USA OF MY HEART
The Journey to Antioch
My Discoveries in the Orthodox Church
by Clifton D. Healy
JOURNEY TO ORTHODOXY
In two previous essays (“Starting from Cane Ridge” and “The Road to Canterbury”), I described these two early periods of my faith journey in largely chronological order. For these two periods of my life there have been relatively clear and distinct time markers. I grew up in and trained for ministry among the Restoration Movement churches. Toward the end of that training, while still at college, I began to investigate the Anglican tradition. And though for a time these two faith traditions overlapped, still the pathways are fairly clear.
The road markers for my journey to Antioch, my inquiry into the Orthodox Church, however, are much more muddled, scattered here and there along previous roadways, seen now as portents of things to come, but known then as only so much new experience, as simple signposts which I was then unable to read. The relating of my investigations into Orthodoxy, then, runs scattershot at first through the stages of my experience in the Stone-Campbell/Restoration Movement churches just prior to becoming acquainted with Anglicanism, then through my initial searching in the Anglican tradition, and finally to the culmination of my experience in that tradition as I turned away from the Episcopal Church to finally look with focused attention at the Orthodox Church.
My experience of Orthodoxy can therefore be roughly charted along five time markers: the years prior to the summer of 2000, the months from June 2000 to January 2002, from June 2002 to September 2003 (the “gap” from January to June 2002 will be addressed in due course), from September 2003 to the Sunday of Orthodoxy and our entry into the Cathecumenate, the Catechumenate from the Sunday of Orthodoxy to Pentecost, and our entry into the Church on Pentecost.
1.Encounters with Orthodoxy prior to June 2000
As has been told elsewhere, by the summer of 2000 I had looked outside my own heritage churches to find that longed-for connection to the historic Church and had made my way to Anglicanism in the belief that I had found it there.
But the search had antecedents that predated my Anglican investigations. The first event in which I can recall this longing began to manifest itself with the purchase, in January 1987 between semesters of my freshman at Ozark Christian College, at the college bookstore of the Lightfoot and Harmer Greek and English single volume edition of The Apostolic Fathers. Here was my first attempt to find out what the early Church taught and believed. A seed had been planted as I spent the next semester reading through the Apostolic Fathers. I had no real understanding of what I was reading, but it both satisfied and intensified my longing for a connection to the New Testament Church.
The next event occurred about four years later. In the spring of 1991, just prior to my graduation from college, I prepared for a conditional baptism. I was seeking some certainty and authenticity about my baptism at age seven, especially in light of the fact that my life as an adolescent was godless and Continue reading “The Journey to Antioch – My Discoveries in the Orthodox Church – Clifton D. Healy, USA”