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seraphim08
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« on: November 19, 2007, 11:41:55 PM »

hello all. my name is aaron. i am a catechumen in the Orthodox Church and will be chrismated, God willing, Pascha 2008. it's been an interesting time in my life to say the least. but the thing that has gotten me down is there are no Orthodox Christians my age here so i feel kind of disconnected. so i'm here to hopefully make some friends. God bless, and everyone have a great thanksgiving!
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« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2007, 11:47:18 PM »

Welcome Seraphim.  I hope your search for Orthodox companions yields fruit, either here on orthodoxchristianity.net or in real life.  You may be surprised at how close some of the members might be to you.  May God bless your catecumenate, and I echo your wish for a blessed Thanksgiving holiday.
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« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2007, 12:08:23 AM »

Hi Aaron,

Welcome to Oc.net! It's a good site. The people are very friendly, and the moderators keep things going in a constructive and non-injurious way.

Are you, by any chance, Seraphim from Eastern Orthodox Forums? In any case, may I ask, where do you live, and how old are you? The thing is, I know some Ukrainians living in various places in the USA, and almost all of them are Orthodox, so they might be not far from you.

May our God bless your path!

George (Heorhij)
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« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2007, 12:17:17 AM »

It's nice to have you here Aaron and I wish you a wonderful journey to Orthodoxy.  It's been a long time since I went through the catechuminate but I still remember it as the most exciting and challenging time of my life.  Convert zeal is sort of a big rush that you just can't describe unless you go through it.  Enjoy the ride.

Do you mind telling us a little bit about the demographics of the parish you're in?  Older folks, converts vs. cradle or a mix, etc...  It is isolating when you don't have anyone closer in age to you.  Maybe though you are the first of more to come.  Also, if there aren't any Orthodox Christians your age, do you have any friends that you'd feel comfortable inviting to attend with you.  Someone in your life must be curious about the change you're going through.  Maybe curious enough to start going to church with you.

Persevere in prayer.
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« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2007, 12:18:26 AM »

Welcome!  I am also a catechumen!
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« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2007, 12:19:24 AM »

Welcome Aaron, grab a seat partake and enjoy...

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« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2007, 12:26:20 AM »

Welcome, Aaron. Smiley
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« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2007, 12:33:30 AM »

Welcome Aaron,
  What an exciting time for you learning about and experiencing Orthodoxy. May God bless you and keep strong in your faith .  I hope you eventually will be able to find some Orthodox friends your age at your parish...but in the meantime you can take solace in the community here.

 :)Juliana
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« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2007, 12:37:32 AM »

Welcome, Aaron. You will enjoy this site. Relationships are friendly and supportive. May God bless you in your journey of cathecumenate.

Maybe though you are the first of more to come. 

Exactly. I know parishes for which it was the case.
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« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2007, 02:35:04 AM »

Hey Aaron hope you feel welcome at this forum you will make many a friend and learn many a lesson. If you feel like talking to a teenage Orthodox just send me a PM.
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seraphim08
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« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2007, 05:18:34 AM »

hello all. i want to say thanks for the warm welcome. it's really comforting to get so many replies my first evening here.
to address your questions more specifically:

Heorhij-- I go to Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Bluff City, TN. There are a couple other Orthodox Churches in the area. There's an Antiochian church in Johnson City and a Russian Church in Bristol. I've never been to either of these churches I confess. But it's mostly because I really felt more peace regarding this specific church, it's priest and so forth.

TinaG-- On a good Sunday we probably have anywhere from 40-60 people that come to our church. They are basically all probably late 40s and up. As far as the convert/cradle ratio I couldn't tell you. I still don't know much about the people there. I know my sponsor and my priest are both converts but otherwise I don't know. I still maintain my friendships with my non-Orthodox Christian friends, the majority of which have been very supportive of my decision. Some might perhaps be persuaded to come to church with me some Sunday but the majority are comfortable where they are. And I am ashamed to admit that I have not been the example I should be of a good Orthodox convert who is wondrously happy and full of zeal. I believe I am going in the right direction, but this time in my life has been one of cleansing. Little by little, I am losing everything I once held dear. I hope God has a plan for all of this, but right now it's everything I can do not to hate Him for taking everything from me.

