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militantsparrow
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« on: July 23, 2009, 09:20:16 PM »

I am currently a Roman Catholic. I am Roman Catholic because I thought it was the church Jesus established 2000 years ago. But for some reason, the other night, I was moved to investigate the claim of the Orthodox Church as the true church. And I must admit, I am beginning to feel called to the Orthodox Church. I see in the Orthodox Church a better--I want to say ordering--of spirituality and reason. But I also like what I don't see--the power structure.

So, I am seeking your help and prayers. Prayers, because such a decision is obviously very huge, but I also seek intellectual help. Please, if you would be so kind, make your best case for why the Orthodox Church is the true church as opposed to the Catholic Church.

Thank you.
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« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2009, 09:39:32 PM »

I will not argue the history and theology with you, but I will gladly welcome you to the forum, and pray for your swift entry into the Church!
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« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2009, 09:58:15 PM »

Thank you, Alveus. I'm not looking to argue. I'm just interested in hearing the arguments. If that makes sense?
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« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2009, 10:03:48 PM »

Have you attended the Divine Liturgy yet at an Orthodox temple?
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« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2009, 10:28:16 PM »

I became Orthodox from Baptist, and was very drawn to Franciscan spirituality, so I almost signed up for RCIA while attending Holy Family Cathedral in Tulsa, OK for a brief time.  Many of the claims of the Roman Catholic Church are shared by the Orthodox (not all obviously), namely that:

  • the Church is One,
  • that She is the full Body of Christ on Earth,
  • that the Holy Spirit will keep Her from error,
  • that She proclaims the Kingdom in Word AND Sacrament,
  • that Her leaders can and must be able to trace their ordinations back to an original apostle,
  • that She worships in Spirit and in Truth, in the sobriety of the Holy Eucharist)
  • that She remembers Her departed members and those departed remember us, most especially the Holy Mother of God

Of all of this I was convinced.  What got me was not so much something that the Catholic Church believed, but rather why it believed it.  Both Orthodox and Catholics believe that the afterlife will be purgatorial, but the reasons for this purging are very different in the two communions.  Whereas the Roman view of Purgatory was an extracting of penal satisfaction (using the storehouse of the saints' merits to lessen said time of punishment) for our sins, the Orthodox view was one of a God whose fiery love will, as a consequence, burn and ontologically change the person who approaches Him, change him into one who loves as He loves. 

Or...not. 

Wax melts before fire; clay hardens and shatters.  How we approach the Judgment Seat depends on how we've lived our lives and conditioned our hearts...how we've made use of divine grace in this life.  It is most definitely something that pertains to a real change in us, not in some requirement God might make of us that needs to be legally satisfied.

Once I realized I could no longer abide anything with an imprimatur claiming "thus-and-such amount of time out of Purgatory for having done this-and-that," the Orthodox Church seemed the only way to go.

Peace to you in your journey.
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« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2009, 10:56:34 PM »

I am currently a Roman Catholic. I am Roman Catholic because I thought it was the church Jesus established 2000 years ago. But for some reason, the other night, I was moved to investigate the claim of the Orthodox Church as the true church. And I must admit, I am beginning to feel called to the Orthodox Church. I see in the Orthodox Church a better--I want to say ordering--of spirituality and reason. But I also like what I don't see--the power structure.

So, I am seeking your help and prayers. Prayers, because such a decision is obviously very huge, but I also seek intellectual help. Please, if you would be so kind, make your best case for why the Orthodox Church is the true church as opposed to the Catholic Church.

Thank you.

Because the Orthodox Church is so factious and divided, let alone persecuted, that if it were not the True Church, it would have disappeared into thousands of dying sects long ago.

The Papacy has been captive to forces that wanted to use it, but none that wanted to destroy it.  The same cannot be said of the Orthodoxy under Caliphs, Sultans and Commissars.

The Papacy has been centralizing since its establishment, yet it led to such grand factionalism as the Great Western Schism and then the Protestant Reformation.  The Orthodox have never had a central authority of that magnitude, yet the Churches have remained united in the Faith.

(Apologists for the Vatican like to bring up the Chalcedonian/Non-Chalcedonian split, but don't manage to explain how the EO and OO are much closer to each other than the EO is to the Vatican, although the divide over Chalcedon is over one and a half times older.

Compare what seperates the four ancient patriarchates from the Vatican: Rome at one point insisted on using the Creed we use, and then changed.  Rome used leaven bread and had married clergy, and then changed.  Rome's patriarch was once first among equals, and only later insisted that he was supreme (the earliest reference to any Petrine claims at Rome do not predate the 3rd century): when such claims were made, they were rejected by the Church as a whole, as the incident of Pope St. Victor shows.

We teach what Rome taught.  If Rome was right then, we are right now.

Wax melts before fire; clay hardens and shatters.  How we approach the Judgment Seat depends on how we've lived our lives and conditioned our hearts...how we've made use of divine grace in this life.  It is most definitely something that pertains to a real change in us, not in some requirement God might make of us that needs to be legally satisfied.

Oooh!  I like it.
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« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2009, 11:04:26 PM »

Welcome to the forum, militantsparrow.   Smiley
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« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2009, 11:17:30 PM »

Alveus,
No. I have not attended an Orthodox liturgy. I do have a number of Orthodox churches near by though which I plan on checking out.

