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Author Topic: Do you have to be completely ready  (Read 1671 times) Average Rating: 0
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Carole
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« on: October 09, 2009, 08:12:01 PM »

I've been contemplating a change from the Roman Catholic Church to Orthodoxy for nearly 5 years - and honestly I'm still unsure.

But my daughter (who most of you know is 13) has been steadfast in her desire to join the Orthodox Church for 3 years.  She feels she is ready to talk to the priest to see what she must to do be received into Orthodoxy.  Me?  As I said, I am still on the fence.  Though both my husband and I are completely supportive of her decision.

My question is ... Can a person begin instruction with an Orthodox priest toward learning what one needs to know to become Orthodox even if they're not 100% certain of their desire to convert? Essentially, could I go through the process with my daughter in order to understand what she will need from us by way of support of her religious beliefs and disciplines and to better understand Orthodoxy, even if it is not certain that I will choose to be Chrismated?

I know that in the Roman Catholic Church one can attend RCIA classes even if no definitive decision has been made or even just as a way to learn more about the Catholic Church.   I know that much will depend on the advice and guidance of the priest - but generally speaking would what I am considering be a reasonable request?
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Carole
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« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2009, 08:40:54 PM »

I would think so, depending on how the priest does things. My parish gives classes that are open to anyone, and we always had friends and family members of the catechumens visiting, even people with no intentions of conversion, but wanting to learn more so they could be supportive.
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David Leon
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« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2009, 09:24:08 PM »

Carole, I would certainly say that the catechumenate is a time to study, learn, and discern whether one wants to follow through with the desire to become Orthodox.  I think you should definitely go ahead with the classes, etc., which will give you more time and information to decide whether you want to make the commitment to the Church or not.


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« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2009, 09:24:38 PM »

You can certainly start attending classes without having made a decision. In fact, going to the classes may help you make your decision. It will provide the forum for you to get your questions answered and address your concerns. If nothing else, you will learn about the faith of your daughter. I think it's a good thing.
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« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2009, 09:26:46 PM »

Quote
My question is ... Can a person begin instruction with an Orthodox priest toward learning what one needs to know to become Orthodox even if they're not 100% certain of their desire to convert? Essentially, could I go through the process with my daughter in order to understand what she will need from us by way of support of her religious beliefs and disciplines and to better understand Orthodoxy, even if it is not certain that I will choose to be Chrismated?

Fwiw, when I was an Orthodox catechumen, I still had doubts about whether I was making the right decision. At the time I was without a spiritual home, trying to decide between Catholicism and Orthodoxy. I chose Orthodoxy and became a catechumen, but I have to admit that some days I would read something or think of something and wonder if I had made the right choice. Of course, your situation is different than what I am describing, but there's what I experienced fwiw.
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« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2009, 09:27:29 PM »

I've been contemplating a change from the Roman Catholic Church to Orthodoxy for nearly 5 years - and honestly I'm still unsure.

But my daughter (who most of you know is 13) has been steadfast in her desire to join the Orthodox Church for 3 years.  She feels she is ready to talk to the priest to see what she must to do be received into Orthodoxy.  Me?  As I said, I am still on the fence.  Though both my husband and I are completely supportive of her decision.

My question is ... Can a person begin instruction with an Orthodox priest toward learning what one needs to know to become Orthodox even if they're not 100% certain of their desire to convert? Essentially, could I go through the process with my daughter in order to understand what she will need from us by way of support of her religious beliefs and disciplines and to better understand Orthodoxy, even if it is not certain that I will choose to be Chrismated?

I know that in the Roman Catholic Church one can attend RCIA classes even if no definitive decision has been made or even just as a way to learn more about the Catholic Church.   I know that much will depend on the advice and guidance of the priest - but generally speaking would what I am considering be a reasonable request?

