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Author Topic: Catholic on the fence re: converting to orthodoxy  (Read 4707 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: March 20, 2011, 10:00:06 PM »

This is my first post to the forum, so it will also serve as an introduction. Please indulge me.

I was baptized Catholic as an infant but was not given a religious upbringing because my father thought his Catholic upbringing was rather tyrannical and "crammed down his throat" in his terms (although he still attends Mass at least semi-regularly). Rather, my parents left to me and my siblings the choice of our religion. As a consequence, I had my first religious interaction upon entering a Presbyterian school in 6th grade that my parents sent me to to avoid having to attend the rather bad public school for which we were zoned. Having my first experience with faith then, I decided to be catechized and have my first communion in the Catholic church. However, I have never been confirmed.

After that point, I continued religious studies and considered other religions. I gave serious thought to Judaism for a time as a teenager, and verged on agnosticism (although I think never atheism) for a time, which I think was largely based on a miscarriage my mother had when I was in college. More recently, while I self-identified as Catholic, I most likely was a deist.

Last summer, my appendix burst and I almost died. During my recovery, I had a lot of time to think and reflect about my life, how I treated others, and how I treated my faith. I realized that I needed to make some changes. I am still working on those changes. One of the most important of those changes is my relationship with God.

So, how does that get me to Orthodoxy? Frankly, until very recently, I had almost no idea about it other than learning about the Great Schism in high school history class. I think I always just thought of the various orthodox churches as being national churches in the east. Then, not too long ago, I was reading a blog and one of the commenters mentioned that in orthodoxy, Jesus is manly and not wimpy. *That* caught my attention, so I started doing some research. I listened to the Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy podcast from Ancient Faith Radio, bought a copy of "The Truth" (but have not read much of it yet), and have lurked extensively at this site.

Two weeks ago, I attended my first Orthodox service at the closet EO church to my house, an Antiochian church, with my son. This is more like what a liturgical service should be, I thought. The congregation was rather small (20-30 people) but very welcoming to us as newcomers. Today, I attended my second orthodox service at the next-closest EO church, a Greek Orthodox church, with my wife and two children. Despite my trepidation about ethnic insularity, I had never felt such a welcome at a house of worship. When the orthodox children left the liturgy after taking communion, the priest's wife welcomed us and introduced us to many members of the congregation, and my children were allowed to sit-in on Sunday school classes.

Here is what tears at my heart: despite my research so far (which I admit is scant, I am not making this decision lightly and will spend months upon it) which leads me to lean Orthodox, I have a fear of apostasy. Even though Rome speaks of the church's two lungs, valid sacraments in the EO, and other such things, I have also read things to the effect of if a Catholic leaves the Catholic Church, his soul is in eternal perdition. I realize the paradox of worrying over a point of Catholic doctrine while I at the same time have serious questions about other doctrines (such as papal infallibility), but my fear remains all the same. (Can you believe I am a lawyer and I have problems with the legalistic approach of the west?)

As a broader question, is this true apostasy? This is not a question of my knowing that Jesus established the Catholic Church and my rejecting that church so I can live as a godless libertine. Rather, I am seriously trying to find out which church Jesus established because I want so much to live and believe as God wants of me (to the best of my flawed ability) because I believe in Jesus the Christ. I know God can see this sincere desire in my heart. I already feel that my sins are so great and this is just another cause for worry. In researching apostasy, I did come across this quote, which although it appears to be from a Protestant, resonates with me. "Persons worried about apostasy should recognize that conviction of sin in itself is evidence that one has not fallen away. Desire for salvation shows one does not have ‘an evil heart of unbelief.’" This seems like it should be right.

Another complication. I am the only Christian in my family. My wife is Japanese and is nominally Buddhist and Shinto. That being said, she is very open and has expressed interest in Christianity for several years, so I think whatever decision I ultimately make, she will support it as the children's faith and has a good chance of adopting it herself. My two children are 3 and 6, yet neither is baptized yet. We did attend the required pre-baptism class at our last church, but we never got around to the baptism. The primary reason was that we knew so few confirmed Catholics, but that really shouldn't have been such an obstacle. Thus, I need to make the right choice for my family; the church I choose will be the one in which I baptize my children and raise them. While I understand my parents' reasons for my upbringing when it came to religion, I will take a much more active role in their religious education.

I know this post was rather TL;DR, so I appreciate your indulgence. I would appreciate any comments, particularly from RCs who are or were in my position. I just cannot understand why a decision borne of love can cause me such anguish.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2011, 10:00:40 PM by Sauron » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2011, 11:24:26 PM »

I am somewhat in your position(current roman catholic, but i have been confirmed), with the main exception that I will be converting to Orthodoxy

As far as the Roman Church is concerned, we are not in apostasy, rather we would be considered schismatic.

According to Catholic teaching, this would put our souls in danger of eternal damnation.

However, if you believe as I and the Orthodox do, that the Orthodox Church is the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church that Jesus Christ Himself founded, then it does not matter what the Romans believe, because salvation comes through his Church, which is Holy Orthodoxy
 

(if any of what I have stated is incorrect regarding Orthodoxy, please correct me as I am going off my conversations with my future Pastor and my readings)
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« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2011, 12:05:26 AM »

I too am a former RC and even attended catholic school through grade 12.  I also found the RC Church to be too legalistic.  But the catholic parishioners are so very pious and their love for God so great!  This I have also found within orthodoxy.  When it comes right down to it, though, I have not doubt that my place is in orthodoxy.  I've been attending services in the Orthodox Church for about a year and have found that the faith provides me with a pathway to God like no other church has.  I have become more humble, have started a prayer rule, and feel more connected to God than ever before.  I plan to be chrismated soon and got over my "catholic guilt" a long time ago.  And I do indeed understand why it's so hard to make the decision to leave the Catholic Church.  My advice to you would be to continue to attend the divine liturgy and also some of the other services, especially during Lent.   And, if it helps, remember that the Catholic Church actually allows it's members to fulfill their Sunday obligation by attending an Eastern Orthodox divine liturgy.  Just take your time like I have and you'll find out where you need to be.  Good luck and may God bless you!
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« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2011, 12:14:04 AM »

By the way, there is a Japanese Orthodox Church. I know several Japanese women who are Orthodox - one was raised Orthodox in Japan and the other converted with her husband (in this last couple, they were Protestant).
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« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2011, 12:21:07 AM »

You are right to be concerned. Faith is a serious matter, and jumping churches for trivial or poorly supported reasons is not a good thing.  So be thorough in your research. Take your time. Pray for guidance and see where it leads. As part of your research might I suggest talking with a priest or two about your concerns about questions of Church History or Theology, etc. Perhaps they can suggest some useful reading material as well.

The second thing I would suggest is getting hold of the biographies of some more recent Orthodox saints and holy elders…something within the last couple of centuries…saints closer to our time and experience. Some lives that might interest you include St. Seraphim of Sarov, St. Theophan the Recluse, St. John of Kronstadt, St. Silouan, St. John the Wonderworker, Elder Paisios, Elder Porphyrios, Fr. Arseny, Mother Gavriella, and Elder Cleopas.  That's a good sampling of the last 200 years.  

Look at their lives, at the faith they confessed and lived and ask yourself, based on your knowledge of the Roman Catholic faith and the life and teachings of her recent saints and those under consideration for beatification, which path, if followed seems most likely to lead to, enable, the complete transformation of the human person after the image and likeness of Christ.  That is to say, which faith at this end of history is capable of reproducing in kind the types of Christians who were so notable, East and West, in the first few centuries of the Church. Which life seems the most ontologically connected to the common heritage of holiness that existed prior to the Great Schism?

