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Author Topic: is it OK for me to visit another church?  (Read 2174 times) Average Rating: 0
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Tikhon.of.Colorado
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« on: May 16, 2010, 08:36:35 PM »

I have neeb going to an Orthodox Church almost every sunday for the past year (one year next month).  I LOVE the church so much!  I have developed a great love for the Theotokos, aswell.  I even have a small magnetic icon of the Theotokos (and one of Christ) that I'll put in my locker.

I saw the inside of a dimly lighted Episcopal church.  it was HUGE, vert different from my church.  it looked so mid 16th-century western European.  I would really love to see a service there.  I am interested to see a Protestant service, as the last time I went to a Protestant service was Dec. 24, 1994, the night I was baptized.  I know I'm an Orthodox Christian.  I know I can't take communion, even thought they'll encourage me to. 

would this be OK?  what do you think?  the German/Scottish/English half of me was really attracted to the architecture.  I just want to see a service.
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« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2010, 08:40:19 PM »

I have neeb going to an Orthodox Church almost every sunday for the past year (one year next month).  I LOVE the church so much!  I have developed a great love for the Theotokos, aswell.  I even have a small magnetic icon of the Theotokos (and one of Christ) that I'll put in my locker.

I saw the inside of a dimly lighted Episcopal church.  it was HUGE, vert different from my church.  it looked so mid 16th-century western European.  I would really love to see a service there.  I am interested to see a Protestant service, as the last time I went to a Protestant service was Dec. 24, 1994, the night I was baptized.  I know I'm an Orthodox Christian.  I know I can't take communion, even thought they'll encourage me to. 

would this be OK?  what do you think?  the German/Scottish/English half of me was really attracted to the architecture.  I just want to see a service.
Why is it that important that you do so?
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« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2010, 09:11:47 PM »

I have neeb going to an Orthodox Church almost every sunday for the past year (one year next month).  I LOVE the church so much!  I have developed a great love for the Theotokos, aswell.  I even have a small magnetic icon of the Theotokos (and one of Christ) that I'll put in my locker.

I saw the inside of a dimly lighted Episcopal church.  it was HUGE, vert different from my church.  it looked so mid 16th-century western European.  I would really love to see a service there.  I am interested to see a Protestant service, as the last time I went to a Protestant service was Dec. 24, 1994, the night I was baptized.  I know I'm an Orthodox Christian.  I know I can't take communion, even thought they'll encourage me to. 

would this be OK?  what do you think?  the German/Scottish/English half of me was really attracted to the architecture.  I just want to see a service.
Why is it that important that you do so?
I've just alwayse wondered what an Episcopal service is like, and I'll always feel that little tug toward it, if I don't go.
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« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2010, 09:21:53 PM »

I think it would at least be ok for you to go as an observer. It mostly depends on to what degree you participate. For instance, a more moderate interpretation will just say "you can't take Communion". Easy enough. A more conservative interpretation would say "you cannot pray with the heterodox". I would think you could still go as an observer while not praying with them. The most conservative interpretation would say that you should not even be in the midst of them while they are praying.

I have historically gone to other "Christian" (using this in quotes because in a certain sense only the orthodox are truly Christian) and not partaken of their ordinances, however while praying with them in so far as I do not find it theologically objectionable. For instance, I will not sing the Agnus Dei at the end of the Eucharistic prayer because I cannot affirm that the Real Presence is there. However, the acceptability or non-acceptability of praying with the heterodox at all is something that I've been thinking about somewhat for a little while.
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« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2010, 09:27:27 PM »

I think it would at least be ok for you to go as an observer. It mostly depends on to what degree you participate. For instance, a more moderate interpretation will just say "you can't take Communion". Easy enough. A more conservative interpretation would say "you cannot pray with the heterodox". I would think you could still go as an observer while not praying with them. The most conservative interpretation would say that you should not even be in the midst of them while they are praying.

