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Author Topic: Conversion and culture  (Read 3386 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: March 27, 2011, 12:08:24 AM »

Hi,

I have a question for converts to Orthodoxy. My questions are more social and cultural but I am interested in how the converts feel about such things. I was wondering if after you converted, you felt that the culture of the Church you became a member of or the church that you attend (with the congregation perhaps having a different culture than your culture) was somewhat foreign e.g. perhaps you are American and you became Greek or Russian Orthodox? Did you feel like an outsider because of this or were you comfortable with the culture and felt like there was no difference between you and the rest of the congregation? Do you think you were treated the same as everyone else? Do you think you think people would prefer their daughter (if you are male, or son if your are female) to marry someone who was born in the church rather than a convert with a different ethnic background etc or do you think they wouldn't care as long as the person is Orthodox? Does this bother you? Do you worry about how you will get married to an Orthodox girl etc? I know I asked quite a bit but I would appreciate converts' thoughts on these issues Smiley
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« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2011, 04:13:46 PM »

Hi,

I have a question for converts to Orthodoxy. My questions are more social and cultural but I am interested in how the converts feel about such things. I was wondering if after you converted, you felt that the culture of the Church you became a member of or the church that you attend (with the congregation perhaps having a different culture than your culture) was somewhat foreign e.g. perhaps you are American and you became Greek or Russian Orthodox? Did you feel like an outsider because of this or were you comfortable with the culture and felt like there was no difference between you and the rest of the congregation? Do you think you were treated the same as everyone else? Do you think you think people would prefer their daughter (if you are male, or son if your are female) to marry someone who was born in the church rather than a convert with a different ethnic background etc or do you think they wouldn't care as long as the person is Orthodox? Does this bother you? Do you worry about how you will get married to an Orthodox girl etc? I know I asked quite a bit but I would appreciate converts' thoughts on these issues Smiley

My parish was originally predominately Lebanese.  However, by the time I came on the scene, there were not only Lebanese, but Palestinians, Egyptians, Indians, Ethiopians, Greeks, Ukrainians, Russians, Romanians, and Americans (white and African-American).  I've never felt like an outsider.  Actually, people are thrilled anytime we have new people coming into the Church.  Sure, I've heard stories about some ethnic-only folks- but those types rarely come to church anyway.

Regarding marriages:  There are countless people I've seen marry Catholics.  Sometimes, the Catholic spouse converts, sometimes the Catholic spouse doesn't convert but comes to church with the Orthodox spouse, and sometimes the Orthodox spouse leaves to go to church with the Catholic spouse (and in those cases it is always someone who never came to church anyway and who people only remember as a child).  I'm just glad I was married when I converted.  I've seen the crazy, frantic searches of my single friends for an acceptable Orthodox person to date.  Personally, with the younger generations, I get the impression that the general thought is- who cares if they're from the Old Country?  They usually haven't been there themselves.  I think people are thrilled to find anyone who is Orthodox.
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« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2011, 04:17:26 PM »

my parish is mainly converts cultures not an issue
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« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2011, 07:54:14 PM »

My current parish is primarily a convert parish with our children and grandchildren being the cradle orthodox. We attract many immigrant orthodox because our parish is welcoming to them and their traditional practices and traditions enrich our own orthodox practices daily.

Thomas
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« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2011, 07:58:33 PM »

I had one who commented that my last name wasn't Greek at all when I was at a Greek parish, lol. But it shouldn't be too much of an issue. How are Greek parents with their kids dating outside of being Greek?

Sidenote - Hey Thomas, you converted from Mormonism, I'd love to read your convert story if you have posted it here before. I think it would be a fascinating read.
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« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2011, 12:16:33 PM »

Although I belong to an OCA mostly convert parish (mostly former evangelicals) now, the first Divine Liturgy I attended was at a small Greek Orthodox mission parish. Sometimes the Greeks get a bad rap for being "too ethnic" but that was not my experience - they were very welcoming and hospitable. They invited me to stay for coffee hour and Sunday School and asked me to come back. A couple of folks stayed for hours afterward to answer my question.

And as far as the OP is concerned, there's no way that I could feel or be anything other than what I am - Orthodox and Southern, by the grace of God. As I said to a GOA Bishop I know, "Y'all Greeks are just like us Southerners. Our lives are centered around Faith, Family and Food. Only difference is, y'all use olive oil and we use lard."
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« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2011, 12:40:08 PM »

my parish is mainly converts cultures not an issue

Culture is always an issue. Most likely, you just happen to be of the same culture as the majority in your parish, so you don't realize it.

