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« on: February 10, 2011, 12:57:57 PM »

So I've been an uncertain inquirer, encouraged at times, discouraged at others, and recently, I've been so encouraged that I once again got up enough gusto to find an Orthodox priest, here in Russia, and inquired about conversion. This is the third time I've done this, the last two were last summer, and it's the third time that I've been told, essentially, that being a Catholic is just as good, and that was that.

It is discouraging, to say the least. Can anyone offer any advice/input? Does anyone know of someone in or around St. Petersburg, Russia, who might be of some help?

Thanks,
Jim
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« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2011, 01:07:53 PM »

Do you speak Russian?
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« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2011, 01:40:55 PM »

Do you speak Russian?
Fairly well, generally, enough that I get along well here and can read books in Russian, but have trouble with obscure vocabulary, i.e., bureaucratic terms, or in this case, liturgical terms.
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« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2011, 03:39:07 PM »

The Serbian Orthodox Church didn't seem to think that it was the same, as they baptized me even though I had received a Roman Catholic baptism at birth, and a Trinitarian Baptist "believer's baptism" as a teenager.
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« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2011, 03:53:03 PM »

The Serbian Orthodox Church didn't seem to think that it was the same, as they baptized me even though I had received a Roman Catholic baptism at birth, and a Trinitarian Baptist "believer's baptism" as a teenager.

Did you produce documentation of either of the two previous baptisms?
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« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2011, 04:01:24 PM »

I'm afraid I don't have any info about Russia to offer that might help, but fwiw, if it's worth anything in the way of encouragement, remember that sometimes the kingdom of heaven has to be taken by force (cf Matt. 11:12). It's perfectly good and right to press matters in this area...
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« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2011, 04:06:29 PM »

The Serbian Orthodox Church didn't seem to think that it was the same, as they baptized me even though I had received a Roman Catholic baptism at birth, and a Trinitarian Baptist "believer's baptism" as a teenager.

Did you produce documentation of either of the two previous baptisms?

My bishop baptizes everyone, regardless of history. The only exception might be Oriental Non-Chalcedonians.

Irish Hermit had him as a bishop in Australia, and he told me a story of him receiving a Roman Catholic priest by baptism, so there you have it.
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« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2011, 05:08:21 PM »

That's what's so frustrating about this; I know that what I'm being told is clearly not in line with what the church believes. It is simply priests who have very, very ecumenical ideas, or just have so little contact with the West that it wouldn't even occur to them. I'm not sure which one, but either way, it's weird to wrap my head around.
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« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2011, 11:02:06 PM »

Also, just so you know, a lot of priests do it because it's a good job with benefits and a salary. You also get all of the respect by the people walking by and kissing your hand, etc. And the sad thing is that many of these men might not actually really believe any of it in their hearts. I'm not saying that's what you have necessarily encountered, but I personally have met one such "career priest" from Serbia and while he might have been a Christian, his conduct in almost all respects was totally deplorable. So just keep searching. Maybe you need to go to a monastery.
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« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2011, 11:30:42 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
That's what's so frustrating about this; I know that what I'm being told is clearly not in line with what the church believes. It is simply priests who have very, very ecumenical ideas, or just have so little contact with the West that it wouldn't even occur to them. I'm not sure which one, but either way, it's weird to wrap my head around.

The Church teaches us precisely to take these matters to priests, and in all honesty, if you have been going to several Orthodox priests and have been mutually given the advice to stay active within your own Roman Catholic communion, then perhaps God is asking you to take that advice? The Sacrament of Orthodox Baptism and Orthodox Communion comes from the hands of our priests, and we are obligated to respect their decisions in these matters as being Divine.  So take it to prayer, perhaps attend some Roman Catholic Masses or talk with a RC priest, take it to another  Orthodox priest, or just simply attend Orthodox services without communing and see where God takes you (in that order).

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2011, 11:50:32 PM »

So I've been an uncertain inquirer, encouraged at times, discouraged at others, and recently, I've been so encouraged that I once again got up enough gusto to find an Orthodox priest, here in Russia, and inquired about conversion. This is the third time I've done this, the last two were last summer, and it's the third time that I've been told, essentially, that being a Catholic is just as good, and that was that.

