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Author Topic: Is it common...and what else should I know?  (Read 3020 times) Average Rating: 0
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Etsi
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« on: July 08, 2009, 09:03:41 PM »

Is it common for people to ask if your parents are, or that you don't look, Greek in a Greek Orthodox Church...even if that church is in the US and is fairly diverse ethnically?
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« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2009, 09:18:55 PM »

I don't know if it is 'common,' but it happened to me.  I visited a Greek Orthodox Mission Church in North Carolina.  I was asked if I was Greek.  I said no.  I was then asked if my husband was Greek.  I said no.  Then I was asked, 'Why are you here?'  My reply, 'Because this is the One True Church is it not?  And I wish to become a part of it.'  After which the person asking the questions grabbed the priest by the arm, dragged him away from another conversation in which he was engaged and told him, 'Talk to her.  She wants to be Orthodox!'

It was heart warming actually.  Once everyone found out who I was and why I was there, they were very kind and loving, spending all kinds of time 'educating' me about Orthodoxy.  I loved being there.
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« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2009, 09:32:07 PM »

 Cheesy  Love the dragging the priest over to you bit!  Now THAT is love!


Thanks for that.  I wasn't sure as I've heard one thing at various times and am experiencing another.  But due to the questions we were asked, I wasn't sure.
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« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2009, 09:55:29 PM »

Is it common for people to ask if your parents are, or that you don't look, Greek in a Greek Orthodox Church...even if that church is in the US and is fairly diverse ethnically?


My wife and I are Ukrainians, and we are curently with a Greek Orthodox parish. The day we showed up there, no one actually asked us whether we were Greek. When I, on my own free will, said that we were Ukrainians, not one single parishioner said anything to the effect of, "so why are you here if you are not Greek." Rather, several people said, "oh, how interesting." And the priest said, "ah, good, we welcome all Orthodox!"
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« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2009, 09:52:33 AM »

I know the Greeks get this rap fairly often, and obviously I can't say that this has never happened to anyone, but it's not my experience. The first Orthodox Church that I ever set foot in was a Greek mission parish and they couldn't have been more welcoming, accepting and encouraging. I was personally welcomed by many and invited to stay for coffee hour and Sunday School. One elderly lady appointed herself my personal guide and helped me through the Divine Liturgy, and explained the significance of everything, including the kolyva. I was invited to a weekday Bible study, and several members stayed after for more than an hour to answer my questions.

Sometimes I think that when Greeks ask if you are Greek, it's not to exclude, but rather like a tradition we used to have here in the South, of placing someone and attempting to find common friends, family or common ground. The first questions Southerners used to ask when meeting a new person were "Where are you from?" and "Who are your people?" and then "Do you know...?"
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« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2009, 03:00:38 PM »

I know the Greeks get this rap fairly often, and obviously I can't say that this has never happened to anyone, but it's not my experience. The first Orthodox Church that I ever set foot in was a Greek mission parish and they couldn't have been more welcoming, accepting and encouraging. I was personally welcomed by many and invited to stay for coffee hour and Sunday School. One elderly lady appointed herself my personal guide and helped me through the Divine Liturgy, and explained the significance of everything, including the kolyva. I was invited to a weekday Bible study, and several members stayed after for more than an hour to answer my questions.

Sometimes I think that when Greeks ask if you are Greek, it's not to exclude, but rather like a tradition we used to have here in the South, of placing someone and attempting to find common friends, family or common ground. The first questions Southerners used to ask when meeting a new person were "Where are you from?" and "Who are your people?" and then "Do you know...?"

Thank you.  They are very nice, do invite us to stay, etc.  I'm used to people asking where you're from, not if you are *whatever they are* or commenting that you don't look like them.  For me it was akin to informing an Ethiopian that he didn't look Finnish.

I think some of my concern was due to things my MIL had told me (she converted many years ago, but is no longer attending).  However, we've since learned that my MIL has a severe personality disorder and she likes to "reinvent" herself (or rather create different identities for herself...at the GO church she went to, she assumed a new first and last name, told them she was Greek ethnically, wore darker makeup to "look Greek", etc.  This she claimed was for acceptance.  We think it's more of a wanting to deny her own history).
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« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2009, 05:13:54 PM »

I know the Greeks get this rap fairly often, and obviously I can't say that this has never happened to anyone, but it's not my experience. The first Orthodox Church that I ever set foot in was a Greek mission parish and they couldn't have been more welcoming, accepting and encouraging. I was personally welcomed by many and invited to stay for coffee hour and Sunday School. One elderly lady appointed herself my personal guide and helped me through the Divine Liturgy, and explained the significance of everything, including the kolyva. I was invited to a weekday Bible study, and several members stayed after for more than an hour to answer my questions.