I've met plenty of African, Asian, and Latino people who feel very out of place--indeed, in a foreign cultural world--when they attend convert Orthodox parishes, which, to them, seem like museums of Mayfield circa 1958.
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« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2011, 01:07:25 PM »

Hi,

I have a question for converts to Orthodoxy. My questions are more social and cultural but I am interested in how the converts feel about such things. I was wondering if after you converted, you felt that the culture of the Church you became a member of or the church that you attend (with the congregation perhaps having a different culture than your culture) was somewhat foreign e.g. perhaps you are American and you became Greek or Russian Orthodox?

I'm in the process of converting (baptism on Palm Sunday, by the grace of God) at an OCA parish that came out of the EOC (Evangelical Orthodox). We're mostly (around 93%) white former Protestants. Only a handful of cradles, all of whom come from a Slavic tradition. Our parish itself is quite proud of its Slavic heritage, although it is quite thoroughly Americanized.

Because I've got to come to the faith in a culture mostly my own and look at Orthodox cultures as Orthodox and yet remaining outside of those cultures, I think I've got a different perspective than both those cradle, ethnic Orthodox and those who converted in ethnic parishes. Please, permit me to comment about the cultures in the Church at large, and the ethnicity of Orthodoxy in America in general from an "outside Orthodox" perspective. So...with that...let me dig into the questions! Grin

Quote
Did you feel like an outsider because of this or were you comfortable with the culture and felt like there was no difference between you and the rest of the congregation? Do you think you were treated the same as everyone else?

I've heard from many that did convert in more ethnic parishes that they felt as outsiders. They aren't Greek, Arabic or Russian...yet they're thrown into the culture as if it's part of the Orthodox faith and they should also celebrate. I think those cultural celebrates are part of the faith...for those groups...and it should be. Converts, like myself, need to be accepting of cultural Orthodoxy. These are the peoples, the cultures, they have kept the Faith and given it to us. We should, at the very least, be happy with them in their cultural displays and celebrations. I feel quite connected to Slavic (particularly Russian) cultural displays, traditions and celebrations...since I have immediately received the faith through them. It's important to me. Yet, I'm also happy to hear about the Greek or Arabic festivals and want to celebrate their culture as well...it's all Orthodox!

The only problem is when converts are treated as second-class Orthodox because they aren't ethnically whatever-the-parish-is, and therefore aren't quite as entitled as the others. That is not, that cannot, be the case. Orthodox of traditional cultures must realize that we are baptized and chrimated just like they are...we receive the Eucharist, go to confession, etc. just like they do. We are all equally Orthodox, and entitled equally to the fatih. At the same time, converts must respect and, I think, even co-celebrate and enjoy the culture of our brothers that has played such an important part in their faith...and their given of the faith to us.

Quote
Do you think you think people would prefer their daughter (if you are male, or son if your are female) to marry someone who was born in the church rather than a convert with a different ethnic background etc or do you think they wouldn't care as long as the person is Orthodox? Does this bother you?

My Big Fat Greek Wedding comes to mind! I've met those who would be somehwat uneasy if their child married outside of their ethnicity, even if the other person is Orthodox. I can understand that, because they want to ensure a continuity of not just their faith, but their national custom. That doesn't bother me. As a convert, I think we should pass those traditions down if we marry into an ethnic family. It's part of the family's Orthodox heritage...we should respect that.

Quote
Do you worry about how you will get married to an Orthodox girl etc? I know I asked quite a bit but I would appreciate converts' thoughts on these issues Smiley

No, I don't. I would just as readily marry a girl who is a faithful Orthodox that is Greek, Russian, etc. than I would one that is a faithful American convert. It's far more important to me that she is faithfully Orthodox than if she is part of any given culture. Her traditional Orthodox ethnicity, or lack thereof, doesn't concern me at all. If she's a convert like me, great! I look forward to raising American Orthodox children (of a Slavic bent, of course! Wink). If not, great! I look forward to learning about how her family has maintained and celebrates their Orthodox culture, and would look forward to handing that down to our children.
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« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2011, 04:57:44 AM »

Thanks for sharing your thoughts/feelings everyone Smiley
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« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2011, 07:26:09 AM »

My current parish is primarily a convert parish with our children and grandchildren being the cradle orthodox. We attract many immigrant orthodox becausebour parish is welcoming to them and their traditional practices and traditions enrich our own orthodox practices daily.

