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Author Topic: Greek parishes? Friendly?  (Read 3833 times) Average Rating: 0
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Hurdle
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« on: May 25, 2012, 06:42:33 PM »

I currently live in Queens, New York. I found out that there are several Greek parishes nearby my residence. I know there are many other Orthodox parishes available (e.g., Russia, Antioch,etc). However, I am mostly interested in Greek church.  I have met and understood that Greeks are very friendly people; I am also currently spending my time on learning Modern Greek classes and will take Greek classes in the subsequent college school year. I am very eager to know more about Hellenic history and culture.

However, I have some questions. Do Greeks/Greek Orthodox welcome people to their church? I would like to know the answer since I am an Asian. I would be very happy to be baptized/received into Orthodox Church through Greek Jurisdiction, but I am not sure about the general attitude of Greeks towards non-Greeks, especially Asians. 

Will learning Greek help me to explore Greek church?

Should I make an appointment with an Greek priest to discuss my concerns?

Thanks for reading my post and appreciate for any advice and comments.

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« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2012, 06:58:43 PM »

I prefer the Russians because I like their style of worship and piety better, their women, history and art better than the Greeks. But, there is nothing wrong with the Greeks so I'd say go for it. I do not have much experience with Greek parishes but most Greeks I have met at Church seem pretty friendly. They treat you like literal family; for better and for worse. I've had elderly Greek women offer to cook for me, give me hugs, treat me like a grandmother etc. And then I've had the same women scold me for not tucking my shirt in, telling me not to be late and to fix them coffee.
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« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2012, 07:04:04 PM »

LOL! Queens, NYC - the second largest "Greek" city in the world.
We used to have a Chinese member here, who is Orthodox, who is living there. Not sure how friendly Photi could be said to be but everyone I have personally met from Astoria has been very friendly.
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« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2012, 08:10:36 PM »

My experience with Greek parishes has always been very positive. They tend to get very excited and make a big fuss out of you if they find out you're interested in conversion. I have been asked questions like "What are you doing here?" or "Why are you interested in becoming Orthodox?" several times, but they have always been posed by people who genuinely think it's wonderful that you're there and simply wish to know what brought you there.

Learning Greek would be a big help in learning about Christianity in general, so it's always recommended. Naturally, it's particularly useful if you attend a parish where the primary liturgical language is the original Greek, and a majority of parishioners have modern Greek as their mother tongue.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2012, 08:21:47 PM by Orthodox11 » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2012, 08:20:35 PM »

Only Greek church in NYC that I have visited is St. George on W. 54th. A very friendly parish that I felt welcome at. I would visit again if I traveled to NYC.
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« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2012, 08:48:35 PM »

I think it depends on the parish. There were parishes even in the OCA i felt pushed away from and others attracted to, as far as personalities and such issues go. But generally I think they should be friendly considering the purpose they are gathered for.
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« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2012, 11:03:44 PM »

LOL! Queens, NYC - the second largest "Greek" city in the world.
We used to have a Chinese member here, who is Orthodox, who is living there. Not sure how friendly Photi could be said to be but everyone I have personally met from Astoria has been very friendly.

Whats the 1st...Greece?
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Jst gota say, i always find it strange that people wont hesitate to say/ask things like this.
u never see someone asking this of africans?
why?....
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« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2012, 11:59:05 PM »

It depends.  Some are very friendly, some less so.  Frankly, I find the whole "friendliness" of a church as irrelevant to whether or not I will go to a parish or not.  I don't come to church to make friends (that's not to say I'm unfriendly) but to pray the liturgy with my fellow Orthodox and which provides an environment to be fully concentrated on that.  I believe that to be the most important criterion in attending a parish.  However, no parish I've ever been to gives me the quiet I require to fully concentrate.  In that respect, Greek churches (from my experience) are the noisiest (too much hustle and bustle).
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« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2012, 05:31:35 AM »

LOL! Queens, NYC - the second largest "Greek" city in the world.
We used to have a Chinese member here, who is Orthodox, who is living there. Not sure how friendly Photi could be said to be but everyone I have personally met from Astoria has been very friendly.

Whats the 1st...Greece?

City? Athens of course.
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« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2012, 05:59:32 AM »

Go with your gut.

I mean the food, so yes Greek.
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« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2012, 08:56:09 AM »

Frankly, I find the whole "friendliness" of a church as irrelevant to whether or not I will go to a parish or not. 

