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Author Topic: What to say?  (Read 645 times) Average Rating: 0
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peacenprayer
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« on: January 21, 2011, 12:44:46 AM »

Hello, all!

For some time I have been meaning to contact the priest in town to express my interest in joining the church. I've started the e-mail and stopped a few times. I just have no idea what to say!  Huh I feel silly, but I'm drawing blank. Could someone please help me out?  Tongue
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« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2011, 12:49:48 AM »

Hello, all!

For some time I have been meaning to contact the priest in town to express my interest in joining the church. I've started the e-mail and stopped a few times. I just have no idea what to say!  Huh I feel silly, but I'm drawing blank. Could someone please help me out?  Tongue

My best advice would be to say what you mean and mean what you say. Wink It doesn't have to be anything profound, but short and sweet and from the heart go a long way. When I was inquiring about Orthodoxy, I explained to the priest that I was interested and when services were and if I could discuss things with him about where I was faith-wise. He was very helpful and patient with me. A year later I was baptized.

BTW, welcome to OC.net. Smiley

In Christ,
Andrew
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« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2011, 12:50:52 AM »

Have you spoken with the priest before? Perhaps you could simply request a meeting with him to discuss the catechumen process.
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peacenprayer
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« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2011, 12:54:26 AM »

Hello, all!

For some time I have been meaning to contact the priest in town to express my interest in joining the church. I've started the e-mail and stopped a few times. I just have no idea what to say!  Huh I feel silly, but I'm drawing blank. Could someone please help me out?  Tongue

My best advice would be to say what you mean and mean what you say. Wink It doesn't have to be anything profound, but short and sweet and from the heart go a long way. When I was inquiring about Orthodoxy, I explained to the priest that I was interested and when services were and if I could discuss things with him about where I was faith-wise. He was very helpful and patient with me. A year later I was baptized.

BTW, welcome to OC.net. Smiley

In Christ,
Andrew

Thank you! That's very helpful.
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peacenprayer
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« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2011, 12:55:41 AM »

Have you spoken with the priest before? Perhaps you could simply request a meeting with him to discuss the catechumen process.

Definitely something to consider.

I haven't spoken to him before. This would be first contact.
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« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2011, 12:56:52 AM »

Welcome!

If you are anything like me you are concerned about how to address a priest. If you aren't- it doesn't matter and read no further. But if you are, then you would want to know how to write a priest a letter. (it still makes me nauseated to write clergy letters) Here is a nice little paragraph that tells you how the etiquette of writing a priest works;

Quote
When we write to a clergyman (and, by custom, monastics), we should open our letter with the greeting, "Bless, Father." At the end of the letter, it is customary to close with the following line: "Kissing your right hand...." It is not appropriate to invoke a blessing on a clergyman, as many do: "May God bless you." Not only does this show a certain spiritual arrogance before the image of the cleric, but laymen do not have the Grace of the Priesthood and the prerogative to bless in their stead. Even a Priest properly introduces his letters with the words, "The blessing of the Lord" or "May God bless you," rather than offering his own blessing. Though he can do the latter, humility prevails in his behavior, too. Needless to say, when a clergyman writes to his ecclesiastical superior, he should ask for a blessing and not bestow one.

Source: http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/clergy_etiquette.aspx (but bear in mind that the little fine points within the culture of each Orthodox parish may be different. This article is pretty scathing about greeting each other with  "flowery exhortations that were especially popular in the nineteenth-century Russian Church" calling them "protestant." Our parish does this. In fact our priest is fairly insistent that we greet each other that way. Some may call it a convert thing, we enjoy greeting each other this way.)
« Last Edit: January 21, 2011, 01:02:52 AM by Quinault » Logged
peacenprayer
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« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2011, 01:09:56 AM »

Welcome!

