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Author Topic: Do you remember where you were when Orthodoxy caught your interest?  (Read 10168 times) Average Rating: 0
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DavidH
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« on: August 05, 2009, 08:11:18 AM »

This is an open question to all converts and catechumens: what was the catalyst that first set you consciously on the path to Orthodoxy? Was it a person, an experience, a train of thought, a book? Were you aware of "looking for something" or did it happen unexpectedly?
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« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2009, 08:14:24 AM »

Sitting here at my computer speaking with an Orthodox Christian on ChristianForums.com about 2-3 years ago. (I think his name was OrthodoxyUSA, maybe...)
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« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2009, 08:39:49 AM »

Thanks, Devin- If you had to reduce it to a sentence or two, what was it about OrthodoxyUSA that made you think he was onto something?
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« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2009, 09:10:30 AM »

Mine began when I started after I left the Mormon Church and began to look for the True Church of God, initially I returned to the faith of my parents (Protestant Episcopal) but was so distressed when I saw the mess they were in I spoke with my Episcopla Priest---he stated that I only had two choices, The Roman Catholic Church or the Eastern Orthodox Church.  Upon looking at the facts I became Orthodox as they were the original Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ. Hand down, no further questions.

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« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2009, 09:52:43 AM »

what was the catalyst that first set you consciously on the path to Orthodoxy? Was it a person, an experience, a train of thought, a book? Were you aware of "looking for something" or did it happen unexpectedly?

Oddly enough, the discernment process for ordained ministry in the Lutheran Church. Along with assisting my pastor with visitation, worship, and giving sermons, I was directed to study the early history of Christianity. Which led inexorably to the Orthodox Church.
What really caught my interest was reading "Facing East" by Frederica Mathewes-Green.
At that time, my husband was working with people with disabilities as a job coach/job developer and his new client was a Greek Orthodox young woman. In talking with her parents to develop a job plan, he mentioned that I had been reading about Orthodoxy. They invited us to their church, and we never went back to our Lutheran church. We became catechumens almost immediately and were chrismated a little over a year later.
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« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2009, 10:30:50 AM »

The article in the Encyclopedia Britannica, which I came across my freshman year at the U of C.

I had spent three years in a High School run by the Vatican's Congregation of the Resurrection, as an Evangelical Lutheran.  I spent a lot of times answering the question "Are you Catholic" "No." "So you're not Christian?" "No, I am." "But you said you weren't Catholic....." I remember a friend of mine, when it came to his turn to say the prayer before class, would say the "Hail Mary," and would swing is head back into my direction on the "HAIL Mary" part, to make sure it was clear whom it was directed. (I think he would drop dead if he knew I said the Angelus).  I knew of the Orthodox (some of my classmates were. One had submitted to the Vatican because he went to their elementary school, and got confirmed with the rest, so as not to stand out).  I thought "the same as the Vatican.  Just longer, just in Greek, just more incense, just as wrong."  So I was used to resisting proselytism of all sorts besides this: Calvinists, Muslims, JW and Mormons.  I remember one of the priests, finding out that I had embraced Orthodoxy, rather perplexed (as was the prominent people in my Lutheran Congregation-there had been talk of seminary.  I think if I had told them that I had AIDS and one month to live, they would have been less shocked).  How did the Orthodox succeed when they had failed?  Even more perplexing, was that the Orthodox didn't try to convert me.  It sold itself.

The thing that caught my eye in the EB article was the basis of Orthdoox Theology: "According to Orthodoxy, the natural theology of man is agnosticism, because finite man cannot comprehend the infinite God. But it does not lead to agnosticism, because God has revealed himself" or something like that.  I thought "that's right." So simple yet profound.  I found myself saying "that's right" as I read through the article (written by Fr. Meyendorff of blessed memory, btw.  I had the privilege of meeting him and kissing his hand in thanks shortly before he fell asleep).  I decided to get the books in the bibliography that the EB USED ( Roll Eyes) to have at the end of every article.  Sergei Bulgakov "The Orthodox Church" was very influential.

It wasn't until later, arguing with an agnostic friend over evolution (he was a palaeontolgy major) that he stated "you always say what the Lutheran position is, and then the Orthodox and mention that you agree with the Orthodox.  Why aren't you Orthodox?"  I went to the local Orthodox parish to answer that.

I was Christmated that Great and Holy Saturday.

Btw, Ancient Faith Radio has some testimonials I think from converts.
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« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2009, 10:53:34 AM »

Thanks, Devin- If you had to reduce it to a sentence or two, what was it about OrthodoxyUSA that made you think he was onto something?
When he spoke about traditional Christianity and how Orthodoxy is the original Church. I was searching for early church worship, and found that the Early Church itself still exists.
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« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2009, 11:03:13 AM »

I was taking some Biblical Studies classes in a Baptist college.  One of my professors was giving us background information on the Pentateuch and mentioned that church tradition claimed the Pentateuch as being written by Moses, so we'd assume that and continue with interpretation and such.  I was fascinated with what else church tradition had to say, so in the process of looking into early Christianity, I discovered the Orthodox church was still a living organism today.  I wasn't aware we had a local parish until about five years after my initial discovery of Orthodoxy, so the transition took a while.
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« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2009, 11:25:14 AM »

I went on a retreat with the Catholic student center at my school when I was in college. During a "meditative" section of the retreat, they played a CD of Rachmaninov's Divine Liturgy to help set the mood. I had been trying to learn Russian and recognized some of the words, so I asked the retreat leader about the CD and looked it up when I got home.
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« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2009, 11:32:26 AM »

I was propably lying on my bed about three years ago thinking that perhaps the Pentacostalism of my childhood is not my cup of tea after all. So I started to look for a more suitable denomination. The plan was propably to check all available denominations in Finland and then choose the most pleasing one. Then I found the website of the Finnish Orthodox Church and a list of recommended books for inquirers. One of them was The Orthodox Way by metropolitan Kallistos which I found from a local library. I liked it and picked up the second one and the third one and the... Started to visit at Uspenski Cathedral in Helsinki occasionally. The search changed from finding a denomination to finding the Church. After rejecting the Lutheran doctrine on justification and the RC view of papacy I realised that I could never become a Protestant or a Catholic.

But I guess after all this hasn't been just about doctrines. I feel like I've been sitting in a train that is taking me into the Orthodox Church and at the terminus I just realise that I'm already Orthodox by faith and final conversion feels like a natural step.