People also differ a lot in terms of what one considers to be friendly. Some of the smaller OCA churches I visited in the States were very friendly in the American sense of the word: I was greeted at the entrance by a host of smiley people who couldn't tell me enough times how nice it was to have a new visitor, then at the end of the service I was pushed up to the front of the church where the priest introduced me to the whole congregation, who then came up one by one to greet me after receiving antidoron. While very nice of them, I find that kind of stuff quite uncomfortable. It depends on what you're used to and what you're expecting I suppose.
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« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2012, 10:21:41 AM »

Frankly, I find the whole "friendliness" of a church as irrelevant to whether or not I will go to a parish or not. 

People also differ a lot in terms of what one considers to be friendly. Some of the smaller OCA churches I visited in the States were very friendly in the American sense of the word: I was greeted at the entrance by a host of smiley people who couldn't tell me enough times how nice it was to have a new visitor, then at the end of the service I was pushed up to the front of the church where the priest introduced me to the whole congregation, who then came up one by one to greet me after receiving antidoron. While very nice of them, I find that kind of stuff quite uncomfortable. It depends on what you're used to and what you're expecting I suppose.

I sympathize.  That's happened to me before and I really hated it. 
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« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2012, 11:38:27 AM »

I currently live in Queens, New York. I found out that there are several Greek parishes nearby my residence. I know there are many other Orthodox parishes available (e.g., Russia, Antioch,etc). However, I am mostly interested in Greek church.  I have met and understood that Greeks are very friendly people; I am also currently spending my time on learning Modern Greek classes and will take Greek classes in the subsequent college school year. I am very eager to know more about Hellenic history and culture.

However, I have some questions. Do Greeks/Greek Orthodox welcome people to their church? I would like to know the answer since I am an Asian. I would be very happy to be baptized/received into Orthodox Church through Greek Jurisdiction, but I am not sure about the general attitude of Greeks towards non-Greeks, especially Asians. 

Will learning Greek help me to explore Greek church?

Should I make an appointment with an Greek priest to discuss my concerns?

Thanks for reading my post and appreciate for any advice and comments.


I don't think I've ever been to a Greek Church where someone didn't say hello.  Most said more.

Greeks, as a rule, love anyone who tries to learn Greek.

In my experience, there are only two types of Greeks, those for whom you not being Greek doesn't matter at all (especially if you are Orthodox), and those for whom it makes all the difference in the world.  You can hang out with the former, and the latter will mostly just ignore you.

I haven't known a lot of Orientals (as opposed to West Asians, of which I've known a lot, e.g. Arabs) who go to Greek Churches, but I've known a number of blacks who do, without an issue.   The EP has Metropolitans in Korea and Hong Kong etc. who engage in missions, and a lot of Greeks are aware of that.  It shouldn't be an issue. If I may ask, what is your specific background?
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« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2012, 12:17:48 AM »

Thanks so much for everyone's advice!!
ialmisry: Thank you for sharing your opinion and experience. I am Chinese. I like Greek parishes since Greek culture is very closed to my culture; very family and friend oriented.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2012, 12:29:41 AM by Hurdle » Logged
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« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2012, 01:23:05 AM »

In my area there are 4 parishes of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.  Each are welcoming to prospective members, and one of them is composed of a majority of Greek immigrants.  Likewise, in my area there are represented all of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North America associated parishes, and all are welcoming.  Out of 24 Eastern Orthodox parishes in this area, only one is completely introspective, parochial--it is a small Russian immigrant parish which is GOAA affiliated.
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« Reply #15 on: May 27, 2012, 04:16:27 PM »

Out of 24 Eastern Orthodox parishes in this area, only one is completely introspective, parochial--it is a small Russian immigrant parish which is GOAA affiliated.

Oh? where in Pittsburgh's area is that?
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« Reply #16 on: May 28, 2012, 01:36:55 AM »

Greater Cleveland, Ohio.
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« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2012, 05:17:19 AM »

I joined the Greek Orthoodx Church here and it is wonderful...I now know that I am family ..its awesome...I had attended the OCA parish for about a year and it was very unfriendly...its mostly converts and I got the sense that one had to be republican to fit it..kind of an exaggeration but you know what I mean...I was raised in the Metropolia which became the OCA and I miss the slavic ethos but for right now the GOA is best for me..
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« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2013, 06:15:55 PM »

Update:

I have attended a Greek parish in Long island, NY since the last school semester while in school. I attended church occasionally for one or two times per month due to the time and traveling expense.

Attending today’s service was very difficult for me emotionally. As I entering the narthex and ready to enter the church, I saw two men were having conversation. One person usually takes care the reader job and custodian work. He has seen me a couple times in church but almost always looking at me blankly and ignores me even I am the only person in the nave. 

