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« on: May 14, 2010, 06:23:53 PM »

Is racism a problem in the Orthodox church? I've heard, in Greek churches especially, that if you aren't Greek, Russian, etc. you will be looked at as an outsider. My fiance said, when I told her I was going to check out the Greek church down the street, that I would be the whitest and blondest guy in the room. Turns out she was right. It seemed as if everyone was Greek! And after the service an old Greek man came up to me and said I needed better clothes. I said "OK.... me and the family are kinda broke right now ha ha" (trying to laugh it off). He says "Well you need to find some money" and walked off. I was wearing black slacks, dress shoes and a button down.

Just a thought that came to me
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« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2010, 06:34:33 PM »


The Orthodox Church is not racist.  However, I can't vouch for all the people who attend an Orthodox church.

Granted you will find mostly Greeks at a Greek Orthodox Church, Ukrainians in a Ukrainian church, Russians at a Russian church, etc.  However, they are hardly "exclusive" these days.  Most parishes will have people of different colors and nationalities. 

Don't mind the old gentleman who commented on your attire.  There are always people like that, in every church.  Besides, maybe he just wanted to talk to you and didn't know what to say...and thought he was being funny.

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« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2010, 06:39:42 PM »


The Orthodox Church is not racist.  However, I can't vouch for all the people who attend an Orthodox church.

Granted you will find mostly Greeks at a Greek Orthodox Church, Ukrainians in a Ukrainian church, Russians at a Russian church, etc.  However, they are hardly "exclusive" these days.  Most parishes will have people of different colors and nationalities. 

Don't mind the old gentleman who commented on your attire.  There are always people like that, in every church.  Besides, maybe he just wanted to talk to you and didn't know what to say...and thought he was being funny.



Thanks for the response. I never thought the church as a whole would be racist. Just wondered if the problem was  found through out orthodoxy.

O and he acted more like he was drunk than like he wanted to talk!  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2010, 06:47:19 PM »

Greeks and Russian are not distinct races. Ethnicism would be the issue you are thinking of, not racism.
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« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2010, 06:48:36 PM »

And after the service an old Greek man came up to me and said I needed better clothes. I said "OK.... me and the family are kinda broke right now ha ha" (trying to laugh it off). He says "Well you need to find some money" and walked off. I was wearing black slacks, dress shoes and a button down.

Good grief.  Angry
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« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2010, 06:50:52 PM »

Greeks and Russian are not distinct races. Ethnicism would be the issue you are thinking of, not racism.

You are right.
I'm smrt!  laugh
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« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2010, 09:11:21 PM »

Greeks and Russian are not distinct races. Ethnicism would be the issue you are thinking of, not racism.

You are right.
I'm smrt!  laugh
'Race' can also be applied to ethnic groups or nationalities, so 'racism' would be appropriate in your case.
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« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2010, 09:16:38 PM »

And after the service an old Greek man came up to me and said I needed better clothes. I said "OK.... me and the family are kinda broke right now ha ha" (trying to laugh it off). He says "Well you need to find some money" and walked off. I was wearing black slacks, dress shoes and a button down.
Good grief.  Angry

Yeah, that's a shame. I have been to "ethnic" parishes though where the people were very welcoming (I'm Chinese/Irish). And maybe that one old guy shouldn't be taken as representative of the entire parish.
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« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2010, 09:37:17 PM »

I will warn that the Holy Week services have some pretty harsh words about "Jews." Holy Week would be a very bad week to come for the first time if you were Jewish. I am not saying that the Orthodox church particularly dislikes jews. Just that some of the text from Holy Week are pretty scathing towards "jews." If you attend the holy week services in the context of the liturgical year it is apparent that the Orthodox church has no issue with Jews. But Holy week as an isolated period is pretty bad.
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« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2010, 10:07:07 PM »

But Holy week as an isolated period is pretty bad.
You're calling the week celebrating Christ's victory bad?
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« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2010, 10:13:39 PM »

But Holy week as an isolated period is pretty bad.
You're calling the week celebrating Christ's victory bad?

