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Young Spirit
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« on: May 07, 2010, 11:48:06 PM »

Greetings! Grin

I am a young, teen Protestant who is eagerly searching so to locate and enter the Church. I have spent enough time in sin and need to obtain the fullness of the faith as soon as possible, according to the Lord's will. My path has led me to weigh Roman Catholicism in one hand and Orthodoxy in the other. I am convinced one or the other holds the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.

Until recently my study has been focused mostly on the claims of the Roman church. The highlight of this being the opportunity to experience the liturgy of Mass. Liturgical worship is an amazing thing.

Orthodoxy is a newer study, introduced to me by a discussion amongst some Catholics about the Miracle of Holy Light. SADLY I lack the opportunities to experience Orthodoxy as I have with Catholicism. The nearest O. church being in the next state. I, being under driving age, have no way to get there and will lack such ability for some two years. Shocked

I will hopefully receive a small library of literature on the Orthodox church next month. I can read for the entirety of eternity and a day, but Orthodoxy is something one has to experience to comprehend. (or so I've been told)

So what do I do? Two years will seem like forever. I fear that in that time my desire will fade out. My Protestant services have lost their flavor, I sit through them able to concentrate only on my last visit to Catholic Mass. I sit through Mass blessed by the liturgy but haunted by the specter of unknown Orthodoxy.

What are the suggestions of those here? How do I gain some experience without experiencing? How can I keep my fire burning and overcome my spiritual funk in these next two years?

God Bless,
Young Spirit




« Last Edit: May 07, 2010, 11:50:10 PM by Young Spirit » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2010, 12:30:00 AM »

Well, many wont agree with me here but I'll be a maverick and go ahead and say it.

Both the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church share the same legitimate claim to being a continuation of the original first century church. They developed in quite different directions. The Romans introduced a lot of new doctrines which I personally do not think was right. The Orthodox preserve the mystery, so to speak, and don't try so hard to codify every tiny detail of faith in a comprehensive and definitive Catechism like the RCC has. I seriously believe that the OC has remained far closer to the original church than the RCC has, for many reasons.

Nonetheless, that doens't invalidate the spirituality or the sacramants offered by the RCC. I think that doctrinally they have strayed somewhat, but the Holy Spirit never abandoned the RCC just because they introduced the ideas of Papal Infallibility, Indulgences, Purgatory and the Immaculate Conception. The Catholics aren't living in sin just because they worship in a Catholic Church. They still have the Eucharist, veneration of the saints and the Mother of God, a priesthood, and meditative prayer practices such as the Rosary. It's a great church. If I wasn't an Orthodox Christian, I'd certainly be a Catholic.

So, basically whilst I absolutely affirm that the Orthodox Church has remained closer to the practices and beliefs of the early church than the RCC has, I also think that theirs is a legitimate expression of faith and the body of Christ within the invisible One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I eagerly await the day when the two churches are reunited in ecumenical communion again. If there is no OC anywhere near you, there's no harm in going to a RCC for the time being. However, if you plan on eventually going to the OC once you are able to, avoid undergoing the Sacrament of Confirmation in the RCC for integrity's sake.

You are right, however, that the Orthodox Church needs to be experienced. The Divine Liturgy is otherworldly and beautiful, and uplifts and sanctifies the soul like no other type of worship I have ever seen or experienced. Maintain your interest in Orthodoxy by watching videos online and reading books. Perhaps you could catch a bus or hitchhike interstate just for one weekend to visit an Orthodox parish. You sound like an intelligent person, surely you would be able to look after yourself if you took an intercity bus to a city which has an Orthodox Church one weekend. Just stay in a backpacker's hostel for $25/night, get up early in the morning and catch a taxi to the Orthodox parish. I did that when I was seventeen.
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« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2010, 12:57:02 AM »

Michael, have you approached your parents with this?  (Nice name, my brother and one of my sons are both Michaels  Smiley )

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Young Spirit
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« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2010, 01:26:39 AM »

Michael, have you approached your parents with this?

