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ignatios
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« on: April 16, 2008, 01:39:09 PM »

I'm going to talk to a priest about this, but I was wondering what the general opinion was about family members or spouses that won't convert when the husband/father wants to be Orthodox.  I can think of Jesus saying if anyone values a family member over him then he is not worthy.  What if the family member wants to remain non-orthodox Christian but doesn't want the husband or other family member converting?
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« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2008, 01:41:32 PM »

Sometimes a priest will make the person wait up to several years to see if their patient love will win over the spouse. Other times they will convert the individual without his spouse. It is a pastoral issue with no predetermined answer.
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« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2008, 01:46:41 PM »

St Paul tells us that if one spouse converts and becomes Christian and the other chooses not to, as long as they are both content to stay in the marriage then they should continue to do so.

Your situation will not be without hurtles but hold fast to the faith which has been delivered to you.  And may God be with you always.

God bless.
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« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2008, 01:59:45 PM »

I'm going to talk to a priest about this, but I was wondering what the general opinion was about family members or spouses that won't convert when the husband/father wants to be Orthodox.  I can think of Jesus saying if anyone values a family member over him then he is not worthy.  What if the family member wants to remain non-orthodox Christian but doesn't want the husband or other family member converting?

Patient Perseverance is a powerful force in the spiritual struggle my same-named friend.  Cheesy

My wife and I was married Baptists and as my faith in our Lord grew I entered into the Roman Catholic Church. Due to my wife's close spiritual walk with the Lord in her faith tradition she never entered the Roman Catholic Church but over time she and our daughter little by little began to encounter my faith on Holy Days and on other days when she came with me to my Parish. Although my faith has grown to include a very deep respect of Holy Orthodoxy I have never ceased being vigorously active in my Catholic Parish and recently my daughter was Baptized into the Roman Catholic Church to my wifes great joy and happiness as well as her family. Praise our Lord Jesus Christ! That said I have been greatly nourished by my relationship with the local Orthodox Mission House Church and their very faithful community. In fact I will be attending 9th Hours and the Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts tonight with Fr. David and the Community at St. Cyprian's. My wife has grown to love my own Catholic Community and I've been asked to be a Catholic Sponsor for the RCIA. Oh the pressure! No matter where I ultimately end up it is my deep hope and abiding prayer that I keep what I have learned in my journey and continue to walk with God humbly and with unyielding hope.

Where are you on your journey?
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« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2008, 01:59:52 PM »

That may prove for the better.  Let me give you an example.  A married couple at our church was chrismated and received into Holy Orthodoxy several years ago at Pascha.  The interest in Orthdoxy was mainly at the wife's persistent urging.  No sooner than 4 months later, divorce proceedings had already begun.  Why?  Orthodoxy.  The husband was not ready or really interested in becoming Orthodox, it turns out, but was just going along with it because his wife deemed it so important (she is still an active member in our church, btw).  That's not to say that there weren't other issues, but that was the trigger, so to speak.  So, if your family has reservations, but still gives you the green light and if you are feel truly called by the Holy Spirit, then do so and continue to love your family unconditionally. It may take years for them to come around or never.  Mixed marriages are a common sight these days and I know plenty of those for members of our own parish.  But they are happily married.  Thus, I wouldn't fret about this, although I can certainly understand why you would.
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« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2008, 03:02:13 PM »

Ignatios,

We have a couple in our church, one Catholic and the Orthodox, but both are active in both churches. The husband (Catholic) essentially pulls off our entire Greek Festival himself, helping to raise $150,000+ each year as the head cook/organizer. And I've never of anyone even commenting on the difference in religion, even though they were both married in an Orthodox church.

I know that in my family, nobody is interested in converting at this time. My mother comes to church with me every Sunday (and even by herself when I'm not there), but still is reserved about "signing the contract" as she puts it. Most of them have never belonged to an "organized" church-going religion, and the closest thing we had prior to that was Quakerism, which my grandfather left to join the Korean War.

So although they all agree with the theology, the Maine-mentality creates a barrier of joining any large group. It's just the way some people are.

I realize it may be hard to be the only one in the family who chooses Orthodoxy, but that does not mean you should love them any less, as time may bring them around. As long as they are fine with it, I'm 98% sure your priest will have no qualms.