Initially at the starting of service, I don’t feel too uncomfortable about myself. But as time went by I realized that I became quite scared by Greek people. As an Asian and a Chinese, I always feel that people who are Caucasians look down Chinese sociologically and economically since many Chinese are new immigrants in the states, and Greeks are Caucasians. 

I sat on the church bench alone and did not talk much. As the service went on and more Greeks entering the Church after Matins, I lowered down my head and embraced myself with my arms, neither wanting to stand Nor talking to anyone. I felt really guilty for not standing up during memorial service and the forty day blessing for a child but I was just even afraid to stand up with other people.

I do know there is a person who is the parish council is a Chinese who is married to a Greek wife. I do not know him personally but wish to ask him for advice, but feel he is not interested in talking to me at all.  Later when almost everyone was left from the nave, I saw another Greek guy and asked him if I could have a chance to talk to the Chinese parish council member. I felt he was not very eager to talk to me at all.

As I am on the way of going back to my college campus, I have a feeling that Greeks might kick me out if there is no presence of the priest, since I have learned the presence of a left-wing party in Greece and which proclaims ethnic and racial inequality. I have talked to a Jewish student in school about my Greek parish experience, and he told me that everyone one thinks he is Greek in Greece and just based on judging his physical appearance. I am so jealous of him because I cannot disguise myself at all.

Here are also some other things relating to Greek parishes that I am also concerning. Why every time His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch seems only visiting Greek parishes when he is in the United States? I know Ecumenical Patriarchate is also not just caring Greek Americans since it also has work in Hong Kong and South East Asia, but I still do not understand why.   

Also, I don’t understand why on the official GOA website—Goarch.com, it is so hard to find anything being relating to Evangelism of non-Greeks. It seems the main focus of GOA is only to help converts who are already married to Greeks and promoting Hellenism within new generations of Greek Americans. Is it because that GOA is conservative and afraid that any new fluxes of people are going to hurt Hellenism, the Greek language and culture? I was quite shocked comparing the liturgy experience I attended yesterday at a ROCOR monastery, where the entire liturgy was entirely in English.  In the Greek parish where I attended today, the service was 85 percent Greek and very difficult for me to follow.  I do understand that liturgical language is dependent upon the people who attend the parish, but it is still quite shocking as I keep hearing the same language and feeling that I am so different from others and become more frightened and scared. During liturgy, I could not focus and only much kept thinking that bad experience I encountered with Greeks in school who are not interested in faith at all but still have the “birth right” in GOA.   

Orthodox Christians always recite “One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church” in Nicene Creed. However, Orthodox Church is still seemed quite divisive between ethnic jurisdictions today in America. Of course not, but if they are OCA and Antiochian jurisdiction that converts should go to find the ancient faith, I would feel very sad about the situation. And to me, the ethnic situation does not seem from being happening in Catholic Churches in America, where there is no ethnic designation on church title at all.

I hope I do not offend anyone here. I am just confused and discouraged. If most of the Greek parishes are only for Greeks and converts who are married to Greeks, I should go to "convert friendly" parishes if I am still interested in Orthodoxy and accepting the fact.
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« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2013, 06:37:38 PM »

Try to find one where there are Greeks who are newer immigrants , who speak broken english, in order to reach the full experience.
Being in New York that should be easier than in the far suburbs.
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« Reply #20 on: April 21, 2013, 06:43:43 PM »

Hurdle, if you haven't burned the bridges with people at St. Paraskevi, I'd keep going back and trying to project a more positive persona even in the face of your perceived fear.
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« Reply #21 on: April 21, 2013, 06:47:33 PM »

Update:

I have attended a Greek parish in Long island, NY since the last school semester while in school. I attended church occasionally for one or two times per month due to the time and traveling expense.

Attending today’s service was very difficult for me emotionally. As I entering the narthex and ready to enter the church, I saw two men were having conversation. One person usually takes care the reader job and custodian work. He has seen me a couple times in church but almost always looking at me blankly and ignores me even I am the only person in the nave. 

Initially at the starting of service, I don’t feel too uncomfortable about myself. But as time went by I realized that I became quite scared by Greek people. As an Asian and a Chinese, I always feel that people who are Caucasians look down Chinese sociologically and economically since many Chinese are new immigrants in the states, and Greeks are Caucasians. 

I sat on the church bench alone and did not talk much. As the service went on and more Greeks entering the Church after Matins, I lowered down my head and embraced myself with my arms, neither wanting to stand Nor talking to anyone. I felt really guilty for not standing up during memorial service and the forty day blessing for a child but I was just even afraid to stand up with other people.