My parents are not my guides or counsels in spiritual matters. My parents are religious in a very undefined and unorganized way. No system of belief was ever passed to me besides bedtime prayer. Church attendance was almost completely lacking, and I never went with them, only with friends. To this day I am the one who takes my siblings to church without ma and pa. So, no.

The person whom I can discuss most easily on this would be my dear neighbor. An elderly woman who I love extremely, but she is fiercely Protestant-Pentecostal and despises Catholicism (and probably would react the same to Orthodoxy).
 
Quote
(Nice name, my brother and one of my sons are both Michaels  Smiley )
I love my name. But it is spelled "eal" as opposed to common "ael".
« Last Edit: May 08, 2010, 01:27:52 AM by Young Spirit » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2010, 01:35:15 AM »

Nonetheless, that doens't invalidate the spirituality or the sacramants offered by the RCC. I think that doctrinally they have strayed somewhat, but the Holy Spirit never abandoned the RCC just because they introduced the ideas of Papal Infallibility, Indulgences, Purgatory and the Immaculate Conception. The Catholics aren't living in sin just because they worship in a Catholic Church. They still have the Eucharist, veneration of the saints and the Mother of God, a priesthood, and meditative prayer practices such as the Rosary. It's a great church. If I wasn't an Orthodox Christian, I'd certainly be a Catholic.

So, basically whilst I absolutely affirm that the Orthodox Church has remained closer to the practices and beliefs of the early church than the RCC has, I also think that theirs is a legitimate expression of faith and the body of Christ within the invisible One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I eagerly await the day when the two churches are reunited in ecumenical communion again. If there is no OC anywhere near you, there's no harm in going to a RCC for the time being.

Absolutely none of this reflects the Orthodox phronema. The Church is One, and it's either the Orthodox Church, the Vatican, the "Miaphysite" Church or the Nestorians. If you believe in the branch theory, then perhaps an Anglican Church is the place for you. Since when do you know more than your own hierarchs, affirming the validity of the Vatican's Mysteries? This is a poor witness to a soul that is thirsty for Truth. Truth doesn't come in tall, lukewarm glasses of compromise.

Michael - All I can tell you is to read and pray, and feel free to ask as many questions as you'd like on here. Welcome to the forum, and God bless you and keep you as you seek His Church.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2010, 01:36:35 AM by Alveus Lacuna » Logged
Young Spirit
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« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2010, 01:57:52 AM »

Michael - All I can tell you is to read and pray, and feel free to ask as many questions as you'd like on here. Welcome to the forum, and God bless you and keep you as you seek His Church.

Thank You.  Smiley

*cough* Micheal *cough*  Grin
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« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2010, 12:52:18 PM »

Micheal welcome to the forum...
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« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2010, 12:53:13 PM »

If you send me a PM (Private Message) I will be happy to refer you to a former Nazarene Minister who is now a Reader in the Antiochian Church. He also has a great website for inquiorers that may be helpful to you.

Thomas
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Young Spirit
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« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2010, 04:59:42 PM »

Micheal welcome to the forum...

I love your blog. Keep at it.Wink

If you send me a PM (Private Message) I will be happy to refer you to a former Nazarene Minister who is now a Reader in the Antiochian Church. He also has a great website for inquiorers that may be helpful to you.

Thomas


Thanks!
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« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2010, 06:24:53 PM »

Micheal, - maybe also try to establish a personal correspondence with an Orthodox priest? For example, open the Web site of the nearest Orthodox church and send an e-mail to its priest. Maybe you two will find your correspondence useful and interesting. And then, in two years, when you get your driver's licence, you will visit that church, and you and the priest will not be strangers?

Also, two years is NOT really a very long time. Oh, but wait, I am 52.Smiley
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« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2010, 07:25:03 PM »

Greetings! Grin

I am a young, teen Protestant who is eagerly searching so to locate and enter the Church. I have spent enough time in sin and need to obtain the fullness of the faith as soon as possible, according to the Lord's will. My path has led me to weigh Roman Catholicism in one hand and Orthodoxy in the other. I am convinced one or the other holds the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.

Until recently my study has been focused mostly on the claims of the Roman church. The highlight of this being the opportunity to experience the liturgy of Mass. Liturgical worship is an amazing thing.

