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Carole
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« on: November 07, 2006, 02:32:38 PM »

The history ... Lutheran --> Roman Catholic --> Eastern Catholic (Ruthenian) unofficially --> studying Orthodoxy

My poor not-quite 11 year-old daughter has had a lot of changes in her short life as we (her father and I) follow our rather convoluted journey.  I'm wondering how best to introduce her to Orthodoxy and explain the changes and differences in theology.

Our reasons (the adults) for examining Holy Orthodoxy more closely have to do with Papal dogma and doctrines and the filioque that we simply are not sure are supported by Scripture and Church history.  It is a lot to research and understand.  I fear that introducing these issues to our daughter would simply result in much confusion and perhaps fear of the changes.  Yet I cannot expect her to leave the Catholic Chuch (she has received the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Eucharist and Confirmation) that she entered as a convert without some understanding of why she is leaving and what she is embracing.

Are there any good books about Orthodoxy for kids?  Any suggestions and advice would be very much appreciated. 

Should we decide to proceed further in moving toward Orthodoxy then we will, of course, consult with a priest.  But during this initial inquiry phase I need to find a way to introduce both Orthodoxy and the concept of becoming Orthodox without "freaking her out".

To complicate things we are also a home schooling family and our curriculum is very solidly Roman Catholic ... so I'd have to find ways to avoid the Roman Catholic aspects for the remainder of this year and a new curriculum for next year.  But at this point I'll settle for figuring out how to introduce the idea of Orthodoxy.

In Christ,

Carole
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Carole
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« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2006, 02:43:26 PM »

I was 12 when I converted.  It was a large evangelical group spread over several parishes across the country back about 20 years ago.   At the time, I didn't really know - I just went to church with my family.  I just evolved into it so to speak.
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Carole
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« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2006, 02:51:22 PM »

I was 12 when I converted.  It was a large evangelical group spread over several parishes across the country back about 20 years ago.   At the time, I didn't really know - I just went to church with my family.  I just evolved into it so to speak.

Thanks Elisha.  I wish it could be that easy for my daughter.  Unfortunately for her (and for me) she is a very inquisitive, intelligent and spiritually mature child who insists on understanding why we are doing what we are doing.  She has no problem accepting that there are mysteries of faith, but for those things that are not mysteries she wants to understand them.  So if we leave Catholicism for Orthodoxy she is going to want to know why we're leaving what we once accepted to be the full deposit of faith and why what we are going to is better or more complete.  I'm going to need to have some answers ready.
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Carole
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« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2006, 03:00:32 PM »

Carole,
I guess you'd just have to explain to her as if she were an adult.  Once you find your answers, tell your daughter as she asks questions.
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« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2006, 03:54:43 PM »

I guess you'd just have to explain to her as if she were an adult.
I can see a dilemma though. If her daughter is treated as an adult in explaining it to her, then why would she not be treated as an adult in being allowed to have a choice in the matter of whether she wishes to convert or not?
I think, Carole, you are particularly fortunate that the moves went: Lutheran --> Roman Catholic --> Eastern Catholic  --> Orthodoxy, because they follow a "logical" progression which can be explained in terms of a journey towards the "pure source". Perhaps a timeline such as this may help to explain it to your daughter, as you can trace the journey back from Lutheran, through Roman Catholic to Orthodox:


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« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2006, 03:54:53 PM »

Luckily my daughter was baptized Orthodox. You could say something like "strap on your seat belt kid we're goin' for a ride."  No, seriously, I do not know of any books but at the same time I want to start introducing my kid to the faith as well, even though she is a cradle Orthodox. Concillar Press publishes a large catalog of books and I am sure they have childrens books as well. The Greek Orthodox Church also produces Sunday School material for kids (which our church uses even though we are not in their diocese) which you may be able to use. Happy hunting and I'll need to look at these catalogs as well.