I do know there is a person who is the parish council is a Chinese who is married to a Greek wife. I do not know him personally but wish to ask him for advice, but feel he is not interested in talking to me at all.  Later when almost everyone was left from the nave, I saw another Greek guy and asked him if I could have a chance to talk to the Chinese parish council member. I felt he was not very eager to talk to me at all.

As I am on the way of going back to my college campus, I have a feeling that Greeks might kick me out if there is no presence of the priest, since I have learned the presence of a left-wing party in Greece and which proclaims ethnic and racial inequality. I have talked to a Jewish student in school about my Greek parish experience, and he told me that everyone one thinks he is Greek in Greece and just based on judging his physical appearance. I am so jealous of him because I cannot disguise myself at all.

Here are also some other things relating to Greek parishes that I am also concerning. Why every time His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch seems only visiting Greek parishes when he is in the United States? I know Ecumenical Patriarchate is also not just caring Greek Americans since it also has work in Hong Kong and South East Asia, but I still do not understand why.   

Also, I don’t understand why on the official GOA website—Goarch.com, it is so hard to find anything being relating to Evangelism of non-Greeks. It seems the main focus of GOA is only to help converts who are already married to Greeks and promoting Hellenism within new generations of Greek Americans. Is it because that GOA is conservative and afraid that any new fluxes of people are going to hurt Hellenism, the Greek language and culture? I was quite shocked comparing the liturgy experience I attended yesterday at a ROCOR monastery, where the entire liturgy was entirely in English.  In the Greek parish where I attended today, the service was 85 percent Greek and very difficult for me to follow.  I do understand that liturgical language is dependent upon the people who attend the parish, but it is still quite shocking as I keep hearing the same language and feeling that I am so different from others and become more frightened and scared. During liturgy, I could not focus and only much kept thinking that bad experience I encountered with Greeks in school who are not interested in faith at all but still have the “birth right” in GOA.   

Orthodox Christians always recite “One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church” in Nicene Creed. However, Orthodox Church is still seemed quite divisive between ethnic jurisdictions today in America. Of course not, but if they are OCA and Antiochian jurisdiction that converts should go to find the ancient faith, I would feel very sad about the situation. And to me, the ethnic situation does not seem from being happening in Catholic Churches in America, where there is no ethnic designation on church title at all.

I hope I do not offend anyone here. I am just confused and discouraged. If most of the Greek parishes are only for Greeks and converts who are married to Greeks, I should go to "convert friendly" parishes if I am still interested in Orthodoxy and accepting the fact.
How was your experience in the ROCOR Church?

Is there a reason why you have to go to a Greek Church, if it is presenting a hurdle (btw, it might be that not fully comfortable yet in the Church you might be more self conscious).

In New York, you are fortunate in having a choice.  Why not the OCA or Antioch?  At my Antiochian parish, we have several Koreans, Central Asian Russian (who look Mongol), Japanese.

I've never met any Greeks who had a big problem with Chinese (above any other "xenos" at least).  I am quite sure, for instance, that you would be welcome at several Greek parishes I know in Chicago.
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« Reply #22 on: April 21, 2013, 06:48:58 PM »

In my area there are 4 parishes of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.  Each are welcoming to prospective members, and one of them is composed of a majority of Greek immigrants.  Likewise, in my area there are represented all of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North America associated parishes, and all are welcoming.  Out of 24 Eastern Orthodox parishes in this area, only one is completely introspective, parochial--it is a small Russian immigrant parish which is GOAA affiliated.
how did that happen?
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« Reply #23 on: April 21, 2013, 06:50:00 PM »

Thanks so much for everyone's advice!!
ialmisry: Thank you for sharing your opinion and experience. I am Chinese. I like Greek parishes since Greek culture is very closed to my culture; very family and friend oriented.
So are Arabs.  Try the Antiochians.
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« Reply #24 on: April 22, 2013, 12:03:13 AM »

Try to find one where there are Greeks who are newer immigrants , who speak broken english, in order to reach the full experience.

Hi. I am not sure if I understood everything you mentioned here, but will that be more ethnic?

Hurdle, if you haven't burned the bridges with people at St. Paraskevi, I'd keep going back and trying to project a more positive persona even in the face of your perceived fear.

Thank you SolEX01, thank you for encouragement. I have not known anyone else except the priests in the church. I hope they were not angry at me when I did not stand during the memorial service and forty day child blessing.


How was your experience in the ROCOR Church?

Is there a reason why you have to go to a Greek Church, if it is presenting a hurdle (btw, it might be that not fully comfortable yet in the Church you might be more self conscious).

