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Author Topic: Greek or Antiochian Church  (Read 5077 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #45 on: February 09, 2010, 07:51:37 AM »

but the people who always come in after the Great Entrance or (worse yet) after the Epiclesis.

If people came after the Epiclesis at my Mission, they would stay in Church for 15 minutes, lol.
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« Reply #46 on: March 03, 2010, 10:36:16 PM »

I've been to a couple of pre-Sancrified liturgies. The Antiochians here are nearly a carbon-copy of the Greeks, with one main difference. For those not of the tribe (Greek), you might be a bit lost there. The Antiochian service here uses the same chant tradition as the Greek, but the entire service is English with some Arabic Lord have mercy's sprinkled in. I'm not sure about the Sunday Divine Liturgy, but suspect it will be remarkably close to the Greek - I have been reliably told that the English quotient is even higher than it was a few yeas ago. The parish priest asked me if I had ever seen something like that before (pre-Sancrified) and was surprised, "yes, it's almost exactly the same as the Greek."

Lent is a liturgically rich season - Saturday Vespers, pre-sanctified. Check if your Antiochians have Compline Monday, that's only about an hour.

The pre-Sanctified service book reminds me of the young adult Choose Your Own adventure books. "If this is the third or fifth week of Lent, go to this page, if this is the second or fourth, go to this page." But you all wind up in the same place towards the end.

I was just starting to take a real liking to the Greek liturgy and hymnody and then the Antiochians came along ...

« Last Edit: March 03, 2010, 10:40:23 PM by John Larocque » Logged
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« Reply #47 on: March 03, 2010, 10:57:11 PM »

The parrishoners though were not overly welcoming.  I thought that most OC welcomed children?  Our child was by no means disruptive but just slighty excitable (as you would expect from any 15 month old).  My wife ended up leaving in the middle of the DL because of a couple unhappy looks from a couple parrishoners.  

Of course, I wasn't there, so take this with a large pillar of salt, but this doesn't sound unwelcoming at all. A couple of unhappy looks from parishioners about an excitable small child? That's it?
It seems to be quite common practice to take children out when they become a little disruptive. And some people are more or less bothered by small children and the noise they make.
Nothing out of the ordinary, and not a horrible unwelcoming experience at all, it seems to me. Of course, as I said, I wasn't there.

This was my first experience at a OC DL so maybe this was just the way it is, or maybe not, either way it does not matter and I am not soured.  What does matter is that I enjoyed being there during the DL. My longtime prayers were answered in that I was able to make it to a DL.  One question though.  Is it common for parrishoners to come in late or leave when they desire?  
Not in OCA churches and definitely not in ROCOR churches.  I am saddened that you didn't feel your child was extremely welcome.  Decades ago I was lovingly "scolded" by two different priests for taking my moderately fussy children out of Divine Liturgy.  They both told me that children make only holy noise.  Our church needs children and all parishioners should be very excited about seeing them. Smiley
« Last Edit: March 03, 2010, 10:58:04 PM by ms.hoorah » Logged
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« Reply #48 on: March 03, 2010, 11:32:10 PM »

Why should one be bothered about someone's being late for church? I don't notice it most of the times.
I'm only bothered and amused by laymen wearing long and obvious prayer-ropes.

Sorry, I cannot help myself. It is a bit strange that a person who is bothered and bemused by laymen (I am assuming readers) wearing long robes is not a bit bothered about someone's being late to church.
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« Reply #49 on: March 04, 2010, 08:16:27 AM »

I've been to a couple of pre-Sancrified liturgies. The Antiochians here are nearly a carbon-copy of the Greeks, with one main difference. For those not of the tribe (Greek), you might be a bit lost there. The Antiochian service here uses the same chant tradition as the Greek, but the entire service is English with some Arabic Lord have mercy's sprinkled in. I'm not sure about the Sunday Divine Liturgy, but suspect it will be remarkably close to the Greek - I have been reliably told that the English quotient is even higher than it was a few yeas ago. The parish priest asked me if I had ever seen something like that before (pre-Sancrified) and was surprised, "yes, it's almost exactly the same as the Greek."

Lent is a liturgically rich season - Saturday Vespers, pre-sanctified. Check if your Antiochians have Compline Monday, that's only about an hour.

