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Author Topic: Wrestling in my Soul  (Read 3645 times) Average Rating: 0
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NDHoosier
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« on: October 28, 2002, 09:52:44 PM »

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« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2002, 12:07:59 AM »

Hoosier,

I fear you will find no easy answers.  No matter what you decide, you in for a long period of praying and soul searching.  Not that that is always a bad thing.  

You will find that as Orthodoxy has no central bishop that there will be differences between the various Orthodox churches.  Often these differences are over liturgical and historical matters, very few if any are tied to the dogmas of the Church.  

Many of the problems with "fractured" Orthodoxy in North America are from the chaos that we were left in following the Revolution of 1917.  This has caused a rift between members of the Russian body of Orthodoxy who were entrusted with evangelizing North America.  After the support of the motherland quickly waned, many Greeks, Arabs, Serbs, etc brought priests and bishops from their homelands.  This is one of the many reasons we find ourselves in the current organizaional mess.

With my limited understanding of ecclesiastical history, this is not a unique phenomenon.  In both west and east there were a multitude of schisms, bad hierarchs, and many other faults.  Christ promised that the Church would never be conquered by the very gates of hell.  Christ did not promise that the administration and human sheparding of His flock would be perfect.  Yes, there have been schisms, crusades, and murders even.  But even in these weaknesses Christ has not abandoned the Church, and holiness is still found within.  

If you're searching for a Byzantine, Russian, or even pre-Vatican II ecclesiastical paradise that in all reality never actually existed, I hope you are prepared for a long search that may not bear fruit.  However, if realizing the corruptibility of human members of the church while maintaining the sanctity of those who have stayed the course you will find the Church a hospital for the soul and the key to communion with God.  

As far as where to turn to find "real" Orthodoxy in America, I am hesitant to comment, because that question should be examined in detail before proceeding.  There are groups calling proclaiming themselves Orthodox when they should not, just as there are groups proclaiming themselves as Catholic.  The jurisdictions I am familiar with and can reccomend without worry are the Antiochian Archdiocese, Greek American Archdiocese, Orthodox Church in America, and Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.  There are many other "canonical" churches out there, but these are the most populous in North America.  If you would be willing to tell us your city and state, we can perhaps reccomend a specific parish.  

I will not comment on the two specific issues you mentioned as I am not versed well enough to guide you.  I hope you find the answers you are looking for and will pray for your mind, body, and soul.  I would also ask your prayers for my own sinful soul that God may have mercy on me.

David
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NDHoosier
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« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2002, 10:14:02 AM »

Hoosier,

(snip)

If you would be willing to tell us your city and state, we can perhaps reccomend a specific parish.  

David

I live in Indianapolis
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« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2002, 10:37:31 AM »

Please forgive me Hoosier, as Serge and I both seem to have missed your request!

At some point in my journey I started to see the errors of the Latin Catholic Church and was glas that I was UGCC because of it, but then you start to realize, why do I want to be in communion with them?

But that is not why I made the leap.

In reading the councils, in reading the Fathers, in reading dogma in relation to these, I found Orthodoxy to be the truth.

But I didn't make the leap immediately.

I have a daughter, one that is very commited to her Faith and one that is in parochial school. I work for an order of the Latin Church and was a board member at my UGCC church. So making the move would be difficult. PLUS, I wanted to sit on it, and make sure I could not be talked out of my decision. I went to people and asked questions, seeing if they could explain the Catholic dogma that went against tradition, but they could not.

Then one night as a prayed, I felt a voice. Who's voice I do not know. As I was praying for guidance on if I should just become Orthodox, the voice said, "If you do this, you will destroy your daughter's Faith!"

Obviously I was scared. But I discerned the voice, my idea of how to convert and what I knew to be true. So little by little over months I started to explain the Orthodox Church and how it was the Mother Church of the UGCC, and how things were different. I didn't tell her that I was leaning towards Orthodoxy at all. I was leaving what I said up to her to put together.

I started feeling like a hypocrite when I attended the Liturgy at my UGCC church.

Still I waited and eventually started visiting a local Orthodox Church.

I also started explaining more things I had learned to my daughter. I was not going to rip her Catholic Faith from her, although as traditional as we were, it really only required tweaks at her age. Over time she too started to realize that Orthodoxy had things right where Catholicism had things wrong.

And last Sunday, she said what finally set my heart at ease. She said that she felt more a part of this church than any other she had ever attended and she has a feeling of this being right that she just cannot explain. My soul rejoiced.

