OrthodoxChristianity.net
August 01, 2014, 08:50:56 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Pre-catechumenate period  (Read 1559 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
mike
Stratopedarches
**************
Offline Offline

Posts: 21,467


WWW
« on: April 14, 2011, 12:08:27 PM »

AFAIR the catechumenate period is for a catechumean to study faith and orthopraxis and for a Priest to get to know whether he is sincere or not. So what is the point in having long periods when people attend Church, are taught and are not catechumens yet?
« Last Edit: April 14, 2011, 12:08:55 PM by Michał Kalina » Logged

Byzantinism
no longer posting here
Agabus
The user formerly known as Agabus.
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Pan-American Colloquial Convert Hybrid Orthodoxy.
Jurisdiction: We are all uncanonical now.
Posts: 2,122



« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2011, 12:26:41 PM »

AFAIR the catechumenate period is for a catechumean to study faith and orthopraxis and for a Priest to get to know whether he is sincere or not. So what is the point in having long periods when people attend Church, are taught and are not catechumens yet?
In the U.S., it helps weed out the flakes and the religious boutiquers who are attracted to Orthodoxy because it is different and exotic. The catechumenate, then, is a more intense period of directed teaching rather than generalized inquiry.

This is only my opinion/experience. I don't dare speak for anyone else.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2011, 12:27:28 PM by Agabus » Logged

Blessed Nazarius practiced the ascetic life. His clothes were tattered. He wore his shoes without removing them for six years.

THE OPINIONS HERE MAY NOT REFLECT THE ACTUAL ORTHODOX CHURCH
Shanghaiski
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 7,964


Holy Trinity Church of Gergeti, Georgia


« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2011, 12:48:59 PM »

It depends on the church. I was offered a five week catechumenate at a Greek church after I expressed initial interest. I knew I wasn't ready for that, even though I knew the Orthodox Church was for me. Becoming a catechumen is an added level of commitment. The period before that allows a potential convert to ease into things. There are always lots of things to sort out. Some people have a lot of spiritual baggage. One of the reasons, I think, that about 50 percent of adult converts leave the Church is because they have not had this period of formation and testing. It's like the trial period for monastics or pre-marriage counseling. Allow people to be tried and tested before they take on a responsibility, before they make vows.
Logged

Quote from: GabrieltheCelt
If you spend long enough on this forum, you'll come away with all sorts of weird, untrue ideas of Orthodox Christianity.
Quote from: orthonorm
I would suggest most persons in general avoid any question beginning with why.
sainthieu
Abstractor of the Quintessence
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 621


« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2011, 12:56:07 PM »

Both of the previous comments are accurate.

Some inquirers fall in love with the ancilla of the church: the incense, the icons, the rituals, the chants, etc. When you scrape away all that, you are left with the heart of the church, which is living in imitation of Christ. Now, that part is like trying to will your self through a thick stone wall, and it's substantially less glamorous.

Plus, the Catechumenate is the time for formation and testing. Some people require years to sort out their spiritual baggage.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2011, 01:07:39 PM by sainthieu » Logged
mike
Stratopedarches
**************
Offline Offline

Posts: 21,467


WWW
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2011, 12:57:03 PM »

But catechumens do not make any vows. Why can't they be tested after being made catechumens? Catechumenate period can be left too.
Logged

Byzantinism
no longer posting here
IsmiLiora
Chronic Exaggerator
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: One step closer!
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (GOA)
Posts: 3,434


Back by unpopular demand.


« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2011, 01:03:23 PM »

In my experience, at least, there was no formal catechumen initiation or process. My priest simply visited with us (husband and I) a few times before he deemed us as more than inquirers. When I told him that I wanted to convert in our first meeting (heh, probably not the greatest idea in retrospect, but I was being earnest), he said, "Wait, hold on a second." Hah..

We attended several services and met with him until one day, it was obvious by our conversation that we are seriously preparing for our initiation into the Church. We discussed our baptism, chrismation marriage, etc. He clarified that they (well, our church anyway) don't do a specific initiation of catechumens before the baptism/chrismation.