So, if through your research that the Eastern Church is the most historically consistent with the ancient faith, is the most theologically consistent with the ancient faith, and is the most charismatically consistent with the ancient faith, then it would follow that the Eastern Church is ontologically, from root to twig, the same Church founded by Christ and His apostles…because it constantly across history is able to reproduce in kind to the present day. If that is your discovery, then your course is clear.  If you find otherwise, or do not feel what you've discovered is definitive, that will require then more prayer, research, and thought until you know what you should do.
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« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2011, 12:36:47 AM »

You are right to be concerned. Faith is a serious matter, and jumping churches for trivial or poorly supported reasons is not a good thing.  So be thorough in your research. Take your time. Pray for guidance and see where it leads. As part of your research might I suggest talking with a priest or two about your concerns about questions of Church History or Theology, etc. Perhaps they can suggest some useful reading material as well.

The second thing I would suggest is getting hold of the biographies of some more recent Orthodox saints and holy elders…something within the last couple of centuries…saints closer to our time and experience. Some lives that might interest you include St. Seraphim of Sarov, St. Theophan the Recluse, St. John of Kronstadt, St. Silouan, St. John the Wonderworker, Elder Paisios, Elder Porphyrios, Fr. Arseny, Mother Gavriella, and Elder Cleopas.  That's a good sampling of the last 200 years.
Might I interject, that since he is married and with children, that pershaps the life of St. Innocent of Alaska, and St. Alexis Toth might give some balance.

Quote
Look at their lives, at the faith they confessed and lived and ask yourself, based on your knowledge of the Roman Catholic faith and the life and teachings of her recent saints and those under consideration for beatification, which path, if followed seems most likely to lead to, enable, the complete transformation of the human person after the image and likeness of Christ.  That is to say, which faith at this end of history is capable of reproducing in kind the types of Christians who were so notable, East and West, in the first few centuries of the Church. Which life seems the most ontologically connected to the common heritage of holiness that existed prior to the Great Schism?

The life of St. Alexis might be particular good to look at.

Quote
So, if through your research that the Eastern Church is the most historically consistent with the ancient faith, is the most theologically consistent with the ancient faith, and is the most charismatically consistent with the ancient faith, then it would follow that the Eastern Church is ontologically, from root to twig, the same Church founded by Christ and His apostles…because it constantly across history is able to reproduce in kind to the present day. If that is your discovery, then your course is clear.  If you find otherwise, or do not feel what you've discovered is definitive, that will require then more prayer, research, and thought until you know what you should do.
Rome refused to recognize Patriarch St. Meletius, and instead insisted on a man called Paulinus (who ordained St. Jerome) as Patriarch of Antioch.  Pat. St. Meletios fell asleep in schims from Rome, but he did so opening the Second Ecumenical Council (the one who set the seal on the Creed): all the Vatican's 4 different lines of Patriarchs for Antioch (Latin, Melkite, Syriac, Maronite) all claim succession from St. Meletius (who also was put on the calendar of Rome well within the first millenium), Paulinus' line having quickly died out.  If you join the company of Pat. St. Meletius, you will be in good company indeed.
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« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2011, 12:38:55 AM »

Read the Fathers (as many as you can get your hands on) and the choice will be clear. If you truly follow patristic writings, you will be Orthodox. While Roman Catholicism will oft times quoted the fathers to support particular positions - it strays from them on numerous points. Don't believe ANYTHING from ANYONE (this includes clergy) unless it is supported by the Fathers of the Church. Base everything you believe on patristics and you will know the way you must walk. Never be discouraged by how neglectful many Orthodox will be of these teachings (again, this also includes clergy). Simply remember that Orthodoxy is the Church founded by God and no matter what trials she faces, she will persevere.
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« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2011, 05:28:58 AM »

I lack much of the experience and insight that many ofnthe other posters have, but I will offer my two cents, having experienced man of the same issues you are now experiencing. I also came from the RCC, and I have 2 small children.

I found that in the earlier parts of my search, there was a lot of excitement/confusion, and that after a time, as I go buried more and more into the debate, I got almost cynical from fear about what choice to make. The more I thought about which was the wrong choice, the more difficult it became. I had to refocus, and think about simply following Christ, and looking for where I was honestly being led. I don't believe that God speaks to us, when are intentions are pure, through that sort of fear (I think the traditional "fear of God", and the sort of fear I went through are distinct things). Whenever we search the hardest, it is when the spiritual struggle gets more intense, and the obstacles get greater.

Once I redirected, I felt calmly led to Orthodoxy, and I was able, and am able to keep up that research from a healthier place, and it has been confirming my feelings.

In Christ,
Jim
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« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2011, 08:27:59 AM »

I would just recommend you to take your time.  There's no rush in making your decision.  There have been people who have rushed into Orthodoxy and then rushed right out as they never understood the faith.  To really understand what the Orthodox Church is and teaches, one has to go to the services and experience first hand.  No one can ever truly understand what Orthodoxy is without actually experiencing it.  Reading about it is obviously important as well, but it's more important to experience the Church firsthand.
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« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2011, 09:49:33 PM »

I appreciate all of the comments thus far. Based on the replies thus far, I think everyone understood that I am not undertaking this decision for frivolous or selfish reasons, such as disagreeing with the RCC on some political issue or because it bans something I like. The concern is one of which faith has the most sound theology.

And, true to the advice of several, I am not just making this an academic exercise. I will continue to attend Divine Liturgy and try to experience the faith to the best of my ability as a non-Orthodox. For example, I have been observing Orthodox abstinence during this Lent.

This is definitely something I will not rush into lightly. It is the most important decision I can make. On the other hand, I must be mindful not to fall into analysis paralysis. At some point, all the facts and arguments have been made and there is nothing to do but reach a conclusion.

Merely starting this thread has been a great help. Writing lifted a substantial weight from my heart. I ask your continued indulgence.

Some wrote that I should read the fathers. How do I go about that? How do I read about the lives of the saints beyond Orthodox Wiki?

I have some initial response thoughts to the replies thus far, but will post them in time after I have further developed them. In turn, if anyone has any questions for me, please advise and I will answer as best I can. Thank you very much.
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« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2011, 10:05:36 PM »

I appreciate all of the comments thus far. Based on the replies thus far, I think everyone understood that I am not undertaking this decision for frivolous or selfish reasons, such as disagreeing with the RCC on some political issue or because it bans something I like. The concern is one of which faith has the most sound theology.

And, true to the advice of several, I am not just making this an academic exercise. I will continue to attend Divine Liturgy and try to experience the faith to the best of my ability as a non-Orthodox. For example, I have been observing Orthodox abstinence during this Lent.

This is definitely something I will not rush into lightly. It is the most important decision I can make. On the other hand, I must be mindful not to fall into analysis paralysis. At some point, all the facts and arguments have been made and there is nothing to do but reach a conclusion.

Merely starting this thread has been a great help. Writing lifted a substantial weight from my heart. I ask your continued indulgence.

Some wrote that I should read the fathers. How do I go about that? How do I read about the lives of the saints beyond Orthodox Wiki?

I have some initial response thoughts to the replies thus far, but will post them in time after I have further developed them. In turn, if anyone has any questions for me, please advise and I will answer as best I can. Thank you very much.
http://www.voskrese.info/spl/ is a good starting point, IMO. There is also the Christian Classics Ethereal Library I don't know if anyone has recommended any books to you yet, but I would recommend getting a hold of "These Truths We Hold" by a monk from St. Tikhon. I think they might have an online copy of it somewhere, but that gave me a very good introduction and foundation to the faith.

Someone recommended St. Innocent of Alaska. I couldn't agree more! He is wonderful and the patron of our church. Smiley I admire your desire for the truth. It is something that our fallen world is loath to accept. May God bless your labors and lead you into His Church! You will be in my prayers.

In Christ,
Andrew
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« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2011, 10:06:48 PM »

Sauron- an excellent biography of St. Seraphim of Sarov (from the pen of Fr. Lazarus Moore of blessed memory) was recently republished and can be purchased here. I think this book is a great introduction to Orthodox spirituality in general, and it includes the full account of  the famous conversation between St. Seraphim and Motovilov.
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« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2011, 05:25:45 AM »

RE: St. Innocent of Alaska...
I recently had to pick any Russian-born person and do a presentation on them for one of my RSL (Russian as a 2nd Lang; they subject all us foreigners to this, even though we're already taking upper level courses in Russian, with Russians  Tongue) classes here. I decided to use the exercise as a good way to get to know a saint, and ended up on St. Innocent of Alaska, and was amazed by his story!

