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Traditional Orthodoxy vs Social Conservatism

Updated: Jan 12

By Subdeacon Nektarios, M.A.


In today’s Orthodox Christian landscape, we often find that the majority of the converts in our parishes are fleeing from other religious organizations such as the those of Protestantism, whether Reformed or Papal [Roman Catholicism], due to the severe moral decline occurring within these heterodox organizations, such as recognizing so-called homosexual marriages, introducing females into the ranks of clergy or embracing the new heretical “woke” ideology which is spreading like cancer across the western world. These inquirers and neophytes see in the Orthodox Church a bastion of conservatism; an enclave of the traditional worldview rapidly being abandoned if not already completely discarded in their own confessions.

President Trump at the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference

Many of these well-intended, conservative-minded people find themselves discovering the Orthodox Church or becoming members quickly through a too-rapid catechumenate utilized by some clergy. They search for a Church that is socially conservative, and when they find what they think they are looking for within the Orthodox Church, within months they are made catechumens and baptized or quickly and improperly received by Chrismation. Often times this occurs without the proper formation of the person and without helping these neophytes acquire an Orthodox phronema (mindset). Without this mindset they are led to believe that because they are socially or politically conservative and within the Orthodox Church, they are also now traditionally-minded Orthodox Christians. However, this is not the case.

Social-political conservativism and traditional Orthodox Christianity are in one sense similar but simultaneously diametrically opposed to one another. In the doctrine and practice of the Orthodox Church you will find that the Church is against many of the same things as those who are socially and politically conservative such as being against so-called homosexual