Hope everything works out for the best.

-Will
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« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2008, 11:33:41 PM »

It is a pastoral issue with no predetermined answer.
I second this wisdom.  We can voice our opinions in response to what little you reveal of your situation on this thread, but ultimately the priest responsible for deciding if/when to baptize/chrismate you will give you the most authoritative advice.
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« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2008, 01:50:16 AM »

I'm going to talk to a priest about this, but I was wondering what the general opinion was about family members or spouses that won't convert when the husband/father wants to be Orthodox.  I can think of Jesus saying if anyone values a family member over him then he is not worthy.  What if the family member wants to remain non-orthodox Christian but doesn't want the husband or other family member converting?

My opinion: Love conquers everything.
Love respects the loved one's right to live according to their convictions- and this works both ways.
Don't make me choose between my God and you and I won't make you choose between your God and me.
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« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2008, 08:49:57 AM »

A similar story  to the marriage one was the story of my mother.  When my father died, she lived independently for many years on her own.  It became apparent that she was having problems with confusion and disorientation so we invited her to move into our home.  We assured that she was able to attend her church, the Episcopal Church, when she wanted to go. Gradually over the years we noted that she began to sit with us when we did family prayer and eventually started to cross herself in the Orthodox fashion.  I knew that her life would soon draw to an end and so I discussed with a priest the possibility of her becoming Orthodox even with the Alzheimer's disease. He stated that if she was demented enough to be a child he would bring her into the Church or she could ask him herself. After meeting with her he agreed to chrismate her into the Church. During the Chrismation, her mind became bright, clear, and her old self again.  She answered all the questions posed by the priest for the service correctly and was like herself for three hours. She asked me what took me so long to ask her to come into the Church.  After three hours she said she was tired and went to bed. When she awoke she was back to her Alzheimer's state of mind---our priest told me what a great gift God had given us for three hours my mother was alert and oriented, told us she wanted to be in the Church, and then he looked at me and said it was our living the Orthodox life around her that brought her into the Church.  So yes I believe that the believing  spouse or in our case the believing child can bring the heterodox or non-Orthodox spouse/family member into the Church by example and love.

Thomas
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« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2008, 10:15:46 AM »

My opinion: Love conquers everything.
Love respects the loved one's right to live according to their convictions- and this works both ways.
Don't make me choose between my God and you and I won't make you choose between your God and me.

Hear, hear!
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« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2008, 11:32:48 AM »

Sometimes a priest will make the person wait up to several years to see if their patient love will win over the spouse. Other times they will convert the individual without his spouse. It is a pastoral issue with no predetermined answer.

I can't remember who it was exactly, but I remember hearing a story about an Anglican priest who was considering converting to Orthodoxy for a long, long time and would often discuss his situation with an Orthodox priest.  As the former became more and more convinced of the Truth in Orthodoxy, the latter would ask him, "Is your wife ready to convert?".  The Anglican would reply, "No, not yet" and the Orthodox priest would tell him, "Then you're not ready yet, too."

It seems to me it would be very much a case by case basis.
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« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2008, 11:44:18 AM »

I'm going to talk to a priest about this, but I was wondering what the general opinion was about family members or spouses that won't convert when the husband/father wants to be Orthodox.  I can think of Jesus saying if anyone values a family member over him then he is not worthy.  What if the family member wants to remain non-orthodox Christian but doesn't want the husband or other family member converting?


You can't force them to convert, but that doesn't mean you can't come into the Church.

Who knows, your family might change their mind after seeing you come in.



Pray for your family.



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« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2008, 08:38:31 PM »

A similar story  to the marriage one was the story of my mother.  When my father died, she lived independently for many years on her own.  It became apparent that she was having problems with confusion and disorientation so we invited her to move into our home.  We assured that she was able to attend her church, the Episcopal Church, when she wanted to go. Gradually over the years we noted that she began to sit with us when we did family prayer and eventually started to cross herself in the Orthodox fashion.  I knew that her life would soon draw to an end and so I discussed with a priest the possibility of her becoming Orthodox even with the Alzheimer's disease. He stated that if she was demented enough to be a child he would bring her into the Church or she could ask him herself. After meeting with her he agreed to chrismate her into the Church. During the Chrismation, her mind became bright, clear, and her old self again.  She answered all the questions posed by the priest for the service correctly and was like herself for three hours. She asked me what took me so long to ask her to come into the Church.  After three hours she said she was tired and went to bed. When she awoke she was back to her Alzheimer's state of mind---our priest told me what a great gift God had given us for three hours my mother was alert and oriented, told us she wanted to be in the Church, and then he looked at me and said it was our living the Orthodox life around her that brought her into the Church.  So yes I believe that the believing  spouse or in our case the believing child can bring the heterodox or non-Orthodox spouse/family member into the Church by example and love.

