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Author Topic: Conversion Process  (Read 8554 times) Average Rating: 0
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Sukor
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« on: July 20, 2010, 08:34:34 PM »

hi,
the roman catholic church has a long process called RCIA (rite of christian initiation for adults) for conversion.  i was wondering if the orthodox church has something similar?

i've spoken briefly with a Russian Orthodox priest and he mentioned confession and baptism of course but no talk of a RCIA-like initiation with sponsors and classes which can take nine months to almost a year.

i ask because i've been looking to become a christian and lately i've been drifting away from the thought of roman catholicism towards the orthodox church.  not that i have a problem with spending the 9+ months but it seems a bit odd and just elitist.

thanks in advance
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« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2010, 08:39:19 PM »

It differs from priest to priest, I suppose.  I've heard of parishes doing classes for inquirers.  In my church, I just went to the priest after each liturgy and he would explain a few things from the faith for me, until he felt I'd learned everything I needed.
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« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2010, 08:40:58 PM »

It differs from priest to priest, I suppose.  I've heard of parishes doing classes for inquirers.  In my church, I just went to the priest after each liturgy and he would explain a few things from the faith for me, until he felt I'd learned everything I needed.

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« Last Edit: July 20, 2010, 08:41:19 PM by rakovsky » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2010, 08:42:30 PM »

There really is no such organized process in the Eastern Christian churches. Initiation is simply done on the basis of what the initiate and his/her priest believes is necessary to prepare them, whether it be doctrinal education, spiritual practice, pastoral counseling, etc. As such initiation can take anywhere from a month to a few years, depending on the individual.
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« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2010, 08:45:04 PM »

hi,
the roman catholic church has a long process called RCIA (rite of christian initiation for adults) for conversion.  i was wondering if the orthodox church has something similar?

i've spoken briefly with a Russian Orthodox priest and he mentioned confession and baptism of course but no talk of a RCIA-like initiation with sponsors and classes which can take nine months to almost a year.

i ask because i've been looking to become a christian and lately i've been drifting away from the thought of roman catholicism towards the orthodox church.  not that i have a problem with spending the 9+ months but it seems a bit odd and just elitist.

thanks in advance


Sure people can have many different experiences in the conversion process. Some people get godparents, a new name, special ikon gifts, rebaptism, catechumen classes, have to wait until the season when they do the catechal classes.

In my OCA church, I went a bunch of times, talked to the priest about the faith and joined with Chrismation. Later on, I found that Mstislav the saint corresponds to my american name, and with my priest, got a cross, which for most people is a baptismal cross. Actually, I wish I had some catechism classes. I think these things can be more of an asset and blessing than an encumbrance, even rebaptism of traditionalist nonOrthodox Christians, which I disagree with based on early church traditions, but even that can nevertheless have some inspiration for people. I think there is a formula "If the person has not been baptised previously..." In such a case, perhaps it gives the person more confidence. My understanding of early teachings about heterodox baptism are good enough for me personally. The point is not to look at steps of joining not as encumbrances but part of a meaningful spiritual process.

Blessings.

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« Last Edit: July 20, 2010, 08:52:21 PM by rakovsky » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2010, 08:53:15 PM »

In my GOA parish, we have an Inquirers' class called Orthodoxy 101, which runs for roughly six months from October to Pascha.  People who are halfway serious about converting, or who are merely curious (as well as long-time Orthodox who feel they need a brush-up) attend.  Would-be catechumens are, of course, mentored by the pastor, and toward the beginning of Lent, if they have made a final decision to convert, they are made Catechumens (this is the first part of the Baptismal Service), get sponsors, and settle on Chrismation names. They are prayed for during Sunday Liturgy as well as Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts during Lent and Holy Week, and the remaining rites of initiation are carried out on Holy Saturday, with Chrismations taking place just before the beginning of the Paschal Orthros.
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« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2010, 08:56:43 PM »

It differs from priest to priest, I suppose.  I've heard of parishes doing classes for inquirers. 

This is how it typically happens in our parish.  We attended inquirers classes (and most services) for five months or so before we were made catechumen.  The classes weren't an official program or anything -- the priest worked through a basics-of-the-faith type book. Then it was another five months before our baptism.  So, 10 months (and this was considered pretty fast). These past months (post-baptism, but we still go to the classes), we've been going through the creed statement by statement.  
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Sukor
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« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2010, 08:01:40 AM »



thank you all for replying
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« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2010, 08:25:03 AM »

Welcome to the forum Sukor!

As others have posted, there is catechumen period of variable length before one can partake in the sacraments of the Church. I would advice you to not be in a hurry but let the process take the time it takes. Catechumens are also considered to be members of the Church, and would receive an Orthodox burial for example.
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« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2010, 03:10:02 PM »

My priest recommended inquirer/catechumen classes, to attend as many services as I could and to pray. It took me almost a year. He would ask occasionally (or just look at me with a lifted eyebrow - but I knew what he meant! Grin) and when I was ready, we talked. Then I was received by chrismation on Holy Saturday.
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« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2010, 04:04:34 PM »

I emailed my priest and expressed interest in conversion.  He had me meet with him the following Sunday.  We talked for a bit.  He asked what I had read and more generally tested me to discern my intentions. He then scheduled a weekly meeting with me for five weeks.   During those five weeks he gave me four books to read and a prayer rule.  I finished the books and then I was baptised and chrismated.  But like everyone is saying, it all depends on the priest.  I have a friend who took two years to get through her catechumenate.  I actually kinda came into contact with Orthodoxy through her and I ended up being baptized and chrismated before her almost by a full year. 
« Last Edit: July 24, 2010, 04:04:53 PM by Seth84 » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2010, 05:17:35 PM »

Might I ask what books you read?
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« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2010, 07:24:53 PM »

Oops.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2010, 07:34:34 PM by Seth84 » Logged

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“Till we can become divine, we must be content to be human, lest in our hurry for change we sink to something lower.” -Anthony Trollope
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« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2010, 04:13:55 PM »

Oops.

HuhHuh

ie. you forgot?
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