized to be of Satan that said, “Blame God!” Immediately I renounced that because I fear God and never have blamed Him for anything. I realized the problem is not with God, so it must be my approach to God.
With this moment began my active steps which led me to Orthodoxy. I believe that to find the truth of something one must examine the beginning of it. Hence, I must trace the spiritual and historical lineage of Christianity from the contemporary West to the ancient East. I began by challenging the biases I inherited from living in a Protestant, post-Reformation country, 20 centuries removed from the Early Church. Surrounded by countless denominations in America, all thinking they are the true church of Christ, I concluded that all this division cannot be God’s plan for humanity, since God hates division.
Where is the Church God said the gates of hell will not prevail against? The truth I seek is before the Reformation, an event which was a reaction to the Roman Catholic Church. Realizing Protestantism is a reactionary movement, I concluded that truth cannot be found by defining what you are not. Skepticism for my previous training grew. I never accepted the degenerate nature of man’s essence or that Baptism and the Eucharist are mere symbols. In my studies I discovered the significance of the Septuagint and the widespread use of the Masoretic text by Protestantism. I purchased a translation of the Septuagint and discovered the many books that Luther had rejected, despite it being the Holy Scriptures of the Apostles.
My eyes were opening. I read the commentary on the Jewish Passover and the resurrection of Christ by Origen. I was astounded by his God given gift of allegorical exposition. I found the source of the Church in Clement, Irenaeus, Origen, Eusebius and the complete Holy Scriptures. I felt closer to tradition I always craved and the Judeo-Christian continuity I knew was of God.
During all this, as tradition would have it, my wife and I went to the Greek Festival in Las Vegas at St John the Baptist because we LOVE Greek food, dance, culture…everything Greek! OPA!! While there, we toured the church and were astounded by the reverence and beauty. I briefly spoke with Father John and was equally impressed. Yearning questions were answered, and I was intrigued. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the privilege of meeting Father Matthew or Presvytera Annie at that time.
With plans set to start naturopathic school in Portland, I searched online for an Orthodox church to attend. I heard Father Theodore speak and I knew I could sit under his teaching. After tying up loose ends in Las Vegas, my wife joined me in Portland a few months later. She did not join the church right away…that my friends is a whole other interesting story for her to tell.
I’m so grateful to God for leading me into His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Glory to God!