I will be Chrismated on Sunday.
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« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2009, 11:38:50 AM »

I was in my grandparents apartment, perhaps 5 years old or so, and heard how I.F. Shalyapin sang "Nynye Otpushchayeshi" (Nunc Dimittis), on a very old shabby record. (Here it is, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DU7h3AUheDY&feature=related) I was absolutely stunned and stirred, even at that tender age. Then, at the age ~10-11, heard the choir sing in St. Volodymyr's Cathedral in my home city, Kyiv, and saw icons, frescos, murals there. That captured me for the rest of my life. Smiley
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« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2009, 12:42:24 PM »

I became interested and serious about Orthodoxy a few years after I was received into the Orthodox Church since at the time I converted, I was pretty young and I really didn't care one way or the other if I was Orthodox, Catholic, or nothing (I never wanted to go to church when I was young) since I just converted with my mother when I was probably ten years old. We went to Liturgy, I didn't understand what was going on so I was bored and didn't like it and we went less often and then we just kind of stopped going (kind of the same way when my family was Catholic; church was a Christmas/Easter thing). As I said, I never really cared about religion at that time in my life. Later when I was 15 my brother converted to Orthodoxy on his own whim and he somewhat inspired me and I started thinking a little more seriously about my faith and my mom and I started going back to church together at least every other Sunday and I kept growing in my faith and love toward God and I read more about Orthodoxy. When I turned 16, I got my drivers license and I started going all the time to Vespers, Matins, and Liturgy then came Lent where I went to all the services I possibly could and went to every Holy Week service which impacted me a lot at the time and I remember being brought to tears during the service in the evening of Holy Thursday when the Cross was processed around the church with the singing of "Today He is Hung Upon the Tree".

My story is a little unique since I converted at a young age and then later I became more serious about Orthodoxy. Glory to God.
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« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2009, 04:49:12 PM »

*timidly pokes newbie-lurker head*

I'm neither a convert or a catechumen, but I'm going to answer anyway, because the answer amuses me, and I hope no one minds.

It was in RCIA last year, and the Deacon kept saying, 'The church originally did such and such this way, but we don't anymore. The Orthodox do, though.'

*runs away again*
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« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2009, 05:17:33 PM »

Welcome, akelios!  We try not to bite too often.  Thanks for your input! Smiley
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« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2009, 05:57:16 PM »

I was in a freshman history classroom when my friend invited me to Pascha, and for a year after that I investigated it before I decided to convert, with no reservations, at the next Pascha. Before this point I had been looking into Catholicism, but wasn't completely satisfied with it. I came from a lax JW background. I was baptized and chrismated this past Lazarus Saturday. The friend mentioned above is now my godmother. Smiley
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« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2009, 06:14:30 PM »

I was in college, undergrad, practicing Zen, and reading books on meditation. One book mentioned The Way of the Pilgrim. So I read The Way and was impressed with the discipline of the Jesus Prayer. I thought, maybe one day, I'll become Orthodox. But not yet. Wink
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« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2009, 06:30:05 PM »

It was 9 years ago for me.  I had left the Baptist church about 10 years ago (because I had come to the conclusion that the Eucharist is Christ's body and blood) and wasn't going anywhere.  I love Russian culture and history, and had many VHS tapes about Russia.  One of them had quite a lot of scenes of Orthodox services, and something about it appealed to me (I think the reverence of the worship appealed the most to me).  I was taking a Russian class at the time and found out about an exhibit at the Portland Art Museum in Portland, OR about the Stroganov family.  The exhibit was set up like rooms in the Stroganov Palace in St. Petersburg.  One of the rooms was devoted to icons and Orthodox items.  That was my first exposure to icons, and I fell in love with them (icons have a way of speaking to you).  My favorite was the plazhyenitsa that dated from the 1590's (and some of the Stroganov women had helped in the embroidery on it) that had been used in the cathedral located on the main family estate.  I couldn't take my eyes off of it.  I knew that I had to see the rest of the exhibit, but I didn't want to leave it because it touched me so deeply.  When I got back home to Helena, MT (where I was living at the time), I ordered books from Amazon and devoured them.  There was no Orthodox church there (the closest was the Serbian church in Butte, which is 60 miles away).  Within two months, however, the OCA started a mission in Helena, and I started attending at their second service after reading an article in the newspaper about it (and I just "happened" to be subscribing to the paper at that time, which I didn't do very often).  In fact, tomorrow will be the 9th anniversary of my first visit.  It really amazes me when I look back at how God prepared me for what was coming, and I am really thankful that He allowed me to find my true home.
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« Reply #17 on: August 05, 2009, 06:57:38 PM »

I will be Chrismated on Sunday.

Me too.  Smiley  I shall light a candle and say a prayer for you, Alpo.

- - - - -

As for me. .when I first became a Christian I read all kinds of Christian books: Orthodox books, Catholic books and Protestant books.  I later jointly created a Messianic/Christian website and the "Catholic versus Protestant" discussions made me question things further (I was searching for a home in Christ for a while before that).  Eventually I started talking to a wonderful Orthodox Christian on the forum - he is one of the most interesting, polite and patient people I have ever met in my life; he is extremely good at explaining things.  "The Orthodox man," my priest (there are NO WORDS to describe my priest), a wonderful Orthodox lady and the Saints (last but CERTAINLY NOT least) have helped me tremendously. It would have been very easy for me to join the Catholic Church, and even easier to join a Baptist, Evangelical, or other Protestant church, but for me, the differences were irreconcilable and I had to choose Orthodoxy as being the true expression of the Christian faith. I have been told (by my priest) that I can certainly appreciate the beauty of two or more Churches, just as anyone can appreciate beauty wherever it is (in different religions, in the poetry of an atheist like Shelley, or anywhere else). In fact, being able to recognize beauty "elsewhere" is a true sign that we love truth and beauty, rather than an idea of what these two things should be. As for "having" both, that's a different thing. I cannot possess what is in either Orthodoxy or Catholicism - or in Methodism, Anglicanism etc. - it can only possess me. As I said, I have discovered "being there" with the sights, sounds, smells and actions is simply another level to reading the prayers, etc, and to truly appreciate any of these Christian groups requires the same commitment. It is the only fair and respectful thing to do, in fact. That is why a choice, ultimately, needs to be made. I cannot "be there" in two different places - to live the life of a Catholic and an Orthodox Christian will tear me into two pieces.

This is not to say that I don't appreciate the beauty and truth present in the Catholic church. It's just that it would be disrespectful to "appropriate" the things I appreciate and respect within Catholicsm for my own, while not being a Catholic. For example, I very much respect St. Theresa of Lisseux as a good person but I could never ask her to interceed for me without living the basic Roman Catholic life that she did. On the other hand, the holy people like St. Theresa and others within the Roman Catholic list of saints were simply "not enough" to cause me to choose Catholicism over Orthodoxy. I am absolutely content that the Orthodox Church is the fullest revelation of truth, beauty and love. Truth, beauty, and love exists outside of her, but I simply have no right to chauvanistically proclaim everything I recognize as true, beautiful and loving outside of the Orthodox church as "Orthodox-by-proxy". This is actually what happens when people call anyone who proclaims Christ and is a good person (by their standards) to be a "true" Christian. I don't do this. It initially looks exclusive and prideful to take this course, but in reality it is the opposite. My view on the Orthodox Church with relation to other people is simply this:

Everything Orthodox is true.
Not everything true is Orthodox.
Truth is truth.

