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Irenaeus07
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« on: January 23, 2008, 12:01:49 PM »

Well, I have two churches that I could attend, the OCA, which is 40 minutes from my house.  And Greek OC, about 5 minutes from my house.

I am trying to figure out which one will be of more beneficial for me in the long run.

I like OCA because I speak english.  However, will going to greek speaking church hinder my learning in anyway? I would like to learn greek because I would like to go to Mt Athos and visit the monks there.


I guess my question is would going to a greek church hinder my learning? Or should I go to the OCA which speaks english, the only problem with that is it is 40 minutes away?

Or should I go to the OCA at first and learn then and after I've learned join the greek one?


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« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2008, 12:07:01 PM »

Visit both, and more than one time. 40 minutes is not insurmountable. 5 minutes is tempting. Are you certain the Greek parish is Greek only?
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« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2008, 12:08:33 PM »

Well, I have two churches that I could attend, the OCA, which is 40 minutes from my house.  And Greek OC, about 5 minutes from my house.

I am trying to figure out which one will be of more beneficial for me in the long run.

I like OCA because I speak english.  However, will going to greek speaking church hinder my learning in anyway? I would like to learn greek because I would like to go to Mt Athos and visit the monks there.


I guess my question is would going to a greek church hinder my learning? Or should I go to the OCA which speaks english, the only problem with that is it is 40 minutes away?

Or should I go to the OCA at first and learn then and after I've learned join the greek one?




This is a good question and a difficult issue.  The first thing I would do, personally, is visit both churches.  The Greek parish may not do all Greek, or may do some combination of Greek/English, etc.

I would say that, more important than the language, is the community and the programs.  Does one have a stronger catechumen's program, Sunday School program, youth program, etc... whatever programs you are interested in?  Talk to the priests- are you more comfortable with one than another?  It's important to feel comfortable in the parish you attend.  I don't think the jurisdiction is as important.  Of course, if one parish has weaker programs, can you get involved to help improve them?  These are the types of things to think about, IMHO.  What is important to you in choosing a parish?  You can always attend Greek classes at the Greek church, whether you go there every week or not.  I would focus on some more important aspects.  Figure out what is important to you and what is essential in your experience of God and your journey to Him- this is the most important part.  

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« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2008, 12:10:55 PM »

I attend a church where the service is split between English and a language that I did not speak a word of....but I am now learning. I would say it depends on the two priests and the language balance at the Greek parish.

Personally, I feel that the language barrier is overhyped in Orthodoxy. I feel that the language barrier helps to understand the service more as you are likely to turn to a book in the pew and get a feel for the text of the service. Conversely, I can see how if you bury yourself in a book, you might lose aspects of the service.

I would say in the end try both. Especially if they both have Vespers in addition to the Liturgy.....spilt the two services and alternate every week until something fits.

I am lucky as I had a choice of 18 churches in my city. I am not at the church I attended when I first started going to services.
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« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2008, 12:31:34 PM »

Visit both, and more than one time. 40 minutes is not insurmountable. 5 minutes is tempting. Are you certain the Greek parish is Greek only?

i haven't been to the greek one yet.  I just e-mailed the priest there to arrange a meeting with him. But I will ask him such questions.
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« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2008, 12:33:04 PM »

This is a good question and a difficult issue.  The first thing I would do, personally, is visit both churches.  The Greek parish may not do all Greek, or may do some combination of Greek/English, etc.

I would say that, more important than the language, is the community and the programs.  Does one have a stronger catechumen's program, Sunday School program, youth program, etc... whatever programs you are interested in?  Talk to the priests- are you more comfortable with one than another?  It's important to feel comfortable in the parish you attend.  I don't think the jurisdiction is as important.  Of course, if one parish has weaker programs, can you get involved to help improve them?  These are the types of things to think about, IMHO.  What is important to you in choosing a parish?  You can always attend Greek classes at the Greek church, whether you go there every week or not.  I would focus on some more important aspects.  Figure out what is important to you and what is essential in your experience of God and your journey to Him- this is the most important part.  



The most important thing to me is attaining a true spiritual connection with God, the best and quickest way to God.
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« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2008, 03:14:48 PM »

Unless there is something about a particular parish that would hinder your spiritual life outright, always go to the one closest to home.  The local parish is supposed to be the gathering of the faithful in a particular place, not a gathering of those who like that particular style of the Liturgy, or those who like that particular church building, or those who like those particular programs available.  At heart, picking your parish based on those factors is no different than picking a parish because it doesn't have too many poor people, or old people, or children, or Greeks, or Russians, or converts, or cradles. 
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« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2008, 03:32:31 PM »

Unless there is something about a particular parish that would hinder your spiritual life outright, always go to the one closest to home.  The local parish is supposed to be the gathering of the faithful in a particular place, not a gathering of those who like that particular style of the Liturgy, or those who like that particular church building, or those who like those particular programs available.  At heart, picking your parish based on those factors is no different than picking a parish because it doesn't have too many poor people, or old people, or children, or Greeks, or Russians, or converts, or cradles. 