So thats the abbreviated version of my journey from the UGCC to becoming a catechumen in ROCOR. I hope it is of some help to you. God Bless!

P.S. ROCOR Churches in Indianna can be found at http://directory.sjkp.org/parishes.php?state=IN&submitButtonName=Go
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« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2002, 10:48:07 AM »

Nik,

I had to pop in and say your story is very touching and close to my heart. I have a very similiar story to tell (with the same ending) in my journey to the Holy Synod of Greece.

God bless.
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Hypo-Ortho
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« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2002, 10:49:58 AM »

Hoosier,

(snip)

If you would be willing to tell us your city and state, we can perhaps reccomend a specific parish.  

David

I live in Indianapolis

You are very fortunate then, because in Indianapolis, you have three "canonical" Orthodox churches all in the same neighborhood, if not on the same street: OCA Romanian, Serbian and Bulgarian, I believe.  There are other Orthodox churches also, but be careful: some have the name "Orthodox" in their title (such as the Evangelical Orthodox Church), but have no historical connection to the Eastern Orthodox Church.

I've been to the OCA Romanian church--Saints Constantine and Helen--in Indianapolis, and it is a fine parish that utilizes English and a little Romanian in its liturgical services and used to have (and may still) an outreach to the Orthodox students and faculty at Indiana University in Bloomington.  I'd begin there.

I would also attend services at the Serbian and Bulgarian Orthodox churches nearby when you have the opportunity to get a "feel" of how you may possibly fit in in these more ethnic-oriented parishes.  When I was in Bloomington,  I never did make it to these latter two parishes in Indianapolis due to time constraints, however much I wanted to.  Hope this little bit helps.

Hypo-Ortho
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NDHoosier
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« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2002, 11:18:09 AM »

Does anyone know about Joy of All Who Sorrow Eastern Orthodox Church at 16th Street and Delaware in downtown Indianapolis?  I have had some contact with them in the past.

Many thanks!
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« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2002, 02:35:07 PM »

Does anyone know about Joy of All Who Sorrow Eastern Orthodox Church at 16th Street and Delaware in downtown Indianapolis?  I have had some contact with them in the past.

Many thanks!

Joy of All Who Sorrow was a Protestant congregation which was received into Orthodoxy under the Bulgarian Patriarchate last year, so I would imagine that it's likely made up almost entirely of converts.  There's also a very nice Antiochian Orthodox Church in Indy which I visited a couple of years ago, St. George http://www.stgindy.org/ and their pastor, Fr. Nabil Hannah is the webmaster of the Antiochian Archdiocese  http://www.antiochian.org

The following is a link I found of Orthodox Churches in Central Indiana.
http://home.att.net/~st.nicholas.indy/html/pcciocc.htm

Theodore
« Last Edit: November 05, 2002, 02:41:10 PM by Nik » Logged
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« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2002, 02:45:17 PM »

Quote
Joy of All Who Sorrow was a Protestant congregation which was received into Orthodoxy under the Bulgarian Patriarchate last year, so I would imagine that it's likely made up almost entirely of converts.

A congregation of the tiny, fast disappearing (through absorption into Orthodoxy) Evangelical Orthodox Church? Former Episcopalians? Or something else?
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« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2002, 02:59:01 PM »

Serge wrote: A congregation of the tiny, fast disappearing (through absorption into Orthodoxy) Evangelical Orthodox Church? Former Episcopalians? Or something else?

I think CSB.

Hypo-Ortho wrote: There are other Orthodox churches also, but be careful: some have the name "Orthodox" in their title (such as the Evangelical Orthodox Church), but have no historical connection to the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Didn't they get received into the OCA recently?  Or was that a different EvangOC parish in Indanapolis?

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« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2002, 02:23:09 AM »

Serge wrote: A congregation of the tiny, fast disappearing (through absorption into Orthodoxy) Evangelical Orthodox Church? Former Episcopalians? Or something else?

I think CSB.

Hypo-Ortho wrote: There are other Orthodox churches also, but be careful: some have the name "Orthodox" in their title (such as the Evangelical Orthodox Church), but have no historical connection to the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Didn't they get received into the OCA recently?  Or was that a different EvangOC parish in Indanapolis?

Chrysostomos

Chrysostomos, it's been about 10 years since I've been to Indy, and the ecclesiastical scene could have changed considerably since then.  When I was there I noted that there was an "Evangelical Orthodox Church" in addition to the canonical Orthodox churches heretofore mentioned.  Not all congregations of the EOC joined the canonical Orthodox Church, and the EOC still exists as a separate, but smaller, denomination in some places.  I don't know about the EOC's status in Indy today.

