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Author Topic: Interested in Orthodoxy  (Read 4409 times) Average Rating: 0
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hgs0814
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« on: November 04, 2007, 05:22:05 PM »

Hi, this is my first post on the community. I am attending a local Orthodox church which is fairly new and was wondering if anyone could point me to some good literature/websites for those interested in Orthodoxy.
Also, what is the typical process for becoming an Orthodox Christian?
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« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2007, 05:46:04 PM »

Welcome to the Convert Forum!

You should always contact you local priest in the parish you are attending and he will advise you on what he requires for a person to become an Orthodox Christian. 

Historically, catechumens were divided into mere inquirers (audientes, akromeni) and catechumens proper. If a person came to the church to inquire, he was given some elementary instruction in the fundamental doctrines and practices of the Church, once he had shown by his conduct  that he was in earnest about the step he was about to take and appeared that he was likely to persevere, the inquirer was promoted to the rank of catechumen. This indicates that the first stage of training is attendance at church services, going to education classes or reading specifically assigned readings, and changing one’s life more in conformity to that of an Orthodox Christian lifestyle.

When this is done to the satisfaction of the priest, the person is deemed ready to become a Catechumen. The catechumen is made through a very specific ritual of the Orthodox Church in which he is  prayed for by the priest and receives  three exorcisms, The Catechumen then declares publicly his joining of self to Christ and states the Nicene Creed . At this point he becomes the newly illumined, a catechumen. The catechumen is expected to attend to the services of the church regularly, to continue his/her education in Orthodox Christianity (either in classes or by study), and to exhibit a dedication to the Orthodox Christian lifestyle that includes fasting, prayer, and almsgiving.

Normally after 6-12 months of devoutly attending to his catechesis, the catechumen will be advised by the Priest that he may be baptized/chrismated into the Church.  This Liturgical act formalizes the acceptance of the Catechumen of the waters of baptism and the gift of the Holy Spirit given at Chrismation. Once a member of the body of Christ, the newly illumined in Christ may now receive all the sacraments of the Church.

As each pastor/priest has his own interpretation on what it takes, you should discuss the matter with your pastor.  He will direct your readings, probably teach all or most of the classes you will need to take to  eventually  become an orthodox Christian.  In my parish I am the catechumen director, I work with each  inquirer and catechumen under the direction of my pastor to create an individualized  reading program to go with the  required classes  taught be our priest. As our parish is almost entirely 1st generation Orthodox Christians at the request of my pastor I teach a class on Orthopraxis over twelve months time that assists the  catecumen and newly illumined Orthodox Christian to learn the Traditions and traditions of the church---things like lighting charcoal and placing incense, prepparing and maintaining oil lampadas---things my cradle born Godparents taught me but that is often missing in a convert parish.

 Feel free to ask questions of us on the forum  but remember that the key thing is to talk everything over with your priest and start your Christian education.
In Christ,
Thomas
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« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2007, 05:50:08 PM »

Here are a couple of good Orthodox websites:

http://www.copticchurch.net/

http://www.goarch.org/
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« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2007, 06:15:19 PM »

I suggest two very good books by Timothy Ware: The Orthodox Church and The Orthodox Way (the second is under the name he took after becoming a bishop, Kallistos). They may be available at your church if it has a small library, as it's a popular introductory view of Orthodoxy to catechumens.



I seem to be Bishop Ware's salesperson around here, always suggesting his books.  Cheesy
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« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2007, 07:04:55 PM »

I'll also add http://www.oca.org.  It has a whole section on the Orthodox faith, including a Q&A.
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« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2007, 10:23:11 PM »

Also feel free to ask on the site, any question you may have.  We have some fairly good people around who could help you. 
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« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2007, 10:43:12 AM »

Here's my list of good introductory materials:

http://www.myocn.net/index.php?option=com_weblinks&catid=103&Itemid=23
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« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2007, 11:12:31 AM »

Peace be with you new friend!