Respectfully, I think it's more important to be comfortable in the parish you attend than to attend the one closest to home.  If you don't feel that you can comfortably worship there, and that is going to keep you from communing with God, then by all means, go somewhere else.  Though I am Greek and attend a Greek parish, I am totally sympathetic to converts who don't speak Greek and, worse, don't feel comfortable in the parish.  When my sister and I were young, we were ostracized by other kids because we didn't speak Greek (and this happened in two parishes and one dance troupe).  I wouldn't voluntarily subject myself to that, as it would hinder my spiritual life.

As well, as a person with certain talents and gifts that are unique to those of someone else, I would rather be in a parish where I feel I can contribute.  If the parish 10 minutes away from me has a Byzantine choir and an English choir and two chanters, and the one 20 minutes away has no choir and no chanter and is in need, then as a trained chanter, I'm going to go to the parish that needs a chanter, where I feel I can contribute using the gifts God gave me.  This is what I meant when I said look at their programs and see where you can help. 

I'm not advocating parish hopping or jurisdiction hopping.  I abhor both practices and think that they are results of nothing but pride.  But I do believe in carefully choosing where to commit oneself based on which parish you believe will help you in your journey to God.  The Church is there as an aid and a help to us in our journey to God.  But not everyone has the same needs, aside from the obvious (Holy Communion and the rest of the sacraments).  Go to the parish where you are comfortable and that helps you in your journey toward God, not hinders it.  It's like choosing a spiritual father.  You don't just choose the first priest you meet.  You choose the one that you feel comfortable confessing to, who can help you in your journey.  You don't choose the one who doesn't speak the same language, both literally and metaphorically, if you know what I mean. 
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« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2008, 11:31:43 AM »

Cool, things for your input.  I just found out there that there are six different Orthodox Churches within driving distance, 40 minutes or less.  Greek being the closest, Russian (2), OCA (2), Ukrainian, Serbian, and Antiochian (2) and another Greek one.  So that is a total of 10 churches all together, six different ones.

I am having meeting with the Greek priest within the next couple of weeks.
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« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2008, 11:33:27 AM »

Great! Visit them all.
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« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2008, 11:34:25 PM »

Cool, things for your input.  I just found out there that there are six different Orthodox Churches within driving distance, 40 minutes or less.  Greek being the closest, Russian (2), OCA (2), Ukrainian, Serbian, and Antiochian (2) and another Greek one.  So that is a total of 10 churches all together, six different ones.

Oh, well that is an entirely different story... pick the Serbian one!  Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin
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« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2008, 11:57:29 PM »

The most important thing to me is attaining a true spiritual connection with God, the best and quickest way to God.

Well if you want that, martyrdom is pretty quick.   Wink Grin Grin

Sorry, couldn't pass it up.  Enjoy! 
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« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2008, 12:41:49 AM »

Well if you want that, martyrdom is pretty quick.   Wink Grin Grin

Sorry, couldn't pass it up.  Enjoy! 

Have you been reading the Koran? Wink

Sorry, couldn't help myself. Grin
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« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2008, 05:21:20 PM »

Well, I have two churches that I could attend, the OCA, which is 40 minutes from my house.  And Greek OC, about 5 minutes from my house.

I am trying to figure out which one will be of more beneficial for me in the long run.

I like OCA because I speak english.  However, will going to greek speaking church hinder my learning in anyway? I would like to learn greek because I would like to go to Mt Athos and visit the monks there.


I guess my question is would going to a greek church hinder my learning? Or should I go to the OCA which speaks english, the only problem with that is it is 40 minutes away?

Or should I go to the OCA at first and learn then and after I've learned join the greek one?



Its been my experience in New Mexico that the OCA Church is much less "ethnic" than the GOC.
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« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2008, 05:26:19 PM »

^ Does your experience include all six parishes between the two jurisdictions?
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« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2008, 05:28:12 PM »

Oh, well that is an entirely different story... pick the Serbian one!  Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin

Don't be so misleading.....the Ukrainian one is obviously the best one on the list!*

*Obvoiusly this ethnicity-laced comment is in no way an official endorsement or slam on any other parish......though I have it on good authority that calls to heaven are free from Kyiv...
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« Reply #16 on: January 25, 2008, 07:34:40 PM »

Don't be so misleading.....the Ukrainian one is obviously the best one on the list!*

*Obvoiusly this ethnicity-laced comment is in no way an official endorsement or slam on any other parish......though I have it on good authority that calls to heaven are free from Kyiv...

