Author Topic: Visited my first Orthodox service  (Read 1887 times)

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Offline Myddleman

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Visited my first Orthodox service
« on: August 16, 2009, 10:37:54 AM »
Hi! My name is John and today (16th August) I visited an Orthodox church for the first time. My local church is around 13 miles from my home. It is a very ancient building (12th century or older).

I am from a Methodist background, but have felt a pull towards Orthodoxy for a while.

The church is part of the Greek Orthodox church, but conducts its services in English. I was made to feel very welcome, and met the priest, Fr. Stephen who was very nice.

I had a sense of the spiritual during the service which I haven't felt before in Protestant churches.

Very impressed and I am going back next week.

Offline Salpy

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Re: Visited my first Orthodox service
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2009, 11:15:16 AM »
Welcome to the forum!  I'm glad you had a good experience at church.   :)

Offline Heorhij

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Re: Visited my first Orthodox service
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2009, 01:27:00 PM »
Welcome to the forum! Great news, thank you for sharing!

My parish is also Greek, but in the USA (Mississippi).
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Offline Myddleman

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Re: Visited my first Orthodox service
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2009, 01:42:02 PM »
Thank you! :)

Offline Entscheidungsproblem

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Re: Visited my first Orthodox service
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2009, 04:13:32 PM »
Welcome to the forum!
As a result of a thousand million years of evolution, the universe is becoming conscious of itself, able to understand something of its past history and its possible future.
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Offline SDMPNS

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Re: Visited my first Orthodox service
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2009, 04:13:47 PM »
You are very lucky the service was in english...at my GO parish its about 60/40...all the hymns were in greek..Ive never recently heard the hymn of my parish in english...I am in Florida.USA
WELCOME!
« Last Edit: August 16, 2009, 04:14:13 PM by SDMPNS »

Offline John Larocque

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Re: Visited my first Orthodox service
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2009, 04:36:30 PM »
I ... nearly... visited my first Orthodox Divine Liturgy on the weekend. Something came up and I had to cancel Saturday Morning Dormition. I had been there the night before for Vespers, which was very ritualized (the priest came out the royal doors twice, I think to bless the congregation and the icons with incense - ching ching ching!), and signs of the cross were done in triplicate - a LOT! Don't forget to bow, too...

The only parts which I knew rightaway was the Kyrie Eleison (the only Greek part remnant in the rite of St. Gregory/ Traditional Latin Mass). After the service, I talked to one couple behind me who told me it was OK (for a non-Orthodox) to become part of the lineup to be blessed with oil that had been brought back from the Tomb of the Holy Sepulchre. In fact, the oil originated from this couple, who had donated it to the priest. The priests were blessing the forehead and the lips of people had just finished venerating the Dormition Epitaph, and for those who wanted, you could have taken home a Q-Tip with the holy oil on it. The Our Father was done in English in the service, but the rest was almost entirely Greek.

The one gentleman told me about his trips to St. Catherine's, and told me stories about Justinian and Mt. Athos, and pointed out a Theotokos with Child icon that Bartholemeos had brought to the church about ten years ago. It's not far from the secondary altar dedicated to the True Cross.

There's a ritualized way to bow, cross yourself and venerate an icon that wasn't even uniform across the congregation, although some of them came close to a web description I had read. I did my best but didn't feel alone that some were doing it in a more ritualized way than others.

Greek Chant is really different compared to the Slavonic/Ukrainian variant I had been exposed to, and I'll have to spend a bit more time with it to get used to it. I got the impression that something wasn't completely natural about the bass line in the choir/chant - it's not that a machine is doing it, but it looked like the bass singer was being filtered somehow through some equipment that deepens the effect.

There was plenty of unsanctified bread (Lamb/prosphoron) passed around to parishoners (and this visitor) after the service on the way out.

As I said, I missed out on the Divine Liturgy, although Vespers and DL share a lot in common - including MANY Kyrie Eleison's... so for now, this will be my example of how the Greeks do things.

The parish - St. Nicholas of Scarborough - has a practice for every feast of having a liturgy of pre-sanctified gifts two hours before the Divine Liturgy, so in effect there are two communion services on the major feast days, one for children and for those who work after 9AM, and a Divine Liturgy those who can make it for 9AM. They did this for the Transfiguration as well as the Dormition.