Orthodoxy is a newer study, introduced to me by a discussion amongst some Catholics about the Miracle of Holy Light. SADLY I lack the opportunities to experience Orthodoxy as I have with Catholicism. The nearest O. church being in the next state. I, being under driving age, have no way to get there and will lack such ability for some two years. Shocked

I will hopefully receive a small library of literature on the Orthodox church next month. I can read for the entirety of eternity and a day, but Orthodoxy is something one has to experience to comprehend. (or so I've been told)

So what do I do? Two years will seem like forever. I fear that in that time my desire will fade out. My Protestant services have lost their flavor, I sit through them able to concentrate only on my last visit to Catholic Mass. I sit through Mass blessed by the liturgy but haunted by the specter of unknown Orthodoxy.

What are the suggestions of those here? How do I gain some experience without experiencing? How can I keep my fire burning and overcome my spiritual funk in these next two years?

God Bless,
Young Spirit






With your parents blessing, get yourself to an Orthodox Monastery for a bit of time over summer break..
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Young Spirit
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« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2010, 07:56:01 PM »

Micheal, - maybe also try to establish a personal correspondence with an Orthodox priest?

I have been entertaining the idea. There are three "near" churches I am looking into at the moment. One in my state of Indiana (Antioch), the closest being in Illinois (OCA), and one in Kentucky (Antioch). My initial favor is to the two Antiochian from glancing over their websites.

I shall enter talks with one or both priest if possible.

With your parents blessing, get yourself to an Orthodox Monastery for a bit of time over summer break..

That would be AMAZING!
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« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2010, 07:59:55 PM »

Nonetheless, that doens't invalidate the spirituality or the sacramants offered by the RCC. I think that doctrinally they have strayed somewhat, but the Holy Spirit never abandoned the RCC just because they introduced the ideas of Papal Infallibility, Indulgences, Purgatory and the Immaculate Conception. The Catholics aren't living in sin just because they worship in a Catholic Church. They still have the Eucharist, veneration of the saints and the Mother of God, a priesthood, and meditative prayer practices such as the Rosary. It's a great church. If I wasn't an Orthodox Christian, I'd certainly be a Catholic.

So, basically whilst I absolutely affirm that the Orthodox Church has remained closer to the practices and beliefs of the early church than the RCC has, I also think that theirs is a legitimate expression of faith and the body of Christ within the invisible One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I eagerly await the day when the two churches are reunited in ecumenical communion again. If there is no OC anywhere near you, there's no harm in going to a RCC for the time being.

Absolutely none of this reflects the Orthodox phronema. The Church is One, and it's either the Orthodox Church, the Vatican, the "Miaphysite" Church or the Nestorians. If you believe in the branch theory, then perhaps an Anglican Church is the place for you. Since when do you know more than your own hierarchs, affirming the validity of the Vatican's Mysteries? This is a poor witness to a soul that is thirsty for Truth. Truth doesn't come in tall, lukewarm glasses of compromise.

Michael - All I can tell you is to read and pray, and feel free to ask as many questions as you'd like on here. Welcome to the forum, and God bless you and keep you as you seek His Church.

And yet considering the ecumenical attitudes of the current Ecumenical Patriarch, I wonder if he would tell you that the Roman Catholic Church is totally deprived of grace. I have yet to read any document from any Orthodox heirarch which states that the Vatican's mysteries are invalid, but if one exists, I'd like to see it.

You're right, the Church IS One, but that doesn't mean that foolish human beings who were unable to reconcile their petty disputes couldn't divide its administration and leadership, and even the direction it then took in terms of the development of traditions, spiritual practices and beliefs.

You cannot honestly tell me that all the Roman Catholics in the world are just delusional losers living in sin and darkness because they aren't Orthodox.

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« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2010, 08:27:13 PM »

Micheal,

Welcome to the forum! I would just like to re-iterate the advice given to contact an Orthodox priest. I would also like to say that Orthodox priests are notorious for not being the quickest to respond to email, so if after 2 weeks, you don't hear from him, feel free to pick up the phone and give him a call. Smiley

May God bless you on your journey!

