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« on: December 04, 2009, 03:46:06 AM »

Hello all.  Before I get to the questions I'd like to give you a little back story.  My name is Mike, I am close to 30 years old, and it's been twelve years since I regularly attended a church.  I was raised Southern Baptist, and when I say that I don't mean just "accepted Jesus into my heart and went to church every Sunday", I mean my grandfathers were Baptist pastors, my mom either played piano or led music, and my dad was a youth pastor, and they were all "evangelists".  Much like the circuit riders of old, I grew up visiting many other churches and from my earliest memories I was part of the "ministry".  I was also mostly home or Christian schooled.

I could say that I left the Southern Baptists for a whole host of reasons, but what it came down was that I had come to the conclusion that the Christian life was supposed to be sacramental, and that a denial of the reality of the most basic sacraments of Christianity (Baptism and Communion, which were according to what I had been taught, merely symbolic) led to a denial of Christianity in every other aspect of life.  Marriage is tied into this as well, and I believe that the worst blow to the "sanctity of marriage" in the West over the past six hundred years was when the Protestants denied the sacramental nature of marriage.

Had I, at the time, known any Orthodox Christians, I might have considered the Orthodox church.  But I lived in Florida at the time and Orthodox churches required quite a drive.  I remember reading about the East-West schism in World History (at a Christian school this is considered an important topic, not mere gloss), and feeling that the East had the right of it, and wondering why Luther's followers didn't just get into contact with the Greek church (I since learned they did, they just didn't like the answers).  Unfortunately I was still very ignorant as to just what the Eastern Church is, and any inclinations I had toward Orthodoxy disappeared into "jurisdictions".  I say this not to chastise the situation of American Orthodoxy, but seriously you guys need better PR.

But, Orthodoxy was not to be at the time, and so I started to go to an Episcopal church.  But I was not about to commit myself to the Episcopal church, the seeds of her destruction being evident even then in 1997 (indeed, it seemed as if leaving a Baptist church for Episcopal was one jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire).

Truth be told, for the past twelve years I have been caught in an evangelists' trap.  While it was perfectly acceptable for me (so I thought) to go to any church that proclaimed Christ and receive communion, humbling myself who is admittedly very spiritually prideful to the congregation and it's quirks, it seemed that... well, as a Christian I am supposed to be leading my life in such a way as to proclaim Christ and lead others to His Church to participate in the body of Christ.  But what good is it my proclaiming Christ if I cannot ensure that those sheep I find will be well looked after?  If I accidentally led someone astray by my freedom...

There was a period recently when I actually considered starting my own church.  I hit my Bible, concentrating especially on the Acts and the Pastoral Epistles.  I studied the early Reformers, I restudied Aquinas (who I had read originally to understand the development of Western philosophy), then I restudied the early Church fathers.  More than ever I was convinced that the problem with the Protestants was that they threw out the baby with the baptismal water.  Then, taking my hammer and nails, I turned to the Orthodox Church and prepared to set everything right.

Imagine my surprise to find that there was nothing there to fix.  Sure, particular locales at particular times have had their problems, but as a whole the Orthodox Church has indeed kept the "faith once delivered".  Any hangups I had left were my problem.  And after a year of prayer and fasting there are no hang-ups left.  I am ready to join the Orthodox church, if she'll have me.

Which leads me to my few questions:

I am fortunate enough to live in a city with many jurisdictions, and plan on going to a church with services in English.  Unfortunately I live in the one neighborhood in the city that does not have an Orthodox church in walking distance.  While I do believe in a good parish system, and would be happy to go to the church that is closest would it be ill-advised to go to a church a little farther but with more frequent services?

Should I contact the local priest and ask permission to attend a Vespers' service as opposed to just waylaying him afterward?  This may be a silly question, but I'd hate to cause offense on my initial visit.

This simple sinner would also ask your prayers.  I've had a hard time getting to this point, and I need strength to overcome the obstacles I have left.
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« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2009, 04:12:42 AM »

Quote
I am fortunate enough to live in a city with many jurisdictions, and plan on going to a church with services in English.  Unfortunately I live in the one neighborhood in the city that does not have an Orthodox church in walking distance.  While I do believe in a good parish system, and would be happy to go to the church that is closest would it be ill-advised to go to a church a little farther but with more frequent services?
You can go to whatever church you'd be comfortable with, given the circumstances that exist in the American Orthodoxy, INMO.

Quote
Should I contact the local priest and ask permission to attend a Vespers' service as opposed to just waylaying him afterward?  This may be a silly question, but I'd hate to cause offense on my initial visit.
Orthodox services are open to absolutely everybody at any point, so there is no need to announce your visit. You can talk to the clergy afterwards.