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« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2002, 08:26:19 AM »

Hypo-Ortho,

Of course you're right - the EOC did still exist after the great 1988 merger with Antioch because a faction stayed behind. But much more recently these congregations have been joining the OCA. There may be one or two EOC congregations left.
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« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2002, 08:53:46 AM »

Nik,

I had to pop in and say your story is very touching and close to my heart. I have a very similiar story to tell (with the same ending) in my journey to the Holy Synod of Greece.

God bless.

Thanks OOD, feel free to share your story as I am sure many would love to here it. I know that I, for sure, definitely would. God bless you too.
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« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2002, 01:45:16 PM »

Hypo-Ortho,

Of course you're right - the EOC did still exist after the great 1988 merger with Antioch because a faction stayed behind. But much more recently these congregations have been joining the OCA. There may be one or two EOC congregations left.

Based on their e-mail address (as listed on the directory at:
http://home.att.net/~st.nicholas.indy/html/pcciocc.htm ), which is
 csb@indy.net , I'd guess that they're former CSB.

Theodore
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« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2002, 02:54:32 PM »

Nik,

I grew up in the GOA, and despite that, later in my life I had a mild spiritual awakening. I read books of all different sorts, not too many, but enough. It seeming important to me at the time to take a serious look at different religions such as Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and even the Bahai faith. I became convinced that Christianity was the true faith, and a relationship with the God of these other pagan faiths did not equate even without a Christian comparison.

My attention seemed to shift to my immediate surroundings over a period of time. I suddenly became aware that the GOA was much more a society of worshippers of Greek culture than of Christ, even though, strangly enough, organs and pews are not Greek. Smiley

This compelled me to join the OCA where I was eventually “married” and had my first child “baptized” (of course the hyphens are not to offend anyone). This OCA church was much more “orthodox” than the GOA, and I became aware of the differences in practice.

Over a period of years at the OCA, myself and my family became comfortable, but my studying never ceased. Deep inside I felt the yearning to draw closer to Christ, but somehow I felt something preventing me from this endeavor. I am not sure why, but have since concluded that it was a combination of what I now realize was still a very spiritually dry atmosphere, and I still did not understand the other Christian faiths very well. It’s almost like I was getting ready to really “buy in” to Orthodoxy but still didn’t understand why Orthodoxy was superior to say, papalism.

Well, I spent some very serious time and money in books reading. I was immediately drawn further toward Orthodoxy and the only challenger was papalism. Papalism wasn’t a really serious challenge from a theological sense at all, I found it very dry and legalistic. The seriousness came from their historic claims and it took considerable research putting their claims in context, which showed them to not only be a theological sham, but also a historical sham.

During this process, when I became not only convinced that Orthodoxy was the only true Christian faith, but also very shocked that so few saw what I saw, I began to stumble on statements and deeds of what I thought were Orthodox bishops. They obviously did not share my glorious discovery.

So just when my search should have been over it wasn’t. I became immediately troubled by the fact that Orthodoxy was being sold out and that I was following, commemorating, and sharing the cup of Christ with Judas. I was immediately drawn to the “Old Calendarists” who I knew I truly shared the same faith, but their visible disunity kept me away. Then I came across several books written by Alexander Kalomiros. “Against False Union” really cleared things up for me and I knew I was on the right track. Then I read his second work “The Touchstone”. This second book helped me understand TRUE Orthodox ecclesiology and I had no further issues.

There were several “Old Calendar” Churches in my area, and after some research I attended a service, just me and my son; my wife was ill that day which worked out great because I knew it would be very difficult getting her to go. When all the elements of the service became apparent, my jaw almost literally hit the floor. I was shocked, amazed, and felt completely inadequate.

I’m sorry this story has gone on so long.

Needless to say, I convinced my wife, who is naturally gifted with a Christian behavior and life (truly amazing) to attend a Vespers service. She was impressed, albeit not as much as me, but still had reservations.

It took some time, and even though she became much more comfortable with our new Church, recognized the difference in shear majesty, and became much closer to the people there, I finally did hear her say she a few years ago she was happy to be there from a theological point of view.

And since our journey to the Holy Synod of the Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece, our real journey was finally and truly underway. Oh how my heart has rejoiced!

Sorry for the length and sloppy writing (I’m pressed for time and sacrificed grammar for length).

God bless.
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