In New York, you are fortunate in having a choice.  Why not the OCA or Antioch?  At my Antiochian parish, we have several Koreans, Central Asian Russian (who look Mongol), Japanese.

I've never met any Greeks who had a big problem with Chinese (above any other "xenos" at least).  I am quite sure, for instance, that you would be welcome at several Greek parishes I know in Chicago.

1. In the ROCOR monastery, since the entire service is English, I was able to understand the service easier. I have attended one Vesper and one Saturday Divine Liturgy out there. There aren't usually many people attend Divine Liturgy except Sunday, so I certainly feel more comfortable.

2. There are reasons why I learn towards Greek parishes, but they are somewhat personal so I can't really share them all on Internet.  

3. One big reason why I have not thought about OCA and Antiochian Jurisdiction is it will give me a feeling that Orthodox is not "Catholic" or universal, as I have said. I also worry about OCA its status. There are only GOA parishes and the Russian monastery near by my school. I might give a try for Antiochian parishes to have more choices and in case if Greek parishes are not for me.

4. Thank you telling me that and I do hope so.

I also realize that I can be very full of myself and only expect attention from others sometimes. I really need humility.

Thank you all.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2013, 12:13:04 AM by Hurdle » Logged
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« Reply #25 on: April 22, 2013, 12:18:35 AM »

Hurdle, if you haven't burned the bridges with people at St. Paraskevi, I'd keep going back and trying to project a more positive persona even in the face of your perceived fear.

Thank you SolEX01, thank you for encouragement. I have not known anyone else except the priests in the church. I hope they were not angry at me when I did not stand during the memorial service and forty day blessing.

Don't worry about what your priests saw or didn't see.  Just worry about following what others are doing.  If they stand, you stand.  If they sit, you sit.  If you wake up (or wind up) in a bad mood, either deal with it or don't attend church.  That way, you're not drawing negative attention to yourself.


I also realize that I can be very full of myself and only expect attention sometimes. I really need humility.

You can continue to grow as an Orthodox Christian.  One day, the Chinese man on the parish council of your church may be serving as an usher or at the pangari (candlestand) or at coffee hour and you can introduce yourself.

May the Lord be with you as we journey towards Holy Week.   Smiley
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« Reply #26 on: April 22, 2013, 12:21:00 AM »

One big reason why I have not thought about OCA and Antiochian Jurisdiction is it will give me a feeling that Orthodox is not "Catholic" or universal, as I have said. I also worry about OCA its status.
What have you said?  Have I missed something?  It just strikes me a little strange, if you pardon me.

Don't worry about the OCA's status.  No one does, not even the EP.
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« Reply #27 on: April 22, 2013, 01:15:40 AM »

@Hurdle - do not get discouraged. People are people...little of faith, sidetract with personal sins and wordly issues. Many do as you mention think of Orthodoxy as their birthright and experience ot as a mere cultural component of their life whic is not. Orthodoxy is salvation and should not be and can not be denied to anyone. Forgive them for they are human and do not let that turn you away from salvation.

I will tell you my encountering...as a Serb went a Greek Church in N.A. and did not have the feeling I was expecting even though I know the language...I also visited a Russian Church and ft the same...eventually they accepted me as one of their own...I am sure Greeks would have done the same if I gave them the same chance....I went to a Greek churc kn Greece and it was amazing....even though I did not communicate with a single parishioner there expect with a person with whom I came...After a few time a lriest asked me who I was...long story short, we got talking...what a lovely man....sometimes it depends of one,s personal state of mind, sometimes due to others...in any case we should not let any thing stop us from our salvation...I hope you find your way to the Church....
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« Reply #28 on: April 22, 2013, 08:01:48 AM »

Out of 24 Eastern Orthodox parishes in this area, only one is completely introspective, parochial--it is a small Russian immigrant parish which is GOAA affiliated.

Do you mean Fr. Siegień's church?

Here are also some other things relating to Greek parishes that I am also concerning. Why every time His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch seems only visiting Greek parishes when he is in the United States? I know Ecumenical Patriarchate is also not just caring Greek Americans since it also has work in Hong Kong and South East Asia, but I still do not understand why.  

Because other churches aren't generally (sorry Ukies, Albanians and Lemkos) within his jurisdiction? Sounds like a valid reason for me. Not good, but understandable.

2. There are reasons why I learn towards Greek parishes, but they are somewhat personal so I can't really share them all on Internet.  

You chose more ethnic church over less ethnic church and you now complain it's too ethnic. Do I understand you correctly?