Thomas

Exactly the same in our parish.
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« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2011, 09:41:54 AM »

for me, the culture was a bit foreign.  my personal heritage consists of German, Polish, Slovakian, and Scottish (with some Ukrainian on my Polish side from many generations ago).  all of these are (or were before the reformation) Roman Catholic countries.  it was difficult to read about the Church and find how Russian or Greek or whatever it was, as this was just not what I was used to.  I was pleasantly suprised when I visited the Church.  there were many Russians and Serbs, but there were also generic Americans, a woman from England and even a woman from Mexico.  we are very multi-cultural, and it''s even better that we're OCA, because everything is in English.  my own priest is German, Irish, and 1/4 cherokee Indian.

it's still a bit hard for me to read about my heritage and learn from my family about our culture and find that the peoples there are such faithful Catholics, but I'm adjusting to Orthodoxy well, I'd say. 
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« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2011, 09:45:38 AM »

"Y'all Greeks are just like us Southerners. Our lives are centered around Faith, Family and Food. Only difference is, y'all use olive oil and we use lard."

amen!   Cheesy
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« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2011, 01:21:20 AM »

wow America seems like a good place to live if you're Orthodox, God bless. Amin!

In Australia on the other hand, in a few Greek Orthodox Churches the preists have ordered the servants of GOD out of the house of GOD because they did not look Greek enough or spoke another language rather than Greek.

I find it really sad, my family and I don't speak Greek at home so it's strange for us to do so.  I mean 50% of the people that attend this particualr church are actually not 100% Greek, and do speak two languages. The preist used this exact phrase translated from Greek obviously, "People speaking two languages will not recive the holy comminion". 

God forgive this preist, he has subsequently been partially replaced, by a younger Australian-Greek preist.

God Bless.

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« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2011, 01:46:04 AM »

wow America seems like a good place to live if you're Orthodox, God bless. Amin!

In Australia on the other hand, in a few Greek Orthodox Churches the preists have ordered the servants of GOD out of the house of GOD because they did not look Greek enough or spoke another language rather than Greek.

I find it really sad, my family and I don't speak Greek at home so it's strange for us to do so.  I mean 50% of the people that attend this particualr church are actually not 100% Greek, and do speak two languages. The preist used this exact phrase translated from Greek obviously, "People speaking two languages will not recive the holy comminion". 

God forgive this preist, he has subsequently been partially replaced, by a younger Australian-Greek preist.

God Bless.



Oh don't worry, America has plenty of parishes that are "ethnic ghettos" where if you are not of _______ background, you are not welcome. This is particularly predominant in the Northeast and Chicago. I found the South to be much more welcoming of converts than the North.

In regards to the priest denying someone communion based on language; that should be reported to the Bishop IMMEDIATELY. That is a big no-no.
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« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2011, 02:04:19 AM »

wow America seems like a good place to live if you're Orthodox, God bless. Amin!

In Australia on the other hand, in a few Greek Orthodox Churches the preists have ordered the servants of GOD out of the house of GOD because they did not look Greek enough or spoke another language rather than Greek.

I find it really sad, my family and I don't speak Greek at home so it's strange for us to do so.  I mean 50% of the people that attend this particualr church are actually not 100% Greek, and do speak two languages. The preist used this exact phrase translated from Greek obviously, "People speaking two languages will not recive the holy comminion". 

God forgive this preist, he has subsequently been partially replaced, by a younger Australian-Greek preist.

God Bless.



Oh don't worry, America has plenty of parishes that are "ethnic ghettos" where if you are not of _______ background, you are not welcome. This is particularly predominant in the Northeast and Chicago. I found the South to be much more welcoming of converts than the North.

In regards to the priest denying someone communion based on language; that should be reported to the Bishop IMMEDIATELY. That is a big no-no.

Indeed, the preist was partially removed from the Church.  I've actually never seen converts at this church, although there have been many converts in the more inner-city Churches especially at the Russian Churches.

Greek Churches are very homogeneous in the way they accept worshipers.
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« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2011, 02:28:57 AM »

Greek Churches are very homogeneous in the way they accept worshipers.