Also, I don't know if you kindle, but the writings of all the Church Fathers can be bought there in 9 volumes for under 4 bucks a piece.
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« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2011, 07:44:22 PM »

I thought I would add an update to this thread. Thank you to all who have contributed thus far.

As a lawyer, I tend to think in terms of "worst case scenario", which I think fueled my initial fears regarding what would happen if I were to leave the RCC (which with, being only baptized and not confirmed, I am not fully joined. I read Dominus Iesus and noted the oft-cited passage, "The Churches which, while not existing in perfect communion with the Catholic Church, remain united to her by means of the closest bonds, that is, by apostolic succession and a valid Eucharist, are true particular Churches. Therefore, the Church of Christ is present and operative also in these Churches, even though they lack full communion with the Catholic Church, since they do not accept the Catholic doctrine of the Primacy, which, according to the will of God, the Bishop of Rome objectively has and exercises over the entire Church."

To me, this pretty clearly says that this is a matter of jurisdiction. According to this, the EO are "true particular churches" where "the Church of Christ is present and operative", but since they don't submit to the universal authority of Rome, they are broken. It seems to me that you can't be a little bit pregnant, either the Church of Christ is present or it is not, so based on this, by its own doctrine, I don't see how the RCC could condemn me if I were to convert to EO. This feeling is also strengthened by the fact that the theology of the Eastern Catholic churches is quite distinct from the RCC and rather similar to the EO. The only difference I can see is that the Eastern Catholics submit to Rome. Have I missed something? This is a serious question.

As another update, my family and I have continued to attend DL weekly and my children are doing great in Sunday school. My wife and I have a meeting with the priest scheduled for tomorrow to discuss some things. My situation feels unusual because my wife and I have such different theological backgrounds: I am (I think) a reasonably theologically literate Catholic while she has almost no knowledge of Christian theology. Of course, as her husband of 10 years, this fact is too my shame. I expect we will receive some good advice; I feel so bad when we go to DL (and when we have gone to Mass in the past) and she frankly doesn't know what this is all about and what the purpose is. Still, she remains open, which is good, because I would never try to force her into any belief system. I think the best I can do is to be an example of whatever faith I ultimately think is best.

I will update after tomorrow's meeting with the priest.
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« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2011, 10:17:34 PM »

i would advise you not to rush to convert-investigate both sides of the story, Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic before you make such a big decision. May i also advise you, that you look into Eastern Catholic church where you will have simular liturgy as OC but they are in communion with Rome and their beliefs are Catholic
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« Reply #15 on: April 14, 2011, 10:28:58 PM »

Welcome to the forum!

It sounds like you are doing the right things; you are going to DL, meeting with a priest, and studying the faith before making a decision.

I would only suggest one other thing: pray. Pray. Pray. Then pray some more.

God will lead you where He wants you to be. Smiley
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« Reply #16 on: April 14, 2011, 10:40:16 PM »

i would advise you not to rush to convert-investigate both sides of the story, Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic before you make such a big decision. May i also advise you, that you look into Eastern Catholic church where you will have simular liturgy as OC but they are in communion with Rome and their beliefs are Catholic

Thank you for your comment. I think if you will read the original post you will see that such is not the fact. The priest noticed that we were new faces that had been attending for the past few DL, talked with us for a few minutes after services one Sunday, and invited us for a sit of the "get to know you" type. I am far too risk averse to rush into anything.  Smiley

Welcome to the forum!

It sounds like you are doing the right things; you are going to DL, meeting with a priest, and studying the faith before making a decision.

I would only suggest one other thing: pray. Pray. Pray. Then pray some more.

God will lead you where He wants you to be. Smiley
Thank you for your comments as well. At least now, I am not afraid to leave the RCC, if that is ultimately what happens. This is a matter to which I have and will devote much prayer, thought, and discussion.

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« Reply #17 on: April 14, 2011, 11:14:56 PM »

Dear Sauron:

As far as your wife is concerned, Orthodoxy might be a much smaller leap for her than you imagine. In one sense it resembles Mahayana Buddhism in that Christ is like a Bodhisattva who sacrifices Himself for the salvation of others out of infinite love--in fact, He's the ultimate Bodhisattva. That's one idea that struck me when I first encountered Orthodoxy. (I was a Buddhist at the time.) Orthodoxy also shares the themes of personal humility, abandonment of selfish desires, ethical behavior, and lovingkindness with Buddhism.

Everyone is right: keep studying until you feel confident in a course of action. And take it easy.
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« Reply #18 on: April 14, 2011, 11:39:37 PM »

I thought I would add an update to this thread. Thank you to all who have contributed thus far.

As a lawyer, I tend to think in terms of "worst case scenario", which I think fueled my initial fears regarding what would happen if I were to leave the RCC (which with, being only baptized and not confirmed, I am not fully joined. I read Dominus Iesus and noted the oft-cited passage, "The Churches which, while not existing in perfect communion with the Catholic Church, remain united to her by means of the closest bonds, that is, by apostolic succession and a valid Eucharist, are true particular Churches. Therefore, the Church of Christ is present and operative also in these Churches, even though they lack full communion with the Catholic Church, since they do not accept the Catholic doctrine of the Primacy, which, according to the will of God, the Bishop of Rome objectively has and exercises over the entire Church."

To me, this pretty clearly says that this is a matter of jurisdiction. According to this, the EO are "true particular churches" where "the Church of Christ is present and operative", but since they don't submit to the universal authority of Rome, they are broken. It seems to me that you can't be a little bit pregnant, either the Church of Christ is present or it is not, so based on this, by its own doctrine, I don't see how the RCC could condemn me if I were to convert to EO. This feeling is also strengthened by the fact that the theology of the Eastern Catholic churches is quite distinct from the RCC and rather similar to the EO. The only difference I can see is that the Eastern Catholics submit to Rome. Have I missed something? This is a serious question.

As another update, my family and I have continued to attend DL weekly and my children are doing great in Sunday school. My wife and I have a meeting with the priest scheduled for tomorrow to discuss some things. My situation feels unusual because my wife and I have such different theological backgrounds: I am (I think) a reasonably theologically literate Catholic while she has almost no knowledge of Christian theology. Of course, as her husband of 10 years, this fact is too my shame. I expect we will receive some good advice; I feel so bad when we go to DL (and when we have gone to Mass in the past) and she frankly doesn't know what this is all about and what the purpose is. Still, she remains open, which is good, because I would never try to force her into any belief system. I think the best I can do is to be an example of whatever faith I ultimately think is best.

I will update after tomorrow's meeting with the priest.

I'm no lawyer (just a poor undergrad  Cheesy ), but why I bolded there is exactly when the gears clicked for me to get me thinking more seriously. Of course my RC friends and professors at the RC college I was attending at the time disagreed with me, they could not damn me to hell (some wished they could have) because of what their church taught. I also realized that if I don't believe that the RCC is the true Church and that Orthodoxy is, then any claims from the RCC about me leaving her were ultimately irrelevant.

May God bless you and your family on your journey to Holy Orthodoxy. Smiley

In Christ,
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« Reply #19 on: April 15, 2011, 01:27:17 AM »

My background is similar to yours, in that I was Baptized RC, never Chrismated (which for me begs the question of why Chrismation was ever separated from Baptism by the RCs in the first place)... but was not really raised as RC.

The main difference in our background/situation is that I am childless.

You wrote:

Quote
I don't see how the RCC could condemn me if I were to convert to EO.

Let them go ahead and 'condemn' you (they are in no position to condemn anyone)!

Have you read this?

'Why I abandoned (Roman Catholicism)'

It's written by (now) Hierodeacon Paul Ballester-Convolier.

Quote from: 'Why I abandoned (Roman Catholicism)'
               
My conversion to Orthodoxy began one day while I was reordering the Library catalogues of the monastery I belong to. This monastery belonged to the Franciscan order, founded in my country of Spain. While I was classifying different old articles concerning the Holy Inquisition, I happened to come across an article that was truly impressive, dating back to 1647. This article described a decision of the Holy Inquisition that anathematized as heretic any Christian who dared believe, accept or preach to others that he supported the apostolic validity of the Apostle Paul.

