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Author Topic: Converting to Orthodoxy  (Read 1311 times) Average Rating: 0
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bkovacs
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« on: August 03, 2009, 08:56:03 PM »

How long does it usually take a Roman Catholic to become Eastern Orthodox, once they have finally decided to convert to Orthodoxy. Do they need to take catecism classes if they have a good deal of knowledge about Orthodoxy and the Church. What is the usual process and how long will it take?. Also which is better a Greek Orthodox or Antiochian Orthodox for a former Roman Catholic. Thanks!.
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« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2009, 09:25:41 PM »

How long does it usually take a Roman Catholic to become Eastern Orthodox, once they have finally decided to convert to Orthodoxy. Do they need to take catecism classes if they have a good deal of knowledge about Orthodoxy and the Church. What is the usual process and how long will it take?. Also which is better a Greek Orthodox or Antiochian Orthodox for a former Roman Catholic. Thanks!.

Often Priests will wait until your initial infatuation wears off .
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« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2009, 09:45:31 PM »

How long does it usually take a Roman Catholic to become Eastern Orthodox, once they have finally decided to convert to Orthodoxy. Do they need to take catecism classes if they have a good deal of knowledge about Orthodoxy and the Church. What is the usual process and how long will it take?. Also which is better a Greek Orthodox or Antiochian Orthodox for a former Roman Catholic. Thanks!.

Often Priests will wait until your initial infatuation wears off .

Smiley And wisely so.

In response to the OP question, I think you'll find that varies widely depending on the priest you work with and how ready he feels you are. There is no set pattern and time as with the Catholic Church and RCIA. Also, don't get too caught up in the jurisdictions. Don't focus so much on them but instead find a parish in which you can establish a spiritual home. That is the important part, not the ethnic background behind it.
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« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2009, 10:09:18 PM »

How long does it usually take a Roman Catholic to become Eastern Orthodox, once they have finally decided to convert to Orthodoxy. Do they need to take catecism classes if they have a good deal of knowledge about Orthodoxy and the Church. What is the usual process and how long will it take?. Also which is better a Greek Orthodox or Antiochian Orthodox for a former Roman Catholic. Thanks!.

Depends on the priest.  It could take anywhere from a few weeks or months to a year, or more.  The priest likely will be more interested in your involvement with the liturgical life of the parish than in acquired knowledge from books.  Some priests require catechism class, if it exists. 

The best thing to do is visit both Greek Orthodox and Antiochian Orthodox.  The Greeks have proportionately a much lower percentage of converts than do the Antiochians.  If you go to a Greek parish, you may run into a few other converts, but most of the parishioners likely will be Greek.  The Antiochians have a much higher percentage of converts, and many parishes are majority convert.     

« Last Edit: August 03, 2009, 10:11:09 PM by StGeorge » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2009, 11:04:07 PM »

How long does it usually take a Roman Catholic to become Eastern Orthodox, once they have finally decided to convert to Orthodoxy. Do they need to take catecism classes if they have a good deal of knowledge about Orthodoxy and the Church. What is the usual process and how long will it take?. Also which is better a Greek Orthodox or Antiochian Orthodox for a former Roman Catholic. Thanks!.

An Italian Catholic, an Irish Catholic, a French Catholic, a Spanish Catholic, a German Catholic,......?
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« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2009, 11:11:37 PM »

Much of the catechesis process is designed to test your faith and to make sure you are sincere about your decision.  Although it is good to come in armed with knowledge, how much you know is not necessarily a true indicator of how long the process will take. Likewise, although there are many things in common between Orthodoxy and RC as far as rituals and liturgy go, there are many fundamental differences in theology, so coming from a Catholic background would not necessarily make this conversion process shorter than say, a protestant. I would say more than anything it depends on the priest.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2009, 11:12:17 PM by Ortho_cat » Logged
Shlomlokh
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« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2009, 11:44:16 PM »

How long does it usually take a Roman Catholic to become Eastern Orthodox, once they have finally decided to convert to Orthodoxy. Do they need to take catecism classes if they have a good deal of knowledge about Orthodoxy and the Church. What is the usual process and how long will it take?. Also which is better a Greek Orthodox or Antiochian Orthodox for a former Roman Catholic. Thanks!.

I am converting from Catholicism and my priest wants catechumens to be immersed in the life of the Church. Generally, that is a year to two years of praying when the Church prays (going to Divine Liturgy, Vespers, Vigil, and praying daily at home), fasting when she fasts, and rejoicing when she rejoices. Also, my priest gives us reading material as well as following up by asking us if we have questions about what we read. He gives an "exam" when he decides we are ready to be received into the Church (it is more of a gauge for him to see if he covered everything).

But it certainly varies from parish to parish. Generally, I have heard that the priest will receive you when he feels you are ready. I go to a mission parish of the Bulgarian Diocese, but no one is Bulgarian in the parish at all. Shocked Like others have said, find a good spiritual home where you can grow in Christ.

In Christ,
Andrew
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« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2009, 11:57:10 PM »

At my Serbian parish, the catechism process takes between one and three years on average.  A lot of it seems to be a lesson in patience.  There is definitely no 'rushing' into Orthodoxy.
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Thomas
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« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2009, 09:27:52 AM »

There is no standard that I am aware of in any of the jurisdictions, it is based upon when the priest (through his charism -gifts of the Holy Spirit-given at ordination) determines that you are ready. The priest often looks at many things including your participation in the Liturgical and community life of the parish. He may assign readings and discuss them with you or require you to attend scheduled catechumen classes.

