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Anglican/Orthodox Pilgrim Newsletter

Vol. 3, No. 1


by Fr. Chad Hatfield

I can still remember the confusion and pain at Nashotah House Seminary when the news began to spread that the 1976 General Convention had passed, by a razor thin margin, a canon to permit the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate. The 100th Archbishop of Canterbury, Michael Ramsey, was teaching theology at the seminary in the fall of 1976. His powerful presence had an almost spell-like effect on everyone and we all looked to him for guidance and wisdom. In true Anglo-Catholic fashion, most, but not all of us, decided to stay and suffer through! We rallied around Lord Ramsey and other sound bishops, like Robert Terwilliger, and we made our threats to stay and not leave!

There are days now, when I wish that I had been able to recognize that the Anglican house was no longer "inclusive" enough to find room for orthodox Christians. It would take me another 18 years before it became clear that I truly no longer had a place at the family table in the Anglican Communion, which had been the very place where I had been formed as an orthodox Christian.

In my case, I fell victim to an Episcopalian bishop who totally ignored the Eames Commission, Lambeth pronouncements and the so-called conscience clause by trying to force me to stand with a "woman priest" to renew ordination vows. This action was not long after his promise not to force the issue with his clergy who held theological objections to female ordinations.

The scene was set at the 1993 Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Kansas, meeting in Dodge City (a great place for a show-down). When Canon Joseph Kimmett and I failed to show for the renewal of vows with the "woman priest", we were charged with "breaking communion with our bishop and the rest of the diocese". This is a serious charge by bishop, who admitted that no canons had been violated, but his own rules had been broken! Faced with this charge, Canon Kimmett and I found ourselves alone, with absolutely no support from the small group of orthodox bishops who were left in PECUSA. I had watched this sort of thing happen, time and time again. My family and I now knew that we would soon be joining the ever growing list of orthodox Anglicans who were being forced from their ecclesiastical home. We were truly victims of the PECUSA policy of "ethnic cleansing"!

When your house is on fire, you have a moral obligation to warn as many as possible who are in the house with you, but you do not have a moral obligation to stay with those who refuse to leave and to burn up with them! The question was which road would we walk? Like most traditionalist Anglicans, I had been checking out my options.

I had watched the pitiful hissing and fighting within the Continuing Anglican churches for years. I had come to the conclusion that the main vocation of these various groups was to serve a kind of chaplaincy to small elderly congregations. I had admired Bishop A. Donald Davies for his courage in starting the Episcopal Missionary Church, but again, for a younger priest, this body was a cul-de-sac.

The real issue was becoming more and more clear for me. It was really an ecclesiastical issue. I wanted to be, without any debate, a member of the Church of the Apostles. The curse of Henry VIII had become active and I had to admit, with much regret, that Anglicanism is now and always had been a Protestant Church. [1]

Rome has been the answer for many former Anglicans who have reached an understanding of this truth about our Anglican heritage. There are many who have walked in the footsteps of Cardinal John Henry Newman, and the 11 November 1992 vote in the General Synod of the Church of England to approve the ordination of women is converting this steady stream into a fast flowing river. Recent converts include Charles Moore, the editor of The Sunday Telegram, the Duchess of Kent, author and priest William Oddie and, of course, the most senior prelate ever to have left the Church of England, Graham Leonard, sometime Bishop of London. Surely then, this is the logical road to walk for people who, according to the "branch theory", are part of the Western Catholic Church? [2] Personally speaking, as a former member of the Society of the Holy Cross, re-union with Rome was a formal part of the rule of life which I faithfully lived.

I had learned from Archbishop Michael Ramsey that the Anglican Communion was "provisional" by nature. I had heard the 102nd Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie, say that "our vocation as Anglicans was to put ourselves out of business." [3] We were a part seeking to be united with the whole.

The efforts towards corporate re-union in the last century, under the leadership of Lord Halifax and the Malines Conversations, were a rightful inheritance. In our own time we watched our hopes rise and fall with the Anglican/Roman Catholic International Commission. The work of ARCIC is now dead. The Pope has made it clear that the ordination of women is a most serious obstacle to re-union, calling it "a new and insuperable barrier to Christian unity."