(...)

It comes from the following page (which I would recommend reading in its entirety):

Orthodoxy and Western Christianity: For Roman Catholics

All the best to you sir,

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« Reply #20 on: April 16, 2011, 09:22:20 AM »

I'm no lawyer (just a poor undergrad  Cheesy ), but why I bolded there is exactly when the gears clicked for me to get me thinking more seriously. Of course my RC friends and professors at the RC college I was attending at the time disagreed with me, they could not damn me to hell (some wished they could have) because of what their church taught. I also realized that if I don't believe that the RCC is the true Church and that Orthodoxy is, then any claims from the RCC about me leaving her were ultimately irrelevant.

I agree that if the RCC is not the True Church, then it cannot condemn me for leaving it. I think this is just a case of my "worst case " scenario thinking.

One think that I hope I have made clear is that this has nothing to do with being mad at the RCC. To the contrary, which is why this matter requires so much thought and prayer from me. If I end up becoming EO, I will have nothing but fondness for the RCC, and there is a desire that the separation be on good terms and the RCC not be "mad" at me. I hope this makes sense.

My background is similar to yours, in that I was Baptized RC, never Chrismated (which for me begs the question of why Chrismation was ever separated from Baptism by the RCs in the first place)... but was not really raised as RC.

Thank you for your comments. I will review the link you posted.

As an update, yesterday my wife and I had a sit with the priest of the GO church we have been attending for the past 4-5 weeks. The basic theme of the meeting was to introduce ourselves and ask for some general steering advice. A major theme was my shame of being a poor exemplar of Christianity to my family to the extent that after 10 years of marriage, my wife barely knows anything of Christianity and my children remain unbaptized. This is my fault for neglecting my faith. Now, my frustration was that I had no idea how to begin introducing the faith to my wife, who did not grow up in western country. The priest advised, "begin at the beginning" and lent us both volumes of this book series.

http://www.amazon.com/Living-God-Catechism-Christian-Faith/dp/0881410101/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_a

My wife and I have made a plan that we will use the books chapter by chapter, with me explaining major theme of Christianity and asking the priest about orthodox-specific issues. The priest's question for my wife was if she believe in a creator and she answered yes, so that was our starting point. At this point, I should add that she has attended a bible study group with her friends for the past year or so, so she does have an interest in the faith that arose within her rather than because of my prodding.

The more important issue for the priest, which I agree with, is the need to get our children baptized as soon as possible, whether in the RCC or EO. So, that is now our first priority to get done ASAP, hopefully within the next few weeks. I will give that matter intense thought and prayer, but given my current leanings, I think the children should be baptized in the EO church.

If I may, I would like to continue using this thread as my "journey" thread and update it accordingly. Of course, I continue to welcome comments and questions. Thank you very much.

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« Reply #21 on: April 16, 2011, 07:06:53 PM »



One think that I hope I have made clear is that this has nothing to do with being mad at the RCC. To the contrary, which is why this matter requires so much thought and prayer from me. If I end up becoming EO, I will have nothing but fondness for the RCC, and there is a desire that the separation be on good terms and the RCC not be "mad" at me. I hope this makes sense.



As you continue to learn your 'fondness' may fade! Of course I speak not of the people but of the institution of the Papacy itself.

They won't be mad... the RCs are all, "Many paths to Heaven" now.

Quote
A major theme was my shame of being a poor exemplar of Christianity to my family to the extent that after 10 years of marriage, my wife barely knows anything of Christianity and my children remain unbaptized. This is my fault for neglecting my faith. Now, my frustration was that I had no idea how to begin introducing the faith to my wife, who did not grow up in western country.

God knows your heart... You're still welcome at the feast, you and yours.

I was going to say that it was actually a good thing that your wife and children knew nothing of Christianity.

I say this because it's much easier to learn something than it is to have to UN-learn something first. I count myself lucky in this area in that because I was never 'indoctrinated' into the Papacy - it is easier for me to see clearly from the outside looking in without having some emotional involvement/attachment to work through.

I was going to say that... then I read on:

Quote
At this point, I should add that she has attended a bible study group with her friends for the past year or so, so she does have an interest in the faith that arose within her rather than because of my prodding.

This is risky... what kind of 'Bible study'? Bible study taught by whom?

Perhaps she'll have a few things to UN-learn after all!

Quote
I think the children should be baptized in the EO church.

Amen to that,

Glory to God!


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Quote
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« Reply #22 on: May 01, 2011, 02:19:34 PM »

A major theme was my shame of being a poor exemplar of Christianity to my family to the extent that after 10 years of marriage, my wife barely knows anything of Christianity and my children remain unbaptized. This is my fault for neglecting my faith. Now, my frustration was that I had no idea how to begin introducing the faith to my wife, who did not grow up in western country.

God knows your heart... You're still welcome at the feast, you and yours.

I was going to say that it was actually a good thing that your wife and children knew nothing of Christianity.

I say this because it's much easier to learn something than it is to have to UN-learn something first. I count myself lucky in this area in that because I was never 'indoctrinated' into the Papacy - it is easier for me to see clearly from the outside looking in without having some emotional involvement/attachment to work through.

I was going to say that... then I read on:

Quote
At this point, I should add that she has attended a bible study group with her friends for the past year or so, so she does have an interest in the faith that arose within her rather than because of my prodding.

This is risky... what kind of 'Bible study'? Bible study taught by whom?

Perhaps she'll have a few things to UN-learn after all!

« Last Edit: May 01, 2011, 02:20:00 PM by Sauron » Logged
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« Reply #23 on: May 01, 2011, 03:42:09 PM »

Please excuse the previous post above - I had a bit of internet trouble while editing.

A major theme was my shame of being a poor exemplar of Christianity to my family to the extent that after 10 years of marriage, my wife barely knows anything of Christianity and my children remain unbaptized. This is my fault for neglecting my faith. Now, my frustration was that I had no idea how to begin introducing the faith to my wife, who did not grow up in western country.

God knows your heart... You're still welcome at the feast, you and yours.

I was going to say that it was actually a good thing that your wife and children knew nothing of Christianity.

I say this because it's much easier to learn something than it is to have to UN-learn something first. I count myself lucky in this area in that because I was never 'indoctrinated' into the Papacy - it is easier for me to see clearly from the outside looking in without having some emotional involvement/attachment to work through.

I was going to say that... then I read on:

Quote
At this point, I should add that she has attended a bible study group with her friends for the past year or so, so she does have an interest in the faith that arose within her rather than because of my prodding.

This is risky... what kind of 'Bible study'? Bible study taught by whom?

Perhaps she'll have a few things to UN-learn after all!

I had not seen this latest reply from you, so I apologize for the delayed response. I only saw it when I came into the thread to give an update.

To respond, I have received no flack from my RCC parents about this, which is nice. I think in my heart, I know what I need to do, but it is sad to leave one's old church. However, I think it much better to be looking forward to the east with open hands rather than looking backwards to Rome with a clenched fist.

As for my wife's bible study, it's been a group of her Japanese housewife friends that she has gotten together with maybe 5-6 times, ever. It made me nervous when she first started, but every time she came back we would discuss what they went over and she would always be telling me what she disagreed with! For example, (and I think this is a big deal) she figured out for herself that sola scriptura is not a sound doctrine. My impression is that not a whole lot of reading bible study gets done because every time I ask her what they've read, it's always "Matthew". Well, I can read that in an evening and they are still stuck on it for well over a year, so I think that they maybe read one verse and then yak about child-rearing tips or recipes or general gossip.  Grin So thus far, there has not been a whole lot for her to unlearn as pretty much everything she has disagreed with of her friend's bible group is something I would have disagreed with as well. She and I have covered much more ground than her once-in-a-blue-moon bible group with friends.