The pre-Sanctified service book reminds me of the young adult Choose Your Own adventure books. "If this is the third or fifth week of Lent, go to this page, if this is the second or fourth, go to this page." But you all wind up in the same place towards the end.

I was just starting to take a real liking to the Greek liturgy and hymnody and then the Antiochians came along ...


Re the amount of liturgical Arabic & English in the Sunday liturgy: In our parish it can vary widely (& I presume it is similar in other parishes). Some weeks we sing the Trisagion, the hymn of the Cherubim,  the responses of the Anaphora etc. mostly in Arabic, while other weeks almost all in English, or approx. 1/2 of each other weeks. Of course, the creed, the Lord's prayer, confession before communion we always profess in English.
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« Reply #50 on: March 04, 2010, 11:07:20 AM »

Why should one be bothered about someone's being late for church? I don't notice it most of the times.
I'm only bothered and amused by laymen wearing long and obvious prayer-ropes.

Sorry, I cannot help myself. It is a bit strange that a person who is bothered and bemused by laymen (I am assuming readers) wearing long robes is not a bit bothered about someone's being late to church.

If I may, I believe you mis-read him. He wrote prayer-ropes, not prayer robes. Smiley
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« Reply #51 on: March 05, 2010, 10:24:44 PM »

Quote
Not in OCA churches and definitely not in ROCOR churches.  I am saddened that you didn't feel your child was extremely welcome.  Decades ago I was lovingly "scolded" by two different priests for taking my moderately fussy children out of Divine Liturgy.  They both told me that children make only holy noise.  Our church needs children and all parishioners should be very excited about seeing them. Smiley


No need to be saddened, maybe it was just this particular day.  After more reflection I would attend that church again. 
« Last Edit: March 05, 2010, 10:34:32 PM by Fr. George » Logged
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« Reply #52 on: March 26, 2010, 01:23:19 AM »

doesn't anyone here know Greek?
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« Reply #53 on: March 26, 2010, 09:37:17 AM »

Very few American Orthodox Converts read Koine Greek. Many Greek Orthodox do not read Koine Greek, the Liturgical Greek used in Services, except phoenetically. Many Russian know Church Slavonic by memory but can not tell you what the words mean. This is very similar to the Roman Catholics when Latin was used in the past did not know all the Latin words being used.

I am sure that some of the Clergy that respond to this board understand Greek, especially the Greek Orthodox Clergy who are required to know enough Greek to provide confession to Greek speakers. To converse with them in Greek, May I suggest our foreign language forums where the use of languages is allowed and supported by appropriate fonts and  native as well as educated speakers. As the primary language of this board is English, we ask that you do not use non-English languages on the other forums without a translation of the text included. Also please remember that many computer systems do not support foreign language alphabets like Greek, Russian, or Chinese---on these sysetms it will appear as gobbley-gook and be unreadable.

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« Reply #54 on: March 26, 2010, 10:51:49 AM »

Very few American Orthodox Converts read Koine Greek. Many Greek Orthodox do not read Koine Greek, the Liturgical Greek used in Services, except phoenetically. Many Russian know Church Slavonic by memory but can not tell you what the words mean. This is very similar to the Roman Catholics when Latin was used in the past did not know all the Latin words being used.

I am sure that some of the Clergy that respond to this board understand Greek, especially the Greek Orthodox Clergy who are required to know enough Greek to provide confession to Greek speakers. To converse with them in Greek, May I suggest our foreign language forums where the use of languages is allowed and supported by appropriate fonts and  native as well as educated speakers. As the primary language of this board is English, we ask that you do not use non-English languages on the other forums without a translation of the text included. Also please remember that many computer systems do not support foreign language alphabets like Greek, Russian, or Chinese---on these sysetms it will appear as gobbley-gook and be unreadable.