Seems you have received what you need already however may we please ask whereabouts you are as this may assist us in giving you more useful information?

Thank you and please pray for me.
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« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2007, 07:16:39 PM »

Greetings Hgs0814,

To the excellent recommendations others gave, may I add my recommendation of a Web site of my most favorite Orthodox theologian, pastor, and teacher:

http://www.schmemann.org/

Also, if you happen to be fluent in Russian,

http://www.krotov.info/libr_min/25_sh/shme/man_41.htm

And in English, a short and simple catechism by Clark Carlton:

http://www.amazon.com/Faith-Understanding-Orthodox-Christianity-Catechism/dp/0964914115

May the Lord bless your search for the Truth!

George
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« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2007, 09:45:25 PM »

Wow! Thanks for all the helpful sites and books. I'll need to get busy reading all of this.
Didymus, I am located in Eastern North Carolina in Edenton, NC, small town an hour south of Virginia Beach. I am attending a fairly new church that does not have its own priest yet. Hope this helps.
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« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2007, 09:56:57 PM »

Wow, Edenton, NC. Used to go camping at a nearby old mill pond with my Boy Scout Troop - comprised  90% Orthodox guys. Learned to play chess there on a rainy weekend trip in 1964. Memory Lane for an old guy... Wonder if the mill is still there?

Where's your mission church?
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« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2007, 08:46:48 AM »

Wow! Thanks for all the helpful sites and books. I'll need to get busy reading all of this.
Didymus, I am located in Eastern North Carolina in Edenton, NC, small town an hour south of Virginia Beach. I am attending a fairly new church that does not have its own priest yet. Hope this helps.

Interesting. Smiley I am in the directly opposite situation: I attend a small mission parish where there is a priest (Fr. Theo), but no "church" (no building of our own).

Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe we "met" on another site. May the Lord bless your path! Please use me if you need any help with things Russian and/or Ukrainian, because I was raised in the former USSR and both Ukrainian and Russian are my two "first" languages. Nektarios and Young Fogey are also very fluent in Russian, and probably some others on this site.

George
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« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2007, 11:00:45 PM »

Lots of good books mentioned.  Learning about Orthodoxy is 40% bookwork and 60% Church services participation!  Fr. Tom Hopko's 4 volume set from the OCA seems pretty good as well.  Perhaps some of our non-USA priests who speak English could offer a thought or two about a book to read in English.  Maybe they use something in their English speaking countries that we don't use here. 
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« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2007, 12:21:42 AM »

Hi, this is my first post on the community. I am attending a local Orthodox church which is fairly new and was wondering if anyone could point me to some good literature/websites for those interested in Orthodoxy.
Also, what is the typical process for becoming an Orthodox Christian?
The books I would recommend have already been named. My advide to you would be to start attending service whenever possible—pray the prayers, sing the hymns, look at the icons—and let the life of the Church start seeping into you. As someone said, while reading is good, doing is also very important. 
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« Reply #14 on: November 13, 2007, 08:43:25 AM »

I agree with Wynd and Username! above. It's a blessing that you have a parish nearby. Establish a good relationship with the clergyperson in charge, whoever he is. He should be able to advise you on the so-called "orthopraxis" - everyday living the Orthodox faith (prayer rule, fasting, meditating, hospitality, charity, humility, participation in the liturgical life of the Church - particularly in the Holy Mysteries, - observing the Church calendar, etc.). Just reading about it isn't perhaps sufficient, as we all need personal direction.
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« Reply #15 on: November 13, 2007, 09:40:31 AM »

Well, are there any correspondence Catechism courses in Orthodoxy, similar to how the Roman Catholics used to it last time? Perhaps that may reduce the length of the catechesis journey. I hope that everyone understands that I'm against a 100% correspondence course as catechesis still involves some personal communication and being with one another in the community.
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« Reply #16 on: November 13, 2007, 09:52:49 AM »

There are several, I will try and get their names and addresses after I locate them. before you sign up however make sure you check with your priest as these correspondence courses are mainly meant to deepen you in the faith not to offer general catechesis.