My wife has been as great as can be asked of a non-Christian. She often finds things in Orthodoxy that is also familiar to her from her own background, encourages the children in their Sunday school, and even helped me pick icons for the icon corner. I am hopeful that she will find her way to the same place I am seeking.

To update, I have discussed this in another thread, but I have started to put together an icon corner. My first icons are currently en route to me via UPS. I have asked my priest for a prayer rule, but in the meantime, I have been doing short morning and evening prayers. My son joins me for those and is doing a good job of it, especially for a six-year-old. He particularly likes the incense (although he informs me that our priest's incense is better because he has a swinging censer). He also really likes reading Bible stories before bed.

I have advised our priest that I will make a decision regarding my children's baptism this month. I am still praying on it, but I believe I will have them baptized EO. It's kind of funny to think about them communing before me, but there you have it. Smiley I did mention the issue briefly when speaking with our priest's wife today and the logistics of finding godparents, and she offered to see what could be done about that. I think the day I make the decision about my children' baptism will be the day I make the decision for myself. I could not baptize my children in a faith that I am not sure enough of to join myself.

And the last update: today, my son's demonstrated the Artificial Fart Under The Arm. First, for his Sunday school class, and then, for the priest's wife during coffee hour.  Embarrassed  Grin
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« Reply #24 on: May 16, 2011, 09:30:03 AM »

As an update, I was at Divine Liturgy yesterday with my daughter (wife was taking son to a birthday party) and later in the service, the Sunday school teacher from my son's class and her grandchildren came to stand next to us (a few minutes before communion Wink). She leaned to me and said words to the effect of, "if you and your children ever decide to come into the church, we would love to be your sponsors. Your family is precious/adorable/something like that." Of course, I told her that would be wonderful and that I would be making a decision on the children's baptism soon.

So, maybe I have another sign?  angel
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« Reply #25 on: May 20, 2011, 04:20:54 PM »

Schisms are a complex thing, and have rocked the Church throughout her history, even before the Great Schism that remains open today. As Ialmisry points out, even saints have been in schism with one another, with Saint Meletius having to contend with Saint Athanasius & Saint Jerome for the validity of his episcopacy, and not being recognized as having been the valid Patriarch of Antioch by Rome until after his death. You really can't do anything but follow your conscience.
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« Reply #26 on: May 24, 2011, 10:41:33 PM »

The more important issue for the priest, which I agree with, is the need to get our children baptized as soon as possible, whether in the RCC or EO. So, that is now our first priority to get done ASAP, hopefully within the next few weeks. I will give that matter intense thought and prayer, but given my current leanings, I think the children should be baptized in the EO church.

Hi Sauron. This will probably sound strange, coming from a Catholic, but I think it makes a lot of sense for your children to be baptized in the Eastern Orthodox Church, rather than being baptized in the Catholic Church and then very possibly leaving it later on.
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« Reply #27 on: May 25, 2011, 10:17:41 AM »

Hi Sauron. This will probably sound strange, coming from a Catholic, but I think it makes a lot of sense for your children to be baptized in the Eastern Orthodox Church, rather than being baptized in the Catholic Church and then very possibly leaving it later on.

Thank you very much for your comment. I think I am pretty much there.

On another note, my wife and I did our first Bible study together last night. Given her background, she is essentially illiterate in Christianity, so I decided to start with Mark; we did chapters 1-3. It is clear that my suspicions that her "bible study" with friends were mostly social chats because she did not know who John the Baptist was.  Huh The good news is that I have a clean slate, and she is very eager to learn and understand.
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« Reply #28 on: May 25, 2011, 10:58:55 AM »

Rome refused to recognize Patriarch St. Meletius, and instead insisted on a man called Paulinus (who ordained St. Jerome) as Patriarch of Antioch.  Pat. St. Meletios fell asleep in schism from Rome,
...

"Schism" = "lack of full communion"?
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« Reply #29 on: May 25, 2011, 11:01:01 AM »

Was there anyone in communion with Meletius who was also in communion with Rome?
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« Reply #30 on: May 25, 2011, 11:47:03 AM »

Christ is risen!
Was there anyone in communion with Meletius who was also in communion with Rome?
St. Basil.
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« Reply #31 on: May 25, 2011, 12:52:04 PM »

So the Meletian schism was not a full-on schism, right?
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« Reply #32 on: May 25, 2011, 12:56:23 PM »

The discussion of Meletius is very interesting, but I have tried very hard to figure out how it is apropos to the spiritual journey I have described here. Could someone please advise? Thank you very much.
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« Reply #33 on: May 25, 2011, 02:23:09 PM »

Sorry, just trying to understand how Orthodox understand the term "schism".
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« Reply #34 on: March 14, 2012, 12:26:48 PM »

As an update, I was at Divine Liturgy yesterday with my daughter (wife was taking son to a birthday party) and later in the service, the Sunday school teacher from my son's class and her grandchildren came to stand next to us (a few minutes before communion Wink). She leaned to me and said words to the effect of, "if you and your children ever decide to come into the church, we would love to be your sponsors. Your family is precious/adorable/something like that." Of course, I told her that would be wonderful and that I would be making a decision on the children's baptism soon.

So, maybe I have another sign?  angel

I thought that I would update on this topic.

I met with my priest yesterday to discuss. I advised that we had planned on doing the baptisms in early May, since the front office had told me that there are no baptisms during Lent. The priest said that was not accurate, so we are plowing ahead to baptize the kids ASAP.

I will also be accepted by chrismation.

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« Reply #35 on: March 14, 2012, 12:27:25 PM »

Sweet deal Smiley

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« Reply #36 on: March 14, 2012, 01:54:06 PM »

As an update, I was at Divine Liturgy yesterday with my daughter (wife was taking son to a birthday party) and later in the service, the Sunday school teacher from my son's class and her grandchildren came to stand next to us (a few minutes before communion Wink). She leaned to me and said words to the effect of, "if you and your children ever decide to come into the church, we would love to be your sponsors. Your family is precious/adorable/something like that." Of course, I told her that would be wonderful and that I would be making a decision on the children's baptism soon.

So, maybe I have another sign?  angel

I thought that I would update on this topic.

I met with my priest yesterday to discuss. I advised that we had planned on doing the baptisms in early May, since the front office had told me that there are no baptisms during Lent. The priest said that was not accurate, so we are plowing ahead to baptize the kids ASAP.

I will also be accepted by chrismation.



Awesome.

Is your wife joining the Orthodox Church at the same time?
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« Reply #37 on: March 14, 2012, 02:31:31 PM »

As an update, I was at Divine Liturgy yesterday with my daughter (wife was taking son to a birthday party) and later in the service, the Sunday school teacher from my son's class and her grandchildren came to stand next to us (a few minutes before communion Wink). She leaned to me and said words to the effect of, "if you and your children ever decide to come into the church, we would love to be your sponsors. Your family is precious/adorable/something like that." Of course, I told her that would be wonderful and that I would be making a decision on the children's baptism soon.

So, maybe I have another sign?  angel

I thought that I would update on this topic.

I met with my priest yesterday to discuss. I advised that we had planned on doing the baptisms in early May, since the front office had told me that there are no baptisms during Lent. The priest said that was not accurate, so we are plowing ahead to baptize the kids ASAP.

I will also be accepted by chrismation.



Awesome.

Is your wife joining the Orthodox Church at the same time?

No, not at this time. I believe she will come in time. I believe that you can't argue anyone into believing, so have just done my best to live the faith (imperfectly as have been) and hope that what meager fruits I have would be a good influence. We also keep up the bible study and discussions.

The other week, I saw her cross herself during Liturgy and almost fell over. I was not prepared for that! (but overjoyed!)

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« Reply #38 on: March 14, 2012, 02:39:35 PM »

Awesome.

Yes, be Christ to her and love her. It looks like she will convert shortly.

The Holy Spirit is beginning to work in her life. Praise the Lord.
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« Reply #39 on: March 14, 2012, 03:57:24 PM »

Hi Sauron. I didn't remember this thread too well, so I reread what you wrote originally:

This is my first post to the forum, so it will also serve as an introduction. Please indulge me.

