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Radost
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« on: May 16, 2010, 06:05:59 PM »

Hello.  I am new to Orthodoxy. I started studying Russian a few months ago and when I connected with other people on Facebook.  At first it was more just a secular interest where I would watch the Russian ceremonies and  Dyen Pobedi parades on You Tube but then I began to notice the strong Orthodox Presence among the Russian people.  As I became more immersed in wanting to see things not from the USA viewpoint but rather learn how others see things, I connected with a young person from Serbia who started telling me all about Orthodoxy.  I noticed how just from listening to the Liturgies, I felt a happiness I have not felt in a long time.  This person from Serbia strongly encouraged me to go to the Orthodox center in my town.  I was a bit shy since my Russian isn't so good yet but I went and felt really touched by the presence there...also there are some people there I feel may be saints (what I mean is that I think they see God all the time). It's a small center.  It's actually a sister church for the huge San Francisco Church for St. John Maximovitch 4 hours away. I'm a bit nervous to ask anyone there how one goes about being Orthodox since I realize my Russian is still really not good at all.  I adore Russian culture and strongly resonate with Russian liturgy.  One of these days I want to make a pilgramage this summer to San Francisco to St. John Maximovich's holy shrine...though I guess I'm scared to do so...because I'm sure once I go there, I'll be rushing to the priests asking what I would do to become Orthodox. I did go as far to ask the people of our church about learning more on Orthodoxy and a woman who is an icon painter strongly encouraged me to read the internet that there is lots of information in English.

One of the things I see in Orthodoxy is that it gives answers to life...through the stories and beautiful examples of how the saints lived their lives.  The saints are a beacon of light in our troubled times of confusioin.  In this modern world where people are trying so hard to find quick fixes and the promise that things are going to go exactly as they want them to, then getting irritated or depressed when they don't, I find it's such a breath of fresh air to read the Orthodox saints and their teachings that stress how we can USE the trials of life to draw us much closer to God---that even in our struggles, they can lead us to happiness as these cause us to run to God where our True Home is.  I have been pretty discouraged constantly being influenced by a world that says that perfect youth, perfect bodies, glamour, lots of money and all that stuff is the main goal of life.  Now being close to approaching my forties, I began to ask myself seriously, "Is all this stuff going to fulfill me?  Isn't it true that we humans tend to cling to the things that someday we all know we must depart without?  I know in my heart that the saints are RIGHT...that there IS a GREATER JOY something FAR GREATER than all these other things we so desperately run after.  So many spiritual paths out there try to convince us that if we work hard enough, we can forever look glamorous young, never have to pay bills, be rich and famous, and never get another flat tire...seriously...almost as if they're trying to teach us that people without trials are the most spiritually happy people----and yet I realize more and more that even if we were to achieve all these goals, in the end, they are NOT the answer.  I really am beginning to feel in my heart that people like Patriarch Pavle and Saint Serafim of Sarov probably WERE much happier with their few possessions than the masses of people who are running around worried about their 401Ks like chickens with their heads cut off.  So many people think a 401K is the answer to life....but the saints know there is MORE to life than the rainbows we are constantly chasing.  They KNEW that GOD ALONE is what we have forever and so even while they are living in the world, they have eyes that always saw God. 

I hope that I can find some people to talk to here in this community who could help me learn more about Orthodoxy...maybe even some Russian friends who I could practice Russian with talking about spiritual topics learning more about Orthodoxy...I would like to understand the Liturgies and stories about the saints because there is much information on the internet and I'm slowly learning Russian.  Maybe i could connect with some people here who go to the San Francisco church since I plan to take a drive there in that area to go to the shrine for St. John Maximovich...but anyone from ANY nationality I would want reach out to because I am discovering that Orthodox chants are beautiful in ALL the languages.  This is a beautiful path indeed. 
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« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2010, 06:12:42 PM »

Welcome to the forum, Radost.
 Smiley
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« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2010, 06:16:55 PM »