Some parishes in Sydney are just now starting to conduct services in 50% - 75% English and wonder why the already throroughly secularised Greek youth fail to show up.

Sorry guys, you missed that boat!

What was your plan? To wait for all the old Greek ladies to die before you worried about the spiritual needs of the second and third generation Australians?

Please forgive my frustration. I just wish it were different.
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« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2011, 03:06:59 AM »

Greek Churches are very homogeneous in the way they accept worshipers.

Some parishes in Sydney are just now starting to conduct services in 50% - 75% English and wonder why the already throroughly secularised Greek youth fail to show up.

Sorry guys, you missed that boat!

What was your plan? To wait for all the old Greek ladies to die before you worried about the spiritual needs of the second and third generation Australians?

Please forgive my frustration. I just wish it were different.

Brother I feel the same frustration as you do, but what I myself see is that no matter if the Greek Church speaks Greek, English or what ever it will not mean a faithfull Orthodox would attend or not attend.  What I mean is that is a persons choice to attend Church, regardless of language.  Our very youth is corupt I can speak as being part of the corrupted youth, there is a very small minority who think the way we think.

The problem stems for full assimilation into western and Australian society which has torn the Orthodox from their faith.

Although personally I feel there is very little on offer for Orthodox people in general, this is the only forum I know of for us. I don't know if there are many Australians on this forum anyway!  Also I see Islam in Australia as being very youth orientated, they have youth groups, meetings etc. We have very little if not none of that.   

The blame can not fall on one but on all.   Embarrassed
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« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2011, 11:39:51 AM »

I think it's helpful to look at Orthodoxy as a culture of its own, separate from any ethnic culture. And, as its own culture, it is opposed and foreign to the culture of secularism and sin that pervades every society--American, Greek, Russian, Australian, whatever. A focus on Orthodox culture would still be challenging to the society at large and those who are nominalists, but I think it would at least engage people on the real issue.
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« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2011, 10:37:48 PM »

I think it's helpful to look at Orthodoxy as a culture of its own, separate from any ethnic culture. And, as its own culture, it is opposed and foreign to the culture of secularism and sin that pervades every society--American, Greek, Russian, Australian, whatever. A focus on Orthodox culture would still be challenging to the society at large and those who are nominalists, but I think it would at least engage people on the real issue.

Very true brother! Well said.

God Bless.
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« Reply #19 on: April 25, 2011, 02:01:05 AM »

Greek Churches are very homogeneous in the way they accept worshipers.

Some parishes in Sydney are just now starting to conduct services in 50% - 75% English and wonder why the already throroughly secularised Greek youth fail to show up.

Sorry guys, you missed that boat!

What was your plan? To wait for all the old Greek ladies to die before you worried about the spiritual needs of the second and third generation Australians?

Please forgive my frustration. I just wish it were different.
Is the problem that they waited too long to use English?
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« Reply #20 on: April 25, 2011, 03:44:22 AM »

Greek Churches are very homogeneous in the way they accept worshipers.

Some parishes in Sydney are just now starting to conduct services in 50% - 75% English and wonder why the already throroughly secularised Greek youth fail to show up.

Sorry guys, you missed that boat!

What was your plan? To wait for all the old Greek ladies to die before you worried about the spiritual needs of the second and third generation Australians?

Please forgive my frustration. I just wish it were different.
Is the problem that they waited too long to use English?

I think that has to be part of it (then again, the situation in Greece is no better). Maybe more that they waited too long before they realised that the younger generations needed to be ministered to and wouldn't keep coming to church just because their parents and grandparents did. There is far too much competition for the hearts and minds of my generation and the one that came before to rely on the force of custom.

And, alas, it seems it is now too late. I pray the under-20s will be different! The Church definitely seems to be trying harder.
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« Reply #21 on: April 25, 2011, 04:42:24 AM »

Greek Churches are very homogeneous in the way they accept worshipers.

Some parishes in Sydney are just now starting to conduct services in 50% - 75% English and wonder why the already throroughly secularised Greek youth fail to show up.

Sorry guys, you missed that boat!

What was your plan? To wait for all the old Greek ladies to die before you worried about the spiritual needs of the second and third generation Australians?

Please forgive my frustration. I just wish it were different.
Is the problem that they waited too long to use English?

I think that has to be part of it (then again, the situation in Greece is no better). Maybe more that they waited too long before they realised that the younger generations needed to be ministered to and wouldn't keep coming to church just because their parents and grandparents did. There is far too much competition for the hearts and minds of my generation and the one that came before to rely on the force of custom.

