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Author Topic: 11th hour conversion before Holy Satuday  (Read 1026 times) Average Rating: 0
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Nero
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« on: April 13, 2011, 10:54:19 PM »

Hi all,

I have a question about converting to Eastern Orthodoxy. Lately, as a Catholic, I've been going through a time of uncertainty with my faith. Everywhere I look, I see how Catholic customs have changed (the shortening of the Eucharistic fast to a single hour, the addition of mysteries to the Rosary in the 1960s, the scriptural Stations of the Cross, etc) and I am unsettled by the way that Church traditions are so rapidly changing. I don't think the Catholic Church is damned by any means, but I'm all for tradition and very much against these new, "get-with-the-times" innovations.

My question is this: I know that the Orthodox Church, like the Catholic Church, accepts converts at Easter. In Catholicism, one is expected to have gone through RCIA for several months before easter, but with a priest's approval you can jump in at practically any point before Easter Vigil. If I discern that I would like to make the conversion, am I too late to make it official this year? I know that Pascha is coming up in a few weeks, so I wasn't sure what the Orthodox ruling is.

All the best,
Nero
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« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2011, 11:02:15 PM »

I doubt any priest would accept you for Easter at this short notice (a week and a half to get to know you and for you to show you have an understanding of our faith?). However understand that Pascha is not the only day that people are accepted.

Also realize that we aren't just Roman Catholics who have kept our traditions. You would certainly need to show that you hold the Orthodox faith.

From the sounds of it though you already don't believe certain required Catholic dogma's that conflict with Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2011, 11:42:29 PM »

Probably not.  But you could be accepted at Pentecost.  At the same time, based on your post, and also because I don't know you at all, you need to have some time for some serious reflection on whether this is what you are really called to do.
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« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2011, 12:32:01 AM »

Dear Nero:

Maybe next Pascha. One does not join the Orthodox Church at the 11th hour. In fact, the word 'spontaneous' is rarely associated with Eastern Orthodoxy. In some respects, Orthodoxy seems to exist in a place beyond space and time--time that moves at a glacial pace. You'd almost think they didn't want converts--but you'd be wrong.

I started attending church in December of 2006, ardently motivated, looking for the same things you're looking for, thinking I'd be admitted to the church by Pascha 2007. Boy, was I wrong. I was accepted as a catechumen after Pascha 2007 and entered the Church a year later. All the while attending every single service. But I'd do it again and wait 10 times as long for the joy it has given me. Plus, that time was valuable for preparing me for Orthodoxy's rigor.

Maybe you've heard the story about the young man who wanted to join the Buddhist monastery: the monks made him wait outside the door to see how serious he was. A year later, seeing that he was still waiting, they let him in. It's kind of like that.

If you start attending now, odds are next Pascha you'll be a member of the Orthodox Church. You'll love it.

Have you done much studying about Orthodoxy?
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Agabus
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« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2011, 09:34:59 AM »

I have a question about converting to Eastern Orthodoxy. Lately, as a Catholic, I've been going through a time of uncertainty with my faith. Everywhere I look, I see how Catholic customs have changed (the shortening of the Eucharistic fast to a single hour, the addition of mysteries to the Rosary in the 1960s, the scriptural Stations of the Cross, etc) and I am unsettled by the way that Church traditions are so rapidly changing. I don't think the Catholic Church is damned by any means, but I'm all for tradition and very much against these new, "get-with-the-times" innovations.
Well, then Orthodoxy may not be for you. Though it has resisted many of the innovations of the Catholic church, Orthodoxy has certainly had its share of development through the centuries, and there are people out there who are trying to make the Church look hip and cool for the times. Heck, we even have our own version(s) of the SSPX to resist the changes, and many a convert gets sucked down the dark rabbit hole of finding everything wrong with the Orthodox Church once they realize it is not as pristine as they imagined. The changes have not been as drastic as what we have seen in Catholicism since the 1960s, but if you're looking for institutional perfection you aren't going to find it in the Church, which is chock full of people, who have a tendency to screw things up. Frankly, I am beginning to suspect that what a lot of people call traditionalism is actually just fetishism. (I am not pointing the finger at you, OP, when I say that.)

THAT out of the way: the Church is the ark of salvation, and its preserved traditions help us work out our salvation with fear and trembling. If you want to convert because you want to die to yourself and embrace Christ, the doors are wide open.