Thomas
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« Reply #17 on: November 14, 2007, 01:32:19 AM »

Establish a good relationship with the clergyperson in charge, whoever he is.
No need to be PC here, George. Wink  We all know that any clergy in charge of a parish (therefore, a priest or bishop) will automatically be male, and therefore a clergyMAN. Grin  (No comment on whether we should ordain women to these roles; we have other threads for that.)
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« Reply #18 on: November 14, 2007, 02:44:24 AM »

No need to be PC here, George. Wink  We all know that any clergy in charge of a parish (therefore, a priest or bishop) will automatically be male, and therefore a clergyMAN. Grin  (No comment on whether we should ordain women to these roles; we have other threads for that.)

Be careful mate I think you have just reopened a can of worms! just wait for GIC to pull out the cannons!
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« Reply #19 on: November 14, 2007, 02:54:36 AM »

There are several, I will try and get their names and addresses after I locate them. before you sign up however make sure you check with your priest as these correspondence courses are mainly meant to deepen you in the faith not to offer general catechesis.

Thomas

Well, that's the thing. We don't exactly have a priest in Malaysia yet. We do have a mission. What I personally want for now, at least, is a correspondence course to introduce me to the Orthodox faith. I want to know something before I go for catechesis.
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« Reply #20 on: November 14, 2007, 09:48:53 PM »

cannons!
I love it!  Cheesy
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« Reply #21 on: November 14, 2007, 10:05:58 PM »

I love it!  Cheesy

LMAO i meant that literally like the cannons of the church but now I am quite impressed with this subconscious pun  Grin.
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« Reply #22 on: November 14, 2007, 10:47:23 PM »

Well, that's the thing. We don't exactly have a priest in Malaysia yet. We do have a mission. What I personally want for now, at least, is a correspondence course to introduce me to the Orthodox faith. I want to know something before I go for catechesis.

Selamat pagi, Collin

 You may try to get in touch with the office of Fr. Daniel Byantoro in Indonesia.  Sorry, I don't have any contact info to share with you, but I imagine it shouldn't be too difficult for you. 

 In Christ,
 Gabriel
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« Reply #23 on: November 15, 2007, 03:23:45 AM »

Ah, I will. Hopefully in time to come, he will show me how to read the Bible the way he does. Thanks to him, many have become Orthodox.
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« Reply #24 on: November 15, 2007, 12:31:38 PM »

Here is one of the canonical home study courses, this is from their website:

St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology was founded in 1976 as an arm of the Evangelical Orthodox Church and entered canonical Orthodoxy when that body was brought into the Antiochian Archdiocese. We offer a Correspondence Study Program, operate a Prisoner Education Program, and carry out various programs of research and study to prepare materials presenting the Orthodox Christian faith to Americans. The Orthodox Study Bible: New Testament and Psalms is an outstanding example of the fruit of our literature programs. Currently we publish booklets in the Timely Topics series and the Booklets for Children series. Also, whenever appropriate, we publish audio and video tapes on various topics.

St. Athanasius Academy has joined with the Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry, Conciliar Press, and the Department of Missions and Evangelism to form the new Council on Missions and Evangelism to jointly bring the Orthodox faith to Americans.

This information was taken from www.saaot.edu/aboutus.php

Is anyone else aware of any Orthodox Correspondence courses on an introductory level?

