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Author Topic: Anglican learning about Orthodoxy - please help me!  (Read 4284 times) Average Rating: 0
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Liz
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« on: April 07, 2009, 03:17:57 PM »

Hi,

I wanted to ask for some help. I am an Anglican, but my partner is Orthodox. I am feeling a bit upset and confused about the issues surrounding marriage and sex, since I was not brought up to believe that sex before marriage is wrong. I am well aware of the Orthodox Church's teachings, but I wonder if anyone has any thoughts on how to help me work through my worries? It is difficult for me, given my background, not to feel uneasy about the lack of intimacy in the relationship, even though I do know that my partner does not intend to make me feel that way. I've also heard some confusingly contradictory statements from others saying that my partner should not kiss me during fasting times, that we should not live together, and so on. The thing is, while he can talk to his spiritual father, I do not have this option and would much appreciate some thoughts from people here. Thanks!
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« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2009, 03:42:44 PM »

Hi,

I wanted to ask for some help. I am an Anglican, but my partner is Orthodox. I am feeling a bit upset and confused about the issues surrounding marriage and sex, since I was not brought up to believe that sex before marriage is wrong. I am well aware of the Orthodox Church's teachings, but I wonder if anyone has any thoughts on how to help me work through my worries? It is difficult for me, given my background, not to feel uneasy about the lack of intimacy in the relationship, even though I do know that my partner does not intend to make me feel that way. I've also heard some confusingly contradictory statements from others saying that my partner should not kiss me during fasting times, that we should not live together, and so on. The thing is, while he can talk to his spiritual father, I do not have this option and would much appreciate some thoughts from people here. Thanks!

I don't intend to be uncaring or callous, but I'm really not sure what you're asking. Surely you don't want us to weigh in on your relationship, do you? Don't you know already what we'll say, if so? (I do think the kissing thing is way over the top, by the way.)

Please, if you could be a bit clearer about what you need from us, I'd be glad to help if I can.



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« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2009, 03:42:53 PM »

Hi,

I wanted to ask for some help. I am an Anglican, but my partner is Orthodox. I am feeling a bit upset and confused about the issues surrounding marriage and sex, since I was not brought up to believe that sex before marriage is wrong. I am well aware of the Orthodox Church's teachings, but I wonder if anyone has any thoughts on how to help me work through my worries? It is difficult for me, given my background, not to feel uneasy about the lack of intimacy in the relationship, even though I do know that my partner does not intend to make me feel that way. I've also heard some confusingly contradictory statements from others saying that my partner should not kiss me during fasting times, that we should not live together, and so on. The thing is, while he can talk to his spiritual father, I do not have this option and would much appreciate some thoughts from people here. Thanks!
Are you willing to share what you mean by partner?
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« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2009, 04:06:42 PM »

Hi rwprof. You don't sound uncaring at all - I think I was being a bit unspecific because I was worried about what to say.I don't know what you'd say if you were to comment on my relationship, of course. I've heard a lot of people talking about how to cope with the food element of the fast, and I guess I was hoping people had suggestions about how to get through this element of restriction. Is there maybe a prayer you (or anyone else) feels would be appropriate? I would be grateful. I'm sorry if the comment about kissing offended you. I am just finding out about how the theology works, and it isn't always clear to me why certain things are prohibited/ allowed. For example, although I usually fast with him, I could in theory ask my partner to cook me bacon and eggs on a Friday. I expect that he would want to eat those things (especially right now!). So this to me seems like a form of temptation, but I have not heard anyone say that it is considered wrong. In contrast, I have heard that moving in together would be frowned upon, and I assume that this is because of the element of temptation. Is there some hierarchy of transgression going on? I would love some clarification.

L
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« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2009, 04:07:50 PM »

Hi,

I wanted to ask for some help. I am an Anglican, but my partner is Orthodox. I am feeling a bit upset and confused about the issues surrounding marriage and sex, since I was not brought up to believe that sex before marriage is wrong. I am well aware of the Orthodox Church's teachings, but I wonder if anyone has any thoughts on how to help me work through my worries? It is difficult for me, given my background, not to feel uneasy about the lack of intimacy in the relationship, even though I do know that my partner does not intend to make me feel that way. I've also heard some confusingly contradictory statements from others saying that my partner should not kiss me during fasting times, that we should not live together, and so on. The thing is, while he can talk to his spiritual father, I do not have this option and would much appreciate some thoughts from people here. Thanks!
Are you willing to share what you mean by partner?

Hi there - I meant in the sense that we have a settled relationship (but I'm a wee bit too old to say 'boyfriend'!) :-)
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« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2009, 04:20:54 PM »

Liz,

Welcome to the forum. 

The Orthodox fast encompasses not only food, but abstension from other pleasures so that we can focus on repentance.  Married couples are expected (though this is not enforced by any Orthodox secret police, mind you) to abstain from each other sexually.  This is not a strict Lenten practice, however.  Those about to receive the Holy Eucharist on Sunday mornings are expected to fast from food and also from sexual relations strictly from midnight up to the Divine Liturgy.

