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Author Topic: Mixed relationships. Opinions?  (Read 6757 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #45 on: August 24, 2009, 03:20:44 AM »

Liz, you wrote:

Quote
So, as a child, one usually goes to the altar rail during Communion for a blessing. This is such an important part of life. You are blessed and you feel cared for and in touch with God - it is crucial.

Handmaiden beat me to it, and expressed it far better than I could:

Quote
If it is any comfort to you, in the Orthodox Church an infant is baptised and chrismated as an infant, and the baby can receive the Eucharist from that point foward. So rather than just receiving a blessing, the baby actually receives the Eucharist, which is so much more.


In other words, as any cat can tell you, why have milk or water when you know there's cream to be had?  laugh

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« Reply #46 on: August 24, 2009, 05:56:50 AM »



Liz: He's essentially saying that he doesn't fully accept your statement that: "...if you and your guy love each other, nothing else matters."
He doesn't accept that and I'm afraid I don't accept it either. Statistics in fact prove that it takes more than love to sustain a marriage (as hard as that may be to accept). Many folks who are in love, marry and their marriages do not last. So obviously there has to be more and the key thing (for an Orthodox Christian) is the sacramental marriage granted by an Orthodox Church. The bond one feels with one's spouse when we go forward to receive the Lord's Body and Blood is unparalleled. I know that as I watch my wife confess and then follow her up to the chalice... nothing else can equal this. And this will be something that will be impossible in a mixed marriage.

Um, sorry, not my statement.
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« Reply #47 on: August 24, 2009, 06:01:30 AM »


Handmaiden beat me to it, and expressed it far better than I could:

Quote
If it is any comfort to you, in the Orthodox Church an infant is baptised and chrismated as an infant, and the baby can receive the Eucharist from that point foward. So rather than just receiving a blessing, the baby actually receives the Eucharist, which is so much more.


In other words, as any cat can tell you, why have milk or water when you know there's cream to be had?  laugh



Yeeees - except, you see, for me it's not 'so much more', because I don't believe in the Eucharist the way you do. I also feel that blessing is quite important for a child, because it's a physical way of seeing the Church's love for you. I think you need to experience that, as well as experiencing communion later. But these are just my worries, and I'm sure we'll work through them!
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« Reply #48 on: August 24, 2009, 08:51:42 AM »


You are very welcome, Liz, and thank you for understanding. I really do believe that if you and your guy love each other, nothing else matters.Smiley

Heorhij,

I was wondering...when you and your wife first met, were you both atheist or agnostic? If so, how many years were you married before you became a Christian which then lead you to become an Orthodox Christian?

Tamara

Hi Tamara,

I don't know. My wife and I first saw each other in fall 1981. I was not baptised back then, but I felt a very strong attraction to Christ pretty much all my life, so when my wife and I met, I was not really an agnostic or atheist.

I am not sure I ever "converted." There was no single moment that would separate me not being an Orthodox and me being an Orthodox. I am not sure that I "am" an Orthodox and she is "not" just because she has a lot of doubts regarding faith. I have them, too.
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« Reply #49 on: August 24, 2009, 10:25:41 AM »


Handmaiden beat me to it, and expressed it far better than I could:

Quote
If it is any comfort to you, in the Orthodox Church an infant is baptised and chrismated as an infant, and the baby can receive the Eucharist from that point foward. So rather than just receiving a blessing, the baby actually receives the Eucharist, which is so much more.


In other words, as any cat can tell you, why have milk or water when you know there's cream to be had?  laugh



Yeeees - except, you see, for me it's not 'so much more', because I don't believe in the Eucharist the way you do. I also feel that blessing is quite important for a child, because it's a physical way of seeing the Church's love for you. I think you need to experience that, as well as experiencing communion later. But these are just my worries, and I'm sure we'll work through them!