Sometimes I think that when Greeks ask if you are Greek, it's not to exclude, but rather like a tradition we used to have here in the South, of placing someone and attempting to find common friends, family or common ground. The first questions Southerners used to ask when meeting a new person were "Where are you from?" and "Who are your people?" and then "Do you know...?"

Thank you.  They are very nice, do invite us to stay, etc.  I'm used to people asking where you're from, not if you are *whatever they are* or commenting that you don't look like them.  For me it was akin to informing an Ethiopian that he didn't look Finnish.

I think some of my concern was due to things my MIL had told me (she converted many years ago, but is no longer attending).  However, we've since learned that my MIL has a severe personality disorder and she likes to "reinvent" herself (or rather create different identities for herself...at the GO church she went to, she assumed a new first and last name, told them she was Greek ethnically, wore darker makeup to "look Greek", etc.  This she claimed was for acceptance.  We think it's more of a wanting to deny her own history).

MIL?

I've found two fairly large camps among Greeks: for one, not being Greek makes no difference, for the other it makes all the difference in the world.
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« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2009, 05:26:25 PM »

MIL = mother in law

I was asked in a number of strongly ethnic Ruthenian churches what my last name was and was greeted with a confused, "Oh..." when I answered with my Germanic surname (Beck).  It's not just the Greeks.  However, I was received very well @ a Greek festival a couple years back whilst wearing one of my kilts.  A very swarthy and suave man came up to us, pointed at my kilt and said, "Ah! You must be Greek!" with a big grin on his face and we had a nice discussion about fustanellas and the mousaka they were serving, which he said was "very, very beautitful!"

My wife tells me that even I was smitten with him Wink

Anyways, I agree with katherineofdixie.
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« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2009, 12:13:16 AM »

Is it common for people to ask if your parents are, or that you don't look, Greek in a Greek Orthodox Church...even if that church is in the US and is fairly diverse ethnically?



The first Orthodox parish I ever attended was a Greek parish and I was asked that question several times. They were one of the most loving and welcoming groups of people I've ever met.


Yours in Christ
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« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2009, 04:50:08 AM »

We don`t like to see people unorthodox in our Churches , and who don`t come considering orthodoxy .So those questions seem very normal to me.I think we even have canons about communion with an unorthodox.
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« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2009, 10:20:40 AM »

We don`t like to see people unorthodox in our Churches , and who don`t come considering orthodoxy .So those questions seem very normal to me.I think we even have canons about communion with an unorthodox.

Dan,

I agree we don't want those who aren't Orthodox to take Holy Communion but I think you are being very harsh when you say we don't like to see people in our churches who aren't Orthodox. We are suppose to be ready at all times to welcome newcomers with warm Christian hospitality. If we aren't welcoming everyone then we aren't living up to the call to be Orthodox Christians. Even if someone is only visiting and not inquiring about Orthodoxy, we still should be showing them kindness and friendliness. We have had homeless people who have come into our parking lot before services and have asked parishioners for money as we enter church. We always invite them to come into our church and stay for fellow ship hour so they can get something to eat. Honestly, these hostile, paranoid, insular attitudes have got to stop.

sincerely, Tamara
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« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2009, 10:28:54 AM »

all I have ro say is Bravo Cheesy
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« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2009, 11:42:46 AM »

Dear Etsi,

It is very common, specially if you are new in the community, and you look different.

Like when a friend and I went to a greek church, and they asked us things like that. My friend had the hardest time, because the greeks were like "Really? Are you Russian? But you don't look Russian! Are your parents chinese?"

I found that very offensive, specially coming from greeks who look and behave more like arabs and turks. Why do they have to talk us down and feel superior? Why such a boorish manners?

Russian True Orthodox don't that, when someone new comes to the Church, we welcome him, ask him to join the trapeza, and we get to know him, and we don't treat him as a third class citizen.


 

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« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2009, 12:12:37 PM »

Dear Etsi,

It is very common, specially if you are new in the community, and you look different.

Like when a friend and I went to a greek church, and they asked us things like that. My friend had the hardest time, because the greeks were like "Really? Are you Russian? But you don't look Russian! Are your parents chinese?"

I found that very offensive, specially coming from greeks who look and behave more like arabs and turks. Why do they have to talk us down and feel superior? Why such a boorish manners?

Russian True Orthodox don't that, when someone new comes to the Church, we welcome him, ask him to join the trapeza, and we get to know him, and we don't treat him as a third class citizen.


Dear IPC,

I think you are "broad-brushing." First of all, again, like I said, in my parish Greeks do really, truly welcome non-Greeks. So, the non-welcoming attitude to non-Greeks is not something that NECESSARILY happens when one comes to a Greek Orthodox parish.