As far as kissing, goes, that seems, at least to me, a little extreme. 

I think it is great that you are willing to go through the fast with him (as much as you are able) and be supportive of his efforts.  Perhaps that will also strengthen your relationship with him and his with you, all the more.
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« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2009, 04:27:33 PM »

Hi rwprof. You don't sound uncaring at all - I think I was being a bit unspecific because I was worried about what to say.I don't know what you'd say if you were to comment on my relationship, of course. I've heard a lot of people talking about how to cope with the food element of the fast, and I guess I was hoping people had suggestions about how to get through this element of restriction. Is there maybe a prayer you (or anyone else) feels would be appropriate? I would be grateful. I'm sorry if the comment about kissing offended you. I am just finding out about how the theology works, and it isn't always clear to me why certain things are prohibited/ allowed. For example, although I usually fast with him, I could in theory ask my partner to cook me bacon and eggs on a Friday. I expect that he would want to eat those things (especially right now!). So this to me seems like a form of temptation, but I have not heard anyone say that it is considered wrong. In contrast, I have heard that moving in together would be frowned upon, and I assume that this is because of the element of temptation. Is there some hierarchy of transgression going on? I would love some clarification.

L

Fasting is a spiritual exercise to help us grow in virtue. It is not a sin to eat meat, but we voluntarily give these things up as an exercise in obedience to the rules the church has set for us. If someone is unable to keep the fasts for medical reasons, they take permission of their spiritual guide and work out a rule appropriate to the individual. It's not that we need the priests permission to eat (thinking in terms of what's allowed or not here is the wrong emphasis), but that he's there to help us work out how to follow God and how to train ourselves in virtue. (St. Paul likens Christianity to running a race the Bible, so we have to train!)

Living together is another topic altogether. Unlike eating meat (which is not sinful), extramarital sexual relationships are against Christianity. It's not a matter of discipline but of commandment, fornication is forbidden in the Bible and has never in the history of the church been thought to be ok. This is not a weird Orthodox thing, all Christians agreed on this for two millennium until recent decades when a few groups, still the vast minority, started to think premarital sex is ok. So living together is not allowed, as it is almost impossible to do with purity.

If you want to talk to someone to figure things out, I'm sure his priest would be happy to sit with you. You couldn't make clear you don't want to convert, but just want to understand.

In Orthodoxy, dating is not normally done for the sake of having someone. It is done to determine if it is God's will to marry. It isn't something that's seen as a long term or semi-permanent state, but a process to seek an answer. If marriage is a future possibility, it wouldn't hurt to check on what your options are, and what decisions would have to be made (normally marriage in Orthodoxy is restricted to practicing Christians as it is a Sacrament who's purpose is salvation).

So the question on kissing is just hard to know how to address. Kissing is a pretty vague term. If you mean an affectionate peck, I don't think most Orthodox married people refrain from this during the fast, only from sexual relations. If you mean passionate kissing, I don't know how to answer since for us that's not something that belongs outside of marriage (not to say Orthodox couples looking to get married don't get carried away and need repentance, just that the question of whether or not it's ok to kiss passionately outside of marriage during a fast doesn't really make sense to us since it falls into purity and avoidance of sin, it's not something good that's fasted from to exercise obedience and discipline).

I don't mean any offense or judgment, just trying to convey where we're coming from to try to explain why it's hard to answer your questions.
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« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2009, 04:31:39 PM »

Liz,

Welcome to the forum. 

The Orthodox fast encompasses not only food, but abstension from other pleasures so that we can focus on repentance.  Married couples are expected (though this is not enforced by any Orthodox secret police, mind you) to abstain from each other sexually.  This is not a strict Lenten practice, however.  Those about to receive the Holy Eucharist on Sunday mornings are expected to fast from food and also from sexual relations strictly from midnight up to the Divine Liturgy.

As far as kissing, goes, that seems, at least to me, a little extreme. 

I think it is great that you are willing to go through the fast with him (as much as you are able) and be supportive of his efforts.  Perhaps that will also strengthen your relationship with him and his with you, all the more.

Hi! Thanks for your reply - I like the idea that the fasting might strengthen our relationship. I have worried that perhaps it might seem like a kind of superficial 'spiritual tourism', which of course isn't the aim. Although I'm Anglican, I do like the attention that fasting seems designed to create. Out of curiosity, do you find it hard simply to remember that you should be fasting? I think I would - it would just be too easy to put some milk in my coffee, for example.
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« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2009, 04:36:25 PM »

Liz,

Welcome to the forum. 

The Orthodox fast encompasses not only food, but abstension from other pleasures so that we can focus on repentance.  Married couples are expected (though this is not enforced by any Orthodox secret police, mind you) to abstain from each other sexually.  This is not a strict Lenten practice, however.  Those about to receive the Holy Eucharist on Sunday mornings are expected to fast from food and also from sexual relations strictly from midnight up to the Divine Liturgy.