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« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2009, 04:14:15 AM »

Which leads me to my few questions:

I am fortunate enough to live in a city with many jurisdictions, and plan on going to a church with services in English.  Unfortunately I live in the one neighborhood in the city that does not have an Orthodox church in walking distance.  While I do believe in a good parish system, and would be happy to go to the church that is closest would it be ill-advised to go to a church a little farther but with more frequent services?

Should I contact the local priest and ask permission to attend a Vespers' service as opposed to just waylaying him afterward?  This may be a silly question, but I'd hate to cause offense on my initial visit.

This simple sinner would also ask your prayers.  I've had a hard time getting to this point, and I need strength to overcome the obstacles I have left.

Hello and welcome to the forum!

As you are new to the faith, going to a larger church with more services and more activities may be beneficial to you. It's also important to remember that just because you choose to go to say, a Greek parish for your Sunday worship, doesn't mean you can't attend other parish's during the week.

Before settiling on one parish, I would try visiting all of them if you can.

Contact the priest prior to visiting, explain your situation, and I'm sure he'd be willing to help with transportation.

Heck, if you tell us where you are, one of us may be able to help you out!

God bless you on your journey, and welcome home!

In XC,

Maureen
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« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2009, 04:17:15 AM »

Welcome to the forum. The timespans are a bit different, and I was raised Campbellite not Baptist (which meant I understood Baptism as a sacrament, but that only made the emptiness of their 'communion' more obvious) but the general shape of my 'pre-Orthodox' life is similar to yours.

Prepare for interesting times :-)

Which leads me to my few questions:

I am fortunate enough to live in a city with many jurisdictions, and plan on going to a church with services in English.  Unfortunately I live in the one neighborhood in the city that does not have an Orthodox church in walking distance.  While I do believe in a good parish system, and would be happy to go to the church that is closest would it be ill-advised to go to a church a little farther but with more frequent services?

Not at all. If there was a church down the block that might be one thing, but if you have to drive anyway then go with the one that is able to give a fuller liturgical cycle. (At least while you are beginning. Once you have become more established, you might find, in consultation with your priest, that it would be good thing on your part to assist the closer church to grow, financially and population-wise, so that it too can support more frequent services. But right now your focus needs to be on what will best support your journey into the Church).

Quote
Should I contact the local priest and ask permission to attend a Vespers' service as opposed to just waylaying him afterward?  This may be a silly question, but I'd hate to cause offense on my initial visit.

From an etiquette point of view, you certainly won't offend anyone by just showing up and waylaying a priest. But from a practical point-of-view it might be a good idea to call ahead. Protestants are often surprised to find just how much demand we Orthodox put on our priests' time (that pesky 'sacramental' view means we keep the ministers of those sacraments *very* busy administering them) and giving the priest a chance to carve out a specific time for you is a good idea.
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« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2009, 05:12:29 AM »

From one former southern baptist to another, I say welcome! Grin 
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« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2009, 11:38:26 AM »

Welcome Mike to the Convert Issues Forum!

The purpose of the Convert issues forum is to provide a a place on the OC.Net where inquirers like yourself may ask your questions about the Orthodox Faith in a safe and supportive forum. We hope that you will be able to use this forum to understand what are the basic teachings and practices of the Orthodox churches. WE will try to provide direct and simple answers with sources you can go to and read or discuss your issues more in depth.

We encourage you to contact an Orthodox preist near you to discuss the faith and get more personal attention  and spiritual direction as you study the Orthodox Faith.

Once again welcome to the Convert Issues Forum!

In Christ,
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« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2009, 12:11:03 PM »

Hello all.  Before I get to the questions I'd like to give you a little back story.  My name is Mike, I am close to 30 years old, and it's been twelve years since I regularly attended a church.  I was raised Southern Baptist, and when I say that I don't mean just "accepted Jesus into my heart and went to church every Sunday", I mean my grandfathers were Baptist pastors, my mom either played piano or led music, and my dad was a youth pastor, and they were all "evangelists".  Much like the circuit riders of old, I grew up visiting many other churches and from my earliest memories I was part of the "ministry".  I was also mostly home or Christian schooled.

I could say that I left the Southern Baptists for a whole host of reasons, but what it came down was that I had come to the conclusion that the Christian life was supposed to be sacramental, and that a denial of the reality of the most basic sacraments of Christianity (Baptism and Communion, which were according to what I had been taught, merely symbolic) led to a denial of Christianity in every other aspect of life.  Marriage is tied into this as well, and I believe that the worst blow to the "sanctity of marriage" in the West over the past six hundred years was when the Protestants denied the sacramental nature of marriage.