Second, quite a lot of Greeks do not look like Arabs or Turks; and even if some of them do - what does it have to do with anything?
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« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2009, 12:17:53 PM »

May I also add that the attitude to you perhaps depends on how you yourself behave in an "ethnically different" parish. I believe at least part of the reason my wife and I received a very warm welcome in our Greek parish (even though we are Ukrainian and not Greek) is that we showed a genuine interest in our parishioners ethnic identity, geography (you know, Greeks love to take about "MY island..."), family ties, cuisine. I also always ask Greeks about the meaning and proper pronounciation of various Greek words from the text of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostomos. When the people chant something in Greek, I look in my little booklet with the Greek text in it, and join (even if I do not understand every single word - I think that is not that important). So, when you show respect, you get respect... "And in the end, the love you get is equal to the love you give" (The Beatles, "Abbey Road"). Smiley
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« Reply #15 on: July 10, 2009, 12:22:55 PM »

We don`t like to see people unorthodox in our Churches , and who don`t come considering orthodoxy .So those questions seem very normal to me.I think we even have canons about communion with an unorthodox.

Dan,

I agree we don't want those who aren't Orthodox to take Holy Communion but I think you are being very harsh when you say we don't like to see people in our churches who aren't Orthodox. We are suppose to be ready at all times to welcome newcomers with warm Christian hospitality. If we aren't welcoming everyone then we aren't living up to the call to be Orthodox Christians. Even if someone is only visiting and not inquiring about Orthodoxy, we still should be showing them kindness and friendliness. We have had homeless people who have come into our parking lot before services and have asked parishioners for money as we enter church. We always invite them to come into our church and stay for fellow ship hour so they can get something to eat. Honestly, these hostile, paranoid, insular attitudes have got to stop.

sincerely, Tamara

I don`t think we should welcome someone who comes to the church with hidden intentions.Let me give you a concrete case.There are pentecostals here in my country who act "interested" in orthodoxy , maybe even attend liturghy just to obtain information so that they can use it against us , and preach against us in their "churches".They are presenting the orthodox mysteries as malice to offend people from considering the orthodox faith and Church.This for example happens in my country , well not that common in Church attendence but more people who pretend interested in orthodoxy to become orthodox and in the next minute you told them they use it in a wrong way , causing it a disorder interpreting it how they want and trying to manipulate others opinion about it.An example of this is a pentecostal who built a site after what he saw in the Holy Altar and the blessing of the gifts and the ritual of transforming wine and bread into the body and blood of Christ , wrote that is a sorcery and that the ritual has a satanic meaning and representation.Sectar spions out of the Church of God!
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« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2009, 12:23:19 PM »

May I also add that the attitude to you perhaps depends on how you yourself behave in an "ethnically different" parish. I believe at least part of the reason my wife and I received a very warm welcome in our Greek parish (even though we are Ukrainian and not Greek) is that we showed a genuine interest in our parishioners ethnic identity, geography (you know, Greeks love to take about "MY island..."), family ties, cuisine. I also always ask Greeks about the meaning and proper pronounciation of various Greek words from the text of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostomos. When the people chant something in Greek, I look in my little booklet with the Greek text in it, and join (even if I do not understand every single word - I think that is not that important). So, when you show respect, you get respect... "And in the end, the love you get is equal to the love you give" (The Beatles, "Abbey Road"). Smiley

Well said Heorhij!
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« Reply #17 on: July 10, 2009, 12:32:32 PM »

Russian True Orthodox don't that, when someone new comes to the Church, we welcome him, ask him to join the trapeza, and we get to know him, and we don't treat him as a third class citizen.
I wish that every Orthodox church would do that, and without their parishioners boasting smugly about it.
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« Reply #18 on: July 10, 2009, 01:44:26 PM »

We don`t like to see people unorthodox in our Churches , and who don`t come considering orthodoxy .So those questions seem very normal to me. I think we even have canons about communion with an unorthodox

I don`t think we should welcome someone who comes to the church with hidden intentions.Let me give you a concrete case.There are pentecostals here in my country who act "interested" in orthodoxy , maybe even attend liturghy just to obtain information so that they can use it against us , and preach against us in their "churches".They are presenting the orthodox mysteries as malice to offend people from considering the orthodox faith and Church.This for example happens in my country , well not that common in Church attendence but more people who pretend interested in orthodoxy to become orthodox and in the next minute you told them they use it in a wrong way , causing it a disorder interpreting it how they want and trying to manipulate others opinion about it.An example of this is a pentecostal who built a site after what he saw in the Holy Altar and the blessing of the gifts and the ritual of transforming wine and bread into the body and blood of Christ , wrote that is a sorcery and that the ritual has a satanic meaning and representation.Sectar spions out of the Church of God!