I have historically gone to other "Christian" (using this in quotes because in a certain sense only the orthodox are truly Christian) and not partaken of their ordinances, however while praying with them in so far as I do not find it theologically objectionable. For instance, I will not sing the Agnus Dei at the end of the Eucharistic prayer because I cannot affirm that the Real Presence is there. However, the acceptability or non-acceptability of praying with the heterodox at all is something that I've been thinking about somewhat for a little while.
thanks! 

you mentioned not being with the heterodox (definition, please Huh) even when they pray.  There is a non-denominational Christian group at my school.  they are really evangelical to the bone!  I went for one day, and never went back.  they told me that "every denomination that calls themselves Christians are completley right, and we all make up the body of Christ".  would it be bad for me to go back?  I would like to meet one day a week with otherChristians around campus, but I've found the "pastor" to be very liberal.
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« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2010, 09:31:00 PM »

I have neeb going to an Orthodox Church almost every sunday for the past year (one year next month).  I LOVE the church so much!  I have developed a great love for the Theotokos, aswell.  I even have a small magnetic icon of the Theotokos (and one of Christ) that I'll put in my locker.

I saw the inside of a dimly lighted Episcopal church.  it was HUGE, vert different from my church.  it looked so mid 16th-century western European.  I would really love to see a service there.  I am interested to see a Protestant service, as the last time I went to a Protestant service was Dec. 24, 1994, the night I was baptized.  I know I'm an Orthodox Christian.  I know I can't take communion, even thought they'll encourage me to. 

would this be OK?  what do you think?  the German/Scottish/English half of me was really attracted to the architecture.  I just want to see a service.
Why is it that important that you do so?
I've just alwayse wondered what an Episcopal service is like, and I'll always feel that little tug toward it, if I don't go.
Is mere curiosity a good reason?
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« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2010, 09:32:10 PM »

I have neeb going to an Orthodox Church almost every sunday for the past year (one year next month).  I LOVE the church so much!  I have developed a great love for the Theotokos, aswell.  I even have a small magnetic icon of the Theotokos (and one of Christ) that I'll put in my locker.

I saw the inside of a dimly lighted Episcopal church.  it was HUGE, vert different from my church.  it looked so mid 16th-century western European.  I would really love to see a service there.  I am interested to see a Protestant service, as the last time I went to a Protestant service was Dec. 24, 1994, the night I was baptized.  I know I'm an Orthodox Christian.  I know I can't take communion, even thought they'll encourage me to. 

would this be OK?  what do you think?  the German/Scottish/English half of me was really attracted to the architecture.  I just want to see a service.
Why is it that important that you do so?
I've just alwayse wondered what an Episcopal service is like, and I'll always feel that little tug toward it, if I don't go.
Is mere curiosity a good reason?

hmm....you've given me something to pray about!
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« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2010, 09:35:04 PM »

I have neeb going to an Orthodox Church almost every sunday for the past year (one year next month).  I LOVE the church so much!  I have developed a great love for the Theotokos, aswell.  I even have a small magnetic icon of the Theotokos (and one of Christ) that I'll put in my locker.

I saw the inside of a dimly lighted Episcopal church.  it was HUGE, vert different from my church.  it looked so mid 16th-century western European.  I would really love to see a service there.  I am interested to see a Protestant service, as the last time I went to a Protestant service was Dec. 24, 1994, the night I was baptized.  I know I'm an Orthodox Christian.  I know I can't take communion, even thought they'll encourage me to.  

would this be OK?  what do you think?  the German/Scottish/English half of me was really attracted to the architecture.  I just want to see a service.
Why is it that important that you do so?
I've just alwayse wondered what an Episcopal service is like, and I'll always feel that little tug toward it, if I don't go.

Try reading through the Book of Common Prayer http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/bcp.htm, especially the Morning Prayer and Holy Communion section (The Episcopal Church uses the 1979 edition, usually Rite II).  It should give you a good idea what an Episcopal service would be like, without the messy implications of actually attending an Episcopal service and possibly subjecting your mind to ideas which go waaaaaaay beyond heterodox (it's a crap shoot these days, I'm sad to say).

Edit, new thought: for a better idea of what historic Anglicanism would have been like the 1662 edition is the one that was in use throughout most of the Communion, the 1549 edition is absolutely beautiful, and the 1928 American edition is the basis for the Liturgy of St Tikhon used in many Western Rite parishes.
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« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2010, 09:36:17 PM »

I have neeb going to an Orthodox Church almost every sunday for the past year (one year next month).  I LOVE the church so much!  I have developed a great love for the Theotokos, aswell.  I even have a small magnetic icon of the Theotokos (and one of Christ) that I'll put in my locker.

