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Author Topic: Nervous Approach  (Read 1477 times) Average Rating: 0
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Lady Holiday
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« on: September 21, 2003, 11:30:13 AM »

 :- In less than 2 hours I will walk into an Orthodox Parish for the second time...in ten years. I was in a very different position the last time I was in an orthodox parish. I was in a confirmation class for the Methodist church, and part of our education was to see what other sects and denominations did. Looking back, I wish I had told my pastor to go back without me. I liked it there, a LOT. Didnt wanna leave! LOL! Im nervous about going back now though. I read in another post that the demons will contribute to one getting critical of the Orthodox Faith and all that when they consider the switch, so I am guessing that is what it is. I feel kinda goofy now....I used to live a few blocks over from the parish we are going to. In fact last Christmas i actually debated weather or not to drop by, but I wasnt strong enough as a person to do it on my own. I get really frustrated with myself on the fact that I dont speak my mind more often. I have been through the spiritual ringer and im not afraid to admit that Im very nervous. Partially because I have spent a long time listening to everyone say that everyone else is wrong. (I agree that God must find some things, especially these days, very offensive, but I firmly beleive that God gives us the graces to get out there and find him, its just up to us to accept them with humility and acknowledge our wrong doings. I just hope I can make it up to him. I have a hard time even tolerating myself at times and its hard to comprehend why He would tolerate me as well. I beleive it but conceptually it takes time to sink in.)
     Okay on to my questions....is there reccomended reading to get a good solid grip on the Orthodox Faith? is there an Orthodox Chatechism? How do you pray? Do you use the Rosary or do you have different methods? What kind of Holiday customs do you have? What Bible do you use? (sorry that should have been first its a biggie!)
     Okay Im done mouthing off and Im sure I will have more to nag ya'll about tommorow LOL.
God Bless.
Jessica  Smiley
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Mor Ephrem
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« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2003, 01:41:09 PM »

    Okay on to my questions....is there reccomended reading to get a good solid grip on the Orthodox Faith? is there an Orthodox Chatechism? How do you pray? Do you use the Rosary or do you have different methods? What kind of Holiday customs do you have? What Bible do you use? (sorry that should have been first its a biggie!)

Dear Jessica,

Welcome to the forum!

I think many of us feel nervous when approaching a new church/parish.  I know that is something I deal with when I decide I want to visit.  I am too self-conscious, I get flustered when they do something I am unfamiliar with, I feel "goofy".  Maybe that's something like what you're talking about.  If so, then it can be nerve-wracking, but don't worry.  It gets easier with practice...so keep going to Orthodox churches.  Tongue

To read a little about the Orthodox faith, Bishop Kallistos (Timothy) Ware's The Orthodox Church and The Orthodox Way are pretty good.  I personally liked the former more than the latter, but most people disagree with me there.  They are both good, though, and you can get them at most bookstores (I've seen them in B&N, Borders, and places like that).  

Orthodox Christians pray primarily liturgically.  Even the private prayer books we use have a lot of prayers taken out of the Church's official liturgical prayer.  There is the prayer rope, which is a knotted cord or sometimes a string of beads upon which the Jesus Prayer is said.  This is used by many, but it is usually recommended that you have a spiritual director/spiritual father to guide you in it.  Those may be some of the bigger differences between Orthodox and others.  We also pray privately using our own words, for example...I know it is an important part of my spiritual life, and I'm sure others feel the same way.    

We use the Bible with the "Apocrypha" in the OT.  Properly speaking, those books aren't apocryphal, but are part of Holy Scripture.  Any Catholic edition of the Bible, for example, would be fine.  I use the RSV-CE.  Others use the KJV, the NKJV, etc.

Holiday customs are as varied as the cultures in which Orthodox Christians find themselves, so I won't try to address them all here.  Stick around for Christmas.  Smiley

God bless!

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« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2003, 01:45:23 PM »

Two important points:

1) we need to make sure we never replace reading with participation--we all are usually guilty of this; and

2) when reading we need to have a balance between the various areas of Orthodoxy: lives of saints, history, liturgy, theology.  Honing in on one area at the expense to others might not be good.