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This reminds me of an anecdote from the early days of English Divine Liturgies in the late 60's or early 70's in our ACROD parish. One of the parishioners, middle-aged at the time, approached my father, the pastor, to complain about the trend. My father gently asked her if she wasn't able to follow the Liturgy and participate more fully now that it was in English. She glumly nodded but said, " I know 'Slavish' (a common misnomer for Slavonic) very well. My Baba (grandmother) taught it to me!" My father asked her to explain further. She went on, " Well, take that 'Svjatýj Bóže, svjatýj Kripkíj,svjatýj Bezsmértnyj, pomíluj nas.' (The Thrice Holy Hymn or Trisagion) That's about Jesus coming out of the crypt on Easter!" (i.e. 'Kripkij' ('Mighty One') being confused with the English noun 'crypt' by the woman.) So there you are, that's what you were dealing with at the time and unfortunately, what some priests and parishes still have to confront today. Fortunately my parish is well beyond that point today, but that's the way it was. We are now fully comfortable with  English with an occasional nod to the past with a bit of Slavonic from time to time. Certainly some Slavonic words are familiar to speakers of modern Slavic languages, but if you read the translated texts for say, Slovak or Ukrainian (available on line), you will see the problem. I suspect that is the same with modern Greek vis a vis Koine Greek.
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« Reply #55 on: March 26, 2010, 11:12:45 AM »

This whole thing about a "welcoming atmosphere" is incomprehensible to me.

When Americans go to a church, they are shopping.
You can see examples of this in this thread.
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« Reply #56 on: March 26, 2010, 11:26:44 AM »

This whole thing about a "welcoming atmosphere" is incomprehensible to me.

When Americans go to a church, they are shopping.
You can see examples of this in this thread.

In defense of some of the Americans church shopping, maybe they aren't really church shopping but its part of the intended path that Gods intends to use to bring them into Orthodoxy, and then there are those that are "Church Shopping"..................................
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« Reply #57 on: March 26, 2010, 05:24:28 PM »

This whole thing about a "welcoming atmosphere" is incomprehensible to me.

When Americans go to a church, they are shopping.
You can see examples of this in this thread.

In defense of some of the Americans church shopping, maybe they aren't really church shopping but its part of the intended path that Gods intends to use to bring them into Orthodoxy, and then there are those that are "Church Shopping"..................................

You can take a Honda and put Cadillac badges on it but it is still a Honda.  

Here is one thing we were taught as Catholics growing up.
You went to the parish in your town.  Period.  You couldn't go register at one across town or in the next town simply because you didn't like it.  You stayed in the parish you went to even if you didn't always agree with the priest.  Sure you could be registered at parish A but go to the other town and go to parish b BUT the bishop, chancellor, priest wouldn't let you join parish b.  This means at the end of the day you never could really be active on parish council or the other committees at parish b simply because you were registered nor allowed to be registered in parish b.
And guess what?  We lived with it.  And guess what?  Some of those Catholic parishes have more members, more community outreach to the needy and elderly and imprisoned then some entire Orthodox jurisdictions do!

If everyone went to the Orthodox church that was closest to them and didn't drive past 4 others (while wasting gas and seeking to satisfy their quest for self-indulgence to find a parish that fits their criteria) we'd actually have stronger parishes that could grow and carry out the mission of Christ.

The truth hurts.  Look an Orthodox Church is an Orthodox Church.  If it has problems stay and build it up and seek to change from within.  You can't imagine the fights I've seen at Orthodox Churches growing up.  I come from a mixed family of Greek/Roman Catholics and Orthodox.  But when the people at the Orthodox Church fight they leave for happier pastures.  Then there are a few left holding the bag trying to fight for what needs to be done to save the parish.  Then they get snuffed out and the parish is left with 20 members who see it as a place to hang out on Sunday mornings and fight over who's cousin is going to get the contract to pave parking lot while the church building is falling apart.

Hopefully with this new change we can work to make everything standard.  One church, one bishop per area, shared resources.  Just like the Catholics.  Just like the Orthodox Churches do in say, Greece or Romania or Russia.  
At best what has happened was from recently to 100 years ago many parishes left Greek Catholicism and founded Orthodox Churches up the street.  The only difference is now THEY have the power, they own the building, they hire and fire priests at will.  They treat him like an employee, a chaplain who they pay.  It is congregationalism.  So it becomes an Orthodox Church that hasn't fully moved into Orthodoxy, rather, it has moved in congregationalism.  Sorry, I live it, I've had to deal with it for the better part of my life.
It isn't like the parishes ever really cared about Orthodox doctrine, Orthodox praxis, or being Orthodox because they sought to destroy the bonds that took their ancestors into Greek Catholicism in the first place.  No, they squabbled over calenders and church property.  They wanted control.  Full control of EVERYTHING. From the priest down.  And they will and have switched jurisdictions to find a priest or bishop they could bully around.  
Wow, you're thinking, why am I so harsh?  Because many of those reading this are not from the North East or areas which have had Orthodox churches for maybe 100 years or so.  You never get to see what I am talking about.  You are from mission areas with fresh missions and a fresh perspective.

