Convert from Islam to Russian Orthodoxy

Well, you don't run into many converts from Islam to Orthodoxy, but every now and then you do--especially if you can read Russian (which I can't). It seems like the Russian Orthodox Church is one of the very few Orthodox Churches that welcome in Muslims on a regular basis, good for them!

Here is the beginning of part of one convert's testimony (in English):

Do you remember, in 1984, five years after the Islamic Revolution, I was still a teenager, I met with a friend Ferdowsi Square in Tehran? I had come too early, and to kill time I decided to sit in the cinema and watch a movie... This film was "Jesus, son of Mary" - a stripped down version of the censored "Jesus of Nazareth" by Franco Zeffirelli! Remember how I forgot about the whole world, absorbed in Thee, in spite of the fact that the authorities deliberately mutilated the tape? Remember how there, in Iran, I would like to go to church, and how the spiritual fire kindled my heart at the sight of thy temple? Remember in 1989 the first time I dared to cross the threshold of the church - Catholic, in the heart of Karachi - and how disappointed I was not finding you there? I did not know that you are in His infinite love to keep me this grace, which makes thy truth, the Orthodox Church.

Read it all here (in English): Pravmir.

And I don't think I have any Russian-language readers, but what the heck. Here is the segment in Russian:

Помнишь, как билось у меня сердце, когда я встречал Твое имя в персидских стихах? Хафиз[1] и Руми упоминают о множестве людей, но лишь при Твоем дивном Имени, Иисусе, душа моя трепетала от неведомой радости. Пусть тогда я не знал Тебя умом, пусть кривое зеркало исламской мистической литературы изображало Тебя обычным человеком, мое сердце различило в Тебе красоту, много выше человеческой. Было ли то наитие Святого Духа, или Твой образ во мне, поврежденный, но не уничтоженный, узнал свой прообраз, когда я увидел Твое благодатное имя? Или, может быть, сердце, намного опередив разум, узнало в Тебе своего Создателя? Знаю только, что я ликовал, видя Твое благословенное имя.

What do you think? How does this Orthodox testimony compare to others who became evangelicals?


Jewel said…
Beautiful. I can read Russian, and thank you for putting it in the original. I was an evangelical Christian. I think it tends to be a peculiarly American strain of Christianity, with heavy outside culture overtones. This isn't to doubt the veracity of the genuine faith that evangelicals have, it is perhaps the forum of the faith.
I find a lot of trendiness in the faith as it is expressed in this culture. Muslim converts tend to lay low out of fear, but you read about the faith of converts like Magdi Allam to Catholicism, and you have a new perspective.
Anonymous said…
I think that one of the most lovely things to read is that of a true, Godly person trying to find their spiritual path. Not out of hate, anger, resentment, or the such, but out of pure pull/push by God.

Since I converted from Christianity to Islam, I have always wondered what exactly would pull a Muslim to the Christian faith. I suppose for the opposite reason I was pushed away... Of course, one of the benefits of growing up Christian is that I am very familiar with the endless love that the prophet Jesus brought to us in his messages and purpose. I do recognize that many Muslims do not see what I see in Jesus. I sometimes feel bad that they can't embrace that in the same way that they embrace traits of other prophets. Maybe they "fear" that loving Jesus would make them "Christian" in the eyes of other Muslims?

Anyways, I am starting down a rabbit hole now.

What an interesting post
Samn! said…
Here are two more articles about Muslim converts to Orthodox Christianity, one an interview with two Turkish converts to Orthodoxy and one an interview with a convert to Islam who subsequently converted to Orthodoxy--

It's not as rare as you'd think... I once attended the baptism of a young Sunni woman into Orthodoxy in Lebanon, and know of a couple similar cases there.
Abu Daoud said…
Jewel, glad you enjoyed the Russian. Wich I could speak it too!

Stephi, thanks for dropping by.

Samn: Thanks for the links. I especially found the one about the Xenocracy of the Jerusalem Patriarchate interesting. Do you know the author of that article y any chance?
Samn! said…
Abu Daoud,

I'm in email contact with the author from time to time, but I don't know much about him- we mostly keep each other up to date on goings-on in the Orthodox Church in the Levant.

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