In XC,

Maureen
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Young Spirit
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« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2010, 10:56:27 PM »

Glory to God!
I've discovered an Orthodox mission about 25 miles away. Still too far to walk, but the distance is cut in half. I've just e-mailed the priest.
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« Reply #15 on: May 09, 2010, 06:43:40 AM »


  I have honestly felt drawn to God in both Anglican and Orthodox services and I have read alot of CS Lewis and really identify with his approach to things, his "theology".  I think there's valuable stuff there.  At one time Anglican and Orthodox had much better relations and there was hope of eventual reunion of these Christian bodies as Orthodox, and several Orthodox archbishops have recognized Anglican orders as having validity, in the past.  The trouble is Aglicanism has always had an Identity Crisis ever since Elizabeth I's settlement, and it's only gotten worse in the last 40 years (womens ordination, pansexuality, and the triumph of liberal humanism in the West).  In much of the world, evangelicals low-churchman are holding more power, and there are things under the surface in Anglicanism that are tolerated, like crypto-Calvinism, so low-church Anglicanism to me is offputting, there's too much "as if" stuff, a historiography lacking sobriety that fails to take into account the fact the "martyrs" of the English Reformation were often killed more for their political attacks than their theological acumen.

   At one time I felt drawn to Roman Catholicism and was considering joining a parish that was going to rejoin Rome.  Honestly my spiritual life at that point was doing fairly well, it gave me alot of strength.  But at the same time, I saw how Roman rigorist practices in reality can hurt people (how they handle divorce and contraception can alienate people), and I wasn't really all that sure in the end about the Vatican's claims of infallibility.  I could also never understand why the "Immaculate Conception" was an issue that needed to be dogmatic.  In the end I also realized Scholasticism wasn't really how God worked anyways, seemed to paint a dim picture of God who only is OK with people if they jump through the Scholastic rigors.   I would rather be liberal on those issues than scrupulous.

    I think you need to focus on Christ whatever you do.  So often it is easy to get lost in "religion".  I don't know if this is heretical for the Orthodox, but the idea that God cannot save people outside an institution is spiritual damaging. 
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« Reply #16 on: May 09, 2010, 09:51:40 AM »


  I have honestly felt drawn to God in both Anglican and Orthodox services and I have read alot of CS Lewis and really identify with his approach to things, his "theology".  I think there's valuable stuff there.  At one time Anglican and Orthodox had much better relations and there was hope of eventual reunion of these Christian bodies as Orthodox, and several Orthodox archbishops have recognized Anglican orders as having validity, in the past.  The trouble is Aglicanism has always had an Identity Crisis ever since Elizabeth I's settlement, and it's only gotten worse in the last 40 years (womens ordination, pansexuality, and the triumph of liberal humanism in the West).  In much of the world, evangelicals low-churchman are holding more power, and there are things under the surface in Anglicanism that are tolerated, like crypto-Calvinism, so low-church Anglicanism to me is offputting, there's too much "as if" stuff, a historiography lacking sobriety that fails to take into account the fact the "martyrs" of the English Reformation were often killed more for their political attacks than their theological acumen.

   At one time I felt drawn to Roman Catholicism and was considering joining a parish that was going to rejoin Rome.  Honestly my spiritual life at that point was doing fairly well, it gave me alot of strength.  But at the same time, I saw how Roman rigorist practices in reality can hurt people (how they handle divorce and contraception can alienate people), and I wasn't really all that sure in the end about the Vatican's claims of infallibility.  I could also never understand why the "Immaculate Conception" was an issue that needed to be dogmatic.  In the end I also realized Scholasticism wasn't really how God worked anyways, seemed to paint a dim picture of God who only is OK with people if they jump through the Scholastic rigors.   I would rather be liberal on those issues than scrupulous.

    I think you need to focus on Christ whatever you do.  So often it is easy to get lost in "religion".  I don't know if this is heretical for the Orthodox, but the idea that God cannot save people outside an institution is spiritual damaging. 

I agree with all of this. Welcome to the board.

