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Author Topic: Flavors of Orthodoxy  (Read 2353 times) Average Rating: 0
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Tribe
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« on: July 27, 2003, 06:42:01 PM »

Simple questions...

Despite having become a Christian several years ago, I had not ever even considered non-Protestant churches. Now that I have gotten over that hump by studying a bit of history, I have thrown myself into the study of Catholicism and now Orthodoxy.
I attended this morning the Divine Liturgy at a Greek Orthodox church and enjoyed it quite a lot.

My question pertains to the different national churches of Orthodoxy (pardon if my knowledge of terminology is imperfect). Is there any way for me to find out any subtle and/or major differences (even just "atmospheric") between the Russian, Greek, etc. Orthodox churches/services? Will I need to attend services at each kind first?
How does one go about knowing which kind of Orthodoxy to adhere to?
Also, do any of these churches have any particularly noteworthy feelings against Jewish converts?



P.S. - I'm listening to the sounds of automobile traffic outside my home, not music by the band named "Traffic."  Grin
« Last Edit: July 27, 2003, 06:52:27 PM by Tribe » Logged
Mikho
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« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2003, 08:34:05 PM »


You should know which rite to be when you feel precisely at home.  If you want a Semitic feel, the Syriac Orthodox are the descendents of the Semitic heritage.

But, by and large, Orthodoxy is Christianity, no matter what region or style it encompasses.

I've been to just about every Orthodox group there is.  I would recommend visiting each if you want to experience what they are like.

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« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2003, 08:37:54 PM »

I can tell you that the priest of my former parish exited the former Soviet Union with his wife on Israeli passports before their conversion to Orthodoxy in Rome (of all places!)!  Does that help?   Smiley

Father Alexander Men', a convert from Judaism to Orthodox Christianity in Russia, is venerated almost as a saint since his assasination* by politicized ultra-nationalistic, anti-Semitic, not-necessarily-religious Russians.  There was a Panikhida (Memorial Service) in Slavonic for him in my former parish (OCA) in Claremont, NH, immediately upon learning of his death, and the entire Solzhenitsyn family, then members of the parish, attended.

There is a Father A. James Bernstein, a convert from Judaism, serving as a priest in the Western Region of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America.

I have personally witnessed the Baptisms of several Jewish spouses of Orthodox Christians myself in my former parish.  These new Orthodox Christians put the rest of us to shame with their piety, zeal and love for Christ and His Holy Church.

Hypo-Ortho (just an American-born mix of Polish, Ukrainian, Czech, German and who knows what else!)

*I had written "canonization" rather than "assasination."  That is what required this modification.  Forgive me--my dyslexia comes through at the oddest times!   Embarrassed

« Last Edit: July 28, 2003, 06:20:42 AM by Hypo-Ortho » Logged
Jonathan
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« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2003, 10:35:42 PM »

Which kinds of Orthodox Churches there are where you live will be a big factor on what your options are... but this shouldn't be a big decision that you agonize over if you decide Orthodoxy is where you are to be, don't forget that if you become Greek Orthodox and later find that the style & spirituatlity of the Russian Orthodox Church for example helps you more, you can always just go to that Church, since you'd be Orthodoxy and in Communion with all the EO Churches.  Of course I'm not advocating hopping around from one to another, since you have to become entranched in a spirituality and not try to change frequently and never really have one be your own, but I just mean that it's not some final unalterable decision that you'll end up regretting later, since if you were to regret it you could do something about it.

I don't know what languages you know, but if that's an issue, it's possible that which parish is understandable to you could be a bigger question than which Church suits you.
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« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2003, 10:53:40 PM »

Tribe -

My wife's grandmother, Rachel, was Jewish and converted to the Orthodox faith in Minsk, Belarus (her husband, my wife's grandfather, was subsequently imprisoned by Stalin).

One of the two founders of Jews for Jesus, A. James Bernstein, is now an Orthodox priest at St. Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church in Lynnwood, Washington (the other founder was Moshe Rosen).

If I were you I would just look for an Orthodox Church that has the Divine Liturgy in English and is fairly close by.
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Tribe
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« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2003, 01:07:25 AM »

Wow, am I blessed - so far I've found Greek, Russian, Coptic, Ukrainian, Antiochian, and Serbian Orthodox Churches in my area! Yikes, I've got my work cut out for me...
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Mor Ephrem
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« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2003, 03:04:18 PM »

Wow, am I blessed - so far I've found Greek, Russian, Coptic, Ukrainian, Antiochian, and Serbian Orthodox Churches in my area! Yikes, I've got my work cut out for me...