Hello.  I am new to Orthodoxy. I started studying Russian a few months ago and when I connected with other people on Facebook.  At first it was more just a secular interest where I would watch the Russian ceremonies and  Dyen Pobedi parades on You Tube but then I began to notice the strong Orthodox Presence among the Russian people.  As I became more immersed in wanting to see things not from the USA viewpoint but rather learn how others see things, I connected with a young person from Serbia who started telling me all about Orthodoxy.  I noticed how just from listening to the Liturgies, I felt a happiness I have not felt in a long time.  This person from Serbia strongly encouraged me to go to the Orthodox center in my town.  I was a bit shy since my Russian isn't so good yet but I went and felt really touched by the presence there...also there are some people there I feel may be saints (what I mean is that I think they see God all the time). It's a small center.  It's actually a sister church for the huge San Francisco Church for St. John Maximovitch 4 hours away. I'm a bit nervous to ask anyone there how one goes about being Orthodox since I realize my Russian is still really not good at all.  I adore Russian culture and strongly resonate with Russian liturgy.  One of these days I want to make a pilgramage this summer to San Francisco to St. John Maximovich's holy shrine...though I guess I'm scared to do so...because I'm sure once I go there, I'll be rushing to the priests asking what I would do to become Orthodox. I did go as far to ask the people of our church about learning more on Orthodoxy and a woman who is an icon painter strongly encouraged me to read the internet that there is lots of information in English.

One of the things I see in Orthodoxy is that it gives answers to life...through the stories and beautiful examples of how the saints lived their lives.  The saints are a beacon of light in our troubled times of confusioin.  In this modern world where people are trying so hard to find quick fixes and the promise that things are going to go exactly as they want them to, then getting irritated or depressed when they don't, I find it's such a breath of fresh air to read the Orthodox saints and their teachings that stress how we can USE the trials of life to draw us much closer to God---that even in our struggles, they can lead us to happiness as these cause us to run to God where our True Home is.  I have been pretty discouraged constantly being influenced by a world that says that perfect youth, perfect bodies, glamour, lots of money and all that stuff is the main goal of life.  Now being close to approaching my forties, I began to ask myself seriously, "Is all this stuff going to fulfill me?  Isn't it true that we humans tend to cling to the things that someday we all know we must depart without?  I know in my heart that the saints are RIGHT...that there IS a GREATER JOY something FAR GREATER than all these other things we so desperately run after.  So many spiritual paths out there try to convince us that if we work hard enough, we can forever look glamorous young, never have to pay bills, be rich and famous, and never get another flat tire...seriously...almost as if they're trying to teach us that people without trials are the most spiritually happy people----and yet I realize more and more that even if we were to achieve all these goals, in the end, they are NOT the answer.  I really am beginning to feel in my heart that people like Patriarch Pavle and Saint Serafim of Sarov probably WERE much happier with their few possessions than the masses of people who are running around worried about their 401Ks like chickens with their heads cut off.  So many people think a 401K is the answer to life....but the saints know there is MORE to life than the rainbows we are constantly chasing.  They KNEW that GOD ALONE is what we have forever and so even while they are living in the world, they have eyes that always saw God. 

I hope that I can find some people to talk to here in this community who could help me learn more about Orthodoxy...maybe even some Russian friends who I could practice Russian with talking about spiritual topics learning more about Orthodoxy...I would like to understand the Liturgies and stories about the saints because there is much information on the internet and I'm slowly learning Russian.  Maybe i could connect with some people here who go to the San Francisco church since I plan to take a drive there in that area to go to the shrine for St. John Maximovich...but anyone from ANY nationality I would want reach out to because I am discovering that Orthodox chants are beautiful in ALL the languages.  This is a beautiful path indeed. 

Welcome to the forum!

St. John Maximovich is my patron saint. I assure you that you do not need to know Russian to talk to a priest about inquiring into Orthodoxy. Smiley

Holy Hierarch John, pray for us!

In XC
John
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« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2010, 06:20:42 PM »

Welcome.
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« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2010, 08:12:14 PM »

A small point on the language used in Russian liturgies:

The traditional liturgical language used by the Slavic churches is Church Slavonic, which resembles modern Russian, but does have significant differences to it in vocabulary, grammar and usage. Knowing some Russian can be useful in beginning to understand Church Slavonic, but don't be hung up about not knowing Russian well at this stage.

An example of how a Russian speaker can be thrown by Church Slavonic: живот (zhivot') means life in Slavonic, but belly or stomach in modern Russian. Makes for some interesting interpretations of Orthodox hymnography.  Grin
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« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2010, 11:05:24 AM »

St. John is the Patron Saint of our parish and there is quite a bit of information on our parish website:

www.saintjohnwonderworker.org


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« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2010, 11:19:02 AM »

You will find that although many parishes may use Church Slavonic liturgies, English is never a problem at Coffee Hour. Also, most OCA parishes use English exclusively in the Liturgy, so you don't have to know any foreign language to participate. Smiley
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« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2010, 12:41:28 PM »

Welcome to the forum, Joy! (That's what "Radost' - with a softened "t" at the end - means in Russian.)