So, I am making no claims that "non-Orthodox" truths are less worthy than Orthodox ones (Truth is Truth), but by making the distinction it preserves the foundation that the Orthodox Church, founded by Christ, is the clearest, purest and most complete revelation of Truth, the person of Jesus Christ. I believe other groups - whether Christian or not - have varying degrees of truth adulterated with fictions.




I am sorry - this is more of a very long testimony!  But I LOVE Orthodoxy. . .  Embarrassed
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« Reply #18 on: August 05, 2009, 10:25:43 PM »

Eighteen years ago I was on a leave of absence from teaching and decided to visit Russia of all places. We spent a week in Moscow, a week in Yalta, a week in Leningrad and a couple of days in Kiev. It was in Moscow while touring a "working" church that I first felt oddly repelled and attracted at one and the same time. Later in Kiev we went through the Kievo Lavra and that pretty much nailed it for me. When I returned home I contacted a Ukrainian priest who then catechized me over a six month period... it's a long story.
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« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2009, 12:27:03 AM »

I will be Chrismated on Sunday.

You are the envy of the world!  Prepare your heart, and may God set you ablaze with the divine fire!

It was in RCIA last year, and the Deacon kept saying, 'The church originally did such and such this way, but we don't anymore. The Orthodox do, though.'

Welcome to the forum!  Please stick around and share your thoughts on things.

I thought, maybe one day, I'll become Orthodox. But not yet. Wink

Oh, no worries.  It's coming.
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« Reply #20 on: August 06, 2009, 12:47:05 AM »

I was 14 years old when my parents dragged me to a Russian Orthodox parish for services. At first it seemed a somewhat dingy and shabby religion, but soon I fell in love with the spirituality and the singing. When I was a small child, my father, who took an interest in such things, ordered illustrated books of fairy tales for me from Russia, which I spent a great deal of time reading. I also remember staring for hours at the photos in the National Geographic of onion-domed churches far away in Russia...it was a wonderful fairy-tale world and I think the seed was planted then...I knew it was a world in which I wanted to live...
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« Reply #21 on: August 06, 2009, 01:35:58 AM »

I just grew up going to church with my dad (I didn't really have a choice).  I remember that our services were constantly changing, becoming more and more structured ("liturgical" if you will).  Then one day, when I was 11, my dad said that we were going to drive to LA, stay in a hotel, and then go to some other church the next day for some 3 hour service.  This Met. Phillip dude was there and we all stood in these big lines to get Chrismated.  That was 23 years ago.

About 15 years ago, when I moved out of the house while in college (I went to three, graduating at the third place), I was attending an ELCA parish with my former foster parents (EOC early stage dropouts) since there wasn't an Orthodox Church in the area.  Six months of that got me to say, "This isn't church.  I need to find an Orthodox church."  I found one an hour south, which I drove to most Sunday's a month...and after finishing college at the third place, I've at the parish ever since.

I have to be grateful that I came into the Church as a child with my family, as I have no idea where I would be if I didn't.  While every book (Orthodox books) I have read has strengthened my faith, conviction, etc., I don't necessarily have this "investigative sense" that I think many of you on this forum have.  Yes, I believe in everything, the theology, etc., but is more of a sense to me (at least the technical parts really cemented), that this just was the Church, all the aspects just made sense (logically speaking) and it was just "right".  Any other place else I may visit (funeral, wedding, whatever), just isn't church.  I don't mean to be demeaning, but my relatives that go to their Protestant churches, I have this feeling that they're just falling for some scam/marketing campaign/whatever.  They're responsible adults - how can they not recognize that their church service isn't more like some entertainment gig and that their building is not a church but an auditorium or theater?  Anyways.  That's my story.  Child convert (or like I like to say, "pseudo-cradle" - hey, I was young).
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« Reply #22 on: August 06, 2009, 10:42:47 AM »

trying to figure out why the rastafarians considered Hailie sellasie to be the second incarnation of the Christ.  In investigating sellasie, I learned of the ethipoian orthodox church and came to understand that he was very much a christian in the ancient tradition.
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« Reply #23 on: August 07, 2009, 01:44:33 AM »

I was looking at the Christianity timeline on wikipedia, attempting to trace its roots. I remember looking at the eastern side and thinking "hey those guys claim apostolic succession too! Surely they don't believe the same things that Catholics do?? (Roman, that is  Wink)"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity

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« Reply #24 on: August 07, 2009, 01:56:34 AM »

*timidly pokes newbie-lurker head*

I'm neither a convert or a catechumen, but I'm going to answer anyway, because the answer amuses me, and I hope no one minds.

It was in RCIA last year, and the Deacon kept saying, 'The church originally did such and such this way, but we don't anymore. The Orthodox do, though.'

*runs away again*

 Cheesy
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« Reply #25 on: August 07, 2009, 04:22:21 PM »

sitting in front of the Willard building at Penn State, listening to the Willard Preacher who was explaining why he left Protestantism for Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #26 on: August 07, 2009, 10:03:23 PM »

sitting in front of the Willard building at Penn State, listening to the Willard Preacher who was explaining why he left Protestantism for Orthodoxy.

Wow- this sounded interesting so I googled it. He even has a website: http://thewillardblog.blogspot.com/
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« Reply #27 on: August 07, 2009, 11:41:53 PM »

Wow- this sounded interesting so I googled it. He even has a website: http://thewillardblog.blogspot.com/

He just seems angry and scared.
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« Reply #28 on: August 08, 2009, 12:07:28 AM »

Wow- this sounded interesting so I googled it. He even has a website: http://thewillardblog.blogspot.com/

He just seems angry and scared.