I didn't realize Romania had wolves such as you have described. But still, we can't let our fear of others keep us from welcoming people who come to our door. Here in the United States most of our wolves in the Antiochian Orthodox church have come from within as has been demonstrated by a convicted felon who happened to be a Lebanese immigrant AOCA board of trustee member who threatened one of our bishops and one of our dear priests. But because of this one incident I don't immediately assume that all Arab Orthodox Christians are mobsters who want to hurt other people. Dan, don't let your fear stop you from being a loving Christian.
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« Reply #19 on: July 10, 2009, 02:23:55 PM »

Okay, let me try to answer the response bit by bit.

1. We have attended 3 Divine Liturgies straight.  We are truly interested.  My husband has been leaning this direction for awhile now (and studying the Orthodox Study Bible he bought).  I tend to follow a bit more cautiously behind him, but always in support and willing to learn.  And I have been learning.  He has spoken with the priest and we have been reading the book that was given to us by the priest.  Our children have been invited to the Summer Bible School, etc.  We ARE seriously considering and my older children have been also learning and drawn to EO...but why should that be automatically suspect?  Especially since I'm in the US and there are quite a number of people here making serious conversions from my understanding.

2.  I am always a bit shy at first in person.  I don't fit in anywhere easily or without help.  I was the nerd/dork in school and wasn't raised in one particular culture.  I don't pick up undercurrents well as I need people to be direct with me.  I also have trouble telling if people are joking at times or trying to hint about something (a comment was made about our family size...are large families not common in Greek culture or Orthodox Churches?  I was thinking that if anywhere, we would be accepted in an Orthodox Church Sad )

3.  What does being Greek have to do with whether someone is Orthodox or not Orthodox and is Seriously Considering or Not Seriously Considering Huh  What in heaven's name does my ethnicity (with is heavily mixed as with many Americans) have to do with anything?!  And especially since this congregation is not only diverse, but declares it's ethnic diversity on it's website.
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« Reply #20 on: July 10, 2009, 02:32:44 PM »

I`m in a hateful disposition right now , but i don`t like to see sectars coming to our Church . This is in general the feeling i have towards those who are devoted to their protestant beliefs.Yes at our Church we have poor people who even assist the liturghy , for example.It`s harder and harder to love people , I feel this world is going on a descendent pit.I don`t find love at no one , esspecially at christians.All the christians I intersect online , I am dissapointed, didn`t find it on this forum neighter.I`m afraid of what the future will reserve us.I am dissapointed of myself first.I hear horrifying things about our Church , maybe even weekly , I am shocked.Not to mention the Church non-combat , and not only that , but I feel we are treated like dogs by the priests and not only.Why don`t the sheppards care about the sheeps anymore?Why don`t the sheppards fead the sheep.Why don`t they give us everything , why don`t they care of those who are maybe weaker in faith , and feeding with milk.Why do they not care about us?The wolfs are coming and what are they doing?They are running.Like in the parable.Who cares about the sheep?If the horsemen has been released and they did not blow the tromphet what will happen with them?Let me speak more clearly . The members of the Church today are like in the times of Jesus , many pharisees .Many see us only good as contribuants to the mercy vessel.Sure there are exceptions . Why doesn`t the Church warn us of the things that are in the world , the signs , the prophecies , about the time we are living into?Why does almoust every source of "Orthodoxy" doesn`t tell us that the Church will be the lying prophet?You can delete my post. Just feel the need to tell this.
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« Reply #21 on: July 10, 2009, 02:40:19 PM »

I`m in a hateful disposition right now , but i don`t like to see sectars coming to our Church . This is in general the feeling i have towards those who are devoted to their protestant beliefs.Yes at our Church we have poor people who even assist the liturghy , for example.It`s harder and harder to love people , I feel this world is going on a descendent pit.I don`t find love at no one , esspecially at christians.All the christians I intersect online , I am dissapointed, didn`t find it on this forum neighter.I`m afraid of what the future will reserve us.I am dissapointed of myself first.I hear horrifying things about our Church , maybe even weekly , I am shocked.Not to mention the Church non-combat , and not only that , but I feel we are treated like dogs by the priests and not only.Why don`t the sheppards care about the sheeps anymore?Why don`t the sheppards fead the sheep.Why don`t they give us everything , why don`t they care of those who are maybe weaker in faith , and feeding with milk.Why do they not care about us?The wolfs are coming and what are they doing?They are running.Like in the parable.Who cares about the sheep?If the horsemen has been released and they did not blow the tromphet what will happen with them?Let me speak more clearly . The members of the Church today are like in the times of Jesus , many pharisees .Many see us only good as contribuants to the mercy vessel.Sure there are exceptions . Why doesn`t the Church warn us of the things that are in the world , the signs , the prophecies , about the time we are living into?Why does almoust every source of "Orthodoxy" doesn`t tell us that the Church will be the lying prophet?You can delete my post. Just feel the need to tell this.