As far as kissing, goes, that seems, at least to me, a little extreme. 

I think it is great that you are willing to go through the fast with him (as much as you are able) and be supportive of his efforts.  Perhaps that will also strengthen your relationship with him and his with you, all the more.

Hi! Thanks for your reply - I like the idea that the fasting might strengthen our relationship. I have worried that perhaps it might seem like a kind of superficial 'spiritual tourism', which of course isn't the aim. Although I'm Anglican, I do like the attention that fasting seems designed to create. Out of curiosity, do you find it hard simply to remember that you should be fasting? I think I would - it would just be too easy to put some milk in my coffee, for example.

Fasting just takes practice Smiley It is easy to forget because of routines... but that's one of the points of it, to break habits, so it's ok that it's hard because that's part of the fight. Remembering to fast before Church is pretty easy since normally we go to the evening service, go home and sleep, and then go to the Liturgy. There's certainly nothing wrong with learning from other traditions, so I don't think you have to worry about Orthodox thinking you're weird for that.
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« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2009, 04:38:43 PM »


Hi! Thanks for your reply - I like the idea that the fasting might strengthen our relationship. I have worried that perhaps it might seem like a kind of superficial 'spiritual tourism', which of course isn't the aim. Although I'm Anglican, I do like the attention that fasting seems designed to create. Out of curiosity, do you find it hard simply to remember that you should be fasting? I think I would - it would just be too easy to put some milk in my coffee, for example.

Well, Liz, I don't have problems remembering fasting, because fasting is only part of the equation when it comes to repentance and the spiritual life.  Prayer should also increase and so when you doubly pray and fast, it becomes, more or less second nature. But the fasting from certain foods should never become a legal end unto itself.  There are times when I may have had something to eat which may not have been the best food choice, but it was either that or cause serious damage to myself medically and fasting should not imperil our health, ever.  Nor should we refuse the hospitality of others who give us something to eat at their homes by coming off self-righteous and asking for a fast-friendly dish instead of a steak.  I always eat what I am given, especially when I visit my parents.

But as I said, fasting from food is only part of the equation.  If you are not abstaining as well from the pursuit of pleasures in this life (and I'm speaking in generalities here not with specific regards to the relationship you have with your "significant other") and not praying more, then your fasting has become a mere diet.  And that is not the point nor is it spiritually beneficial.  So, couple your fasting with other spiritual pursuits and I guarantee that your fasting from food becomes second nature to you.
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« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2009, 04:39:18 PM »

Hi and welcome to the forum, Liz! Smiley

...since I was not brought up to believe that sex before marriage is wrong. I am well aware of the Orthodox Church's teachings,
But abstinence isn't endemic to Orthodox Christianity; it's part and parcel to all of Christendom.  


while he can talk to his spiritual father, I do not have this option
Do you mean to say that you are not comfortable speaking to his priest or that his priest will not talk to you?  
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« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2009, 04:42:37 PM »

The thing is, while he can talk to his spiritual father, I do not have this option and would much appreciate some thoughts from people here. Thanks!

Have you considered talking to his spiritual father? Not so much in the role of spiritual councilling for you but in the sense of giving you a second perspective on what expectations your partner is working with/under? One reason I mention that is because there is actually a fair amount of variance when it comes to the discipline of 'lenten abstinence'--even in the directions one spiritual father may give to different individuals based on their spiritual growth/needs/weaknesses, etc. I've never heard of 'no kissing' as a directive--but wouldn't be surprised if some couples did do so as part of their personal Lenten discipline--though as with lenten abstinence that, per the Apostle's directive, should only be by mutual consent.

Of course, there is no variance on the position that sex outside of marriage is wrong. I'm not sure what to tell you there other than to say that if you're old enough to think 'boyfriend' sounds weird, I'd think you would be old enough to remember when the Orthodox Church's position was the position of most/all Christian churches (including the Anglicans). And not a few non-Christians as well. (even if it was a position often more honored in the breach than in reality).
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« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2009, 04:45:49 PM »

Out of curiosity, do you find it hard simply to remember that you should be fasting? I think I would - it would just be too easy to put some milk in my coffee, for example.

Early on, yes, it is easy to forget and just follow your habits--which is actually one of the points to the discipline, to step outside your normal unthinking habits and deliberately act counter to them for a spiritual purpose. Later on, not so much. The rhythm of fasting itself becomes a habit--and during the longer fasts, you start clearing the meat and dairy out before the fast starts so its simply not there to make a mistake with.
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« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2009, 04:47:49 PM »

Hi rwprof. You don't sound uncaring at all - I think I was being a bit unspecific because I was worried about what to say.I don't know what you'd say if you were to comment on my relationship, of course. I've heard a lot of people talking about how to cope with the food element of the fast, and I guess I was hoping people had suggestions about how to get through this element of restriction. Is there maybe a prayer you (or anyone else) feels would be appropriate? I would be grateful. I'm sorry if the comment about kissing offended you. I am just finding out about how the theology works, and it isn't always clear to me why certain things are prohibited/ allowed. For example, although I usually fast with him, I could in theory ask my partner to cook me bacon and eggs on a Friday. I expect that he would want to eat those things (especially right now!). So this to me seems like a form of temptation, but I have not heard anyone say that it is considered wrong. In contrast, I have heard that moving in together would be frowned upon, and I assume that this is because of the element of temptation. Is there some hierarchy of transgression going on? I would love some clarification.