Had I, at the time, known any Orthodox Christians, I might have considered the Orthodox church.  But I lived in Florida at the time and Orthodox churches required quite a drive.  I remember reading about the East-West schism in World History (at a Christian school this is considered an important topic, not mere gloss), and feeling that the East had the right of it, and wondering why Luther's followers didn't just get into contact with the Greek church (I since learned they did, they just didn't like the answers).  Unfortunately I was still very ignorant as to just what the Eastern Church is, and any inclinations I had toward Orthodoxy disappeared into "jurisdictions".  I say this not to chastise the situation of American Orthodoxy, but seriously you guys need better PR.

But, Orthodoxy was not to be at the time, and so I started to go to an Episcopal church.  But I was not about to commit myself to the Episcopal church, the seeds of her destruction being evident even then in 1997 (indeed, it seemed as if leaving a Baptist church for Episcopal was one jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire).

Truth be told, for the past twelve years I have been caught in an evangelists' trap.  While it was perfectly acceptable for me (so I thought) to go to any church that proclaimed Christ and receive communion, humbling myself who is admittedly very spiritually prideful to the congregation and it's quirks, it seemed that... well, as a Christian I am supposed to be leading my life in such a way as to proclaim Christ and lead others to His Church to participate in the body of Christ.  But what good is it my proclaiming Christ if I cannot ensure that those sheep I find will be well looked after?  If I accidentally led someone astray by my freedom...

There was a period recently when I actually considered starting my own church.  I hit my Bible, concentrating especially on the Acts and the Pastoral Epistles.  I studied the early Reformers, I restudied Aquinas (who I had read originally to understand the development of Western philosophy), then I restudied the early Church fathers.  More than ever I was convinced that the problem with the Protestants was that they threw out the baby with the baptismal water.  Then, taking my hammer and nails, I turned to the Orthodox Church and prepared to set everything right.

Imagine my surprise to find that there was nothing there to fix.  Sure, particular locales at particular times have had their problems, but as a whole the Orthodox Church has indeed kept the "faith once delivered".  Any hangups I had left were my problem.  And after a year of prayer and fasting there are no hang-ups left.  I am ready to join the Orthodox church, if she'll have me.

Which leads me to my few questions:

I am fortunate enough to live in a city with many jurisdictions, and plan on going to a church with services in English.  Unfortunately I live in the one neighborhood in the city that does not have an Orthodox church in walking distance.  While I do believe in a good parish system, and would be happy to go to the church that is closest would it be ill-advised to go to a church a little farther but with more frequent services?

Should I contact the local priest and ask permission to attend a Vespers' service as opposed to just waylaying him afterward?  This may be a silly question, but I'd hate to cause offense on my initial visit.

This simple sinner would also ask your prayers.  I've had a hard time getting to this point, and I need strength to overcome the obstacles I have left.

It seems like we have alot in common.....well..as far as our background goes.

 Welcome to the boards, and if you are still living in Chicago, then hopefully we can meet in May of 2010. The Brotherhood of Saint Moses is holding a conference there.........hopefully you can come. I'm sure we will have alot to talk about.

I'm sure there are alot of good parishes in Chicago, but since your background is similar to my own......it would probably be wise to check out All Saints. Maybe Isa Almisry can help you.....since he lives in the same city as you.


Oh, and don't worry about the distance, I drive 20 minutes to my parish.....eventhough there are like three 5 minutes down the street from me.







ICXC NIKA
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« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2009, 12:30:23 PM »

Welcome to the forum, Mike!

Honestly, it just astonished me when I read these amazing words you wrote: "the Christian life should be sacramental."

I believe you and I are somewhat similar in that I left the church where I had been baptized (a Presbyterian denomination) also for this very reason - that I felt a deep void as far as the Holy Mysteries go. This void was immediately filled when I was blessed to be received into the Orthodox Church.

Like you, I, too, live very far from big cities; the closest canonical Orthodox parish is in 50 miles from my home, and it happens to be Greek. I love it though, even though I am not Greek. Neither my wife nor I feel "foreign" there. The services are mostly in English, but even when our priest proclaims or chants something in the Greek language, I like it. I have actually learned a lot of Greek words and expressions.

May the Lord bless you richly and keep you on your path to the Truth!

George
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« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2009, 02:10:34 PM »

Welcome, FormerReformer!

My father's side of the family is Southern Baptist, and my family history has a long line of Baptist preachers going all of the way back to the beginning of the 18th century colonies here in the Americas, and before that all the way back to the French Huguenots.  I have a long history of Anabaptism and Calvinism in my blood.  Ironically, my mother is a Roman Catholic!