In my parish we have a standard catechumen program in which we first ask that the Catechumen fill out this questionaire:

1. What was your previous religious background (Denomination, Christian or non christian---Jewish, Moslem, Hindu, Buddist, etc, agnostic, or atheist)?

2. Were you raised in home in which religous belief was important or unimportant?

3. Are you married, divorced, engaged, or single? Do you have any children?

4. Do you have any family or friends who are Orthodox Christians?

5. What raised your interest in learning more about the Orthodox Christian Church?

6. Are there specific topics you wish more information about the Orthodox Church?

7. What books have you already read about the Orthodox Church?

After that we then develop a personalized  catechumen program which has as its basis the following program:

1. Attend at least 20 sessions of Orthodox Instruction on Saturday afternoons.
We offer weekly catechism classes that include a 2 year history and basic of Christianity, a 12 session monthly Orthopraxis class The practice of Orthodoxy---the how-to- dos so to speak, and special event speakers.

2. Attend the services for 8 out of the 12 great feasts during the liturgical year. The services of the Great Feasts include the Vespers of the Feast, Orthros, and the Divine Liturgy. Attendance at any of these entail attending the services of the feast. If the Feast happens on a Saturday or Sunday, you would be expected to attend as many of the services as possible. The Twelve Great Feasts are:

a. Nativity of the Virgin Mary- September 8th

b. Elevation of the Precious Cross - September 14th

c. Entrance of the Virgin Mary into the Temple - November 21st

d. Nativty of Our Lord - December 25th

e. Theophany of Our Lord -January 6th

f. Meeting of Our Lord into the Temple -February 2

g. Annunciation of the Virgin Mary -March 25th

h. Entry of Our Lord into Jerusalem - Sunday before Pascha

i. Ascension of Our Lord -40 days after Pascha

j. Pentecost -50 days after Pascha

k. Transfiguration of Our Lord -August 6th

l. Dormition of the Virgin Mary-August 15

[Note Pascha is the Feast of Feasts and is not included as one of the Great Feasts as it outranks all of them---it will however count as one for the task purpose]

3. Read four books about the Orthodox Church or the Orthodox Christian life. [At this point suggested books are provided that include a basic catechism of the Church and other books based upon needs shown in the questionaire. for example differing books are given based upon the background, interests, and Orthodox books the catechumen has already read.]

4. Participate in the services of the Church on a regular basis. This of course is without need to explain, attend Church services when you are able to, and participate to your best ability singing, praying, and supporting others in prayer.

5. Contribute to the life of the parish through gifts of time, talents, and money. Establish a regular giving of alms to the poor, fasting, donating of your surplus to the church general fund, look at your talents and offer the organizations of the church your services and blessings of your talents.

If the  person is married and the spouse is entering the church  additional readings that will provide an Orthodox foundation for their marraige are provided.

If there are small children in the home  readings to help the parents catechize their children will be provided.


Many parishes do it differently  but in all it is always the priest who leads the catechumenate, even if there is a parish Catechumen director (like myself) who tracks the progress.

Oh yes,  don't be afraid to ask the priest to baptize/chrismate you when you think you are ready.  He may say yes you are ready or no and update you on where he sees you in your catechumenate.

In Christ,
Thomas


« Last Edit: August 04, 2009, 09:30:39 AM by Thomas » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2009, 11:56:21 AM »

The Jurisdiction where you may find the most Roman Catholic Converts is the "Orthodox Church in America" ( OCA ). This of course will vary according to each parish, but the OCA is very convert friendly.

It also depends on your own inclinations. The Russian Church Abroad ( Rocor ) will suit you if you want a rather "Stiff Dose". So the elements are first and foremost, a Parish that has folks whom you like and will get along with. Second is proximity to where you live. A two hour drive will become an obstacle eventually. A Priest that is willing to take you under his care and spend time teaching you and whom you can relate to. Your own intuition will guide you as to where you should be.
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« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2009, 06:27:29 AM »

How long does it usually take a Roman Catholic to become Eastern Orthodox, once they have finally decided to convert to Orthodoxy. Do they need to take catecism classes if they have a good deal of knowledge about Orthodoxy and the Church. What is the usual process and how long will it take?. Also which is better a Greek Orthodox or Antiochian Orthodox for a former Roman Catholic. Thanks!.
That can depend upon jurisdiction, local bishop and more importantly one's own life.

A Roman Catholic who was "Catholic in name only" would most likely need to be a catechumen longer than say... a Roman Catholic who went to mass, confessed their sins, etc; regularly.  Also an Eastern-Rite Catholic would probably not require as much time as a Latin Rite Catholic.
There is also the question of why one is leaving Catholicism since there is a big difference between not agreeing the the pope on what 2+2 is and having serious problems with the notion of purgatory.

It depends mostly upon one's life.  The Orthodox Church typically looks at things on a person-by-person basis.  While it may take one person two decades to allow theological things to be accepted, customs to be adopted and their heart to be open to Orthodoxy, it may take someone else seven weeks.

The best thing to do would be to visit any nearby Orthodox church for a while before deciding anything because we can have all the knowledge we wish, but the Liturgy can sometimes be too much "culture shock" for some. 

Visit a church for a while and meet with the priests then go from there.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2009, 06:29:08 AM by EmperorConstantine » Logged
katherineofdixie
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« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2009, 11:09:51 AM »

How long does it usually take a Roman Catholic to become Eastern Orthodox, once they have finally decided to convert to Orthodoxy.
While it may take one person two decades to allow theological things to be accepted, customs to be adopted and their heart to be open to Orthodoxy, it may take someone else seven weeks.


Very true. In our parish, there was a guy who attended services for years before finally making the decision. We referred to him affectionately as the "Oldest Living Catechumen."
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