Drewmeister2-- I want to send to you my best wishes regarding your catechumenate. I hope God continues to bless your journey.

Prodromas-- Thank you for your encouragement and offers to speak. I extend the same invitation to you.

Once again, thanks everyone for making me feel welcome. I hope that I am able to get to know whom I can as deeply as I can. While I do, and always will, love the friends I've made over the years, I've just wanted so much to make some friends who are on the same journey as I am. God bless you all and have a great Thanksgiving holiday. Stay in touch.

~Aaron
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« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2007, 09:06:13 AM »

Heorhij-- I go to Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Bluff City, TN. There are a couple other Orthodox Churches in the area. There's an Antiochian church in Johnson City and a Russian Church in Bristol. I've never been to either of these churches I confess. But it's mostly because I really felt more peace regarding this specific church, it's priest and so forth.   

Really?  Fr. Kevin is a classmate of mine (and FrChris, and GiC, and pensateomnia)!  I spend 3 1/2 good years with him at seminary.  I'm glad you are comfortable at his Church.  PM me and let me know what the parish is doing, how you like Fr. Kevin, etc.
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« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2007, 09:49:12 AM »


And I am ashamed to admit that I have not been the example I should be of a good Orthodox convert who is wondrously happy and full of zeal. I believe I am going in the right direction, but this time in my life has been one of cleansing. Little by little, I am losing everything I once held dear. I hope God has a plan for all of this, but right now it's everything I can do not to hate Him for taking everything from me.


No need to feel bad - sounds like you are doing just what you need to be doing.   Your friends will respect a well-intentioned struggle and effort rather than an "I've got it all under control" attitude.  Every catechumen progresses at different speeds. 

But you do concern me with the statement that everything you held dear is being taken away from you.   Could you clarify what is being taken away that has upset you so much.   The control of our sins and human weaknesses is one thing, but I hope, in your conversion to Orthodoxy you don't think you need to totally chuck your personhood, interests and beliefs all by the date of your chrismation (for example, you don't need to burn all your pre-orthodox books, cleanse your cd collection, and dress all in black  Wink at least not yet).  Conversion is a gradual process, and if you're struggling with hating God for the changes in your life, maybe you need to slow down.  Convert zeal is a really powerful feeling, but it can be taken to an extreme.  Just because your spiritual father is proposing chrismation by Pascha 2008, you don't have to be a saint or a monastic by that date.  Give yourself something to work on for the next 20 or 30 years.

Talk honestly and openly with your priest about the struggles you're having.  Besides talking to God and all his saints, your priest is one person you can and should feel the freedom to be frank with.  Clairvoyance is a spiritual gift given to very few people, so chances are he can't read your mind.

My 2 cents for what it's worth but I hope you find a few words that benefit you.



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« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2007, 12:00:44 PM »

It's so wonderful to have someone from Fr. Kevin's parish here! I was talking with him just last week! If you're ever in Birmingham (not that unlikely of an occurence...) please come by to see me!

How did you find us?

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seraphim08
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« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2007, 11:20:44 PM »

fr. chris,
i found you through the communites list on orthodoxwiki. it is just as exciting for me to meet people who know fr. millsaps. he's a good man and is a real blessing to his parish.

tinag,
i'm sorry if i disturbed you. a lot of how i feel is not in regards to Orthodoxy. it has more to do with my place in life: working a sorry job for sorry money, feeling disconnected from all my friends, not being in school anymore, getting dumped by the girl i was looking to marry next year, and a list of other minor annoyances. no i don't have to get rid of all my non-Orthodox books or music right now, but i don't feel comfortable with them anymore either. the fact is, whether i want to or not, i am losing everything without and within that i felt safe and happy in. all i have is a small shred of hope that God is working this out for my good and that i don't have to live the rest of my life all alone.

by the way all, i'm not the seraphim from the other forum. just wanted to clear that up.
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« Reply #15 on: November 24, 2007, 01:57:50 AM »

Dear Seraphim08,
If you will allow me to insert my $0.02. Yes, I have been in various situations myself and I know how it hurts. God is on our side and He will work out things for our good. You are in my prayers.
I have met Fr. Kevin and he is an absolutely wonderful person. Very smart with a great integrity and a very friendly attitude to people.
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