L

Fasting is a spiritual exercise to help us grow in virtue. It is not a sin to eat meat, but we voluntarily give these things up as an exercise in obedience to the rules the church has set for us. If someone is unable to keep the fasts for medical reasons, they take permission of their spiritual guide and work out a rule appropriate to the individual. It's not that we need the priests permission to eat (thinking in terms of what's allowed or not here is the wrong emphasis), but that he's there to help us work out how to follow God and how to train ourselves in virtue. (St. Paul likens Christianity to running a race the Bible, so we have to train!)

Living together is another topic altogether. Unlike eating meat (which is not sinful), extramarital sexual relationships are against Christianity. It's not a matter of discipline but of commandment, fornication is forbidden in the Bible and has never in the history of the church been thought to be ok. This is not a weird Orthodox thing, all Christians agreed on this for two millennium until recent decades when a few groups, still the vast minority, started to think premarital sex is ok. So living together is not allowed, as it is almost impossible to do with purity.

If you want to talk to someone to figure things out, I'm sure his priest would be happy to sit with you. You couldn't make clear you don't want to convert, but just want to understand.

In Orthodoxy, dating is not normally done for the sake of having someone. It is done to determine if it is God's will to marry. It isn't something that's seen as a long term or semi-permanent state, but a process to seek an answer. If marriage is a future possibility, it wouldn't hurt to check on what your options are, and what decisions would have to be made (normally marriage in Orthodoxy is restricted to practicing Christians as it is a Sacrament who's purpose is salvation).

So the question on kissing is just hard to know how to address. Kissing is a pretty vague term. If you mean an affectionate peck, I don't think most Orthodox married people refrain from this during the fast, only from sexual relations. If you mean passionate kissing, I don't know how to answer since for us that's not something that belongs outside of marriage (not to say Orthodox couples looking to get married don't get carried away and need repentance, just that the question of whether or not it's ok to kiss passionately outside of marriage during a fast doesn't really make sense to us since it falls into purity and avoidance of sin, it's not something good that's fasted from to exercise obedience and discipline).

I don't mean any offense or judgment, just trying to convey where we're coming from to try to explain why it's hard to answer your questions.

Hi! I'm not offended at all, just grateful. I came here to get the perspective from the inside, after all. Just to clarify, Anglicans believe many of the same things as Orthodox Christians, and we are certainly practicing Christians! My partner and I do want to marry, but it seems sensible to wait at the moment (he believes that divorce is acceptable, and although I agree in theory, I would be terribly upset to find myself in that situation). I can't I'm afraid talk to my partner's spiritual father, although I agree it would be a good suggestion if I spoke the language, so your comments are really helpful. Actually, you say it's hard to answer my questions, but you seem to be doing a pretty good job! Still curious, but knowing a little more is always good. I will go and have a think now ...

Lucy.
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« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2009, 04:50:30 PM »

Hi,

Hi, Liz.  Welcome!  Others have written excellent replies; I only include mine because I spent the time writing it and then forgot to hit the "post" button.

I wanted to ask for some help. I am an Anglican, but my partner is Orthodox. I am feeling a bit upset and confused about the issues surrounding marriage and sex, since I was not brought up to believe that sex before marriage is wrong.

Ahh.  Why are you upset?

I am well aware of the Orthodox Church's teachings, but I wonder if anyone has any thoughts on how to help me work through my worries?

I would encourage you to find ways of being "intimate" that do not focus on the physical contact: enjoying hobbies together, seeing plays/movies of common interest, doing common volunteer work, etc.  If you use your emotions as a crutch when evaluating your relationship, you may be fooled; instead, use them as one of many factors when looking at your progress and love for one another.

It is difficult for me, given my background, not to feel uneasy about the lack of intimacy in the relationship, even though I do know that my partner does not intend to make me feel that way.

It's good you're able to see that he doesn't intend for you to feel a "lack of intimacy."  I would just encourage you, as I say above, to expand your definition of intimacy to include intellectual and spiritual bonds, to counterbalance the lack of physical ones.

I've also heard some confusingly contradictory statements from others saying that my partner should not kiss me during fasting times, that we should not live together, and so on.

There are some pieces of Orthodox spiritual advice that are more cultural than they are dogmatic; in these cases (like the one you listed above) you may get differing perspectives.  While one is not better necessarily than the other, they are designed to work together with a worldview in harmony in order to promote a fuller spiritual life.