  You're right, it seems that way if you read this blog in isolation from the rest of his site. But I don't think he really is after reading much of the other material there. I should have posted the link to his main page instead (off topic, but in defense of the man): http://www.thewillardpreacher.com/Links.htm
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« Reply #29 on: August 08, 2009, 03:52:33 PM »

well i assure you he's not angry and scared -- his preaching has brought tons of students into the Church just in the past 4 yrs ive been around, and others converted before me, and there's more who are looking into it now. i learned more from him than any PSU professor
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« Reply #30 on: August 09, 2009, 12:51:03 AM »

I first thought about the Orthodox church when sitting in a Wesleyan church talking to a  minister there who was going to leave and had decided that the Orthodox church was the true church.  This was several years ago almost a thousand miles from where I live now.  How I was ever privy to that conversation I do not remember.  I do know the seed was planted, though slow, my quest began and here I am.   Smiley
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« Reply #31 on: August 09, 2009, 01:40:33 AM »

I was on a motorcycle and became drawn to an onion dome in the distance.  I was on what turned out to be a two-year journey around the US recovering from a jet crash and looked into the windows of the church and was just taken to another place by the icons.  I then went to a bookstore and left with The Way of the Pilgrim. I read it as I traveled and just like that my journey had led me to orthodoxy.
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« Reply #32 on: August 09, 2009, 04:36:54 PM »

I worked in a coffee shop and very early on a Lebanese guy started to come in and talk about how much he loved being Orthodox. All. The. Time.  laugh
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« Reply #33 on: August 09, 2009, 06:25:54 PM »

I worked in a coffee shop and very early on a Lebanese guy started to come in and talk about how much he loved being Orthodox. All. The. Time.  laugh

What kinds of things would he say, Agabus?
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« Reply #34 on: August 09, 2009, 09:36:55 PM »

Quote from: Ortho_cat
What kinds of things would he say, Agabus?
He would invite me to the local OCF Vespers service (the coffee shop was across the street from a university), talk about how Orthodox worship is different from other Christian services and spend a lot of time just talking about the Bible and how he loved the Lord. He was a very solid witness for Orthodoxy, sure of himself and his faith but not pushy.
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« Reply #35 on: August 09, 2009, 10:03:15 PM »



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« Reply #36 on: August 09, 2009, 11:16:21 PM »

Part of my confirmation class in the United Methodist church where I was growing up in Oklahoma City, was to attend an orthodox worship service. I was 11. The service blew me away. The incense, the icons, the robes of the priest, I felt I was in an alternate universe. After the liturgy, we went downstairs into the basement where we got to eat and chat with the priest. That started an interest for me that was rekindled when I was in college. One of my dorm mates was from Athens, and we went to a Greek church in OKC for Pascha. I remained intrigued off and on. Now, with a Greek church only a few miles away, I go often. The priests and lay people there have been very receptive to me, and sensitive to my struggle as a United Methodist pastor who is feeling such a strong pull toward Orthodoxy, and likely would have already been chrismated if it wasn't for the fact that I am an elder in the United Methodist church. Pray for me.
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« Reply #37 on: August 09, 2009, 11:21:49 PM »

Pray for me.

Lord, have mercy on your servant, and lead him into the fullness of your Church!
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« Reply #38 on: August 09, 2009, 11:35:10 PM »

Part of my confirmation class in the United Methodist church where I was growing up in Oklahoma City, was to attend an orthodox worship service. I was 11. The service blew me away. The incense, the icons, the robes of the priest, I felt I was in an alternate universe. After the liturgy, we went downstairs into the basement where we got to eat and chat with the priest. That started an interest for me that was rekindled when I was in college. One of my dorm mates was from Athens, and we went to a Greek church in OKC for Pascha. I remained intrigued off and on. Now, with a Greek church only a few miles away, I go often. The priests and lay people there have been very receptive to me, and sensitive to my struggle as a United Methodist pastor who is feeling such a strong pull toward Orthodoxy, and likely would have already been chrismated if it wasn't for the fact that I am an elder in the United Methodist church. Pray for me.
Kevin,
If you read my post then you will know I came from a Methodist church also; it was after talking to a pastor at this church who was talking about leaving because he felt the Orthodox church was the only true church when I first began thinking about it.  Although he left before I did and I have moved around a bit before ending up in the  Orthodox church, my quest began after that conversation.  I will pray that God gives you wisdom and directs you. 
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« Reply #39 on: August 09, 2009, 11:38:16 PM »

I will be praying foy you and I ask you to do the same as I continue my journey Smiley
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« Reply #40 on: August 10, 2009, 03:59:24 AM »

I was searching for early church worship, and found that the Early Church itself still exists.

That's my answer too. 

I first heard about it in March, was baptized in April, and the rest of my family was baptized last week. 
Is that some kind of record or what?

Now I'm looking into seminaries.
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« Reply #41 on: August 10, 2009, 06:28:28 AM »

For me, my interest in Orthodoxy started when some of the OC members here got banned from CAF. I was very amazed at some of their answers to Catholic beliefs and comebacks, and I was extremely unhappy when CAF tossed them. I was still Catholic, but I decided to leave during my final year at SIUC, where I suffered much loneliness and despair. I was a part of the Catholic Newman Center there and felt very unwelcomed. I felt I was...different than the other Catholic kids. Sad I wanted something that sorta resembled Catholicism, and the Internet helped me find my way, both times! laugh God bless the Internet! Wink
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« Reply #42 on: August 10, 2009, 02:14:20 PM »

I was searching for early church worship, and found that the Early Church itself still exists.

That's my answer too. 

I first heard about it in March, was baptized in April, and the rest of my family was baptized last week. 
Is that some kind of record or what?

Now I'm looking into seminaries.

  You shouldn't look into seminary for at least three years after living the Orthodox faith.  In fact the major seminaries will tell you that the moment you turn your application in.  Asking "is that some kind of record or what?" is just beyond words. 
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« Reply #43 on: August 10, 2009, 02:46:21 PM »

I was searching for early church worship, and found that the Early Church itself still exists.

That's my answer too. 

I first heard about it in March, was baptized in April, and the rest of my family was baptized last week. 
Is that some kind of record or what?

Now I'm looking into seminaries.

  You shouldn't look into seminary for at least three years after living the Orthodox faith.  In fact the major seminaries will tell you that the moment you turn your application in.  Asking "is that some kind of record or what?" is just beyond words. 

A bishop that I know always says this to people who want to "rush" to seminary. Even though I'm a very "thinky"- type, I have learned that Orthodoxy should be lived day in and day out. Not that you're not doing that already, of course, but based on my own experience and observation, I would counsel patience, prayer and reflection because by taking time through prayer, many things become clearer.  I’m sure you understand that with faith comes also a style of life, a way of living, and customs (and I don't mean ethnic customs) but rather our Holy Tradition. Living in this Orthodox way, living the liturgical life of the Church, in a close relationship with your priest or spiritual father, I have come to realize is “applied theology."
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« Reply #44 on: August 10, 2009, 02:54:58 PM »

I honestly can't remember when or where I was when Orthodoxy first caught my interest, but it was probably sometime after January 2000 when I started to take my Christian faith seriously again.

Quote
A bishop that I know always says this to people who want to "rush" to seminary. Even though I'm a very "thinky"- type, I have learned that Orthodoxy should be lived day in and day out. Not that you're not doing that already, of course, but based on my own experience and observation, I would counsel patience, prayer and reflection because by taking time through prayer, many things become clearer.  I’m sure you understand that with faith comes also a style of life, a way of living, and customs (and I don't mean ethnic customs) but rather our Holy Tradition. Living in this Orthodox way, living the liturgical life of the Church, in a close relationship with your priest or spiritual father, I have come to realize is “applied theology."

