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Author Topic: Greek Catholic convert  (Read 2219 times) Average Rating: 0
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Karamazov
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« on: October 05, 2003, 02:52:16 PM »

I was baptised and raised Ukrainian Greek Catholic, though I am now Ukrainian Orthodox.  My Ukrainian Greek Catholic background introduced me to Orthodoxy because of its seemingly Orthodox exterior; however, Greek Catholicism left my spirit unfulfilled, as though I could only smell, but not taste, the most delicious of meals.  I grew to intuitively reject a number of "Catholic" notions:  the infallibility of the Pope of Rome (even if while speaking ex-cathedra) or any human being, the ban on married priesthood, and the existence of Purgatory to name but a few.  This "intuition," I am convinced, was the vector through which the Holy Spirit acted and guided me spiritually. In rejecting so-called "Catholicism," I, like many of my so-inclined contemporaries, rejected holy tradition and Christianity, thus "throwing the baby out with the bathwater."   I became an agnotstic.  It wasn't until my first child was born that I considered re-attending church and re-connecting with Christianity.  I half-heartedly began attending a Canadian Protestant church - the United Church of Canada.  After six or so years of Protestantism, I feel somewhat qualified to speak on the spirituality of that church in comparison to that of the Orthodox Church.  What follows is not intended to offend, and I humbly submit the following generalization as my own opinion on the matter.

Protestants seem to be very pragmatic in their faith.  Mysticism is absent.  Theirs is a faith that "issues in action," which is not undeserving of commendation.  Their relationship with God is personal, as witnessed by the practice of personal and private confession.  The faith is rather text-centred, and can be inordinately so in the case of the "fundamentalist" Christianity we now see becoming popular.  Under these conditions, individuals pursue individual paths to God, and justify the paths taken based on individual interpretations of the Holy Bible.  Individuals are free, therefore, to "tailor" their beliefs to suit their individual needs, which is a significant spiritual risk of this Protestant "zeitgeist."  Certainly, the history of Protestantism has been one of "divorce:"  divorce from the Roman Catholic Church, and further divorces within Protestant ranks once the original divorce had become acceptable and internalized within Protestantism.  The result?  A number of tailor-made, so-called "Christian" splinter churches entertaining gatherings of like-minded individuals, each pursuing their individual paths to God, and each prepared to divorce themselves from their own particular brand of Protestant church if it should no longer suit their needs.  How presumptuous that an individual could proclaim himself or herself so well versed in their relationship with our Lord and our God that they can, on an individual basis, negotiate a satisfying relationship with God!  The Greek word "hubris" comes to mind - metaphysical conceit!

The Orthodox Church preaches and attempts to preserve the true faith and true Christian traditions as established by Jesus Christ 2000 years ago.  The traditions and basis of our true Christian beliefs have been established, confirmed and verified through the activities of the Divinely inspired seven Ecumenical Councils.  The Orthodox faith has endured because of its Truth, because only the Truth can endure.  The Orthodox Church has never "divorced" itself from any other church, and thus is the only preserver of the True Faith.  Orthodox faith and tradition has not been influenced by individuals asserting individual paths to God, the notion that has diluted and distorted the faith of the Protestants.  Is this evidence enough to support the fact that we, as individuals, must humbly submit to the notion that we can only safely and satisfactorily negotiate our relationship with God as one of a community of Orthodox believers?  The Orthodox community provides us with the support and spiritual guidance necessary to achieve the Grace of God - a community which includes the living and the dead, many of whom founded our church, set examples for us to follow, and were truly Christian ("Saints").  Does this not also support the notion that, if we ourselves are to be truly Christian, then we must be Christians of the One Holy Orthodox and Catholic Church, which has been the only Church to preserve the faith  in its entirety?  I believe that it does.  Therefore, I converted, and have never looked back!

Your friend in Christ

David (aka boilerguy)
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Orthodoc
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« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2003, 05:12:07 PM »

Wow David!  Your post is awesome!  Welcome both to this website and Holy Orthodoxy.  How privileged we are to have the 'Holy Spirit'  bring you back home where you belong!

As a so called 'cradle Orthodox' I'm very touched by your post!

Orthodoc
« Last Edit: October 05, 2003, 05:17:30 PM by Orthodoc » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2003, 11:40:06 PM »

And a welcome back to you Orthodoc!

Hopefully we can put our jagged past behind us. It is nice to have you back.

Bobby
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« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2003, 07:47:28 AM »

boilerguy,

Great post!