I'll be spending time with both a very traditional Eastern Catholic liturgy (the all-wood and no-nails St. Elias church in Brampton) and will try to make it to a Slavonic example from the Orthodox side of the aisle over the next few weeks. St. Elias adheres to the Julian Calendar and honours the Dormition on the 28th, so that's going to be my next stop if I can help it. Frankly, I'm not sure when I'll be in a Greek setting again but I was very happy to have been there at least for Dormition Vespers.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2009, 04:43:33 PM by John Larocque »

Offline Altar Server

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Re: Visited my first Orthodox service
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2009, 08:07:26 PM »
Welcome to the Forum John I'm glad you had a good experience.
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Offline Thomas

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Re: Visited my first Orthodox service
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2009, 09:50:00 AM »
Welcome John!

I hope that you will find the Convert issues forum is a place on the OC.Net where you may ask your questions about the Orthodox Faith in a safe and supportive forum without retribution or recrimination. It is a place to help you to understand what are the basic teachings and practices of the Orthodox churches. We try to provide direct and simple answers with sources if possible are most helpful.

Once again Welcome to the Convert Issues Forum!

Thomas
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Your brother in Christ ,
Thomas

Offline Myddleman

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Re: Visited my first Orthodox service
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2009, 10:18:41 AM »
Thank you Thomas, and everyone else who has welcomed me. :)

Offline ATX

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Re: Visited my first Orthodox service
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2009, 10:50:42 AM »
Hi! My name is John and today (16th August) I visited an Orthodox church for the first time. My local church is around 13 miles from my home. It is a very ancient building (12th century or older).

I am from a Methodist background, but have felt a pull towards Orthodoxy for a while.

The church is part of the Greek Orthodox church, but conducts its services in English. I was made to feel very welcome, and met the priest, Fr. Stephen who was very nice.

I had a sense of the spiritual during the service which I haven't felt before in Protestant churches.

Very impressed and I am going back next week.

I also attended Divine Liturgy for the first time yesterday.   Two things were evident to me.  There was a strong sense of holiness or the spiritual (as you put it).  I really felt for a time that I was in a different "place", a holy place.  The community also really felt like a family.  The parish is small and that may be all there is to it, but regardless I loved how tight knit and close the community felt.  I haven't felt that for years, after I left the Mormon church.  My Catholic parish is huge.  All of them here in Austin are huge.  It's all so impersonal.  I love that I was noticed and welcomed when I showed up.  I will definitely be going back for these reasons, but most importantly because I am convinced that Orthodoxy is where the fullest expression of the apostolic tradition is preserved. 

Andrew

Offline jnials

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Re: Visited my first Orthodox service
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2009, 01:48:20 PM »
ATX:  I assume (hope) by Austin, you meant Austin, TX.  If so, welcome.  I've been an Orthodox Christian in Austin for over 25 years now, and know people in every parish.  Every where you go, you will find good, warm, and genuine people.  If you happened to be at St. Elias yesterday, I missed you only because I got paged into work.  But please, come again and again and again.  St. Elias has been home to me for a very long time.  You won't find a better place to experience the good, the bad, the imperfect, and the perfect of Holy Orthodoxy.

Offline ATX

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Re: Visited my first Orthodox service
« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2009, 02:14:48 PM »
Hi jnials!  Yes, I'm in Austin, TX.  Actually, I live in Cedar Park.  I went to St. John the Forerunner yesterday; it's close to my house.  I would like to visit St. Elias and will very soon.  If there was something at noon on weekdays, like noon mass at St. Mary Cathedral, I would visit often.  I work downtown in the capitol complex. 

It's great to meet you.

Andrew


ATX:  I assume (hope) by Austin, you meant Austin, TX.  If so, welcome.  I've been an Orthodox Christian in Austin for over 25 years now, and know people in every parish.  Every where you go, you will find good, warm, and genuine people.  If you happened to be at St. Elias yesterday, I missed you only because I got paged into work.  But please, come again and again and again.  St. Elias has been home to me for a very long time.  You won't find a better place to experience the good, the bad, the imperfect, and the perfect of Holy Orthodoxy.

Offline HandmaidenofGod

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Re: Visited my first Orthodox service
« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2009, 02:24:55 PM »
Welcome Myddleman and ATX!

May God bless you both on your journey!
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jer 29:11

Offline EofK

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Re: Visited my first Orthodox service
« Reply #14 on: August 17, 2009, 02:39:34 PM »
Welcome!
Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so. -- Douglas Adams