So, why did I not walk the "Newman path" to Rome? Why did I not take the Pastoral Provision for married clergy, now provided by the Vatican? Surely, Episcopal laity would feel more at home in the Roman liturgy, when comparing it to the Byzantine Rite, now used by my convert laity?

When wrestling with these questions, I was often reminded of the old Anglican cure for "Roman Fever". The cure was always simply to attend a Roman Mass! Post Vatican II Catholicism has a liturgical style, which most Anglicans find simply dull and uninspiring. I too was reminded of something a priest friend often said, which was: "I liked Rome better when Rome didn't like us!"

Those Anglicans looking to join the Church of Rome need to remember that the much touted book Ungodly Rage was written not about the state of The Episcopal Church, but of the Roman Catholic Church [4]. While exploring the Roman Church, with my own ears I had heard radical nuns invoking Sophia and the Mother God. Time and again, in theological conversation with Roman Catholics, priests, nuns and laity, I would find myself defending the Pope and Cardinal Ratzinger! Did I want to spend the rest of my life doing what I have been doing in The Episcopal Church, only in a larger circle?

As I contemplated my concern that a jump to Rome was from the fat to the fire, I was reminded of a saying from the Eastern Orthodox Church — "Rome is simply the flip-side of the Protestant coin". It seems to me, and many others, that Rome is experiencing a re-discovery of the Protestant Reformation with people like Archbishop Weakland of Milwaukee, Anna Quindlen, Rosemary Radford-Reuther and Richard McBrien leading the charge much like a new vision [5] of Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and Cranmer!

I remember one Roman priest telling me that Anglo-Catholics were "medievalists caught in a time warp". My own Anglican theological formation by-passed the Council of Trent, looking for roots in the Fathers and the Ecumenical Councils. Being a "Patristics man" was far more natural for an Anglican than to be a "medievalist". I had to remember that the Western Patriarchy, the Papacy, has been in schism since 1054. Any Church historian can tell you that the vote at the time of the Great Schism was four to one. If schism is sin, as several Episcopalian bishops have told me, then the Western Church has been in this sin for nearly a thousand years!

In 1992, I was asked to present a paper at the special convocation marking the 150th Anniversary of Nashotah House Seminary. The focus of this paper centered on two great bishops, Charles Chapman Grafton and the newly canonized St. Tikhon of Moscow. Grafton was deceiving to the eye. He looked every inch a Roman prelate, but to read his theology is to find a strong anti-Roman strain of thought. Grafton wrote that in times of theological confusion it is natural for Anglicans to turn to the East to find our way. Both Grafton and St. Tikhon shared a common vision of Anglican/Orthodox unity in the Faith, but Grafton had few fellow Anglicans who shared his vision.

There were, and still are, a handful of great Anglican bishops who professed that a strong East wind had affected their own theological thought. Men like Michael Ramsey, Robert Terwilliger and Stanley Atkins come quickly to mind. Canon H. Boone Porter, writing in a forum published in The Evangelical Catholic wrote: "... the Eastern Churches embody many of the unachieved goals of Anglicanism."[6]; I believe that the great Anglican bishops have known this to be true.

Orthodoxy is not strange and foreign reading for classical Anglicans. Father Carl Bell (now Father Anthony Bell, an Orthodox priest), again writing in the options forum in The Evangelical Catholic, makes a strong case showing that the "Anglican way" and the "Orthodox way" are one and the same with the appeal to Sacred Scripture and Holy Tradition. Orthodoxy is the best of classical Anglicanism preserved in our day, with an unquestioned link to the Apostolic Church [7].

Anglicans have sought the stamp of approval and validity from the Orthodox Church, almost from the very beginning of the Church of England. Great progress was made, especially in the early part of this century, but, as with Rome, our own actions dashed any formal Orthodox recognition of Anglican validity [8].

Modern Orthodox theologians had become an anchor for so many orthodox Anglicans, and I was no exception. Lossky, Schmemann, Meyendorff and Hopko are only a few of the Orthodox theologians quoted often in traditionalist Episcopalian circles. I cannot count the number of times I have heard traditionalists repeat how much they felt at home reading Orthodox theologians but they could never become Orthodox because the Byzantine Rite was just too exotic!