I would just go to a service and talk with the priest afterward.  Having done a lot of research, you might feel as though you're all ready to be Orthodox, but actually doing it rather than reading about it is something else altogether.  Brace yourself for the most difficult and glorious thing that you've ever done.
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« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2009, 02:31:22 PM »

Hello all.  Before I get to the questions I'd like to give you a little back story.  My name is Mike, I am close to 30 years old, and it's been twelve years since I regularly attended a church.  I was raised Southern Baptist, and when I say that I don't mean just "accepted Jesus into my heart and went to church every Sunday", I mean my grandfathers were Baptist pastors, my mom either played piano or led music, and my dad was a youth pastor, and they were all "evangelists".  Much like the circuit riders of old, I grew up visiting many other churches and from my earliest memories I was part of the "ministry".  I was also mostly home or Christian schooled.

I could say that I left the Southern Baptists for a whole host of reasons, but what it came down was that I had come to the conclusion that the Christian life was supposed to be sacramental, and that a denial of the reality of the most basic sacraments of Christianity (Baptism and Communion, which were according to what I had been taught, merely symbolic) led to a denial of Christianity in every other aspect of life.  Marriage is tied into this as well, and I believe that the worst blow to the "sanctity of marriage" in the West over the past six hundred years was when the Protestants denied the sacramental nature of marriage.

Had I, at the time, known any Orthodox Christians, I might have considered the Orthodox church.  But I lived in Florida at the time and Orthodox churches required quite a drive.  I remember reading about the East-West schism in World History (at a Christian school this is considered an important topic, not mere gloss), and feeling that the East had the right of it, and wondering why Luther's followers didn't just get into contact with the Greek church (I since learned they did, they just didn't like the answers).  Unfortunately I was still very ignorant as to just what the Eastern Church is, and any inclinations I had toward Orthodoxy disappeared into "jurisdictions".  I say this not to chastise the situation of American Orthodoxy, but seriously you guys need better PR.

But, Orthodoxy was not to be at the time, and so I started to go to an Episcopal church.  But I was not about to commit myself to the Episcopal church, the seeds of her destruction being evident even then in 1997 (indeed, it seemed as if leaving a Baptist church for Episcopal was one jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire).

Truth be told, for the past twelve years I have been caught in an evangelists' trap.  While it was perfectly acceptable for me (so I thought) to go to any church that proclaimed Christ and receive communion, humbling myself who is admittedly very spiritually prideful to the congregation and it's quirks, it seemed that... well, as a Christian I am supposed to be leading my life in such a way as to proclaim Christ and lead others to His Church to participate in the body of Christ.  But what good is it my proclaiming Christ if I cannot ensure that those sheep I find will be well looked after?  If I accidentally led someone astray by my freedom...

There was a period recently when I actually considered starting my own church.  I hit my Bible, concentrating especially on the Acts and the Pastoral Epistles.  I studied the early Reformers, I restudied Aquinas (who I had read originally to understand the development of Western philosophy), then I restudied the early Church fathers.  More than ever I was convinced that the problem with the Protestants was that they threw out the baby with the baptismal water.  Then, taking my hammer and nails, I turned to the Orthodox Church and prepared to set everything right.

Imagine my surprise to find that there was nothing there to fix.  Sure, particular locales at particular times have had their problems, but as a whole the Orthodox Church has indeed kept the "faith once delivered".  Any hangups I had left were my problem.  And after a year of prayer and fasting there are no hang-ups left.  I am ready to join the Orthodox church, if she'll have me.

Which leads me to my few questions:

I am fortunate enough to live in a city with many jurisdictions, and plan on going to a church with services in English.  Unfortunately I live in the one neighborhood in the city that does not have an Orthodox church in walking distance.  While I do believe in a good parish system, and would be happy to go to the church that is closest would it be ill-advised to go to a church a little farther but with more frequent services?

Should I contact the local priest and ask permission to attend a Vespers' service as opposed to just waylaying him afterward?  This may be a silly question, but I'd hate to cause offense on my initial visit.

This simple sinner would also ask your prayers.  I've had a hard time getting to this point, and I need strength to overcome the obstacles I have left.

As you live in Chicago, can you PM me where exactly?

Can I plug my present parish, All Saints?
http://www.allsaintsorthodox.org/

The parish started as a Bible Study at Wheaton College.  The priest is a graduate of Southern Baptist, and self described "recovering Episcopalian."  The founder of Ancient Faith Radio
http://ancientfaith.com/

John and Tanya Maddex came from our parish and we got them started.  When they came to us, John was director of Moody Bible Institute Radio.

