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Author Topic: Old Believers  (Read 9987 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: May 15, 2003, 10:14:01 PM »

I'm not quite Orthodox yet, though my views tend to be very much in the Old Believer direction.  The problem is as such:  The only church in my area is part of the Greek Orthodox Church.  As I hear, the church is quite liberal (at least from what I can discern from my views, I don't really fancy the idea of an organ or even many pews).  My question is, would there be a better jurisdiction for an Old Believer in this modern world?
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« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2003, 10:15:22 PM »

Where do you live?
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« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2003, 10:19:16 PM »

Kalamazoo Michigan
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« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2003, 10:19:19 PM »

Dear Justin,

Firstly, I welcome you to the forum again.

Secondly, I respect your like for Old Believers but the majority of them are not canonical Orthodox. You would not be able to communicate in other Orthodox Churches when you travel, etc.

Thirdly, it makes little sense for you to convert to a Church that owes its existence to liturgical disputes that are not part of your culture: namely, Greek practices replacing Russian ones; Greek practices are just as valid as the Russian ones are.

Fourthly, the Greeks aren't that "liberal."  People like to hate the Greeks but there are good and bad ones.  Perhaps you would like to affiliate somehow with the Greek Old Calendarists under the Ecumenical Patriarch at www.stirene.org or with the Synod of Met Cyprian which is in union with ROCOR, and thus the rest of Orthodoxy?

Fifthly, sound advice is that you cannot become Orthodox by just reading.  You need to actively worship in a parish and experience Orthodoxy, and have a priest guide you.  If the only Orthodox Church in your area is a liberal Greek parish, then that's where you need to join.  You can always work within to make progress.  Pews and organs are annoying, I agree, but they are not the most important matter. The most important matter is joining the Church and receiving the sacraments.

anastasios

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« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2003, 10:21:04 PM »

Holey moley, you live in my mom's town.

That local Greek parish is nice. Fr. Stylianos is building it back up.  He wasn't using an organ when I went there last year.

anastasios

PS There is an MP Church in Battle Creek.
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« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2003, 10:22:07 PM »

Kalamazoo Michigan

here's a list of ROCOR parishes in michigan: http://directory.sjkp.org/parishes.php?PHPSESSID=0dca5f8e57ffdb484c80e113251c4c0d&state=MI&submitButtonName=Go
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« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2003, 10:24:56 PM »

Thanks Anastasios,

I do hold the older beliefs, if you will, but I also see that changes are required as time goes on, and that some matters such as pews and organs are of little importance to the true meaning of Orthodoxy.  I'm just trying to see if there are any other options, maybe I'm unaware of a ROCOR church or something of the like in the area.  I'm just testing the water, no matter how spiritually cold that may sound.  I'm doing my best to work on conversion.
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« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2003, 10:27:27 PM »

I just wanted to post again to make sure you see what i wrote above while you were responding.  My mom lives in Kalamazoo and I have visited the local Greek Church.  They were almost dead but Fr. Stylianos came and he did not use the organ the two times I visited. He is a very nice man and you should talk to him to see if he can help you out. The MP has a parish in Battle Creek, and the Romanians have a nun's monastery in near Jackson, MI.

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« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2003, 10:32:28 PM »

Yes, I've been in contact with Fr. Stylianos over email on and off over the past year or two (I'm really not sure).  I haven't been able to make it to Liturgy at the Annunciation, but it (Divine Liturgy) is truly an experience.  I'm aware that Fr. Stylianos has only been at the Annunciation for a short time, so I guess things are changing.  I don't know, maybe I should reconfigure my views a little.  'Any road followed precisely to its end leads precisely nowhere.'  I believe Frank Herbert said that.
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« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2003, 10:39:29 PM »

The advantage to joining a parish like his is that he needs help and you can find a niche there.  You could always arrange to use the Old Believer prayer book in your personal life.

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« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2003, 10:47:16 PM »

I'm here for only 2 days and already you guys have helped me substantionally.  Thanks Anastasios, I'll have to make time to go to the Annunciation, and/or arrange a discussion with Fr. Stylianos.  I haven't had much time and classes don't get any easier.  Also, I really don't have a way to get to the church yet, I'm not far enough in Kalamazoo to ride a bus there, and I rarely find myself that far up on Westnedge Ave.  Sometimes things work out, I'm praying that I'll be on my way to Orthodoxy soon. Only God knows how soon, if ever it will work out for me.
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« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2003, 02:41:28 AM »

Dear Justin:

 I am very glad to hear that you are intent on becoming Orthodox.  I would suggest taking a look at the ROCOR directory link that Nik posted to see if there's anything near you.  ROCOR has, if I understand correctly, determined that the Old Believer Rite is acceptable and there is at least one Old Believer Rite ROCOR parish, I believe in Pennsylvania.  

