Five Steps to Becoming a Christian

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1. Read the Bible daily, especially the four Gospels. Conciliar Press sells an Orthodox Study Bible that contains the New King James Version of the New Testament and the St. Athanasius Academy Septuagint version of the Old Testament. This particular Bible is published by Thomas Nelson, Inc. It is an excellent choice for a Bible. Cambridge University Press sells the King James Version with the so-called "Apocrypha." All of those "apocryphal" books are in our Bible except the book that particular translation calls II Esdras. The 151st Psalm and the Third Book of Maccabees are unfortunately missing from this translation. Oxford University Press sells the New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha, Revised Standard Version, Expanded Edition. The 151st Psalm and the Third Book of Maccabees are in this Bible along with the other books that form part of the Canon of Holy Scripture. There is an English translation of the Septuagint Old Testament that can be purchased from Christian Book Distributors. It was translated in the 19th century by Sir Lancelot Brenton.

2. Pray daily. You should pray after you arise each morning and before you go to bed each night. You should pray before and after each meal. You should pray spontaneously, that is, what comes out of your heart. You should also pray liturgically, that is, the prayers in the prayer books approved by the Church. You can purchase Orthodox Christian prayer books from Conciliar Press and Light and Life Publishing. St. Vladimir's Seminary Bookstore and St. Tikhon's Seminary Bookstore also sell Orthodox Christian prayer books.

3. Find an Orthodox church and attend the worship services there regularly. It is impossible to be a Christian without having a connection to the Church. Since the Orthodox Church is the true Church and the true Church is "the pillar and ground of the truth" (I Tim. 3:15), you will need the Church to help you understand the Bible. The Church proclaims her faith through her hymns and prayers.

4. Inquire about classes for inquirers and/or catechumens at the Orthodox church that you attend. You can usually find out about these classes by asking the priest, deacon, or other clergymen that serve there. Attend these classes regularly. If there are any other classes of religious instruction at this church, attend them, too.

5. Talk to the priest who serves the Orthodox church that you attend about becoming a catechumen. A catechumen is a learner who is striving to become a communicant member of the Church. When the priest prays the prayer of catechumens over you, you officially become a catechumen in the Orthodox Church. If he does not pray the prayer of catechumens over you immediately after you request to become a catechumen or at the next worship service, that does not mean that he does not want to do so. It may mean that he wants you to attend more inquirer classes and prayerfully reflect on your decision before doing that. Making the decision to become a Christian is a major decision and should not be taken lightly.

Lida Kniffen stands during the Litany of Catechumens in the Divine Liturgy. She is our first catechumen.

After you fulfill the requirements of the catechumenate, the priest will hear your life confession and administer the Sacraments to you. The requirements that one must fulfill as a catechumen may vary for each person. There are, however, three basic requirements that all catechumens must meet. They must accept the Orthodox Christian faith, they must worship and pray like an Orthodox Christian, and they must adopt an Orthodox Christian lifestyle.

Conciliar Press
Cambridge University Press (Bibles)
Oxford University Press (Bibles)
St. Tikhon's Seminary Bookstore
Light and Life Publishing
St. Vladimir's Seminary Bookstore
Christian Book Distributors
St. John of Kronstadt Press
Regina Orthodox Press