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Author Topic: How does one stay Orthodox when separated from it?  (Read 1663 times) Average Rating: 0
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88Devin12
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« on: July 25, 2009, 07:15:35 PM »

I've been struggling with this recently. I live with my parents during the summer & winter, however my parents are not Orthodox. During the school year (majority of the year), I am at school and able to attend church regularly & regularly interact with other Orthodox Christians, especially since I'm only separated by minutes of driving from the Church & the various parish members around town.

Here, the nearest mission to my parent's home is at least 30 minutes away. The Church I attend currently is over an hour away. I can only attend once a week now.
Currently the only interaction I regularly have with Orthodox Christians is on here. However this is starting to become a problem because it seems to me this site and the various blogs I read and other Orthodox sites have become nearly soley focused on the political & depressing aspects of the Orthodox Church.

I love my parents and they are great people. However it is very difficult to focus myself as I'm used to. The entertainment is usually either our dogs or the television, which is usually left on literally 24/7. My mother has taken up watching the Investigative Discovery channel where they are always talking about crimes, murders etc...
Most religious talk either comes from me (as I don't really have an outlet to discuss some things), or is about their church (my former church) and Protestant issues/theology. I've had no one to easily confess to (that is person-person, not just over the phone), and I (unfortunately) haven't spoken to my spiritual father & Priest for a long time (through my own sloth, not any fault of his), at least since I left in May. My prayer life is pretty much in shambles. My attitude hasn't been good & i've been more easily irritable. I feel more worldly and horrible than anytime that i've fallen while going to Church regularly.
I've also had to cut myself off from a loved one because this person has issues & has been consistently emotionally abusive their whole life. I've finally grown tired of it and have not spoken to this person for 3 weeks. I hope to speak to my Priest about this soon to see how I should proceed further.

What is one to do when separated from the Orthodox Church like this and feeling like this? I will be back at my home parish for a wedding in three weeks, then will be back for the semester in 4 weeks. What should I do until then?
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« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2009, 07:31:04 PM »

Why don't you attend to the mission?

Also, my advice would be to attend even if it does mean putting those extra few minutes aside for travel. Try getting some Byzantine chant on in the car if you are feeling worn out. It is a drive to recieve Christ in the Eucharist and worship in the Liturgy. Keep your mind on him. I have always found that if I stop surrounding myself with holy things, and especially praying, I become worldly, and prideful, and sin abounds. Remember, if we could comprehend what happens in just one Divin Liturgy, we would live as hermits all our lives just to go once.
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« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2009, 07:32:47 PM »

If you have an internet connection, you can find some peace over here and other forums. Don't you have any Orthodox books to read?

The fact that you cannot attend church must not let your prayers be weakened! Pray that you will find peace while away from your parish.

Our Church says that love and unity come first, then it's the churchgoing. But your case, I don't know. One hour away?! Man, sounds tough.
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88Devin12
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« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2009, 07:39:35 PM »

I don't attend the mission because it only has services once a week, and even then, it may not always have Liturgy on Sundays depending on if the assigned Priest is available and if enough of the members will be there.

I attend the one thats an hour away every Sunday. There are others that are closer, however this one is sort of my only tangible connection to Springfield, as relatives & friends of the Springfield church go there. (occasionally some from Springfield go there when visiting up here) There is a family of Orthodox near our town here, and they also go there occasionally so I go there for those reasons. It's too far for Wednesday night Vespers & Great Vespers on Saturday.

I have pushed myself to go & receive communion every Sunday, and I think that is what has kept me from flatlining and falling any further. It's the medicine that has kept me going, but even then, it's still tough not being very involved in Church life.

I have Orthodox books, but I've read them and once I read a book once, it's very hard for me to go back and read it again.

I've tried to find peace on here, but I find myself getting to involved and worked up w/ all the politics that is going on in the Church. I could cut myself off from it, but then I would be almost completely separated from any Orthodoxy save for AFR, OCN and Sunday Liturgy.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2009, 07:41:34 PM by 88Devin12 » Logged
Pilgrim
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« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2009, 08:00:10 PM »

Three Words: Ancient faith Radio.

Podcasts. Talk. Great music. It gives my soul peace to hear the chant on the music channel on AFR.
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« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2009, 08:13:15 PM »

Great suggestion, Pilgrim.  Smiley
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88Devin12
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« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2009, 09:26:40 PM »

Thank you very much for the advice, I'm currently subscribed to about 42 podcost from OCN and AFR. I typically listen to AFR & these podcasts during the day while I'm working. This, plus this forum, the blogs and Sunday Liturgy is the extent of my connection to the Orthodox world. I know, this is much more than many people have, but I still find it difficult, especially when the only sources not really connected w/ the politics is AFR/OCN and Church on Sundays.
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« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2009, 09:36:06 PM »

Separated from what - Church (you cannot be...), gatherings of your parish, meetings with your priest (big deal?)?

Personally, I just stay...
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« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2009, 09:41:34 PM »

I hate to break it to you Devin, but many Orthodox parishes only have services once a week. I live in a highly populated Orthodox area, and of the 7 or 8 parishes within a 40 min drive, only one has multiple services per week. What you have described is basically the normal Orthodox existance for Orthodox Christians in America.