Thomas
That is a very touching story Thomas.
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« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2008, 06:34:38 PM »

Thanks to everyone for your input and prayers.  I didn't mean for the post to be as obvious, but I guess I blundered that, lol.  Anyway, for an update, things have become worse between my wife and I.  I'll see if I can get an appointment with the priest, although I don't know if I'll be able to do that.  It's hard to deal with the issue because of many factors, most of which I feel uncomfortable about sharing over the internet.
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« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2008, 02:48:19 PM »

I am deeply sorry that this is causing so much strife in your marriage.  I will share that when I started finding Orthodoxy, or when my journey really took off in this direction, I had no knowledge of what God was doing in my dh's life. Come to find out, God was calling dh towards Orthodoxy at the same time-which sounds great.
However my dh is one of those gung ho extreme all or nothing personalities and he wanted what he wanted when he wanted it.
I am heading in the same direction, but not nearly fast enough for him-so he reverts to his Baptist roots and says to me "don't you have to submit to my will and leadership as my wife?"  When that only served to tick me off royally, he used the "Our kids can't be baptized and chrismated until we are, and marriage blessed as well. Do you want them in hell because you waited?"  That ticked me off even worse, and though I went ahead and had our marriage in the church (5mo pregnant with great trouble) it has been a bone of contention ever since.  Manipulation is never the right thing to do.

IF your priest will chrismate just you, then that will have to suffice for now. It might 'feel' like you are abandoning her and all you have known together, you need to be reasurring to your wife. Her reactions might not make sense to you, love her anyway. It's hard on us to enter Orthodoxy, as it appears to black and white and extreme at first. Over time that changes, but God did makes us to be a bit more cautious than men you know.  Cheesy
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« Reply #15 on: September 06, 2010, 03:38:28 PM »

I know how that feels, my dad is now an Atheist of all things while my mother and I are still faithful christians... at first we tried and tried to get him to come back to church... eventually we just had to accept him. I still love him as my earthly father. Your family is important but so is God... do what you know in your soul is right. accept your family but also go where your heart leads and tell your family that you want them to accept you for who you are...
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« Reply #16 on: September 07, 2010, 07:40:48 AM »



You can't force them to convert, but that doesn't mean you can't come into the Church.

Who knows, your family might change their mind after seeing you come in.



Pray for your family.


JNORM888

Amen.  My husband did not convert with me or my children.  He just wasn't ready... and still isn't.  Definitely talk with your priest.  Everyone's situation is so different.  My husband was okay with me going (it was harder when the kids decided to join too).  He struggled to try to convert at that time - but it was a miserable 9 months when he came with me to church.  I suspect it would have only gotten worse if he had forced himself to convert "to keep the family together". 

No one should force themselves to do something for appearances - they should do it because of their own conviction. 
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« Reply #17 on: September 13, 2010, 10:21:13 PM »

I am sorry to have left this thread without an update, but my wife and I were received into Holy Orthodoxy this year, willfully on both our parts.  Grin Thanks to everyone for your prayers - I know they worked!

Let us keep praying for our many family members and friends that are not Orthodox, and remember that many of them may be greater than us in heaven.
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« Reply #18 on: September 14, 2010, 01:24:39 AM »

What joyous news!! Many years to you both!
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« Reply #19 on: September 14, 2010, 07:57:55 AM »

I am sorry to have left this thread without an update, but my wife and I were received into Holy Orthodoxy this year, willfully on both our parts.  Grin Thanks to everyone for your prayers - I know they worked!

Let us keep praying for our many family members and friends that are not Orthodox, and remember that many of them may be greater than us in heaven.