Services are all in English (except the "secret prayers" the priests says: Fr. Patrick Reardon tends to do that in Latin or sometimes Hebrew.  Besides the convert core (which still is coming), we have a number of Greeks, a few Arabs, Carpatho-Russians, Russians, and a LOT of Romanians.

We are on the North West side of the city.  Not far from the Blue Line stop on Addison, even closer from Irving Park on the Pulaski south bound bus.
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« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2009, 02:41:56 PM »

Welcome to the forum!   Smiley
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« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2009, 05:17:07 PM »

Welcome to the forum, FormerReformer,

I hope that we can answer any questions you may have so feel free to ask away.

Like Heorhij, I was overjoyed to read your statement that the "Christian Life should be sacramental."  And the LIfe in Christ is sacramental.  Communion with God happens when we are united, both spiritually AND physically, to our Lord through his life-giving mysteries (e.g. eucharist, baptism, chrismation, confession, etc.).  The goal of the Christian is to transform his very self, both mind AND body and become like Christ.  Simple intellectual assent will not suffice.  I wish you well on your journey.
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« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2009, 02:34:00 AM »

Hello! Welcome home! I was raised a Baptist/Catholic-go figure Grin .  My prayers are with you! 
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« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2009, 02:48:36 AM »

Thank you all for your many and kind responses.  You were all extremely helpful and supportive, and you even helped me on my decision as to which church to start my journey in, which is more than I had hoped.

Ortho Cat- I will admit to laughing out loud during my lurker phase at some of your recollections of the Southern Baptists, not in mockery but in sympathy.    Cheesy

Heorhij- "I believe you and I are somewhat similar in that I left the church where I had been baptized (a Presbyterian denomination)"  

I actually had an interesting conversation with my mom a few weeks ago.  It seems she's become the music director of a Presbyterian church and they're having her take a crash course in Reformed theology (which, despite the screen name, I have never been a Calvinist), and wanted to know what I knew of it.  It seemed she was having a hard time swallowing Calvinist predestination, for some reason  Roll Eyes

Alveus Lacuna- "Having done a lot of research, you might feel as though you're all ready to be Orthodox, but actually doing it rather than reading about it is something else altogether.  Brace yourself for the most difficult and glorious thing that you've ever done."

Hence my request for prayers.  Even without the "conversion element" I'm going to have to overcome a months-long strong tendency toward home-boundedness.  I've already missed two perfectly good opportunities (rare days-off coinciding with Wednesday vespers).  And believe me, I don't think this is going to be easy in the slightest.  But then, I never asked Him for easy (though there are times I wish I had!).

"Ironically, my mother is a Roman Catholic!"

My dad's side has a similar quirk, where my grandpa is the lone Protestant amongst a sea of Italian Catholics.  A little of this history can be seen in my dad's name (which I share[and it's II not Jr, yes I know, very fancy]), which in Roman tradition has us having very Roman saint as our middle names.

Scamandrius- "The goal of the Christian is to transform his very self, both mind AND body and become like Christ.  Simple intellectual assent will not suffice."

I have always agreed with the first sentence, and one of the things I have fallen in love with about Orthodoxy is how much emphasis she places on this.  The second statement has become painfully obvious after twelve years of living with "intellectual assent" as my main religious activity.  Indeed, my feelings had been drawing me to Orthodoxy for quite some time, it was my stupid intellect that needed to catch up!

ialmisry and jnorm88 - I have already pmed my replies.  Thank you, you have no idea how much this helps.

witega- "I was raised Campbellite not Baptist (which meant I understood Baptism as a sacrament, but that only made the emptiness of their 'communion' more obvious)"

I always found it funny how the Baptists emphasized the importance of a "believers baptism" while maintaining that it was a symbolic act.  If the act is merely a symbol and has no inherent grace, then what does it matter at what stage of life or what condition of belief the person being baptized is in?  As far as the Lord's Supper, I would say I definitely agree with the Southern Baptists: grape juice and crackers are not a sacrament  Wink  

Handmaiden of God and Augustin-  Thank you for your advice and swift responses.

SolEx01- thank you, glad to be here.

And, while I was typing, mersch showed up- Bapti-catholic?  So, like, what were you allowed to do?  Grin

Again, thank you everyone.  With God's help I will be attending a Vespers service tomorrow (and yes, I do understand the father won't have much time to talk with an inquirer.  Confessions, and we're all such sinners).  It'll be a little while to rearrange my work schedule to attend Divine Liturgy, my manager is on a long vacation at the moment (smart man, the temperature just dove this week!), and we're required to work weekends.  