And, alas, it seems it is now too late. I pray the under-20s will be different! The Church definitely seems to be trying harder.

You can't accpect the Greek Orthodox Church to preach in English, it is what makes the the Greek Orthodox Church after all. The problem really is the lack of respect not by the Church but by the families of the youth, I mean the teenagers my age have very little respect for their faith if you can call it faith in their hearts.  The problem is their familes/parents don't teach them about the religion, the don't take them to Church often enough and the other thing is the Church infact has partial blame by not offering its services to the youth, like the Islamic community of Australia does. Also say I was to go to Church during the day or just out of the blue, it wouldn't even be open. Overseas Churches are open most hours of the day, there is no personal connection in Australia.

We can only pray for the situation to change, God willing my children will be guided by the Lord.

Praise God!
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« Reply #22 on: April 25, 2011, 12:47:06 PM »

"Is the problem that they waited too long to use English?"

I suspect it is more a question of their wanting to maintain their ethnic identity; therefore, being unwilling to abandon any elements of their culture--language, for instance--as would endanger this identity.

Apparently, in Greece and Russia, the Orthodox Church and ethnic identity became inseparable, in much the same way the religion of Judaism is inseparable from being a Jew in the cultural sense. Judaism is as much a cultural identity as it is a religious one. That is, I might convert to the religion of Judaism because I agreed with its moral and ethical tenets, but I would never be considered a Jew by cradle Jews: one can only be born a Jew. As a Jewish convert without a drop of "Jewish" blood in me, I would be regarded as a quaint eccentric.

Philatism in the Orthodox Church is an unfortunate heresy, the problems caused by which American Orthodox Christians are obliged to reconcile in the interests of the health of the Church in America. We're still working on it.
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« Reply #23 on: April 25, 2011, 07:48:41 PM »

I felt a little isolated, visiting a Greek Orthodox Church before I converted as I wasn't Greek. I feel more at home now as an Orthodox Christian in the OCA, as ours is multi-ethnic. Having a military background I have been exposed to many cultures so I do enjoy the blending of the different traditions (not to mention all the foods!)  Cheesy
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« Reply #24 on: April 26, 2011, 10:28:33 AM »

I've Tried the all english speaking Orthodox Churches,but i just can't get used to them...I don't care for all English Liturgies though i understand everthing being said, it still fails for me...I prefer the Greek ,Russian , Ukrainian , Romainian , Serbian ,Bulgarian ,even if i don't understand some of the languages, it just seems better ....

I don't even like the English being introduced in the Liturgies in the Serbian Churches..... police

When I went to New Gracanica For Resurrection Matins ,They Used Quite a Bit Of english ,it's sounded Awful especially the choir, I even let  the Chior know that they sounded Awful ,when we were in line to recieve the red eggs..... Grin

What i would like to see more in Orthodox Churches Is two separate liturgies,one for the English speaking ,and one for the non english lovers...... police

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« Reply #25 on: April 26, 2011, 11:00:41 AM »


When I went to New Gracanica For Resurrection Matins ,They Used Quite a Bit Of english ,it's sounded Awful especially the choir, I even let  the Chior know that they sounded Awful ,when we were in line to recieve the red eggs..... Grin
Well, that's lovely.
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« Reply #26 on: April 26, 2011, 11:12:36 AM »

"Y'all Greeks are just like us Southerners. Our lives are centered around Faith, Family and Food. Only difference is, y'all use olive oil and we use lard."

amen!   Cheesy

HAHAHAHA!! OH SO VERY TRUE!!

Only we're a bit louder when it's time to be quiet. . .and a bit quieter when it's time to be loud. 

Yeppers. 
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« Reply #27 on: April 26, 2011, 11:15:34 AM »


When I went to New Gracanica For Resurrection Matins ,They Used Quite a Bit Of english ,it's sounded Awful especially the choir, I even let  the Chior know that they sounded Awful ,when we were in line to recieve the red eggs..... Grin
Well, that's lovely.

I was really glade that they weren't singing, while we were in line ,otherwise that would of been torcher for me to lisen to it again......
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« Reply #28 on: April 26, 2011, 04:25:48 PM »


When I went to New Gracanica For Resurrection Matins ,They Used Quite a Bit Of english ,it's sounded Awful especially the choir, I even let  the Chior know that they sounded Awful ,when we were in line to recieve the red eggs..... Grin
Well, that's lovely.