BTW I am not sure I know many people who describe parishes as "friendly" or "unfriendly". Also doubt most of the people I know care about such things.
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« Reply #29 on: April 22, 2013, 12:26:29 PM »

Just go to the parish and find out. If they're not friendly, you don't have to come back, but it would be shame to miss out on a good experience on the basis of stereotypes.
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« Reply #30 on: April 22, 2013, 12:46:36 PM »

@Hurdle - do not get discouraged. People are people...little of faith, sidetract with personal sins and wordly issues. Many do as you mention think of Orthodoxy as their birthright and experience ot as a mere cultural component of their life whic is not. Orthodoxy is salvation and should not be and can not be denied to anyone. Forgive them for they are human and do not let that turn you away from salvation.

I will tell you my encountering...as a Serb went a Greek Church in N.A. and did not have the feeling I was expecting even though I know the language...I also visited a Russian Church and ft the same...eventually they accepted me as one of their own...I am sure Greeks would have done the same if I gave them the same chance....I went to a Greek churc kn Greece and it was amazing....even though I did not communicate with a single parishioner there expect with a person with whom I came...After a few time a lriest asked me who I was...long story short, we got talking...what a lovely man....sometimes it depends of one,s personal state of mind, sometimes due to others...in any case we should not let any thing stop us from our salvation...I hope you find your way to the Church....


Hurdle, as someone of an ethnicity/race that also cant be disguised, I understand you. I have been judged negatively just  because of it. Yet, all my life I have considered myself simply as a Christian and I view people differently (either you believe or you dont). And if you dont believe, I see that as an opportunity to share the gospel with you. I have been to several Orthodox jurisdictions, not a Greek one yet, though. I am deeply saddened that I am not treated as a fellow Christian. What I have found is that you are either Orthodox or you are not. It is as if your lifetime devoted as a believer and follower of Christ has no significance. I hear things like such and such prayers are only for the Orthodox, etc. So the 'prejudice' is not racial. Its denominational. Its what I have encountered my whole life (I was born into the Roman Catholic church, so my wanderings in protestant churches was very prejudicial with my background-Mary, the saints, etc.) "Oh, you're Catholic". I feel Catholic (one Holy, Catholic, Apostolic), but I am not. What a conundrum.

I hope you find a place that Putnik Namerik states above, where you can work out your salvation. May we meet in heaven.
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« Reply #31 on: April 22, 2013, 01:01:06 PM »

My only sibling and I were the daughters of a Commander in the Navy.  As such, moving and changing schools was a reality in our lives more than most other kids.  For me, finding my new place in the existing social circles came easily.  For my sister, it did not.  She was shy.  I was outgoing.  She was always certain that people were looking at her strangely, as an outsider.  I always assumed that they were looking at me with curiosity, as a potential new friend.  Our environments were the same, yet our perceptions were polar opposite.  I cannot and do not assume or even go so far as to guess what the cause is of either Hurdle or Martyr Eugenia's experiences.  My experience with two Greek parishes has been that they are incredibly welcoming.  I have to wonder if my sister's experiences would have been the same.  And if not, why not.  I think we often experience whatever we expect, setting ourselves up for discouragement.

eta:  I'd like to add that my sister is an amazing person.  Much kinder and worth knowing than I am.  I don't mean for my example to discredit her character, nor anyone else's.
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« Reply #32 on: April 22, 2013, 01:16:42 PM »

It is as if your lifetime devoted as a believer and follower of Christ has no significance. I hear things like such and such prayers are only for the Orthodox, etc.

If you were truly a believer and follower of Christ you would be Orthodox.
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« Reply #33 on: April 22, 2013, 01:33:34 PM »

It is as if your lifetime devoted as a believer and follower of Christ has no significance. I hear things like such and such prayers are only for the Orthodox, etc.

If you were truly a believer and follower of Christ you would be Orthodox.

Come on Michal. I don't think it is helpful or good to be dismissive of someone's sincere devotion to Christ just because much of it was done outside of Orthodoxy. Do we really want to be saying to someone, who is trying to enter the Orthodox Church, "Your previous faith counts for nothing"? I don't think that would be true, do you? That talk will only be frustrating and hurtful. Undoubtedly there was something worthwhile since it helped her turn toward Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #34 on: April 22, 2013, 02:26:20 PM »

It is as if your lifetime devoted as a believer and follower of Christ has no significance. I hear things like such and such prayers are only for the Orthodox, etc.

If you were truly a believer and follower of Christ you would be Orthodox.

Come on Michal. I don't think it is helpful or good to be dismissive of someone's sincere devotion to Christ just because much of it was done outside of Orthodoxy. Do we really want to be saying to someone, who is trying to enter the Orthodox Church, "Your previous faith counts for nothing"? I don't think that would be true, do you?