I saw the inside of a dimly lighted Episcopal church.  it was HUGE, vert different from my church.  it looked so mid 16th-century western European.  I would really love to see a service there.  I am interested to see a Protestant service, as the last time I went to a Protestant service was Dec. 24, 1994, the night I was baptized.  I know I'm an Orthodox Christian.  I know I can't take communion, even thought they'll encourage me to.  

would this be OK?  what do you think?  the German/Scottish/English half of me was really attracted to the architecture.  I just want to see a service.
Why is it that important that you do so?
I've just alwayse wondered what an Episcopal service is like, and I'll always feel that little tug toward it, if I don't go.

Try reading through the Book of Common Prayer http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/bcp.htm, especially the Morning Prayer and Holy Communion section (The Episcopal Church uses the 1979 edition, usually Rite II).  It should give you a good idea what an Episcopal service would be like, without the messy implications of actually attending an Episcopal service and possibly subjecting your mind to ideas which go waaaaaaay beyond heterodox (it's a crap shoot these days, I'm sad to say).
thanks!  I'll take a look at this. 
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« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2010, 09:39:56 PM »

you mentioned not being with the heterodox (definition, please Huh) even when they pray.

The most common related term is "orthodox". "Ortho" means correct, while "dox" is a contraction of "doxia" which means glorification. However, "doxia" somehow (I'm not that great of a linguistic scholar to know that one) came to be understood simply as belief, and thus the common meaning is "right belief". "Heterodox", on the other hand, means "different belief", indicating a belief different from the Apostolic deposit and the Church. "Heterodox" can thus refer to any who hold different dogmatic beliefs from the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox Church of Christ.

It is commonly used as a substitute for the term "heretic", as that term is often misused. Heretic originally meant someone who had made a choice to contradict the faith of the Church and refused to recant. Somehow it is now often used to categorize anyone who contradicts the faith of the Church, even if they never really made such a choice having ever had anything to do with the Church. "Heterodox" is thus a more appropriate term for those in general who hold beliefs other than the Church.

There is a non-denominational Christian group at my school.  they are really evangelical to the bone!  I went for one day, and never went back.  they told me that "every denomination that calls themselves Christians are completley right, and we all make up the body of Christ".  would it be bad for me to go back?  I would like to meet one day a week with otherChristians around campus, but I've found the "pastor" to be very liberal.

Well I'm not really decided on the issue enough to give you advice on that situation. My bare minimum warning would be to not partake of any "sacramental" ordinances and do not participate in any particular prayer that you find heterodox.
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« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2010, 10:01:03 PM »

This is a question you should ask your spiritual father.
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« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2010, 10:28:37 PM »

Do you live within a reasonable distance of a Western Rite Orthodox parish? There aren't very many at all, but you might get lucky.
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« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2010, 11:33:16 PM »

Here is the text of the Liturgy of St. Tikhon, which is a modified from the ECUSA's 1928 Prayerbook to be more Orthodox. So you get an idea about contemporary conservative Anglicanism but stay within the confines of Orthodoxy:

http://orthodoxwiki.org/Liturgy_of_St._Tikhon_%28text%29
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« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2010, 07:12:18 AM »

Trevor, is it the service or the architecture you're interested in? Your original post seems a bit vague on that. If it's the architecture, then I would suggest just waiting until the church is open for a public concert or other event, rather than a religious service. Or, perhaps, if you don't mind the morbid part, check your local newspaper's obituaries and attend a funeral service.

If you really want to attend a service just to see how it's done, be sure to check with your priest first. It might even be a good idea to take along a mature Orthodox friend.

I'm curious about a lot of places, too. I've never been in a mosque, a Mormon church, or a JW Kingdom Hall. But, somehow, I seem to survive by staying where I belong  Smiley! It would take more than mere curiosity for me to visit some locations.
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« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2010, 07:30:52 AM »

If you're merely going as an observer because you're interested in seeing how they do things, I don't see the problem provided you don't participate in the service (besides perhaps sitting and standing when others do so, out of politeness).