I was really glade that they weren't singing, while we were in line ,otherwise that would of been torcher for me to lisen to it again......

Kind of like having to read your posts.   Grin
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« Reply #29 on: April 26, 2011, 04:28:30 PM »

Well, that is another topic! Does God really care and should we, how we sound when we sing to Him? Doesn't He care more what is in our hearts as we worship in song? If God has not sent a parish  beautiful soprano, alto, and tenor voices, then what?
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« Reply #30 on: April 26, 2011, 04:30:15 PM »

Well, that is another topic! Does God really care and should we, how we sound when we sing to Him? Doesn't He care more what is in our hearts as we worship in song? If God has not sent a parish  beautiful soprano, alto, and tenor voices, then what?
My singing voice is horrible, but He is going to have to put up with me following the chants. Tough luck, God! Should have given me a better voice, huh?


 Grin
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« Reply #31 on: April 26, 2011, 04:33:15 PM »

We all have our preferences - but that doesn't mean that our personal preferences are more Orthodox or more holy or better.
My preference is to hear and sing the Liturgy in a language that I, and my fellow worshippers, actually understand.
Crazy, I know.... Grin
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« Reply #32 on: April 26, 2011, 04:37:44 PM »

It felt foreign at first, but so did Orthodoxy itself. I've never had issues with matters of culture, and to be honest I have a hard time understanding converts who do. But, different people have different hurdles.

Being a language nerd, I actually enjoy hearing the hymns sung in their native languages. So much Orthodox music seems to have the English words crammed into foreign tunes and meters that it sometimes gets ugly. (Like in the Paschal Troparion, where we uselessly repeat the phrase "Christ is risen from the dead, Oh Christ is risen from the dead..." just to fit the melody.) Once you understand the sequence of the services, the language becomes trivial, IMO.

And I've especially enjoyed discovering all kinds of delicious new foods. I sometimes hear American Orthodox knock the food festivals, but seriously: why? The food festivals are fantastic. Hush! Wink
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« Reply #33 on: April 26, 2011, 04:46:34 PM »

Does God really care and should we, how we sound when we sing to Him? Doesn't He care more what is in our hearts as we worship in song?

Point taken, and I agree in premise.  Still, the "what's in our hearts" argument can lead to a nasty slippery slope.  I, for one, should never, under any circumstances, undertake Iconography.    
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« Reply #34 on: April 26, 2011, 07:44:31 PM »

I've Tried the all english speaking Orthodox Churches,but i just can't get used to them...I don't care for all English Liturgies though i understand everthing being said, it still fails for me...I prefer the Greek ,Russian , Ukrainian , Romainian , Serbian ,Bulgarian ,even if i don't understand some of the languages, it just seems better ....

I used to feel that way until I heard the protopsalti at our cathedral sing this amazing "paraschou, Kyrie" / "grant this, O Lord" during St Basil's liturgy that was so full of emotion and power, I could have wept of it. I think it was in response to the "Christiana ta teli" / "Christian ends to our lives" petition.

There is so much abominable English chanting out there, though. And don't get me started on organs (sorry -- I just had to).
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« Reply #35 on: April 27, 2011, 10:01:36 AM »

I've Tried the all english speaking Orthodox Churches,but i just can't get used to them...I don't care for all English Liturgies though i understand everthing being said, it still fails for me...I prefer the Greek ,Russian , Ukrainian , Romainian , Serbian ,Bulgarian ,even if i don't understand some of the languages, it just seems better ....

I used to feel that way until I heard the protopsalti at our cathedral sing this amazing "paraschou, Kyrie" / "grant this, O Lord" during St Basil's liturgy that was so full of emotion and power, I could have wept of it. I think it was in response to the "Christiana ta teli" / "Christian ends to our lives" petition.

There is so much abominable English chanting out there, though. And don't get me started on organs (sorry -- I just had to).