Just out of curiosity, what can I expect as regards baptism?  It's not a deal breaker for me to get re-baptized, just a little bit more fun to explain to the folks.  I was baptized full immersion (only once, but he held me down there long enough to be triple) in the name of the Trinity.








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« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2009, 03:25:32 AM »

As far as re-baptism goes, it depends on the jurisdiction and the bishop. I was told that I would be initiated into the Church by chrismation, since I was fully immersed and baptised in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
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« Reply #15 on: December 05, 2009, 03:34:51 AM »

Just out of curiosity, what can I expect as regards baptism?  It's not a deal breaker for me to get re-baptized, just a little bit more fun to explain to the folks.  I was baptized full immersion (only once, but he held me down there long enough to be triple) in the name of the Trinity.

In a baptist church I presume? Then almost certainly you will be received into Orthodoxy via baptism. Each jurisdiction has its own guidelines with varying amounts of leeway for episcopal discretion, but I've never heard of anyone from a denomination with a non-sacramental view of baptism being received any other way than the full baptismal rite.
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« Reply #16 on: December 05, 2009, 05:21:05 AM »

Again, it varies greatly by jurisdiction and bishop. I was baptised SB and am going to be received by chrismation.
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« Reply #17 on: December 05, 2009, 12:20:50 PM »

Just out of curiosity, what can I expect as regards baptism?  It's not a deal breaker for me to get re-baptized, just a little bit more fun to explain to the folks.  I was baptized full immersion (only once, but he held me down there long enough to be triple) in the name of the Trinity.

In a baptist church I presume? Then almost certainly you will be received into Orthodoxy via baptism. Each jurisdiction has its own guidelines with varying amounts of leeway for episcopal discretion, but I've never heard of anyone from a denomination with a non-sacramental view of baptism being received any other way than the full baptismal rite.

Ortho_cat is right.  It depends on the jurisdiction.  I was received into the Church through chrismation - not baptism.  I was Pentecostal, and was baptized in full immersion in the name of the Trinity.  I was told that the chrismation essentially filled the areas of my baptism that had not been sacramental. "If the Church accepts without rebaptizing, she accepts just a "form" of a heretical or schismatical baptism and places this "form" in a "content of grace" at the moment when the individual is accepting Orthodoxy." I could be explaining it wrong - but ultimately, you need to talk to the priest - and it will be up to the bishop and jurisdiction whether you need to be baptized.

Here's a link (http://www.holy-trinity.org/liturgics/rodzianko-acceptance.html) from the OCA Publication "Light of Life" about converts being received into the church via baptism, chrismation, or confession.  This is the OCA view - it is different with some other jurisdictions (and possibly varies even within the OCA - based on the bishop).  Ultimately - talk to your priest about it.
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« Reply #18 on: December 05, 2009, 12:23:55 PM »

Just out of curiosity, what can I expect as regards baptism?  It's not a deal breaker for me to get re-baptized, just a little bit more fun to explain to the folks.  I was baptized full immersion (only once, but he held me down there long enough to be triple) in the name of the Trinity.

In a baptist church I presume? Then almost certainly you will be received into Orthodoxy via baptism. Each jurisdiction has its own guidelines with varying amounts of leeway for episcopal discretion, but I've never heard of anyone from a denomination with a non-sacramental view of baptism being received any other way than the full baptismal rite.

It varies based on the jurisdiction.  There are many examples of people being received via chrismation (not baptism) into the Orthodox Church from a denomination with a non-sacramental view of baptism.  I know this - because I am one of those people myself.
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« Reply #19 on: December 05, 2009, 12:54:17 PM »

Welcome to the forum from another ex-Southern Baptist. Smiley  Lord, have mercy on your servant and guide his footsteps!
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« Reply #20 on: December 05, 2009, 02:07:55 PM »

Welcome to the forum and may God guide you on the right path.

There is a very nice parish in Chicago called Christ the Savior. My brother goes there. It is a beautiful parish under the OCA. Check out their site here: http://xcthesavior.org/ The priest, Fr. John is a great priest who baptized my oldest nephew and will also baptize my third nephew in probably January.
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« Reply #21 on: December 05, 2009, 11:02:53 PM »

Quote
I could say that I left the Southern Baptists for a whole host of reasons, but what it came down was that I had come to the conclusion that the Christian life was supposed to be sacramental, and that a denial of the reality of the most basic sacraments of Christianity (Baptism and Communion, which were according to what I had been taught, merely symbolic) led to a denial of Christianity in every other aspect of life.  Marriage is tied into this as well, and I believe that the worst blow to the "sanctity of marriage" in the West over the past six hundred years was when the Protestants denied the sacramental nature of marriage.