Contact your priest, work on improving your daily prayer rule, read the scriptures, listen to podcasts, read Orthodox literature, etc. If you need to go to confession, you can go to the mission 30 min. away from you.

Hope this helps.

~Maureen

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88Devin12
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« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2009, 09:51:43 PM »

Thank you once again...

Quote
Separated from what - Church (you cannot be...), gatherings of your parish, meetings with your priest (big deal?)?

Personally, I just stay...
I guess it's just that I'm separated from gatherings of my parish and meetings/talking with my Priest, especially when it's a group of us sitting around listening to him.
Maybe it's just homesickness... I've felt that the parish there has almost become my real home and my real family. My family here loves me a lot, and I love them, but it just isn't the same, especially when I start seeing the differences between the two.

Quote
I hate to break it to you Devin, but many Orthodox parishes only have services once a week. I live in a highly populated Orthodox area, and of the 7 or 8 parishes within a 40 min drive, only one has multiple services per week. What you have described is basically the normal Orthodox existance for Orthodox Christians in America.
Yes I know, I guess kind of forget about that. I think here we have multiple parishes that hold multiple services, but they are usually too far away.

Quote
If you need to go to confession, you can go to the mission 30 min. away from you.
I would, but the Priest himself lives over 30-40 minutes in the other direction from the mission, and it's in a storefront, usually only with services every Sunday. Not sure how early he ever shows up to the mission parish on a Sunday.

Although I love the Church i'm attending right now, and although I know people there now, it's still hard. It's getting better than it was though, I'm feeling more at home & slowly getting to know more people.

All your advice really helps! Thank you!
« Last Edit: July 25, 2009, 09:54:43 PM by 88Devin12 » Logged
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« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2009, 10:23:58 PM »

You don't know how good you have it. Our mission only meets once a month and the nearest Orthodox church after that is nearly a two hour drive (and during the winter, trying to navigate across the coastal pass is very dangerous so there are sometimes that we are not present in our church for months on end. So... we "be" the Church as best we can for we "are" the Church united with countless men and women down through the ages. We pray before our icons, we have morning readings and talk with one another about spiritual things. My word... I would consider myself fortunate if I could go to the liturgy on a weekly basis.
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« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2009, 04:25:05 AM »

I know, this is much more than many people have, but I still find it difficult, especially when the only sources not really connected w/ the politics is AFR/OCN and Church on Sundays.
I'm not your spiritual father, but I don't think this is good. Prayer should be enough for a Christian to live. I think it's your parish, that's what you're missing maybe.

I don't know if you're suffering from religion or if it's just Divine Love. Cheesy
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« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2009, 01:03:41 PM »

I have Orthodox books, but I've read them and once I read a book once, it's very hard for me to go back and read it again.

I hope this doesn't apply to Holy Scripture as well.   Wink
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« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2009, 11:15:59 PM »

Something related to this question:  Is it possible to conduct an Orthodox liturgy service without a cathedral/actual church building? (i.e. what is "required" besides a priest, obviously?) It would interesting to read about the logistics of how the Byzantines conducted services when they conducted missionary journeys to convert the Slavs...
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« Reply #14 on: August 03, 2009, 11:21:53 PM »

I have Orthodox books, but I've read them and once I read a book once, it's very hard for me to go back and read it again.

I hope this doesn't apply to Holy Scripture as well.   Wink

My younger son has begun to say "I read that already," to which I reply "you ate yesterday too."
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« Reply #15 on: August 03, 2009, 11:48:45 PM »

Something related to this question:  Is it possible to conduct an Orthodox liturgy service without a cathedral/actual church building? (i.e. what is "required" besides a priest, obviously?) It would interesting to read about the logistics of how the Byzantines conducted services when they conducted missionary journeys to convert the Slavs...

As far as I know, the essentials are: a canonically-ordained priest, an icon of Christ, an icon of the Mother of God, a table or other structure which can function as an altar, at least one other layman present (as a liturgy cannot be performed by clergy alone), a chalice, paten and other holy objects required to provide the Eucharist, and, VERY importantly, an antimins/antimension, the altar cloth blessed by a bishop, and which has embedded in it a holy relic.
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« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2009, 04:11:22 AM »

Something related to this question:  Is it possible to conduct an Orthodox liturgy service without a cathedral/actual church building? (i.e. what is "required" besides a priest, obviously?) It would interesting to read about the logistics of how the Byzantines conducted services when they conducted missionary journeys to convert the Slavs...

As far as I know, the essentials are: a canonically-ordained priest, an icon of Christ, an icon of the Mother of God, a table or other structure which can function as an altar, at least one other layman present (as a liturgy cannot be performed by clergy alone), a chalice, paten and other holy objects required to provide the Eucharist, and, VERY importantly, an antimins/antimension, the altar cloth blessed by a bishop, and which has embedded in it a holy relic.

I would add: a lamp/candle with real fire.
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88Devin12
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« Reply #17 on: August 04, 2009, 08:06:22 AM »

Services can be performed outside of a church/cathedral. In fact, the first Divine Liturgy (I think) that was ever served in North America was on a ship off the coast of Alaska.
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« Reply #18 on: August 04, 2009, 03:20:47 PM »

Services can be performed outside of a church/cathedral. In fact, the first Divine Liturgy (I think) that was ever served in North America was on a ship off the coast of Alaska.

that's awesome!   laugh
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