I went to the Agape Vespers at the Greek Cathedral near my home, and one of the chanters sang everything in English - it was magnificent!
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« Reply #36 on: April 27, 2011, 10:34:30 AM »

I find the "culture" of ex-Protestants more alien to me than Greek or Russian culture. I don't know what it is, but I've always felt more uncomfortable in primarily convert churches. It's nice to sing everything in English, it is true, but I have found the perfect compromise in the Greek parish here that uses about 1/3 English in the services, and I can read the Greek well enough to follow along in the service book if/when I need to. I do feel like a bit of an outsider, but I am frankly there for the beauty of the services, prayer, music, and of course the Eucharist. It's a huge church and I feel that I can worship here without being expected to make friends with everyone all at once. I like that. And I agree with bogdan that English sometimes seems a bit forcefully grafted onto traditional melodies, with mixed results. Anyway, after spending Holy Week with the Greeks, I don't want to be anywhere else for awhile. Absolutely beautiful.
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« Reply #37 on: April 27, 2011, 09:25:09 PM »

The problem is that many of the English translations from the Serbian read like his posts!  That is why I still use the ROCOR translations even though I am in the Serbian Church.  And to make matters worse, the English translations do not work with the Serbian tones, so I have to agree with stashko there.  However, the Serbs in my area are too ethnocentric to use the Russian tones (even though it seems like half the "ethnic" people attending are Russian), so I end up not understanding the Troparia when they are sung in any language, including my own!


When I went to New Gracanica For Resurrection Matins ,They Used Quite a Bit Of english ,it's sounded Awful especially the choir, I even let  the Chior know that they sounded Awful ,when we were in line to recieve the red eggs..... Grin
Well, that's lovely.

I was really glade that they weren't singing, while we were in line ,otherwise that would of been torcher for me to lisen to it again......

Kind of like having to read your posts.   Grin
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« Reply #38 on: April 28, 2011, 06:39:36 AM »

It is hard to preach in the Byzantine chant using the English language, that is what a priest from the English speaking Russian Orthodox Church in Melbourne told me once   Cheesy   Speaking Greek and Slavic I know that is would be quite hard to apply the right pitch etc when preaching using the English language.  Although we could try and fit the language into the type of preaching although it would sound quite obscured  Kiss
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« Reply #39 on: April 28, 2011, 07:13:52 AM »

I wonder if as time goes by in America, if newer generations who will be "farther" from their ethnic roots, if an American culture of Orthodox worship will emerge? I don't know if that will be a good thing (perhaps unite us more?) or bad, (losing our roots?). Orthodox worship for me is a bit "foreign" as I'm of mostly German background and doubt there are any German Orthodox churches here!  Wink I'm not certain I'd even go to one now in any case.
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« Reply #40 on: April 28, 2011, 07:18:48 AM »

I wonder if as time goes by in America, if newer generations who will be "farther" from their ethnic roots, if an American culture of Orthodox worship will emerge? I don't know if that will be a good thing (perhaps unite us more?) or bad, (losing our roots?). Orthodox worship for me is a bit "foreign" as I'm of mostly German background and doubt there are any German Orthodox churches here!  Wink I'm not certain I'd even go to one now in any case.

Orthodoxy is not just a religion but a culture of itself I guess or we could say a way of life as to say, if practiced properly.  You can retain your own native language and practice Orthodoxy to its fullest we've seen this for 1,000 years+ already  Cheesy
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« Reply #41 on: April 28, 2011, 08:24:05 AM »

I wonder if as time goes by in America, if newer generations who will be "farther" from their ethnic roots, if an American culture of Orthodox worship will emerge? I don't know if that will be a good thing (perhaps unite us more?) or bad, (losing our roots?). Orthodox worship for me is a bit "foreign" as I'm of mostly German background and doubt there are any German Orthodox churches here!  Wink I'm not certain I'd even go to one now in any case.

The German Lutheran Church was a very liturgical Church with a rich tradition of music.  I have recordings of recreations of the early German Lutheran Masses that just blow me away.  And yes, that which was not sung by the congregation was chanted by the clergy, including the Epistle and Gospel.  There is no reason that this music could not be adapted to Orthodoxy, particularly in the Western Rite.  Even when I chant the Epistle reading in the Serbian Church, I often use the German style of chant.  I would attend a Liturgy or WR Mass in German in a heartbeat, if it was Orthodox.
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« Reply #42 on: April 28, 2011, 01:01:22 PM »