Doesn't baptism symbolise the death for previous life and the birth for the new one?

Quote
That talk will only be frustrating and hurtful.

She applies same approach for non-Christians. Isn't that hurtful and frustrating for them?

Quote
Undoubtedly there was something worthwhile since it helped her turn toward Orthodoxy.

I'm not sure taking into account she criticizes the Orthodox Church for not following Protestant sacramentology and ecclesiology.
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« Reply #35 on: April 22, 2013, 03:42:56 PM »

Update:

I have attended a Greek parish in Long island, NY since the last school semester while in school. I attended church occasionally for one or two times per month due to the time and traveling expense.

Attending today’s service was very difficult for me emotionally. As I entering the narthex and ready to enter the church, I saw two men were having conversation. One person usually takes care the reader job and custodian work. He has seen me a couple times in church but almost always looking at me blankly and ignores me even I am the only person in the nave. 

Initially at the starting of service, I don’t feel too uncomfortable about myself. But as time went by I realized that I became quite scared by Greek people. As an Asian and a Chinese, I always feel that people who are Caucasians look down Chinese sociologically and economically since many Chinese are new immigrants in the states, and Greeks are Caucasians. 

I sat on the church bench alone and did not talk much. As the service went on and more Greeks entering the Church after Matins, I lowered down my head and embraced myself with my arms, neither wanting to stand Nor talking to anyone. I felt really guilty for not standing up during memorial service and the forty day blessing for a child but I was just even afraid to stand up with other people.

I do know there is a person who is the parish council is a Chinese who is married to a Greek wife. I do not know him personally but wish to ask him for advice, but feel he is not interested in talking to me at all.  Later when almost everyone was left from the nave, I saw another Greek guy and asked him if I could have a chance to talk to the Chinese parish council member. I felt he was not very eager to talk to me at all.


Unfortunately, some Orthodox congregations are mere ethnic clubs, but that is not the case with most of them. Also, even in ethnic clubs, they usually welcome folks who are "honorary" members/associates of their ethnicity. I am not Greek but I have a feeling that they do not mind Grecophiles at all. The question then is for you to decide the relative importance of your admitted Grecophilia vis-a-vis your faith. My advice to you would be to belong to another jurisdiction if worshipping in a Greek church is more important than worshipping. If the balance is equal or tilts toward worshipping with no further caveats, then by all means go to a Greek church and fortunately you seem to have a large number to choose from.

From your description of your experience, it seems to me that most folks would have perceived that you were uncomfortable and fearful, that you did not wish to be approached. Next time, go in there like you own it, like you belong there; someone looks at you, you smile and give a small bow of the head in silent greeting inside the Nave, smile and go shake his hand outside. Go to coffee hour and introduce yourself to folks; again, with smiles and shaking hands, introductions, etc... Tell them you are thinking about becoming Orthodox and ask to whom you should talk. (You and I know the answer, but this is a way to engage them in conversation). You could ask if someone may be available to help you hone your Greek language skills. Bottom line: Greeks are outgoing and gregarious people, although in some cases they try to behave solemnly and formally like Anglicans in church. At coffee hour, they may surprise you.
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« Reply #36 on: April 24, 2013, 01:03:43 PM »

As a convert, I've had a positive experience at every Greek parish I've been at. The parish that we're at currently is Greek, and everyone loves us. I understand that there are some Greek parishes that will be confused at the presence of non-Greeks ("why would a non-Greek want to come to the 'Greek Church'?"), but I'm not aware that that's any more of a problem than in the other jurisdictions.
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« Reply #37 on: April 24, 2013, 03:58:32 PM »

I really want to thank everyone's advice and input here. It's difficult for me to respond everyone, but I will do when ever I have a chance. As a 21 years old, third year college student, I am still growing to become a person with a better character. There are days when I feel upset about my situation, and days when I just jump to conclusions. I still need to become more matured, not just listen what I want to hear, but also be willing to accept the lesson whenever I have done something wrong. Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. The most Holy Theotokos, save us.
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« Reply #38 on: April 25, 2013, 08:58:19 PM »

It probably depends on the parish.  I go to an OCA parish.  There is a Greek cathedral nearby.  I've been there a number of times, for liturgies and for the Greek festival.  It's a large church, and I can't speak of all, but the Greeks I've met there were friendly enough.  For me though, the issue was of not fitting in.  It seemed 95% of the people were Greek.  The entire liturgy was in Greek.  Even the homily was given in Greek by the priest.  At least of the parish near us, it seems a little insular.  My OCA priest once went to the Greek church, was dressed in cassock with a priest's pectoral cross, and yet one of the Greek ladies asked him, "Are you Orthodox?"  