I am almost in tears reading this!  As a Christian, granted from Protestant background (can I help it where I was sent as a child?!), to hear bigotry against the poor participating in the Church?!  To want to REFUSE people conversion (not sure what secters means, but I think I'm getting the idea)?!  How do you think the Church came into existence in the first place?  What is the New Testament all about?  What about the story of the Russian Emperor that looked into the various faiths and accepted Orthodoxy for him and his nation...should they have been denied as they had been pagans before that point?  Should we seek to bring people to the knowledge of God and into his church or is the Church a social club for a select few?  Embarrassed

I may not know much about Orthodoxy yet (I am learning), but I do know about Christ.  Neither Greek nor Jew, Slave nor Free, Male nor Female.  From my understanding, the Church is not about these things.


I'm going to presume the best of the rest of the Church and believe/hope that your views are in the extreme minority.
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« Reply #22 on: July 10, 2009, 03:22:36 PM »

May I also add that the attitude to you perhaps depends on how you yourself behave in an "ethnically different" parish. I believe at least part of the reason my wife and I received a very warm welcome in our Greek parish (even though we are Ukrainian and not Greek) is that we showed a genuine interest in our parishioners ethnic identity, geography (you know, Greeks love to take about "MY island..."), family ties, cuisine. I also always ask Greeks about the meaning and proper pronounciation of various Greek words from the text of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostomos. When the people chant something in Greek, I look in my little booklet with the Greek text in it, and join (even if I do not understand every single word - I think that is not that important). So, when you show respect, you get respect... "And in the end, the love you get is equal to the love you give" (The Beatles, "Abbey Road"). Smiley

Thank you for this.  I think I just don't know what to ask right now or haven't felt like it was the right time to ask certain questions.  We've only attended a few times so far.  Hubby has spoken with people each time, including the priest.  My one conversation was interrupted by a sick child and we had to leave.
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« Reply #23 on: July 10, 2009, 03:26:55 PM »

That was a post made on sadness and in a bad mood , don`t take it too seriously.One thing I am not against poor people coming into the Church , I`m happy to see them around there.I said I don`t like to see people who are in enmity with the Church to come with bad intensions.And there I refered to those of other confessions.While I`m at Church I have no problem with any kind of people who come into our service , nor confession , nor social statute . Yes I don`t like to see arrogant people at Church.If it were for me , i would like to see all people united.If you don`t believe me fallow my other posts.I even got a channel on IRC Undernet wich is named #unity , for christian unity.Please forgive my foulishness Etsi.I will give you a kiss of peace.I said those things while being upset on certain of another denomination.Seek and you shall find , knock and it will be open to you.If you seek with all your heart you will find everything you seeketh.Please receive my apologise.
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« Reply #24 on: July 10, 2009, 03:44:50 PM »

That was a post made on sadness and in a bad mood , don`t take it too seriously.One thing I am not against poor people coming into the Church , I`m happy to see them around there.I said I don`t like to see people who are in enmity with the Church to come with bad intensions.And there I refered to those of other confessions.While I`m at Church I have no problem with any kind of people who come into our service , nor confession , nor social statute . Yes I don`t like to see arrogant people at Church.If it were for me , i would like to see all people united.If you don`t believe me fallow my other posts.I even got a channel on IRC Undernet wich is named #unity , for christian unity.Please forgive my foulishness Etsi.I will give you a kiss of peace.I said those things while being upset on certain of another denomination.Seek and you shall find , knock and it will be open to you.If you seek with all your heart you will find everything you seeketh.Please receive my apologise.

Thank you.  And I wish peace both with and for you as well.  I do understand frustrations with particular groups.  Hurts can color our vision in ways we have to be careful of.  I think I must've misread or misunderstood something in your post when I commented about "poor people".  Please forgive me for that misunderstanding.  Many Blessings Smiley
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« Reply #25 on: July 10, 2009, 03:46:20 PM »

I`m not the best english writer , or speaker ...
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« Reply #26 on: July 10, 2009, 03:49:05 PM »

I`m not the best english writer , or speaker ...