Hi Liz,

Since those of us who are responding to you are Orthodox and we don't know what Anglican practices are, would mind explaining what is involved with the blessing the child receives from the priest when they kneel at the altar? Besides receiving the Holy Eucharist, Orthodox priests bless infants and children before they leave the church. But the priests will bless them whenever they see them too, even if they are not in church.

thank you, Tamara
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« Reply #50 on: August 24, 2009, 10:28:53 AM »

I also feel that blessing is quite important for a child, because it's a physical way of seeing the Church's love for you.

Orthodox worship and piety are full of physical expressions of blessing -- something that children in particular pick up on and tend to enjoy quite a bit. Children are blessed at least once a day by their parents (with the sign of the cross), and by the priest at every worship service. In addition to the Eucharist, which they obviously understand as a great blessing, they also get to receive the blessed bread; venerate Icons (which they love); be anointed with holy oil at Vigils and at other times of the year; be sprinkled with and receive holy water, etc.
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« Reply #51 on: August 24, 2009, 10:48:53 AM »



Hi Liz,

Since those of us who are responding to you are Orthodox and we don't know what Anglican practices are, would mind explaining what is involved with the blessing the child receives from the priest when they kneel at the altar? Besides receiving the Holy Eucharist, Orthodox priests bless infants and children before they leave the church. But the priests will bless them whenever they see them too, even if they are not in church.

thank you, Tamara

Thanks, that's a sensible question and I should have explained more fully earlier. In our Communion service, after the Confession of Sins and the repetition of the Creed, we all observe the vicar preparing the table. The words used here stress the symbolic, memorial nature of the bread and wine, and the fact that we who share them are part of one Body, the Church in Christ. This will be done, usually, with the vicar standing in good view of the congregation. The vicar will then go up to the altar with the bread and wine. A rail, which at a height such that you can kneel and it will be more or less level with your chest, stands between the altar and the rest of the church; the vicar will stand behind it. Then, those members of the congregation who wish to (it's usually everyone) will go up to this rail and kneel in a row along it. Adults will place their hands out, cupped, over the rail, and will be given a piece of bread and a sip from the shared chalice. Children, and anyone who is not confirmed, kneel with their parents but they are taught not to put their hands out over the rail, and by this sign the vicar knows that they cannot yet receive the Communion (because they are not confirmed). Instead, he or she will bless them by putting one hand on their heads and saying a few words.

The important part, to me, is that this makes a child feel very cared for and very much part of the Church - but not weighed down with adult responsibilities. Because we believe that the bread and wine are a living, powerful symbol, but NOT the literal Body and Blood of Christ, there isn't a sense that the child is being 'left out', but rather that they are specially cared for. That's the best explanation I can give, and I know it mightn't feel the same to someone else - but to me it is very important.

You see, because I am not Orthodox, although I think a blessing from an Orthodox priest is also a kind and caring gesture, it does not carry quite the same weight as the special blessing you share in during the Anglican service.
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« Reply #52 on: August 24, 2009, 10:55:24 AM »

Ah, there aren't really any "mixed" relationships...

 Smiley

Well, that is a nice thing to say (and think)! Thanks ...

You are very welcome, Liz, and thank you for understanding. I really do believe that if you and your guy love each other, nothing else matters.Smiley

Funny.  The divorce rate is near or over 50%.  I would assume that those people "loved" each other at one time.  Sorry, I don't buy what you are selling.  Granted, oneness of Faith is not everything, but neither is "love".

Dear Punch, I was not "selling" aanything, just expressed my opinion. In my parish (very small one), a large part of families, older and younger, are mixed. One of the spouses is a Greek Orthodox and the other is a Methodist or some other Protestant denomination. That does not seem to bother anyone. Right now, off top of my head, I can recall maybe three mixed older couples and three mixed couples who are in their 30-s or late 20-s. They have kids and they seem to be very happy people. In addition, in just a few weeks one more young girl from our parish, a daughter of a mixed Greek-NonGreek couple, will marry an Episcopalian. We all are very happy for her.

