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In order to help our readers navigate this difficult terrain, we have asked five experienced Orthodox priests to share their pastoral wisdom with regard to this issue.
In the secular west coast of Canada, Christians of any description are a distinct (and to some degree an embattled) minority, which makes devout Orthodox Christians even scarcer here.
As for my advice in guiding someone seeking to date a non-Orthodox person, heterodox Christian, or non-Christian, my advice is much the same and consists mainly in addressing these questions: Can you live with spiritual disunity in your family?
Is your non-believing partner supportive of you practicing your faith?
Radical honesty, however, about such matters is vital.
Even for those determined to marry within the Orthodox Church, finding a future spouse can be very difficult.
Is he or she prepared to have children from the marriage brought up as Orthodox Christians?
If the answer to all these questions is “yes,” then the Church’s pastoral economy would allow such a marriage.
However, if you go to church services, visit monasteries, and become involved in charitable projects sponsored by the Church, you will meet many new people.
These will be people who love the Church, people who are not pretending to be religious, but who actually live their faith.
However, finding a suitable life partner is a serious matter. They realize that finding a suitable spouse (Orthodox or not) is much more difficult than they had imagined. Will they turn to God, entrusting their life to God, realizing that the purpose of their life is not the pursuit of happiness, but the pursuit of God?