I'd be happy to help if you need any help or advice with the Russian language. Ukrainian and Russian are my two "equally first" languages.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2010, 12:41:46 PM by Heorhij » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2010, 12:59:50 PM »

Welcome!
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« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2010, 09:08:49 PM »

Thank you all of you for your warm welcome   Smiley  I am new to this whole thing but I always look forward to Sunday morning Divine Liturgy. 
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Radost
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« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2010, 09:16:53 PM »

Thank you Ukiemeister and Katherine.   Smiley  Since this is a saint with a shrine so near to where I could actually go to visit sometime, I am hoping to learn more about St. John Maximovich.  A really big picture of him is right at the entrance to the Russian Orthodox Church here in Reno.  Did any of you read any of Serafim Rose's books.  I know he wrote lots of different books and was also a student of St. John Maximovich.  Serafim Rose was actually a Westerner who converted to the Russian Orthodox path and was strongly involved in the Russian Orthodox work in California and Russia...so I'm curious to know, did either of you read any of Serafim Rose's books. Any thoughts on them?  I was thinking to read some of them since he was a follower of St. John Maximovich and also a Western convert. 
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« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2010, 09:23:30 PM »

Thank you Heorhij!   Smiley  I can use all the help from anyone.  It's easier to write in Russian than to speak but I love the language so much so I don't mind the studying.   Grin

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Radost
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« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2010, 09:39:28 PM »

Thanks LBK.  It's true.  The Slavonic and Russian are quite different.  The structure is not like studying Russian yet I do feel badly at times to try to make people have to speak English.  I guess that's just me.  The priests are really friendly and the people are really nice.  We have one person there who is the grandson of a Russian saint but he himself knows only English.  They all feel the greatest reverence for him...so I'm sure that language isn't a barrier...I just sometime get hung up in doing things the ethnic way and speaking to people in their own languages rather than trying to make people have to speak mine.  Slavonic Liturgy is its own language really...but quite beautiful and profound. I really love hearing the chants sung in Russian.  I feel that The Prayer of the Heart done on prayer rope has greater effect in Slavonic than in English--but that's just my own personal perception.  Others may have different experiences. 

Handmaidenofgod.  What a lovely username...to be the beloved of the Divine.  I actually enjoy the Slavonic.  I always like to hear things in their original languages and there is definitely something quite powerful in the Slavonic words being recited.  One does not need to necessarily understand in order to feel the blessing of it.  The soul already knows.  But I agree too...that while I was reluctant to hear Orthodox chants in English, the more I listen to an internet Orthodox Liturgy radio station called The Rudder http://www.myocn.net, I find those kinds of chants in English too are quite special.  There is one really nice chant they play quite frequently on The Rudder that talks about the blessing of Orthodoxy in America.   Smiley
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« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2010, 09:30:19 AM »

Welcome Radost!

I hope that you will find the Convert Issues forum to be place where you as an inquirer may ask their questions about the Orthodox Faith in a safe and supportive forum.  We try to provide an understanding of the basic teachings and practices of the Orthodox churches. WE try to keep our answers direct and simple with sources if possible,

For those who are converts, this forum is a safe place to discuss issues that arise after one converts in a safe and supportive forum without retribution or recrimination. WE try to avoid jurisdiction debates and you may find a the topic that will be split and sent the appropriate OC.Net forum to continue the discussion or debate if it strays from the guidelines of our Forum Purpose.

Again I want to welcome you warmly to the Convert Issues Forum and hope you will enjoy your time as a member here.

In Christ,
Thomas
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« Last Edit: May 18, 2010, 09:34:03 AM by Thomas » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2010, 09:59:11 AM »

Thank you Heorhij!   Smiley  I can use all the help from anyone.  It's easier to write in Russian than to speak but I love the language so much so I don't mind the studying.   Grin
C удовольствиeм помогу Вам. У нас, кстати, eсть спeциальная страничка, "Иностранныe языки," и там eсть раздeл "Cлавянскиe языки."
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« Reply #15 on: May 19, 2010, 10:25:09 PM »

Большое спасибо Smiley!  Я посмотрю! 
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« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2010, 03:00:38 PM »

Please remember that in all forums other than the foriegn language forum, we would like you to include the translation of what you are saying translated into English so the rest of the forum members will know what is being said and not be left out of the discussion.

Thomas
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