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Author Topic: Exploring Orthodoxy  (Read 1189 times) Average Rating: 5
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andrewdodd
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« on: October 13, 2010, 11:29:17 PM »

Hello everyone! I am Andrew, and I'm 15 years old. I haven't been raised in any religion (mom is lapsed Catholic, dad is nonreligious), but recently I have felt the urge that I need to be baptized and become a Christian, despite having no backing in the faith. It is weird, like an underlying feeling. I find the internet a difficult place to learn, but there is an Orthodox Church in my town which I am sure would be a better environment. The only thing is, it is a Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and I'm not sure what the reaction would be to non-Ukrainians wanting to learn and possibly convert. There could also be a language barrier. How do ethnic churches usually approach inquirers who are not of their background?
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« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2010, 12:19:36 AM »

Hello everyone! I am Andrew, and I'm 15 years old. I haven't been raised in any religion (mom is lapsed Catholic, dad is nonreligious), but recently I have felt the urge that I need to be baptized and become a Christian, despite having no backing in the faith. It is weird, like an underlying feeling. I find the internet a difficult place to learn, but there is an Orthodox Church in my town which I am sure would be a better environment. The only thing is, it is a Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and I'm not sure what the reaction would be to non-Ukrainians wanting to learn and possibly convert. There could also be a language barrier. How do ethnic churches usually approach inquirers who are not of their background?

Dear Andrew,

Welcome to the forum! The great majority of the time, people have no problem with converts from outside the ethnic group. I am Greek, but go to an Albanian church, and my best friend who also goes there is Vietnamese. The priest is a convert. None of us have any problems. Although some churches are lukewarm towards evangelism, many (especially OCA churches) are ecstatic about receiving converts.

There are, however, people who think Orthodoxy is all about tribalism.

How much English does this Ukrainian parish use? That's usually a good gauge on how open they are to converts.

If you're interested, the best thing to do is stop in one Sunday and introduce yourself to the priest.

Rufus
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LizaSymonenko
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« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2010, 12:25:15 AM »


Hi Andrew.

I am an Orthodox who attends a Ukrainian Orthodox church.  I can only hope they will be friendly and open to you.  My parish has services almost 50/50 Ukrainian/English.

I hope you find this parish to be the same.

If they are unwelcoming, you tell me and we'll have a word with them!  ;-)

Welcome to the forum and hopefully to Orthodoxy!

May the Lord have mercy on you and guide you home to the True Church!
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« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2010, 02:08:47 AM »

Hi Andrew,

I too welcome you to the forum!

My advise is to allow yourself to be overwhelmed in the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, be open to new experiences, and be sure to introduce yourself to the priest.  The Liturgy can never be fully understood, only experienced, so let Grace take you away.  After the Liturgy, your experience of that parish culture will be better if you are spontaneous and ready for anything.  Last and most importantly, when you introduce yourself to the priest, ask questions and allow him to welcome you in his own way.

Please feel free to PM (private message) me.
~Authio
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« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2010, 04:01:18 AM »

Hello, Andrew,

My piece of advice would be this: make sure that the Ukrainian church in your town is not under one of these jurisdictions: http://aggreen.net/other_orthodox/other.html ("The Ukrainian Debacle" section).
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andrewdodd
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« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2010, 07:10:26 AM »

I checked, and its listed on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA web site directory, so I think it is part of the legitimate church.

http://www.uocofusa.org/
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« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2010, 07:12:21 AM »

I checked, and its listed on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA web site directory, so I think it is part of the legitimate church.

http://www.uocofusa.org/

Yes, you are right.
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« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2010, 07:21:22 AM »

I checked, and its listed on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA web site directory, so I think it is part of the legitimate church.

http://www.uocofusa.org/

Well, if this church is part of the UOC of USA, you WILL love it!   Cheesy   I am completely unbiased....not.
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Conquer evil men by your gentle kindness, and make zealous men wonder at your goodness. Put the lover of legality to shame by your compassion. With the afflicted be afflicted in mind. Love all men, but keep distant from all men.
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andrewdodd
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« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2010, 11:35:17 AM »

I was wondering, what is the Orthodox equivalent to RCIA, and how long is it?
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« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2010, 01:32:35 PM »

Welcome aboard.    Smiley
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« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2010, 05:27:12 PM »

I was wondering, what is the Orthodox equivalent to RCIA, and how long is it?

Andrew, welcome to the forum! As far as I know, there is no unified one-size-fits-it-all procedure of admission into the Orthodox Church. However, because you are 15 (meaning that you are in the "age of reason" already), you will have to become a catechumen - a student who takes a class, so to say, with an ordained Orthodox priest. Call or e-mail this Ukrainian Orthodox parish in your city and ask the priest, what are the rules of catechumenate in that parish and in the UOC-USA generally. Perhaps the priest will schedule a time when you will be able to meet with him and, possibly, with other catechumens. The priest will give you books to read, maybe some audiotapes of videos, and possibly other study material. He will also suggest a Catechism for you. There are several popular Catechisms of the Orthodox faith, for example this, http://www.pravoslavieto.com/docs/eng/Orthodox_Catechism_of_Philaret.htm, or this, http://www.gocanada.org/catechism/catech.htm, and several other.

Although there is no rigidly set time for the catechumenate, it should be several months, maybe about a year (although your priest might decide in favor of a shorter period of study). Then you will be baptized and chrismated.

Best wishes to you, and may the Lord illumine your heart and your path to the Truth.

George

P.S. I am a Ukrainian by my ethnicity, too, like pani Liza Symonenko; if they give you hard time at your Ukie parish, let me know and I'll say a few, er, convincing words to them in our language! Wink
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« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2010, 05:40:14 PM »

Hello everyone! I am Andrew, and I'm 15 years old. I haven't been raised in any religion (mom is lapsed Catholic, dad is nonreligious), but recently I have felt the urge that I need to be baptized and become a Christian, despite having no backing in the faith. It is weird, like an underlying feeling. I find the internet a difficult place to learn, but there is an Orthodox Church in my town which I am sure would be a better environment. The only thing is, it is a Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and I'm not sure what the reaction would be to non-Ukrainians wanting to learn and possibly convert. There could also be a language barrier. How do ethnic churches usually approach inquirers who are not of their background?

My experience was similar though I was much ( MUCH) older. My wife asked me what I would do if I had just three months to live, and I answered
 "I would be Baptised".. I was not from a Christian family, far from it.

So sometimes we get lucky and God sends us a draft notice.  Good luck!
 
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« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2010, 09:38:12 PM »

Welcome to OC Net Andrew.  I am impressed and mildly surprised that your spiritual seeking is so mature and thought out.  Adults tend to forget that most 15 year olds aren't all superficial and self-indulgent (and they forget that they were 15 once too.)

I would encourage you to contact the priest of your local Orthodox Church and visit for Divine Liturgy.  If you don't mind my asking though, have you discussed this with your parents?  They may be lapsed or irreligious, but they'd probably want to be kept informed about who you're meeting and where you're going (adults are also nosey and like to interfere with their kid's lives whenever possible  Wink).  I don't mean to say that at your age they have 100% control over your religious/spiritual life, but some decisions need their input.

God bless you on your journey, and I hope you find the spiritual home you're looking for in Orthodoxy. 

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andrewdodd
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« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2010, 10:08:36 PM »

My dad doesn't care what I do involving religion. My mom feels comfortable going to Mass but neither she nor I have been to a Divine Liturgy before.
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authio
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« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2010, 01:27:37 AM »

...neither she nor I have been to a Divine Liturgy before.

Any plans of taking a look-see?
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