Grace and Peace,

We are in-search of something or more specifically someone, which we have not found in the Catholic Church. It would be 'wise' for us to recognize this first off and then to busy ourselves with our journey. If Christ is not present to us in the Catholic Church then we have to ask if He is absent 'to us' or simply absent 'there'. Ultimately this question doesn't need to be answered because regardless of the answer we must 'seek Him'. We must go where we find nourishment. If we are not nourished where we are, then we must seek elsewhere. The fact that we find ourselves 'here' among the Orthodox is telling that something is wrong either with us or with the Catholic Church in America. Whether we are 'ready' or not we find ourselves on the journey and can do nothing but walk it until that time that we find peace and the stillness only found in union with the divine.
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« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2009, 10:16:49 PM »

Carole,

The period of the catechumenate in teh ancient church was no less than three years.  Today, it is comparatively shorter especially since those who are received in are generally part of another Christian confession so that there are fewer stumbling blocks that would give greater challenges to those coming in from non-Christian confessions or who are atheists.

A friend of mine in the church was received in Pascha of 2008.  But she decided that she needed two years before she was more or less certain.  The priest agreed and this was done.  Even I had doubts but my priest said that those should not impede me. 

The fact is that none of us are ever completely ready.  The church is not the goal, but the means.  I've been long considering becoming a monastic though I have often remarked that my own sinfulness should keep me out to which an abbot told me that no monk ever entering a monastery was sinless when he came in.  If only sinless people were to become monastics, then monasteries would be very empty places.  Similarly with the church in general:  If only those completely prepared were received then churches would largely be barren places on Sundays. 

I know that you have a family to think about which also gives you greater pause. I was fortunate that I had no family to worry about on my journey and that I did not have to take into consideration their feelings, doubts, worries, etc.  If it takes time, it takes time.  Jaroslav Pelikan, the great Lutheran scholar, didn't become Orthodox until very late in life though he had been making strides in that direction for a long time.  So, if you need time, take it.  Otherwise, if the priest says you're ready, defer to his judgment since that is his to make. 

At the same time, a little education never hurt anybody.   Smiley

Good luck.
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« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2009, 09:18:24 AM »

Take your time.  For my GO chrismation (I was RC, too), the instruction took 6 weeks, and they had announced a date whereby, I guess at the 'soonest' that set of catechumens could be received. That was six weeks. For me it did prove to be too soon, even though I'd attended mostly every wk w/ my fiance/now husband for ~2 years. But to  be fair, the priest did have what seemed like an 'are you sure you want to do this, you can back out' talk the night before. One guy at my church took 50 years! No cookbook for this...
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Alveus Lacuna
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« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2009, 09:00:23 PM »

For my GO chrismation (I was RC, too), the instruction took 6 weeks, and they had announced a date whereby, I guess at the 'soonest' that set of catechumens could be received. That was six weeks.

Is this the standard practice in the Greek Orthodox Church?  A six week catechumenate?  I absolutely cannot believe that anyone would find that amount of time acceptable!  In the experience of my godfather (who has about 14 spiritual children who have entered the Church), those who are received quickly often burn out and stop attending after a few months. 

Once the initial wonder wears off, Orthodoxy is a very difficult and demanding faith.  Once you have the liturgy memorized, every week becomes very repetitive.  After a while, icons and incense won't get you through it all.

Anytime I start to get tired of it, I just remember my other options and embrace the pain in my legs.
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« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2009, 09:10:20 PM »

For my GO chrismation (I was RC, too), the instruction took 6 weeks, and they had announced a date whereby, I guess at the 'soonest' that set of catechumens could be received. That was six weeks.

Is this the standard practice in the Greek Orthodox Church?  A six week catechumenate?  I absolutely cannot believe that anyone would find that amount of time acceptable!  In the experience of my godfather (who has about 14 spiritual children who have entered the Church), those who are received quickly often burn out and stop attending after a few months. 

Once the initial wonder wears off, Orthodoxy is a very difficult and demanding faith.  Once you have the liturgy memorized, every week becomes very repetitive.  After a while, icons and incense won't get you through it all.