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« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2003, 08:28:52 AM »

Dear Justin:

 I am very glad to hear that you are intent on becoming Orthodox.  I would suggest taking a look at the ROCOR directory link that Nik posted to see if there's anything near you.  ROCOR has, if I understand correctly, determined that the Old Believer Rite is acceptable and there is at least one Old Believer Rite ROCOR parish, I believe in Pennsylvania.  

Joe Zollars

Joe,

Yes, ROCOR has accepted a modified Old Believer Rite (i.e. they took out the Old Believer saints, if I am correct).

There are no Old Believers by Justin though, so it is not a good idea to suggest he go off and join a group he cannot worship with, hence his question in the first place.  Smiley

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« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2003, 08:32:56 AM »

Well if he joined ROCOR, the True (Old Calendar) Orthodox Church of Greece, the Jerusalem Patriarchate or the Serbian Orthodox Church he could worship using the Old Rite in Erie when he visits or if he decided to move there. But if he's sure he's want to be an Old believer, he would probably want to be in the Russian Church. Cheesy
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« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2003, 08:35:23 AM »

According to a poster on byzcath, there is supposedly a group of Greek Old Believers in Florida.  Now what's up with that, Old Believers having separated on account of Greek practices being introduced in the Russian Church, now Greeks are Old Believers? HUH?

LOL.

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« Reply #15 on: May 16, 2003, 08:48:35 AM »

That would not happen to be from the mouth of Dr. Alex Roman, would it?
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« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2003, 09:06:32 AM »

That would not happen to be from the mouth of Dr. Alex Roman, would it?

No, it is from the mouth of Vasili, a man who went from Byzantine Catholic to Messianic Jew, back to Byzantine Catholic, Orthodox, Old Calendarist Orthodox, then ended up priestless Old Believer, supposedly in this Greek Old Believer community in Florida!

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« Reply #17 on: May 16, 2003, 09:33:40 AM »

BTW, not only ROCOR but I think the main Russian Church, or Moscow Patriarchate, also has lifted the ban on Old Believer practices and has a few congregations that use them.

(There is also still a completely separate Old Believer church with a hierarchy in Russia, led by Metropolitan Alympy in Moscow.)

As for wanting to be like them, one always can go to a regular Russian church (MP, ROCOR or OCA) but use the Old Orthodox Prayer Book, the Old Believer book, at home, no?

Old Believers taking in disaffected Greeks who use Greek practices? Yes, that's pretty wild. Like the true story of the Old Believer congregation in Russia, with a priest, that became Russian Catholic, back around the turn of the last century. Some of Russia's ultimate xenophobes, for whom the Greeks weren't good enough, united with the Western Church?!?!

Someone active online has claimed that Fr (secret bishop) Leontij, better known to Catholics as Blessed Leonid Feodorov, the exarch of the Russian Catholics circa 1905, was a converted Old Believer but that's not true. He was originally a born member of the state Russian Orthodox Church, but the aforementioned Old Believer congregation was under him as a Russian Catholic church.

There are a couple of links about Old Believers in the Russian section of my Slavic page.
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« Reply #18 on: May 16, 2003, 09:39:06 AM »

Well if he joined ROCOR, the True (Old Calendar) Orthodox Church of Greece, the Jerusalem Patriarchate or the Serbian Orthodox Church he could worship using the Old Rite in Erie when he visits or if he decided to move there. But if he's sure he's want to be an Old believer, he would probably want to be in the Russian Church. Cheesy

It doesn't sound very practical, Nik, with the Old Rite Church of the Nativity in Erie, PA, being the only Russian Old Rite church available.  Moving to join a single parish without investigating first?  I dunno.

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« Reply #19 on: May 16, 2003, 11:48:23 AM »

Here is a recent article on the Old Believers and their bishop in Erie.
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« Reply #20 on: May 16, 2003, 12:27:41 PM »

Btw, what are the basic differences between Old Believers and non?
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« Reply #21 on: May 16, 2003, 12:43:07 PM »

The only real difference between Old Believers and other Russian Orthodox is one of ritual - the OBs retain older Russian usages that evolved in the Middle Ages, such as crossing themselves with two fingers out (ring and index) and other minor matters, like spelling the Name of Jesus Ic-â-ü-è and not I-+-ü-â-ü-è. Also, some sects of OBs are 'priestless', thinking the apostolic succession has died out, and so are waiting for the imminent end of time (they've been waiting for 400 years).