The thing is, while he can talk to his spiritual father, I do not have this option and would much appreciate some thoughts from people here. Thanks!

Actually, you do have that option!  You don't have to be Orthodox to seek spiritual guidance from an Orthodox priest; just be prepared to get that guidance from an Orthodox, and not Anglican, POV.  Otherwise, many here are very willing to lend a hand as much as they can.
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« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2009, 04:57:07 PM »

Couple of things, not really posts - just wanted to clear up some things I should have said more clearly.

I should have explained in more detail. My partner's spiritual father is Russian, as is he. My Russian is in its (extreme) infancy, so I can't really communicate. This is partly why I'm here: I don't have anyone to ask advice from, although my partner has reassured me that his mother would help to teach our children, should we have any, about her beliefs. But I really am relying on people here for now!

I think the situation in CofE churches is very different, and has been for over a century. Confession is not a part of mainstream CofE worship, and so issues of personal practice tend to be 'don't ask, don't tell'.
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« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2009, 05:02:31 PM »

Hi,

Hi, Liz.  Welcome!  Others have written excellent replies; I only include mine because I spent the time writing it and then forgot to hit the "post" button.

I wanted to ask for some help. I am an Anglican, but my partner is Orthodox. I am feeling a bit upset and confused about the issues surrounding marriage and sex, since I was not brought up to believe that sex before marriage is wrong.

Ahh.  Why are you upset?

I am well aware of the Orthodox Church's teachings, but I wonder if anyone has any thoughts on how to help me work through my worries?

I would encourage you to find ways of being "intimate" that do not focus on the physical contact: enjoying hobbies together, seeing plays/movies of common interest, doing common volunteer work, etc.  If you use your emotions as a crutch when evaluating your relationship, you may be fooled; instead, use them as one of many factors when looking at your progress and love for one another.

It is difficult for me, given my background, not to feel uneasy about the lack of intimacy in the relationship, even though I do know that my partner does not intend to make me feel that way.

It's good you're able to see that he doesn't intend for you to feel a "lack of intimacy."  I would just encourage you, as I say above, to expand your definition of intimacy to include intellectual and spiritual bonds, to counterbalance the lack of physical ones.

I've also heard some confusingly contradictory statements from others saying that my partner should not kiss me during fasting times, that we should not live together, and so on.

There are some pieces of Orthodox spiritual advice that are more cultural than they are dogmatic; in these cases (like the one you listed above) you may get differing perspectives.  While one is not better necessarily than the other, they are designed to work together with a worldview in harmony in order to promote a fuller spiritual life.

The thing is, while he can talk to his spiritual father, I do not have this option and would much appreciate some thoughts from people here. Thanks!

Actually, you do have that option!  You don't have to be Orthodox to seek spiritual guidance from an Orthodox priest; just be prepared to get that guidance from an Orthodox, and not Anglican, POV.  Otherwise, many here are very willing to lend a hand as much as they can.

Thanks so much! This really helps - in fact, all of the replies here have helped. It's wonderful, because I was so happy to find that I could pray with my partner and talk to him about religion - and then I struggled to find other Orthodox people who were also happy to talk to me. I'm really glad if the kissing thing is cultural - he used to refuse to kiss me and then decided it was probably ok, and I was worried that he might be compromising himself.
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« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2009, 05:06:47 PM »

I should have explained in more detail. My partner's spiritual father is Russian, as is he. My Russian is in its (extreme) infancy, so I can't really communicate. This is partly why I'm here: I don't have anyone to ask advice from, although my partner has reassured me that his mother would help to teach our children, should we have any, about her beliefs. But I really am relying on people here for now!

So talk to the spiritual father *with* your boyfriend and have him translate. I understand the awkwardness of that (my fiancee is Taiwaness and though she speaks English fluently, family encounters with her parents are a whole different story)--but having him do the translation back and forth might actually help *him* in understanding what you need to know and understand in this context.
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« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2009, 05:30:09 PM »

Hi Liz (Lucy), and welcome!

Yes, I can only confirm what others have said. The Orthodox Church teaches that married couples should abstain from marital relationships during fasts, and for those of us who aren't married this kind of fasting does last until we get married. Smiley

I never heard about any specific instructions on kissing. Why would it be wrong to kiss someone during the fast? Of course, if the kiss lasts forever and the person who kisses or is being kissed is burning with lust - then that's another story altogether; but simply kissing your friend or fiance should be always an OK thing. Smiley

Just in case, I would always be happy to help with anything Russian, because I grew up in the former USSR. (I am a Ukrainian by birth, live in the USA since 1990.)

--George

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« Reply #19 on: April 07, 2009, 05:37:47 PM »

Thanks so much! This really helps - in fact, all of the replies here have helped. It's wonderful, because I was so happy to find that I could pray with my partner and talk to him about religion - and then I struggled to find other Orthodox people who were also happy to talk to me. I'm really glad if the kissing thing is cultural - he used to refuse to kiss me and then decided it was probably ok, and I was worried that he might be compromising himself. 