I first began to suspect that the Orthodox Church is the true Church back in 2006. I will be received into it Lazarus Saturday 2011. I won't bother to fill in the five years between, but taking that time instead of rushing into the Church allowed me to go through many of the phases of convertitis before my reception. It's true that you won't have access to the sacraments during the time you take to get better acquainted with the Church, but you will have access to them one day, and that time will help you prepare so that when the chrism dries you don't feel like, "Behold, it was Leah."
« Last Edit: April 14, 2011, 09:36:06 AM by Agabus » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2011, 09:51:38 AM »

Hi all,

I have a question about converting to Eastern Orthodoxy. Lately, as a Catholic, I've been going through a time of uncertainty with my faith. Everywhere I look, I see how Catholic customs have changed (the shortening of the Eucharistic fast to a single hour, the addition of mysteries to the Rosary in the 1960s, the scriptural Stations of the Cross, etc) and I am unsettled by the way that Church traditions are so rapidly changing. I don't think the Catholic Church is damned by any means, but I'm all for tradition and very much against these new, "get-with-the-times" innovations.

My question is this: I know that the Orthodox Church, like the Catholic Church, accepts converts at Easter. In Catholicism, one is expected to have gone through RCIA for several months before easter, but with a priest's approval you can jump in at practically any point before Easter Vigil. If I discern that I would like to make the conversion, am I too late to make it official this year? I know that Pascha is coming up in a few weeks, so I wasn't sure what the Orthodox ruling is.

IMHO, the really important thing for you to understand is that the Orthodox Church is not at all like the Roman Catholic Church. The beliefs and praxis, the understanding, the theology - the entire approach is different. Although I'm certainly no expert on the RCC, sometimes the differences are startling and even diametrically opposed.

This often frustrates me in discussion with Catholics who seem to think that all we have to do to reunite is just get along. They don't seem to have any idea of how different we are. Thus it takes time to understand and internalize those differences.

If you are truly interested in Orthodoxy, don't simply read about it but attend all the services you possibly can. That is where the real life of the Church is lived.
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« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2011, 09:56:35 AM »

As in all issues like this, you must speak with your local Orthodox Priest. Only he can answer your question with any authority.

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« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2011, 07:12:40 PM »

I first began to suspect that the Orthodox Church is the true Church back in 2006. I will be received into it Lazarus Saturday 2011. I won't bother to fill in the five years between, but taking that time instead of rushing into the Church allowed me to go through many of the phases of convertitis before my reception. It's true that you won't have access to the sacraments during the time you take to get better acquainted with the Church, but you will have access to them one day, and that time will help you prepare so that when the chrism dries you don't feel like, "Behold, it was Leah."

I think this is very important.

Personally I was researching the Church seriously for two years, and attended for a year and a half before even being accepted as a Catechumen. I attended for another half year after that (shorter than your five years, but long enough). Meanwhile, about the same time that I was starting to attend an online friend of mine decided he also wanted to convert (having previously shown no interest in the church), within about 9 months he was a full member of the Church. About 9 months later he left the Church ostensibly over issues with the piety of the laity.

Any conversion brings with it a "honeymoon" sort of period, I think it is important that this period is over before anyone is accepted into the Church.

Of course that's just my opinion, I have no say in the matter.
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« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2011, 07:24:21 PM »

I would think that a priest might (MIGHT, ask him any way) find someone expecting to be converted in two weeks to be pretty suspect.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it true that a priest can baptize someone AFTER Pascha? It's not a once-a-year thing? Correct me if I'm wrong. Although obviously getting your first Communion on Pascha would certainly be optimal....
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« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2011, 10:38:09 PM »

(shorter than your five years, but long enough).
Just for clarity's sake, I wasn't in active attendance those five years. For a couple of them, I was actively avoiding while learning what I could.
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« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2011, 10:47:59 PM »

Maybe next Pascha. One does not join the Orthodox Church at the 11th hour.

"And if any have tarried even until the eleventh hour,
Let him, also, be not alarmed at his tardiness."
- The Paschal sermon of St John Chrysostom

Nero, there's no harm in asking. So go ask.
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« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2011, 11:06:16 PM »

I believe there is plenty of precedence for "11th hour" conversions:

Quote from: Luke 23:39-43 (New King James Version)
Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
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« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2011, 11:17:02 PM »

(shorter than your five years, but long enough).
Just for clarity's sake, I wasn't in active attendance those five years. For a couple of them, I was actively avoiding while learning what I could.

No, I understand. Still longer than my 4 years.  Wink
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« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2011, 11:21:49 AM »

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it true that a priest can baptize someone AFTER Pascha? It's not a once-a-year thing? Correct me if I'm wrong. Although obviously getting your first Communion on Pascha would certainly be optimal....

There are a few times in a year when converts used to get baptise but a Pries can receive one int the Church any time.
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