No, read the rest of her post.

Some of the texts during Holy Week, if not understood in the right context could be interpreted as anti-Semetic, when that is not the case.
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« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2010, 10:51:57 PM »

And after the service an old Greek man came up to me and said I needed better clothes. I said "OK.... me and the family are kinda broke right now ha ha" (trying to laugh it off). He says "Well you need to find some money" and walked off. I was wearing black slacks, dress shoes and a button down.
Good grief.  Angry

Yeah, that's a shame. I have been to "ethnic" parishes though where the people were very welcoming (I'm Chinese/Irish). And maybe that one old guy shouldn't be taken as representative of the entire parish.

1/2 hour later youre hungry for beer..

{{ is joking }}
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« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2010, 11:01:50 PM »

I will warn that the Holy Week services have some pretty harsh words about "Jews." Holy Week would be a very bad week to come for the first time if you were Jewish. I am not saying that the Orthodox church particularly dislikes jews. Just that some of the text from Holy Week are pretty scathing towards "jews." If you attend the holy week services in the context of the liturgical year it is apparent that the Orthodox church has no issue with Jews. But Holy week as an isolated period is pretty bad.
It's also got some nasty things to say about the Gentiles.
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« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2010, 11:37:31 PM »

Is racism a problem in the Orthodox church? I've heard, in Greek churches especially, that if you aren't Greek, Russian, etc. you will be looked at as an outsider. My fiance said, when I told her I was going to check out the Greek church down the street, that I would be the whitest and blondest guy in the room. Turns out she was right. It seemed as if everyone was Greek! And after the service an old Greek man came up to me and said I needed better clothes. I said "OK.... me and the family are kinda broke right now ha ha" (trying to laugh it off). He says "Well you need to find some money" and walked off. I was wearing black slacks, dress shoes and a button down.

Just a thought that came to me

I was just at the Greek Cathedral in Chicago last Sunday.  The entire service was in Greek, except the sermon (the sermon after the DL was in Greek).  Afterwards I sat in the corner drinking coffee.  A family came up and asked if they could join me.  As it turned out, the father was born in Sudan, and we talked about the Middle East (I don't look Middle Eastern).  I ran into a former land lord with whom I had had considerable trouble with (for which he was innocent: my legal troubles with my ex ate up the rent, etc.), actually he saw me first and came up and welcomed me and invited me to have some sandwiches.  I was glad to see him because he had been falling under the influence of Greek Protestants when I last saw him four years ago.  I also saw a Ukrainian who used to got to the OCA Cathedral. He was talking about the problems he had as a sub deacon transferring to the Greek Archdiocese: he didn't intend it to be a snub at the OCA and the Greeks didn't want it to be seen as one.

I didn't notice if there were any blacks in the congregation, but since I've been to enough Greek Churches were there was a black family or two, I don't think I would have been struck by anything about it.

The priest who gave the Greek sermon (an interesting one: he used a rose as prop and talked about motherhood) I remember because I went to speak to him about a friend of mine who wanted to marry a Greek girl. He was Polish.  The priest pulled out a register and showed that over half the marriages were with non-Greeks, and said as long as they were baptized, that wasn't a problem.  He pointed out that he was refusing to marry a Greek parishioner because his fiancee was Jewish, and that he would have to decide, if she wouldn't convert, which was more important, her or his heritage.

Anyways, yes Greeks (and the rest) can be clanish, but that isn't necessarily so.  What that has to do with your clothes, I don't know.
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« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2010, 12:18:48 AM »

Not at all!

I go to a Syriac Orthodox church. I think I am the only non-Middle Eastern person there. I love it and everyone welcomed me as family. One guy even stood up during the little after-liturgy get-together and announced me on his microphone to everyone and said I was always welcome there.