Remember, a big thing to do is talk through these things.  It's good for you to hear that not kissing you doesn't mean he doesn't love you, or that the lack of a "physical" relationship doesn't mean he doesn't think you're beautiful.  It's good for both parties to see that love can blossom without many of the physical signs, and when the physical actions become available in the relationship (for sex this would be at marriage) they will only add to the relationship in the context of the commitment and spiritual bond.
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« Reply #20 on: April 07, 2009, 05:55:03 PM »

Hi Liz (Lucy), and welcome!

Yes, I can only confirm what others have said. The Orthodox Church teaches that married couples should abstain from marital relationships during fasts, and for those of us who aren't married this kind of fasting does last until we get married. Smiley

I never heard about any specific instructions on kissing. Why would it be wrong to kiss someone during the fast? Of course, if the kiss lasts forever and the person who kisses or is being kissed is burning with lust - then that's another story altogether; but simply kissing your friend or fiance should be always an OK thing. Smiley

Just in case, I would always be happy to help with anything Russian, because I grew up in the former USSR. (I am a Ukrainian by birth, live in the USA since 1990.)

--George





That is really kind, thanks! I am hoping that my partner and I will marry and we expect to abide by his beliefs. I might ask you questions as they come up about Russia, if you don't mind. I am really grateful.

Thanks,

L.

PS - I would say God Bless in Russian, but not having Cyrillic fonts doesn't help! Please imagine I said it ... would you say 'spasi gospedi', or how would you spell it? :-)
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« Reply #21 on: April 07, 2009, 05:59:11 PM »

Quote
PS - I would say God Bless in Russian, but not having Cyrillic fonts doesn't help! Please imagine I said it ... would you say 'spasi gospedi', or how would you spell it? :-)

Bozhe blagoslovi is God bless. Spasi Gospodi is Save, O Lord. Another benevolent term Russians often use is S'Bogom (God be with you).
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« Reply #22 on: April 07, 2009, 06:05:22 PM »

Quote
PS - I would say God Bless in Russian, but not having Cyrillic fonts doesn't help! Please imagine I said it ... would you say 'spasi gospedi', or how would you spell it? :-)

Bozhe blagoslovi is God bless. Spasi Gospodi is Save, O Lord. Another benevolent term Russians often use is S'Bogom (God be with you).


Thanks! We would say, 'God be with you' - and so I would say to you.
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« Reply #23 on: April 07, 2009, 06:45:13 PM »

Thanks, Liz. Yes, indeed, Russians say "Spasi Vas Khristos," or "Spasi Bozhe." (BTW, the Russian word for "thanks" - "spasibo" - is actually a shortened form of "God save you," "Spasi (Vas) Bozhe."

"The Lord be with you" would be, in Russian, "Gospod' s Vami" (or "Gospod' s toboj," if you are talking to someone who is close to you, or to a child). However, as far as I know, in the common Russian conversation such an exclamation would be a sign of bewilderment, or mistrust (like, "what in the world are you saying, the Lord be with you!"  Grin)
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« Reply #24 on: April 07, 2009, 06:52:24 PM »

Thanks, Liz. Yes, indeed, Russians say "Spasi Vas Khristos," or "Spasi Bozhe." (BTW, the Russian word for "thanks" - "spasibo" - is actually a shortened form of "God save you," "Spasi (Vas) Bozhe."

"The Lord be with you" would be, in Russian, "Gospod' s Vami" (or "Gospod' s toboj," if you are talking to someone who is close to you, or to a child). However, as far as I know, in the common Russian conversation such an exclamation would be a sign of bewilderment, or mistrust (like, "what in the world are you saying, the Lord be with you!"  Grin)

That's wonderful! I especially like the "what in the world are you saying, the Lord be with you!". Can you teach me any Russian prayers?

(Sorry, you are probably busy ... )

Thanks again!

Liz
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« Reply #25 on: April 07, 2009, 06:57:28 PM »

^^The simpliest and the shortest prayer is the Jesus prayer:

"Gospodi Iisuse Khriste, Syne Bozhyj, pomiluj mya greshnago!"

("Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!")

(In my native Ukrainian, it would be, "Hospody Isuse Khryste, Synu Bozhyj, pomyluj mene, hrishnoho!")
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« Reply #26 on: April 07, 2009, 06:59:32 PM »

Hi Liz and welcome to the group.

I'm a bit unclear.  Are you looking to become Orthodox too, or are you just wanting to be respectful to your partner's religious teachings?

The reason I ask is because Orthodox do not generally expect non-Orthodox to follow their Lenten restrictions/guidelines.  My husband is not Orthodox and I would never dream of insisting that he follow an Orthodox fast (food or otherwise)...in fact, my husband would be seriously offended if my priest started telling me I needed to have my husband start following Orthodox practices in the home.

While I appreciate your respectfulness to our faith I don't want you to feel like this is something you MUST be doing.  
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« Reply #27 on: April 07, 2009, 08:17:44 PM »

Hi Liz and welcome to the group.

