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NewOrtho
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« on: August 25, 2008, 04:36:09 PM »

Hi all.  I've been Roman Catholic since birth, but have been interested in Orthodoxy for about 6 years on and off.  A couple years ago I attended Divine Liturgy and loved it.  After doing reading into the differing beliefs between Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy, as well as much prayer, I've made the decision to convert to the Orthodox Church.

How should I go about converting?  Should I just go to one of the churches and talk to a priest, or should I call the office number?  I know that one church has an "inquiry" class, so I might look into that.

There are three Orthodox churches in the area that I'm considering.  I've already attended Liturgy at St. Nicholas Cathedral (OCA) in DC.  They were very welcoming and the cathedral's beautiful.  I've also briefly seen (don't really remember) St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral, also in DC.  I do remember people coming up to me and being very approachable.  Finally, I recently found out that there's a St. John the Baptist Russian Orthodox Cathedral (in DC as well).  I have no experience with it, but am considering visiting this weekend.  Does anyone have any experience with these churches?  I think I like the Russian style of architecture more (I could be wrong, but it seems that Russian churches in the US are more open (as in they don't have pews), and are more ornate).  Could anyone comment on that?  Also, as an African American, would I have any trouble being welcomed into any of these specific churches (if you have experience with them)?  St. Nick's has already been a great experience, so I'm not concerned about that church, and St. Sophia's, from what I remember, also seemed great, but what about a Russian Orthodox church?  Are they mostly made up of ethnic Russians?  If you've been to St. John's, is it any more diverse, being in DC?

If I convert through the OCA, would I be able to become a member in another jurisdiction?  For example, if I convert through St. Nick's OCA Cathedral, but move and decide to join a Greek Orthodox church, is that possible?

I am a baptized Roman Catholic, but can't find my baptism certificate.  Does this mean that I'll need to be rebaptized?  What if I feel that I'd like the experience of being baptized as an Orthodox?  Is this allowable/do people do this?

Thanks so much for your help!
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« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2008, 04:46:51 PM »

Welcome to the forum!  As far as how to go about converting, I think the best thing would be to call a priest and set up a time to meet with him.  Sometimes you can catch him after liturgy or after vespers and let him know your intentions, but he may want to discuss catechumen classes, your background, etc. and it will probably take more than a few minutes.  Plus, if the priest is a tad forgetful like mine is that will help him to remember you and your intentions.  Also, with the smaller parishes the inquiry classes may be offered only when there is already a catechumen so you might not be able to observe one. 

As far as rebaptism, that may be up to your priest to decide.  Some priests absolutely insist on baptising every catechumen while some accept baptism as long as it was trinitarian and doesn't go against Orthodox teaching.  As my priest says, it won't hurt to be baptised twice.  One is true baptism, one was a nice bath.

I'll let our more educated posters answer your other questions... I'm a 2 year old convert myself and still figuring out things.
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« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2008, 04:47:20 PM »

Dear NewOrtho,

First of all, welcome to the forum, and congratulations on your will to join the Holy Orthodox Church!

I can't advise on any particular "ethnic" church where you would feel or not feel welcome. Let me just say that I myself am an ethnic Ukrainian, who is currently affiliated to a GOA parish that is ~90% ethnic Greek. However, I never felt "foreign" there. From the very first moment, I felt absolutely welcome and "belonging." Yet, this might depend on a particular congregation.

As for re-Baptism, I don't think you need one. Perhaps what you do need is Chrismation. But ask a priest, they know exactly what you should do in this regard.

Once again, welcome! Stay with us! Great to have you here.

George

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« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2008, 05:00:13 PM »

Hi all.  I've been Roman Catholic since birth, but have been interested in Orthodoxy for about 6 years on and off.  A couple years ago I attended Divine Liturgy and loved it.  After doing reading into the differing beliefs between Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy, as well as much prayer, I've made the decision to convert to the Orthodox Church.

I am an Orthodox catechumen coming from a (traditional) Roman Catholic background too.   Smiley

How should I go about converting?  Should I just go to one of the churches and talk to a priest, or should I call the office number?  I know that one church has an "inquiry" class, so I might look into that.

It really depends on the parish.  I mostly attend a ROCA parish, and I just introduced myself to the Priest after the Liturgy.  We talked within the parish for a while, then went to get coffee and kept talking.  There is no inquiry class at this parish, so every week or every other week after the Liturgy, we sit, talk and discuss.