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Carole
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« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2006, 04:08:55 PM »

ozgeorge,

Thank you very much.  That timeline is very helpful and informative (even for me).  I'll have to use that!  And you are correc in seeing a potientiall dilemma. If I treat her completely as an adult in this then I will have a harder time explaining that at this time she doesn't really have a choice.  I need to present it in a way that she can understand and feel comfortable and not fearful ... but without leaving her room to think that she has unilateral decision making ability.  Tough line to walk.

aserb,

I think I might just use that line!  If nothing else she will see the humour in it.

Thank you both so very much for your help.  This is such a huge step for all of us that I am trying to do it carefully and prayerfully.  I don't want to rush into anything and there is so much to consider.
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Carole
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« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2006, 04:28:16 PM »

You'll just have to tell her that when you moved from Lutheran to RC you acted on the best information you had at the time. Now you have more information and you are acting accordingly. Tell her this time you will spend more time investigating to make sure you cover all bases so you will land at your final destination secure.

Anastasios
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« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2006, 05:15:24 PM »

I have been seen that timeline before. It is frequently printed on pamphlets. I'm not a fan of it. It simplifies in a misleading way a much more complicated picture. I fear that your daughter might see it and wonder, if it is as simple as all that, how can 90% of Christians in the world not belong to Orthodoxy?
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aserb
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« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2006, 05:18:35 PM »

LebeltrI

I agree that the timeline simplifies a rather complex history, but it's a start. I think that Ozgeorge meant this as an informational beginning. As an aside I am not the greatest fan of the timeline either
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Carole
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« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2006, 05:22:48 PM »

I have been seen that timeline before. It is frequently printed on pamphlets. I'm not a fan of it. It simplifies in a misleading way a much more complicated picture. I fear that your daughter might see it and wonder, if it is as simple as all that, how can 90% of Christians in the world not belong to Orthodoxy?

I would think that one would use that timeline as one uses anything else to teach children.  As a simplified, but accurate, starting point from which to begin all other conversations.  I mean one must start somewhere.

Yes it is a simplified timeline - as are most if not all timelines.  I mean if it was as detailed as it could be it would no longer be a timeline/visual aid but a book. Which might be a bit too "in depth" and detailed for a 10 year-old child.

And I can honestly say that once a person has accepted anything as an objective truth then they are likely (no matter the source for their belief and its complexity) they are likely to wonder why everyone doesn't share their belief in what is true.  If she comes to embrace Orthodoxy then she will very likely wonder why everyone isn't Orthodox whether she reaches that stage by looking at a timeline or reading the entirity of writings by every father of the early church.
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Carole
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« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2006, 06:29:54 PM »

My oldest was nearly 15 when we converted, and as such Fr. says she is an adult in the Church's eyes.  She had gone through all our searching and was incredibly fed up. Though she leans towards Orthodoxy, she still thinks it just allowed her stepdad to drink. (we were baptist teetotalers) If your daughter is as mature as you say, and this close to church based "adulthood" it may be that she will not be expected *automatically* to convert with you.

I have seen this timeline, and others like it and it was very helpful.  I think we all must operate with as much light as we are given, see as far as we can with it.  When God gives us more we are expected to act upon what He shows us.
 A simplified timeline is still helpful.  It's a start.  Those small pamphlets put out by concilliar press are very helpful about specific topics from an Orthodox perspective.  There is one about Roman Catholic dogma vs Orthodox, I do believe.  And there are ones on different topics that may be more specific to her questions.  That is about all I can think of besides the main books that adult's would read. However, if your dd demonstrates a greater understanding or a greater need for information-then there is nothing wrong with letting her read some books at a church library.
Blessings,
Rebecca
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« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2006, 10:10:19 PM »

My oldest was nearly 15 when we converted, and as such Fr. says she is an adult in the Church's eyes.  She had gone through all our searching and was incredibly fed up. Though she leans towards Orthodoxy, she still thinks it just allowed her stepdad to drink. (we were baptist teetotalers) If your daughter is as mature as you say, and this close to church based "adulthood" it may be that she will not be expected *automatically* to convert with you.