DavidBryan,
Yes! I never understood the Catholic understanding of purgatory. Like you stated, I realize and agree that we will have to be purified, but the details never made sense. What you explained of the Orthodox belief is exactly what I have been drawn toward in Orthodox theology. It seems to have a greater focus on God's love then on some complicated set of details that don't seem to advance the believer toward God. This same approach, I believe, is seen in Jesus' own sermons.

ialmisry,
It's funny you say this because I've often sited Rome's longevity as proof of its truth, but as you pointed out it seems as though Rome was the one to abandon the Orthodox and not the other way around. Last night, after reading about the early Church via some Orthodox blogs and websites, I looked at Acts. The Church in Acts seems much more similiar to the Orthodox Church than to the Catholic Church. Peter was one of the "big guys", but so was James. Also they made their statement/decision together in unison with each other (all of the Apostles).
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« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2009, 11:18:01 PM »

Thank you, SolEX01.
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« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2009, 01:28:33 AM »

I am currently a Roman Catholic. I am Roman Catholic because I thought it was the church Jesus established 2000 years ago. But for some reason, the other night, I was moved to investigate the claim of the Orthodox Church as the true church. And I must admit, I am beginning to feel called to the Orthodox Church. I see in the Orthodox Church a better--I want to say ordering--of spirituality and reason. But I also like what I don't see--the power structure.

So, I am seeking your help and prayers. Prayers, because such a decision is obviously very huge, but I also seek intellectual help. Please, if you would be so kind, make your best case for why the Orthodox Church is the true church as opposed to the Catholic Church.

Thank you.

Can you endure suffering, insults, the world caving in on you..........ect?

If so, then Orthodoxy is for you. You can always find the intellectual help you need, but emotional help and dealing with oneself is also needed.










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« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2009, 09:38:00 AM »

Welcome Militant Sparrow to the  Convert Issues Forum!  I hope that you will find this a place to get simple but direct answers to your questions. I would suggest you follow the advice of Priest Peter Gilquist who recommends that a person  visit a month of Orthodox Divine Liturgies and other services to fully understand Orthodoxy.  When I followed this advice some twenty years ago, I set my foot upon the strait way and came to the Church.

Once again, Welcome to the Convert Issues Forum.

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« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2009, 10:51:48 AM »

Welcome to this beautiful forum and, of course, to the world of Orthodoxy, my brother!
Personally, three things stroke me of Orthodoxy:
1) The relative unity of its episcopacy on matters of faith despite having no hierarchical guide inside of it (aka the Pope)
2) The form of the sacraments which is identical to the witness of the first fathers and is exclusive to the Orthodox Church (except for the Pre-Chalcedonians, whom I highly esteem despite the unfortunate division of our churches)
3) The idea of 'mystery' saying that we can only partially understand dogmas, but the rest is a mysterious truth we can't properly understand.

On point one, this met my need to take a distance from an individual who claims an absolute power of dogmatizing...
on the second point, this met my need for a church whose sacraments were *surely* effective...
in the third point, it allowed me to find a home with a less legalistic and dogmatizing attitude

In Christ,   Alex

PS: good luck for your journey to Orthodoxy!
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« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2009, 11:34:54 AM »

I think one can sense the potential of salvation for oneself and many (through the incarnation, life, death, & resurrection of Jesus Christ) but realize that in fear of the Lord and assuming nothing is to be faithful to God.
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« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2009, 12:12:10 PM »

If you ever convert to Orthodoxy, it will be because of this.
I will not argue the history and theology with you, but I will gladly welcome you to the forum, and pray for your swift entry into the Church!
Smiley


I believe that the true Church should be infallible to its official statements (i.e.: Ecumenical Councils). So, I automatically ruled out Protestants for changing the Biblical Canon (which seem to serve the Church quite well for about 1.200 years) and I never believed in the Papal Infallibility or filioque (older OCs here would probably have to say much more on that).

I'm not a tactical churchgoer yet, but even if I was, I wouldn't be able to witness Orthodoxy's great ways. Maybe you should attend a ritual, I don't know...
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« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2009, 09:06:35 PM »

jnorm888,
I am one of two practicing Catholics in my entire circle of family and friends, so I think I can handle the "suffering, insults, the world caving in" if that's what you are suggesting. But of course, I'm not looking forward to it. I'm also a little nervous about bringing my wife into my journey before I am confident I'm on the right one.

Thomas,
Thank you. I will be attending a Divine Liturgy soon, but it is difficult--it almost feels like cheating on someone. I've been Catholic all my life and I'm pretty active at our parish. I am praying for the grace I need to do it.

Alex,
Thank you. All three of your points are very good. All three points appeal to me as well. But what argument would you make from a more technical/historical standpoint for the Orthodox Church being the true church which Rome broke from?

recent convert,
Yes. I agree. I don't want to be Catholic for the sake of being Catholic. If I am to remain Catholic I want to only because it is the true church. If it is something less, then I want to be where ever the true church is. The more I read, the more I am convinced that both the Orthodox and Catholic churches are scarred from their separation, but I'm also more convinced that the Orthodox church was in the right and therefore the true church which remained steady.