However what I see is more examples of congregationalism taking place, just without it being attached to one's ancestral ethnic identity.  
I can name plenty of newer Orthodox missions/churches that have gotten riled up, switched jurisdictions, set up rival missions next town over (taking 30 people splitting into two 15 groups of people trying to each support a priest and a mission). Over what? Power, who controls things, who owns the building.  I've heard countless examples of missions running themselves with visiting priests.  When they get a priest the people who felt they "ran" the mission leave and form new ones taking half the people with them.

What we need is to get rid of this mindset.  We need to have the parish council function as it is intended to function.  It should be a council that works with the priest and the hierarchy.  We need standard rules and so forth for proper function so each church can function as one being and breathe Christ.  For too long we have breathed "self, power, want, we own the church, the priest is our employee."  

And we should be hopeful that this new agreement among our hierarchy AND the mother churches brings us closer to that reality.  Those that are with us will stand with us and those that don't will be gone. Trouble parishes that tie up church resources and chew and spit out priests and put burden on everyone around them will be gone.  Prayerfully may our churches return to the business of being churches and not social clubs or seen as property of the due paying members.  I once had a parish council president tell me "I don't have time to come do that, I'm in 8 other social clubs including this one (the church)."
And really in the end we aren't pushing for anything new.  Rather we are pushing for a return to how it should be.  We we have in North America with all the jurisdictions and the current situation is new.  We are simply returning to the old.  And I for one can not wait until seekers, non-believers and other Christian communities and the public at large can see us all as ONE church.. not the Greek Church, not the Carpatho-Rusyn Church, not the Russian Church but as ONE.  And if you can get excited about that just think how us believers and members of the Body of Christ, the Orthodox Church will feel when we truly are all one and everything is shared among us and we bring ourselves back to a proper order.

So when I see people on the internet asking "oh what should I look for in a parish" I think "here we go."  
History repeats itself.  Many of our parishes are blocks apart.  Why? Because the people from Perechyn Ukraine couldn't go to church with those from L'viv so they built a church two blocks away.  
It's a different sort of congregationalism but it is the same.  It is trying to find a piece of paradise that fits a person's psyche.  However, Christianity isn't about ME, it is about the community.  No matter what the 700 club says, church isn't about feeling good and having Christ save you to give you a better job and a corvette.  Church is hard, from fasting, to penance to staying in a parish and working together no matter if you don't like Bortiansky but the church up the street sings Valaam.. you stay in your local Christian community and battle it out.  Christ is for all nations... and that includes all personalities and going to church that doesn't always sing music you like or doesn't have the best coffee hour.. and even if they pysanky at the church nearest to you and the other one 20 miles away feels more homey.. stay at the one close to you.  Build it up.  Bring it your talent, your prayer, your soul.  Because when we put others first we just may start to see the church in our area grow and flourish.  Because, remember what Christ said in Matthew 25.. and remember the apostles didn't have it easy, nor did the martyrs or those in former USSR.  Neither do the Greeks have it easy in Turkey.  The Serbs who died at the hands of oppression in Kosovo.  Nor did the Armenians have it easy as well.  The Orthodox in the Holy Land too.  
But I read on the internet "oh should I go to this church down the street or the one 30 miles away, they don't have pews and sing better"  Well, remember a lot of people died and are suffering to attempt to even practise their faith in this world, and self-interests of externals don't concern them.  They plant their flag as best as they can and live out the message in their own communities.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2010, 06:07:06 PM by username! » Logged

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« Reply #58 on: March 26, 2010, 06:19:37 PM »

This whole thing about a "welcoming atmosphere" is incomprehensible to me.

When Americans go to a church, they are shopping.
You can see examples of this in this thread.

In defense of some of the Americans church shopping, maybe they aren't really church shopping but its part of the intended path that Gods intends to use to bring them into Orthodoxy, and then there are those that are "Church Shopping"..................................

You can take a Honda and put Cadillac badges on it but it is still a Honda.  