There was a time when I would also nod my head in an understanding gesture when this kind of comment was made, so I expect many doubters when I now, in all honesty, after six months as an Eastern Rite priest, write what follows. I understand your concerns, but I can tell you that the Liturgies of St. John Chrysostom and St. Basil no longer seem complicated and long. They are now exciting and re-newing. Having made a choice between the modern Roman Rite, formal BCP worship, and the Byzantine Rite, I am now delighted and thankful to worship with the Fathers. Orthodoxy is right belief and right worship.

As a married priest, my wife and family also had to look at options. The Roman Pastoral Provision would have made my wife an "exception". She is, indeed, exceptional, but she is not an exception! That she is a vital part of my life and ministry is fully understood in Orthodoxy. In the Orthodox tradition the priest's wife is, in fact, highly exalted. My wife is learning the wonderful role of being the "Khouria" [9]. So often the married Anglican priest who takes the Pastoral Provision is not given a parish. In Orthodoxy, parish priests are normally married.

Children are also normative in Orthodox clergy families and what a joy it is to see the high priority that young people have in the Orthodox Church. My eldest son was excluded from Episcopalian campus activities due to his conservative Christian views. He found the Roman campus ministry just as secularized and strange as Canterbury House. The only difference was that it was so much bigger. Now, as an Orthodox student, he finds that he is in complete theological harmony with his fellow Orthodox students and faculty. He is, in fact, the President of the University of Kansas Orthodox Student Fellowship, which is a far cry from the reception he got in the other places. In Orthodoxy I no longer worry about what my children will experience or be taught when they attend a church function away from their own parish. I could not say the same if we were part of the Roman Catholic Church. Who can guess what strange ideas Roman nuns promote these days at Catholic Youth events?

In a reflection paper, written by Fr. Peter Geldard, former General-Secretary of the English Church Union, three questions are put to Anglicans who are looking at their options. They are as follows:

  • Does the Church in which I wish to be sustained guarantee me the continual grace and comfort of the sacraments as they were instituted by Christ?
  • Does my choice work for the building-up and the unity of the Church or its further disintegration?
  • Is it a Church into which I wish to inculcate my children and grand-children because I am convinced of its future and its ability to convert our nation [10]?

In Holy Orthodoxy I can give a most vigorous YES to each of these questions. I could not give the same response if I were part of the current American Roman Catholic scene. In the Roman Church, I would still be defending the Church of God. I would be finding like minded groups striving to be the "Church within the Church". As a member of the Orthodox Church, I no longer defend the Church; She defends me.


1. For a recent theological history on the nature of Anglicanism see: Aidan Nichols, O.P., The Panther and the Hind; Edinburgh 1993.

2. See Fr. Gregory Mathews-Green, "Whither the Branch Theory", The Anglican/Orthodox Pilgrim, Vol. 2, No. 4.

3. Comments made at the 1989 North American Conference of Cathedral Deans in response to questions regarding ecumenism. See also: Robert Runcie, The Unity We Seek; London 1989.

4. Donna Steichen, Ungodly Rage: The Hidden Face of Catholic Feminism, San Francisco 1994.

5. See E. C. Miller, Jr., Toward A Fuller Vision, Wilton, Ct. 1984, for a complete development of this Anglican/Orthodox vision.

6. H. Boone Porter, "An Unexplored Territory," The Evangelical Catholic, Vol. XIV, No. 8, March/April 1992, p. 14.

7. Fr. Carl Bell, "A New and Unknown World," The Evangelical Catholic, Vol. XIV, No. 8, March/April 1992, p. 11.

8. See address by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomaio to the Church of England General Synod, November 1993. Eastern Churches Journal, Vol. 1, No. 1, Winter 1993/94.

9. "Khouria" is the Arabic term for the wife of a priest. "Presbytera" is the common term for Greek Orthodox Christians and "Matuska" for Russian Orthodox. Thus, just as I would be addressed as Fr. Chad, my wife would be addressed as Khouria Shelley.