There are three Orthodox churches in the area that I'm considering.  I've already attended Liturgy at St. Nicholas Cathedral (OCA) in DC.  They were very welcoming and the cathedral's beautiful.  I've also briefly seen (don't really remember) St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral, also in DC.  I do remember people coming up to me and being very approachable.  Finally, I recently found out that there's a St. John the Baptist Russian Orthodox Cathedral (in DC as well).  I have no experience with it, but am considering visiting this weekend.  Does anyone have any experience with these churches?  I think I like the Russian style of architecture more (I could be wrong, but it seems that Russian churches in the US are more open (as in they don't have pews), and are more ornate).  Could anyone comment on that?  Also, as an African American, would I have any trouble being welcomed into any of these specific churches (if you have experience with them)?  St. Nick's has already been a great experience, so I'm not concerned about that church, and St. Sophia's, from what I remember, also seemed great, but what about a Russian Orthodox church?  Are they mostly made up of ethnic Russians?  If you've been to St. John's, is it any more diverse, being in DC?

I think it is extremely important then when you look into converting, truly find a parish that feels like home and one in which you feel comfortable in.  Certain parishes are very American, some very ethnic, some converts feel comfortable in one more than the other or visa versa.  Personally, I felt extremely out of place in a more "American" parish, since it catered very much towards Protestants and as a more "ethnic" Roman Catholic, I was made to feel like an outside.  The Russian parishes, I have found, do tend to be quite ethnic, but most are still extremely warm and welcoming.  If the parish has a strong youth element to it, it might be an easier transition since they tend to be more "westernised".

If I convert through the OCA, would I be able to become a member in another jurisdiction?  For example, if I convert through St. Nick's OCA Cathedral, but move and decide to join a Greek Orthodox church, is that possible?
Yup, as long as they are one of the canonical Churches, it would be no problem.

I am a baptized Roman Catholic, but can't find my baptism certificate.  Does this mean that I'll need to be rebaptized?  What if I feel that I'd like the experience of being baptized as an Orthodox?  Is this allowable/do people do this?

If you needed your certificate, the diocese you were baptised in could easily provide you with one.

It is based upon the jurisdiction and the Bishop about whether you will be received into Orthodoxy through baptism or through chrismation.  You will find members on this forum who were received through either one of those methods.  For example, when my Priest feels I am ready, I will be received through baptism, since that is the choice of the ROCA and the Bishop he is under.

Hope that sheds some light!  Ask away with anymore questions, since many have had the same questions you will likely ask.


ETA:  Seems we all pounced on this one at once, LoL.
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« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2008, 05:05:02 PM »

^It's nice to get a fresh face, isn't it?  Smiley  We like new people here!
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« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2008, 05:44:03 PM »

Also, as an African American, would I have any trouble being welcomed into any of these specific churches (if you have experience with them)? 

Welcome.

I can't imagine you could have any kind of problem for being what you are in any Orthodox Church in the world.

We are all from Adam and Eve.
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« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2008, 06:17:21 PM »

Hi all.  I've been Roman Catholic since birth, but have been interested in Orthodoxy for about 6 years on and off.  A couple years ago I attended Divine Liturgy and loved it.  After doing reading into the differing beliefs between Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy, as well as much prayer, I've made the decision to convert to the Orthodox Church.

How should I go about converting?  Should I just go to one of the churches and talk to a priest, or should I call the office number?  I know that one church has an "inquiry" class, so I might look into that.

There are three Orthodox churches in the area that I'm considering.  I've already attended Liturgy at St. Nicholas Cathedral (OCA) in DC.  They were very welcoming and the cathedral's beautiful.  I've also briefly seen (don't really remember) St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral, also in DC.  I do remember people coming up to me and being very approachable.  Finally, I recently found out that there's a St. John the Baptist Russian Orthodox Cathedral (in DC as well).  I have no experience with it, but am considering visiting this weekend.  Does anyone have any experience with these churches?  I think I like the Russian style of architecture more (I could be wrong, but it seems that Russian churches in the US are more open (as in they don't have pews), and are more ornate).  Could anyone comment on that?  Also, as an African American, would I have any trouble being welcomed into any of these specific churches (if you have experience with them)?  St. Nick's has already been a great experience, so I'm not concerned about that church, and St. Sophia's, from what I remember, also seemed great, but what about a Russian Orthodox church?  Are they mostly made up of ethnic Russians?  If you've been to St. John's, is it any more diverse, being in DC?

If I convert through the OCA, would I be able to become a member in another jurisdiction?  For example, if I convert through St. Nick's OCA Cathedral, but move and decide to join a Greek Orthodox church, is that possible?

I am a baptized Roman Catholic, but can't find my baptism certificate.  Does this mean that I'll need to be rebaptized?  What if I feel that I'd like the experience of being baptized as an Orthodox?  Is this allowable/do people do this?

Thanks so much for your help!

Welcome!

If I'm not mistaken, I believe there is an African-American assistant priest at  St. John's (ROCOR) http://www.stjohndc.org, so I can't imagine race  being an issue there. I can't imagine it being an issue in the OCA cathedral either.
Also, if you do decide to visit St. John's, the English liturgy is early- at 8am.