How encouraging!  Many years to you both!  When you get a chance, I'd love to hear what changed or what you learned through the process. . .my husband is Agnostic/Atheist (he goes back and forth between the two)  I am about to become Christmated.
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« Reply #20 on: September 14, 2010, 09:11:24 AM »

Happy to hear it.   Smiley  angel
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« Reply #21 on: September 14, 2010, 01:33:42 PM »

Many years!
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« Reply #22 on: September 14, 2010, 01:47:49 PM »

Congratulations
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« Reply #23 on: September 14, 2010, 01:50:04 PM »

Many years!  Thank God for His mercy on you and your wife.
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« Reply #24 on: September 14, 2010, 06:03:51 PM »

Many years!  I second quietmorning's request, as my husband is agnostic as well. 
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« Reply #25 on: September 21, 2010, 03:09:16 PM »

My wife was definitely upset when I told her that I was inquiring into Orthodoxy (and still am since I don't have all issues resolved). In her own  words, she said, "I don't want to go to another works-oriented church!" (she converted out of SDA). I've had to deal with the fact that if I become Orthodox, she probably won't.
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« Reply #26 on: September 21, 2010, 03:24:55 PM »

My wife was definitely upset when I told her that I was inquiring into Orthodoxy (and still am since I don't have all issues resolved). In her own  words, she said, "I don't want to go to another works-oriented church!" (she converted out of SDA). I've had to deal with the fact that if I become Orthodox, she probably won't.

What is the SDA?

Patience and a great deal of prayer can work wonders!  When I would sneak out of the house to go to Vespers on Sat afternoons when my wife would be napping (when pregnant and then after childbirth) she would be very upset and say "What's the point, we're never going to be Orthodox.  It's not happening so you can just forget about it."  I remember we had a Protestant friend staying with us one time and around 10:30pm on a Saturday I got my shoes and coat on and told my wife I was going to the Orthodox church down the road for Pascha and she was not please AT ALL.  In this case, however, our friend was of some help.  My wife was very upset but our friend lightened the mood by her astonishment.  Usually, she said, women behave like my wife when their husbands leave at night to go "hang out" at the bar or participate in other unwholesome activities, but here I was leaving to go to church.  I think she succeeded, at least in that instance, in convincing my wife that it could be a lot worse.

To make a long story short, my wife and I were received into the Orthodox Church together a few years ago, along with our children and with much gratitude to God.
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« Reply #27 on: September 21, 2010, 03:40:46 PM »

My wife was definitely upset when I told her that I was inquiring into Orthodoxy (and still am since I don't have all issues resolved). In her own  words, she said, "I don't want to go to another works-oriented church!" (she converted out of SDA). I've had to deal with the fact that if I become Orthodox, she probably won't.

What is the SDA?
Most likely Seventh-Day Adventists, a fringe Protestant sect, borne out of the Millerite movement in the 19th century USA, that believes Saturday, the original Sabbath, is the proper day of Christian worship and that Christ's return is imminent.  If you're interested in learning more about them, you can read about them here (not that I advocate any of the novel doctrines they preach):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seventh-day_Adventist_Church
http://www.adventist.org/
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« Reply #28 on: September 21, 2010, 03:44:47 PM »

SDA=Seventh Day Adventist. A lot of them will tell you that if you go to church on Sunday then you're taking the mark of the beast and going to hell (especially those who have studied and rejected Adventist doctrine). It's a very legalistic church.
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« Reply #29 on: September 21, 2010, 10:49:38 PM »

Thank you for the clarification.  My last neighbors were Adventists but I did not pick up on the acronymn. 
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« Reply #30 on: September 22, 2010, 06:41:34 AM »

My wife was definitely upset when I told her that I was inquiring into Orthodoxy (and still am since I don't have all issues resolved). In her own  words, she said, "I don't want to go to another works-oriented church!" (she converted out of SDA). I've had to deal with the fact that if I become Orthodox, she probably won't.

Unfortunately, from the outside looking in Orthodoxy can look very works oriented to some people. 
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« Reply #31 on: January 10, 2011, 07:54:07 PM »

Maybe this text is helpful for anyone who wants to understand the relationship between faith and works in Orthodoxy:
http://www.orthodoxconvert.info/Q-A.php?c=Salvation-Faith%20and%20Works%20in%20Orthodoxy
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