10. Unpublished paper written by Peter Geldard; "Exploring the Future", 1994.


by Franklin Billerbeck

Some Anglicans view the Orthodox liturgy as too exotic. Therefore, they write off Orthodoxy as a viable option. Such a view has implications: it is Protestant in perspective, denies God's power and love, and ignores other aspects of reality.

Accepting that Orthodoxy is what it claims, the Church (and remember that we can only point to where the one Church is—namely Orthodoxy), then one makes Truth subordinate to personal taste when one rejects Orthodoxy because of the liturgy. One rejects Church (the necessary Ark of Salvation) because he does not like the worship style. This is very Protestant, for it places the individual above the Church.

Moreover, such a view denies God's love and power. Jesus said: "My yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matt. 11:30). Would a loving God call a person to His Church and make it impossible to endure the worship? Concern about "liking" or feeling at home at worship, or being accepted by an "ethnic" congregation, are cares of this world (like food and clothing)—the wrong things to worry about. Our Lord said: "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you" (Matt. 7:33). Will not God, in His love and power, provide the grace needed to be in His holy Church?

At a different level, the view that "I can't become Orthodox because the Liturgy is too exotic" ignores reality. For over a thousand years the eastern liturgy has well served people with a variety of ethnic backgrounds—from Russians, to Arabs, to Ethiopians and Ugandans, to Japanese and Eskimos. Of late it has served well for many Anglican converts (e.g., Frs. Hatfield, Olnhausen, Rearden, Reeves, Mathewes-Green, etc. and their congregations. See Coming Home and Anglican/Orthodox Pilgrimage [Conciliar Press]) and for converts from Protestant Evangelicalism (Gillquist, Zell, Caldaroni, Heilman, Johnson [the latter two being Black Americans, see AGAIN, Vol. 17, No. 2]). Eastern worship is embraced by a multitude of cultures—including that of mainstream America!

Of course, a few visits will not necessarily make one comfortable with eastern worship. Often it takes a year or so of consistent exposure to and participation in eastern worship to feel comfortable (just as it does for non-liturgical Christians to feel comfortable with a "high" Episcopalian service). At some point, one's liturgical categories begin to break down and one just relaxes, stops rationalizing and thinking, and starts simply worshiping. If eastern worship seems exotic, give it time and don't try to understand it all—ultimately, the mystery of the Liturgy is beyond the grasp of our human understanding.

Finally, there is a western rite. Though it is numerically small, some have found a true home here (Frs. Heers, Connelly, Walinski, McCauley, Bell, etc. and their congregations. [see, Intro. to Western Rite Orthodoxy, Conciliar]). Because the western rite has many characteristics in common with, for example, a "high" Episcopal service, it may seem more familiar. However, given current Anglican liturgical practice it may require the convert to make some changes. For example, Divine Liturgy is not celebrated facing the people and one does use the traditional propers (including tract, gradual, sequence, etc.). Make no mistake, the western liturgy is alive and well in the Orthodox church and its presence is but another sign of the catholicity of the Orthodox faith.

Orthodox worship is for all Orthodox Christians. To accept or reject Orthodoxy based on her ways of worshiping has very serious implications. One should not choose Orthodoxy based on whether he likes her forms of worship, but one should decide whether or not he is Orthodox. If one truly accepts Orthodoxy, then, with God's love, the worship will follow.


by Fr. Lester Bundy

The early Christian Church in Western Europe was legitimately Orthodox; it represented the fullness of Christianity in complete communion, faith, and practice with Eastern Byzantine Christianity. In a short article like this it is impossible to explore why this ceased to be true. Suffice it to say that the this relationship changed because the Western Church changed.

A manifestation of the blending of early Orthodoxy and Celtic traditions is seen in the development of a particular style of religious art, music, and poetry. We have very little evidence today in regard to ancient Celtic music and liturgy, but Celtic art and literature verify the Orthodoxy of the early British Church.

Looming large in the tradition of the early Celtic Church is the sometimes bigger than life figure of St. Patrick. Sometimes referred to as the "Apostle to Ireland," Patrick was born into a Christian British family about the year 390. At the age of sixteen he was captured by Irish pirates and spent six years as a slave in Ireland. After escaping and returning to Britain, he underwent a rudimentary training for ministry and was ordained. Eventually he was sent, as a missionary bishop, back to Ireland where he remained until his death, about 460. Patrick's life has become so overlaid with legend and folklore that it is difficult to separate fact from fiction. Nevertheless, it is clear that he was a major figure of great power and strength in the early Celtic Church.