The idea of holy orders has been attractive to me as a vocation since at least the first grade (I went as a priest for "Who do you want to be when you grow up? day").  The thought of the diaconate has crossed my mind more than once in the past 8 years or so, even moreso after I made the decision to 'dox; I believe I've mentioned it on here before once or twice. 

But I also firmly believe that one must live the life before becoming a leader of it, so to speak, and, as such, I'm content with waiting and learning and making sure I have an internal prayer life to go with the externals of seeking ordination. 

I know I'm not there, yet. Smiley
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« Reply #45 on: August 10, 2009, 04:13:47 PM »

The idea of holy orders has been attractive to me as a vocation since at least the first grade (I went as a priest for "Who do you want to be when you grow up? day"). 

As a child, I played "church." We prayed, sang hymns, had communion and I gave the sermon. It may be worth mentioning that, while dogs have no objection to being baptized, it is really difficult to baptize cats.
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« Reply #46 on: August 11, 2009, 07:37:09 PM »

Orthodoxy first caught my interest when I started becoming more interested in Roman Catholicism and began reading spiritual and Patristic works.  I encountered Orthodox believers on CAF, OC.net (here) and on a yahoo forum the name of which I forget.  Timothy Ware's The Orthodox Church was probably my first book encounter of Orthodoxy.  I read portions of it at the college library when yet an undergrad (about 2004) and shortly afterwards bought a copy (my sister borrowed it and has since reverted to Roman Catholicism; I need to get the book back from her).  Early on, however, my real interest was in Byzantine Catholicism, not Orthodoxy per se.  When I went to Ohio for grad work (2005-2007) I fell in with a group of Eastern and Eastern-minded Catholics.  I learned about St. Gregory Palamas, St. Maximus the Confessor, Essence and Energies, Uncreated Grace, etc.  I attended Divine Liturgy at a Ruthenian church for two years, considered making a change of sui iurus Church, but ultimately decided on becoming Orthodox.   

It's funny, last year at our parish book discussion, my priest asked everyone about their first experience in an Orthodox church.  Everyone else in the group spoke about their fascination at all the icons, the incense, the frequent signs of the cross, the antiquity, etc.  When my turn came around, I said that my first exposure to Orthoodxy was different because much of what is in Orthodoxy I first experienced through Eastern Catholicism. 

   

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« Reply #47 on: August 12, 2009, 04:59:14 AM »

It was really my friend.  she nows I am studying different religions to find the right one for me, and she invited me to he church.  I elaborate more in my blog:   http://teenagerfindingreligion.blogspot.com/2009/08/teenager-finding-religion.html

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« Reply #48 on: August 12, 2009, 08:22:41 AM »

I believe it was the week after I, as Protestant of Protestants, told God that He couldn't possibly be glorified by the things I'd seen while looking around Justinian's Church of the Holy Nativity.
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« Reply #49 on: August 12, 2009, 09:18:31 AM »

I believe it was the week after I, as Protestant of Protestants, told God that He couldn't possibly be glorified by the things I'd seen while looking around Justinian's Church of the Holy Nativity.
What was it in His reply that changed your mind so quickly?
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« Reply #50 on: August 12, 2009, 10:08:14 AM »

Oh I wouldn't call it quickly, the week after is simply when, as the OP put it, that my interest was caught; none-the-less I have often fancied (and perhaps I think too much of myself) that God took me up on that challenge. That was in March of '96. Within about two years, however, my first two Icons were up on the walls. 
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« Reply #51 on: August 12, 2009, 06:41:09 PM »

Within about two years, however, my first two Icons were up on the walls. 

where do you buy icons?  are their accual stores that sell them or do you get them on the internet?
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« Reply #52 on: August 12, 2009, 09:47:08 PM »

Good websites to buy icons from...

St. Tikhon's Seminary Press:
http://stspress.com/

St. Vladimir's Seminary Press:
http://svspress.com/

Conciliar Press:
http://www.conciliarpress.com/

Skete.com Orthodox Byzantine Icons:
http://www.skete.com/

You can also find bookstores in many Orthodox Churches, most likely the medium sized to larger ones. You also can contact a parish and possibly see if they can find an icon for you or find an icon painter that can paint them for you.
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« Reply #53 on: August 12, 2009, 10:04:50 PM »

When I was 14, I was in the hospital during Western Easter and one of the nurse's was a Khouria.  After talking with her, I insisted on meeting her husband who happened to be dropping something off later that day.  I think this is what started my initial love and interest in the Holy Orthodox Church.  So, here I am, 7 years later and after so many, many details that I will not go into at this moment (I'm getting ready for bed)...I am being ready to be made a catechumen (once again!) and ready to immerse myself into the true faith that takes my very breath away! 
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« Reply #54 on: August 13, 2009, 09:40:43 AM »

Within about two years, however, my first two Icons were up on the walls. 

where do you buy icons?  are their accual stores that sell them or do you get them on the internet?

Some great sites were listed above, I had the fortunate blessing of buying some of mine in the Holy Land.
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« Reply #55 on: August 13, 2009, 10:08:06 AM »

Within about two years, however, my first two Icons were up on the walls. 

where do you buy icons?  are their accual stores that sell them or do you get them on the internet?

May I suggest supporting your local iconographer?  Grin
He's an Orthodox priest, a gifted iconographer - and a friend of mine!
http://www.imageandlikeness.com/
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« Reply #56 on: August 13, 2009, 10:47:58 AM »

Also, if the parish has a bookstore, they may carry icons.  Ours carries has a lot of icons, along with crosses, candles, etc.  Ours also has a lot of books and CD's as well. 
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« Reply #57 on: August 15, 2009, 11:36:40 PM »

It was 2003 I was RC and attended the Novus Ordo Mass then one Sunday on a trip out of town I went to a old Latin Mass. I began to question Catholicism after I saw what the Church had thrown away. I began looking for a Church that had held onto its traditions. I was watching a movie about rasputin one night during this and in the film it showed part of an Orthodox divine liturgy in a beautiful Church(it was supposed to be the tsars private chapel. And I began my search and study into Orthodoxy. (See TV aint all bad.) Wink
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« Reply #58 on: August 19, 2009, 05:53:21 AM »

I was searching for early church worship, and found that the Early Church itself still exists.

That's my answer too. 

I first heard about it in March, was baptized in April, and the rest of my family was baptized last week. 
Is that some kind of record or what?

Now I'm looking into seminaries.

  You shouldn't look into seminary for at least three years after living the Orthodox faith.  In fact the major seminaries will tell you that the moment you turn your application in.  Asking "is that some kind of record or what?" is just beyond words. 

