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Author Topic: Questions from a "non" orthodox christian  (Read 4521 times) Average Rating: 0
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rugerdooger
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« on: April 18, 2007, 07:23:28 AM »

Hi,
I have recently become curious,intrigued,pleasantly surprised about the Orthodox faith and have started reading the book, "The Orthodox Church," by one Thomas Ware. (I think that is his name. It might be Kallisto?) My wife and I come from a baptist background.  We switched to the Reformed faith after our marriage but never actually became members of any particular church.  I guess you could say we are still searching.  The more we study the different denominations, doctrines, theologies, the more confused we become.  We want simple and basic Christianity in a church environment that we will feel comfortable raising or daughter in.  There is an Antioch and a Greek Orthodox church in our area and I think we will eventually visit one or both of them.  My question right now is does the Orthodox faith have a worship book like the Anglican, "Common Book of Prayers?"  A kind of guide for the liturgical worship throught the year for the church.  Thank you.
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« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2007, 07:33:50 AM »

Rugerdooger:

Welcome and may the Lord guide you on your search. 

In the USA the Orthodox Church has many jurisdictions. As you noted two are in your area. Each jurisdiction publishes a book wherein you can follow the divine liturgy.  I understand your quest for knowledge and desire to know more when in the service (You're like my wife she always wants to know what page we're on.  Cheesy)  But I would ebcourage you to do two things. (1) Find a good Orthodox priest who will be willing to help you in your journey. (2) Sit back relax and enjoy the ride --- that is experience the divine liturgy as well as following along in a book. Orthodoxy is a faith for the senses. See the icons (If you are OK with it venerate the icon by kissing it but never on the face or touching your forehead to it), smell the inscence, hear the choir or chanter, taste the holy bread (Until you are become Orthodox you cannot receive communion - yet).

Dan
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« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2007, 07:36:34 AM »

P.S.

The divine liturgy books are usually in the pews. Some Orthodox churches do not have pews. I don't know what to do there because I have never been in a pewless church although I know they exist.
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« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2007, 08:14:27 AM »

My question right now is does the Orthodox faith have a worship book like the Anglican, "Common Book of Prayers?"  A kind of guide for the liturgical worship throught the year for the church.  Thank you.
Welcome rugerdooger,
It's really difficult to get a book in English which has a synopsis of the entire liturgical year, because it takes nine liturgical books to celebrate most Orthodox Services. There is one available that I know of, and that is "The Great Horologion" which contains many (but by no means all) of the relevant parts of the Liturgical Books, but it is huge and cumbersome and needs to rest on a table. What I suggest you start with is a good prayer book which you can carry with you in to Church like The Jordanville Prayerbook which contains selections of the important hymns for most of the year. The Jordanville Prayerbook is available to read online at the library of the Church of Greece: http://www.myriobiblos.gr/texts/english/prayerbook/main.htm
There is also some very good advice about how to build a liturgical library here: http://www.saintjonah.org/services/library.htm
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« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2007, 08:28:18 AM »

Thanks for answering a question I've always had. I've always wondered if there were an Orthodox equivalent to the Roman Missal. I have a wonderful pocket-size leather-bound 1962 edition, and I think, next to the Bible, it is the most important and most valuable book I've ever owned (my Breviary is not far behind).

I must also say that I am an admirer of the Book of Common Prayer and own a copy of it myself.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2007, 08:29:53 AM by lubeltri » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2007, 08:53:46 AM »

The Antiochian Orthodox jursidiction has a book called Service Book of the Archdiocese   for $13.00 that contains the approved text for the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom.  To the service listed there will be added the various hymns, epistle for the day, and the Gospel reading for the day that are not listed in the book (you will usually find some of them listed in the bulletin.  Our parish also has binders with music to give to  vsitors who want to sing along with the congregation but I have discovered in my travels this is not usual in mostplaces. It will also have various other prayers to use throughiout the day.  Many Antiochian Orthodox use a personal prayer book  entitled Pocket prayerbook that costs $4 in a paperback version (this is one I carry at all times, it fits in a shirt pocket) it contains a copy of the text of the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom and personal daily prayers. If the  parish you attend has pews, look for the service books in the pews or at the door of the church. If you attend a parish without pews, the prayerbooks are usually located at the entrance of the Church (as an usher, they will usually have access for visitors).  There is a wirebound "camp" style Divine Liturgy called the Antiochian Camp Music Service Book that may be available in some mission churches with many of the hymns used in a particular mission parish.