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« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2008, 06:32:11 PM »

thanks all for the replies  Grin  I'll contact my RCC diocese and see if I can get a copy of my baptism certificate.  I think right now I'm more attracted to the Russian (OCA and ROCOR) style of church.  St. John's 8am service is pretty early! I'll see both St. Nick's and St John's soon, and hopefully come to a decision as to which community I "feel" more.

About how long does it take to go through the conversion process?  Does it matter if one has read broadly on Orthodoxy?  I'm guessing this would be something the priest would decide.  Thanks again.
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« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2008, 06:35:30 PM »

Welcome NewOrtho!
The period of the catechumenate varies between jurisdictions as well as for different catechumens in the same jurisdiction. Your Priest will be able to guide you, and ultimately discern with you when you are ready to be received.
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« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2008, 09:57:39 PM »

I have a converting question of my own. In the RCC, they sometimes make you pay for the RCIA classes. Does Orthodoxy make you pay for their instruction classes? Sad

Personally, I felt extremely out of place in a more "American" parish, since it catered very much towards Protestants and as a more "ethnic" Roman Catholic, I was made to feel like an outside.

Friul, how were you made to feel like you were on the outside? I'm going to be attending ISU, and I'm very much afraid that I'll feel the same rejected and lonely way at the OCA in Bloomington/Normal like I did in the RCC... Sad
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« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2008, 10:06:11 PM »

Friul, how were you made to feel like you were on the outside? I'm going to be attending ISU, and I'm very much afraid that I'll feel the same rejected and lonely way at the OCA in Bloomington/Normal like I did in the RCC... Sad

The vast majority of the parishioners came from Protestant backgrounds that had a rather anti-RC streak.  So, the same Mary-worshiping comments occurred, Pope = anti-Christ, all RC priests are homosexual/paedophiles, my RC ancestors are damned, etc.  It was absolutely horrible.  I have been to other OCA parishes that were fine, but that experience made me rethink things for a long while.
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« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2008, 10:14:54 PM »

Hi all.  I've been Roman Catholic since birth, but have been interested in Orthodoxy for about 6 years on and off.  A couple years ago I attended Divine Liturgy and loved it.  After doing reading into the differing beliefs between Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy, as well as much prayer, I've made the decision to convert to the Orthodox Church.

How should I go about converting?  Should I just go to one of the churches and talk to a priest, or should I call the office number?  I know that one church has an "inquiry" class, so I might look into that.

There are three Orthodox churches in the area that I'm considering.  I've already attended Liturgy at St. Nicholas Cathedral (OCA) in DC.  They were very welcoming and the cathedral's beautiful.  I've also briefly seen (don't really remember) St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral, also in DC.  I do remember people coming up to me and being very approachable.  Finally, I recently found out that there's a St. John the Baptist Russian Orthodox Cathedral (in DC as well).  I have no experience with it, but am considering visiting this weekend.  Does anyone have any experience with these churches?  I think I like the Russian style of architecture more (I could be wrong, but it seems that Russian churches in the US are more open (as in they don't have pews), and are more ornate).  Could anyone comment on that?  Also, as an African American, would I have any trouble being welcomed into any of these specific churches (if you have experience with them)?  St. Nick's has already been a great experience, so I'm not concerned about that church, and St. Sophia's, from what I remember, also seemed great, but what about a Russian Orthodox church?  Are they mostly made up of ethnic Russians?  If you've been to St. John's, is it any more diverse, being in DC?

If I convert through the OCA, would I be able to become a member in another jurisdiction?  For example, if I convert through St. Nick's OCA Cathedral, but move and decide to join a Greek Orthodox church, is that possible?

I am a baptized Roman Catholic, but can't find my baptism certificate.  Does this mean that I'll need to be rebaptized?  What if I feel that I'd like the experience of being baptized as an Orthodox?  Is this allowable/do people do this?

Thanks so much for your help!

I live in DC and can help you sort through the Church's you mentioned.  Send me private message if you're interested and I will be glad to tell you what I know.

Also, if you take instruction and chrismation in one jurisdiction they will expect you to join their congregation so it's best to make a carefully considered choice.

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« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2008, 10:20:41 PM »

thanks all for the replies  Grin  I'll contact my RCC diocese and see if I can get a copy of my baptism certificate.  I think right now I'm more attracted to the Russian (OCA and ROCOR) style of church.  St. John's 8am service is pretty early! I'll see both St. Nick's and St John's soon, and hopefully come to a decision as to which community I "feel" more.

About how long does it take to go through the conversion process?  Does it matter if one has read broadly on Orthodoxy?  I'm guessing this would be something the priest would decide.  Thanks again.