I read my post and chuckled until I realized I was the one who wrote it  Embarrassed  Yeah that was dumb.

I mean getting the whole family baptized fast, not going to seminary fast.

I'm still going to do it, as soon as they let me. 
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« Reply #59 on: August 27, 2009, 05:53:23 PM »

I was shopping in the book section at Goodwill when I came across a book about a Pentecostal pastor converting to the Roman Catholic church.  As a Pentecostal this intrigued me immensely (I was used to hearing of conversions the other way around), so I bought it.  At home I asked my husband for permission to read it (sort of joking).  He chuckled and said, "Go ahead." I answered, "What if it rocks our world?"

And it did.  I had heard of the Orthodox church before, vaguely (I knew where there was one). I read this book mentioned above and it just blew me away -- the history.  I'd never, in my 23 years as a Protestant, ever heard of this history of the church.  I understood that there was the New Testament, then things went awry or something, then everything got straightened out at the Reformation.  That's it.  I didn't see the need to know anymore ("God is doing a new thing" right?).  It took me a few nights, but I finished this book -- and then turned to the Internet.  I knew enough somehow to look at Orthodoxy over the Roman church (it was probably the pope thing).  I spent an entire day glued to the computer, reading about Orthodoxy.  I ordered several books from the library, including Gillquist's Becoming Orthodox among others.  When that arrived, I devoured it. 

The thing is, when dh and I have gotten antsy at church (and we were getting antsy at our current church), it was usually me that nudged and pushed for a change in the past.  So with all that I was learning I purposed to NOT say anything to my husband.  I didn't want it to be just another "me" thing; I didn't want to be the one to lead the way.  Within days, my husband asked me which of the books about Orthodoxy that I'd read would I recommend.  I gave him Gillquist's ... and while that book didn't speak to him like it did me, we were on our way.  In the end (well, there is no end, is there?  That's why this story is running long, LOL), it was my dh who jumped in feet first.  We attended a service Dec. 24 last year, and then not again until late February or early March.  Since late March we've only been attending our local Orthodox mission church; and we become catechumens two weeks ago. 

Glory to God! 
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« Reply #60 on: August 27, 2009, 06:35:15 PM »

So, since you've been a pentacostal, how do you find the Orthodox church?  Do you feel like you are finally home, so to speak?  You don't have to answer if don't want to I am just curious how other protestants converting find it comparatively.
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« Reply #61 on: August 27, 2009, 06:58:15 PM »

Well, I guess I can say -- with just thinking about your question briefly -- that I feel *relieved* in a way.  In Pentecostalism there is, to a degree, your feelings of faith (your experience of faith) being up to *you*.  I constantly felt like I was falling short because I didn't speak in tongues a lot, or was not able to interpret dreams, or didn't see people healed when I laid hands on them, etc.  Both my husband and I *do* still wonder about things like ---- well, for example about 10 months ago we were led to pray for a couple in our church who had been trying to have a baby for nine years (with no success).  The day we prayed for them, in the church library as the service was still going on, I felt like God gave me a specific section of Scripture for them and I read it as we prayed.  We all went back out to the service, and there was some praying and Scripture reading going on.  One guy stood up and said, "I don't know why I'm supposed to read this, but I will ... " and it was the exact same Scripture I had just prayed over the couple. The couple looked back at us and there was a bit of whooping & hollering. They were pregnant within a month!! (and she's due on 8 weeks.) This type of thing is big in the charismatic experience.  And while we know we are at home, now, and forever in the Orthodox church (and we LOVE the lack of spontaneity in the services, LOL) -- we wonder, still about stuff like this.  Is there a place for this type of thing in Orthodoxy?  What was that all about, if not genuinely God?  These types of questions we still ask ourselves.  
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« Reply #62 on: August 27, 2009, 07:37:19 PM »

I understand your thinking.  There is much to learn about the Orthodox church.  I very much appreciate being part of the parish where I am; it is a very loving community.  I don't like to miss going to church  I look forward to it; this is not something I have felt for a very long time.
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« Reply #63 on: August 27, 2009, 07:45:42 PM »

Within about two years, however, my first two Icons were up on the walls. 

where do you buy icons?  are their accual stores that sell them or do you get them on the internet?

May I suggest supporting your local iconographer?  Grin
He's an Orthodox priest, a gifted iconographer - and a friend of mine!
http://www.imageandlikeness.com/

I LOVE Fr. Anthony! He is so cool! (Presbytera Christine is awesome too!)

I just bought an icon from him for a friend's wedding!

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« Reply #64 on: August 28, 2009, 12:50:51 PM »

I'm not a convert to Orthodoxy nor am I considering it. However, I do have to say that I find many things Eastern to be very beautiful.
1. The Liturgy of St. John
2. Lenten traditions
3. Icons
4. Prostrations
5. The Jesus Prayer, prayer rope, and spirituality surrounding it.
6. The Eastern articulation of Sanctificaion/Justification: Theosis
 I became aware of all these things a few years ago through my interaction with ECs and EOs on the internet. There is much beauty in the East.
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« Reply #65 on: August 28, 2009, 01:29:13 PM »

I was shopping in the book section at Goodwill when I came across a book about a Pentecostal pastor converting to the Roman Catholic church.

Could you please share the title of this book with us?  It sounds like something some of us might really enjoy.

One of my best friends is Pentecostal (Assembly of God), and he has been very supportive of my move into Orthodoxy.  We sort of "tore back the veil" together for eight years examining our respective Christian faiths, getting into everything from the study of the religions of the world to looking seriously at Theistic Satanism and other esoteric theosophical systems.

I have been hesitant to expose my friend to Orthodoxy too much.  He has attended two services with me over the last year, but he has only recently started returning to his Pentecostal roots, and I feel like I should back off, be humble and silent, and simply let him take his own steps toward Christ.  He is only just now really starting to take Christ seriously again, and so I think to pummel him with the necessity in becoming Orthodox would be completely pointless.  If it ever happens with him, I think it might be decades down the road, and I have a feeling it will never be because of any argument I put forth.  At any rate, I have peace about it, because I can see God healing and restoring him slowly, drawing him back to Himself.  That might not fly with the "no grace outside the Church" crowd, but that's just how it is for now.

Anyway, glory to God for leading you toward the Church!  I am glad to hear of your journey, and am even more glad to hear that your husband and you are in sync on the move.  I have been attending services for over a year, and my wife still has very little interest in the Church, as she thinks it is nice but doesn't see any "necessity" in a switch.  To her Orthodoxy is just another Christian group with its own interpretation of things.  It seems as though perhaps she is making baby steps toward the Church, so for now I am postponing my own baptism in the hopes that she will come around, and that we can make the decision together.