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese usually has prayerbooks available at all parishes. Most Greek orthodox Churches have pews and the prayerbooks will be located in the pews or at the entrance to the Church. Once again, like the Antiochians they will not list all Hymns, however they may include the Epistle and Gospel readings for the year in the back. 

In Both churches, you will probably not find texts that include Orthros, vespers, or compline services unless the parish has published their own pamphlet or service books. As these services  frequently have daily changing readings and hymns, they are usually difficult for a visitor to follow.  Just sit or stand and let the words and service flow over you.  If you are  an English only speaker, contact the pastor of each Church to assure that you can understand what is going on. the pastor may have a member sit with you to assist and explain the services with you.  The Antiochian Churches tend to use all English or have a great deal of the service in King James style English.  The Greek Church will usually use Greek and Modern English or Greek only depending on the congregation.

There are many very good personal prayerbooks.  The Jordanville Prayerbook has the largest selection of devotional material and is popular accross many jurisdictions.It uses a King James style of English that is familiar to most traditional Protestants. Several Monasteries also produce fine prayerbooks in English, including one that has a wonderful Horologion for family use in the home.

Good Luck in your first visits to an Orthodox Church.

Thomas
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« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2007, 10:59:29 AM »

One can find free copies of pretty much any service, sacrament or special prayer that will be celebrated or said in a typical parish setting on goarch.org: http://goarch.org/en/chapel/text.asp

God bless!
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« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2007, 10:27:37 PM »

If a church does not have pews (it still will have some seats) the Liturgy pew book will most likely be in the back of the church or on your way in.  If the church has greeters (all parishes SHOULD have greeters at the doors) you could ask them, and I'm sure they'll hook you up.
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« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2007, 07:07:55 AM »

Wow.  Thanks for all the recommendations and advice.  Having a church background that is non-liturgical makes it quite intimidating for us to visit on of the local Orthodox churches for the first time.  I'm sure a copy of one of these books may help a little.  Thanks again.
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« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2007, 09:44:54 AM »

Wow.  Thanks for all the recommendations and advice.  Having a church background that is non-liturgical makes it quite intimidating for us to visit on of the local Orthodox churches for the first time.  I'm sure a copy of one of these books may help a little.  Thanks again.

The good news is that it is never as bad as you think it is going to be. Cheesy  Last year, on Good Friday, a friend and I attended a service (please forgive me I cannot remember the name of the service) at a Greek Orthodox parish in Florida.  The parish was packed.  We were clearly visitors and somewhat lost, but many people offered to help us understand what was happening and to translate some of the Greek for us.

The amusing thing is that I am 5'7", very fair skinned, with blue eyes and red hair.  I'm of Irish and German descent and I look it.  My good friend Karen is short (4'11") and much of her ancestry is Eastern European and Jewish.  She has dark curly hair, a gorgeous olive complexion, luminous dark brown eyes ... and she's single.  Everyone walked up to her and started speaking Greek immediately (especially the grandmothers and older ladies ... whom I suspect had a son, grandson or nephew they wanted her to meet).  Sadly - no one said a word to me in Greek. Clearly I don't look Greek.   Wink

But everyone was warm, welcoming and very helpful.

If you are not accustomed to a structured liturgy then the first few times you go - don't worry about following along or knowing what is happening.  Simply observe (stand and sit when others stand and sit) and let the Divine Liturgy wash over you.  It will feel "foreign" at first.  It will seem "odd" and you're likely to feel out of place.  But I'd say that 99% (or more) of that is due solely to the newness of the experience and not because anyone else there thinks you're out of place.

Honestly?  People who are there to worship God are not likely to be paying a lot of attention to what you are or are not doing.  Unless of course you're doing something horribly disruptive and calling attention to yourself.

What I did at my first Eastern Catholic Divine Liturgy and my first Orthodox Divine Liturgy was to arrive early.  Read through the Liturgy pew book before the Liturgy began to get a "feel" for the flow of things and then I put it in the pew and ignored it.  I feared that I would miss too much if I spent my time flipping through pages hither and yon trying to figure out where I should be.

In short - go.  Observe.  Enjoy.  The Divine Liturgy is awe inspiring - even if you aren't quite sure what is going on.

God Bless,

Carole
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« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2007, 11:01:26 AM »

Wow.  Thanks for all the recommendations and advice.  Having a church background that is non-liturgical makes it quite intimidating for us to visit on of the local Orthodox churches for the first time.  I'm sure a copy of one of these books may help a little.  Thanks again.

