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Author Topic: Which Jurisdiction to Choose?  (Read 7317 times) Average Rating: 0
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NewOrtho
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« on: June 19, 2009, 02:35:27 PM »

For those that converted to Orthodoxy, how did you choose the Jurisdiction (OCA, Russian, Greek, Antiochian, etc). you are now in?  What are the differences between them?  Is one jurisdiction less "ethnic" than others?  What are the differences liturgically?  What do you like about your jurisdiction?

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« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2009, 03:03:57 PM »

Hi, NewOrtho,

Welcome to the forum.

The answer to your question is:  Choose the right one!   Grin

You've asked a loaded question and there should be no shortage of various opinions.  In the end, remember that the Holy Orthodox Church is one and that God will not judge us by which jurisdiction we are apart of while on earth.

Here's what I can tell you.  I live in a city which is home to four jurisdicitons, Antiochian, OCA, Greek and Serbian.  The Antiochian churches have both an Eastern Rite and a Western Rite parish.  I chose the Antiochian because I first attended a Great Vespers there.  The reader, now my godfather and a priest in the Archdiocese, was very kind to me and gracious to me, answering my questions and the priest was very kind and welcoming.  As he was a convert himself, this was a big help to clear any hurdles.  I did not, though, go "shopping" to the other jurisdicitons.  I didn't think there was a need to.  But I was comfortable where I was.  The people were nice and though there was a large percentage of ethnic Arabs, that didn't bother me and the vast majority of them were welcoming.

Again, I just found one off the bat and liked what it presented.

You will find that the Antiochians generally use English, as does the OCA, for all liturgies and offices, but, a lot of Arabic and Greek is sprinkled in (I supply the Greek as I speak it).  The music for the offices is Byzantine and that is sometimes mandated by the Bishop of the individual Diocese.  I know that Bishop JOSEPH of the Diocese of LA and the West has decreed that nothing but Byzantine chant is to be used for the offices of Orthros and Vespers.  But during Liturgies, you will hear a lot of material that is more Russian, OCA-styled, four part choral music.

The Antiochians have a reputation of being the most "convert-friendly" but, occasionally, you will find spats the arise between the cradles and the converts.  However, the Antiochians right now are going through some "political" turmoil and, depending on the news from the Holy Synod this week, who knows how things will go.  Fortunately, the Church is bigger than the in-fighting that may occur within a certain jurisdiction.

Wherever you go, make sure that you are comfortable, especially with the priest.  I think that was the single biggest reason why I decided to remain where I am.

Good luck.
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« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2009, 04:43:39 PM »

There are many factors to look at but ultimately the jurisdiction that you choose to to be received into Orthodoxy through needs to be accessible to you. Geographically speaking you might be limited to only a few churches/jurisdictions depending on were you live. What jurisdictions are in your area? If you can let us know what options you have the forum members can tell you a little bit more about those particular jurisdictions. However, parishes tend to take on a personality of their own so generalizations about jurisdictions might not hold water in every parish.

In the meantime, go check out the parishes your area and talk with the priests. See where you feel called to be. I will say that while all canonical Orthodox parishes are Orthodox not all parishes are equally Orthodox in orthopraxis.

Perhaps this article will help: http://orthodoxinfo.com/general/amer_jur.aspx
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« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2009, 04:50:03 PM »

Thanks for all the info!

I live in DC, so we have a lot of jurisdictions in the area.  I'll be moving back to NY at the end of the summer, so I'm sure NYC also has many.  The ones in DC are:

OCA
GOARCH
ROCOR
Antiochian
Antiochian Western Rite

Those are the ones I'm familiar with, with OCA and GOARCH being in walking distance.  Any information on the distinctions, in liturgics, practice, etc. would be helpful.
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« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2009, 04:53:40 PM »

http://orthodoxyinamerica.org/lr_v10/locator.php

Have you checked them all? Smiley

Unless you find members of that Parishes on the forum you will have to go and check them personally. Parishes in the same jurisdiction can divide much and you'll have to get to know them by yourself.
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« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2009, 05:09:50 PM »

Hi NewOrtho, and welcome to the forum!

I am a Ukrainian by birth, but, since there are no Ukrainian Orthodox parishes anywhere near where I live, I am a member of a GOA parish (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in the USA). Of course, I've been to Ukrainian Orthodox parishes many times before, so I can compare.

I must say that there are just a few differences in the liturgy between the Ukrainian parishes I know and the GOA parish I am currently with. Mostly these differences are in the liturgical music. But otherwise it is still the same Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostomos (or of St. Basil the Great during the Great Lent). So, I do not feel like I am in some kind of "alien land" when I am praying with my Greeks.

Best wishes,

George
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« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2009, 05:30:49 PM »

NewOrtho,

For the churches in your area, the main differences you will see are thus:

1)  The ROCOR follows the Old Calendar (Julian) while the other jurisdictions are New Calendar (Revised Julian).  The Old CAlendar is 13 days behind the New and is considered quite a sticking point to many (you can look for any number of threads related to that).  The ROCOR also has some other differences with how they receive converts (baptism vs. chrismation only) and with how ecumenism is approached.