GammaRay,
Thank you for you encouragement. I spent my twenties without a chuch, but when I decided I needed one again, I went through a similiar examination of other Christian churches.
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« Reply #15 on: July 24, 2009, 10:47:41 PM »

I will be attending a Divine Liturgy soon, but it is difficult--it almost feels like cheating on someone. I've been Catholic all my life and I'm pretty active at our parish. I am praying for the grace I need to do it.

I was very active in my Baptist congregation when I started attending DL.  First once a month, then "splitting Sundays"...then resignation from my post(s)...you'll know if/when the time comes, and you'll be able to go through with it.
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« Reply #16 on: July 24, 2009, 11:10:05 PM »

Grace and Peace,

I see so often on forums disenchanted Catholics, typically converts to the Roman Church, come on to the forum all too ready to deny their faith and speak very ill of it. All too often I see individuals grasping for another 'Team-Shirt' to wear. I would encourage you to steer clear of the polemics and playing an 'us vs. them' game all over again. If you are not honestly Catholic I would encourage you to cease your activity at your parish and find an Orthodox Parish Priest to instruct you. I think that is an honest path to take. What I would encourage you to avoid is the blustering about how anti-Catholic you are after reading a few websites. I've spent years as a devout Roman Catholic and I've spent years engaged in dialogue with Eastern Orthodoxy as a sincere inquirer at a local Orthodox Parish with a very fine Orthodox Priest. Far too often my dialogues with over zealous individuals on forums have done nothing but buff up my pride and lead me to all manner of sin and vice.

What I will say is that you are here for a reason. Figure out what that reason is without making a caricature of other's Faith.
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« Reply #17 on: July 24, 2009, 11:56:31 PM »

One thing that led me to Orthodoxy is its emphasis on Divine Mystery. Orthodoxy is not irrational, but it is not confined by the rigid logic of Western epistemology. Perhaps you feel led to Orthodoxy by something that you cannot rationally explain or logically defend. But this is often how God calls His servants and His saints. Western culture conditions us to feel the need to rationalize our Faith and intellectually defend our religion. So I find the Orthodox acknowledgment and acceptance of Holy Mystery very refreshing and spiritually liberating.

Peace to you in your Orthodox quest.

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« Reply #18 on: July 25, 2009, 01:49:05 AM »

Hey militantsparrow, welcome. I was drawn to the Catholic Church after 'taking a winding side street' through protestantism (nondenominational, altho i was influenced by a certain fundamental baptist KJV only website. these guys are the grain of truth in the stereotype of the 'Fundamentalist'. They actually call themselves ChristiansTM). I read Scott Hahn's works, and thought I would join the Catholic Church, but realized I hadn't yet explored Orthodoxy. I began studying (assuming it would be a 'why not to become Orthodox' sort of journey), and was stunned by the force of the arguements. Dr. Hahn wrote that the Orthodox theology was "stagnent" (Rome Sweet Home), but I have never seen a richer tradition. I have concluded that the Orthodox claim to being the One Holy Catholic and apostolic Church is entirely justified, and true. They are not descended from the ancient Church, they ARE the Ancient Church.

My best resources have been this site, Ancient faith Radio (I check each week for the new Illumined Heart podcast) and also MyOCN. I pray your journey leads you to Truth.
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« Reply #19 on: July 25, 2009, 02:59:14 AM »

Quote
jnorm888,
I am one of two practicing Catholics in my entire circle of family and friends, so I think I can handle the "suffering, insults, the world caving in" if that's what you are suggesting. But of course, I'm not looking forward to it. I'm also a little nervous about bringing my wife into my journey before I am confident I'm on the right one.


Peter Gillquist and the other former EOC's were denied a few times before they were finally embraced by EO, and even after becoming EO they had to overcome some other obsticals. But with all that said.........they never gave up......I'm sure their feelings were hurt when they were denied, but they overcame their feelings.....they didn't allow their feelings to get the best of them..........they pressed on.

In like mannor, don't allow obsticals........both external and internal stop you.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, don't allow a few bad experiences stop you. If you are able to overcome a few bad experiences then you will be fine.









Jnorm888
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« Reply #20 on: July 25, 2009, 04:14:14 AM »

Welcome, friend!   

I am an inquirer into the Orthodox faith myself (originally a Baptist), and I find that the more I investigate it, the more convinced I become that it is indeed the one, true catholic and apostolic Church set down by Jesus Christ. You want proof? I'll use the famous "Peter the rock" verse that Catholics believe form the basis for Petrine primacy. I'm sure you are familiar with it, but I'll quote for emphasis.

Matthew 16:18 "And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it."