If you are anything like me you are concerned about how to address a priest. If you aren't- it doesn't matter and read no further. But if you are, then you would want to know how to write a priest a letter. (it still makes me nauseated to write clergy letters) Here is a nice little paragraph that tells you how the etiquette of writing a priest works;

Quote
When we write to a clergyman (and, by custom, monastics), we should open our letter with the greeting, "Bless, Father." At the end of the letter, it is customary to close with the following line: "Kissing your right hand...." It is not appropriate to invoke a blessing on a clergyman, as many do: "May God bless you." Not only does this show a certain spiritual arrogance before the image of the cleric, but laymen do not have the Grace of the Priesthood and the prerogative to bless in their stead. Even a Priest properly introduces his letters with the words, "The blessing of the Lord" or "May God bless you," rather than offering his own blessing. Though he can do the latter, humility prevails in his behavior, too. Needless to say, when a clergyman writes to his ecclesiastical superior, he should ask for a blessing and not bestow one.

Source: http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/clergy_etiquette.aspx (but bear in mind that the little fine points within the culture of each Orthodox parish may be different. This article is pretty scathing about greeting each other with  "flowery exhortations that were especially popular in the nineteenth-century Russian Church" calling them "protestant." Our parish does this. In fact our priest is fairly insistent that we greet each other that way. Some may call it a convert thing, we enjoy greeting each other this way.)

Awesome! Thank you
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« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2011, 01:22:37 AM »

The information provided by Quinault is helpful, but I certainly wouldn't worry too much about Orthodox form and etiquette at this point.  I think a relatively short and respectful email should do the trick.

Additionally, I think it's important to know that there are many others inquiring.  The experience I have had with clergy (and this may be partially particular to my parish), is that they have a certain confidence that their church and faith is the truth, and as a result, believe that people will naturally gravitate towards it. 

My primary point is that when I began inquiring, many others around me thought it strange, but the priests did not.

Good luck and welcome!
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« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2011, 02:05:21 AM »

The information provided by Quinault is helpful, but I certainly wouldn't worry too much about Orthodox form and etiquette at this point.  I think a relatively short and respectful email should do the trick.

Additionally, I think it's important to know that there are many others inquiring.  The experience I have had with clergy (and this may be partially particular to my parish), is that they have a certain confidence that their church and faith is the truth, and as a result, believe that people will naturally gravitate towards it. 

My primary point is that when I began inquiring, many others around me thought it strange, but the priests did not.

Good luck and welcome!

I second this.  Knowing all the proper titles for the different offices of the church is interesting and good to know... eventually, but don't get distracted from the purpose of your email.  Speak honestly and respectfully.  There is no reason to make it more than it is.
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« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2011, 12:11:28 PM »

Welcome to the Forum and Orthodox Christianity.

When I first contacted a priest I simply gave a short summary of how I was introduced to Orthodoxy (it was through books for me) and then said I'd like to set up a meeting to talk. If you don't feel comfortable with saying you want a meeting, just make the initial contact via email and say you've discovered Orthodoxy and are interested in it. Any decent priest will of course offer a meeting at this point.

I too was afraid of meeting a priest, but someone told flat out "don't worry about kissing his hand and titles just shake his hand as you would any normal person". That's excellent advice. Don't worry about the ettiquette, it's irrelevant for you at this point. He may be a priest, but in the end he is just a human being, just a guy, nothing more. He has no magical powers, no special connection to God that you yourself cannot also have; just a guy. Again I know it might feel really scary and overwhelming at first, and I'm sure if when I was in your position someone told me what I just told you, it probably would not have mattered much, I'd still be scared, but I've been Orthodox long enough to know priests and Bishops are just people. Some good, some...well, just like everyone else. Don't concern yourself with all that at this point. Just give a summary of how you came to know of Orthodoxy and click "send"....you can even say you are a bit nervous if you like, he will understand. If he doesn't, then you'll know to try another parish with another priest. Though I doubt that will be the case.

Just relax and be honest, and I hope your meeting goes well.

Oh yes, you CAN "just show up" to Liturgy on some Sunday morning as well. No need to ask permission to come to Church, it is after a Church.

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peacenprayer
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« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2011, 01:39:42 PM »

Thanks for the help everyone Cheesy
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