I have a very high level of respect for the Anglican Church. I came very close to joining, but ultimately I find the liturgical practices and spirituality (not to mention the fantastic Byzantine theology) of Orthodoxy far, far more satisfying.
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« Reply #17 on: May 09, 2010, 09:59:11 AM »


  I have honestly felt drawn to God in both Anglican and Orthodox services and I have read alot of CS Lewis and really identify with his approach to things, his "theology".  I think there's valuable stuff there.  At one time Anglican and Orthodox had much better relations and there was hope of eventual reunion of these Christian bodies as Orthodox, and several Orthodox archbishops have recognized Anglican orders as having validity, in the past.  The trouble is Aglicanism has always had an Identity Crisis ever since Elizabeth I's settlement, and it's only gotten worse in the last 40 years (womens ordination, pansexuality, and the triumph of liberal humanism in the West).  In much of the world, evangelicals low-churchman are holding more power, and there are things under the surface in Anglicanism that are tolerated, like crypto-Calvinism, so low-church Anglicanism to me is offputting, there's too much "as if" stuff, a historiography lacking sobriety that fails to take into account the fact the "martyrs" of the English Reformation were often killed more for their political attacks than their theological acumen.

   At one time I felt drawn to Roman Catholicism and was considering joining a parish that was going to rejoin Rome.  Honestly my spiritual life at that point was doing fairly well, it gave me alot of strength.  But at the same time, I saw how Roman rigorist practices in reality can hurt people (how they handle divorce and contraception can alienate people), and I wasn't really all that sure in the end about the Vatican's claims of infallibility.  I could also never understand why the "Immaculate Conception" was an issue that needed to be dogmatic.  In the end I also realized Scholasticism wasn't really how God worked anyways, seemed to paint a dim picture of God who only is OK with people if they jump through the Scholastic rigors.   I would rather be liberal on those issues than scrupulous.

    I think you need to focus on Christ whatever you do.  So often it is easy to get lost in "religion".  I don't know if this is heretical for the Orthodox, but the idea that God cannot save people outside an institution is spiritual damaging. 

the flip side of that coin is that the idea that God founded and sustained an institution (and not a mystical, invisible union) to save people is spiritually damaging.
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« Reply #18 on: May 09, 2010, 10:28:30 AM »

An institution which he conveniently kept confided to the Middle East and Eastern Europe for most of its history, because, y'know, the Westerners just don't deserve the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
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« Reply #19 on: May 09, 2010, 10:46:24 AM »

An institution which he conveniently kept confided to the Middle East and Eastern Europe for most of its history,

technically incorrect for one thing: St. Olav, for instance, was, and has been, on the Orthodox calendar since his canonization in 1031. The priests he brought over to Norway came from England.  So we know that the West hasn't been in total darkness from Orthodoxy's light for at least a thousand years yet.

Quote
because, y'know, the Westerners just don't deserve the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Ireland seems to have been quite Orthodox until the pope of Rome sent the king of England on Crusade, as he was doing at the time in the East as well.

As to the next to furthest West, England conceived of the IC, her son Anselm was the most vociferous in defending the filioque against "the Greeks" and inventing the "satisfaction" of "Atonement," and the part the Germanic emperors played in enforcing heresy is well known.

Choices have consequences. Rejecting the guidance of the Holy Spirit is such a choice, with dire consequences.
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« Reply #20 on: May 09, 2010, 10:53:01 AM »

Here is an interactive map to find the locations of churches....

http://www.orthodoxyinamerica.org/lr_v10/locator.php?cntry=USA
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« Reply #21 on: May 09, 2010, 11:46:41 AM »

Glory to God!
I've discovered an Orthodox mission about 25 miles away. Still too far to walk, but the distance is cut in half. I've just e-mailed the priest.

Glory to God!
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« Reply #22 on: May 09, 2010, 05:44:23 PM »

You cannot honestly tell me that all the Roman Catholics in the world are just delusional losers living in sin and darkness because they aren't Orthodox.



Um, he's not. Huh Perhaps, we should start a new thread on this subject rather than derail this one. Smiley

Quote from: Young Spirit link=topic=27433.msg432224#msg432224
Greetings!