2)  The slavic Liturgy is different in several ways though the backbone of all of these jurisdictions (except Western Rite) is the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.

3)  The Western Rite will be familiar to those people coming from a Catholic, Episcopalian/Anglican or High Lutheran background.  They use the Rite of St. Gregory/ St. Tikhon.

If these particular places have websites, visit those and then make an appointment with a priest.  The ROCOR and Greek churches may use Slavonic and Greek more or they may be bilingual parishes.  Just go and see.
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« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2009, 05:35:17 PM »


1)  The ROCOR follows the Old Calendar (Julian) while the other jurisdictions are New Calendar (Revised Julian).  The Old CAlendar is 13 days behind the New and is considered quite a sticking point to many (you can look for any number of threads related to that).  The ROCOR also has some other differences with how they receive converts (baptism vs. chrismation only) and with how ecumenism is approached.

You forgot Serbians, JP, patriarchal Russians and I've also heard that some Bulgarian Parishes are allowed to follow the Julian one.

What? ACROD and UOC use the revised-Julian?
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« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2009, 06:18:48 PM »

ACROD and UOC use the revised-Julian?

That's a good question.  Also, do eastern Catholic churches like the Ruthenians use the revised-Julian or the Julian calendar?
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« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2009, 06:22:38 PM »

I'd say you should check them all out and choose for yourself wherever is best for you.
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« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2009, 06:23:25 PM »

We choose a parish over a jurisdiction. We did some research on the various parishes in our area and visited the one we are currently at (Antiochian) and haven't gone anywhere since then. If you have a family also take into account the availability and friendliness of the parish with children to make sure that your kids will have something to do.
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« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2009, 08:01:21 PM »

Choose a parish, not a jurisdiction.    Choose a parish that feeds you spiritually. 
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« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2009, 08:03:17 PM »


1)  The ROCOR follows the Old Calendar (Julian) while the other jurisdictions are New Calendar (Revised Julian).  The Old CAlendar is 13 days behind the New and is considered quite a sticking point to many (you can look for any number of threads related to that).  The ROCOR also has some other differences with how they receive converts (baptism vs. chrismation only) and with how ecumenism is approached.

You forgot Serbians, JP, patriarchal Russians and I've also heard that some Bulgarian Parishes are allowed to follow the Julian one.

What? ACROD and UOC use the revised-Julian?

While ACROD and UOCUSA do have some new calendar parishes, they are predominantly still old calendar.  Likewise, as you pointed out, the Serbs and Patriarchal Russians, and the OCA diocese of Alaska are all old calendar. 
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« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2009, 11:56:40 PM »

Well lessee...a Greek Orthodox church was the closest to my apartment, it's where I was first introduced to Orthodoxy, it's where I was reintroduced to Christ, it's where I was chrismated, it's where I grew spiritually...so that's why I'm in the Greek Orthodox church.  Grin

But I am (and no offense to any one) not as big into the Greek culture as some of my peers were. I actually am really interested in the Serbian and Russian Orthodox churches, just for the language, services, and many of their saints (see my sig Grin ).
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« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2009, 12:06:17 AM »

I say whoever has the best spread for coffee hour is where you should go!  laugh j/k

Although I was raised in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, when I moved from NJ to Atlanta I visited all the parishes near me before choosing my current GOA parish as "home." Not only was it the closest to my home, it was also the largest, and had a large number of ministries available. This was important to me as a newcomer to Atlanta, since I wanted to join a parish where I could make a lot of friends.

Visit the various parishes, talk to the priests, talk to the people, and see where you are most comfortable. You will see what works for you. Smiley

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« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2009, 12:20:34 PM »

NewOrtho,

I'm a recent convert to Orthodoxy and I live in the DC area as well and go to church in the district. I converted in the OCA church, St. Nicholas. The priest there is very understanding and nice, and the people are lovely. The iconography covers the walls and the choir sounds beautiful. The parish is kind of Americanized Russian, if that makes sense. About half of the women wear headscarves and everything is in English. The sermons are also qute insightful. Some Russians attend the English service, despite the fact that one in Slavonic immediately follows. English liturgy is at 9 am. It's a very airy parish with windows and marble floors, but the AC is currently broken, so beware. Wink

I also have experience with the ROCOR church, St. John the Baptist. The feeling there is much more claustrophobic, for one. It's a smaller building with no windows. The walls here are also painted with icons, and many hanging on the walls have relics in them. The people are amazing- they are all very kind and many came up to me and greeted me and then proceeded to have 30 minute conversations with me advising me on college next year. There are two priests available in the English liturgy, one that is rather famous as a Soviet refugee. Both have beards. If you are female, you'll feel very uncomfortable without a headscarf or a hat here. There are only about two women who don't wear one. I find the sermons here to be informative as well, and easier to hear because of the smaller size of the church. You'll find that in comparison with the OCA parish, the physical expression of worship is much fuller, and the services are more complete (specifically Saturday vigil). You're also expected to go to confession each time you receive communion. English liturgy here begins at 8 am, and it's the church I currently attend.