I was baptized Catholic as an infant but was not given a religious upbringing because my father thought his Catholic upbringing was rather tyrannical and "crammed down his throat" in his terms (although he still attends Mass at least semi-regularly). Rather, my parents left to me and my siblings the choice of our religion. As a consequence, I had my first religious interaction upon entering a Presbyterian school in 6th grade that my parents sent me to to avoid having to attend the rather bad public school for which we were zoned. Having my first experience with faith then, I decided to be catechized and have my first communion in the Catholic church. However, I have never been confirmed.

After that point, I continued religious studies and considered other religions. I gave serious thought to Judaism for a time as a teenager, and verged on agnosticism (although I think never atheism) for a time, which I think was largely based on a miscarriage my mother had when I was in college. More recently, while I self-identified as Catholic, I most likely was a deist.

Last summer, my appendix burst and I almost died. During my recovery, I had a lot of time to think and reflect about my life, how I treated others, and how I treated my faith. I realized that I needed to make some changes. I am still working on those changes. One of the most important of those changes is my relationship with God.

So, how does that get me to Orthodoxy? Frankly, until very recently, I had almost no idea about it other than learning about the Great Schism in high school history class. I think I always just thought of the various orthodox churches as being national churches in the east. Then, not too long ago, I was reading a blog and one of the commenters mentioned that in orthodoxy, Jesus is manly and not wimpy. *That* caught my attention, so I started doing some research. I listened to the Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy podcast from Ancient Faith Radio, bought a copy of "The Truth" (but have not read much of it yet), and have lurked extensively at this site.

Two weeks ago, I attended my first Orthodox service at the closet EO church to my house, an Antiochian church, with my son. This is more like what a liturgical service should be, I thought. The congregation was rather small (20-30 people) but very welcoming to us as newcomers. Today, I attended my second orthodox service at the next-closest EO church, a Greek Orthodox church, with my wife and two children. Despite my trepidation about ethnic insularity, I had never felt such a welcome at a house of worship. When the orthodox children left the liturgy after taking communion, the priest's wife welcomed us and introduced us to many members of the congregation, and my children were allowed to sit-in on Sunday school classes.

Here is what tears at my heart: despite my research so far (which I admit is scant, I am not making this decision lightly and will spend months upon it) which leads me to lean Orthodox, I have a fear of apostasy. Even though Rome speaks of the church's two lungs, valid sacraments in the EO, and other such things, I have also read things to the effect of if a Catholic leaves the Catholic Church, his soul is in eternal perdition. I realize the paradox of worrying over a point of Catholic doctrine while I at the same time have serious questions about other doctrines (such as papal infallibility), but my fear remains all the same. (Can you believe I am a lawyer and I have problems with the legalistic approach of the west?)

As a broader question, is this true apostasy? This is not a question of my knowing that Jesus established the Catholic Church and my rejecting that church so I can live as a godless libertine. Rather, I am seriously trying to find out which church Jesus established because I want so much to live and believe as God wants of me (to the best of my flawed ability) because I believe in Jesus the Christ. I know God can see this sincere desire in my heart. I already feel that my sins are so great and this is just another cause for worry. In researching apostasy, I did come across this quote, which although it appears to be from a Protestant, resonates with me. "Persons worried about apostasy should recognize that conviction of sin in itself is evidence that one has not fallen away. Desire for salvation shows one does not have ‘an evil heart of unbelief.’" This seems like it should be right.

Another complication. I am the only Christian in my family. My wife is Japanese and is nominally Buddhist and Shinto. That being said, she is very open and has expressed interest in Christianity for several years, so I think whatever decision I ultimately make, she will support it as the children's faith and has a good chance of adopting it herself. My two children are 3 and 6, yet neither is baptized yet. We did attend the required pre-baptism class at our last church, but we never got around to the baptism. The primary reason was that we knew so few confirmed Catholics, but that really shouldn't have been such an obstacle. Thus, I need to make the right choice for my family; the church I choose will be the one in which I baptize my children and raise them. While I understand my parents' reasons for my upbringing when it came to religion, I will take a much more active role in their religious education.

I know this post was rather TL;DR, so I appreciate your indulgence. I would appreciate any comments, particularly from RCs who are or were in my position. I just cannot understand why a decision borne of love can cause me such anguish.

Good post. (Not that I have anything to say in reply, but it is a good explanation of where you're coming from.)
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« Reply #40 on: March 14, 2012, 04:19:30 PM »

As an update, I was at Divine Liturgy yesterday with my daughter (wife was taking son to a birthday party) and later in the service, the Sunday school teacher from my son's class and her grandchildren came to stand next to us (a few minutes before communion Wink). She leaned to me and said words to the effect of, "if you and your children ever decide to come into the church, we would love to be your sponsors. Your family is precious/adorable/something like that." Of course, I told her that would be wonderful and that I would be making a decision on the children's baptism soon.

So, maybe I have another sign?  angel

I thought that I would update on this topic.

I met with my priest yesterday to discuss. I advised that we had planned on doing the baptisms in early May, since the front office had told me that there are no baptisms during Lent. The priest said that was not accurate, so we are plowing ahead to baptize the kids ASAP.

I will also be accepted by chrismation.



Glory to God!  angel
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« Reply #41 on: March 14, 2012, 05:25:13 PM »

As an update, I was at Divine Liturgy yesterday with my daughter (wife was taking son to a birthday party) and later in the service, the Sunday school teacher from my son's class and her grandchildren came to stand next to us (a few minutes before communion Wink). She leaned to me and said words to the effect of, "if you and your children ever decide to come into the church, we would love to be your sponsors. Your family is precious/adorable/something like that." Of course, I told her that would be wonderful and that I would be making a decision on the children's baptism soon.

So, maybe I have another sign?  angel

I thought that I would update on this topic.

I met with my priest yesterday to discuss. I advised that we had planned on doing the baptisms in early May, since the front office had told me that there are no baptisms during Lent. The priest said that was not accurate, so we are plowing ahead to baptize the kids ASAP.

I will also be accepted by chrismation.


Many years!
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« Reply #42 on: March 14, 2012, 07:39:20 PM »

The Church needs more Japanese-speaking lawyers!

Seems like you and your family are doing all the right things. Many years to all of you.
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« Reply #43 on: March 14, 2012, 10:06:42 PM »

Glory to God!

Keep us posted. 
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« Reply #44 on: March 14, 2012, 10:14:47 PM »

Thank you to all for your kind words. I just came back from Presanctified Liturgy with the kids. We had a nice pot luck dinner afterwards with the kids' (and mine!) godmother-to-be. She and we are very excited.

And, my seven-year-old son was able to cheer up his Sunday school teacher. Our godmother-to-be asked my son what he thought about his class and if he thought he was able to learn (the teacher thinks the class has a few unruly kids that are a distraction). I asked him what he learned last Sunday and he recited the Jesus Prayer without missing a beat. His teacher was cheered up that some of her students are learning.  Grin

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« Reply #45 on: March 14, 2012, 10:26:28 PM »



I thought that I would update on this topic.

I met with my priest yesterday to discuss. I advised that we had planned on doing the baptisms in early May, since the front office had told me that there are no baptisms during Lent. The priest said that was not accurate, so we are plowing ahead to baptize the kids ASAP.

I will also be accepted by chrismation.



Awesome.

Is your wife joining the Orthodox Church at the same time?

No, not at this time. I believe she will come in time. I believe that you can't argue anyone into believing, so have just done my best to live the faith (imperfectly as have been) and hope that what meager fruits I have would be a good influence. We also keep up the bible study and discussions.

The other week, I saw her cross herself during Liturgy and almost fell over. I was not prepared for that! (but overjoyed!)



Here's a link your wife may like (disregard if repeat):

http://www.orthodoxjapan.jp/

Many years!!
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« Reply #46 on: March 14, 2012, 10:49:59 PM »



I thought that I would update on this topic.

I met with my priest yesterday to discuss. I advised that we had planned on doing the baptisms in early May, since the front office had told me that there are no baptisms during Lent. The priest said that was not accurate, so we are plowing ahead to baptize the kids ASAP.