Welcome. I'm also someone who currently attends a SB church looking to convert. For me also the fact that the early church was sacramental opened my eyes to look at everything else. I've also been thinking the same thing about marriage. I'm struck with how Holy marriage is intended to be and what a Holy 'thing' my marriage is. I can see now how that view that "it's just a ceremony" degrades marriage and leads to people just living together without being married.
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« Reply #22 on: December 06, 2009, 02:31:57 AM »

Well, I just got back from my first Vespers (and Ialmisry, I hope I gave sufficient directions back to the interstate, didn't get you lost, and you had a safe trip home.  Thank you, again, for the ride.), and it was everything I expected and more.  The members were very welcoming, and while I didn't have a chance to talk to the father, the deacon was quite helpful.  And tonights' patron saint?  Nicholas, as universal as saints get, barring the Apostles  (I wish I could attend the Divine Liturgy tomorrow).  I am looking forward to this Wednesday.

Thank you everyone who responded to the Baptism question.  The general gist of the replies was pretty much as I was expecting based on my reading.

Man, a lot of ex-Southern Baptists coming out of the woodwork.  Good to see you here, guys.  

Andrew, Christ the Savior is indeed one of the churches I'm thinking of checking out, and the second closest to me.  Unfortunately, my work schedule at the moment conflicts with all their services but the 6:00 am Thursday Divine Liturgy.

DaveInCSA- The fact that in our society anything ceremonial, religious or secular, is automatically disregarded as some sort of historical trivia that can be discarded the moment the ceremony is done with is a sad indicator of our times.  Ceremonies make statements, they call witness to the words and actions being performed therein, and are supposed to carry the impression that the words and actions will be followed by deeds in line with those words and actions.  Today, most people are more than willing to accept whatever ceremony comes with whatever position they wish to be in, and then proceed to live their lives as if the ceremony had never happened.  This is just as true for presidents, husbands, and bishops (not a jab at any current or particular president, husband, or bishop).  But by denying the sacramental  nature of marriage what we have done is to truly deny the "sanctity" of marriage, well before the ceremony even takes place!
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« Reply #23 on: December 06, 2009, 05:10:15 AM »

I'm struck with how Holy marriage is intended to be and what a Holy 'thing' my marriage is. I can see now how that view that "it's just a ceremony" degrades marriage and leads to people just living together without being married.

Bingo.
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« Reply #24 on: December 06, 2009, 05:15:29 AM »


DaveInCSA- The fact that in our society anything ceremonial, religious or secular, is automatically disregarded as some sort of historical trivia that can be discarded the moment the ceremony is done with is a sad indicator of our times.  Ceremonies make statements, they call witness to the words and actions being performed therein, and are supposed to carry the impression that the words and actions will be followed by deeds in line with those words and actions.  Today, most people are more than willing to accept whatever ceremony comes with whatever position they wish to be in, and then proceed to live their lives as if the ceremony had never happened.  This is just as true for presidents, husbands, and bishops (not a jab at any current or particular president, husband, or bishop).  But by denying the sacramental  nature of marriage what we have done is to truly deny the "sanctity" of marriage, well before the ceremony even takes place!

Right on. That God indeed conveys His grace to us through Holy Matrimony is unfortunately a forgotten truth to many.
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« Reply #25 on: December 06, 2009, 05:17:33 AM »



Man, a lot of ex-Southern Baptists coming out of the woodwork.  Good to see you here, guys.  


One thing my priest told me when I first met with him is that my southern baptist upbringing was an excellent preparation for Orthodoxy. I'm not exactly sure what he meant by that, however...  laugh
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« Reply #26 on: December 06, 2009, 06:58:45 AM »

Hello formerReformer....as a "cradle" Orthodox Christian I'd like to welcome you to the forum.
Check out Holy Trinity Cathedral in Chicago..its a wonderful place.
I think we "convert" every day that we choose Christ.
Orthodoxy cannot be studied ..Orthodoxy must be lived!

I'll light a candle for you at Divine Liturgy today.

May St.Nicholas guide you on your journey!

Stephen
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« Reply #27 on: December 07, 2009, 11:02:41 AM »

“Imagine my surprise to find that there was nothing there to fix…as a whole the Orthodox Church has indeed kept the "faith once delivered".  Any hangups I had left were my problem.”

Amen, brother!