Neither church has pews, and both follow the pattern of the Slavic liturgy, just in English. In practice, this means that we chant the Beatitudes in the service rather than a little litany and we cross our arms when we go to receive Communion. I'd just say go with the flow for either parish, but make sure you go up to kiss the cross after liturgy and introduce yourself to the priest.

As to the Greek and Antiochian churches in the area, I've had recommendations to not attend them, which might be slightly biased because I've been talking to people in the Slavic traditions about it. The Greeks have been stereotyped as snobbish and the Antiochians as friendly, but hard to break into because everyone is related.

If you have any more specific questions about these churches, just message me, and especially message me if you choose to attend the ROCOR church tomorrow, I'd love to meet you. Smiley

I hope this helped!
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« Reply #16 on: June 20, 2009, 01:45:13 PM »

Well lessee...a Greek Orthodox church was the closest to my apartment, it's where I was first introduced to Orthodoxy, it's where I was reintroduced to Christ, it's where I was chrismated, it's where I grew spiritually...so that's why I'm in the Greek Orthodox church.  Grin

But I am (and no offense to any one) not as big into the Greek culture as some of my peers were. I actually am really interested in the Serbian and Russian Orthodox churches, just for the language, services, and many of their saints (see my sig Grin ).

Serbians  is the way to go, you can't go wrong ,also russian is fine old calendar ...I  stay away from the new calendar churches hopefully God willing they see the light and come back , i love our ancient traditions ...
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« Reply #17 on: June 20, 2009, 01:51:43 PM »

Well lessee...a Greek Orthodox church was the closest to my apartment, it's where I was first introduced to Orthodoxy, it's where I was reintroduced to Christ, it's where I was chrismated, it's where I grew spiritually...so that's why I'm in the Greek Orthodox church.  Grin

But I am (and no offense to any one) not as big into the Greek culture as some of my peers were. I actually am really interested in the Serbian and Russian Orthodox churches, just for the language, services, and many of their saints (see my sig Grin ).

Serbians  yay is the way to go, you can't go wrong ,also russian is fine old calendar ...I  stay away from the new calendar churches hopefully God willing they see the light and come back , i love our ancient traditions ...


I was chrismated in February 2007 in a Milan Synod parish - they are an Old Calendarist jurisdiction. The Divine Liturgy over there was celebrated according to the Western Rite (St. Gregory's), with a handbell ringing, etc. But I did not feel alien there, either. I thought it was Orthodox. Only later I learned, actually from people on this site, that the Milan Synod is now not in communion with the world Orthodox family. At about the same time, the parish moved to another city and I found my present GOA parish (thanks to Al Gore for the Internet, and to Father Chris, and to Demetri (Aristokles)).

Again, to me, it matters very little whether the calendar is old or new, or whether the language is Ukrinian or English or Greek (I actually LOVE the Greek language, and would be happy to learn!), or whether the Beautitudes are sung at the beginning of the Small Entrance or not, or whether we go to the Chal;ice with our hands crossed or not, or whether there are pews in the church building or not. Those all are extremely small and insignificant things, in my humble opinion. The music is a bit more of an issue with me. I miss Ukrainian liturgical tunes, sometimes quite acutely.
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« Reply #18 on: June 20, 2009, 02:03:06 PM »

Well lessee...a Greek Orthodox church was the closest to my apartment, it's where I was first introduced to Orthodoxy, it's where I was reintroduced to Christ, it's where I was chrismated, it's where I grew spiritually...so that's why I'm in the Greek Orthodox church.  Grin

But I am (and no offense to any one) not as big into the Greek culture as some of my peers were. I actually am really interested in the Serbian and Russian Orthodox churches, just for the language, services, and many of their saints (see my sig Grin ).

Serbians  yay is the way to go, you can't go wrong ,also russian is fine old calendar ...I  stay away from the new calendar churches hopefully God willing they see the light and come back , i love our ancient traditions ...


I was chrismated in February 2007 in a Milan Synod parish - they are an Old Calendarist jurisdiction. The Divine Liturgy over there was celebrated according to the Western Rite (St. Gregory's), with a handbell ringing, etc. But I did not feel alien there, either. I thought it was Orthodox. Only later I learned, actually from people on this site, that the Milan Synod is now not in communion with the world Orthodox family. At about the same time, the parish moved to another city and I found my present GOA parish (thanks to Al Gore for the Internet, and to Father Chris, and to Demetri (Aristokles)).

Again, to me, it matters very little whether the calendar is old or new, or whether the language is Ukrinian or English or Greek (I actually LOVE the Greek language, and would be happy to learn!), or whether the Beautitudes are sung at the beginning of the Small Entrance or not, or whether we go to the Chal;ice with our hands crossed or not, or whether there are pews in the church building or not. Those all are extremely small and insignificant things, in my humble opinion. The music is a bit more of an issue with me. I miss Ukrainian liturgical tunes, sometimes quite acutely.


