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Author Topic: The Orthodox Liturgy & my conversion to the Holy Faith  (Read 1129 times) Average Rating: 0
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Bono Vox
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« on: March 18, 2008, 02:31:47 PM »

I wanted to briefly share about my experience of the Orthodox liturgy and my conversion to the Holy faith. For years I was part of the Charismatic Episcopal church. We were a very high mass communion. When I began my quest for the new testament church, I came to the conclusion the Orthodox church or the Roman Catholic church were the only two options for me. While I agreed with the Orthodox theology, the final thing that led me to the conviction the Orthodox church was the true church was my experience of the liturgy. While the Roman liturgy was alright, it seemed as if it was merely a step up from a liturgical protestant service. In my experience, it seemed as though there was a very little sense of mystery to the whole service. Every time I visited an Orthodox church, it felt like heaven and earth were uniting. I felt the presence of God there. I finally decided in my heart years ago that I had to become Orthodox when I stood alone with my wife at the ROCOR cathedral in San Francisco (where St. John Maximovich lies). The presence of God was so tremendous and powerful, I felt my legs tremble (in a good way).

I was wondering if any of you have had similar experiences?
« Last Edit: March 18, 2008, 07:43:38 PM by Orthodox Bagpiper » Logged

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O Sebastian, spurning the assemblies of the wicked,You gathered the wise martyrs Who with you cast down the enemy; And standing worthily before the throne of God, You gladden those who cry to you:Glory to him who has strengthened you! Glory to him who has granted you a crown!
zebu
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« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2008, 03:25:38 PM »

YES! I had been reading about Orthodoxy for about a year, but was still kind of on the fence about it until I went to my first liturgy.  I was just blown away by the imminent presence of God. I just stepped into the church, and immediately I had this deep sense that God was in this place, that here I would find what I had always longed for.  Also, I was just astounded at how much it WASN'T about me, how we were all there to worship God, and not to be entertained or worked up into some spiritual high. It was glorious! I didn't even have all my questions answered, but at that moment I decided to convert and never went back to my old church. 
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Heorhij
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« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2008, 03:31:03 PM »

I am like you guys. It's not actually the theology that draws me to the Orthodox Church; nothing "from books," - but the Divine Liturgy. Nowhere else I feel this "feeling of the immediate presence of the Holy" (Paul Tillich), but in an Orthodox parish (ANY Orthodox parish - Ukrainian, Russian, Anglo/OCA, Greek...) during the Divine Liturgy. It's beyond description, beyond words.
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« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2008, 03:50:27 PM »

...
I finally decided in my heart years ago that I had to become Orthodox when I stood alone with my wife at the ROCOR cathedral in San Francisco (where St. John Maximovich lies). The presence of God was so tremendous and powerful, I felt my legs tremble (in a good way).

I was wondering if any of you have had similar experiences?

I'm frequently there on Mondays for Men's choir.  It is very nice to be able to venerate St. John regularly.
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Bono Vox
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« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2008, 07:41:24 PM »

I'm frequently there on Mondays for Men's choir.  It is very nice to be able to venerate St. John regularly.

If only I had become Orthodox while I still lived in California................

I made the decision to convert while in California, but didn't become a catechumen until I moved to Missouri.
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Troparion - Tone 1:
O Sebastian, spurning the assemblies of the wicked,You gathered the wise martyrs Who with you cast down the enemy; And standing worthily before the throne of God, You gladden those who cry to you:Glory to him who has strengthened you! Glory to him who has granted you a crown!
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« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2008, 07:49:28 PM »

Excellent stories. Thank you very much for sharing.
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« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2008, 09:28:07 PM »

Thanks for everyone sharing! My conversion to Orthodoxy happened by "chance" I had been studying the RCC for over 20 yrs. I had joined another board, one for Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox to discuss our traditions. I posted my search and one of the members asked me if I had considered the EO.
Wanting to be sure I had left no stone uncovered, I searched for an EO parish close by.
I figured if I had to drive a long distance it would be a sign I shouldn't go.

I found an OCA parish about 10 minutes by freeway from my home. I got my courage together and on June 10, 2007 I visited my first Divine Liturgy.
Little did I know this would change my life forever.

I was afraid I was late because the reader was reading, the Deacon was censing..and I thought I had dropped in to the Twilight zone!

If someone has NEVER been into an EO church (and I hadn't) I was in for a big surprise.
I kind of figured out what was going on (Huh) and managed to stand at the proper times.

I also remember thinking "I could never be a member of this church, there is too much incense!" (keep that thought-I have had to eat my words..lol)

To me, it looked like we were in heaven, kind of...with the icons all around. I got the symbolism of the curtain with the cross on one side and the ten commandments on the other.

Jesus entered into the Holy of Holies and offered Himself up...and the curtain in the Temple was ripped from top to bottom.
The Prescence of the Lord entered into that place after the Priest had consecrated them and the bread had been set out for everyone. I almost fell off my pew.
That Sunday there weren't very many people present, the choir was flat....but the LORD was there.

That stunned me so much I could not hardly stay in one place.

The other little detail that is worth mentioning is the Priest spoke about St John Maximovitch.....and his life...etc...and how he was known for visiting people in their dreams. (Keep that thought-it becomes significant in part of my story)
I went home.....and spent the rest of the day in prayer.

That night, before going to sleep I asked the Lord if this had been a sign I should join the EOC.
That night and for almost 2 weeks I had dreams....you got it...St John and a few of his friends visited me every night.

I remember the next morning waking up thinking "Did that Priest give me a post hypnotic suggestion about that St visiting me?" I couldn't even remember his name!
The dreams stopped when I finally said "Ok, I got the message. I want to attend a Catholic Mass to see if it is the same" I finally visited the Catholic parish near my home and guess what...It wasn't.

Vacation etc got in the way and I didn't go back to the EOC until Sept or Oct.
At that point I knew I was supposed to join the Church. I had read, studied and all the pieces fell into place.

I also figured that the extraordinary things that happened my first visit were to be a HUGE sign saying This is IT...what you have been searching for.

When the Priest came and met me I told him straight out what happened and that I was supposed to join. The rest is history, I was Chrismated Sat evening before the Feast of the Nativity.

This is the best thing I have ever done.....and while the rest of my life is in an uproar....my spiritual life is doing just fine!

My background is Evangelical Protestant...27yrs background in indepth bible study...the whole 9 yards.
The Orthodox Church IS the Church that Jesus Christ founded. The same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
My personal feeling is this: We have never changed. We are the plumb line against which all others are to be measured.

Barbara




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GabrieltheCelt
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« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2008, 09:35:37 PM »

Like some of the others here, I too read about it before I attended the Divine Liturgy.  I actually attended Wednesday and Saturday Vespers for several months before I attended the DL.

I think for me, it was everything about Eastern Orthodoxy that attracted me; the Divine Liturgy for sure, but the theology behind it as well.  Growing up as a Pentecostal, I had never heard of the Church as a 'Hospital', a 'Therapy'.  The Saints, the Theotokos, the icons, the incense...everything was literally all so new to me.  Four years later, I'm still trying to absorb it all.  It's still difficult for me to put it into words when I'm speaking to a non-Orthodox and that's part of it, isn't it?  Our words can take us only so far- to know you have found the Pearl of Great Price, you really must experience Holy Orthodoxy first.

  
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