Don't worry about it...there are English and Americans that aren't either Cheesy  You are fortunate to be able to speak more than one language regardless of how well.
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« Reply #27 on: July 10, 2009, 04:30:23 PM »

You should tell them you're Russian  Wink
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« Reply #28 on: July 10, 2009, 04:47:44 PM »

You should tell them you're Russian  Wink

If only that would be true...the closest I am to Russian is Finnish.  I'm a mix of European and Native American.
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« Reply #29 on: July 10, 2009, 05:24:45 PM »

May I also add that the attitude to you perhaps depends on how you yourself behave in an "ethnically different" parish. I believe at least part of the reason my wife and I received a very warm welcome in our Greek parish (even though we are Ukrainian and not Greek) is that we showed a genuine interest in our parishioners ethnic identity, geography (you know, Greeks love to take about "MY island..."), family ties, cuisine. I also always ask Greeks about the meaning and proper pronounciation of various Greek words from the text of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostomos. When the people chant something in Greek, I look in my little booklet with the Greek text in it, and join (even if I do not understand every single word - I think that is not that important). So, when you show respect, you get respect... "And in the end, the love you get is equal to the love you give" (The Beatles, "Abbey Road"). Smiley

Thank you for this.  I think I just don't know what to ask right now or haven't felt like it was the right time to ask certain questions.  We've only attended a few times so far.  Hubby has spoken with people each time, including the priest.  My one conversation was interrupted by a sick child and we had to leave.

Best wishes to you. Just give it some time. Maybe watch the movie called "My Big Fat Greek Wedding." It does show a few peculiar Greek types, and gives you some clue about what modern Greeks in the USA like to talk about, how they relax, cook, etc.
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« Reply #30 on: July 10, 2009, 05:31:18 PM »

May I also add that the attitude to you perhaps depends on how you yourself behave in an "ethnically different" parish. I believe at least part of the reason my wife and I received a very warm welcome in our Greek parish (even though we are Ukrainian and not Greek) is that we showed a genuine interest in our parishioners ethnic identity, geography (you know, Greeks love to take about "MY island..."), family ties, cuisine. I also always ask Greeks about the meaning and proper pronounciation of various Greek words from the text of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostomos. When the people chant something in Greek, I look in my little booklet with the Greek text in it, and join (even if I do not understand every single word - I think that is not that important). So, when you show respect, you get respect... "And in the end, the love you get is equal to the love you give" (The Beatles, "Abbey Road"). Smiley

Thank you for this.  I think I just don't know what to ask right now or haven't felt like it was the right time to ask certain questions.  We've only attended a few times so far.  Hubby has spoken with people each time, including the priest.  My one conversation was interrupted by a sick child and we had to leave.

Best wishes to you. Just give it some time. Maybe watch the movie called "My Big Fat Greek Wedding." It does show a few peculiar Greek types, and gives you some clue about what modern Greeks in the USA like to talk about, how they relax, cook, etc.

I absolutely love that movie!  I watched it again a few days before we attended the Divine Liturgy for the first time.  I feel like the main character during her "ugly duckling" stage and just wish I could hide behind a counter at times.

I've also been watching many intros and history of Eastern Orthodoxy videos online Wink
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« Reply #31 on: July 10, 2009, 06:48:00 PM »

May I also add that the attitude to you perhaps depends on how you yourself behave in an "ethnically different" parish. I believe at least part of the reason my wife and I received a very warm welcome in our Greek parish (even though we are Ukrainian and not Greek) is that we showed a genuine interest in our parishioners ethnic identity, geography (you know, Greeks love to take about "MY island..."), family ties, cuisine. I also always ask Greeks about the meaning and proper pronounciation of various Greek words from the text of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostomos. When the people chant something in Greek, I look in my little booklet with the Greek text in it, and join (even if I do not understand every single word - I think that is not that important). So, when you show respect, you get respect... "And in the end, the love you get is equal to the love you give" (The Beatles, "Abbey Road"). Smiley

Thank you for this.  I think I just don't know what to ask right now or haven't felt like it was the right time to ask certain questions.  We've only attended a few times so far.  Hubby has spoken with people each time, including the priest.  My one conversation was interrupted by a sick child and we had to leave.

Best wishes to you. Just give it some time. Maybe watch the movie called "My Big Fat Greek Wedding." It does show a few peculiar Greek types, and gives you some clue about what modern Greeks in the USA like to talk about, how they relax, cook, etc.

I absolutely love that movie!  I watched it again a few days before we attended the Divine Liturgy for the first time.  I feel like the main character during her "ugly duckling" stage and just wish I could hide behind a counter at times.

I've also been watching many intros and history of Eastern Orthodoxy videos online Wink

We have Greeks in our family through marriage and our side of the family is Italian/Syrian. Most Mediterranean cultures are very similar and mix very well. Ethnic food, music and dancing are an important part of most Mediterranean cultural life within a parish. Family and especially coumbara relationships (godparents, best man/maid of honor) within a Greek Orthodox parish community really bind the people together. Perhaps if you find sponsors (godparents) within your community this will help you establish a relationship which will help tie you into with everyone else.

