When Father John Mikita of the parish of St. John of Damascus Orthodox Church goes anywhere in public, he wears his traditional Orthodox robes.“I get a lot of folks who stop me in Walmart and they want to know, ‘What’s the difference between Orthodoxy and the Baptist church?’” he said. “And it’s like, ‘OK, where do we want to start?’ It’s really challenging, but it’s a joy as well.”
Orthodoxy is generally outside the main stream conscious, Mikita said, but it is a faith that is growing in the American South.
The parish of St. John of Damascus Orthodox Church in Tyler is a 55-member congregation, made up of many converts. About 90 percent of the founding members who began the church in 2006 were converts, Mikita said. Their numbers have tripled since the parish began, he said.“Sort of like myself, who discovered Orthodoxy through biblical and theological examination and inquiry, a number of the people here came from a variety of different Christian backgrounds who found Orthodoxy and started reading books,” he said.
Orthodox Church Finds Home In Tyler, TX
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