Hello my friend,
I live in Greece, an Orthodox country, so that means that conversions here are quite rare. But in non-Orthodox countries conversions happen every day, so an Orthodox person that lives in a non-Orthodox country will be better to share his experience with you than me.
However many rumors exist about Orthodoxy: and the characterism of the Orthodox Christian as “ethnic” is one of them. Of course all the Orthodox love their heritage. Even if we are Greeks, Russians, Americans, Serbians etc we love our heritage and history, it’s a part of us. But our faith supersedes that – and we all want people to experience Christ in the tradition of the ancient Christian faith, like we do.
But of course you have to enter to the Church to see it with your eyes. Even people who come just for a visit, with no intentions to convert, can see that the members of the Orthodox Church are a big family. Newcomers are always welcome, the parishioners fill them with presents (books, little crosses, icons etc). We all want desperately to share our faith with others!
Now, about racism, all I have to say -from my personal experience- is that it doesn’t exist. My priest here in Greece is giving all his money (and he’s really poor) to give food to the immigrants, from all countries (Egypt, Bangladesh, Pakistan etc). He considers them brothers, no matter of their country, religion etc. Is this racism? The Orthodox Church of Greece give food daily in thousands of immigrants from other countries (and of course to Greek poor families).
Now, of course, as in any aspect of the life, in the Orthodox Church you will meet people that that completely miss the point of where they are. They may be bad-minded, racist, in love with their country instead of their faith, or everything. But it’s not the rule.
So, from my personal experience, all I see is love, not racism. Personally, I feel a sister in Christ with every single Orthodox Christian, no matter his country, his heritage, his economical situation! We are all one in Christ.
God bless you and keep you!
forgivemeasinner said: I can tell you from experience that I have not seen racism in The Church. Our parish is an “all convert” parish including our priests. My long time brother and friend (who is African American) is working on becoming a priest. Msg me if you like. +++
johns-musings said: I am in Athens, In my church there is an American, A girl from South Africa and myself from England, no racism here :-)
acoooley said: I live in DC, and our church here is more diverse than anything else I’m a part of — including my school! One of our priests is black (and a convert!), my two best friends are Iranian and Chinese, one of the Matushki is Hispanic… a lovely mix!