Have fun with that.  I know I would.  If I may put in a good word for the Copts, their Liturgy is pretty cool, and in my experience they use a decent amount of English.  

Oh, and bring an umbrella.  Wink
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« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2003, 04:18:35 PM »

I don't know about the other Churches, but if you want to check out the Coptic Church, make sure you eventually see everything, not just the last part like most people go to... Church should start with Vespers the night before, usually 7-8, and there should be Midnight Priase, often from 9-10:30 or 11:00 or so, although many Churches can't do Midnight Praise each week, and finally the Divine Liturgy Sunday morning, often from 8:00 to 11:30.  Many people only go to 9:30-11:30 (minimum for receiving Communion), but that's missing a lot of the cool & unique stuff.  If they don't have good english service books, they can be ordered.  If they use mostly Arabic, check & see if the priest does or is willing to do an English one another day of the week.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2003, 04:19:30 PM by Jonathan » Logged
Anastasios
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« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2003, 05:40:30 PM »

Just as a disclaimer, there are two families of Orthodox Churches who are not in communion with one another:

the Eastern Orthodox Church: Greeks, Russians, Serbs, Georgians, Antiochians, etc. They all are in union with each other and all follow the Byzantine liturgical rite;

the Oriental Orthodox Church: Copts, Ethiopians, Syriacs, Armenians, and Indians.  They are all in communion with each other but each has its own unique liturgy.

The Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox are not in union with each other at this time (see discussions in the "non-Chalcedonian Discussion folder" and there are many in the Eastern Orthodox camp who would refuse the label Orthodox to Oriental Orthodox.  Most Oriental Orthodox when pressed will say they have disagreements with Eastern Orthodox but that they are still Orthodox.

Just some background information.

anastasios
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« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2003, 07:49:13 PM »

Thanks very much, anastasios! I am ignorant of so much, and this is such a very big decision!



(Edited to spell anastasios' name correctly.)
« Last Edit: July 28, 2003, 07:50:39 PM by Tribe » Logged
Edwin
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« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2003, 11:44:43 PM »

I wonder if I could piggyback on this thread, since I have a similar question.

In my area (I've just moved to New Jersey) the nearest Orthodox churches are Greek, but there are Antiochian, OCA, Carpatho-Russian, and Ukrainian churches as well. And all of these are between 20 and 30 minutes' drive away. In other words, none of them are in my backyard, but there are enough within arm's reach to make a decision among them difficult. I don't like picking and choosing parishes. So what is the proper thing to do? Should one go to the nearest? Should I try the OCA because they are the closest to a national rather than ethnic church?

In terms of my own preferences, I love Eastern European culture, but in fact know Greek and not Old Church Slavonic (I also know Romanian, but as far as I know there are no Romanian churches in my area.) So linguistically I could go to a Greek church without problems (my Greek isn't that good, but it's good enough to follow the liturgy with some understanding, and I've always wanted to improve it anyway).

This is all probably premature, since I have not firmly decided to become Orthodox. I'm simply trying to decide where I should start my inquiries when and if I decide to do so (I'm going back to North Carolina this weekend and may visit an Orthodox church the following week--but to some extent my decision depends on what sort of action the Primates of the Anglican Communion do or don't take in October).

In Christ,

Edwin
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« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2003, 01:32:49 AM »

Edwin,

First of all, I would urge you to reconsider the motives behind your possible conversion.  Become Orthodox because you believe it is the true Church, not because your current communion is moving away from positions held from it's creation.  I'm sure if you know Greek and are well immersed in Eastern European culture that you are aware of Orthodoxy's unique claims and that you are not making a "negative conversion" but I wanted to state that just in case and for the lurkers who might be facing a similar situation.

Secondly, I would visit each one and see where you feel the most comfortable.  Parishes always have a unique dynamic, which can contrast with the general dynamic of the parish's jurisdiction.

Thirdly, if you don't mind divulging what city in NC you will be visiting, I would be happy to try to reccomend a parish.  Bobby, Anastasios, and Frobisher are from NC and can also give good advice.  You can PM or email me if you don't wish to divulge that information on the forum.

I hope you find the answers you seek.  May God bless your journey.
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« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2003, 07:05:43 AM »

Hey Edwin,

If you want, you can give me a call, I'll be around town all weekend if you want me to show you the flavors of Orthodoxy.

919.345.6575

Bobby
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