I had a similar feeling as a Byzantine Catholic.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2003, 07:54:28 AM by Justinianus » Logged

"If we truly think of Christ as our source of holiness, we shall refrain from anything wicked or impure in thought or act and thus show ourselves to be worthy bearers of his name.  For the quality of holiness is shown not by what we say but by what w
Hypo-Ortho
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« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2003, 10:38:23 AM »

Former Byzantine Catholic who "adjusted" to Orthodoxy here too.  We should have our own forum!!  Wink

Hypo-Ortho
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« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2003, 04:32:13 PM »

Thank you so much for your kind comments, Hypo-Ortho, Justinianus, Orthodoc, and Bobby!  I'll try hard to NOT let it get to my head!  

But seriously, though, I'd like to elaborate on the actual process of my accepting Holy Orthodoxy.  Firstly, I must thank my dear Romanian friend Sorin (you know who you are), whose contact with me can only be understood as being compelled by the holy Spirit acting through him!  Secondly, I must thank Bishop Kallistos Ware for writing "The Orthodox Church."  And finally (I save the best for last), I must thank God Almighty for accepting me back to the fold!  When I first attended an Orthodox Liturgy, I bawled my eyes out.  I felt like the prodigal son, come back home.  I shared my feelings with the parish priest (Very Rev. Michael Skrumeda) who was accepting of me, and planned with me my path to conversion.

I'm looking forward to some great times and great conversations here at OrthodoxChristianity.net.  I'm always interested in learning more about my faith.  Please be patient with me if I say stupid things (still learning!).  Also, do you consider yourselves to be Christian, in the Orthodox sense?  I have a lot of trouble calling myself "Orthodox," because I know how far I am from God, and how far I must travel to be near God.  I feel like if I was to refer to myself as "Orthodox,"  it would be very presumptuous of me.  Rather, I truly feel more like an "Aspiring Orthodox."

Your friend in Christ,
David the boilerguy
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Hypo-Ortho
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« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2003, 05:03:00 PM »

<snip>... do you consider yourselves to be Christian, in the Orthodox sense?  I have a lot of trouble calling myself "Orthodox," because I know how far I am from God, and how far I must travel to be near God.  I feel like if I was to refer to myself as "Orthodox,"  it would be very presumptuous of me.  Rather, I truly feel more like an "Aspiring Orthodox."

I go through this a lot too, David.   I still feel unworthy of the designation "Orthodox," even after 25+ years since my reception into The Church from the Unia.   I am so happy that at most Divine Liturgies in my present parish that the Litany of the Catechumens is still retained: I often feel that I should be counted in the order of Catechumens whenever I hear it, for I've never stopped learning about the Faith and never stopped trying to draw nearer to the Lord.

Hypo-Ortho
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« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2003, 12:29:39 AM »

boilerguy,

When I was a catechumen I was asked if I'd be a good Orthodox.  I replied that I would do the best that I could.  This answer didn't seem to please the person who asked me, but I stumble and fall so much, it often seems as if I'm getting nowhere in "working out my salvation."  I boldly call myself Orthodox not because I'm a good example.  The Lord knows that pride and immaturity weigh me down.  At times it seems as if I'm little more than "hot-air."  Sometimes I really wonder "how could someone be such a fool as I am."  My guardian angel must feel quiet frustrated.  This weakness of course isn’t something akin to a follower of Augustine might wear with an inverted sense of pride, because I know that we are not saved in our sin but from it.

Sorry for the tirade now let me get back to my point.  We are not the “Bodies” of Christ, but the “Body of Christ.”  Remember how Ecclesiastes tells us that a threefold cord is not easily broken (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12) the same is true of the Church.  We are called to support one another, to encourage and edify one another.  The wonder and glory of the Church is that we are one with the saints.  Being Orthodox means that the Church is our Mother who guides each of us to Salvation.  Don’t get me wrong here, I am supposed to work out my salvation with fear and trembling, but the Communion of the Saints is a support system as no other, one instituted by the Spirit and maintained by the Spirit.

What I’m trying to say is I don’t deserve to be called Orthodox or Christian, but I am blessed to be an Orthodox Christian.
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« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2003, 05:27:02 PM »

Hi and welcome!

I am in the process of becoming Orthodox. I too, was Byzantine Catholic.  For reasons that you described coupled with the fact it seems that Byzantine Catholic Churches are holding tanks for those who are angry with Vatican II.

Speaking of you observation about the Protestant church. I agree with your oberservation. The 'individual' factor leads to many "mini" schisms within the Protestant church. The last statistic I read there are 2500 different types of Protestants in the USA.

Don't get me started on Christian "entertainment". *shudder*.
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