Here is one thing we were taught as Catholics growing up.
You went to the parish in your town.  Period.  You couldn't go register at one across town or in the next town simply because you didn't like it.  You stayed in the parish you went to even if you didn't always agree with the priest.  Sure you could be registered at parish A but go to the other town and go to parish b BUT the bishop, chancellor, priest wouldn't let you join parish b.  This means at the end of the day you never could really be active on parish council or the other committees at parish b simply because you were registered nor allowed to be registered in parish b.
And guess what?  We lived with it.  And guess what?  Those Catholic Churches have more members, more community outreach to the needy and elderly and imprisoned then some entire Orthodox jurisdictions do!

If everyone went to the Orthodox church that was closest to them and didn't drive past 4 others (while wasting gas and seeking to satisfy their quest for self-indulgence to find a parish that fits their criteria) we'd actually have stronger parishes that could grow and carry out the mission of Christ.

The truth hurts.  Look an Orthodox Church is an Orthodox Church.  If it has problems stay and build it up and seek to change from within.  You can't imagine the fights I've seen at Orthodox Churches growing up.  I come from a mixed family of Greek/Roman Catholics and Orthodox.  But when the people at the Orthodox Church fight they leave for happier pastures.  Then there are a few left holding the bag trying to fight for what needs to be done to save the parish.  Then they get snuffed out and the parish is left with 20 members who see it as a place to hang out on Sunday mornings and fight over who's cousin is going to get the contract to pave parking lot while the church building is falling apart.

Hopefully with this new change we can work to make everything standard.  One church, one bishop per area, shared resources.  Just like the Catholics.  Just like the Orthodox Churches do in say, Greece or Romania or Russia.  
At best what has happened was from recently to 100 years ago many parishes left Greek Catholicism and founded Orthodox Churches up the street.  The only difference is now THEY have the power, they own the building, they hire and fire priests at will.  They treat him like an employee, a chaplain who they pay.  It is congregationalism.  So it becomes an Orthodox Church that hasn't fully moved into Orthodoxy, rather, it has moved in congregationalism.  Sorry, I live it, I've had to deal with it for the better part of my life.
It isn't like the parishes ever really cared about Orthodox doctrine, Orthodox praxis, or being Orthodox because they sought to destroy the bonds that took their ancestors into Greek Catholicism in the first place.  No, they squabbled over calenders and church property.  They wanted control.  Full control of EVERYTHING. From the priest down.  And they will and have switched jurisdictions to find a priest or bishop they could bully around.  
Wow, you're thinking, why am I so harsh?  Because many of those reading this are not from the North East or areas which have had Orthodox churches for maybe 100 years or so.  You never get to see what I am talking about.  You are from mission areas with fresh missions and a fresh perspective.

However what I see is more examples of congregationalism taking place, just without it being attached to one's ancestral ethnic identity.  
I can name plenty of newer Orthodox missions/churches that have gotten riled up, switched jurisdictions, set up rival missions next town over (taking 30 people splitting into two 15 groups of people trying to each support a priest and a mission). Over what? Power, who controls things, who owns the building.  I've heard countless examples of missions running themselves with visiting priests.  When they get a priest the people who felt they "ran" the mission leave and form new ones taking half the people with them.

What we need is to get rid of this mindset.  We need to have the parish council function as it is intended to function.  It should be a council that works with the priest and the hierarchy.  We need standard rules and so forth for proper function so each church can function as one being and breathe Christ.  For too long we have breathed "self, power, want, we own the church, the priest is our employee."  

And we should be hopeful that this new agreement among our hierarchy AND the mother churches brings us closer to that reality.  Those that are with us will stand with us and those that don't will be gone. Trouble parishes that tie up church resources and chew and spit out priests and put burden on everyone around them will be gone.  Prayerfully may our churches return to the business of being churches and not social clubs or seen as property of the due paying members.  I once had a parish council president tell me "I don't have time to come do that, I'm in 8 other social clubs including this one (the church)."
And really in the end we aren't pushing for anything new.  Rather we are pushing for a return to how it should be.  We we have in North America with all the jurisdictions and the current situation is new.  We are simply returning to the old.  And I for one can not wait until seekers, non-believers and other Christian communities and the public at large can see us all as ONE church.. not the Greek Church, not the Carpatho-Rusyn Church, not the Russian Church but as ONE.  And if you can get excited about that just think how us believers and members of the Body of Christ, the Orthodox Church will feel when we truly are all one and everything is shared among us and we bring ourselves back to a proper order.

