What does it mean to be a member in the Orthodox Church?
By virtue of his or her baptism and chrismation, an individual is a member of the Holy Orthodox Church which is the Body of Christ, and as such is called to live in accordance with her teachings, traditions and religious services (rituals), and to regularly support the Church through the local Parish. That is why the membership is the key element for the existence of the Orthodox Church and it has two vital dimensions: spiritual and administrative.
A parishioner is a spiritual member who personally committed to support the Church through financial contributions (donations) and personal abilities as an expression of his/her faith in God and respect for the sacred institution. Every parishioner who participates in the liturgical and social life of the church should be a member in good standing.
To become/be a voting member of a Parish, an Orthodox Christian must:
✹ be at least 18 (eighteen) years of age;
✹ partake of the sacraments of confession and communion, at least once a year, ordinarily in one's home Parish;
✹ have belonged to or attended the Parish for six months;
✹ fulfill such financial obligations as the Episcopate Congress and Parish establish;
✹ have accepted and adhere to the Constitution and By-Laws of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America;
✹ be a voting member at one Parish at the time.
A Parish member shall have the right:
✹ to exercise the right to vote in the Parish Assembly and to be elected to an office in the Parish;
✹ To partake in and receive all religious services of a Priest, according to Orthodox canonical understanding, and all other benefits accorded by the Parish;
✹ To transfer from one Parish to another upon presentation of a certificate of transfer issued by the Priest of the Parish from which the member moved and shall enjoy all the rights of membership in the new Parish.
Membership rights may be lost, suspended or revoked in the following cases:
✹ Deliberate disregard of spiritual duties and/or moral transgressions;
✹ Membership in a non-Christian religion or in a non-Orthodox Christian denomination;
✹ Non-payment of financial obligations.
(According to the Constitution and By-Laws of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America, Article IX, Sections 13-17)