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« Reply #39 on: April 26, 2013, 06:51:20 AM »

and yet one of the Greek ladies asked him, "Are you Orthodox?"   

What's wrong with it? He could be Nathanael Kapner. Or a Greek Catholic. Or some vagante.
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« Reply #40 on: April 26, 2013, 09:19:56 AM »

and yet one of the Greek ladies asked him, "Are you Orthodox?"  

What's wrong with it? He could be Nathanael Kapner. Or a Greek Catholic. Or some vagante.

Could... except he was with his wife and kids and concelebrating with the Greek priest that day.  Some EC priests in the US are married, but I don't think it's mainstream yet.  I was not there.  My priest told the story.  He related that he was shocked to be asked the question, since everything indicated he was an Orthodox priest.  
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« Reply #41 on: April 26, 2013, 01:11:47 PM »

and yet one of the Greek ladies asked him, "Are you Orthodox?"   

What's wrong with it? He could be Nathanael Kapner. Or a Greek Catholic. Or some vagante.

Could... except he was with his wife and kids and concelebrating with the Greek priest that day.  Some EC priests in the US are married, but I don't think it's mainstream yet.  I was not there.  My priest told the story.  He related that he was shocked to be asked the question, since everything indicated he was an Orthodox priest. 

Yeah. Some stranger dressed like a priest enters a church. No questions should be asked, he should be appointed a bishop straight away.

There was a newscowerage about one (Catholic) priest here. He enterred a church dressed properly and no one asked him who was he from (as you say it should be a norm). After a couple of weeks it was realised that he was not ordained at all. People now worry about their marriages, baptisms etc...
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« Reply #42 on: April 26, 2013, 01:34:33 PM »

and yet one of the Greek ladies asked him, "Are you Orthodox?"   

What's wrong with it? He could be Nathanael Kapner. Or a Greek Catholic. Or some vagante.

Could... except he was with his wife and kids and concelebrating with the Greek priest that day.  Some EC priests in the US are married, but I don't think it's mainstream yet.  I was not there.  My priest told the story.  He related that he was shocked to be asked the question, since everything indicated he was an Orthodox priest. 

Yeah. Some stranger dressed like a priest enters a church. No questions should be asked, he should be appointed a bishop straight away.

There was a newscowerage about one (Catholic) priest here. He enterred a church dressed properly and no one asked him who was he from (as you say it should be a norm). After a couple of weeks it was realised that he was not ordained at all. People now worry about their marriages, baptisms etc...

I don't see how your anecdote relates.  If the OCA priest was somehow "suspicious", why would the Greek priest allow him to serve?  The Greek priest could easily check an online directory, call his own bishop or other possibilities.  The yiayia questioning the visiting priest is really more of an issue of not trusting her own priest's decision making in allowing the visiting priest to serve.  Now, if the OCA priest was substituting that Sunday (e.g. Greek priest was on vacation, sick, etc.), I suppose it wouldn't be out of the question, but still somewhat untrusting of her own priest.
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« Reply #43 on: April 27, 2013, 10:31:05 PM »

Lord have mercy! I pray that you are able to find a parish that you can call home. Smiley

Keep looking into other parishes. Just don't look down on those who don't receive you with open arms. Sometimes, people gel. Other times, they don't. In the end, I believe that the Lord puts us with the group that we're meant to be with.
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« Reply #44 on: April 28, 2013, 08:38:07 PM »

and yet one of the Greek ladies asked him, "Are you Orthodox?"   

What's wrong with it? He could be Nathanael Kapner. Or a Greek Catholic. Or some vagante.

Could... except he was with his wife and kids and concelebrating with the Greek priest that day.  Some EC priests in the US are married, but I don't think it's mainstream yet.  I was not there.  My priest told the story.  He related that he was shocked to be asked the question, since everything indicated he was an Orthodox priest. 

Yeah. Some stranger dressed like a priest enters a church. No questions should be asked, he should be appointed a bishop straight away.

There was a newscowerage about one (Catholic) priest here. He enterred a church dressed properly and no one asked him who was he from (as you say it should be a norm). After a couple of weeks it was realised that he was not ordained at all. People now worry about their marriages, baptisms etc...

I did not get the impression that she was asking for his credentials. 

In any case, the Orthodox churches in my area are familiar with the clergy of the other churches, and know which ones are canonical.  I know my priest would not allow a priest or deacon to serve with him unless he first knew the jurisdiction and standing of the clergyman.   
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