It is discouraging, to say the least. Can anyone offer any advice/input? Does anyone know of someone in or around St. Petersburg, Russia, who might be of some help?

Thanks,
Jim

This is insane!!!  Cry Cry Cry
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« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2011, 11:52:05 PM »

The Church teaches us precisely to take these matters to priests, and in all honesty, if you have been going to several Orthodox priests and have been mutually given the advice to stay active within your own Roman Catholic communion, then perhaps God is asking you to take that advice? The Sacrament of Orthodox Baptism and Orthodox Communion comes from the hands of our priests, and we are obligated to respect their decisions in these matters as being Divine.

Or, more likely, the devil has corrupted their ministry and they have become heretics and they need to be told to recant or be deposed.
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« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2011, 11:52:47 PM »

The Church teaches us precisely to take these matters to priests, and in all honesty, if you have been going to several Orthodox priests and have been mutually given the advice to stay active within your own Roman Catholic communion, then perhaps God is asking you to take that advice?

Or perhaps we are not supposed to regard priests as infallible.
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« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2011, 10:48:27 AM »

There is an OCA representation church, St. Catherine, in Moscow http://www.st-catherine.ru/
Maybe you would have more luck with them or they could make suggestions about contacts in St. Petersburg?
e-mail: oca.podvorie@mail.ru

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« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2011, 04:02:49 PM »


Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
The Church teaches us precisely to take these matters to priests, and in all honesty, if you have been going to several Orthodox priests and have been mutually given the advice to stay active within your own Roman Catholic communion, then perhaps God is asking you to take that advice? The Sacrament of Orthodox Baptism and Orthodox Communion comes from the hands of our priests, and we are obligated to respect their decisions in these matters as being Divine.

Or, more likely, the devil has corrupted their ministry and they have become heretics and they need to be told to recant or be deposed.

The Church teaches us precisely to take these matters to priests, and in all honesty, if you have been going to several Orthodox priests and have been mutually given the advice to stay active within your own Roman Catholic communion, then perhaps God is asking you to take that advice?

Or perhaps we are not supposed to regard priests as infallible.

So what, are you going to walk around and suspect every single priest you meet as being of the Devil? Have you no faith in God to send appropriate priests? Are you a vitriolic Protestant now, looking for the Devil in every priest and Tradition? Remember, God is in control of everything, and we should seek Him in prayer.  I did not tell the brother to listen to the priests as Gospel, but all of you must confess it is a bit mystical that the brother has had the same response on several occasions, so either we assume ALL the priests he met are frauds, or that maybe God wants Him to stay Catholic (for at least  the meantime?)

I am not one to question another's faith, even HIM Haile Selassie I, the One True Defender of the Orthodox Faith, told us these exact words, and welcomed Catholic  missions to Ethiopia EVEN AFTER THE POPE BLESSED THE BOMBS WHICH WERE DROPPED ON ETHIOPIA IN WWII!!!

That is a lesson on humility, faith, patience..

I told the brother to pray about these matters, but in all honesty, if the several priests I had reasoned with when I was a Catechumen had told me to stay a Baptist, I would have seen that as surely a sign from God.  Remember, we get baptised by Priests, we receive Communion by priests, and we are to be humble and respect the Apostolic Authority and the Divine Mysteries, and no be so democratically self-seeking and overly ambitious in our critiques, which borders on prideful self-righteousness!  Respect the priests and you respect God, this the Apostles have taught us both in the Canons and even the Scriptures!!

Kyrie Eleison!

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2011, 04:05:09 PM »

Respect the priests and you respect God, this the Apostles have taught us both in the Canons and even the Scriptures!!

Quote from: Gal 1 1, 8
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!
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« Reply #16 on: February 11, 2011, 04:28:37 PM »

Respect the priests and you respect God, this the Apostles have taught us both in the Canons and even the Scriptures!!

Quote from: Gal 1 1, 8
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!

Not sure how to interpret this.
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« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2011, 04:33:06 PM »

Respect the priests and you respect God, this the Apostles have taught us both in the Canons and even the Scriptures!!

Quote from: Gal 1 1, 8
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!
Well that just about nullifies Mormonism.

But seriously, that verse is good advice. Just because they are an Orthodox priest doesn't guarentee they are preaching the same Gospel.
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« Reply #18 on: February 11, 2011, 04:37:51 PM »

Respect the priests and you respect God, this the Apostles have taught us both in the Canons and even the Scriptures!!