new_abc,
Good questions. I'm a recent Coptic Orthodox convert, coming up on my 1 year anniversary. I love my church and feel completely accepted and at home. I'm treated the same as everyone else. To the point where people try to speak to me in Arabic assuming that I'm Egyptian (I'm American). Perhaps it's because I'm 28, and to our age group, racial boundries is not as prevalent as with older generations. The adults my age are very inclusive in any bible studies and activities. My FH and I had been dating quite a while before I converted. But I actually met him at the church festival through a friend. Several years later...he proposed at church. The church has been a great blessing to us. In the beginning, I'm sure both of our parents would rather we married someone from our own culture (both to pass down our roots and because it's easier). But everyone has grown to accept our relationship and my parents love him and vice versa. I always considered myself Christian and had been to many churches but was never baptised. I chose to bet baptised in his church since his religious ties were stronger.  And in my opinion, I think it's harder on a marriage when you go to 2 different churches.  This was the best decision for us. We're going to raise our kids in the church and I think it's important that they learn about both cultural roots. We will be a blended family and it's important to pass down as much as you can.   
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« Reply #43 on: April 28, 2011, 02:45:15 PM »

The German Lutheran Church was a very liturgical Church with a rich tradition of music.  I have recordings of recreations of the early German Lutheran Masses that just blow me away.  And yes, that which was not sung by the congregation was chanted by the clergy, including the Epistle and Gospel.  There is no reason that this music could not be adapted to Orthodoxy, particularly in the Western Rite.  Even when I chant the Epistle reading in the Serbian Church, I often use the German style of chant.  I would attend a Liturgy or WR Mass in German in a heartbeat, if it was Orthodox.

 Sad
(katherine gets a little nostalgic, remembering "Ein Feste Burg" as belted out by oldtime Lutherans who could really sing!)
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« Reply #44 on: April 29, 2011, 11:14:59 PM »

I have a comment, saying, Who is my family name not all the parish when I was in Greece, the Greek laugh. But it should not be too much problem. How parents and their children are dating outside Greece?
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« Reply #45 on: April 29, 2011, 11:15:53 PM »

I have a comment, saying, Who is my family name not all the parish when I was in Greece, the Greek laugh. But it should not be too much problem. How parents and their children are dating outside Greece?


QFT

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« Reply #46 on: May 01, 2011, 11:28:03 AM »

Thanks for sharing lpalmer.

Please excuse my ignorance, but what does 'FH' mean?
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« Reply #47 on: May 01, 2011, 12:52:45 PM »

hi, welcome new-abc and lpalmer  Smiley
i started studying arabic just before i first visited a coptic church, so i found it easy to fit in, as i only needed to remember 3 or 4 arabic words and all the old ladies were suddenly introducing me to their friends!
it helps (i think) to go to a smaller church, if there are more than 100 people there, everyone will tend to assume you know someone there and they might not say 'hello'.
some copts are really shy, affected by years of being scared of outsiders (persecution in egypt and sudan is very bad) or just afraid that their english is bad, so they might not say 'hello'.

in other churches, i have visited, i have seen a mixture of reactions from being ignored to being welcomed like a long-lost cousin.
i think the important thing is to find a church where Christian life is explained in a relevant way, keeping close to the Bible and the church father's interpretations of this. it does have to be in the main language of your country for you to be able to check this out, or at least a good translation should be easily available. once the church has passed this test, see if people are kind (it means they understood the sermon). then if they still ignore you, stick with it, they are probably just shy. try going up to someone of your same gender and say 'hi, you have a nice church here' or something like that.

i hope you find friends, you shouldn't have to change your culture, but you may find a few greek or russian phrases come in handy.
Christos anesti!
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« Reply #48 on: May 01, 2011, 05:36:34 PM »

Less than 10 seconds on Google showed it to mean "Quoted For Truth".

I have a comment, saying, Who is my family name not all the parish when I was in Greece, the Greek laugh. But it should not be too much problem. How parents and their children are dating outside Greece?


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« Reply #49 on: May 01, 2011, 09:25:19 PM »



My thanks to Punch for his response. Some people, like myself, are not very active on the internet and therefore are not used to the lingo used. I would never have thought to google it.

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« Reply #50 on: May 01, 2011, 11:26:35 PM »



My thanks to Punch for his response. Some people, like myself, are not very active on the internet and therefore are not used to the lingo used. I would never have thought to google it.

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I am on several forums, and it seems that new acronyms are formed weekly.  Everytime I think I have a handle on them, some new ones come up.  I have to admit, I have not seen QFT anywhere yet but this forum, so that is why I had to look it up.  It surprised me that it was the first thing that came up on the Google search.  Normally I have to look at a few entries.
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