Here in the suburbs west of libertyville illinois ,theres old calendar greek monastery's mens and womans...Many serbian clergy go to visit them ,,My brother actully took a few of our clergy there to visit........we have a unity or spiritual bond with the old calendar even though there not recognised by the greek new calendar church....
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« Reply #19 on: June 20, 2009, 02:21:31 PM »

Also conn.,,
When i go to the new calendar Greek church festivals ,guess whos there selling the icons incense and other religious things, the Old calendar greek supporters of these Monastery's and convents ,also iv seen them at the serbians picnics,,and when i do ,i buy from them my religious goods..we have to stick to togeather the old calendar crowd...they have my support...
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« Reply #20 on: June 20, 2009, 04:33:48 PM »

Here in the suburbs west of libertyville illinois ,theres old calendar greek monastery's mens and womans...Many serbian clergy go to visit them ,,My brother actully took a few of our clergy there to visit........we have a unity or spiritual bond with the old calendar even though there not recognised by the greek new calendar church....

I don't suppose you have the name of these monasteries and a web address do you?
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« Reply #21 on: June 20, 2009, 05:01:44 PM »

Coeducational Monastery?

Here in the suburbs west of libertyville illinois ,theres old calendar greek monastery's mens and womans...Many serbian clergy go to visit them ,,My brother actully took a few of our clergy there to visit........we have a unity or spiritual bond with the old calendar even though there not recognised by the greek new calendar church....

You also aren't in communion with them.
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« Reply #22 on: June 21, 2009, 12:34:43 AM »

Well lessee...a Greek Orthodox church was the closest to my apartment, it's where I was first introduced to Orthodoxy, it's where I was reintroduced to Christ, it's where I was chrismated, it's where I grew spiritually...so that's why I'm in the Greek Orthodox church.  Grin

But I am (and no offense to any one) not as big into the Greek culture as some of my peers were. I actually am really interested in the Serbian and Russian Orthodox churches, just for the language, services, and many of their saints (see my sig Grin ).

Serbians  is the way to go, you can't go wrong

*eyes your description*

Hmm...it seems you have a bias Wink
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« Reply #23 on: June 21, 2009, 01:33:59 AM »


1)  The ROCOR follows the Old Calendar (Julian) while the other jurisdictions are New Calendar (Revised Julian).  The Old CAlendar is 13 days behind the New and is considered quite a sticking point to many (you can look for any number of threads related to that).  The ROCOR also has some other differences with how they receive converts (baptism vs. chrismation only) and with how ecumenism is approached.

You forgot Serbians, JP, patriarchal Russians and I've also heard that some Bulgarian Parishes are allowed to follow the Julian one.

What? ACROD and UOC use the revised-Julian?

It's a mix with ACROD and UOC.  Some Julian Calender some revised Julian Calender.
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« Reply #24 on: June 21, 2009, 01:37:17 AM »

ACROD and UOC use the revised-Julian?

That's a good question.  Also, do eastern Catholic churches like the Ruthenians use the revised-Julian or the Julian calendar?

The Ruthenians and Ukrainian Greek Catholics in the USA follow the Roman Catholic Easter.  It's not a Julian or Revised Julian Calender. However the saints they celebrate on the calender are ones that would be fitting to the community, Ukrainian saints instead of say, St. Therese of Avila.  So their major feast days would match the Roman Catholic calender.
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« Reply #25 on: June 21, 2009, 01:38:56 AM »

Choose a parish, not a jurisdiction.    Choose a parish that feeds you spiritually. 

Can I get an amen!!
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« Reply #26 on: June 21, 2009, 06:44:10 AM »

Here in the suburbs west of libertyville illinois ,theres old calendar greek monastery's mens and womans...Many serbian clergy go to visit them ,,My brother actully took a few of our clergy there to visit........we have a unity or spiritual bond with the old calendar even though there not recognised by the greek new calendar church....

I don't suppose you have the name of these monasteries and a web address do you?

just got off work as soon as i see my brother ill ask him ,where there located at and what the names are...ill be in touch
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« Reply #27 on: June 21, 2009, 09:38:56 AM »

My reason was pretty simple (and possibly TOO simple).  At the time I only knew some basics about the Church, so I didn't really know on what basis to choose a parish.  So I went to google, typed in "orthodox church jacksonville fl" and saw multiple options.  There was Greek, Serbian, I think an Antiochian, and OCA.  I saw "Orthodox Church in America" and thought to myself, "well, I'm an American, and I'll bet they probably speak English", so I went to that one.  It turned out to be an absolutely outstanding parish, and I was able to form some wonderful and lasting relationships with the people there (although I have since moved away).  So if you ever go to Jacksonville, FL, try to pay a visit to St Justin Martyr Orthodox Church.  You will be warmly received.
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« Reply #28 on: June 21, 2009, 07:09:26 PM »

I became Orthodox in an OCA church, the only Orthodox church around me for 50 miles. So it was an easy decision for me, and not one that I regret.
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« Reply #29 on: June 21, 2009, 07:26:54 PM »

thanks for all the responses.  what are some of the differences liturgically between, for example, Greek Orthodox and Russian/OCA Orthodox liturgies?
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« Reply #30 on: June 21, 2009, 08:14:16 PM »

thanks for all the responses.  what are some of the differences liturgically between, for example, Greek Orthodox and Russian/OCA Orthodox liturgies?