Anytime I start to get tired of it, I just remember my other options and embrace the pain in my legs.

Alveus,

The catechumate period varies greatly from parish to parish, priest to priest, and catechumate to catechumate. I have heard of some individuals being catechumens for 3 years, others for 3 months.
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« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2009, 11:54:24 PM »

Carole, I would certainly say that the catechumenate is a time to study, learn, and discern whether one wants to follow through with the desire to become Orthodox.  I think you should definitely go ahead with the classes, etc., which will give you more time and information to decide whether you want to make the commitment to the Church or not.


Most definitely. I started attending catechism myself as an inquirer.  Especially since your daughter desires to convert, I would definitely go with her.  I think you will find the catechism sessions to be very helpful and informative.
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believer74
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« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2009, 08:26:45 PM »

For my GO chrismation (I was RC, too), the instruction took 6 weeks, and they had announced a date whereby, I guess at the 'soonest' that set of catechumens could be received. That was six weeks.

Is this the standard practice in the Greek Orthodox Church?  A six week catechumenate?  I absolutely cannot believe that anyone would find that amount of time acceptable!  In the experience of my godfather (who has about 14 spiritual children who have entered the Church), those who are received quickly often burn out and stop attending after a few months. 

Once the initial wonder wears off, Orthodoxy is a very difficult and demanding faith.  Once you have the liturgy memorized, every week becomes very repetitive.  After a while, icons and incense won't get you through it all.

Anytime I start to get tired of it, I just remember my other options and embrace the pain in my legs.

I guess it depends on the person too. I had the overlapping knowledge from my RC roots, and really thought I was ready at the time I went through it. I could have probably used a couple more years myself.
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« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2009, 09:41:35 AM »

I don't see any downside to attending the classes. You don't have to make a commitment of any kind. Some do go on to become Orthodox - others don't. There's no one size fits all.
We had one guy in our parish that we affectionately referred to as the "Oldest Living Catechumen," because he took years to decide. My husband, OTOH, could hardly wait to finish the classes. He was chrismated after a few months, and has certainly not burned out - he was recently tonsured a sub-deacon and is very active in Orthodox prison ministry.
It took me almost a year longer to make up my mind, but then I tend to worry and overthink ("on the one hand, this, but then on the other hand, that") and he follows his heart!
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« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2009, 10:32:43 PM »

I've been contemplating a change from the Roman Catholic Church to Orthodoxy for nearly 5 years - and honestly I'm still unsure.

But my daughter (who most of you know is 13) has been steadfast in her desire to join the Orthodox Church for 3 years.  She feels she is ready to talk to the priest to see what she must to do be received into Orthodoxy.  Me?  As I said, I am still on the fence.  Though both my husband and I are completely supportive of her decision.

My question is ... Can a person begin instruction with an Orthodox priest toward learning what one needs to know to become Orthodox even if they're not 100% certain of their desire to convert? Essentially, could I go through the process with my daughter in order to understand what she will need from us by way of support of her religious beliefs and disciplines and to better understand Orthodoxy, even if it is not certain that I will choose to be Chrismated?

I know that in the Roman Catholic Church one can attend RCIA classes even if no definitive decision has been made or even just as a way to learn more about the Catholic Church.   I know that much will depend on the advice and guidance of the priest - but generally speaking would what I am considering be a reasonable request?

Go ahead and take the classes - they're not a commitment, and Orthodoxy has many opportunities to turn back before your decision is made (monasticism, conversion, ordination, etc.).

I think it would be a great double-blessing for you: one, in being supportive of your daughter and her quest - the study will go better if she has someone else to talk to about it that is also reading/learning the material.  It will also be a blessing for you, giving you a more thorough understanding of what you would "be getting into" if you decided to convert.
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« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2009, 10:48:28 PM »

Yep, seems like a win-win situation to me.
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« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2009, 11:17:20 PM »

Carole, might as well jump in feet first and eyes wide open.  You can always get out of the swimming pool and try again later.   Wink
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