Carole (above) is right. Just try to remember that we are gathered to glorify God and you are most welcome to join in. Things may seem foreign, ornate and formal -- and, at the same time, full of movement and commotion! Don't be surprised if people are coming in late, walking around, bowing here or there, crossing themselves. As Archbishop Demetrios said recently: Christ came to give us life, and that abundantly. Often times we have no shortage of life in the services -- walking, talking, hugging, kissing, kids screaming -- and all that is fitting and holy, since it is part of God's gift of life as well!

Just in case you haven't seen this brochure already, here's a link to a little pamphlet written by a convert called "12 Things I Wish I'd Know Before My First Visit to an Orthodox Church."

http://www.frederica.com/12-things/
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« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2007, 11:22:09 AM »

rugerdooger, just to encourage you a little, I was a Seventh Day Baptist and I'm likely to be baptised in the Orthodox Church in just over two weeks. I'm to join a Mission Church linked with the Coptics.

In short to your question: YES, the Orthodox Church (although they varies) does have liturgy books.
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« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2007, 11:27:15 AM »

It is truly an enriching experience to see the different ways different cultures worship the Lord. With regard to the Christian East, I myself have only been exposed to Greek Orthodox and Ruthenian Catholic Divine Liturgies. However, now that I'm living in Boston, I soon plan to make the rounds of some of the various Eastern Catholic liturgies around the city---Maronite Catholic, Melkite Catholic, Ukrainian Catholic, Romanian Catholic, and Armenian Catholic. How rich are the traditions of the Church! I also plan to go to some of the EO churches and particularly the theological school in Brookline.
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« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2007, 07:10:15 PM »

Dear Rugerdooger,

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA has a very good prayer book, with texts of all of the "historical" prayers of the Church (the prayers of St. Makarios, of St. Basil the Great, of St. John Chrysostom and many others), in modern Ukrainain and in modern English. It also has the full text, - again, in Ukrainian and in English, - of the Divine Liturgy ("Plolyeleios") of St. Basil the Great and of St. John Chrysostom, of the Great Evening Service, of Matins, and of various "Treby" (services on special occasions).

The contact information of the Ukr. Orthodox Church can be found at http://www.uocofusa.org/contact/

The person with whom I personally talked about this book is called Father Hieromonk Zelinskiy (can't recall his first name, sorry about that). The cost is (or at least was, back in January 2007) $25 plus shipping - which is really a very small price for such a complete collection of prayers and liturgical services. The book is very nicely printed, bound as hardback, with good illustrations (icons), and it is in a small, almost "pocketbook" format.

Best wishes,

George
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« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2007, 10:30:04 PM »

P.S.
. Some Orthodox churches do not have pews. I don't know what to do there because I have never been in a pewless church although I know they exist.

In all my years of going to Orthodox churches, I finally went into a pewless Temple three weeks ago in a small OCA-Old Calendar church in Lincoln, NE.  It was a wonderful experience!
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« Reply #15 on: May 26, 2007, 06:50:01 PM »

can't recall his first name
Fr. Hieromonk Daniel Zelinsky. If (and I hope to say when) he will become a Bishop, his accomplishments will comparable to those of Archbishop Iakovos and Metropolitan Philip.

Yes, that is a excellent book, prepared by few authors. The first addition got sold out right away.
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« Reply #16 on: July 26, 2007, 12:55:07 AM »

Are there any Orthodox Christian establishments here in the Philippines? Please, come to our aid, and help us to be joined with you in the  Orthodox Church... Im but a mere teen, but Ive undergone cathchism about the faith from the net...
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« Reply #17 on: July 26, 2007, 01:25:52 AM »

Welcome to our forum!

I think this list of churches may help, if you haven't already seen it:


http://www.cs.ust.hk/faculty/dimitris/metro/philipines.html

I hope this helps.
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« Reply #18 on: July 26, 2007, 01:36:52 AM »

I think the link I just gave you above has churches affiliated with the Patriarch of Constantinople.  Here is another link, this one affiliated with the Antiochian Orthodox Church:

http://www.orthodox.org.ph/

I don't see a list of parish churches on that website, though.  I may be missing something.

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« Reply #19 on: July 27, 2007, 12:27:30 AM »

Thanks...

I've found only one fortress of the Orthodox Faith, here in our country, the Cathedral of the Annunciation there in Parañaque. It was blessed by His Eminence, The Patriarch of Constantinople...

I live so far from the Capital City, Im almost bursting into depression, it seems, being baptized into the Orthodox Faith is never going to happen to me, although I would really wish to convert from a catholic...

There are only Greek Orthodox missionaries here, sadly, there all in the Capital...
How I wish they'd start preaching to the people of the provinces...