Not sure about Russian/OCA, but between the Greek Orthodox parish I attend now and the Ukrainian Orthodox parishes, here goes:

1. In my current Greek parish, I never, ever, ever, ever, heard the Beautitudes sung - ever. It is really a striking difference with any Ukrainian Orthodox parish where the Beautidues are always sung by the choir, to a very beautiful (at least to me a sinner) tune that I will never forget till I die. Smiley

2, In the UOC parish I attended when living in Seattle (in the 1990-s), the beginning of the Divine Liturgy ALWAYS included the reading of the Psalm, "Bless the Lord, oh my soul, I will praise the Lord as long as I live..." by a lay reader; it was a very, very solemn part of the DL - and, to my disappointment, I NEVER ever heard this Psalm read in my current GOA parish...

3. In the UOC parish I attended in Seattle in the 1990-s, and also in all Ukrainian Orthodox parishes that belong to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Kyiv Patriarchate as well as Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, the Divine Liturgy very often ends with the people singing an anthem asking God to bless and keep their homeland, Ukraine. In the GOA parish I attend now, there is no mentioning whatsoever of Greece or anything Greek, and of course there is no singing of any anthem about Greece or anything Greek.
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« Reply #31 on: June 21, 2009, 10:21:05 PM »

thanks for all the responses.  what are some of the differences liturgically between, for example, Greek Orthodox and Russian/OCA Orthodox liturgies?

Not sure about Russian/OCA, but between the Greek Orthodox parish I attend now and the Ukrainian Orthodox parishes, here goes:

1. In my current Greek parish, I never, ever, ever, ever, heard the Beautitudes sung - ever. It is really a striking difference with any Ukrainian Orthodox parish where the Beautidues are always sung by the choir, to a very beautiful (at least to me a sinner) tune that I will never forget till I die. Smiley

2, In the UOC parish I attended when living in Seattle (in the 1990-s), the beginning of the Divine Liturgy ALWAYS included the reading of the Psalm, "Bless the Lord, oh my soul, I will praise the Lord as long as I live..." by a lay reader; it was a very, very solemn part of the DL - and, to my disappointment, I NEVER ever heard this Psalm read in my current GOA parish...

3. In the UOC parish I attended in Seattle in the 1990-s, and also in all Ukrainian Orthodox parishes that belong to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Kyiv Patriarchate as well as Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, the Divine Liturgy very often ends with the people singing an anthem asking God to bless and keep their homeland, Ukraine. In the GOA parish I attend now, there is no mentioning whatsoever of Greece or anything Greek, and of course there is no singing of any anthem about Greece or anything Greek.

Having been raised in the UOC-USA and currently attending a GOA parish, I would agree with the first two statements. We never sang any anthems to Ukraine, however we usually did sing Mnoyha Lita ("God grant you many years") for anyone who was celebrating a birthday or anniversary after the prayers for dismissal.

I was a member of an OCA parish for 3 yrs, and their practices were similar to that of the UOC-USA (singing of Beatitudes, "God grant you many years," etc.) I've attended Antiochian parishes, and their Liturgical style was closer to that of the Greeks than that of the Slavs.

I don't see one as being "better" than the other; just different. I see it as different dimensions of the same diamond that is Orthodoxy. Smiley
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« Reply #32 on: June 21, 2009, 11:59:42 PM »

For those that converted to Orthodoxy, how did you choose the Jurisdiction (OCA, Russian, Greek, Antiochian, etc). you are now in?  What are the differences between them?  Is one jurisdiction less "ethnic" than others?  What are the differences liturgically?  What do you like about your jurisdiction?



In becoming Orthodox, I was extremely blessed to be close to an ACROD parish.  Before becoming Orthodox, I attended Eastern Catholic churches, and in particular, a Ruthenian Catholic Church, where I spiritually felt most at home.  When I was still discerning Eastern Catholicism/Orthodoxy, I visited Ukrainian Catholic, Maronite Catholic and Melkite Catholic churches.  I appreciated the liturgies and traditions, but I felt at home with the Ruthenian Church, while believing the Orthodox rather than Roman Catholic understanding of the Faith.  In deciding to become Orthodox, I thought I'd either enter through either the OCA or possibly ROCOR.  After obtaining the assistance of someone on this site, I visited an OCA church.  The priest was jolly and very kind, and left a positive impression of Orthodoxy on me, but I was yet undecided.  I heard about ACROD beforehand, but I did not realize until much later that they were closest to the Ruthenians. 