I will also be accepted by chrismation.



Awesome.

Is your wife joining the Orthodox Church at the same time?

No, not at this time. I believe she will come in time. I believe that you can't argue anyone into believing, so have just done my best to live the faith (imperfectly as have been) and hope that what meager fruits I have would be a good influence. We also keep up the bible study and discussions.

The other week, I saw her cross herself during Liturgy and almost fell over. I was not prepared for that! (but overjoyed!)



Here's a link your wife may like (disregard if repeat):

http://www.orthodoxjapan.jp/

Many years!!

Thank you very much. I believe I have shown it to her some time ago, but I think that was when we first started going. I think it is worth another visit.

This is the church that is closest to her house in Japan. We plan to attend during our annual summer trip this June:
http://www.orthodoxjapan.jp/annai/n-osaka.html

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« Reply #47 on: March 14, 2012, 11:49:17 PM »



I thought that I would update on this topic.

I met with my priest yesterday to discuss. I advised that we had planned on doing the baptisms in early May, since the front office had told me that there are no baptisms during Lent. The priest said that was not accurate, so we are plowing ahead to baptize the kids ASAP.

I will also be accepted by chrismation.



Awesome.

Is your wife joining the Orthodox Church at the same time?

No, not at this time. I believe she will come in time. I believe that you can't argue anyone into believing, so have just done my best to live the faith (imperfectly as have been) and hope that what meager fruits I have would be a good influence. We also keep up the bible study and discussions.

The other week, I saw her cross herself during Liturgy and almost fell over. I was not prepared for that! (but overjoyed!)



Here's a link your wife may like (disregard if repeat):

http://www.orthodoxjapan.jp/

Many years!!

Thank you very much. I believe I have shown it to her some time ago, but I think that was when we first started going. I think it is worth another visit.

This is the church that is closest to her house in Japan. We plan to attend during our annual summer trip this June:
http://www.orthodoxjapan.jp/annai/n-osaka.html



St Nicholas of Japan worked tirelessly to found the Church of Japan.

    O holy Saint Nicholas, the Enlightener of Japan,
    You share the dignity and the throne of the Apostles:
    You are a wise and faithful servant of Christ,
    A temple chosen by the Divine Spirit,
    A vessel overflowing with the love of Christ.
    O hierarch equal to the Apostles,
    Pray to the life-creating Trinity
    For all your flock and for the whole world.

http://orthodoxwiki.org/Nicholas_of_Japan
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« Reply #48 on: March 14, 2012, 11:56:08 PM »



I thought that I would update on this topic.

I met with my priest yesterday to discuss. I advised that we had planned on doing the baptisms in early May, since the front office had told me that there are no baptisms during Lent. The priest said that was not accurate, so we are plowing ahead to baptize the kids ASAP.

I will also be accepted by chrismation.



Awesome.

Is your wife joining the Orthodox Church at the same time?

No, not at this time. I believe she will come in time. I believe that you can't argue anyone into believing, so have just done my best to live the faith (imperfectly as have been) and hope that what meager fruits I have would be a good influence. We also keep up the bible study and discussions.

The other week, I saw her cross herself during Liturgy and almost fell over. I was not prepared for that! (but overjoyed!)



Here's a link your wife may like (disregard if repeat):

http://www.orthodoxjapan.jp/

Many years!!

Thank you very much. I believe I have shown it to her some time ago, but I think that was when we first started going. I think it is worth another visit.

This is the church that is closest to her house in Japan. We plan to attend during our annual summer trip this June:
http://www.orthodoxjapan.jp/annai/n-osaka.html



St Nicholas of Japan worked tirelessly to found the Church of Japan.

    O holy Saint Nicholas, the Enlightener of Japan,
    You share the dignity and the throne of the Apostles:
    You are a wise and faithful servant of Christ,
    A temple chosen by the Divine Spirit,
    A vessel overflowing with the love of Christ.
    O hierarch equal to the Apostles,
    Pray to the life-creating Trinity
    For all your flock and for the whole world.

http://orthodoxwiki.org/Nicholas_of_Japan

Amen!
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« Reply #49 on: March 15, 2012, 06:17:05 AM »

I too am a former RC and even attended catholic school through grade 12.  I also found the RC Church to be too legalistic.  But the catholic parishioners are so very pious and their love for God so great!  This I have also found within orthodoxy.  When it comes right down to it, though, I have not doubt that my place is in orthodoxy.  I've been attending services in the Orthodox Church for about a year and have found that the faith provides me with a pathway to God like no other church has.  I have become more humble, have started a prayer rule, and feel more connected to God than ever before.  I plan to be chrismated soon and got over my "catholic guilt" a long time ago.  And I do indeed understand why it's so hard to make the decision to leave the Catholic Church.  My advice to you would be to continue to attend the divine liturgy and also some of the other services, especially during Lent.   And, if it helps, remember that the Catholic Church actually allows it's members to fulfill their Sunday obligation by attending an Eastern Orthodox divine liturgy.  Just take your time like I have and you'll find out where you need to be.  Good luck and may God bless you!

+1
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« Reply #50 on: March 15, 2012, 10:04:01 AM »

And I do indeed understand why it's so hard to make the decision to leave the Catholic Church.    

Nice to see that there are still some people who understand that. Smiley
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« Reply #51 on: March 17, 2012, 02:30:21 AM »

History is what won me over. The moment I discovered that Rome instigated the schism by laying the Bull of Exocommunication I knew right then and there that Orthodoxy was the way to go and that rather than us being in schism from the Catholic Church, they separated themselves from the Catholic Church, which is us. I know that a lot of people are going to suggest taking months to think about this and everything, but to be honest, I converted very quickly. I do not know about most people here, but I place a very large importance to history. I know that Jesus said He would protect His Church through all the ages, and He sent His apostles to establish it, so upon finding out that Orthodoxy was the true historical Church that did not instigate schism, I decided to convert right then and there. Every doctrine and teaching in Orthodoxy I have had to learn from square one because I knew nothing about what Orthodoxy taught. I accepted and still do accept these teachings based off of my trust in Jesus' promise, which was confirmed through history. I thought that if Jesus said He would protect His Church forever, and I was entirely sure that Orthodoxy was the true Church, then Jesus would not allow the Orthodox Church to officially adopt a false dogma. Therefore, all of the teachings must have been correct. This won me over, and although to many existentialists who would have rather done more research and 'felt' Orthodoxy through attending the services for a few years before making a decision, I made my decision very quickly and I do not regret it at all. As a lawyer, I'm sure that you know that reason is the most is the most important factor in decision making. Now, if you are aware of the fact that Rome instigated the schism, then you should not be afraid of leaving Rome because they are not really the Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church after all, rather, they broke off from it. Come to Orthodoxy; you will love it.

EDIT:

I really must commend the OP and all of the Roman Catholic converts on this forum for coming to Orthodoxy. That must be pretty brave to leave the Roman Catholic Church out of faith to pursue God. I honestly cannot relate to that because I came from a Protestant background and Protestants usually really have no organization or formalization of the Church and doctrines; they all believe different things and people Church-hop to different Churches every week like it is nothing, so it is really hard to get attached to one like in Roman Catholicism.
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« Reply #52 on: March 17, 2012, 08:55:03 AM »

I was Roman Catholic as well. I'm now an Orthodox catechumen. I studied and struggled to discern for 3 years. It wasn't until after I stopped trying to reason out a definitive answer that the decision came to me. My wife asked me some simple questions about the things that really matter--things I had been taking for granted. Things like the sacraments and the liturgy.
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« Reply #53 on: March 23, 2012, 10:32:33 PM »

Well, it looks like next Tuesday will be my kids' lucky day to be baptized in the Greek Orthodox Church. I will be accepted by chrismation.

In getting sure I had everything in order, I asked if I needed to be confessed prior to being chrismated, but was told I would not. Is the idea that the chrismation effects my infant Roman baptism and therefore confers the absolution?