Quote from: Gal 1 1, 8
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!

Not sure how to interpret this.

Verse throwing.

The non-secular version of posting a quote from a wikipage without commentary to respond to a long and thoughtful post by another. Usually accompanied by reducing the aforementioned post to a single snippet bereft of context.

Very effective internets.
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« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2011, 05:37:10 PM »


So what, are you going to walk around and suspect every single priest you meet as being of the Devil? Have you no faith in God to send appropriate priests? Are you a vitriolic Protestant now, looking for the Devil in every priest and Tradition?

That's one hell of a false dichotomy you've got there. Either obey every priest you meet, or be a Protestant despising all priests?

Quote
I did not tell the brother to listen to the priests as Gospel, but all of you must confess it is a bit mystical that the brother has had the same response on several occasions, so either we assume ALL the priests he met are frauds, or that maybe God wants Him to stay Catholic (for at least  the meantime?)

Who's to say that God isn't just testing his persistence and commitment to truth? In The Way of the Pilgrim the Pilgrim starts out asking all kinds of people about unceasing prayer. They all give him unsatisfying answers. Finally he comes across a monk who knows about the Jesus prayer, who says to him (paraphrasing) "thank God for your persistence in trying learn about interior prayer."

Why do you assume you know what God intends in this matter?

Quote
I told the brother to pray about these matters, but in all honesty, if the several priests I had reasoned with when I was a Catechumen had told me to stay a Baptist, I would have seen that as surely a sign from God. 

And naturally this empowers you to interpret God's will for someone else as well.

Quote
Remember, we get baptised by Priests, we receive Communion by priests, and we are to be humble and respect the Apostolic Authority and the Divine Mysteries, and no be so democratically self-seeking and overly ambitious in our critiques, which borders on prideful self-righteousness!  Respect the priests and you respect God, this the Apostles have taught us both in the Canons and even the Scriptures!!

So, when the Greek bishops signed on to the Council of Florence, their flock should have gone along with them and become Roman Catholics?
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« Reply #20 on: February 11, 2011, 06:49:48 PM »

hey, jim c, keep searching. my friend had a similar problem, baptised catholic (never really believed), converted to another religion to get married (sort of believed a bit), then realised the truth lay in Christianity.
she met many people who wanted just to send her to the catholic church, but as she felt it had failed her, she found that idea very difficult. she attended orthodox churches for 2 years (!) before being accepted, eventually finding a priest who understood her and who did not fear her family's antagonism to her Christianity.

so keep going until you find a church where the members are devout believers and regularly take Holy Communion and who take time to show you their faith. in a big city in russia, there should be several orthodox churches, may God guide you.
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« Reply #21 on: February 12, 2011, 04:06:40 PM »

So, perhaps the Lord stepped in here?

I mentioned on another topic that I had just so happened to have met a fellow American, who is also Russian Lit (Grad) student at my gym. We got to talking and it turned out he was an Orthodox convert, which is why he had gotten into the field of Russian lit/philosophy to begin with.

Anyhow, we met for lunch/drinks today, and talked for a LOOONG time; he ended up coming back and having dinner with my wife and kids and I. He is going to introduce me to a priest here, tomorrow at Liturgy, that he considers to be very holy, who happens to serve at a nearby cathedral here that I have often visited alone.

So we shall see....

Thanks everyone for the input.

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« Reply #22 on: February 12, 2011, 04:11:26 PM »

the several priests I had reasoned with when I was a Catechumen had told me to stay a Baptist, I would have seen that as surely a sign from God.

Wow.
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« Reply #23 on: February 12, 2011, 04:54:04 PM »

There is an OCA representation church, St. Catherine, in Moscow http://www.st-catherine.ru/
Maybe you would have more luck with them or they could make suggestions about contacts in St. Petersburg?
e-mail: oca.podvorie@mail.ru



This is a good suggestion if you live in Moscow.  There are Russian priests there, but the rector is an American priest. 
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« Reply #24 on: February 13, 2011, 11:31:56 AM »

Well, I went to Liturgy today at Nikolski Morskoy Sobor, which was really beautiful, and finally had someone next to me who could guide me through all of the stages of the Liturgy. That was super helpful, and deepened the experience for me quite a bit.

