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Author Topic: Help concerning instruction in Orthodoxy  (Read 1769 times) Average Rating: 0
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PedalPusher
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« on: October 03, 2009, 08:52:14 PM »

I was received into the RCC about 15 years ago.  Paperwork was lost, so all I have is an affidavit from my sponsor.  I have a degree in theology from a Jesuit college. 

I've never really felt at home in Catholicism and ended up spending time at Eastern Catholic parishes in my city.  I won't go into all my misgivings and doubts about RCC because I don't to want to come off as polemical.  I'm not a Rome-basher by any means, I just don't feel any connection with Catholicism and am not really able to identify with its spirituality, dogmas and claims.  (I've received more invitations to *leave* the RCC than to stay, including from a Jesuit father in my region.)  Loss of paperwork, "Why are you here?" questions and in general zoning out during Novus Ordo spiritual life have made it evident that my love and interest in the Greek Church should be indulged. 

I've stopped attending the Byzantine parish closest to me after getting really turned off by the pastor and noticing in general that the parish will likely die off in the next ten or twenty years as the congregation ages.  This, coupled with my doubts about the historical and doctrinal developments of RCC, have led me to consider going Orthodox.  There are too many mental acrobatics which have to be performed to be a Byzantine Catholic and I'm all about getting rid of such obstacles.  My sympathy and spiritual inclination is for the Christian East. 

To that end:  I would like to take inquiry classes at the Greek cathedral in my city.  What I don't know:  I'm not ethnically Greek, but like the Greek language and hymns.  Are people like myself, who are of northern European ancestry, supposed to go to a particular ethnic church for instruction and possible reception into Orthodoxy?  I know it sounds like a stupid question, I just don't to be embarrassed by asking a Greek priest for direction if this is not the custom.  I live just a few miles from the cathedral. 

Thanks in advance!
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John of the North
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« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2009, 09:10:34 PM »

No particular ethnicity required. The Greek priest should be more than happy to have you.
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« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2009, 09:12:44 PM »

Welcome to the forum!

I'm not Greek Orthodox, but I don't think you have to be a particular ethnicity to go to a Greek church.  
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HandmaidenofGod
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« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2009, 09:14:21 PM »

All that is required is an open heart and an open mind. Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2009, 09:27:08 PM »

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So why do you continue to post here, John? And why do you maintain a website of your own, and use a computer made of "devilish petroleum products" ?
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« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2009, 03:52:48 PM »

Are people like myself, who are of northern European ancestry, supposed to go to a particular ethnic church for instruction and possible reception into Orthodoxy?  I know it sounds like a stupid question, I just don't to be embarrassed by asking a Greek priest for direction if this is not the custom.
 

That's not a stupid question at all! There are no ethnic requirements of any kind in Orthodoxy.

One thing you should bear in mind. Catholics tend to look at Christianity as something to be defined very precisely and legalistically. As a result they have all these very strictly enforced canons and clearly defined catechisms to help understand the faith. Also the western mind ( I should know, I am a westerner) tends to look at a mystery as something to be solved or figured out and Catholics go to great lengths to do just that.

For the Orthodox a mystery is something to be experienced and held in awe, not something to be solved.

What does any of that have to do with your question? Orthodoxy is not primarily a set of beliefs to be gleaned from a book or a set of mysteries to be solved. Orthodoxy is a life to be lived and experienced in communion with God and with each other.

Orthodoxy is communicated through the life of the Church, the liturgy, services, prayers, hymns and icons. I don't know if you speak Greek or if the parish you are looking into uses primarily Greek or English, but if you are attending a parish where you don't understand the language used in the services you are hamstringing yourself.

Don't misunderstand me, there are lots of things you can learn from reading books and attending catechism or newcomers classes but if you are not able to fully experience the life of the Church it will be extremely difficult to acquire an Orthodox mindset.



Yours in Christ
Joe
« Last Edit: October 04, 2009, 03:54:11 PM by Paisius » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2009, 12:30:43 AM »

Just go Smiley
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Ortho_cat
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« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2009, 01:42:55 AM »


What I don't know:  I'm not ethnically Greek, but like the Greek language and hymns. 


Although the former is not required, the latter might help you feel more at ease during the newness phase. Sounds like you have a headstart to me! Smiley
« Last Edit: October 05, 2009, 01:45:02 AM by Ortho_cat » Logged
katherineofdixie
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« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2009, 11:13:12 AM »

I know the Greeks sometimes get a bad rap for being ethnically clannish, but I personally have never experienced anything but a warm welcome and acceptance. Though I am a member of an OCA parish now, the very first Divine Liturgy I attended was at a small GOA mission parish. The people couldn't have been nicer or more welcoming. They invited us to stay for coffee, Sunday School, and invited us to come again. We were also invited to a midweek Bible Study. The Liturgy was in both Greek and English so we were able to follow along without any problem. As a matter of fact, one of the parishioners of the parish became my husband's godfather when he was chrismated. 99.99% of the GOA priests I have met are wonderful people and are thrilled to talk to inquirers.
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pensateomnia
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« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2009, 10:33:54 AM »

I would like to take inquiry classes at the Greek cathedral in my city.

You most certainly should go to the Greek cathedral for inquiry classes. Not only is it a lovely parish, but one of its priests is a classmate of mine, Fr. Christos Mars -- a priest's priest, I think it is fair to say -- whose wife, Presvytera Mari, is also a member of this forum! Her username is GreekChef.

Edit: I actually think Presvytera was leading an inquiry class that just ended. You might want to PM her to find out if another is starting soon.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2009, 10:43:42 AM by pensateomnia » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2009, 10:59:45 AM »

I know the Greeks sometimes get a bad rap for being ethnically clannish, but I personally have never experienced anything but a warm welcome and acceptance. Though I am a member of an OCA parish now, the very first Divine Liturgy I attended was at a small GOA mission parish. The people couldn't have been nicer or more welcoming. They invited us to stay for coffee, Sunday School, and invited us to come again. We were also invited to a midweek Bible Study. The Liturgy was in both Greek and English so we were able to follow along without any problem. As a matter of fact, one of the parishioners of the parish became my husband's godfather when he was chrismated. 99.99% of the GOA priests I have met are wonderful people and are thrilled to talk to inquirers.

My experience has been that Greeks come in two varieties: one, you not being Greek makes no difference, the other it makes all difference in the World.

I've had plenty of good experiences, even in the Phanar. Shocked
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katherineofdixie
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« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2009, 12:27:52 PM »

My experience has been that Greeks come in two varieties: one, you not being Greek makes no difference, the other it makes all difference in the World.

I've had plenty of good experiences, even in the Phanar. Shocked

I guess I've just been fortunate enough to have been meeting the first kind, then, thanks be to God!
 Smiley
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"If but ten of us lead a holy life, we shall kindle a fire which shall light up the entire city."

 St. John Chrysostom
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