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« Reply #54 on: March 23, 2012, 10:37:17 PM »

Well, it looks like next Tuesday will be my kids' lucky day to be baptized in the Greek Orthodox Church. I will be accepted by chrismation.

In getting sure I had everything in order, I asked if I needed to be confessed prior to being chrismated, but was told I would not. Is the idea that the chrismation effects my infant Roman baptism and therefore confers the absolution?



my priest heard my confession before chrismation, and he gave me the absolution during the chrismation rite.
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« Reply #55 on: March 23, 2012, 11:02:41 PM »

Well, it looks like next Tuesday will be my kids' lucky day to be baptized in the Greek Orthodox Church. I will be accepted by chrismation.

In getting sure I had everything in order, I asked if I needed to be confessed prior to being chrismated, but was told I would not. Is the idea that the chrismation effects my infant Roman baptism and therefore confers the absolution?
Many years!

Yes, there are prayers of absolution in the rite of chrismation, and to supply what is lacking in the prior baptism.
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« Reply #56 on: March 24, 2012, 01:04:26 PM »

And I do indeed understand why it's so hard to make the decision to leave the Catholic Church.    

Nice to see that there are still some people who understand that. Smiley

I am a former Lutheran, and I can also understand why it is so difficult to make the decision to leave the Roman Church.  Even Luther did not want to do so.
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« Reply #57 on: March 24, 2012, 02:31:56 PM »

Well, it looks like next Tuesday will be my kids' lucky day to be baptized in the Greek Orthodox Church. I will be accepted by chrismation.

In getting sure I had everything in order, I asked if I needed to be confessed prior to being chrismated, but was told I would not. Is the idea that the chrismation effects my infant Roman baptism and therefore confers the absolution?



May God grant you and your family many years.  Congratulations!
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« Reply #58 on: March 27, 2012, 11:06:05 PM »

Today was my children's lucky day to be baptized in the Greek Orthodox Church. I was accepted by chrismation. Our first communion will be on Sunday.

My son (age 7) reported, "that was awesome!" as I dried him off to change into his new clothes. He paid close attention during the ceremony and was able to answer for himself on most questions. My daughter (age 4) did very well also, although I think it was all a bit above her head. She loves her cross, though!

Mostly, my thoughts were with my children. While I am very happy to be chrismated, I do not think it is going to sink in until communion on Sunday. I have not communed for almost two years, and I was in an ICU at that time.

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« Reply #59 on: March 27, 2012, 11:14:06 PM »

Today was my children's lucky day to be baptized in the Greek Orthodox Church. I was accepted by chrismation. Our first communion will be on Sunday.

My son (age 7) reported, "that was awesome!" as I dried him off to change into his new clothes. He paid close attention during the ceremony and was able to answer for himself on most questions. My daughter (age 4) did very well also, although I think it was all a bit above her head. She loves her cross, though!

Mostly, my thoughts were with my children. While I am very happy to be chrismated, I do not think it is going to sink in until communion on Sunday. I have not communed for almost two years, and I was in an ICU at that time.



Many years!
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« Reply #60 on: March 27, 2012, 11:20:32 PM »

Today was my children's lucky day to be baptized in the Greek Orthodox Church. I was accepted by chrismation. Our first communion will be on Sunday.

My son (age 7) reported, "that was awesome!" as I dried him off to change into his new clothes. He paid close attention during the ceremony and was able to answer for himself on most questions. My daughter (age 4) did very well also, although I think it was all a bit above her head. She loves her cross, though!

Mostly, my thoughts were with my children. While I am very happy to be chrismated, I do not think it is going to sink in until communion on Sunday. I have not communed for almost two years, and I was in an ICU at that time.



God grant you and your family many years, brother!
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« Reply #61 on: March 28, 2012, 12:54:17 AM »

Many years.
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« Reply #62 on: March 28, 2012, 12:58:47 AM »

Many years, and congrats! Smiley
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« Reply #63 on: March 28, 2012, 04:39:49 AM »

Many years!
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« Reply #64 on: March 28, 2012, 05:35:48 AM »

Congratulations and many years  Smiley
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« Reply #65 on: March 29, 2012, 09:36:54 PM »

Many years!
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« Reply #66 on: April 02, 2012, 09:29:06 AM »

History is what won me over. The moment I discovered that Rome instigated the schism by laying the Bull of Exocommunication I knew right then and there that Orthodoxy was the way to go and that rather than us being in schism from the Catholic Church, they separated themselves from the Catholic Church, which is us. I know that a lot of people are going to suggest taking months to think about this and everything, but to be honest, I converted very quickly. I do not know about most people here, but I place a very large importance to history. I know that Jesus said He would protect His Church through all the ages, and He sent His apostles to establish it, so upon finding out that Orthodoxy was the true historical Church that did not instigate schism, I decided to convert right then and there. Every doctrine and teaching in Orthodoxy I have had to learn from square one because I knew nothing about what Orthodoxy taught. I accepted and still do accept these teachings based off of my trust in Jesus' promise, which was confirmed through history. I thought that if Jesus said He would protect His Church forever, and I was entirely sure that Orthodoxy was the true Church, then Jesus would not allow the Orthodox Church to officially adopt a false dogma. Therefore, all of the teachings must have been correct. This won me over, and although to many existentialists who would have rather done more research and 'felt' Orthodoxy through attending the services for a few years before making a decision, I made my decision very quickly and I do not regret it at all. As a lawyer, I'm sure that you know that reason is the most is the most important factor in decision making. Now, if you are aware of the fact that Rome instigated the schism, then you should not be afraid of leaving Rome because they are not really the Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church after all, rather, they broke off from it. Come to Orthodoxy; you will love it.

EDIT:

I really must commend the OP and all of the Roman Catholic converts on this forum for coming to Orthodoxy. That must be pretty brave to leave the Roman Catholic Church out of faith to pursue God. I honestly cannot relate to that because I came from a Protestant background and Protestants usually really have no organization or formalization of the Church and doctrines; they all believe different things and people Church-hop to different Churches every week like it is nothing, so it is really hard to get attached to one like in Roman Catholicism.

I don't think the issue is that black and white; there's a reason we have the term 'Byzantine politics'. Now, this isn't an admonition against converting to the Orthodox Faith, I just think it's a bit historically inaccurate to pretend that there was no petty infighting and political bickering on the part of the Byzantine Empire and the Orthodox Church that lent itself to the schism as much so as, or at the very least somewhat less so than the Roman Church.
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« Reply #67 on: April 02, 2012, 09:34:30 AM »

may God bless yr family and give u many years.
 Smiley
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« Reply #68 on: April 07, 2012, 03:53:23 AM »

I don't think the issue is that black and white; there's a reason we have the term 'Byzantine politics'. Now, this isn't an admonition against converting to the Orthodox Faith, I just think it's a bit historically inaccurate to pretend that there was no petty infighting and political bickering on the part of the Byzantine Empire and the Orthodox Church that lent itself to the schism as much so as, or at the very least somewhat less so than the Roman Church.
If you have a little free time, you should check out this article by Fr. John Romanides. It is a very good read and, in my opinion, presents a much fairer analysis than most western history books.

http://www.romanity.org/htm/rom.03.en.franks_romans_feudalism_and_doctrine.01.htm
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« Reply #69 on: April 08, 2012, 02:48:41 PM »

Ioannis, you dog you, you know just the kind of long-winded sort of documents I love to bury myself in! Thank you! And I'm being honest when I say my sentiment is sincere.  Smiley
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« Reply #70 on: April 08, 2012, 04:04:29 PM »

Congratulations to you and your family, and many years!
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« Reply #71 on: April 08, 2012, 07:38:35 PM »

Today was my children's lucky day to be baptized in the Greek Orthodox Church. I was accepted by chrismation. Our first communion will be on Sunday.

My son (age 7) reported, "that was awesome!" as I dried him off to change into his new clothes. He paid close attention during the ceremony and was able to answer for himself on most questions. My daughter (age 4) did very well also, although I think it was all a bit above her head. She loves her cross, though!


Thanks be to God. Congratulations.  angel
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