If it's something you feel might draw you away from the Church, or cause you to doubt the veracity of your own faith, or if you feel inclined to pray with them or partake of their sacraments, then perhaps it's better to stay away for the time being.
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« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2010, 08:12:56 AM »

Here is the text of the Liturgy of St. Tikhon, which is a modified from the ECUSA's 1928 Prayerbook to be more Orthodox. So you get an idea about contemporary conservative Anglicanism but stay within the confines of Orthodoxy:

http://orthodoxwiki.org/Liturgy_of_St._Tikhon_%28text%29

Trevor's profile says he is in Colorado, where there are several WRO parishes.
http://www.stlukespriory.com/WesternRiteDirectory.html
http://www.stgregoryoc.org/

The former priest of St. Augustine
http//www.stgregoryoc.org/
Fr. David of blessed memory, retired to our parish and maintained a WRO chapel in his house.  He was Tikhonian rite, although St. Augustine is Gregorian.  I think St. Mark is the Tikhonian parish in Denver.

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« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2010, 10:19:51 AM »

If you've made your choice, stick with it and avoid ecumenism (ie participating in church services with other denominations).

That's what I've been advised.

I am an Orthodox enquirer myself, who has also been attending church regularly for a year, with a protestant background (although never baptised).
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« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2010, 02:33:38 PM »

If you've made your choice, stick with it and avoid ecumenism (ie participating in church services with other denominations).

That's what I've been advised.

I am an Orthodox enquirer myself, who has also been attending church regularly for a year, with a protestant background (although never baptised).
What may be permitted to you, an inquirer, may not be wise, though, for a baptized and chrismated communicant of the Orthodox Church, such as Trevor has been for the last few weeks.
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« Reply #18 on: May 17, 2010, 02:34:45 PM »

Go and observe and stop at that.
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« Reply #19 on: May 17, 2010, 05:06:47 PM »

If you've made your choice, stick with it and avoid ecumenism (ie participating in church services with other denominations).

That's what I've been advised.

I am an Orthodox enquirer myself, who has also been attending church regularly for a year, with a protestant background (although never baptised).
What may be permitted to you, an inquirer, may not be wise, though, for a baptized and chrismated communicant of the Orthodox Church, such as Trevor has been for the last few weeks.

That's what I meant - why go? Why get involved in ecumenism at all - what is there to offer there that isn't already in the fullness of truth on offer in the Orthodox church.

Curiosity is not a good reason, in my own personal opinion - that's how logismoi take hold in my experience.

God willing, I will be baptised soon too Trevor. Oh and I'm from Wales - you are not missing much I promise you that.
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« Reply #20 on: May 19, 2010, 04:29:40 PM »

...rather than a religious service. Or, perhaps, if you don't mind the morbid part, check your local newspaper's obituaries and attend a funeral service.

*scratches head*
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« Reply #21 on: May 19, 2010, 05:17:21 PM »

...rather than a religious service. Or, perhaps, if you don't mind the morbid part, check your local newspaper's obituaries and attend a funeral service.

*scratches head*
OK Here's the translation: on the chance that Trevor simply wants to view the architecture of a certain church, I was making a suggestion as to an opportunity when the building would be open to the public. Of course, a wedding would work too, but announcements for those are less likely to appear in daily papers. Now that I think of it, he could simply phone the church office and tell them he'd like to get in for look, though he might face some pressure to attend a service.

I've never tried crashing a funeral myself, might put the "fun" back in "funeral"  Grin !
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« Reply #22 on: May 19, 2010, 05:24:16 PM »

...rather than a religious service. Or, perhaps, if you don't mind the morbid part, check your local newspaper's obituaries and attend a funeral service.

*scratches head*
OK Here's the translation: on the chance that Trevor simply wants to view the architecture of a certain church, I was making a suggestion as to an opportunity when the building would be open to the public. Of course, a wedding would work too, but announcements for those are less likely to appear in daily papers. Now that I think of it, he could simply phone the church office and tell them he'd like to get in for look, though he might face some pressure to attend a service.

I've never tried crashing a funeral myself, might put the "fun" back in "funeral"  Grin !

I'm still confused because I figure funerals and weddings are religious services...
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« Reply #23 on: May 19, 2010, 05:31:48 PM »


I'm still confused because I figure funerals and weddings are religious services...
True enough, but normally more of a spectator thing than a worship service. Of course, what I said earlier should probably still apply: check with your priest first.
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