The famous Breastplate of St. Patrick, which is roughly reproduced in hymn 268 of the 1940 Hymnal (Episcopal), was undoubtedly written much later than Patrick's life. Nevertheless it reflects the spirit of the early Celtic Church and Patrick's tradition. As such it is a powerful demonstration of the Orthodoxy of that tradition.

"I bind unto myself today the strong name of the Trinity, By invocation of the same, The Three in One, the One in Three."

In Celtic religious art the "binding" of the interlacing forms of decoration are more than merely decorative. They are a visual representation of the universality of the Triune God interweaving and penetrating all of Creation. It can be noted of course, that the interlacing motif is also seen in Northern European pagan art before Christianity. A close look at history, however, shows clearly that Christianity, from the very beginning, had its strongest appeal and significance in the conversion, and not in the extinction of indigenous culture. St. Paul's arguments against the Judaizers reflects this fact. Thus the early Christian missionaries and their converts found the prevenient Grace of God already intuitively reflected in Celtic art. An excellent example of both the art and poetry of the Celtic tradition can be found in David Adam's The Edge of Glory (Morehouse-Barlow, 1985).

The willingness of Orthodox jurisdictions to recognize the Orthodoxy of the Celtic Church is demonstrated in several ways. The existence of Western Rite parishes in the Antiochian Archdiocese argues in favor of this idea, as does the inclusion of several "western European" saints such as St. Aidan and St. Boniface in the Orthodox Church in America calendar and the Antiochian calendar.

The early British Church and her Celtic bishops, priests, monks and nuns serve as visible reminders of a kind of "Western Orthodox" heritage worthy of veneration and celebration. Additionally their stories inspire us to continue to struggle to make sense of our religious faith and experience in a world that seems indifferent and hostile, knowing that inevitably, the Church is in the hands of God.


by Anthanasios Scott Tonk

After all the searching I was finally home. I had been starving for God, for Love, for Truth, and I found Him who is Love and Truth in the Orthodox Church. It was so powerful that for months thereafter I would not get through the Liturgy without weeping for joy.

I had been an Episcopal priest for twelve years when I seriously began searching. Oh, I had encountered the Orthodox Church years before through my parish youth group and had read Ware's The Orthodox Church in college but then had forgotten about it - and all I had ever wanted was to be an orthodox Christian.

In 1983 I providentially got a job selling church directories. Naturally, I had to visit every church in my territory. I talked to pastors, laypeople, and read everything I could get my hands on. I was hungry. I suppose I was shopping, but I also had to visit every Orthodox parish in my territory, even though I was thinking more in terms of Western Christianity.

Finally, in response to an article I had written, a man from Pensylvania, an ex-Episcopalian who had converted to Orthodoxy, wrote me and included two books by an Anglican theologian sympathetic to Orthodoxy, E. L. Mascall. They finally pushed me over the edge.

After much study, especially Mascall, I accepted the claim of the Orthodox Church to be the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of the Creed, the True Church of Christ. My last Eucharist as an Episcopal priest was March 31, 1984. After a year's catechumenate (my choice) I was chrismated on Orthodox Pentecost, 1985.

To me Orthodoxy came as a life raft thrown to a drowning man, and I have since discovered that, indeed, Orthodoxy is Life and Freedom in Christ. Today I am at peace and feel blessed and grateful to be an Orthodox Christian.

Mr. Tonk is a layman at Sts. Peter and Paul Greek Orthodox Church, Glenview, IL.


by Franklin Billerbeck

Much ink has been spilled looking at options, as The Evangelical Catholic proves. The theological diversity of the recommendations (ranging from Protestantism to Orthodoxy) reveals serious differences among Anglicans which mirror the diversity of 20th century denominational Christianity. In 1976 I too started looking at these options. While I am home now, my 16 year search was very costly emotionally, personally, spiritually, physically, and financially. Perhaps what I have to say may be of some small help for those who are now in the very painful process of looking at options.