Right now I attend an OCA church.  The parish I attend now is a mission parish that is largely converts from Protestantism.  The ACROD church in which I was chrismated had a mix of converts and ethnic from multiple backgrounds (Russian, Ukrainian, Greek, Serbian, Rusyn, etc.)  Everyone seemed to get along well. (Everyone gets along well enough at the OCA church I now attend, too.)  Smiley   There are some minor liturgical differences: the OCA church tends to adopt Russian traditions, while ACROD a medley of Greek and Russian.  For example, at the ACROD church, during the Great Entrance, the priest processed around the whole church, which is more of a Byzantine tradition, as I understand.  At the OCA church, the priest comes out the door and does not process around the congregation but immediately goes before the Royal Doors, which is the Russian tradition.  A lot of minor differences (e.g. vestment colors). 

I like ACROD because it's so far as I can tell the best fit for me.  OCA is all right, but I prefer the Ecumenical Patriarch.   Grin
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« Reply #33 on: June 22, 2009, 12:49:43 AM »

Choose a parish, not a jurisdiction.    Choose a parish that feeds you spiritually. 

Can I get an amen!!


As long as it is one in the dyptichs: AMEN! AMEN! AMEN!
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« Reply #34 on: June 22, 2009, 12:51:55 AM »

Coeducational Monastery?

Here in the suburbs west of libertyville illinois ,theres old calendar greek monastery's mens and womans...Many serbian clergy go to visit them ,,My brother actully took a few of our clergy there to visit........we have a unity or spiritual bond with the old calendar even though there not recognised by the greek new calendar church....

You also aren't in communion with them.


Actually, if he is talking about the convent of Fr. Ephraim, we are.
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« Reply #35 on: June 22, 2009, 10:04:27 AM »

The one that's closer to your house. Tongue Tongue Tongue
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« Reply #36 on: June 22, 2009, 11:04:46 AM »

I chose OCA.  It is farther from my home, but it is the only Orthodox Church that offers an English Liturgy here.  I tried going to the GOARCH, but but the language issue was really difficult.
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« Reply #37 on: June 22, 2009, 12:17:38 PM »

Choose a parish, not a jurisdiction.    Choose a parish that feeds you spiritually. 

Can I get an amen!!


As long as it is one in the dyptichs: AMEN! AMEN! AMEN!

Ditto! This is the very best advice that anybody has come up with.
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« Reply #38 on: June 22, 2009, 12:27:34 PM »

I chose OCA.  It is farther from my home, but it is the only Orthodox Church that offers an English Liturgy here.  I tried going to the GOARCH, but but the language issue was really difficult.

Not in my GOA parish. I actually wish there were MORE Greek language over there. I am a foreign language buff.Smiley
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« Reply #39 on: June 22, 2009, 12:40:01 PM »

NewOrtho,

I'm a recent convert to Orthodoxy and I live in the DC area as well and go to church in the district. I converted in the OCA church, St. Nicholas. The priest there is very understanding and nice, and the people are lovely. The iconography covers the walls and the choir sounds beautiful. The parish is kind of Americanized Russian, if that makes sense. About half of the women wear headscarves and everything is in English. The sermons are also qute insightful. Some Russians attend the English service, despite the fact that one in Slavonic immediately follows. English liturgy is at 9 am. It's a very airy parish with windows and marble floors, but the AC is currently broken, so beware. Wink

I also have experience with the ROCOR church, St. John the Baptist. The feeling there is much more claustrophobic, for one. It's a smaller building with no windows. The walls here are also painted with icons, and many hanging on the walls have relics in them. The people are amazing- they are all very kind and many came up to me and greeted me and then proceeded to have 30 minute conversations with me advising me on college next year. There are two priests available in the English liturgy, one that is rather famous as a Soviet refugee. Both have beards. If you are female, you'll feel very uncomfortable without a headscarf or a hat here. There are only about two women who don't wear one. I find the sermons here to be informative as well, and easier to hear because of the smaller size of the church. You'll find that in comparison with the OCA parish, the physical expression of worship is much fuller, and the services are more complete (specifically Saturday vigil). You're also expected to go to confession each time you receive communion. English liturgy here begins at 8 am, and it's the church I currently attend.

Neither church has pews, and both follow the pattern of the Slavic liturgy, just in English. In practice, this means that we chant the Beatitudes in the service rather than a little litany and we cross our arms when we go to receive Communion. I'd just say go with the flow for either parish, but make sure you go up to kiss the cross after liturgy and introduce yourself to the priest.

As to the Greek and Antiochian churches in the area, I've had recommendations to not attend them, which might be slightly biased because I've been talking to people in the Slavic traditions about it. The Greeks have been stereotyped as snobbish and the Antiochians as friendly, but hard to break into because everyone is related.

If you have any more specific questions about these churches, just message me, and especially message me if you choose to attend the ROCOR church tomorrow, I'd love to meet you. Smiley

I hope this helped!
Firiel

Lets no forget my parish, Holy Apostles in Beltsville. All English, convert Priest, Rocor. We were just given a new Church building that is being restored ( built in 1880). Lots of students and grad students, a few cradle Orthodox but mostly all converts.

St. Mark in Bethesda is also a great choice especially if you have kids. Large congregation, all English services very active parish  life and a patient Priest who is willing to take his time to teach you the ropes. OCA.
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« Reply #40 on: June 22, 2009, 10:22:44 PM »

Hello New Ortho,

Perhaps the most important question to ask: Where do you live?