"Love" in quotation marks is certainly overrated, but love without quotation marks is not. I love my wife. That she is not an enthusiastic Orthodox does not matter one bit to me.
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« Reply #53 on: August 24, 2009, 11:01:56 AM »



Hi Liz,

Since those of us who are responding to you are Orthodox and we don't know what Anglican practices are, would mind explaining what is involved with the blessing the child receives from the priest when they kneel at the altar? Besides receiving the Holy Eucharist, Orthodox priests bless infants and children before they leave the church. But the priests will bless them whenever they see them too, even if they are not in church.

thank you, Tamara

Thanks, that's a sensible question and I should have explained more fully earlier. In our Communion service, after the Confession of Sins and the repetition of the Creed, we all observe the vicar preparing the table. The words used here stress the symbolic, memorial nature of the bread and wine, and the fact that we who share them are part of one Body, the Church in Christ. This will be done, usually, with the vicar standing in good view of the congregation. The vicar will then go up to the altar with the bread and wine. A rail, which at a height such that you can kneel and it will be more or less level with your chest, stands between the altar and the rest of the church; the vicar will stand behind it. Then, those members of the congregation who wish to (it's usually everyone) will go up to this rail and kneel in a row along it. Adults will place their hands out, cupped, over the rail, and will be given a piece of bread and a sip from the shared chalice. Children, and anyone who is not confirmed, kneel with their parents but they are taught not to put their hands out over the rail, and by this sign the vicar knows that they cannot yet receive the Communion (because they are not confirmed). Instead, he or she will bless them by putting one hand on their heads and saying a few words.

The important part, to me, is that this makes a child feel very cared for and very much part of the Church - but not weighed down with adult responsibilities. Because we believe that the bread and wine are a living, powerful symbol, but NOT the literal Body and Blood of Christ, there isn't a sense that the child is being 'left out', but rather that they are specially cared for. That's the best explanation I can give, and I know it mightn't feel the same to someone else - but to me it is very important.

You see, because I am not Orthodox, although I think a blessing from an Orthodox priest is also a kind and caring gesture, it does not carry quite the same weight as the special blessing you share in during the Anglican service.

Thank you Liz. Your explanation was very helpful. Have you shared these thoughts with your fiance? Does he understand how important this blessing is to you?
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« Reply #54 on: August 24, 2009, 11:11:34 AM »

We've spoken about it a little, Tamara. It's difficult: he thinks we can just leave all of this until such time as we decide to have children (which I don't think will be particularly soon!). It might be that he is thinking (or unconsciously allowing himself to assume) that I will convert. We do discuss theology, and often it's lovely because we agree on a lot. However, he tends to minimize the differences that remain, and I find it quite difficult, sometimes, to know whether or not his view is likely to be shared by the Church as a whole (or by his priest). I think he's liable to go into things happily assuming that the priest will say, 'oh, yes, fine', and it seems to me this is a slightly dangerous attitude. I want to have a clear sense of the likely 'issues' before we get to them.

... Much of this, I know, sounds as if I'm just looking for problems, but it does help to get the perspectives of a big group of people - thanks all!
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« Reply #55 on: August 24, 2009, 11:18:22 AM »

Your attitude is very refreshing and very mature. It's such a welcome change from the run-of-the-mill person today embarking upon marriage. I'm certain that meeting with his priest and laying all of these things on the table as it were, will help to clarify the Orthodox perspective better than any of us could. God bless.
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« Reply #56 on: August 24, 2009, 11:20:08 AM »

We've spoken about it a little, Tamara. It's difficult: he thinks we can just leave all of this until such time as we decide to have children (which I don't think will be particularly soon!). It might be that he is thinking (or unconsciously allowing himself to assume) that I will convert. We do discuss theology, and often it's lovely because we agree on a lot. However, he tends to minimize the differences that remain, and I find it quite difficult, sometimes, to know whether or not his view is likely to be shared by the Church as a whole (or by his priest). I think he's liable to go into things happily assuming that the priest will say, 'oh, yes, fine', and it seems to me this is a slightly dangerous attitude. I want to have a clear sense of the likely 'issues' before we get to them.

... Much of this, I know, sounds as if I'm just looking for problems, but it does help to get the perspectives of a big group of people - thanks all!