I hope your catechumenate is a blessed period for the both of you.  I hope it places a solid faith in you that withstands all obstacles!
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« Reply #66 on: August 28, 2009, 04:09:28 PM »

The book was called No Price Too High: A Pentecostal Preacher becomes Catholic by Alex Jones. I don't recall that in the book he spoke of Orthodoxy at all; I can't remember if he addressed why he chose Catholicism over Orthodoxy (he may not have been aware of the Orthodox church).
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« Reply #67 on: August 29, 2009, 01:25:30 AM »

The book was called No Price Too High: A Pentecostal Preacher becomes Catholic by Alex Jones. I don't recall that in the book he spoke of Orthodoxy at all; I can't remember if he addressed why he chose Catholicism over Orthodoxy (he may not have been aware of the Orthodox church).

So then what about the book led you to Orthodoxy?
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« Reply #68 on: August 29, 2009, 01:40:12 AM »

Deacon Alex Jones was on EWTN a few times. I saw his story there. He really wants to be a priest, but so far the Roman Catholic bishop that he is under won't allow it.










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« Reply #69 on: August 29, 2009, 02:01:16 AM »

I thought that Roman Catholic bishops made exceptions for convert ministers as far as married clergy goes, for example Anglican priests that convert.
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« Reply #70 on: August 29, 2009, 02:27:24 AM »

So then what about the book led you to Orthodoxy?

I had heard of the Orthodox church, in a vague way ... and an Orthodox mission church had started in our town about a year previously. I remember arriving home, afte I'd seen the sign go up, and telling my husband about it.  I knew RC and Orthodoxy were "similar" (liturgical) and I knew I didn't think the papacy was something I could ever get behind.  It was all new to me (I'd never known before what Roman Catholicism really was - let alone Orthodoxy), but I think because I'd been intrigued by Orthodoxy a tiny bit previously I decided to read about *it* online instead of Catholicism. Once I read about the conciliar nature of the church, and of the history, I was definitely wanting to know more.  Once I saw the timeline that's out there -- Gillquist has one in his book -- of the history of the church, of how there were these multitudes of branches called Protestantism in the later history of the church, but that there was still this unbroken line of the "one, holy, catholic and apostolic church" going from the NT until now, I asked myself, "Why would I not want to be a part of this church, if it still exists?"  Denominationalism had always bothered me, and I never knew there was an escape. 

Another book I read early on was Evangelical is Not Enough by Thomas Howard. I thought this was a really, really good book for an evangelical searching for the "more" God planned. When he first wrote that, from what I understand, he hadn't made a switch yet -- but he eventually chose Catholicism over Orthodoxy, too (again, from what I understand).  He *did* mention Orthodoxy in his book. 
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« Reply #71 on: September 07, 2009, 09:46:43 PM »

My parents returned to the Catholic faith after "falling away" for a few years back in 1984. There's a lot of stuff associated with it, not all of which I want to regurgitate here. But as a result, I became an active Mass-going Catholic as well, and exposed to a pre-Vatican II understanding of the Catholic theology and sacraments. We used a catechism similar to the Baltimore, and one of the sections was on the Orthodox and the validity (or "grace", if you prefer) of their sacraments - and that under very limited circumstances it was legitimate to seek out an Orthodox priest. One extreme example it cited - you're dying, there's no Catholic priest available for confession.

Anyway, it is now late August 1984 - which in the Julian calendar was the eve before the first Sunday after Dormition. We were in Orlando Florida on vacation, and one of those catechism scenarios came up. We couldn't find a local Catholic parish nearby our hotel. There was however a Ukrainian Orthodox parish, so a decision was made to attend the Divine Liturgy on Sunday. The thinking was - if you can't honour the Lord's day in a Catholic church, honour it by attending a church whose sacraments that Catholics recognize, even though it is outside its communion. (Receiving communion was out of the question). So, to get service times, we arrived the evening before and caught the tail end of Vespers.

The church itself (which I'm not even sure exists today) - I think - was affiliated with Constantinople - there was a picture of the patriarch in the lobby. There was also an icon and book store which we visited the next day. The actual liturgy was entirely in Ukrainian and I was completely lost. My mom remembers that the priest let out a complaint in his sermon that people should bring flowers NOT plants to honour the Dormition. This was the first time I became familiar with the Orthodox feast of the Dormition which has a lot more in it than simply honouring the Assumption of Mary. (Oddly enough, I came across a reference to Pius XII who said that St. John of Damascus - a.k.a. "The Doctor of the Assumption" - was the best source for what the Catholic Church believes on this).

We talked to the priest briefly the night before after Vespers, explained the situation, and he explained a little about the theology of icons to the visiting Catholics. I do recall him saying that Theotokos icons always point to Jesus - they are always Christological. This was the first time I came across "Theotokos" which meant literally "god-bearer", or more roughly "Mother of God". This has always stuck with me. He did welcome us to come the next day which we did.

Anyway, the Sunday we picked up some mementos, a Dormition icon and five St. Vladimir's seminary books on early (Eastern) Church fathers. The priest was nice enough on Sunday to go back to the vestment closet for a blessing of the picture, which hangs in the hallway to this day of my parent's apartment.

These are not great pictures but they are evidence of that day.



I didn't really develop an understanding of the liturgy until a few years later attending a Ukraininian CATHOLIC liturgy as part of an event that an ultra-traditionalist "Fatimist" had organized in London, Ontario. Because it was in English, I understood what was going on, and remember it much more clearly than the Orlando experience. My thought at the time, "why aren't the Latin-rite liturgies more like this?" Numerous prayers and references to the Holy trinity.

Interestingly enough, the second time I have ever been to an Orthodox service was Dormition Vespers in 2009 at a local Greek parish. I'm not really sure how late I would like to be for work tomorrow, but the same parish (most probably) will have yet another large communal mid-week Great Feast. I will probably drop in.
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« Reply #72 on: September 11, 2009, 01:23:38 AM »

Where do I begin?  I guess I first heard of Orthodoxy in my Catholic School religion class.  The Orthodox left the Roman Catholic Church, I was told.  I didn't think much about it until I went to a Pascha service with a Greek friend of mine and had a chance to talk with the Father who told me the RCC broke away from Orthodoxy.  This challenged me to find out the truth, which ultimately led me to the True Church.  Smiley
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« Reply #73 on: September 13, 2009, 05:36:17 PM »

I was researching different denominations when I realized that despite years of Christian education, I knew absolutely nothing about the Orthodox church.
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« Reply #74 on: September 13, 2009, 10:17:52 PM »

well i assure you he's not angry and scared -- his preaching has brought tons of students into the Church just in the past 4 yrs ive been around, and others converted before me, and there's more who are looking into it now. i learned more from him than any PSU professor

Small world, my sister was just telling me about a friend of hers who also converted thanks to this guy.
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« Reply #75 on: September 14, 2009, 11:47:11 PM »

This is an interesting question.  I think for me it was Pascha night vigil of 2006.  I was at a little Greek chapel w/ my then-fiance (now husband) who is a cradle Orthodox.  Maybe hard to visualize but I felt struck by how happy and loud everybody was, like they were actually celebrating the event.  All the yelling 'Christos anestei' and all.  I never saw that as a RC.  I thought there was something to be explored there.
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« Reply #76 on: November 13, 2009, 01:36:59 PM »

This is an open question to all converts and catechumens: what was the catalyst that first set you consciously on the path to Orthodoxy? Was it a person, an experience, a train of thought, a book? Were you aware of "looking for something" or did it happen unexpectedly?