Here's a side note, and I'm not talking about the Original Poster now. I just wanted to make an observation. I don't know why some people feel so weird about being the only "non-Greek" "non-Arab" non whatever in church. I see tons of posts on here about stuff like that and I really don't get it...It's like, the name of the church includes the words "(ethnic group) Orthodox" in it and people are upset that they are speaking that foreign language and not English and that they are the only non-(ethnic) person there. I mean, I don't see why people get so preoccupied with that!

So, to me it seems that people are more xenophobic against the Orthodox, rather than the other way around.

EDIT: That guy who told you that you needed better clothes was probably just cranky from having to fast since midnight  Grin
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« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2010, 04:02:45 AM »

Pff The Germans aren't even Aryans. the Persians, and some upper class Hindus are.
Heck even I look more Aryan than most Germans: black hair, beige skin, and brown eyes, like Darius the Great.
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« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2010, 11:08:26 AM »

Pff The Germans aren't even Aryans. the Persians, and some upper class Hindus are.
Heck even I look more Aryan than most Germans: black hair, beige skin, and brown eyes, like Darius the Great.
"Aryan" refers to a language, not an ethnicity.
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« Reply #17 on: May 16, 2010, 06:51:05 PM »

Greeks and Russian are not distinct races. Ethnicism would be the issue you are thinking of, not racism.

You are right.
I'm smrt!  laugh
'Race' can also be applied to ethnic groups or nationalities, so 'racism' would be appropriate in your case.

Since when?
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« Reply #18 on: May 16, 2010, 06:53:36 PM »

I will warn that the Holy Week services have some pretty harsh words about "Jews." Holy Week would be a very bad week to come for the first time if you were Jewish. I am not saying that the Orthodox church particularly dislikes jews. Just that some of the text from Holy Week are pretty scathing towards "jews." If you attend the holy week services in the context of the liturgical year it is apparent that the Orthodox church has no issue with Jews. But Holy week as an isolated period is pretty bad.

The Church legitimately has a problem with Jews (Messianics aside). But is also has evident problems with heretics, schismatics, pagans, etc.
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« Reply #19 on: May 16, 2010, 06:55:09 PM »

Some of the texts during Holy Week, if not understood in the right context could be interpreted as anti-Semetic, when that is not the case.

What even constitutes "Antisemitism" is rarely all that clear these days.
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« Reply #20 on: May 16, 2010, 07:02:30 PM »

Pff The Germans aren't even Aryans. the Persians, and some upper class Hindus are.
Heck even I look more Aryan than most Germans: black hair, beige skin, and brown eyes, like Darius the Great.
"Aryan" refers to a language, not an ethnicity.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aryan_race
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« Reply #21 on: May 16, 2010, 07:09:41 PM »

Since when?

It is hardly uncommon to see "people" and "race" used interchangeably in older documents and works when referring to ethnicities.  The German race, the Italian race, etc.
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« Reply #22 on: May 16, 2010, 07:19:14 PM »

But Holy week as an isolated period is pretty bad.
You're calling the week celebrating Christ's victory bad?

No, read the rest of her post.

Some of the texts during Holy Week, if not understood in the right context could be interpreted as anti-Semetic, when that is not the case.

Thank you, apparently you are the only one that understands what I meant.

I have a JEWISH PRIEST, and he and I actually spoke about the passages during Holy Week that sound so bad. I am just pointing out that there are passages read during Holy Week that would be rather uninviting and offensive to a Jewish person that had never attended a service before and knew nothing about the Orthodox church. "Gentile" is a very nonspecific ethnic group, so I don't think you can say it is the same. If I walked into a church and they were saying "You evil American Indians" I would be pretty offended, whereas if they were saying "you evil Apache"  I would know it doesn't apply to me laugh

And if you understand the readings in the context of the liturgical year you will see that the readings aren't supposed to be interpreted as being about ONLY and SPECIFICALLY Jews.
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« Reply #23 on: May 16, 2010, 07:33:06 PM »

Pff The Germans aren't even Aryans. the Persians, and some upper class Hindus are.
Heck even I look more Aryan than most Germans: black hair, beige skin, and brown eyes, like Darius the Great.
"Aryan" refers to a language, not an ethnicity.
Still the German language isn't even Aryan.
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« Reply #24 on: May 16, 2010, 08:19:15 PM »

Since when?

