Church Marriage with an Evangelical: Is It Possible?
Q: Father Andrew, your blessing. Please tell me if it’s possible for us to get married in the Orthodox Church if I was baptised in the Orthodox Church while my husband is an Evangelical (Pentecostal)? Is it okay for us to attend both churches? Thank you. Yulia.
A: If your husband were a Catholic, you’d be allowed to get married. Pentecostals aren’t an Apostolic Church, they are a modern-era Christian congregation. That’s why it’s too early to talk about church marriage yet.
As far as “attending churches” is concerned, you know, we do not “attend” a church: we come to the church in order to pray and to participate in worship. That’s why if you’re Orthodox, it isn’t beneficial for you to go to meetings of Pentecostals; in fact, it could be harmful for you.
Love your husband, serve him, try to preserve peace in your family, and remain loyal to one another, bear one another’s burdens but don’t mix incompatible doctrines of faith.
Pray for your husband to convert to the Orthodox faith and become an Orthodox man, and then you’ll be able to get married in church.
How to Confess for the First Time in My Life?
Q: Your blessing, Father. I’d like to confess but I don’t know anything about it and I don’t know what to say. Do I need to find a priest in church and ask him to hear my confession or should I simply come to a church when there is a confession according to the timetable? Do I need to say a prayer or simply say, “I have sinned…” and list my sins? I’m young but I have already sinned a lot. I’m afraid that the priest will oust or refuse to hear my confession. Please advise me on what I should do. Natallia.
A: Come to the church when there is a confession in the timetable. You shouldn’t overthink it too much. You don’t come to a priest: you come to God, and it is God who you entrust your heart and your life to. You should recall every bad action in your life and confess it. A priest won’t drive you away: in fact, he will be glad that you have so much courage to openly speak about your sins. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound (Cf. Romans 5: 20). Be sure to tell the priest that it is your first confession: that’s important.
The Lord came to save sinners. An individual receives graceful help during a confession, which empowers him or her to struggle with sins and try abstaining from them. That’s why you shouldn’t doubt and worry: go and confess as soon as you can. After the confession, if God lets you and the priest blesses you, you should partake of the Holy Mysteries.
How Do I Get Rid of Low Self-Esteem?
Q: Father Andrew, your blessing. I have always had issues with self-esteem and considered myself to be a ‘misfit’. I’m almost 40 now, and it gets worse… Christ said, “Love thy neighbour as thyself.” How do I learn to love myself? Natallia.
A: Your pride prevents you from doing so. You should thank God for the gift of life, for everything you have. We often compare ourselves with other people and conclude that we are losers or inferior people. It isn’t because we are especially humble: it is because we are resentful and proud. What does a ‘misfit’ mean? We all are both good and bad at different times. We make mistakes. We sin. We fall. But we’ve got to rise up.
Life goes on, and if you keep talking about your wrongness and believe that everything is bad, that you’re unlucky, what will it lead to? Your soul will be dark. Instead, “Glory to Thee who hast shown us light.” Get up, open your eyes, and thank God. Become a better person and appreciate what you’ve got.