The Orthodox Church doesn’t have a formal catechism, per se. There is no single body of work that outlines all of the specifics of its faith and practice. Thay isn't to say there isn't much to read, much to learn, and much to encounter. The opposite is true. The period of the catechumenate typically lasts at least one year, at a minimum, so you experience a full liturgical cycle of feasting and fasting, holy days, and the celebration of the lives of Saints.

Becoming a Member of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church

Preparing for Holy Illumination takes time. Orthodoxy is absorbed. All of the following are part of your catechesis:

We absorb the faith through worship and prayer. There's no such thing as virtual Orthodoxy. Here are the expectations:

  • Stay for the entire Divine Liturgy and the Post-Communion Prayers. Visit the FAQ page and read the reply to "May I stay for the whole service?"
  • Fill out and return a Stewardship/Membership form.
  • Read everything on the Church Etiquette page.
  • Attend the services of the church. Be there on time (Orthros, Divine Liturgy, Vespers, Reader’s Services, etc.). There's flexibility here. The point is regular attendance.
  • Complete the required reading.
  • Listen to and/or view online podcasts. 

At this parish, you’re required to read a series of books prior to being received into the church. The books can be purchased from any Orthodox Publisher, or through Amazon, etc.

We also have a lending library specifically for the catechumens. You can sign out a book, take it home, and read it. Remember to return any books you've borrowed.

As an aid to help you map out your time, some of the books should be completed before Nativity (in the fall) and the others before Pascha (in the spring).

 Before the Feast of the Nativity

Before Holy Pascha

Suggested Reading

We augment the catechetical instruction with online lectures by well-known Orthodox speakers. The first one on the list is required of every catechumen.

There’s a lot of stuff out there on the internet. Not all of it is profitable. Before viewing anything on YouTube, obtain the blessing of the priest and/or catechist. For now, stick with Patristic Nectar and Ancient Faith Radio. Pick any series listed below. More than one is always acceptable. 

Catechumens are required to complete a few forms and return them to the priest prior to being received into the church. The forms must be completed and returned to the priest at least one (1) month prior to Holy Pascha, but some sooner than others.

  • Personal Information (as soon as possible)
  • Stweardship/Membership Form (as soon as possible)
  • Renunciations and Affirmations (found under the In House link)
  • Rule of Prayer
  • Patron Saint

If you’ve been baptized in a previous confession, you must provide a copy of the baptismal certificate. It’s a requirement of the Metropolitan Archbishop. If the document can’t be found, you must be received through Holy Baptism. 

If you are registered on the membership role of another religious body, upon being received as a catechumen you must contact them and ask to be removed from the membership roster. In addition, here are other requirements:

  • Fill out and return a Stewardship/Membership Form.
  • Attend as many of the services as possible.
  • Arrive on time for services and stay until the end. 
  • Present yourself as a catechumen during the appropriate litany in the Divine Liturgy.
  • Visit at least two other Orthodox churches during your catechumenate, preferably churches in a different jurisdiction.
  • Visiting a monastery is "extra credit." (Talk to the priest before you go.)
  • Listen to Orthodox liturgical music.
  • Confirm your selection of Godparent(s) and choose a patron saint.
  • Establish a practice of regular confession.
  • Plan ahead and prepare to make your “life-time confession” prior to being received.
  • Obtain a baptismal robe.
  • Give the priest a $10 check made payable to Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese for your Baptismal Certificate.