They called the current Russian way of holding the fingers to cross yourself, which was copied in the 1600s from the Greek version and is used by most Orthodox today, 'the claw of Satan'!

Among those that have clergy, their bishops wear mitres that are different from other Russian Orthodox, using an older form of the crown that is lower, has sides and isn't rounded, and has fur trim at the bottom.
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« Reply #22 on: May 16, 2003, 11:15:03 PM »

It's not really these things I'm concerned about.  I cross myself with three fingers, it doesn't seem that important.  I do believe that the Old Julian calander should be used and organs shouldn't and pews very sparingly, maybe calling myself a Old Believer was a bit extreme, but the fact remains, I'm still a conservative Orthodox (probably too much so).
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« Reply #23 on: May 16, 2003, 11:23:56 PM »

I'm still a conservative Orthodox (probably too much so).

You can't be too conservative of an Orthodox in praxis. If you are an old calendarist and a conservative Orthodox, you should be in a old calendar, traditional Church.
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« Reply #24 on: May 16, 2003, 11:29:27 PM »

That's one of the issues, Fr. Stylianos informed me that the GOC (including his parish) uses the Gregorian calendar, as does the EP (one more thing that confuses me about it).  I don't know.  It's just so hard to find people of a similar belief, even when they are of a similar belief.
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« Reply #25 on: May 16, 2003, 11:29:40 PM »

Quote
It's not really these things I'm concerned about.  I cross myself with three fingers, it doesn't seem that important.  I do believe that the Old Julian calander should be used and organs shouldn't and pews very sparingly, maybe calling myself a Old Believer was a bit extreme, but the fact remains, I'm still a conservative Orthodox (probably too much so).

And:

Quote
If you are an old calendarist and a conservative Orthodox, you should be in a old calendar, traditional Church.

FYI, the Russian Orthodox Church, a.k.a. the Moscow Patriarchate, incidentally the world's biggest Orthodox church, is and does all those things.
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« Reply #26 on: May 16, 2003, 11:33:46 PM »

I don't think that there are any MP churches in my area.  There may be one, but it's about an hour away and alternates between Indiana and Benton Harbor, but maybe that's ROCOR.  I'm not sure.
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« Reply #27 on: May 17, 2003, 12:33:51 AM »

Justin,

As I mentioned three times in this thread, there is an MP parish in Battle Creek, 30 minutes from you by car. :-)

Why don't you try being just Orthodox first?  Nicholas is trying to pursuade you that you belong in an Old Calendarist parish and maybe you will end up in one someday, which is fine with me, but I find it a bit irresponsible for him to keep pushing that when the local Orthodox Church in your area is New Calendar parish and the Old Calendar parishes are distant, and you said you have transportation issues.

You need to just keep looking at all your options.  Old Calendar, New Calendar, in the end it doesn't matter, what matters is that you become a dedicated Orthodox.

As far as too conservative in your praxis, Nicholas is actualy somewhat wrong to suggest you can't be. You can, at least at the beginning.  You need to go into this relaxed and one step at a time; don't get gung ho.  You are going to like some aspects of your local Orthodox parish and hate others; the key is to put it in perspective and grow spiritually.  If after you have grown you see you are incompatible with your parish, then move on. But don't move every time you are upset about something or you will be outside of Orthodoxy quicker than you entered (having run out of "more and more conservative" options).

Just keep posting here, we can supply you with book ideas, and be in touch with Fr. Sty., the MP priest in BC, and via email contact a ROCOR priest if you'd like--I am urging you to consider ALL options.  Realistically, though, you need to join the GOA parish in your town, and when your circumstances change, you might change parishes.  You need to be there at least six months before you are going to start to "get" Orthodoxy anyway, so why rush? (not saying you were, I'm just trying to offer advice).

anastasios
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« Reply #28 on: May 17, 2003, 04:28:44 AM »

Wise advice from such a young fella, anastasios!   Grin

Justin, before anything else you need to be in regular contact with an Orthodox priest and begin regular attendance at Orthodox Divine Services.  If the GOA parish is what is nearest, begin there--that is solid advice that anastasios is giving you above, and I agree with it 100%.