Again, this verse is the one that the Roman Catholics use to justify Peter as establishing their Church.  Unfortunately, before he established the Church of Rome, (although this claim has been contested) he had already established the Church of Antioch and had served as bishop there! Antioch, as you may well know, was and is still today one of the chief cornerstones of Orthodox Christianity. Christ saw Antioch as the origin of true Christianity, not Rome. (Acts 11:26: "The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch." )

The Catholic interpretation of this verse is inconsistent with history. If you look at the organization of the early church, you will see several autonomous and locally governed churches, as they exist today in the Orthodox Church. Although Rome and the See of Rome always held a special honor in the Church up until the great schism, this was due primarily to the power and influence associated with the region, not the supremacy or doctrinal authority of their bishop. It is also interesting to note that the Bishop of Rome wasn’t even allowed to attend the 5nd Ecumenical Council (553 AD) due to his support of the heretical Nestorianism movement. Surely if he were indeed the “Vicar of Christ” then he would have been present at one of the most important councils in the history of Church doctrinal development?
 
I believe that if you create a theological timeline comparing Orthodox Christianity vs. Roman Catholicism you will come to the conclusion that where Roman Catholicism differs from Eastern Orthodoxy, Orthodoxy had in fact preserved the authentic tradition. This is particulary evident in authentic Christian liturgical ethos and the development of the historic faith.

Some examples:

Baptism

EO- Full immersion (original)
RC- Sprinkling (later modification)

Sign of the Cross

EO- Right to left (original)
RC- left to right (later modification)

Nicene-Constantinople Creed

EO - The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father (original)
RC - The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father AND the Son (later addition, “the Filioque“)

This should be enough to get you started.  I could go on for hours! Smiley

« Last Edit: July 25, 2009, 04:16:57 AM by Ortho_cat » Logged
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« Reply #21 on: July 25, 2009, 06:54:00 AM »

Welcome, friend!   

I am an inquirer into the Orthodox faith myself (originally a Baptist), and I find that the more I investigate it, the more convinced I become that it is indeed the one, true catholic and apostolic Church set down by Jesus Christ. You want proof? I'll use the famous "Peter the rock" verse that Catholics believe form the basis for Petrine primacy. I'm sure you are familiar with it, but I'll quote for emphasis.

Matthew 16:18 "And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it."

Again, this verse is the one that the Roman Catholics use to justify Peter as establishing their Church.  Unfortunately, before he established the Church of Rome, (although this claim has been contested) he had already established the Church of Antioch and had served as bishop there! Antioch, as you may well know, was and is still today one of the chief cornerstones of Orthodox Christianity. Christ saw Antioch as the origin of true Christianity, not Rome. (Acts 11:26: "The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch." )

The Catholic interpretation of this verse is inconsistent with history. If you look at the organization of the early church, you will see several autonomous and locally governed churches, as they exist today in the Orthodox Church. Although Rome and the See of Rome always held a special honor in the Church up until the great schism, this was due primarily to the power and influence associated with the region, not the supremacy or doctrinal authority of their bishop. It is also interesting to note that the Bishop of Rome wasn’t even allowed to attend the 5nd Ecumenical Council (553 AD) due to his support of the heretical Nestorianism movement. Surely if he were indeed the “Vicar of Christ” then he would have been present at one of the most important councils in the history of Church doctrinal development?
 
I believe that if you create a theological timeline comparing Orthodox Christianity vs. Roman Catholicism you will come to the conclusion that where Roman Catholicism differs from Eastern Orthodoxy, Orthodoxy had in fact preserved the authentic tradition. This is particulary evident in authentic Christian liturgical ethos and the development of the historic faith.

Some examples:

Baptism

EO- Full immersion (original)
RC- Sprinkling (later modification)

Sign of the Cross

EO- Right to left (original)
RC- left to right (later modification)

Nicene-Constantinople Creed

EO - The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father (original)
RC - The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father AND the Son (later addition, “the Filioque“)

This should be enough to get you started.  I could go on for hours! Smiley



I can add these other elements to this post that I found partially answered your question you offered to me, dear militantsparrow:

EO - Communion under both species (cfr. Christ's words: "Take and drink all of it" in the Gospels)
RC - Communion under bread only

EO - Both secular and regular clergy  (cfr. Paul's words on married presbyters and deacons, together with his appreciation for celibacy)
RC - Regular (i.e. celibate) clergy only

EO - Three Sees established by st Peter the Prince of the Apostles: Rome, Alexandria and Antioch (cfr. pope Gregory the Great's letter to his fellow patriarchs)
RC - Only one See established as successor to Peter, the Church of Rome

EO - Baptism, chrismation and communion always given at once even to infant (see hippolitus of Rome, Ambrose of Milan and tens of other W and E fathers)
RC - Baptism, communion and confirmation given separately at different ages and in a different order then the traditional one

EO - The true 8th Ecumenical Council is that of 879-880 AD (cfr its Horos and the Epistle of Pope John VIII that put Photios back on the chair of Constantinople)
RC - The true 8th Ecumenical Council is the Robber Council of 869-870 AD

EO - All bishops are icons of Christ (cfr st Ignatius of Antioch, of thrice blessed memory)
RC - The Pope is the only vicar of Christ and all bishops are his suffraganeans

EO - Apostolic tradition of praying at DL ad Orientem (st John Chrysostom wrote that it's an apostolic tradition)
RC - Protestant-style prayers at Mass ad populum (where the priest replaces Christ at the altar)

EO - Chants without instruments at DL (agreed by all Church Fathers that dealt with this matter)
RC - Chants with instruments (organ, and recently guitars, bongos etc) and adoption of Protestant gospel music