I love this explanation of the Sacraments by Fr. Thomas Fitzgerald: “One of the best-known prayers of the Orthodox Church speaks of the spirit of God being "present in all places and filling all things." This profound affirmation is basic to Orthodoxy's understanding of God and His relationship to the world. We believe that God is truly near to us. Although He cannot be seen, God is not detached from His creation. Through the persons of The Risen Christ and the Holy Spirit, God is present and active in our lives and in the creation about us. All our life and the creation of which we are an important part, points, to and reveals God.

There are special experiences in our corporate life as Orthodox Christians when the perception of God's presence and actions is heightened and celebrated. We call these events of the Church Sacraments. Traditionally, the Sacraments have been known as Mysteries in the Orthodox Church. This description emphasizes that in these special events of the Church, God discloses Himself through the prayers and actions of His people.

Not only do the Sacraments disclose and reveal God to us, but also they serve to make us receptive to God. All the Sacraments affect our personal relationship to God and to one another. The Holy Spirit works through the Sacraments. He leads us to Christ who unites us with the Father. By participating in the Sacraments, we grow closer to God and to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit. This process of deification, or theosis, as it is known by Orthodoxy, takes place not in isolation from others, but within the context of a believing community. Although the Sacraments are addressed to each of us by name, they are experiences which involve the entire Church.”

More here:http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith7105

Reading the lives of the Saints, particularly the modern ones, sealed the deal for me. I thought, “This is what I want to be,” and the Orthodox Church offered me the way to do it. Not much progress, sad to say, but I’m workin’ on it!
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« Reply #28 on: December 09, 2009, 09:21:31 PM »

Snow + Buses = leave about 15 minutes earlier for Vespers.  Oh well  Cry

On the plus side, I can now get to bed early enough tonight to see a diving liturgy tomorrow morning  Grin

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Quote from: FormerReformer on December 06, 2009, 02:31:57 AM


Man, a lot of ex-Southern Baptists coming out of the woodwork.  Good to see you here, guys. 


One thing my priest told me when I first met with him is that my southern baptist upbringing was an excellent preparation for Orthodoxy. I'm not exactly sure what he meant by that, however...  laugh

I can see it.  I have often compared my Baptist upbringing to childhood memories of family functions.  Being a Baptist is a lot like being seated at the Christian "kiddie table", where the children sit contentedly munching away at their crackers and grape juice ("wine"! we'd say to each other when they handed it to us), meat cut up carefully into bite size portions, and pretend to have adult conversation.  But I am done with milk, done with pretend food, and now I want good strong meat.

katherineofdixie- The saints were by far the easiest difference to overcome between upbringing and Orthodoxy.  One wonders if Protestants weren't so against sainthood they might not be in the problem that most of the mainline churches are in.  A church which knows her saints are watching her very carefully and making a full report to the Throne is a church that is not quite so quick to leap at innovation, or to sneer at the authority of the descendants of the apostles. 
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« Reply #29 on: December 09, 2009, 11:57:56 PM »

Or as my priest put it...it's like graduating from baby formula to filet mignon!  Grin
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« Reply #30 on: December 13, 2009, 12:31:32 AM »

There is an antiphon sung by the women during the hymns to the Blessed Theotokos at the Antiochian parish I've gone to.  I can't make out what they're singing, and keep forgetting to ask someone after services.  It's no sort of issue for me, and it sounds absolutely beautiful, I'm just curious as to what is being said.
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« Reply #31 on: December 13, 2009, 02:44:21 AM »

Those troparia change from week to week.
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« Reply #32 on: December 13, 2009, 02:58:51 AM »

My parish helpfully prints the troparia in the bulletin, but if that's not the case for your parish, the Antiochian Archdiocese posts the Sunday liturgical guides online so you can look them up: http://www.antiochian.org/liturgical-guide

Along with the entire music library here: http://www.antiochian.org/music/library
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« Reply #33 on: December 13, 2009, 03:22:20 AM »

O Virgin, verily, the shadow of the law hath been annulled by the coming of thy grace; for as the
bush was burning but not consumed, so didst thou give birth while yet a Virgin. And instead of the
pillar of fire, the Sun of justice shone forth; and instead of Moses, Christ the Savior of our souls. 

Exceeding glorious beyond the power of thought are thy mysteries, O Theotokos, for being sealed in
purity and preserved in virginity, thou wast acknowledged to be in very truth, the Mother who didst
bring forth the true God, wherefore, entreat Him to save our souls.

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« Reply #34 on: December 06, 2012, 12:50:24 AM »

Not to resurrect an old thread needlessly:

Today marks the third anniversary of the first day I stepped into an Orthodox Church.

Glory to God in Highest and on Earth, peace and goodwill to Man.

Pray unto God for me, Holy St. Nicholas, for thou art well pleasing unto God, the speedy helper and intercessor for my soul.
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