By what criteria will you choose? One option is convenience and comfort. Where is it easiest to fit in and where will you have a good salary? If you believe there are a variety of options, then convenience and comfort are good criteria for choosing amongst those options.

Another criteria is Truth. This is potentially painful and costly. You might have to change your beliefs, admit error, and give up many material things. At any rate, this criteria requires much careful and prayerful investigation. If you find the fullness of Truth in one place, then that is where you must go. If the fullness of Truth is in many places, convenience and comfort can be the basis to decide which option to take. For me, eventually I found the fullness of Truth only in Orthodoxy. Therefore, I had no options.

Once criteria is established, the next question is orientation. To start with the 20th century is to confront a bewildering array of options—so many you cannot possibly investigate them all (some 23,000 according to recent estimates). I suggest starting at a different place—the one, undivided church. Surely that is what you want to be a member of! Therefore, look to Scripture and the early church fathers. Because the gates of hell will not prevail, the Church of Pentecost still exists today in an identifiable, locatable form. The key is—what did the undivided church believe and practice and where do I find all of that today.

In the course of investigation, be prepared to be challenged and to look at things with a different perspective. Take your time. While anger may be good reason to leave one denomination, it is not enough to sustain a person in another denomination. Leave only when you are sure of your decision.

For me, Protestantism was not an option. While it had Jesus Christ and the Bible, it lacked the fullness of the sacraments and the communion of the saints. Therefore, it was not doing everything the undivided church did and it did not believe what the undivided church believed about Holy Communion. Its roots were not apostolic and I had to believe the Holy Spirit let the church go astray for some 1,600 years until a reformer came along. As for unity, a scriptural hallmark of the church, the multiplication of denominations spoke volumes. Moreover, I did not believe that I, by myself, could interpret Holy Scripture—I needed the church to do that.

Were I to have used anything other than a theological basis for my decision, I would have become Lutheran. Being in northern Wisconsin (Lutheran territory), I could easily have married a Lutheran woman, been a Lutheran pastor and, in many ways, life would have been very good. The Lutherans had liturgy (and a solid musical heritage) and emphasized a shared faith. But they rejected Holy Orders (the priesthood), confession and unction. Luther himself would have eliminated parts of the bible (e.g., the Epistle of James) and, as near as I could tell, had deliberately changed other parts when he translated the Bible into German. Besides, that 1,600 year gap still bothered me!

I turned to the "branch theory". Firmly believing in Anglicanism as a full and true branch of the Catholic Church, I looked at where I could go if that branch was destroyed. There were only two other viable options: Rome or Orthodoxy. Somehow the Holy Spirit clouded my thinking so I did not investigate the "continuing Anglican" movement until later, otherwise I would have certainly gone with them.

Though I shared a common western and liturgical heritage with the Roman Church, I could not theologically become a Roman Catholic. As an Anglican I believed the undivided church did not accept papal infallibility (that the pope, when speaking to the entire church, from the throne of St. Peter, on a matter of faith and morals, cannot error—declared dogma by Vatican Council I and reaffirmed by Vatican II). The Scriptural basis for this is largely from the text: "Thou art Peter and upon this Rock I will build my Church." The Roman teaching is that this invested St. Peter with infallible authority. The majority of church fathers had not accepted this teaching! A Roman Catholic Scholar, Launoy (1603-1678), collected the teachings of the church fathers on this passage. Of 85 fathers, 17 said Rock meant Peter, 44 that Rock meant the faith Peter had just confessed, 16 for Rock meaning Christ Himself, and 8 for Rock meaning all of the apostles. Moreover, when had the pope spoken infallibly? Estimates differed and no pope gave an infallible answer to the question. It is, for example, debatable whether the recent pronouncement by John Paul II concerning women's ordination is or is not an infallible pronouncement. Granted, the pope was "first among equals" and that, from time to time, disputes were voluntarily submitted to him for resolution—but that did not make for infallibility!