It is hardly uncommon to see "people" and "race" used interchangeably in older documents and works when referring to ethnicities.  The German race, the Italian race, etc.

How old are you talking?
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« Reply #25 on: May 16, 2010, 08:30:11 PM »

Since when?

It is hardly uncommon to see "people" and "race" used interchangeably in older documents and works when referring to ethnicities.  The German race, the Italian race, etc.

How old are you talking?

The definition of racism now associated with the term grew out of the mid-19th century. Any work before that time would have referred to the Irish race, the English race, the French race etc.
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« Reply #26 on: May 16, 2010, 08:45:16 PM »

Am I not then correct in saying that given the common modern understanding both of race and racism that exclusion of certain American Caucasian groups by Greeks or Russians in the church would not be properly labeled "racism"?
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« Reply #27 on: May 16, 2010, 08:51:01 PM »

race 1
n.
1. A local geographic or global human population distinguished as a more or less distinct group by genetically transmitted physical characteristics.
2. A group of people united or classified together on the basis of common history, nationality, or geographic distribution: the German race.
3. A genealogical line; a lineage.
4. Humans considered as a group.
5. Biology
a. An interbreeding, usually geographically isolated population of organisms differing from other populations of the same species in the frequency of hereditary traits. A race that has been given formal taxonomic recognition is known as a subspecies.
b. A breed or strain, as of domestic animals.
6. A distinguishing or characteristic quality, such as the flavor of a wine.
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« Reply #28 on: May 16, 2010, 09:29:23 PM »

It would seem to me that the common usage of the term race today is almost exclusively the one based off of the 19th & 20th century works that associated broad ethnic groups into races with supposedly similar skeletal structures, what we refer to today as "Whites"/"Caucasians", "Asians", "Blacks", etc.
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« Reply #29 on: May 16, 2010, 09:39:15 PM »

Pff The Germans aren't even Aryans. the Persians, and some upper class Hindus are.
Heck even I look more Aryan than most Germans: black hair, beige skin, and brown eyes, like Darius the Great.
"Aryan" refers to a language, not an ethnicity.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aryan_race
The so-called "Aryan race" is more precisely the community of Proto-Indo-European speakers. Whether such a community was one unified "race", ethnically or genetically speaking, is far from clear. Such a community may have been composed of several different ethnic groups, who nonetheless spoke the same, or similar, language(s).


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« Reply #30 on: May 16, 2010, 09:46:21 PM »

It would seem to me that the common usage of the term race today is almost exclusively the one based off of the 19th & 20th century works that associated broad ethnic groups into races with supposedly similar skeletal structures, what we refer to today as "Whites"/"Caucasians", "Asians", "Blacks", etc.
I don't know about "almost exclusively". Here are some recent examples of "race" (and "racism") being used to describe different national, or ethnic, groups:

2003 Chatham (Ont.) Daily News (Nexis) 11 Jan., The French Canadians were treated as bad as the blacks throughout the U.S. at the time... His experiences of racism against French Canadians..was [sic] apparent.

2000 E. S. BELFIORE Murder among Friends i. 16 The Argive women supplicate Theseus on the basis of kinship, since they, like him, belong to the race of Pelasgos.

2005 D. MCWILLIAMS Pope's Children xxiv. 271 Back in mainland Europe, it feels like the Jews and the Paddies are the only two entrepreneurial races in Europe.