Law of God by Archpriest Seraphim Slobodskoy is a good catechism.  I would get it from the interlibrary loan first to see if you are going to like it before buying it because it costs about 50 bucks.

in Christ,

anastasios
« Last Edit: September 21, 2003, 01:46:11 PM by anastasios » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2003, 08:19:47 AM »

I also agree with Bishop Kallistos (Timothy) Ware's The Orthodox Church and The Orthodox Way.   Both are good introductions and are easy to read and follow.

Do not be fearful, the power of Jesus Christ is greater than that of Satan and his demons.  Satan's agents dread to see on of the Lord's creations returning to their Savior.  But remember, Christ is victorious and rose from the dead.   Spend time in prayer, confess your sins, and express your desire to be near Him.  These acts of faith will draw you near to the Lord.
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« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2003, 03:12:37 PM »

    Okay on to my questions....is there reccomended reading to get a good solid grip on the Orthodox Faith? is there an Orthodox Chatechism? How do you pray? Do you use the Rosary or do you have different methods? What kind of Holiday customs do you have? What Bible do you use? (sorry that should have been first its a biggie!)
     Okay Im done mouthing off and Im sure I will have more to nag ya'll about tommorow LOL.
God Bless.
Jessica  Smiley

I'm curious to find out how your experience went!

To answer your questions.......
I third the reccomendation for Bishop Kallistos Wares Books. I also reccomend "They Way of the Pilgrim" . There is also a great pamphlet by Frederica Matthews Greene http://www.frederica.com/orthodox/o12th-mrb.html.

I reccomend approaching the priest at your local parish and ask about adult convert classes. Make yourself present a couple of times.  The great thing about Orthodox churches, is that new faces are rarely missed. Even in parishes of 1000+ people. If someone comes up to you. Make it clear that you are inquirant and you want to learn more. My husband I did this and we are on the road right now to converting.  

The rosary- I know Orthodox who use a rosary, but it's not a common practice. If you like saying the rosary, no one is going to tell you to stop.    Orthodox christians use a "chotki" or prayer rope. The chotki contains 33 (1 for every year of Jesus's life) knots. It's typically made of wool but you can find chotki's made of silk and some made of beads. The typical posture for prayer is to stand up. (Yes, that seems weird I know)

Bible- I use the Orthodox study Bible and a New Standard Revised Catholic bible. ( NSR has better maps) You can find it here http://www.light-n-life.com/. Borders also carries it.  I also reccomend purchasing Daily prayers for Orthodox Christians. It is available at the aformentioned source.

Holiday customs..... Whatever holiday customs your family is familiar with, please continue them, don't stop being who you are culturally.  For example, if you attend a Greek church they probably have a dance group, you don't NEED to do this in order to be a good orthodox christian.  Incorporate customs and practices you feel comfortable with.  If let's say the church you are attending is Russian, don't feel like you have to be "Russian" (or Greek or Serbian or Bulgarian or Syrian) For example, it is customary to eat Bakalar during christmas in the Serbian community.  Bakalar is a salty dry white fish, that honestly isn't very appealing to people who didn't grow up with it.  Lips Sealed.     I grew up eating Bakalar and I don't care for it either. Wink

I hope I was able to help you.

In Christ,

PhosZoe
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« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2003, 03:43:19 PM »

For example, it is customary to eat Bakalar during christmas in the Serbian community.  Bakalar is a salty dry white fish, that honestly isn't very appealing to people who didn't grow up with it.  Lips Sealed.     I grew up eating Bakalar and I don't care for it either. Wink

Haha!  Although we don't eat this at Christmas specifically, we (Indians) do eat this, and I love it!
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Apolytikion, Tone 1, by Antonis

An eloquent crafter of divine posts
And an inheritor of the line of the Baptist
A righteous son of India
And a new apostle to the internet
O Holy Mor Ephrem,
Intercede for us, that our forum may be saved.


Mor Ephrem > Justin Kissel
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