I have seen this timeline, and others like it and it was very helpful.  I think we all must operate with as much light as we are given, see as far as we can with it.  When God gives us more we are expected to act upon what He shows us.
 A simplified timeline is still helpful.  It's a start.  Those small pamphlets put out by concilliar press are very helpful about specific topics from an Orthodox perspective.  There is one about Roman Catholic dogma vs Orthodox, I do believe.  And there are ones on different topics that may be more specific to her questions.  That is about all I can think of besides the main books that adult's would read. However, if your dd demonstrates a greater understanding or a greater need for information-then there is nothing wrong with letting her read some books at a church library.
Blessings,
Rebecca
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The problem is that simplification is done in a way to make Orthodoxy look monolithic and unified while all the other traditions are fraught with divisions. Some things are technically accurate but still misleading, like the marks on the timeline indicating the dates for the Immaculate Conception and papal infallibility. Notwithstanding the frequent misunderstanding of what these dogmas actually mean, the date they were promulgated does not mean they were not widely held before those dates. It was then that they were dogmatically defined, but they go back a very long way---according to the Catholic perspective, they weren't mere 19th-century innovations, as the timeline implies.

The graphic itself makes it seem like the Catholic Church simply broke off in 1054 like it was some sort of Protestant Reformation. Historians from both sides agree that this story (which in the West is also told, portraying the East as the bad guys who simply "fell away" in 1054) is false revisionism. The date itself is misleading and really does not have much importance in the story of how the Churches grew apart.

Notice that there are no Eastern divisions portrayed in that graphic.

Another good example is what is listed under 1066: "Destruction of Orthodoxy in Britain." "Orthodox hierarchs are replaced with those loyal to Rome." This is another kind of bizarre revisionism.

These are just some of my concerns. It seems to me to be more of a propaganda tool. I have a pamplet with the timeline on it, and many of the statements in that pamplet mischaracterize Catholic teachings. It was given to me by an Orthodox nun who converted from the Catholic Church. I was amazed at how misinformed her ideas were about what Rome really teaches. There are reasoned Orthodox objections to Catholic theology and ecclesiology, so I don't think straw men are necessary.

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« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2006, 09:56:53 AM »

Another good example is what is listed under 1066: "Destruction of Orthodoxy in Britain." "Orthodox hierarchs are replaced with those loyal to Rome." This is another kind of bizarre revisionism.
How is that revisionist? King Harold's family fled to Russia to be reunited to Orthodoxy. Please explain?
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« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2006, 01:16:01 PM »

How is that revisionist? King Harold's family fled to Russia to be reunited to Orthodoxy. Please explain?

Harold vs. William was a dynastic/family dispute, not a church one. Pope Alexander II took William's side in the dispute (partly because Harold supporter Archbishop Stigand of Canterbury once favored a rival claimant to the papacy), but that didn't make Harold a "Greek" (as Eastern Christians were called then by the West). There is no evidence that Harold or any of his allies rejected the Roman Church---that question was settled in England at Whitby (Roman jurisdiction) back in 664 and at Hatfield (filioque) in 680. Harold was crowned by Archbishop Aldred of York, who received the pallium from the Pope. Stigand, who also received the pallium, crowned William after his victory at Hastings.

William, over a period of years, eliminated or exiled his opponents in the Anglo-Saxon nobility, including those in church positions, for political reasons, not religious. Most English prelates had taken Harold's side in the dynastic dispute and were naturally seen as disloyal.

It is true that Harold's illegitimate daughter Gytha was married to Kievan Rus Prince Vladimir Monomakh, but marriages between East and West were not uncommon at that time. In the immediate years after 1054, there was no sense that any schism had occurred. After all, it was mainly a spat between Michael Cerularius and Cardinal Humbert. Vladimir's own sister, Euphraxia, was married to Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV in 1089.

If any of Gytha's kin went with her to Kiev, it would make sense, since they would be in favor there with kin married to the prince. Others went to Sweden, where, of course, they were the kin of the Swedish royals. Others stayed in the British Isles and later warred against William, dying in the effort or going to Ireland.