For more advanced studies, I believe that the Greek Orthodox Church is offering studies. Their website is www.goarch.org

I think that the same may be found in some articles on the OCA website at www.oca.org They have a diocesan level training/ reading program for men over 35 seeking the permanent diaconate

The Antiochians offer an array for graduate level studies thru the Antiochian House of Studies at www.antiochian.org/Education/ahs_top.htm


Thomas
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« Reply #25 on: November 15, 2007, 12:46:42 PM »

This might work as well, for heavy work:

http://www.holytrinitymission.org/index.php


Note: site is not Firefox friendly (for me) - IE seems best.
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« Reply #26 on: November 15, 2007, 05:16:43 PM »

No need to be PC here, George. Wink  We all know that any clergy in charge of a parish (therefore, a priest or bishop) will automatically be male, and therefore a clergyMAN. Grin  (No comment on whether we should ordain women to these roles; we have other threads for that.)

Oh, Peter, no, it's not because I tried to be PC. I know that it's always a man as long as it's an Orthodox church. The reason I wrote "whoever that person is," is that the original poster mentioned having a parish and yet not having a priest thus far. Smiley So, I meant a temporary priest or a deacon, or a subdeacon, or "whoever that person is." Smiley Smiley Smiley
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« Reply #27 on: November 15, 2007, 10:05:35 PM »

Wow, Edenton, NC. Used to go camping at a nearby old mill pond with my Boy Scout Troop - comprised  90% Orthodox guys. Learned to play chess there on a rainy weekend trip in 1964. Memory Lane for an old guy... Wonder if the mill is still there?

Where's your mission church?
We are currently meeting at the Catholic Church on Broad Street but we are moving into the renovated train depot down on King and Oakum.
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« Reply #28 on: February 10, 2008, 03:02:44 AM »

Wow! Thanks for all the helpful sites and books. I'll need to get busy reading all of this.
Didymus, I am located in Eastern North Carolina in Edenton, NC, small town an hour south of Virginia Beach. I am attending a fairly new church that does not have its own priest yet. Hope this helps.

I live in Grandy, and I'm moving to Hertford in about two weeks.  I've seen a listing for your church in the local phone book.  I've been attending a Catholic parish in Chesapeake for a while, but I have questions about and an interest in Orthodoxy.  I was actually thinking about visiting your church.  How are things there?  Where exactly in Edenton is the church located?
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« Reply #29 on: February 10, 2008, 10:34:59 AM »

Things are going very well at the church, we have recently moved into our new building which is located at the corner of King and Oakum Streetsabout three to four blocks left of downtown if you are driving towards the water down Broad Street. We have reader services the 1st 3rd and 4th sundays of every month and our priest comes from Raleigh on the second Sunday of each month for Divine Liturgy. We also have an inquirer's class which meets on Wednesday night's at 7:00 which you might be interested in.
Easiest way to get to the church from hertford would be to take the first Edenton exit and drive into town and take a left on Oakum Street, then drive down Oakum Street and the building will be the first on the left past King Street. Hope to see you soon!

--Harrison
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« Reply #30 on: February 11, 2008, 04:08:47 AM »

Things are going very well at the church, we have recently moved into our new building which is located at the corner of King and Oakum Streetsabout three to four blocks left of downtown if you are driving towards the water down Broad Street. We have reader services the 1st 3rd and 4th sundays of every month and our priest comes from Raleigh on the second Sunday of each month for Divine Liturgy. We also have an inquirer's class which meets on Wednesday night's at 7:00 which you might be interested in.
Easiest way to get to the church from hertford would be to take the first Edenton exit and drive into town and take a left on Oakum Street, then drive down Oakum Street and the building will be the first on the left past King Street. Hope to see you soon!

--Harrison


Thank you for the information.  I'm glad the church is doing well.  I'll try my best to make it to the inquirer's class this Wednesday night, the 13th.  I'm actually surprised that there is an Orthodox church in NENC.  I wasn't aware of this one until I read this thread.  Will you be getting a full time priest?
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« Reply #31 on: February 11, 2008, 09:08:51 AM »

hgs0814, welcome! Seems as though plenty of people are answering your questions already so hope to talk with you some other time.
Peace be with you and pray for me please Cool
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