For me, Papal Infallibility ruled out Roman Catholicism. As I learned more about Orthodoxy, I also rejected the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary and its attendant conception of original sin. I was also troubled by Roman Catholic teaching on birth control and their practice of annulments. I also found the Roman Catholic approach very legalistic and judgmental. For the Catholics, Anglican orders are absolutely null and utterly void. Only because of an "old Catholic" strain, would an Anglican priest be ordained "conditionally".

While I desired reunion with Rome, as an Anglican I could not accept Roman teaching. However, if I you accept Roman Catholic teaching, I think the only option is to become Roman Catholic—certainly you can't remain an Anglican and could not become Orthodox. When push comes to shove, one is either Anglican, Roman Catholic, or Orthodox and there is a clear theological division between them! If Rome is what she claims, the one true Church, and you agree with her, then all the horror stories about Rome are irrelevant! You must go to Rome and defend the faith!

With Rome out of the question, I had only one option. Fortunately, but for the eastern Liturgy, Orthodoxy was clearly the closest branch to Anglicanism. So I started reading the Orthodox authors. Time and again I found myself saying: of course! Naturally! Any Anglican believes that!

As I read, my thinking gradually become more "eastern". Soon I was too Orthodox! I accepted the Orthodox teaching that marriage did not dissolve at death (it was, after all, a sacrament done in the church and sacramental action exists forever—sins are not unforgiven at death, one is not unordained at death!), though one did not get married after death. (See Marriage: An Orthodox Perspective, by John Meyendorff. Available from Light and Life.) Economy made sense—rules are the norm but must be applied in particular cases as is best for the soul in this fallen world. The Church is Eucharist and only with agreement on the fullness of the faith, can one share Communion (which was the practice of the undivided church). Simply believing Communion is somehow the Body and Blood of Christ is, contrary to Anglican practice, not enough! The church is one because of Eucharist and schism is not a division in the church (the church cannot be divided anymore than Christ can be divided) but a departure from the church. The filioque, of course, I had already conceded on historical grounds.

When I looked back at my Anglican upbringing, it was so close to Orthodoxy! But now there were three big differences. First, was Article VI—that "Holy Scripture contains all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation." Literally, of course, Scripture does not teach this view as both the ending of St. John's Gospel (John 21:25) and Paul's admonition to "stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle" (2 Thess. 2:15) should make clear. While Article VI may be interpreted in an Orthodox manner, frankly, it troubled me.

Second, clearly Anglicans were sharing Communion with people who rejected the faith and practice of the undivided church—even with those who rejected parts of the Creed! This was simply not the practice of the undivided Church.

Third, the "branch theory" did not sustain itself (see AOP, Vol. 2, No. 4) and when it fell, there went Anglicanism's claim to apostolic authority—to be the same as the undivided church! Thus, when I finally examined the "Continuing Anglicans" it was too late! I wanted unquestionable apostolicity and nobody, especially no Anglican, could ever dare question Orthodoxy's claim to apostolicity without destroying their own claim in the process. I had always feared being a "traitor" and deserting the Church. Even with the branch theory, however, going to Orthodoxy was not being traitor to the church—only jumping to a branch that was not about to be cut off from the trunk! Without the branch theory, I was joining the Church—the one church which alone had the fullness of the faith "once delivered". By now, there was, for me, no branch theory left! Indeed, the branch theory leads naturally to disunity in the faith.

Was Anglicanism Church—I don't know. That is a question up to God. Frankly, I don't worry about it much. I do know that Orthodoxy is Church—a claim I can't make about Anglicanism because Anglicanism's faith and practice are not identical with that of the undivided Church (and the Continuing Anglican inclusion of the filioque seperates them from the undivided Chuch)—and that is enough for me. I also know that God loves mankind and desires our salvation. Thus, while there is no salvation outside the Church, we may not be able to determine the totality of where the Church is, for Church is the Body of Christ and it is Christ Who determines who is part of His Body.

For me, after 16 painful years, I had no choice other than to become Orthodox. And Orthodox Liturgy—I gave it time and came to love it!

In looking at options there will be much pain and many difficult decisions. However, do not simply lament the past and "cry in your beer" (as some seem want to do) but examine the key issues and PRAY! Move when you are fully convinced of the Truth. I pray that your search may be guided by the Holy Spirit and may be much shorter and less painful than mine.