I think these points would be of much interest in persuading you how Orthodoxy is the only true Catholic and Apostolic Church!!!
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« Reply #22 on: July 25, 2009, 10:46:30 AM »

One thing that led me to Orthodoxy is its emphasis on Divine Mystery. Orthodoxy is not irrational, but it is not confined by the rigid logic of Western epistemology. Perhaps you feel led to Orthodoxy by something that you cannot rationally explain or logically defend. But this is often how God calls His servants and His saints. Western culture conditions us to feel the need to rationalize our Faith and intellectually defend our religion. So I find the Orthodox acknowledgment and acceptance of Holy Mystery very refreshing and spiritually liberating.
Exactly! It's what we call transcendental. Something beyond our logic that cannot be explained, a very unique feeling. You can't compare that to any dogma or creed, communion with God is above everything.

[offtopic]P.S.: I will hopefully begin my life as a churchgoer tomorrow, wish me luck.[/offtopic]
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« Reply #23 on: July 25, 2009, 10:49:24 AM »

DavidBryan,
Thank you for your encouragement.

ignatius,
Grace and peace to you as well. I am not what you would call a "disenchanted Catholic." I spent my teens and early twenties as a fallen away Catholic. When I was 25 I fell in love with Christ again and sought out His church. What I found was the Catholic church, but I failed to look further. I accepted the standard arguments for Papal authority and never looked deeper. I've recently been feeling very lost, but I wasn't sure why. I still love my church and God, but I was feeling lost. So, following the advice of my spiritual director, I've been trying lexio divina and contemplative prayer. I wasn't feeling better at first, but then one day I got the urge to look at the Orthodox church (you might say I was moved by the Holy Spirit). Since then I have been overwhellmed with excitement and fear. I'm finding...well its as Gebre explains, I "cannot rationally explain or logically defend" what I am feeling and finding.

Gebre,
Yes. I am drawn to Orthodoxy, at least in part, for the same reason.

Pilgrim,
Its good to see you here. It was a post of yours I found on CA's boards that lead me here to these boards. I am a big Scott Hahn fan, but he, like most Catholic apologists, never really addresses the historicty of the Orthodox church. Plus I don't see stagnation, I see tradition.

jnorm888,
Oh. I see now. Why would they be denied entry into the Orthodox church?

Ortho_cat,
Awesome. Thank you.

Alex,
Thank you very much. I have a lot to digest now.
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« Reply #24 on: July 25, 2009, 10:50:14 AM »

[offtopic]P.S.: I will hopefully begin my life as a churchgoer tomorrow, wish me luck.[/offtopic]

Good luck!
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« Reply #25 on: July 25, 2009, 02:09:21 PM »

"Pilgrim,
Its good to see you here. It was a post of yours I found on CA's boards that lead me here to these boards. I am a big Scott Hahn fan, but he, like most Catholic apologists, never really addresses the historicty of the Orthodox church. Plus I don't see stagnation, I see tradition."

NOW I know why your name is so familiar! Good to see you here. I'm glad you saw my post in CAF! Cheesy
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« Reply #26 on: July 25, 2009, 04:31:14 PM »

militantsparrow,

Have you thought about meeting with a priest? He could probably answer your questions far better than we could.


In Christ

 
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« Reply #27 on: July 25, 2009, 04:45:42 PM »

Altar Server,
Yes I have considered it, but it's all still new for me and it is at this point still overwhelming. I have so much to learn yet. I want to take it slowly.

Soon though--I hope.
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« Reply #28 on: July 25, 2009, 04:57:25 PM »

Altar Server,
Yes I have considered it, but it's all still new for me and it is at this point still overwhelming. I have so much to learn yet. I want to take it slowly.

Soon though--I hope.

As others have said, the best way to start is to go to services and start immersing yourself in the life of the Church. Pray, fast, sing the hymns, look at the icons, etc. and see what happens.
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« Reply #29 on: July 26, 2009, 06:37:31 PM »

Thank you everyone for you guidance and encouragement.

I've run into a few issues I hope you'll be able to help me with.

I definately see that the Papacy (as a sort of universal authority) is clearly not biblical nor is it the norm of the early church. The letters of Pope Gregory as well as Acts clearly show this.

What I do see is that the one See existed in three places by three bishops: Rome, Antioch, and Alexandria. So, what my concern is, that if the See of Peter exists as a triumvirate of those three churches/bishops, how can either the Catholic or Orthodox claim to be the true church if both are merely pieces of the church? And please understand, I am not trying to be combative. I'm on a difficult journey and I just want to make sure I'm headed in the right direction. Ok, that is concern number one.

Concern number two is that as I've been trying to find an Orthodox church to attend the DL at, I've been confused by all of the options. For the most part, as a Catholic, I can go to any Catholic churhc and not see much diference (I wish that were entirely true). But in the Orthodox churches, it appears that each has very ethnic ties back to a certain country. As an Irish/French/German/Polish/Italian American, what jurisdiction makes sense? It just feels like the Orthodox churches put an unfortable amount of focus on nationality.

Again, I have no intention of offending anyone. I'm merely looking for answers for my journey.