I'm a bit unclear.  Are you looking to become Orthodox too, or are you just wanting to be respectful to your partner's religious teachings?

The reason I ask is because Orthodox do not generally expect non-Orthodox to follow their Lenten restrictions/guidelines.  My husband is not Orthodox and I would never dream of insisting that he follow an Orthodox fast (food or otherwise)...in fact, my husband would be seriously offended if my priest started telling me I needed to have my husband start following Orthodox practices in the home.

While I appreciate your respectfulness to our faith I don't want you to feel like this is something you MUST be doing. 

Hi there! It's kind of you to think of reassuring me. I am not Orthodox, and while I have thought carefully about whether or not I could convert, I cannot at the moment see that it would be right for me. I only fast with my partner for convenience, so if he isn't there, or if I'm hungry, I eat some meat. But often it is just easier to cook the same for both of us. I wish sex were an issue where compromise could also be followed, but it seems from responses that it isn't - I have to follow these rules, so it's best if I try to understand them.

(Must go sleep now - God bless)

Liz

{Edit - fixed quote tag - Cleveland, GM}
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« Reply #28 on: April 07, 2009, 08:19:31 PM »

^^The simpliest and the shortest prayer is the Jesus prayer:

"Gospodi Iisuse Khriste, Syne Bozhyj, pomiluj mya greshnago!"

("Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!")

(In my native Ukrainian, it would be, "Hospody Isuse Khryste, Synu Bozhyj, pomyluj mene, hrishnoho!")

Thanks! That is a prayer anyone could share. :-)
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« Reply #29 on: April 08, 2009, 08:05:33 AM »

Couple of things, not really posts - just wanted to clear up some things I should have said more clearly.

I should have explained in more detail. My partner's spiritual father is Russian, as is he. My Russian is in its (extreme) infancy, so I can't really communicate. This is partly why I'm here: I don't have anyone to ask advice from, although my partner has reassured me that his mother would help to teach our children, should we have any, about her beliefs. But I really am relying on people here for now!

I think the situation in CofE churches is very different, and has been for over a century. Confession is not a part of mainstream CofE worship, and so issues of personal practice tend to be 'don't ask, don't tell'.

Depending on your location, finding another Orthodox priest to answer your questions may be an option. I know where I live there are dozens of priest with perfect english among the various jurisdictions in the area.
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« Reply #30 on: April 08, 2009, 09:03:05 AM »

Welcome Liz, to the Convert Issues Forum.  We hope that we may be able to provide simple and direct responses to your questions and that you will feel this to be a safe place to ask those questions.

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« Reply #31 on: April 08, 2009, 09:57:27 AM »

I wish sex were an issue where compromise could also be followed, but it seems from responses that it isn't - I have to follow these rules, so it's best if I try to understand them.

Try not to see the restriction against pre-marital sex from a legalistic perspective and think down the road to salvation.  If you and your partner decide to have sex, that is between the both of you; however, there is a price to be paid and your partner may not want to go down that road (I have been down that road).  If you can accept his decision to abstain, OK; otherwise, you and he need to talk and let your feelings be known....

Penance has to come from the heart and with many tears as testified by King David following his many indiscretions.
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« Reply #32 on: April 11, 2009, 03:34:42 PM »

Liz,

Growing up, my choice of christian expression was high church anglicanism.

I crismated to orthodoxy seeking the church from it's beginning.

Happily, a romanian fiancee gave no little temporal incentive too.

You should know, the two churches have a long and cordial history of dialog.

In fact, orthodox immigrants to the US, lacking a church or priest were advised to attend

the episcopalian services. This history is still carrie forward in adopting sunday school and

sometimes choirs.

So you have a history of goodwill to tap into on both sides.

As for the kissing?

Gee, I get  kisses on the cheek from the priests on down to pretty girls!   
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« Reply #33 on: April 11, 2009, 05:06:25 PM »


Hi there! It's kind of you to think of reassuring me. I am not Orthodox, and while I have thought carefully about whether or not I could convert, I cannot at the moment see that it would be right for me. I only fast with my partner for convenience, so if he isn't there, or if I'm hungry, I eat some meat. But often it is just easier to cook the same for both of us. I wish sex were an issue where compromise could also be followed, but it seems from responses that it isn't - I have to follow these rules, so it's best if I try to understand them.

(Must go sleep now - God bless)

Liz

{Edit - fixed quote tag - Cleveland, GM}

If you mean sex before marriage, then yes, this is non-negotiable from an Orthodox perspective. However if you mean during fasting periods after marriage, that's negotiable. Abstinence before Communion is important, but usually that's once a week if that. For fasting from relations after marriage for the whole 40 days of Lent, etc., that's very negotiable. In marriage each spouse does not 'own' his/her own body but gives it to the other, and fasting from sex is not allowed without the consent of the spouse.
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« Reply #34 on: April 11, 2009, 06:45:21 PM »

Liz,

Growing up, my choice of christian expression was high church anglicanism.