Is he a very devout Orthodox Christian? I think you are very wise to try and tackle these issues now and to discuss them with his priest. Trying to minimize them now only to have them become points of contention later will really put a strain on your marriage. As others have stated, marriage is stressful enough.
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« Reply #57 on: August 24, 2009, 11:51:11 AM »

Thanks, Douglas Smiley

Tamara, I'm not sure how to tell how devout he is. I'd be interested to get a better sense of it, actually. He's the only Orthodox person I know, and before I met him I knew virtually nothing about Orthodoxy bar the merest outline of pre-Schism stuff. I come from a liberal Anglican background, and we live in a very liberal kind of place, so when I first met him I thought he must be a very strict and devout member of his Church. I'm gradually realizing that this view may have been a bit off-mark, and that lots of Orthodox seem to be similar. So, if any of this can help work out where he stands on the devout-o-meter:

He fasts, but not from olive oil (I heard some people do), and not on Wednesdays (he's thinking about changing that). We have an icon corner at home here, and he prays quite a lot, I think. He attends church - at first I thought he didn't go very often, but apparently its a Russian habit to go less than we Anglicans do, who really should attend Communion once a week. He does believe very firmly in chastity (and, if you're homosexual, in celibacy), but on the other hand, he wouldn't go around criticizing friends of ours who don't adhere to this - and he doesn't mind that, before I met him, I didn't.

I'd say he's devout in that he very clearly has Christian thinking underlying everything else, even though he doesn't make a great fuss about it. I know his parents are quite religious (his mother teaches Sunday school; his dad goes through phases of telling him he should be a priest). But I don't know how typical these attitudes and actions are for an Orthodox person, really.
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« Reply #58 on: August 24, 2009, 12:25:35 PM »

Liz,
Thank you for loving one of our brothers in the Faith, for caring for him, and for accepting his love and care for you.
God is Love, therefore Love is the most powerful thing in the Cosmos and can overcome anything.

George
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« Reply #59 on: August 24, 2009, 01:03:50 PM »

Thanks, Douglas Smiley

Tamara, I'm not sure how to tell how devout he is. I'd be interested to get a better sense of it, actually. He's the only Orthodox person I know, and before I met him I knew virtually nothing about Orthodoxy bar the merest outline of pre-Schism stuff. I come from a liberal Anglican background, and we live in a very liberal kind of place, so when I first met him I thought he must be a very strict and devout member of his Church. I'm gradually realizing that this view may have been a bit off-mark, and that lots of Orthodox seem to be similar. So, if any of this can help work out where he stands on the devout-o-meter:

He fasts, but not from olive oil (I heard some people do), and not on Wednesdays (he's thinking about changing that). We have an icon corner at home here, and he prays quite a lot, I think. He attends church - at first I thought he didn't go very often, but apparently its a Russian habit to go less than we Anglicans do, who really should attend Communion once a week. He does believe very firmly in chastity (and, if you're homosexual, in celibacy), but on the other hand, he wouldn't go around criticizing friends of ours who don't adhere to this - and he doesn't mind that, before I met him, I didn't.

I'd say he's devout in that he very clearly has Christian thinking underlying everything else, even though he doesn't make a great fuss about it. I know his parents are quite religious (his mother teaches Sunday school; his dad goes through phases of telling him he should be a priest). But I don't know how typical these attitudes and actions are for an Orthodox person, really.

I think it's wonderful that you are addressing all of this before your marriage. It is quite wise and mature, and shows a responsible attitude. It is much wiser to go over these issues before you are married with children than after. Bravo to you! Smiley

As far as the differences and how important they are, they are best discussed between the two of you and his priest.

As far as the "devout-o-meter" goes, well, that is between him and God. He is a struggiling sinner trying to get closer to God -- in other words, he's no different than  you or I. Smiley

Church attendance and fasting practices are best left to be discussed between an individual and their Spiritual Father. While it may be easy for us on the outside to say he should do this or that, we don't know where he is with his walk with Christ, or what surrounding circumstances are in his life.