And even the category of "white/caucasian", racially speaking, has often been divided into three separate "races", one of which is the Nordic:

2004 R. WEITZ Rapunzel's Daughters i. 20 In his influential 1916 book, The Passing of the Great Race , Madison Grant argued that ‘the citadel of civilization will fall’ if the Nordic race..wiped itself out through intermarriage with the ‘brunet’ races of southern and eastern Europe.
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« Reply #31 on: May 16, 2010, 09:48:01 PM »

Pff The Germans aren't even Aryans. the Persians, and some upper class Hindus are.
Heck even I look more Aryan than most Germans: black hair, beige skin, and brown eyes, like Darius the Great.
"Aryan" refers to a language, not an ethnicity.
Still the German language isn't even Aryan.
German isn't Indo-European?
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« Reply #32 on: May 16, 2010, 09:50:13 PM »

Pff The Germans aren't even Aryans. the Persians, and some upper class Hindus are.
Heck even I look more Aryan than most Germans: black hair, beige skin, and brown eyes, like Darius the Great.
"Aryan" refers to a language, not an ethnicity.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aryan_race
The so-called "Aryan race" is more precisely the community of Proto-Indo-European speakers. Whether such a community was one unified "race", ethnically or genetically speaking, is far from clear. Such a community may have been composed of several different ethnic groups, who nonetheless spoke the same, or similar, language(s).




Whether the theory was legitimate or not is one thing. That the theory shows that people use "Aryan" to refer to a perceived race,  however, is clear.
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« Reply #33 on: May 16, 2010, 09:52:01 PM »

It would seem to me that the common usage of the term race today is almost exclusively the one based off of the 19th & 20th century works that associated broad ethnic groups into races with supposedly similar skeletal structures, what we refer to today as "Whites"/"Caucasians", "Asians", "Blacks", etc.
I don't know about "almost exclusively". Here are some recent examples of "race" (and "racism") being used to describe different national, or ethnic, groups:

2003 Chatham (Ont.) Daily News (Nexis) 11 Jan., The French Canadians were treated as bad as the blacks throughout the U.S. at the time... His experiences of racism against French Canadians..was [sic] apparent.

2000 E. S. BELFIORE Murder among Friends i. 16 The Argive women supplicate Theseus on the basis of kinship, since they, like him, belong to the race of Pelasgos.

2005 D. MCWILLIAMS Pope's Children xxiv. 271 Back in mainland Europe, it feels like the Jews and the Paddies are the only two entrepreneurial races in Europe.


And even the category of "white/caucasian", racially speaking, has often been divided into three separate "races", one of which is the Nordic:

2004 R. WEITZ Rapunzel's Daughters i. 20 In his influential 1916 book, The Passing of the Great Race , Madison Grant argued that ‘the citadel of civilization will fall’ if the Nordic race..wiped itself out through intermarriage with the ‘brunet’ races of southern and eastern Europe.

That's interesting. But does this reflect common usage?
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« Reply #34 on: May 16, 2010, 10:20:12 PM »

It would seem to me that the common usage of the term race today is almost exclusively the one based off of the 19th & 20th century works that associated broad ethnic groups into races with supposedly similar skeletal structures, what we refer to today as "Whites"/"Caucasians", "Asians", "Blacks", etc.
I don't know about "almost exclusively". Here are some recent examples of "race" (and "racism") being used to describe different national, or ethnic, groups:

2003 Chatham (Ont.) Daily News (Nexis) 11 Jan., The French Canadians were treated as bad as the blacks throughout the U.S. at the time... His experiences of racism against French Canadians..was [sic] apparent.

2000 E. S. BELFIORE Murder among Friends i. 16 The Argive women supplicate Theseus on the basis of kinship, since they, like him, belong to the race of Pelasgos.

2005 D. MCWILLIAMS Pope's Children xxiv. 271 Back in mainland Europe, it feels like the Jews and the Paddies are the only two entrepreneurial races in Europe.