I am a young, teen Protestant who is eagerly searching so to locate and enter the Church. I have spent enough time in sin and need to obtain the fullness of the faith as soon as possible, according to the Lord's will. My path has led me to weigh Roman Catholicism in one hand and Orthodoxy in the other. I am convinced one or the other holds the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.

Until recently my study has been focused mostly on the claims of the Roman church. The highlight of this being the opportunity to experience the liturgy of Mass. Liturgical worship is an amazing thing.

Orthodoxy is a newer study, introduced to me by a discussion amongst some Catholics about the Miracle of Holy Light. SADLY I lack the opportunities to experience Orthodoxy as I have with Catholicism. The nearest O. church being in the next state. I, being under driving age, have no way to get there and will lack such ability for some two years.

I will hopefully receive a small library of literature on the Orthodox church next month. I can read for the entirety of eternity and a day, but Orthodoxy is something one has to experience to comprehend. (or so I've been told)

So what do I do? Two years will seem like forever. I fear that in that time my desire will fade out. My Protestant services have lost their flavor, I sit through them able to concentrate only on my last visit to Catholic Mass. I sit through Mass blessed by the liturgy but haunted by the specter of unknown Orthodoxy.

What are the suggestions of those here? How do I gain some experience without experiencing? How can I keep my fire burning and overcome my spiritual funk in these next two years?

God Bless,
Young Spirit
You are exactly right about Orthodoxy being something to be experienced as it is a relationship and interaction with the All-Holy Trinity. I'll echo what others have said about getting into contact with an Orthodox priest. There have been many people in your situation in the past. This will be invaluable to you.

Don't be dismayed about not being near a church. If I remember correctly, there was a family that wanted to become Orthodox. They would meet with Blessed Fr. Seraphim (Rose) of Platina once in a while, but lived far from an Orthodox church. They set up a chapel in their backyard shed and would hold Reader's Services every so often. They started doing it more frequently and people around them started noticing and were curious about what was happening. Many of them became Orthodox and started a mission parish.

I'm not saying that this is or will be your exact situation, but it's something to consider: that others have been where you find yourself now. But I certainly hope it encourages you! Smiley

In Christ,
Andrew
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"I will pour out my prayer unto the Lord, and to Him will I proclaim my grief; for with evils my soul is filled, and my life unto hades hath drawn nigh, and like Jonah I will pray: From corruption raise me up, O God." -Ode VI, Irmos of the Supplicatory Canon to the Theotokos
Young Spirit
Micheal, called "Mikey"
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« Reply #23 on: May 09, 2010, 08:50:20 PM »

I'll echo what others have said about getting into contact with an Orthodox priest. There have been many people in your situation in the past. This will be invaluable to you.

I've exchanged several e-mails with the priest at the mission. Already its been a wonderful experience. He's offered transport to me if I get an OK from my folks. I have no idea when I'll be able to schedule in the visit, but hopefully it can be soon.
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My hope is the Father, my refuge is the Son, my shelter is the Holy Spirit, O Holy Trinity, Glory to You.
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« Reply #24 on: May 09, 2010, 09:17:46 PM »

Thats great Smiley do you still attend your protestant church ?
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Young Spirit
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« Reply #25 on: May 09, 2010, 09:56:22 PM »

do you still attend your protestant church ?

Yes, Wednesday and Sundays. I visit the Catholic parish most Saturdays.
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« Reply #26 on: May 09, 2010, 10:24:11 PM »

One thing I will say about Catholicisim...is that you must also experience it...Catholicisim on paper is alot diffrent than Catholicisim in person.
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"Come ye take light from The Light that is never overtaken by night and glorify the Christ, who is risen from the dead"
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« Reply #27 on: May 10, 2010, 01:14:28 AM »

...the idea that God cannot save people outside an institution is spiritual damaging.

The Orthodox Church doesn't teach that God can only save those in the visible boundaries of the Church.

But just to throw this back at you, the exclusive claims of the Orthodox that we are the Church, she is One and is the Way, is often found to be offensive to most Christians. But my reply is simply this: Is it not equally offensive to say that Christ is the only way to the Father? God is One, and the Church is one.
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