Go to the Greek One.  Wink We can use your money. Cough,,, cough,,, Plus you can roll out of bed and show up late. laugh And Might I add. We have Greek festivals.  Grin
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« Reply #17 on: January 25, 2008, 08:41:49 PM »

Go to the Greek One.  Wink We can use your money. Cough,,, cough,,, Plus you can roll out of bed and show up late. laugh And Might I add. We have Greek festivals.  Grin

You guys are funny.  Got to love comedy.
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« Reply #18 on: January 26, 2008, 09:24:55 AM »

We have Greek festivals.  Grin

Hard to argue with that... but we have Cevapi.  angel
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« Reply #19 on: January 26, 2008, 09:25:08 PM »

Which one has the best Church Lady food?  That's important too.   Smiley
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« Reply #20 on: January 27, 2008, 02:54:22 PM »

Well I went to the Greek Orthodox Church today.  I was quite pleased with what I seen.  Although in comparion, the believers of the OCA were a bit more welcoming. 

In conclusion I think I will be attending the Greek Church, and if the Lord wills, get baptized there.  I will talk to the priest this coming Friday and I will ask him about the process.

Even though OCA was more welcoming, I didn't come to church to make friends per se, I come to church to get closer to God. And the Greek church is closer to where I live.  It will save me on gas and wear and tear on my car, not to include my time.

But I would like to thank all of you for your input.

May God bless you all.
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« Reply #21 on: January 27, 2008, 04:42:15 PM »

Wonderful  news Irenaeus!!  Glory be to God!

 :)Juliana
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« Reply #22 on: January 27, 2008, 05:37:12 PM »


Even though OCA was more welcoming, I didn't come to church to make friends per se, I come to church to get closer to God.


Just a word of advice: when I was in the process of converting, I believed that whether there was a good community or not was irrelevant, and that the only truly important thing was Orthodoxy.  I later found out how important having a strong community really is.  I am not saying that you believe community is entirely unimportant, or that the GOA community is that unwelcoming, at the same time, make sure you still have somewhat of a supportive community at the GOA parish Smiley.  You may find that it is worth it to drive the extra distance, because in my experience (what little I have), bad communities can cause people to leave Orthodoxy or at least cause them to not take Orthodoxy so seriously.   
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« Reply #23 on: January 27, 2008, 07:17:39 PM »

Just a word of advice: when I was in the process of converting, I believed that whether there was a good community or not was irrelevant, and that the only truly important thing was Orthodoxy.  I later found out how important having a strong community really is.  I am not saying that you believe community is entirely unimportant, or that the GOA community is that unwelcoming, at the same time, make sure you still have somewhat of a supportive community at the GOA parish Smiley.  You may find that it is worth it to drive the extra distance, because in my experience (what little I have), bad communities can cause people to leave Orthodoxy or at least cause them to not take Orthodoxy so seriously.   

The only thing I would add to this is that you should definitely create friendships at the church.  People who you can connect to and help you with church things.  It would be even better if the people were knowledeable in their faith, but beggars can't be choosers.   Wink Grin
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« Reply #24 on: January 27, 2008, 07:44:51 PM »

The only thing I would add to this is that you should definitely create friendships at the church.  People who you can connect to and help you with church things.  It would be even better if the people were knowledeable in their faith, but beggars can't be choosers.   Wink Grin

It should be noted that we are involved in a communal faith, in which no one is truly alone... Even a desert hermit has a spiritual father, someone to give them communion, and the people that they pray for.  While we may not be looking for golfing buddies at the parish, we should be able to find people who are willing to travel with us on our journey in faith, to help us with our struggles and to celebrate our joys.
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« Reply #25 on: January 28, 2008, 03:17:16 PM »

Just a word of advice: when I was in the process of converting, I believed that whether there was a good community or not was irrelevant, and that the only truly important thing was Orthodoxy.  I later found out how important having a strong community really is.  I am not saying that you believe community is entirely unimportant, or that the GOA community is that unwelcoming, at the same time, make sure you still have somewhat of a supportive community at the GOA parish Smiley.  You may find that it is worth it to drive the extra distance, because in my experience (what little I have), bad communities can cause people to leave Orthodoxy or at least cause them to not take Orthodoxy so seriously.   

You are right.  Having a strong community is important, and it does effect your spiritual growth, the people you are around you.  One of things I believe we should desire to around those who uplift us, not bring us down.  At the same I believe, sometimes, we are given the burden of being the one who has to uplift others, just as Christ was given the burden of dying for our sins. This burden is not easy, for Christ said one the Cross, My God, My God why have you For Saken me.  And when you are given this burden, that is exactly how you will feel. 

In the book Mountain of Silence, Father Maximos, "I believe that all of us will experience such a state of spiritual despair sooner or later, but always in accordance to our capacities and strengths.  May God provide that we may pass through such a trail only once.  I don't think it is humanly possible to withstand it twice.  But from what my elders told me, all of us will have to go through this trial, through this state of utter exhaustion and despair, before our union with God."

So I will pray about it, as to which church I will attend. Thanks.

And May God Bless.

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« Reply #26 on: January 28, 2008, 05:36:18 PM »

So I will pray about it, as to which church I will attend. Thanks.

*cough*  ROCA or SOC  *cough*  laugh laugh laugh

God willing, you will find a parish that truly allows you to grow spiritually and, of course, one in which you will help the current parishoners grow too.   Smiley
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