Well, I'm no longer Orthodox, but it's interesting to think back on those times when I first discovered Orthodoxy. I had briefly been at one of my denomination's colleges, and had decided within months of arriving there that I couldn't be a fundamentalist anymore. This happened partially through reading and thinking about issues like scripture alone, inerrancy, the place of judging persons, faith alone, etc. However, some discussions at an online forum called theologyonline.com also played a significant part, and were what really allowed me to work things out in my head. Don't let anyone tell you that discussions on these forums never change anyone's mind--they changed my entire life. There's a chance that I might be a Wesleyan Holiness minister right now if it had not been for online discussions.

When I returned home from college after school let out, I had no idea what I believed as far as religious beliefs. At first, thinking that conservative fundamentalism didn't work, I thought I'd give the opposite end of the spectrum a shot. After read books by people like Marcus Borg and others, though, I decided that I couldn't at that time embrace that liberal form of spirituality either. I had rejected certain doctrines held by certain conservative denominations, and I even had come to the point where I questioned the existence of God to some degree, but I still held to a generally conservative world view for the most part.

Unfortunately, all I knew at the time was Protestantism (Lutherans, Calvinists, etc.), Anglicanism, and Catholicism. So I did what any geek would do when he had a problem in the year 2000: I looked on the internet for an answer. Specifically, I was looking for some conservative form of Christianity that I had, to that point, been unaware of. It wasn't long before I found out about Orthodoxy. Of course, one could argue that Orthodoxy is traditional and not conservative per se, but that's a discussion for another time; the point is, at the time, Orthodoxy seemed to be the possible solution that I was looking for.

It's sort of funny that I had never heard of Orthodoxy before. I grew up in a town of a few thousand people for most of my youth. There was an OCA Church in town, and also a Greek Catholic Church. I had walked past the OCA many times over the years, as it was on one of the streets that I took to get to one of the basketball courts I went to. Yet I had never really taken notice of Orthodoxy or Eastern Christianity. I had seen people doing processions outside the OCA Church, and still I had never noticed what exactly it was! I guess to me, as a kid and teenager, it was just another Church. Whenever I discovered Orthodoxy, though, that OCA Church was the first one I attended.

So anyway, that's how I first came into contact with Orthodoxy. As probably with most people, so to with me, the conversion process is a whole story by itself. And in my case, I actually left off pursuing Orthodoxy for a while and had to refind the Orthodox Church in some sense.
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« Reply #77 on: November 13, 2009, 02:50:48 PM »

After read books by people like Marcus Borg and others, though, I decided that I couldn't at that time embrace that liberal form of spirituality either.

Borg really does have some interesting ideas, at least based upon the material I have read.  A few years ago I read Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time: The Historical Jesus and the Heart of Contemporary Faith, and I found a lot of it to be absolutely eye opening.  I was reading it on the coattails of a lot of 'higher' biblical criticism, and he really helped to paint a vivid picture of the 'post-critical' Jesus Christ, one where we understand that our conceptions of him are in most ways constructed and imposed, and how to deal with that and still try to engage Christ in a spiritual relationship.  I still think that his honesty and level of reflection are bold and admirable in many ways, but ultimately to me this view of Christ was deficient and hollow.  I just couldn't stomach creating my own Christ if I was going to serve him.

Only years later when I stumbled into Orthodoxy did I really find what I was looking for: a faith that is delivered; handed down from the heavens.  (At least in theory! Wink)

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[T]he central issue of the Christian life is not believing in God or believing in the Bible. Rather, the Christian life is about entering into a relationship with that to which the Christian tradition points, which may be spoken of as God, the risen, living Christ, or the Spirit. And a Christian is one who lives out his or her relationship to God within the framework of the Christian tradition.
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« Reply #78 on: December 08, 2009, 03:35:08 AM »

I suppose that Thomas Merton and Metropolitan Kallistos would have to share credit in this department.  Merton's poetry led me to "No Man Is An Island" and "The Monastic Journey" (among others...).  Being raised in a non-denominational church of the Stone-Campbell restoration movement, I really had no understanding of monasticism and so I found his writings very intriguing.  He really opened my closed mind to a liturgical church.  And I suppose it was about 4 years ago that I picked up "The Orthodox Way" at a book sale for $1 and it spent the next 3 years on one of my book shelves.  That is until a friend of mine moved into a house a block from an Orthodox Cathedral and every time I went to his house I had to drive past this church and it would remind me that I had a book about Orthodoxy that I hadn't read yet.  Mysterious Ways as they say....
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« Reply #79 on: December 08, 2009, 04:10:52 AM »

I had sporadic contact with Orthodoxy from my senior year in college till about 1975, at which point I read (or maybe re-read) Ernst Benz's The Eastern Orthodox Church:  Its Faith and Life.  Reading that book when the Episcopal Church (of which I was then a member) was about to go through a gut-wrenching series of changes that is still ongoing, piqued my interest.

I began to read other books about Orthodoxy as the Episcopalian paradigm-shift continued apace, then, I came across Jacques Ellul's The Subversion of Christianity, which really opened my eyes to the lugubrious state of the Western Church.  The more the Episcopalians seemed ready to throw off any pretext of maintaining more than a veneer of Christian tradition, the more I turned Eastward, and in 1992, I finally made the jump.
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« Reply #80 on: December 10, 2009, 01:58:40 AM »

Welcome to the forum, KBN!
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« Reply #81 on: December 10, 2009, 02:34:37 AM »

The idea of holy orders has been attractive to me as a vocation since at least the first grade (I went as a priest for "Who do you want to be when you grow up? day"). 

As a child, I played "church." We prayed, sang hymns, had communion and I gave the sermon. It may be worth mentioning that, while dogs have no objection to being baptized, it is really difficult to baptize cats.

haha... how cute!  Cheesy
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« Reply #82 on: December 10, 2009, 03:09:02 AM »


We used to give what I know  now as Orthodox-like  burials to all sorts of creatures,  as kids. Back then we probably thought they were simply burials.
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« Reply #83 on: December 10, 2009, 07:58:21 PM »

Welcome to the forum, KBN!

Thanks.  Lots of great stuff around here.
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