Sorry for the long-winded response, but the idea that England was somehow not part of the Roman, Western Church before 1066 is a romantic notion with no basis in the historical record. The East and its traditions were just as exotic to English Christians as they were to Christians across the Channel.
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« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2006, 02:54:20 PM »

My oldest was 16 when I and my other 4 kids converted, and she declined to do so.  I don't have a problem with that, I figure she will figure it out when she gets older...like I did.
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« Reply #16 on: June 15, 2007, 08:09:44 PM »

How is that revisionist? King Harold's family fled to Russia to be reunited to Orthodoxy. Please explain?

Umm, source for this assertion?  His daughter Gytha, by his "danish manner" marrage to Ealdgyth Swansneck, did marry Vladimir Monomakh of Kiev.  She and two of Harald's sons are reported to have gone to Denmark after 1066. Harald's widow Aldgyth (or Edith) the daughter of the Earl of Mercia (and widow of Gruffydd ap Llywelyn King of Wales whom Harald defeated) is reported to have gone to her brothers in Mercia and Northumbria.  Some of Harald's sons went to Ireland and with the help of the King of Leinster, Diarmait, tried to take back the country invading in Bristol, then Devon and Cornwall.  It didn't work. 

Meanwhile, Edgar Atheling, who had the best claim to the English throne and was chosen by the Witan, went to Scotland for a space of time, then to the protection of King Philip I of France and finally back to England where he got a kind of pension and then was put in command of an invasion of Scotland by William Rufus. His sister married Malcolm of Scotland.

http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/royalty/prince.html

People weren't fleeing or going places for religious reasons.  It was to friendly places for safety.  Sometimes they went back.

Ebor
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« Reply #17 on: June 21, 2007, 09:24:34 AM »

When people talk about converting with kids, or converting kids, I am always wondering: what do kids really feel in church, or at home/school when adults talk with them about Christianity? My own childhood was in an entirely non-religious environment (indifferent to anything religious at home, militantly anti-theist at my Soviet school). So, I never experienced any religious education during my childhood. How is it, what do these little ones think, feel, understand? I believe there is always a great danger of distorting Christianity by "watering it down" to kids, making its message sentimental "love your mom and dad and behave" kind of thing... On the other hand, there is also a great dander of traumatizing the kid by filling his/her little head with ideas of sin, judgment, eternal torment, etc. How do you guys cope with this? --George
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« Reply #18 on: June 21, 2007, 10:42:24 AM »

Carole, there are some Orthodox books for children which may be of interest and some others which may assist you in explaining Faith issues:

Basil's Search for Miracles (mostly based on actual miracles)
http://www.amazon.com/Basils-Search-Miracles-Heather-Zydek/dp/1888212861/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-9708132-1028000?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1182434665&sr=8-1

A Saint and his Lion (about St. Tekla Haimanot of Ethiopia)
http://www.amazon.com/Saint-His-Lion-Story-Ethiopia/dp/0809167077/ref=sr_1_1/002-9708132-1028000?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1182434954&sr=1-1

Orthodox Christians in America
http://www.amazon.com/Orthodox-Christians-America-Religion-American/dp/0195108523/ref=tag_tdp_pl_dp/002-9708132-1028000

Orthodox Hymns for Children
http://www.amazon.com/Orthodox-Hymns-Children-Vladimir-Morosan/dp/B000RL9KGC/ref=sr_1_8/002-9708132-1028000?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1182435028&sr=1-8

The Monk Who Grew Prayer (for younger children)
http://www.amazon.com/Monk-Who-Grew-Prayer/dp/1888212667/ref=pd_bxgy_b_text_b/002-9708132-1028000?ie=UTF8&qid=1182434954&sr=1-1

East and West: The Making of a Rift in The Church (not sure if this would assist or not)
http://www.amazon.com/East-West-Apostolic-Florence-Christian/dp/0199280169/ref=tag_tdp_pl_dp/002-9708132-1028000

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