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« Reply #29 on: May 17, 2003, 08:46:57 AM »

Christ is Risen!

Anastasios,

He said he can't even get to the GOA Church now and that he has been investigating orthodoxy for 2 years! When he can go to any Orthodox Church of his choosing, since he indentifies with the Old Calendar and a conservative praxis, that is the type of Church he should go to if he has the option.

Just like if and when you become Orthodox, Anastasios, you would probably be happier in a church that is more ecumenical with Roman Catholics and the Orientals churches. Also your preference for Greek chant would probably find you happier in a church with that style of chant.

As for why I suggest if he has the option, to start in a Church that he identifies with, I feel it is better advice than to tell him to start in a Church he does nto identify and then if he does not like it, jump to another. It can set one up for a bad pattern. I know there are a number of converts in ROCOR now that began in GOA, OCA or the Antiochian church, but do not you agree with the notion it is healthier spiritually to start and one Church and remain there?

But, as my priest would say, if there is no one from the Church elsewhere to give you a ride (as there often is at ROCOR churches that people drive long distances to attend) and you can only attend the GOA church, then attend there for now.
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« Reply #30 on: May 17, 2003, 11:50:50 AM »

I think that it's good that we are all concerned so much for Justin.  Justin, we just want the best for you.  I'm praying you will find good, decent transportation and will be able to visit whichever Orthodox parish you'd like soon, and as I said before, if you need book suggestions, just ask, as we can recommend many!

In Christ,

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« Reply #31 on: May 18, 2003, 10:29:43 PM »

Thank you all for your concern, I really do appreciate it.  Thanks for your prayers too.  I've been doing what I can to get to where I need to be, but circumstance is not working in my favor at this time, nor for the past 2 years.  Soon though, soon I will be buying a car, hopefully a reliable on this time.  I should have the money too aside from classes and such.  Then I can at least get to the GOA parish.  I'll also try to get to the MP parish if I can.  I hope to make it by the fall.  We'll see how this works.  We hope to put a Justin in the GOA parish by the fall of 2003!  I hope anyway, please keep on praying for me.
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« Reply #32 on: May 21, 2003, 06:06:26 PM »

Neither the Old Believers or the Old Calendarists are part of World Orthodoxy. Most of them are hostile to the Patriarchs of Orthodoxy and are not in communion with them. The ROCOR has an irregular status as it has been discused in other threads.

In my modest opinion, I think it's better to stay with the leaders of the Church and to help them to solve the problems. Maybe if your parish is so modernized and Protestantized, it's because no one has ever complained about that. It's always good to write the Bishop and to tell him about the current problems in the cathechesis or the liturgy. We all live in a Western liberal society, it doesn't surprise me that those who destroyed the Western Church are also trying to destroy the Orthodox Church too.
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« Reply #33 on: May 21, 2003, 06:10:52 PM »

Neither the Old Believers or the Old Calendarists are part of World Orthodoxy. Most of them are hostile to the Patriarchs of Orthodoxy and are not in communion with them. The ROCOR has an irregular status as it has been discused in other threads.

Well the Serbian Church, MP, JP, among others are all Old Calendarists and part of World Orthodoxy. In fact, this means most of World Orthodoxy is actually Old Calendarists. ROCOR may be in an irregular situation, but is still canonical with its communion with the JP and the Serbian Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #34 on: May 21, 2003, 10:21:22 PM »

Well the Serbian Church, MP, JP, among others are all Old Calendarists and part of World Orthodoxy. In fact, this means most of World Orthodoxy is actually Old Calendarists. ROCOR may be in an irregular situation, but is still canonical with its communion with the JP and the Serbian Orthodox Church.

The Serbian Church, the ACROD (under the EP), the MP, and the JP are indeed part of so-called "World Orthodoxy," which is nothing other than the canonical Orthodox Churches in communion with each other, *irrespective* of calendar issues, i.e., the One Holy Orthodox Catholic Church.  But the Serbian Church, the MP, et al., don't tout themselves as separatist "Old Calendarists," as, for example, do the multitude of squabbling Greek Old Calendarist sects, each anathematizing the other.  The Serbian Church, et al., simply never adopted the Revised Julian Calendar and remain on the traditional Julian Calendar, but do not use the calendar as an excuse to break communion with those Orthodox Churches which have adopted the Revised Julian, or "New," Calendar.

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« Reply #35 on: May 22, 2003, 11:29:52 PM »

Some Old believer links and info at http://www.lib.vt.edu/subjects/slav/relig_chr_russia.html
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