I crismated to orthodoxy seeking the church from it's beginning.

Happily, a romanian fiancee gave no little temporal incentive too.

V-ati casatorit cu o romanca, sau va veti casatori cu ea?  Unde sunteti?
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« Reply #35 on: April 13, 2009, 12:03:51 PM »

If you mean sex before marriage, then yes, this is non-negotiable from an Orthodox perspective. However if you mean during fasting periods after marriage, that's negotiable. Abstinence before Communion is important, but usually that's once a week if that. For fasting from relations after marriage for the whole 40 days of Lent, etc., that's very negotiable. In marriage each spouse does not 'own' his/her own body but gives it to the other, and fasting from sex is not allowed without the consent of the spouse.

Ahh, that makes sense. I was finding it confusing because I'd heard some people saying 'oh, yes, fasting ... that's negotiable', and I think I'd assumed that it applied before marriage too. Thanks!

{Edit - fixed quote tag - Cleveland, GM}
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« Reply #36 on: April 30, 2009, 08:41:20 PM »

I am no one to judge but, co-habitation is shacking up and we all know what that's called... right?
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« Reply #37 on: May 01, 2009, 01:12:35 AM »

I am no one to judge but, co-habitation is shacking up and we all know what that's called... right?

<Chuckle>...Welcome to the forum.
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« Reply #38 on: May 01, 2009, 06:37:05 PM »

Why, Thank You, I am glad to be here .The conversations are interesting . Cheesy
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« Reply #39 on: May 02, 2009, 01:29:00 AM »

I am no one to judge but, co-habitation is shacking up and we all know what that's called... right?

That's a pretty forward "hello", wouldn't you say?
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« Reply #40 on: May 02, 2009, 03:09:25 AM »

I wasn't saying "Hello". I was making an observation.
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« Reply #41 on: May 02, 2009, 03:43:53 AM »

Hi,

I wanted to ask for some help. I am an Anglican, but my partner is Orthodox. I am feeling a bit upset and confused about the issues surrounding marriage and sex, since I was not brought up to believe that sex before marriage is wrong. I am well aware of the Orthodox Church's teachings, but I wonder if anyone has any thoughts on how to help me work through my worries? It is difficult for me, given my background, not to feel uneasy about the lack of intimacy in the relationship, even though I do know that my partner does not intend to make me feel that way. I've also heard some confusingly contradictory statements from others saying that my partner should not kiss me during fasting times, that we should not live together, and so on. The thing is, while he can talk to his spiritual father, I do not have this option and would much appreciate some thoughts from people here. Thanks!
  I hope I didn't offend you with my comment sweety. It was not my intention. Nevertheless, I apologize. Mea culpa
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« Reply #42 on: May 08, 2009, 12:50:20 AM »

 I hope I didn't offend you with my comment, sweety. It was not my intention. Nevertheless, I apologize. Mea culpa
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« Reply #43 on: May 08, 2009, 03:05:46 PM »

Hi Liz!
Welcome to the forum!

In addition to seeking advice here, it may help to read a bit about the Orthodox faith to understand our history and traditions.

A great primer on Orthodoxy is “The Orthodox Church” by Timothy Ware. It’s available on Amazon.com, and it is a pretty inexpensive buy. (About 12 US dollars.)

Here are some other websites that are worth checking out:

http://goarch.org/ -- Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Has a fantastic online library of resources to answer questions about the Orthodox faith.

http://www.oca.org/ -- Orthodox Church in America. Has a great series on the sacraments of the Church and what they mean. Also has a good question and answer session. You can email them at info@oca.org and Fr. John Matusiak will personally respond to your inquiry. I’ve emailed them before, and have received thoughtful, inciteful responses. This could be especially helpful to you, because the OCA follows the Russian style, but everything is done in English.

http://www.antiochian.org/ Antiochian Archdiocese – also has a wealth of information.

If you are in North America, and would like to speak to an Orthodox priest face to face about some of your questions, or would just like to email them, go to http://orthodoxyinamerica.org/. It will help you locate the Orthodox parishes near you.

Thanks again for your questions. Keep them coming!

God bless you and your partner in your relationship!

In XC,
Maureen

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« Reply #44 on: June 30, 2009, 12:02:09 PM »

I am no one to judge but, co-habitation is shacking up and we all know what that's called... right?

I haven't been here for a long time (complex reasons), but hi again!

I wanted to reply to this post now I've seen it. I have to say that I do not recognize the implication. In British English, 'shacking up' is a term that refers to casual sex, somewhat similar to a 'one night stand'. Co-habitation, on the other hand, is used when people live together in the same house, and usually refers to people in a romantic relationship (although I've heard people talk about 'co-habiting' with a friend). I would argue strongly against the implication that, just because people are in physical proximity, they will therefore be unable to resist sexual temptation.

(But perhaps I have left this too long for a reply. I'm going to go and familiarize myself with the rest of the forum now!)
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