And even the category of "white/caucasian", racially speaking, has often been divided into three separate "races", one of which is the Nordic:

2004 R. WEITZ Rapunzel's Daughters i. 20 In his influential 1916 book, The Passing of the Great Race , Madison Grant argued that ‘the citadel of civilization will fall’ if the Nordic race..wiped itself out through intermarriage with the ‘brunet’ races of southern and eastern Europe.

That's interesting. But does this reflect common usage?
Scientifically, "race" is nowadays mostly applied to categories like Caucasoid, and Negroid, and so forth; but the common people use "race" in all sorts of ways.
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« Reply #35 on: May 16, 2010, 10:27:28 PM »

It would seem to me that the common usage of the term race today is almost exclusively the one based off of the 19th & 20th century works that associated broad ethnic groups into races with supposedly similar skeletal structures, what we refer to today as "Whites"/"Caucasians", "Asians", "Blacks", etc.
I don't know about "almost exclusively". Here are some recent examples of "race" (and "racism") being used to describe different national, or ethnic, groups:

2003 Chatham (Ont.) Daily News (Nexis) 11 Jan., The French Canadians were treated as bad as the blacks throughout the U.S. at the time... His experiences of racism against French Canadians..was [sic] apparent.

2000 E. S. BELFIORE Murder among Friends i. 16 The Argive women supplicate Theseus on the basis of kinship, since they, like him, belong to the race of Pelasgos.

2005 D. MCWILLIAMS Pope's Children xxiv. 271 Back in mainland Europe, it feels like the Jews and the Paddies are the only two entrepreneurial races in Europe.


And even the category of "white/caucasian", racially speaking, has often been divided into three separate "races", one of which is the Nordic:

2004 R. WEITZ Rapunzel's Daughters i. 20 In his influential 1916 book, The Passing of the Great Race , Madison Grant argued that ‘the citadel of civilization will fall’ if the Nordic race..wiped itself out through intermarriage with the ‘brunet’ races of southern and eastern Europe.

That's interesting. But does this reflect common usage?
Scientifically, "race" is nowadays mostly applied to categories like Caucasoid, and Negroid, and so forth; but the common people use "race" in all sorts of ways.

Hmmm. Speaking from personal experience, all I remember people using "race" to mean is something akin to the scientific usage.
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« Reply #36 on: May 17, 2010, 07:47:31 AM »


Well, as has been stated earlier, the Church itself cannot be accused of ethnicism, or racism.  People on the other hand....in my case however this hasn't been the case as I was brought into Orthodoxy in Bulgaria (I'm Polish) less than a month ago, but having been going to services for a little over a year here I have never experienced any hostility on the part of the Bulgarian parishioners I encountered.  It was the same in Serbia.  I certainly encountered curiosity but in most cases have been lauded for 'looking to the truth'  Grin
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« Reply #37 on: May 17, 2010, 01:21:22 PM »

I just wanted to add:

I think maybe some new potential converts attending a foreign language divine liturgy may be simply overwhelmed because a) being new to anything can make someone a little nervous, b) the language barrier means they might not know what is going on or what to do, and c) the cultural differences that the inquirer may not be familiar with.

I really don't believe at all that the ethnic Orthodox churches discriminate. Rather, I feel that most (if not all) of the feelings of alienation are in the mind of only the new parishioner.

Not only have I been welcomed at my church but I have been made to feel at home by the priest, deacons, and each and every parishioner.