St. John's has a mission Church ( which I belong to) in Beltsville, Holy Apostles. All English, more reasonable hours Smiley Priest is a convert himself.

http://www.holyapostlesorthodoxchurch.org/
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« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2008, 10:45:51 PM »

I have a converting question of my own. In the RCC, they sometimes make you pay for the RCIA classes. Does Orthodoxy make you pay for their instruction classes? Sad

In my experience, no.  I'm not sure if some parishes may have an actual text you might purchase or have a written test (some do this), but my catechumenate was pretty informal.  I met with my priest on Saturdays just before vespers and we talked about the basic tenets of Orthodoxy. 
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« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2008, 11:31:47 AM »

Hi all.  I've been Roman Catholic since birth, but have been interested in Orthodoxy for about 6 years on and off.  A couple years ago I attended Divine Liturgy and loved it.  After doing reading into the differing beliefs between Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy, as well as much prayer, I've made the decision to convert to the Orthodox Church.

How should I go about converting?  Should I just go to one of the churches and talk to a priest, or should I call the office number?  I know that one church has an "inquiry" class, so I might look into that.

There are three Orthodox churches in the area that I'm considering.  I've already attended Liturgy at St. Nicholas Cathedral (OCA) in DC.  They were very welcoming and the cathedral's beautiful.  I've also briefly seen (don't really remember) St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral, also in DC.  I do remember people coming up to me and being very approachable.  Finally, I recently found out that there's a St. John the Baptist Russian Orthodox Cathedral (in DC as well).  I have no experience with it, but am considering visiting this weekend.  Does anyone have any experience with these churches?  I think I like the Russian style of architecture more (I could be wrong, but it seems that Russian churches in the US are more open (as in they don't have pews), and are more ornate).  Could anyone comment on that?  Also, as an African American, would I have any trouble being welcomed into any of these specific churches (if you have experience with them)?  St. Nick's has already been a great experience, so I'm not concerned about that church, and St. Sophia's, from what I remember, also seemed great, but what about a Russian Orthodox church?  Are they mostly made up of ethnic Russians?  If you've been to St. John's, is it any more diverse, being in DC?

If I convert through the OCA, would I be able to become a member in another jurisdiction?  For example, if I convert through St. Nick's OCA Cathedral, but move and decide to join a Greek Orthodox church, is that possible?

I am a baptized Roman Catholic, but can't find my baptism certificate.  Does this mean that I'll need to be rebaptized?  What if I feel that I'd like the experience of being baptized as an Orthodox?  Is this allowable/do people do this?

Thanks so much for your help!

New Ortho

I am sure that you would be welcomed in all three of the cathedral families. Father Deacon John at the ROCOR Cathedral is a friend of mine and I know he will be very welcoming.

Thomas
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« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2008, 02:18:43 PM »

I'd say find the parish closest to you and support it if you can.  My friend attends a wonderful OCA parish in suburban Maryland.  I don't know the name off-hand.  St. Nicholas DC has an early English Liturgy and a Church Slavonic Liturgy afterwards.  I've never attended the English liturgy.  But the last time I was at the Slavonic liturgy they made me eat afterward.  I wish I had the time and chance to attend again.  I've been to the ROCOR cathedral but for vigil so I don't know anything about it other than they use Slavonic and English mixed.  I've never been to the Greek Cathedral.  But it's DC and there are lots of parishes and I'm one who says support the parish closest to you. 
How you'll be received will be between you, your priest and your bishop. 
Start attending and go regularly.  Talk to the priest and first and foremost pray.
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« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2008, 05:12:48 PM »

I'd say find the parish closest to you and support it if you can.  My friend attends a wonderful OCA parish in suburban Maryland.  I don't know the name off-hand. 

Perhaps St. Mark in Bethesda?
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« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2008, 12:16:17 AM »

Welcome home!

I came from the same background and was Chrismated with my wife (we renewed our wedding vows, and had our wedding blessed) on February 2 of this year.  Easy to remember...

I am so filled with the joy and peace of the Holy Spirit.

You mentioned reading.  Have you read "Two Paths: Papal Monarchy - Collegial Traditions" by Michael Whelton?  Be prepared for sorrow.

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/twopaths.aspx

Your parish may have a bookstore.  It's, of course, available at Amazon.

My curiousity led me to attend the local parish's Inquirers' Classes, and I was "sold."

Welcome, again!

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« Reply #18 on: August 27, 2008, 12:19:37 AM »

^ Welcome to the OC.net forum.  I do not see what the book has to do with NewOrtho's decision as to choosing a Church or Orthodox Jurisdiction to initiate his cathecumenate?
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« Reply #19 on: August 27, 2008, 01:58:43 PM »

Not to drag this thread off-topic more, but I would personally avoid anything by Michael Whelton.
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