Thank you all again and God bless.
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« Reply #30 on: July 26, 2009, 06:54:01 PM »

Thank you everyone for you guidance and encouragement.

I've run into a few issues I hope you'll be able to help me with.

I definately see that the Papacy (as a sort of universal authority) is clearly not biblical nor is it the norm of the early church. The letters of Pope Gregory as well as Acts clearly show this.

What I do see is that the one See existed in three places by three bishops: Rome, Antioch, and Alexandria. So, what my concern is, that if the See of Peter exists as a triumvirate of those three churches/bishops, how can either the Catholic or Orthodox claim to be the true church if both are merely pieces of the church? And please understand, I am not trying to be combative. I'm on a difficult journey and I just want to make sure I'm headed in the right direction. Ok, that is concern number one.

St. Peter, however, wasn't the Church. Although he preached in Jerusalem, for instance, as St. Clement puts it, he didn't dare take the episcopate of Jerusalem, but yielded to St. James.

The Patriarchates were based on their secular importance, e.g. population.  That is why, for instance, Antioch, although St. Peter's original See founded directly by him, ranked after Alexandria, founded indirectly by him through St. Mark.  The Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria is called the successor of St. Mark and his preaching: St. Peter is not mentioned in the Pope's titles.


Quote
Concern number two is that as I've been trying to find an Orthodox church to attend the DL at, I've been confused by all of the options. For the most part, as a Catholic, I can go to any Catholic churhc and not see much diference (I wish that were entirely true). But in the Orthodox churches, it appears that each has very ethnic ties back to a certain country. As an Irish/French/German/Polish/Italian American, what jurisdiction makes sense? It just feels like the Orthodox churches put an unfortable amount of focus on nationality.

Again, I have no intention of offending anyone. I'm merely looking for answers for my journey.

Thank you all again and God bless.

Being in America, my response would be OCA.  Others, I know, will disagree.

However, if you of the Western persuasion, I would recommend WRO.  Others, I know, including much of the OCA, will disagree.

Where are you located, if I may ask.
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« Reply #31 on: July 26, 2009, 07:32:16 PM »

Quote
The Patriarchates were based on their secular importance, e.g. population.  That is why, for instance, Antioch, although St. Peter's original See founded directly by him, ranked after Alexandria, founded indirectly by him through St. Mark.  The Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria is called the successor of St. Mark and his preaching: St. Peter is not mentioned in the Pope's titles.

ialmisry, I can certainly accept this because Acts doesn't seem to support Peter as being more "special" than James, but what about all of the other references to Peter's "special" place within the church? Many of the Church fathers clearly refer to his being the rock and so forth. So is the argument then that majority ruled? That because the majority of the church disagreed with Rome, that Rome was in error and the majority was correct in its assessment?

Quote
Where are you located, if I may ask.

OCA would make the most sense to me, but I am not aware of any such churches in my area. I live in the Dearborn, MI area.

Thanks for your help.
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« Reply #32 on: July 26, 2009, 07:54:41 PM »

We have Romanian, Bulgarian, and a western Antiochian church nearby.
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« Reply #33 on: July 26, 2009, 07:55:31 PM »

Quote
The Patriarchates were based on their secular importance, e.g. population.  That is why, for instance, Antioch, although St. Peter's original See founded directly by him, ranked after Alexandria, founded indirectly by him through St. Mark.  The Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria is called the successor of St. Mark and his preaching: St. Peter is not mentioned in the Pope's titles.

ialmisry, I can certainly accept this because Acts doesn't seem to support Peter as being more "special" than James, but what about all of the other references to Peter's "special" place within the church? Many of the Church fathers clearly refer to his being the rock and so forth. So is the argument then that majority ruled? That because the majority of the church disagreed with Rome, that Rome was in error and the majority was correct in its assessment?

Not majority rules. The issue is that St. Peter did not possess the Apostolate and Episcopate anymore or anyless than the rest: the Apostolate and Episcopate is one ontological whole.  As St. Cyprian said in "The Unity of the Church":The Church also is one, which is spread abroad far and wide into a multitude by an increase of fruitfulness. As there are many rays of the sun, but one light; and many branches of a tree, but one strength based in its tenacious root; and since from one spring flow many streams, although the multiplicity seems diffused in the liberality of an overflowing abundance, yet the unity is still preserved in the source.  Separate a ray of the sun from its body of light, its unity does not allow a division of light; break a branch from a tree,—when broken, it will not be able to bud; cut off the stream from its fountain, and that which is cut off dries up. Thus also the Church, shone over with the light of the Lord, sheds forth her rays over the whole world, yet it is one light which is everywhere diffused, nor is the unity of the body separated. Her fruitful abundance spreads her branches over the whole world. She broadly expands her rivers, liberally flowing, yet her head is one, her source one; and she is one mother, plentiful in the results of fruitfulness: from her womb we are born, by her milk we are nourished, by her spirit we are animated.
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf05.iv.v.i.html

Quote
Where are you located, if I may ask.

OCA would make the most sense to me, but I am not aware of any such churches in my area. I live in the Dearborn, MI area.