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« Reply #32 on: July 10, 2009, 09:10:24 PM »

Dear  Heorhij,

You are right, I was talking in general terms. And vice versa, the welcoming attitude to non-Russian by the Russian True Orthodox is not something that NECESSARILY happens.

Also, it is very true that the attitude towards us perhaps depends on how we behave, I must admit  while I was very interested in the liturgics and chanting, I wasn't interested in greeks, all I wanted is to attend the service, get some ideas for my paper, and leave right away.

After the dismissal an altar boy came and told us that the fathers welcome us to the "cafenio", Vova immediately accepted, and I had no choice than to smile and say "Very kind".

I was as usual, very formal, polite and respectful, but the greeks were not respectful at all. I said things like "how do you do" making eye contact, with a gentle smile, and keeping my distance, I got reactions like "Hey!!!" with two or three kisses, grabbing me by the shoulders, and talking to me in a familiar way.

One of the worst reactions was that of a lady, who after asking me how old was I said

"No!!!! you can't be serious"

"yes I am ma'am"

"OH HO HO HO HO HO, you are a real baby face, come come with me"

She grabbed me by the arm, and took me where some persons were, and said things in greek, and I got some other reactions, a woman pinching my cheeks and saying "You'll do a lovely son in law" other man hitting my on the arm with his fist saying "ohhhhh! We'll get a good greek wife for this adonis" etc.

So there goes the theory of you show respect, you get respect. I showed respect, and I got tons of disrespect.

It was one of the worst culture shocks I've ever had.


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« Reply #33 on: July 10, 2009, 09:27:38 PM »

Dear  Heorhij,

You are right, I was talking in general terms. And vice versa, the welcoming attitude to non-Russian by the Russian True Orthodox is not something that NECESSARILY happens.

Also, it is very true that the attitude towards us perhaps depends on how we behave, I must admit  while I was very interested in the liturgics and chanting, I wasn't interested in greeks, all I wanted is to attend the service, get some ideas for my paper, and leave right away.

After the dismissal an altar boy came and told us that the fathers welcome us to the "cafenio", Vova immediately accepted, and I had no choice than to smile and say "Very kind".

I was as usual, very formal, polite and respectful, but the greeks were not respectful at all. I said things like "how do you do" making eye contact, with a gentle smile, and keeping my distance, I got reactions like "Hey!!!" with two or three kisses, grabbing me by the shoulders, and talking to me in a familiar way.

One of the worst reactions was that of a lady, who after asking me how old was I said

"No!!!! you can't be serious"

"yes I am ma'am"

"OH HO HO HO HO HO, you are a real baby face, come come with me"

She grabbed me by the arm, and took me where some persons were, and said things in greek, and I got some other reactions, a woman pinching my cheeks and saying "You'll do a lovely son in law" other man hitting my on the arm with his fist saying "ohhhhh! We'll get a good greek wife for this adonis" etc.

So there goes the theory of you show respect, you get respect. I showed respect, and I got tons of disrespect.

It was one of the worst culture shocks I've ever had.





Sorry, but uhm....


drat, where is that ROTFL smiley!  Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy


I would LOVE it for a mama to just shake me loose and get all huggy!

But I understand that it was like my being told that I don't look Greek and the comment about the size of our family.  I did laugh it off.  I think I was in shock though.
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« Reply #34 on: July 11, 2009, 09:26:01 PM »


That's sweet Etsi, I wish you were in my place, you'd really enjoy it.

Hehehehehehe! I'm not surprised to hear that, I also got comments on the size of my family, but my reaction was not acknowledging and changing subject. I couldn't care less about the family of an ugly greek man I just met. And there is no way I'm going to talk about my family with strangers.


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« Reply #35 on: July 11, 2009, 10:16:35 PM »

Is it common for people to ask if your parents are, or that you don't look, Greek in a Greek Orthodox Church...even if that church is in the US and is fairly diverse ethnically?