God bless you both on your journey. Smiley
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« Reply #60 on: August 24, 2009, 01:44:35 PM »

Liz,
Thank you for loving one of our brothers in the Faith, for caring for him, and for accepting his love and care for you.
God is Love, therefore Love is the most powerful thing in the Cosmos and can overcome anything.

George

Ditto. What George said.
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« Reply #61 on: August 24, 2009, 01:50:12 PM »

Thanks, Douglas Smiley

Tamara, I'm not sure how to tell how devout he is. I'd be interested to get a better sense of it, actually. He's the only Orthodox person I know, and before I met him I knew virtually nothing about Orthodoxy bar the merest outline of pre-Schism stuff. I come from a liberal Anglican background, and we live in a very liberal kind of place, so when I first met him I thought he must be a very strict and devout member of his Church. I'm gradually realizing that this view may have been a bit off-mark, and that lots of Orthodox seem to be similar. So, if any of this can help work out where he stands on the devout-o-meter:

He fasts, but not from olive oil (I heard some people do), and not on Wednesdays (he's thinking about changing that). We have an icon corner at home here, and he prays quite a lot, I think. He attends church - at first I thought he didn't go very often, but apparently its a Russian habit to go less than we Anglicans do, who really should attend Communion once a week. He does believe very firmly in chastity (and, if you're homosexual, in celibacy), but on the other hand, he wouldn't go around criticizing friends of ours who don't adhere to this - and he doesn't mind that, before I met him, I didn't.

I'd say he's devout in that he very clearly has Christian thinking underlying everything else, even though he doesn't make a great fuss about it. I know his parents are quite religious (his mother teaches Sunday school; his dad goes through phases of telling him he should be a priest). But I don't know how typical these attitudes and actions are for an Orthodox person, really.

I know a few folks here are telling you that love is all you need to make a marriage work but being honest about what your expectations are in the marriage beforehand will really help avoid lots of pain later. I hope the Orthodox priest can help answer some of your questions. And I hope your fiance will be brave enough to discuss your concerns.

God Bless you both.

Tamara  Smiley
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« Reply #62 on: August 24, 2009, 02:02:23 PM »

It might be that he is thinking (or unconsciously allowing himself to assume) that I will convert...However, he tends to minimize the differences that remain, and I find it quite difficult, sometimes, to know whether or not his view is likely to be shared by the Church as a whole (or by his priest). I think he's liable to go into things happily assuming that the priest will say, 'oh, yes, fine', and it seems to me this is a slightly dangerous attitude.


You have identified some very important points and I think you are very wise to have a thorough discussion beforehand so that you can identify potential "landmines." Much of this conversation, though, IMHO, should be taking place between the two of you and his priest, as a part of premarital counseling.

Also, when you mentioned that his parents have an idea that he should be a priest, that could be another potential problem. In order to be ordained, an Orthodox priest must have a wife who is Orthodox also. If he doesn't feel that he is called to the priesthood, it might be a good idea for him to tell his parents that. To avoid you getting blamed for his not becoming a priest, you see.


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« Reply #63 on: August 25, 2009, 05:58:33 AM »

HandmaidenofGod - sure, I was just thinking about the answer to Tamara's question.

Katherineofdixie - your name always makes me smile! Thanks for the wise advice. I suspect 'how to deal with in-laws who don't speak your language' is always a bit, ahem, 'interesting'.

Everyone - thanks for the encouragement  Smiley

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« Reply #64 on: August 25, 2009, 10:12:16 AM »

Liz it is refreshing to read through this thread. I admire your commitment to 'make sure' of some things before entering marriage.