So when I see people on the internet asking "oh what should I look for in a parish" I think "here we go."  
History repeats itself.  Many of our parishes are blocks apart.  Why? Because the people from Perechyn Ukraine couldn't go to church with those from L'viv so they built a church two blocks away.  
It's a different sort of congregationalism but it is the same.  It is trying to find a piece of paradise that fits a person's psyche.  However, Christianity isn't about ME, it is about the community.  No matter what the 700 club says, church isn't about feeling good and having Christ save you to give you a better job and a corvette.  Church is hard, from fasting, to penance to staying in a parish and working together no matter if you don't like Bortiansky but the church up the street sings Valaam.. you stay in your local Christian community and battle it out.  Christ is for all nations... and that includes all personalities and going to church that doesn't always sing music you like or doesn't have the best coffee hour.. and even if they pysanky at the church nearest to you and the other one 20 miles away feels more homey.. stay at the one close to you.  Build it up.  Bring it your talent, your prayer, your soul.  Because when we put others first we just may start to see the church in our area grow and flourish.  Because, remember what Christ said in Matthew 25.. and remember the apostles didn't have it easy, nor did the martyrs or those in former USSR.  Neither do the Greeks have it easy in Turkey.  The Serbs who died at the hands of oppression in Kosovo.  Nor did the Armenians have it easy as well.  The Orthodox in the Holy Land too.  
But I read on the internet "oh should I go to this church down the street or the one 30 miles away, they don't have pews and sing better"  Well, remember a lot of people died and are suffering to attempt to even practise their faith in this world, and self-interests of externals don't concern them.  They plant their flag as best as they can and live out the message in their own communities.

Username!

Thanks for your respectful and truthfull response.  I understand all the points that you have brought up and I don't think you are being to harsh at all. You are being totally honest. I wish this type of behavior wasn't the case and I to wish it would change.  If there was an Orthodox parish close by I would attend it and not travel to one that is so far off (my prayer is that this will happen one day).  My circumstances are that there are three Orthodox parrishes that have equal driving times of 2.5 to 3 hours away.  I would love it if there was just one that was even an hour away (we live in a sparsly populated area).  

When I responded to my OP about my experience about attending the DL I was wrong in my response.  I take back what I said and I am sorry if I offended any members here.  When I said I would go back it was because I realize the importance of community and all the points that you addressed and I realized I was reacting in a manner that I shouldn't have.  Many times I write a response in a forum without going into lengthy detail. If, given the opportunity to travel another 3 hours in that direction I would attend that OC because I want to go back and not because I was church shopping..  I am travelling in another direction tomorrow and I hope that I will be able to attend my first Vespers service at one of the other Orthodox churches that is 3 hours away.  

I don't see my particular situation as church shopping since I am so far away from OC's but I can see this happening in areas where the churches are abundant. Thanks for your insight and I will continue to ponder all of you points.
Gotta go

Caleb

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« Reply #59 on: March 26, 2010, 06:49:49 PM »

This whole thing about a "welcoming atmosphere" is incomprehensible to me.

When Americans go to a church, they are shopping.
You can see examples of this in this thread.

In defense of some of the Americans church shopping, maybe they aren't really church shopping but its part of the intended path that Gods intends to use to bring them into Orthodoxy, and then there are those that are "Church Shopping"..................................

You can take a Honda and put Cadillac badges on it but it is still a Honda.  

Here is one thing we were taught as Catholics growing up.
You went to the parish in your town.  Period.  You couldn't go register at one across town or in the next town simply because you didn't like it.  You stayed in the parish you went to even if you didn't always agree with the priest.  Sure you could be registered at parish A but go to the other town and go to parish b BUT the bishop, chancellor, priest wouldn't let you join parish b.  This means at the end of the day you never could really be active on parish council or the other committees at parish b simply because you were registered nor allowed to be registered in parish b.
And guess what?  We lived with it.  And guess what?  Some of those Catholic parishes have more members, more community outreach to the needy and elderly and imprisoned then some entire Orthodox jurisdictions do!

If everyone went to the Orthodox church that was closest to them and didn't drive past 4 others (while wasting gas and seeking to satisfy their quest for self-indulgence to find a parish that fits their criteria) we'd actually have stronger parishes that could grow and carry out the mission of Christ.