To my knowledge, my parish does not ask such questions.   But I believe it is common, in that I have seen it many many places.   
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« Reply #36 on: July 11, 2009, 10:29:43 PM »

If you are anywhere near Tampa Bay, you are always welcome at our parish.   You would love it.  The people are warm, welcoming and diverse.  Don't get discouraged by human frailty.  You find it everywhere.  The Orthodox Church wouldn't be defined as a hospital by St. John Chrysostom if there weren't a lot of sick people around.  Sometimes you may feel like you are on the "seventh floor" of the hospital sometimes, but they are in the process of healing as well Lord willing.   God keep you on your quest.  There are many here and elsewhere to support you.  Don't feel awkward or foolish about asking questions--you would be surpised how edified others are because you ask a question!   You may never see this part of the process, but know that it is there!       
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« Reply #37 on: July 11, 2009, 11:20:34 PM »

If you are anywhere near Tampa Bay, you are always welcome at our parish.   You would love it.  The people are warm, welcoming and diverse.  Don't get discouraged by human frailty.  You find it everywhere.  The Orthodox Church wouldn't be defined as a hospital by St. John Chrysostom if there weren't a lot of sick people around.  Sometimes you may feel like you are on the "seventh floor" of the hospital sometimes, but they are in the process of healing as well Lord willing.   God keep you on your quest.  There are many here and elsewhere to support you.  Don't feel awkward or foolish about asking questions--you would be surpised how edified others are because you ask a question!   You may never see this part of the process, but know that it is there!       

We have family near Tampa Smiley  May have to visit when we go see them!
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« Reply #38 on: July 12, 2009, 05:27:40 AM »

Dear Etsi,

It is very common, specially if you are new in the community, and you look different.

Like when a friend and I went to a greek church, and they asked us things like that. My friend had the hardest time, because the greeks were like "Really? Are you Russian? But you don't look Russian! Are your parents chinese?"

I found that very offensive, specially coming from greeks who look and behave more like arabs and turks. Why do they have to talk us down and feel superior? Why such a boorish manners?

Russian True Orthodox don't that, when someone new comes to the Church, we welcome him, ask him to join the trapeza, and we get to know him, and we don't treat him as a third class citizen.


 



I really Don't care for the greek business people in the usa,,very rude ..in there churches i guess there alwright...outside church now thats a different story.....Hopefully in greece there better...
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« Reply #39 on: July 12, 2009, 11:09:55 AM »

I really Don't care for the greek business people in the usa,,very rude ..in there churches i guess there alwright...outside church now thats a different story.....Hopefully in greece there better...
In the end, though, does it really matter what you think about Greek business people outside of church, especially since that's not what we're talking about on this thread?
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« Reply #40 on: July 12, 2009, 11:51:40 AM »

Today went really well Smiley  The church seems to be really open and diverse.
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« Reply #41 on: July 12, 2009, 03:15:04 PM »

Today went really well Smiley  The church seems to be really open and diverse.
Well... imagine that.  Wink

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« Reply #42 on: July 13, 2009, 10:15:06 AM »

I got reactions like "Hey!!!" with two or three kisses, grabbing me by the shoulders, and talking to me in a familiar way.

One of the worst reactions was that of a lady, who after asking me how old was I said

"No!!!! you can't be serious"

"yes I am ma'am"

"OH HO HO HO HO HO, you are a real baby face, come come with me"

She grabbed me by the arm, and took me where some persons were, and said things in greek, and I got some other reactions, a woman pinching my cheeks and saying "You'll do a lovely son in law" other man hitting my on the arm with his fist saying "ohhhhh! We'll get a good greek wife for this adonis" etc.

So there goes the theory of you show respect, you get respect. I showed respect, and I got tons of disrespect.

It was one of the worst culture shocks I've ever had.




This is why there is more than one flavor of ice cream, because it's this kind of warm-hearted friendliness that I love most about Greeks. You were actually being welcomed into the family and didn't even realize it!

And here again, those of us who were fortunate enough to receive an old-fashioned Southern upbringing  Wink, may be more comfortable with situations like this. We're used to having crazy relatives - they may be nuts, but they're family and they're ours - we belong to them and they beong to us! We're also ok with kissing, hugging, minding someone else's business, marrying off the young folks, obsessions with where folks are from, and who their relatives are. As far as I can see, the Greeks focus on faith, family and food, just like Southerners.
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« Reply #43 on: July 13, 2009, 10:25:05 AM »

Yes, it is very common for someone who does not look "Greek" to be asked if they are Greek when going to a Greek Orthodox Church. My experience was a little different, when I went to a Greek Orthodox Church after months of trying to determine where my family and I would find a home in an Apostolic tradition Church, I approched the priest. I told him that my wife and I would like to become Orthodox. His response initially was "You are not Greek! Why would you ever want to become a Greek Orthodox?" My answer was, "I want to be a member of the True Holy and Apostolic Church that Jesus Christ founded."  From that day forward I was never asked why I wanted to become an Orthodox Christian and was welcomed home to the Orthodox Church. From my experience some 20+ years later, I have always had warm greetings in all Orthodox Churches (GREEK, ROCOR, Serbian, and Antiochian) whenever I visit, I am usually greeted like a long lost cousin and made to feel like I am part of the family.

I hope this will be helpful if you are in investigator or a new convert visiting other Orthodox jursidictions.

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