At the end, I was introduced to a very nice, very charismatic young priests from a family of 4 priests who gave me his number and wants to start meeting with me regularly!

Looks like things are rolling....
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« Reply #25 on: February 13, 2011, 01:33:41 PM »

Well, I went to Liturgy today at Nikolski Morskoy Sobor, which was really beautiful, and finally had someone next to me who could guide me through all of the stages of the Liturgy. That was super helpful, and deepened the experience for me quite a bit.

At the end, I was introduced to a very nice, very charismatic young priests from a family of 4 priests who gave me his number and wants to start meeting with me regularly!

Looks like things are rolling....

Glory be to God, and may He guide and protect you.
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« Reply #26 on: February 13, 2011, 02:59:00 PM »

 Smiley

may God guide you.
and pray for me too, please, or rather for my church. we had several new visitors today, who came for a baptism, none of whom was orthodox and some were not from any Christian background. may God guide them.

keep searching, and also take care that your family can keep up with you. it's much better if you can all go on this journey together, though i know it's not always possible.
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« Reply #27 on: February 13, 2011, 03:22:53 PM »

Smiley

may God guide you.
and pray for me too, please, or rather for my church. we had several new visitors today, who came for a baptism, none of whom was orthodox and some were not from any Christian background. may God guide them.

keep searching, and also take care that your family can keep up with you. it's much better if you can all go on this journey together, though i know it's not always possible.

Will do! Thanks both for the prayers.
As for my family, my wife is Orthodox, so it's me potentially joining the journey later!
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« Reply #28 on: February 13, 2011, 03:56:16 PM »

u want me to lend u my running shoes?
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« Reply #29 on: February 13, 2011, 04:26:19 PM »

Well, I went to Liturgy today at Nikolski Morskoy Sobor, which was really beautiful, and finally had someone next to me who could guide me through all of the stages of the Liturgy. That was super helpful, and deepened the experience for me quite a bit.
At the end, I was introduced to a very nice, very charismatic young priests from a family of 4 priests who gave me his number and wants to start meeting with me regularly!
Looks like things are rolling....
Glory be to God, and may He guide and protect you.

I second this.  Great news, Jim. 
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« Reply #30 on: February 13, 2011, 04:29:47 PM »

Fantastic news! Glory to God!
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« Reply #31 on: February 13, 2011, 04:37:00 PM »

There is an OCA representation church, St. Catherine, in Moscow http://www.st-catherine.ru/
Maybe you would have more luck with them or they could make suggestions about contacts in St. Petersburg?
e-mail: oca.podvorie@mail.ru

What is a "representation church?" I find the idea of an OCA church in Moscow kinda odd...
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« Reply #32 on: February 13, 2011, 04:49:29 PM »

What is a "representation church?" I find the idea of an OCA church in Moscow kinda odd...

An embassy.

To the OP:

You can also contact Fr. Александр Рябков. I was told he can help you.

http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001689103622
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« Reply #33 on: February 13, 2011, 05:01:13 PM »

Well, I went to Liturgy today at Nikolski Morskoy Sobor, which was really beautiful, and finally had someone next to me who could guide me through all of the stages of the Liturgy. That was super helpful, and deepened the experience for me quite a bit.
At the end, I was introduced to a very nice, very charismatic young priests from a family of 4 priests who gave me his number and wants to start meeting with me regularly!
Looks like things are rolling....
Glory be to God, and may He guide and protect you.

I second this.  Great news, Jim. 

And I third!
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JimCBrooklyn
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Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Moscow Patriarchate-Diocese of Saint Petersburg/ROCOR-Diocese of Eastern America and New York
Posts: 569


Если бога нет, то все позволено


« Reply #34 on: February 14, 2011, 06:12:20 AM »

What is a "representation church?" I find the idea of an OCA church in Moscow kinda odd...

An embassy.

To the OP:

You can also contact Fr. Александр Рябков. I was told he can help you.

http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001689103622
Thanks a bunch for this.
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It is not the task of Christianity to provide easy answers to every question, but to make us progressively aware of a mystery. God is not so much the object of our knowledge as the cause of our wonder.
-Metropolitan Kallistos Ware
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