Thanks for your help.
[/quote]
In that case, you might want to try out the Antiochian Western Rite Orthodox:
http://holyincarnation.org/

I haven't been to their new Church, but I was quite impressed with them when they were borrowing facilities from the Episcopalians.  The TLM have nothing over them.
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« Reply #34 on: July 26, 2009, 08:01:37 PM »

Quote
As St. Cyprian said in "The Unity of the Church":The Church also is one, which is spread abroad far and wide into a multitude by an increase of fruitfulness. As there are many rays of the sun, but one light; and many branches of a tree, but one strength based in its tenacious root; and since from one spring flow many streams, although the multiplicity seems diffused in the liberality of an overflowing abundance, yet the unity is still preserved in the source.  Separate a ray of the sun from its body of light, its unity does not allow a division of light; break a branch from a tree,—when broken, it will not be able to bud; cut off the stream from its fountain, and that which is cut off dries up. Thus also the Church, shone over with the light of the Lord, sheds forth her rays over the whole world, yet it is one light which is everywhere diffused, nor is the unity of the body separated. Her fruitful abundance spreads her branches over the whole world. She broadly expands her rivers, liberally flowing, yet her head is one, her source one; and she is one mother, plentiful in the results of fruitfulness: from her womb we are born, by her milk we are nourished, by her spirit we are animated.

ialmisry,
That is beautiful. Thank you. I will take your advice and check out the Antioch Church near by.

Is it your opinion then that the Church of Rome is a broken branch which "will not be able to bud?"
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« Reply #35 on: July 26, 2009, 08:02:41 PM »

St. Paul Cathedral
Orthodox Church in America
700 Beech Daly Rd
Dearborn Heights, Michigan 48127

not directly in dearborn, don't know how close it is to you.

from the SCOBA site  http://www.scoba.us/directory.html
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« Reply #36 on: July 26, 2009, 08:04:01 PM »

findingfaith,
Thank you.
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« Reply #37 on: July 26, 2009, 08:06:34 PM »

Quote
Is it your opinion then that the Church of Rome is a broken branch which "will not be able to bud?"

The reason I ask this is for the obvious reason, but also because one of the things I feel attached to (as far as the Catholic church) is the great saints. St. Francis and St. Dominic--even Mother Teresa are heroes of mine. They clearly seem to be "good fruit." Is it possible that Rome is not broken, but merely needs a little mending?
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« Reply #38 on: July 26, 2009, 08:33:23 PM »

I am sure that any of the churches in your area are fine, but I do recommend that you attend a parish that serves the eastern liturgy to begin with, as the Western rite I'm sure is great but it will not give you the best picture of how the vast majority of Orthodox Christians worship.

OCA will all be in English, but the 'ethic' parishes have their pluses as well.  They are often a great chance to glimpse at Orthodoxy in the Old World right in your back yard.  I'm sure the Romanian and Bulgarian parishes are beautiful as well.
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« Reply #39 on: July 26, 2009, 08:37:59 PM »

Alveus,
Thank you. The church findingfaith pointed me to, St. Paul's, is listed on SCOBA as OCA, but the churches website says Romanian. Can it be both? Can a Romanian church be under the jurisdiction of the OCA?

Sorry for all the questions, but this is all very new and confusing to me.
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« Reply #40 on: July 26, 2009, 09:18:45 PM »

the website you looked at is for St. Peter and Paul church which is at 750 beech daly road. maybe they gave it over to the Romanian orthodox? I guess St. Paul Cathedral doesn't have a website, but they are listed on the oca site. Best bet would be to call them tomorrow.

http://www.oca.org/DIRlisting.asp?SID=9&KEY=OCA-BU-DEASPK
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« Reply #41 on: July 26, 2009, 09:38:56 PM »

Grace and peace to you as well. I am not what you would call a "disenchanted Catholic." I spent my teens and early twenties as a fallen away Catholic. When I was 25 I fell in love with Christ again and sought out His church. What I found was the Catholic church, but I failed to look further. I accepted the standard arguments for Papal authority and never looked deeper. I've recently been feeling very lost, but I wasn't sure why. I still love my church and God, but I was feeling lost. So, following the advice of my spiritual director, I've been trying lexio divina and contemplative prayer. I wasn't feeling better at first, but then one day I got the urge to look at the Orthodox church (you might say I was moved by the Holy Spirit). Since then I have been overwhellmed with excitement and fear. I'm finding...well its as Gebre explains, I "cannot rationally explain or logically defend" what I am feeling and finding.

We have much in common, dear brother! Your story and mine are almost exactly alike! I was raised Protestant and converted to Catholicism because I did not really know of any other Church that made similar claims. Almost 3 years later, after having read both sides, I believe that it is the Orthodox that have maintained the Apostolic Faith in its fullness. Now I am a catechumen.

I bear no ill-will towards the Catholic Church at all. I believe that God brought me to the Catholic Church so I could be brought to Orthodoxy. I'll certainly pray for you during this time. Please pray for me.

In Christ,
Andrew
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« Reply #42 on: July 26, 2009, 10:42:54 PM »


ialmisry, I can certainly accept this because Acts doesn't seem to support Peter as being more "special" than James, but what about all of the other references to Peter's "special" place within the church? Many of the Church fathers clearly refer to his being the rock and so forth. So is the argument then that majority ruled? That because the majority of the church disagreed with Rome, that Rome was in error and the majority was correct in its assessment?