One way I can sum this up is: I remember telling my (non-Orthodox) friend about moving to a different area of town so that I would not have to leave my church for the summer. She said with a smile "ah so it's YOUR church now..." Yes, I feel that I belong there Smiley

I remember sitting nervously in a donut shop, waiting for the divine liturgy to start (I arrived an hour early so I went to the shop for awhile). I nervously sent a friend a text message. "What if they don't want me?" I asked. laugh After my fourth divine liturgy I love to look at that text message and laugh. If only I knew how warmly I would be accepted.
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« Reply #38 on: May 17, 2010, 01:47:16 PM »

Is racism a problem in the Orthodox church? I've heard, in Greek churches especially, that if you aren't Greek, Russian, etc. you will be looked at as an outsider. My fiance said, when I told her I was going to check out the Greek church down the street, that I would be the whitest and blondest guy in the room. Turns out she was right. It seemed as if everyone was Greek! And after the service an old Greek man came up to me and said I needed better clothes. I said "OK.... me and the family are kinda broke right now ha ha" (trying to laugh it off). He says "Well you need to find some money" and walked off. I was wearing black slacks, dress shoes and a button down.

Just a thought that came to me

The Orthodox are a mixed bag, and so they are just like everyone else in this regard. You will find racists everywhere......including here, but you will also find non-racists as well. I'm an African American, and I attend an Arabic parish, and if I can fit in, then surely you can.
At the end of the day you have to look at people as individuals and go from there. You also have to have thick skin, for you will run into someone from time to time that will rub you the wrong way. You can't allow such things to stop you, and eventually in alot of cases, even those people will turn around or change their view about you once they get to know you better. Relationships is key! It has been my personal experience that you will find way more Orthodox Christians that will like you and embrace you. But you will find some that won't, but don't let that get you down......don't allow that to stop you.

 I'm not gonna share my personal thoughts about the GOA, but the OCA, ROCOR, and maybe some convert Antiochian, Serbian, and Ukranian missions and parishes.......might be a better fit. I am only saying this because some within the GOA have an idea of "mission" as something similar to what I saw within some protestant and Roman Catholic groups. You know, they only want to reach the rich and wealthy in America.....the brightest minds in America.........etc. (the top down method.....when it comes to reaching nonOrthodox Americans)

You know, it's the same old stuff we saw in some sectors in protestant and Roman Catholic land. Nothing new. So hold on, and don't let such things stop you from becoming Orthodox. Like I said.......if I can do it, then you can too. I'm a bottoms up type of guy when it comes to missions for there are more poor and middle class than rich, and it is todays poor and middle class that will be tomorrows rich and famous.......especialy in a classless, and free market society. Also the poor and middle classes produce more kids than the rich and wealthy, and so todays rich will die out tomorrow, but todays poor and middle class will be tomorrows future.


The Orthodox are a mixed bag. ......just like everyone else. Keep your head up, and don't give up!






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« Reply #39 on: May 17, 2010, 06:31:14 PM »

I was brought into Orthodoxy in Bulgaria (I'm Polish) less than a month ago,

What language is the liturgy conducted in?
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« Reply #40 on: May 17, 2010, 06:33:22 PM »

I just wanted to add:

I think maybe some new potential converts attending a foreign language divine liturgy may be simply overwhelmed because a) being new to anything can make someone a little nervous, b) the language barrier means they might not know what is going on or what to do, and c) the cultural differences that the inquirer may not be familiar with.

I really don't believe at all that the ethnic Orthodox churches discriminate. Rather, I feel that most (if not all) of the feelings of alienation are in the mind of only the new parishioner.

Not only have I been welcomed at my church but I have been made to feel at home by the priest, deacons, and each and every parishioner.

One way I can sum this up is: I remember telling my (non-Orthodox) friend about moving to a different area of town so that I would not have to leave my church for the summer. She said with a smile "ah so it's YOUR church now..." Yes, I feel that I belong there Smiley

I remember sitting nervously in a donut shop, waiting for the divine liturgy to start (I arrived an hour early so I went to the shop for awhile). I nervously sent a friend a text message. "What if they don't want me?" I asked. laugh After my fourth divine liturgy I love to look at that text message and laugh. If only I knew how warmly I would be accepted.

