Why More African Americans Are Drawn to the Orthodox Church

The African-American community is being drawn to Orthodox Christianity, inspired by its roots in Africa, claims to authenticity, and reverence to black saints. Karl Berry is one of a few black Americans to be ordained an Orthodox priest. He grew up in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. He said he's "always had a love for Jesus," but he wasn't sold on the Christianity he was being exposed to. In 1983 Berry walked into an Orthodox Church for the first time and was surprised by what he saw: icons of black saints. "My first thought was that these were just some very liberal white people who were doing some outreach and trying to appeal … [Read more...]

To Be Black and Orthodox: Part of My Story

by John Gresham, Jr.I have a friend who is considering becoming an Orthodox Christian. She is African-American and is concerned that by joining the Orthodox Church that she would be turning her back on black culture. While she likes everything about the ancient faith, she notices the lack of Negro spirituals and the preaching style of the church we grew up in. Also, except for me, I am the only native black American in the parish. While she is used to being the only black in some circles in her upbringing, that she would be a little more comfortable making the same plunge that I did if she saw more of us in the same pool. How is it possible … [Read more...]