In the area of the country that I live in (Great Plains-Midwest) Orthodox churches are so few and far apart that you go to whichever one exists in the town that you live in. You probably don't have a lot of choices if you live in a town of under 100,000 people (unless you live on the eastern seaboard or "Rust Belt" states of Pennsylvania and Ohio).

The following directory will help you find churches in your area:

http://www.scoba.us/directory.html
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« Reply #41 on: June 23, 2009, 12:08:45 AM »

Dear NewOrtho,
Welcome to OC.net and most importantly, welcome to the Orthodox Church.

I am a former resident of DC. During my time there, I was blessed to belong to St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Silver Spring, MD (UOC of USA) - http://www.standrewuoc.org/. An excellent and active parish with great clergy and very nice parishioners. Everyone was getting along well regardless of nationality, etc. One of the most excited things in Orthodox parishes in DC - togetherness and cooperation of various parishes of different jurisdictions. Another strong point - many new parishes opened up and strengthened in DC, Virginian and Maryland in last (20) years or so. Please check this site out: http://www.oevents.com/

Fortunately, I visited all Orthodox parishes in DC, and many of those in surrounding areas of VA and MD. Impressions are very good about all of those on all counts. Very welcoming. And yes, my list  Smiley includes all communites of DC mentioned in this list so far.

(2) others, where I frequented:
St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church, Falls Church, VA (GOA) - http://www.saint-katherines.org/index.asp
St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral, Washington, DC, (OCA) - http://www.stnicholasdc.org/ My experience concentrates on English services and Georgian akathistos hymns at the latter one.

Having said that, I would like to add my signature to the advice of FatherHLL, Username!, Ialmisry and Second Chance. Look for a canonical parish, which will look optimal for you.

Another advantage of DC parishes - services start at different times at different churches. So if you have possibility of commitments during the week end (family, work schedule, school, etc.), you have a range of options with Divine Liturgies with starting times from 7:45 to 11:00 AM at diverse locations.

I don't see one as being "better" than the other; just different. I see it as different dimensions of the same diamond that is Orthodoxy. Smiley

Definitely agree.


Lets no forget my parish, Holy Apostles in Beltsville. All English, convert Priest, Rocor. We were just given a new Church building that is being restored ( built in 1880). Lots of students and grad students, a few cradle Orthodox but mostly all converts.

I am very glad to learn good news about a new building. Marc1152, congratulations!!! It looks beautiful on a picture - http://www.holyapostlesorthodoxchurch.org/. Please give my congratulations and best regards to Fr. George and Presbytera. They belong to a heroic category of people, capable to start a new parish from a scratch.

Another nice mission, which also started from a scratch by another wonderful couple, Fr. Gregory and Presbytera Chloe Czumak, very recently also found a new home. Four Evangelists Orthodox Church, Bel Air, MD (UOC of USA) -  http://www.4evangelists.org/. All service take place in English language. A very nice crowd as well. On coming Sunday, 06/28/2009, His Eminence Archbishop Antony will visit the parish. He is an excellent Hierarch, very mission-oriented. I would recommend you to visit the Hierarchial Liturgy. You can also approach and speak to His Eminence after the service.

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« Reply #42 on: June 24, 2009, 09:59:23 AM »

Ditto! This is the very best advice that anybody has come up with.
Sorry, but Ditto?
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« Reply #43 on: June 24, 2009, 10:06:53 AM »

Ditto! This is the very best advice that anybody has come up with.
Sorry, but Ditto?

Not quite.  Smiley  Ditto means "I second that" or to repeat what was already said.

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« Reply #44 on: June 25, 2009, 10:30:39 AM »

It was supposed to be a joke! Sad Tongue
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« Reply #45 on: June 25, 2009, 10:57:32 AM »

New Ortho: I did not chose a jurisdiction, I chose a parish. Ethnically, I am a Serb, yet I overlooked the local Serbian Orthodox Church in favor of the Antiochian Parish. My selection was based on relationships I had within that parish as well their extensive use of English. My trade of was that my daughter will not learn Serbian and the Serbian language; however, I can teach her that. Another reason in my choice was that I live very close (less than 5 min. ) from the AOC. The Serb Church is 45 min away. Despite all of the problems in the AOC today, I know I made the right choice every time my daughter says 'Daddy, I can't wait 'til Sunday."
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« Reply #46 on: June 25, 2009, 11:53:13 AM »

It was supposed to be a joke! Sad Tongue

I had gotten it and had a good chuckle. Who would have thought--Pokeman! laugh
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« Reply #47 on: June 25, 2009, 01:32:54 PM »

New Ortho: I did not chose a jurisdiction, I chose a parish. Ethnically, I am a Serb, yet I overlooked the local Serbian Orthodox Church in favor of the Antiochian Parish. My selection was based on relationships I had within that parish as well their extensive use of English. My trade of was that my daughter will not learn Serbian and the Serbian language; however, I can teach her that. Another reason in my choice was that I live very close (less than 5 min. ) from the AOC. The Serb Church is 45 min away. Despite all of the problems in the AOC today, I know I made the right choice every time my daughter says 'Daddy, I can't wait 'til Sunday."