Welcoming and integration are somewhat distinct issues. Refusing to cater to converts with use of the vernacular language seems to me an indication that they may be welcome but that the ethnic churches do not care to compromise the ethnic nature of their church at all for the sake of integration.
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« Reply #41 on: May 17, 2010, 08:55:40 PM »


Welcoming and integration are somewhat distinct issues. Refusing to cater to converts with use of the vernacular language seems to me an indication that they may be welcome but that the ethnic churches do not care to compromise the ethnic nature of their church at all for the sake of integration.

When you talk about the ethnic nature of the church, I think I see it from a different angle because my church's divine liturgy is conducted in Aramaic, the language that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ spoke. For this reason it would break my heart if the hymns were changed to English. The hymns were sung this way for nearly 2,000 years. I even listened to a divine liturgy recorded in Jerusalem. It was EXACTLY like the divine liturgy I attend thousands of miles away in the U.S.

To get back to your point, I suppose I wouldn't feel as strongly about integration if I were a member of, say, a ROCOR church. As much as I love the Russian language, I am not as tied to it in church because it's language is not ancient Aramaic which has direct ties to the time of Jesus. So yes, I suppose in any other church I would be for integration, but in the Syriac Orthodox church it would break my heart if they took out Aramaic for the sake of integration (not to mention that we need to keep Aramaic alive!).

EDIT: The bible readings and the priests sermon is in English. Is that what you mean by integration? Or do you mean the entire liturgy?
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« Reply #42 on: May 17, 2010, 11:37:55 PM »


Welcoming and integration are somewhat distinct issues. Refusing to cater to converts with use of the vernacular language seems to me an indication that they may be welcome but that the ethnic churches do not care to compromise the ethnic nature of their church at all for the sake of integration.

When you talk about the ethnic nature of the church, I think I see it from a different angle because my church's divine liturgy is conducted in Aramaic, the language that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ spoke. For this reason it would break my heart if the hymns were changed to English. The hymns were sung this way for nearly 2,000 years. I even listened to a divine liturgy recorded in Jerusalem. It was EXACTLY like the divine liturgy I attend thousands of miles away in the U.S.

To get back to your point, I suppose I wouldn't feel as strongly about integration if I were a member of, say, a ROCOR church. As much as I love the Russian language, I am not as tied to it in church because it's language is not ancient Aramaic which has direct ties to the time of Jesus. So yes, I suppose in any other church I would be for integration, but in the Syriac Orthodox church it would break my heart if they took out Aramaic for the sake of integration (not to mention that we need to keep Aramaic alive!).

EDIT: The bible readings and the priests sermon is in English. Is that what you mean by integration? Or do you mean the entire liturgy?

Which of the readings are in English?
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« Reply #43 on: May 18, 2010, 01:15:49 AM »


Which of the readings are in English?

Near the beginning there is a bible reading that I think the priest picks out. The deacon reads from the bible and the reading varies from week to week. The priest also talks about various topics. Last week he talked about Jesus and his ascention into heaven after he had been with the disciples, and how Peter had denied him three times.

The prayer of confession is also in English. The Nicene Creed is also recited in English.

On the fourth Sunday of the month, the sermon and bible reading are in Arabic but the prayer of confession and Nicene Creed are still in English.

Every week the hymns are in Aramaic/Syriac.

Also, the liturgy book has the English meaning next to every Aramaic sentence. The liturgy book is also in English with the Aramaic of course, and at the back of the book it is in Arabic.
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« Reply #44 on: May 18, 2010, 01:52:51 AM »

I haven't been subject to racism, just my own issues with feeling out of place as the only Anglo-Irish Aussie in a crowd of Greeks or Lebanese. But that's my problem, not theirs.

When I went to a Coptic Church, the priest was so welcoming that he even asked me to come up the front to read the Epistle for the day. I'm not sure if it was entirely canonical, but it was certainly an effective way of letting me know that I was welcome there.
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