The truth hurts.  Look an Orthodox Church is an Orthodox Church.  If it has problems stay and build it up and seek to change from within.  You can't imagine the fights I've seen at Orthodox Churches growing up.  I come from a mixed family of Greek/Roman Catholics and Orthodox.  But when the people at the Orthodox Church fight they leave for happier pastures.  Then there are a few left holding the bag trying to fight for what needs to be done to save the parish.  Then they get snuffed out and the parish is left with 20 members who see it as a place to hang out on Sunday mornings and fight over who's cousin is going to get the contract to pave parking lot while the church building is falling apart.

Hopefully with this new change we can work to make everything standard.  One church, one bishop per area, shared resources.  Just like the Catholics.  Just like the Orthodox Churches do in say, Greece or Romania or Russia.  
At best what has happened was from recently to 100 years ago many parishes left Greek Catholicism and founded Orthodox Churches up the street.  The only difference is now THEY have the power, they own the building, they hire and fire priests at will.  They treat him like an employee, a chaplain who they pay.  It is congregationalism.  So it becomes an Orthodox Church that hasn't fully moved into Orthodoxy, rather, it has moved in congregationalism.  Sorry, I live it, I've had to deal with it for the better part of my life.
It isn't like the parishes ever really cared about Orthodox doctrine, Orthodox praxis, or being Orthodox because they sought to destroy the bonds that took their ancestors into Greek Catholicism in the first place.  No, they squabbled over calenders and church property.  They wanted control.  Full control of EVERYTHING. From the priest down.  And they will and have switched jurisdictions to find a priest or bishop they could bully around.  
Wow, you're thinking, why am I so harsh?  Because many of those reading this are not from the North East or areas which have had Orthodox churches for maybe 100 years or so.  You never get to see what I am talking about.  You are from mission areas with fresh missions and a fresh perspective.

However what I see is more examples of congregationalism taking place, just without it being attached to one's ancestral ethnic identity.  
I can name plenty of newer Orthodox missions/churches that have gotten riled up, switched jurisdictions, set up rival missions next town over (taking 30 people splitting into two 15 groups of people trying to each support a priest and a mission). Over what? Power, who controls things, who owns the building.  I've heard countless examples of missions running themselves with visiting priests.  When they get a priest the people who felt they "ran" the mission leave and form new ones taking half the people with them.

What we need is to get rid of this mindset.  We need to have the parish council function as it is intended to function.  It should be a council that works with the priest and the hierarchy.  We need standard rules and so forth for proper function so each church can function as one being and breathe Christ.  For too long we have breathed "self, power, want, we own the church, the priest is our employee."  

And we should be hopeful that this new agreement among our hierarchy AND the mother churches brings us closer to that reality.  Those that are with us will stand with us and those that don't will be gone. Trouble parishes that tie up church resources and chew and spit out priests and put burden on everyone around them will be gone.  Prayerfully may our churches return to the business of being churches and not social clubs or seen as property of the due paying members.  I once had a parish council president tell me "I don't have time to come do that, I'm in 8 other social clubs including this one (the church)."
And really in the end we aren't pushing for anything new.  Rather we are pushing for a return to how it should be.  We we have in North America with all the jurisdictions and the current situation is new.  We are simply returning to the old.  And I for one can not wait until seekers, non-believers and other Christian communities and the public at large can see us all as ONE church.. not the Greek Church, not the Carpatho-Rusyn Church, not the Russian Church but as ONE.  And if you can get excited about that just think how us believers and members of the Body of Christ, the Orthodox Church will feel when we truly are all one and everything is shared among us and we bring ourselves back to a proper order.