It makes sense to go to the church that is 5 minutes away.  It is the local Orthodox Christian community and going there means you support it and are a member of it.  Driving 45 minutes and passing closer churches means a person is only serving his own selfish needs, wasting precious natural resources (gasoline or diesel or ethanol) and not providing his talents and support for his local Christian community.
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« Reply #48 on: June 25, 2009, 04:28:57 PM »

It was supposed to be a joke! Sad Tongue

Sorry, I'm an English major and the wife of a high school English teacher.  I can't help myself.   Tongue
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« Reply #49 on: June 25, 2009, 05:04:37 PM »

I used to drive past a Greek Orthodox Church which is on my street about two miles west to attend an AOCONA. I've gone back to the GOA parish and ,because of recent events in the AOCONA am very glad I did!
I wish there was an OCA parish here but this little town cannot support two Orthodox Churches. We only have two because there was a problem in the Greek parish and Met.Alexios did not come down here to mediate. I'm very angry about that.
There used to be a ROCOR parish near Mobile,Alabama but it has closed since the priest retired.
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« Reply #50 on: June 25, 2009, 07:25:06 PM »

It makes sense to go to the church that is 5 minutes away.  It is the local Orthodox Christian community and going there means you support it and are a member of it.  Driving 45 minutes and passing closer churches means a person is only serving his own selfish needs, wasting precious natural resources (gasoline or diesel or ethanol) and not providing his talents and support for his local Christian community.

That settles it then, everyone should join to the closest Orthodox parish to thier home and not think about any other factor.
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« Reply #51 on: June 25, 2009, 07:38:09 PM »

It makes sense to go to the church that is 5 minutes away.  It is the local Orthodox Christian community and going there means you support it and are a member of it.  Driving 45 minutes and passing closer churches means a person is only serving his own selfish needs, wasting precious natural resources (gasoline or diesel or ethanol) and not providing his talents and support for his local Christian community.

That settles it then, everyone should join to the closest Orthodox parish to thier home and not think about any other factor.

Please forgive my sarcasm my friend, but I do believe that there are many factors that one should look at besides just distance from your home. Parishes and even jurisdictions have differing ethos and missions. Some parishes are more conservative/liberal in praxis than others. Some are more ethnic minded. Some are more evangelical minded. I for one would drive quite a distance(and do) to belong to a parish that I felt represented the Orthodox Church as I have come to know it. If that parish happens to be 5 minutes away then great! If that parish 5 minutes away does not cut the mustard and one chooses to go to another parish further away, well, that is hardly being selfish. In fact, some would call it a sacrifice. As for as Natural Resources, well if my wallet can handle it I am not going to lose sleep over them.
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« Reply #52 on: June 25, 2009, 08:00:28 PM »

New Ortho: I did not chose a jurisdiction, I chose a parish. Ethnically, I am a Serb, yet I overlooked the local Serbian Orthodox Church in favor of the Antiochian Parish. My selection was based on relationships I had within that parish as well their extensive use of English. My trade of was that my daughter will not learn Serbian and the Serbian language; however, I can teach her that. Another reason in my choice was that I live very close (less than 5 min. ) from the AOC. The Serb Church is 45 min away. Despite all of the problems in the AOC today, I know I made the right choice every time my daughter says 'Daddy, I can't wait 'til Sunday."


Question how do you like the liturgy in english did it take awhile to get use to it ,i do understand because of your daughter not knowing serbian,i sent several  non speaking serbian serbs to the antiochian church because they need to understand whats going on in Holy Liturgy...

I myself never cared for the Holy Liturgy in english,it seems its missing something ..I probably didn't give enough time to aclimate to it...

I do go out of my way not to attend a new calendar greek or other new calendar orthodox church ,, even when one was practically next door to me,i avoided it but not there festivals...
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« Reply #53 on: June 25, 2009, 08:02:26 PM »

I agree with you Sinner Servant. I would drive past a parish if it was an ethnic club.
I would certainly drive past the local Antiochian parish if it was closer than the Greek Orthodox parish as it has a certain"protestant" feel to it that gives me the heebie jeebies.
It was also founded by members of the local Greek Orthodox parish who are very angry and that anger is still palatable and not conducive to spiritual growth.
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« Reply #54 on: June 28, 2009, 12:52:30 AM »

I agree with you Sinner Servant. I would drive past a parish if it was an ethnic club.

I agree. I didn't used to feel that way, but that was when I was spoiled by being relatively close to a multi-ethnic community of welcoming Orthodox parishes. Now considering that I hope a parish will not only be mine, but my future children's (and their children's, and so forth), I do see why it's important to choose a parish that acts as a nourishing community. This is especially true in places where there's no such thing as an Orthodox state religion, because my kids will get no social or material advantages for being Orthodox (in fact, the opposite is more likely). This often means passing by a closer parish.
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Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. ~Philippians 4:8; St Paul
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