God bless us all...
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« Reply #20 on: July 27, 2007, 11:26:39 AM »

sohma, remember Cornelius from the book of Acts? Be faithful to God where you are, and trust that He cares about you now and every need of yours. Maybe He will send you a Peter? And about baptism - remember that Cornelius himself was "full of the Spirit" before he was baptized, for the simple reason that God is not limited by anything. I'm praying for you. Do you think it's possible to contact a missionary in the capital and tell them about your situation?
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« Reply #21 on: July 27, 2007, 09:11:36 PM »

sohma, remember Cornelius from the book of Acts? Be faithful to God where you are, and trust that He cares about you now and every need of yours. Maybe He will send you a Peter? And about baptism - remember that Cornelius himself was "full of the Spirit" before he was baptized, for the simple reason that God is not limited by anything. I'm praying for you. Do you think it's possible to contact a missionary in the capital and tell them about your situation?

Yah, I friend of mine also told me about St. Cornelius (pls do correct if he is not a saint). Thanks for the words of encouragement. Often I would imagine myself being a voice in the wilderness, calling to my friends to convert to Orthodoxy as well. Ive even tried to convince my friend that Orthodoxy is the truth using the cathecism ive found on a Greek orthodox website. She wasnt convinced though...
If you study Philippine Geography, youll find a small insignificant city called Butuan. A valley of Roman Catholicsm, and of course, Protestants. Sad 
Communications with the Capital City from our place is nearly impossible, perhaps if the Orthodox Missionaries there in Parañaque has a website,I may be able to contact them. Truly if only I were only given a chance, I would definitely visit the Only Orthodox Cathedral in the country. The Cathedral of the Anunciation.. But if God wills it, I am sure I can still be part of the True Church. Thanks for praying for me.
I shall pray for you as well...

In the Name of the Father,the Son and The Holy Spirit...
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« Reply #22 on: July 28, 2007, 11:51:08 AM »

You could also contact Archbishop Hilarion of Sydney Australia and New Zealand (see http://www.rocor.org.au/. There have been some Filipinos in discussion with His Grace about missions in the Phillipines (the Indonesian Orthodox, for example, are under Abp. Hilarion's omophor in ROCOR.)
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« Reply #23 on: July 28, 2007, 11:43:44 PM »

Yah, I friend of mine also told me about St. Cornelius (pls do correct if he is not a saint). Thanks for the words of encouragement. Often I would imagine myself being a voice in the wilderness, calling to my friends to convert to Orthodoxy as well. Ive even tried to convince my friend that Orthodoxy is the truth using the cathecism ive found on a Greek orthodox website. She wasnt convinced though...
If you study Philippine Geography, youll find a small insignificant city called Butuan. A valley of Roman Catholicsm, and of course, Protestants. Sad 
Communications with the Capital City from our place is nearly impossible, perhaps if the Orthodox Missionaries there in Parañaque has a website,I may be able to contact them. Truly if only I were only given a chance, I would definitely visit the Only Orthodox Cathedral in the country. The Cathedral of the Anunciation.. But if God wills it, I am sure I can still be part of the True Church. Thanks for praying for me.
I shall pray for you as well...

In the Name of the Father,the Son and The Holy Spirit...

This might help you too: in my Church we were just watching a video tape lecture by Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, and someone in the audience asked him a question about "converts". Before he answered it, he wanted to talk about the word convert. "I don't like that word," he said, "because Christians don't convert to Orthodoxy, but they convert to Christ. A Christian does find the fullness of the faith in Orthodoxy, but does not convert." I'm just trying to make sure that you are not feeling like the Catholic Churches around you can't help you and you're all on your own, and there are no real Christians around you. When I first was thinking about Orthodoxy two years ago I felt that way about my Church (Southern Baptist), and really distanced myself from my youth pastor because I thought God couldn't have been with him. I know now that it was wrong of me to think and act that way.

I hope you don't feel that I'm judging you, but I'm just trying to help you in case you are thinking the way I am describing.
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« Reply #24 on: July 29, 2007, 06:47:40 AM »

No..no..Its ok, i know your not judging, your just trying to enlighten me. I guess the Lord has a plan for all of us. So I'll just wait for His plans to come to pass.

Right now, im learning how to pray the Orthodox way, it surprised my parents when they accidentaly saw my Compilation of Orthodox Theological writings.. But thay regarded it in a postive way (thank God).

Im not really avoiding or hating catholicism, its just that I have to slowly break away from it, but not to totaly shun it away..

Thanks for the advice...

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