The verse which references Peter being “the rock of the church” very much indicates that he had a special place within the church, as I referred to earlier, and to which none of us will deny. Remember, not only was Antioch the first church established by Peter, it was also the main hub from where all other missionary efforts of the early apostles branched out from. (ref. Acts) That is, it was the "home base" so to speak. I believe this is what Jesus referred to when he spoke of the "rock" which Peter was to establish. Furthermore, this interpretation can be supplemented while viewing the rock as the truth of Orthodoxy which was first set down at Antioch, and which exists today in the entire body of the Church. I believe that both of these interpretations can be easily rationalized logically and historically. Therefore, I would think that if any Church has the right to claim “Petrine Primacy”,  it would be the Church of Antioch. However, Rome was much more convenient of a location for the west to cultivate and ultimately distort this claim of primacy due to the social, economic, and political atmosphere, which was “ripe” for an episcopal monarchy situation to creep in.

Disclaimer: Scriptural interpretations are my own, which may be several of many possible interpretations! I’d consult with an Orthodox priest for a more authoritative interpretation of the importance and role of Peter in the early church contained within the scripture.
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« Reply #43 on: July 26, 2009, 10:45:33 PM »

Alveus,
Thank you. The church findingfaith pointed me to, St. Paul's, is listed on SCOBA as OCA, but the churches website says Romanian. Can it be both? Can a Romanian church be under the jurisdiction of the OCA?

Sorry for all the questions, but this is all very new and confusing to me.

Yes, it can be both OCA and Romanian, and in fact this parish is.  Don't expect much English (most of the parishioners will probably, based on other parishes I've visited).

It would be listed as as OCA on SCOBA, because its bishop, +Nathaniel, is in the Holy Synod of the OCA.  As he is the Romanian bishop for the Romanian parishes in the OCA (and the congregations makeup, which is how it has him as bishop) is Romanian.  Its was St. Tikhon's solution to the ethnicity question, and the OCA's.

There was (still is, but it seems to be going nowhere) talk of the Romanians leaving the OCA and joining up with the exarchate of the Romanian Patriarch.
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,16108.0.html
The recent new OCA Metropolitan, the EP's new "diaspora" scheme and other things may have taken the steam out of this (at the time it started, the OCA was rocked by scandal, and the Metropolitan was refusing to address them).
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« Reply #44 on: July 26, 2009, 10:58:36 PM »

Quote
As St. Cyprian said in "The Unity of the Church":The Church also is one, which is spread abroad far and wide into a multitude by an increase of fruitfulness. As there are many rays of the sun, but one light; and many branches of a tree, but one strength based in its tenacious root; and since from one spring flow many streams, although the multiplicity seems diffused in the liberality of an overflowing abundance, yet the unity is still preserved in the source.  Separate a ray of the sun from its body of light, its unity does not allow a division of light; break a branch from a tree,—when broken, it will not be able to bud; cut off the stream from its fountain, and that which is cut off dries up. Thus also the Church, shone over with the light of the Lord, sheds forth her rays over the whole world, yet it is one light which is everywhere diffused, nor is the unity of the body separated. Her fruitful abundance spreads her branches over the whole world. She broadly expands her rivers, liberally flowing, yet her head is one, her source one; and she is one mother, plentiful in the results of fruitfulness: from her womb we are born, by her milk we are nourished, by her spirit we are animated.

ialmisry,
That is beautiful. Thank you. I will take your advice and check out the Antioch Church near by.

Is it your opinion then that the Church of Rome is a broken branch which "will not be able to bud?"


It needs some pruning and other tending, but as St. John Maximovich said "Never, never, never let anyone tell you that, in order to be Orthodox, you must also be eastern. The West was Orthodox for a thousand years, and her venerable liturgy is far older than any of her heresies."
http://www.allmercifulsavior.com/Liturgy/Orthodoxwiki.html

My own opinion on Rome is summed up by St. Symeon of Thessalonika, and the Easter Patriarchs in response to Pope Leo , e.g.
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13820.msg318850.html#msg318850

Btw, Holy Incarnation is Antiochian only in its bishops: if you go to an Antiochian parish near you otherwise, especially in Michigan, you are going to get an Arab Orthodox Church (not, of course, that I am against that Grin).

I just realized that in cutting and pasting I left out the most important part of St. Cyprian's quote:
5. And this unity we ought firmly to hold and assert, especially those of us that are bishops who preside in the Church, that we may also prove the episcopate itself to be one and undivided.  Let no one deceive the brotherhood by a falsehood: let no one corrupt the truth of the faith by perfidious prevarication. The episcopate is one, each part of which is held by each one for the whole. [Episcopatus unus est, cuius a singulis in solidum pars tenetur: the quote has become a maxim].  The Church also is one, which is spread abroad far and wide....

btw, on this Fr. Schemann of blessed memory:
http://www.schmemann.org/byhim/ecclesiological-notes.html
He entitles his notes on the founding of SCOBA with it:
http://www.schmemann.org/byhim/episcopatus.html
« Last Edit: July 26, 2009, 11:12:03 PM by ialmisry » Logged

Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth
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