So when I see people on the internet asking "oh what should I look for in a parish" I think "here we go."  
History repeats itself.  Many of our parishes are blocks apart.  Why? Because the people from Perechyn Ukraine couldn't go to church with those from L'viv so they built a church two blocks away.  
It's a different sort of congregationalism but it is the same.  It is trying to find a piece of paradise that fits a person's psyche.  However, Christianity isn't about ME, it is about the community.  No matter what the 700 club says, church isn't about feeling good and having Christ save you to give you a better job and a corvette.  Church is hard, from fasting, to penance to staying in a parish and working together no matter if you don't like Bortiansky but the church up the street sings Valaam.. you stay in your local Christian community and battle it out.  Christ is for all nations... and that includes all personalities and going to church that doesn't always sing music you like or doesn't have the best coffee hour.. and even if they pysanky at the church nearest to you and the other one 20 miles away feels more homey.. stay at the one close to you.  Build it up.  Bring it your talent, your prayer, your soul.  Because when we put others first we just may start to see the church in our area grow and flourish.  Because, remember what Christ said in Matthew 25.. and remember the apostles didn't have it easy, nor did the martyrs or those in former USSR.  Neither do the Greeks have it easy in Turkey.  The Serbs who died at the hands of oppression in Kosovo.  Nor did the Armenians have it easy as well.  The Orthodox in the Holy Land too.  
But I read on the internet "oh should I go to this church down the street or the one 30 miles away, they don't have pews and sing better"  Well, remember a lot of people died and are suffering to attempt to even practise their faith in this world, and self-interests of externals don't concern them.  They plant their flag as best as they can and live out the message in their own communities.

Have you heard the one about the Russian guy marooned on a desert island?  Well, he was marooned there for decades.  One of the very first things he did once marooned was to build 2 churches.  He used the few icons that he had been marooned with to adorn the churches.  He even made his own icon paint from minerals and organic material that he had found on the island and created his own.  Each church was fashioned with extreme care and incredible attention to detail.  When he was finally rescued, those who had found him marveled at the beauty and craftsmanship that had gone into making the 2 churches with such few tools to work with.  "But there's just one thing we have to ask you" said his rescuers.  "Why did you feel the need to build 2 churches?"  The just-rescued man pointed at one of the churches and replied, "That's the church I go to," and then gesturing at the other one said strongly: "and that's the one I don't go to!"
 Wink

(I'm sure that the ethnicity of the fellow concerned doesn't have to be Russian. That's  just the way I remember the story being told.  And lest anyone wonder, I am not trying to make light of your post.  I think you make a lot of good points.  I just couldn't resist the chance to insert this little...um...gem here.)
« Last Edit: March 26, 2010, 06:52:40 PM by Pravoslavbob » Logged

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« Reply #60 on: March 26, 2010, 06:56:43 PM »

NMHS I wasn't singling u out. Your situation is unique. I don't have the best answer for you.  Ask a priest or a Bishop. Or have a priest ask the Bishop what to do.
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« Reply #61 on: March 26, 2010, 07:02:44 PM »

I thought he was Carpatho-Russian!/Rusyn!
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« Reply #62 on: March 26, 2010, 07:08:08 PM »

The version I've heard said the marooned man was Ukrainian.  Shocked Shocked laugh laugh
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« Reply #63 on: March 26, 2010, 09:59:57 PM »

NMHS I wasn't singling u out. Your situation is unique. I don't have the best answer for you.  Ask a priest or a Bishop. Or have a priest ask the Bishop what to do.

No problem,  I didn't think you were Wink.  I felt compelled to say there might be other reasons why some might have to go to different churches and I wanted to apoligize for my earlier post about my first church attendance anyway.

Take care,  Grin
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« Reply #64 on: March 29, 2010, 09:41:59 AM »

In reference to the phrase "church Shopping" I think it is important to note that many Orthodox Christians see themselves as Orthodox Americans and attend whatever Orthodox Church is closest to them. Such is my case. We entered the Orthodox Church through the Greek Orthodox Church that was 2 miles from our home. When we moved to a town without an Orthodox parish we held reader's services in our home and affiliated with a Russian orthodox (ROCOR) parish that would occasionally provide a priest (3 hours away)to visit our area for local services.We attended major feasts at that ROCOR Parish. When Our children needed more spiritual support and activities than the occasional visit by that dedicated ROCOR priest, (with his blessing and that of a ROCOR Bishop) we looked for a parish that was within a reasonable travel distance from our home, it was an Antiochian parish that we have been happily supporting with tithes, offerings, and weekly attendance for over 9 years.

Many  non-ethnic Orthodox Christians in the United States are happy just to have an Orthodox Church that is close tothem whereas many Orthodox people who have a long history of Orthodoxyfor generations seek out an ethnic parish so they may feel comfortable withthe traditions they have been raised with all of their life. I believe there is far less "Church shopping" going on than there is in the non-orthodox setting.

Thomas
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