I would definitely enter into a time of talking with your fiance's priest so that your questions can be answered and you aren't relying only on your love's ideas and beliefs. Any issues, present or future can be addressed. Obviously since I am a convert myself I would have to favor the Chrismation, and blessing of a priest under apostolic tradition versus those appointed by their own desire/whim/dream. And as far as chrismation, baptism and blessing go, again I would favor the original tradition for my children over a later invention of protestant origin. But that's me and I had more than three decades of the protestant version to string me along. I can't speak for you or what you will decide in the future, but I would not put off talking to a priest over any and all issues. Your man remaining in communion with his Orthodox roots is paramount for him, and adding the strain of children would be a matter difficult for any marriage to withstand. You aren't always going to agree on seemingly simple things in your marriage, children or other matters, and its not simply "LOVE" that sees you through those disagreements. Love may be the catalyst for attempting to get through those difficulties and misunderstandings, but its blood sweat and tears to be married. To my mind, setting up a marriage firmly and decidedly rooted right off the bat is incredibly important.  I have been married only 17 years, but with this man pretty much since I was 14. That is basically 24 of my 38 years of life! Despite the incredible effort to bring us together, more than once, and quite a bit of divine interference, this does not mean we have had an easy road to hoe at all. So to anyone entering into marriage at all I suggest making things as clear and simply defined ahead of time as possible!!
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« Reply #65 on: August 25, 2009, 10:25:39 AM »

I would have to favor the Chrismation, and blessing of a priest under apostolic tradition versus those appointed by their own desire/whim/dream.

Thanks for you message. However, I find one small part of your language bordering on the offensive. Yes, this is an Orthodox forum and therefore, of course, I do expect wholehearted disagreement with Protestant beliefs, but I think referring to a priest 'appointed by their own desire/whim/dream' is taking it a little far. Anglican priests believe that they are under apostolic tradition. I sincerely doubt that any of them are acting on a 'whim' or a 'dream'.
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« Reply #66 on: August 25, 2009, 02:22:25 PM »

Liz it is refreshing to read through this thread. I admire your commitment to 'make sure' of some things before entering marriage.

I would definitely enter into a time of talking with your fiance's priest so that your questions can be answered and you aren't relying only on your love's ideas and beliefs. Any issues, present or future can be addressed. Obviously since I am a convert myself I would have to favor the Chrismation, and blessing of a priest under apostolic tradition versus those appointed by their own desire/whim/dream. And as far as chrismation, baptism and blessing go, again I would favor the original tradition for my children over a later invention of protestant origin. But that's me and I had more than three decades of the protestant version to string me along. I can't speak for you or what you will decide in the future, but I would not put off talking to a priest over any and all issues. Your man remaining in communion with his Orthodox roots is paramount for him, and adding the strain of children would be a matter difficult for any marriage to withstand. You aren't always going to agree on seemingly simple things in your marriage, children or other matters, and its not simply "LOVE" that sees you through those disagreements. Love may be the catalyst for attempting to get through those difficulties and misunderstandings, but its blood sweat and tears to be married. To my mind, setting up a marriage firmly and decidedly rooted right off the bat is incredibly important.  I have been married only 17 years, but with this man pretty much since I was 14. That is basically 24 of my 38 years of life! Despite the incredible effort to bring us together, more than once, and quite a bit of divine interference, this does not mean we have had an easy road to hoe at all. So to anyone entering into marriage at all I suggest making things as clear and simply defined ahead of time as possible!!

Um, you might want to read up on the history of Angicanism before you make such pronouncements. The Anglican Church is not like your mainstream Baptist Church, and is quite sacramentel in nature, and has traditions going back to the 4th Century. You may disagree with Anglicanism, but your statement about it being made up is patently false.
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« Reply #67 on: August 25, 2009, 04:10:26 PM »

A good resource would be a book called "When You Intermarry" by Fr. Charles Joanides, a priest of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese who has written and researched this subject extensively.

http://www.amazon.com/When-You-Intermarry-Inter-Christian-Intercultural/dp/1584380993
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« Reply #68 on: August 31, 2009, 03:57:22 PM »

At this point the topic of discussion of mixed relationships was split into a discussion of Anglicanism and Orthodoxy.  That topic was split off of this topic and may now be found the the Protestantism and Orthodoxy Discussion Forum.  Your comments were all good, they just needed to be placed into the proper forum. Please continue that discussion there and the discussion of  Mixed Relationships, Opinions? here

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