I kind of wish they did, because let's say I died today. Would I be buried with an Orthodox funeral? Based on how we are viewed by our church, I would think so, but there was nothing formal marking my entrance as a "baby Orthodox" into the church.  Undecided

I think that, like Agabus said, they are trying to weed out what my priest called "Church shoppers," people who went into the phone book and just kept trying to join churches without realizing how serious of a decision that is. I know a lot of those, and I've BEEN one of those. I'm glad that the priest shot me down on my first meeting, because I still was living under the fantasy that I could declare myself to be X and receive Communion the next weekend.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2011, 01:04:12 PM by IsmiLiora » Logged

She's touring the facility/and picking up slack.
--
"For in much wisdom is much grief, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow." Ecclesiastes 1:18
--
I once believed in causes too, I had my pointless point of view --
Life went on no matter who was wrong or right
Shanghaiski
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 7,964


Holy Trinity Church of Gergeti, Georgia


« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2011, 01:25:37 PM »

But catechumens do not make any vows. Why can't they be tested after being made catechumens? Catechumenate period can be left too.

Well, as I said, the catechumenate is a commitment. The catechumen has to fulfill certain expectations. There is also the expectation that the church will provide good catechesis. The catechumen begins to travel resolutely in the direction of the Church, toward reception. He could leave, but he has received ministration from the Church, has been prayed over, has been instructed. He and the church have made an investment. It's like an engagement before the marriage, in a sense, not dating.
Logged

Quote from: GabrieltheCelt
If you spend long enough on this forum, you'll come away with all sorts of weird, untrue ideas of Orthodox Christianity.
Quote from: orthonorm
I would suggest most persons in general avoid any question beginning with why.
Benjamin the Red
Recovering Calvinist
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America, Diocese of Dallas and the South ||| American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese
Posts: 1,601


Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.


« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2011, 01:42:21 PM »

But catechumens do not make any vows. Why can't they be tested after being made catechumens? Catechumenate period can be left too.

Well, as I said, the catechumenate is a commitment. The catechumen has to fulfill certain expectations. There is also the expectation that the church will provide good catechesis. The catechumen begins to travel resolutely in the direction of the Church, toward reception. He could leave, but he has received ministration from the Church, has been prayed over, has been instructed. He and the church have made an investment. It's like an engagement before the marriage, in a sense, not dating.

This.

I have taken vows as a catechumen, actually, and the tradition as I have received it teaches the catechumen is betrothed to the Church in anticipation for marriage (baptism). This is why the marriage service and the baptismal service mirror each other in many aspects. I look forward to fulfilling those vows this Sunday. Grin

Further, I have been taught that the catechumen who dies is buried Orthodox. Likewise, as the couple which break a betrothal are considered divorced, the catechumen that falls away, even though it is prior to baptism, is considered apostate.
Logged

"Hades is not a place, no, but a state of the soul. It begins here on earth. Just so, paradise begins in the soul of a man here in the earthly life. Here we already have contact with the divine..." -St. John, Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco, Homily On the Sunday of Orthodoxy
JimCBrooklyn
Site Supporter
High Elder
*****
Offline Offline

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


Если бога нет, то все позволено


« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2011, 02:09:56 PM »

This is an area I'm not sharp on at all; it seems that the whole process of catechesis over here is just different. It almost makes me feel guilty!

I approached my priest here, initially, and told him of my interest in converting (after a lot of solo inquiry, and some discussions with priests in the US). He set up a lunch meeting with me, and basically we just chatted about me, how I ended up where I was, what I knew, didn't know, what questions I had, what my intentions were, etc. At our next meeting (with my wife, as well) we planned my reception into the church, which was to be a few months later (actually this Sunday coming up!). We periodically met over that time, and I was given/suggested thing to read, prayers to do, services to attend, etc., but was never pronounced a catechumen, and as I said, my process has been very short. I think this is a combination of the way it's done in Russia, the fact that my wife is already Orthodox, and that my priest sensed I had done a lot of inquiring prior to our acquaintance. Like I said, I know this is not a common thing in the US, and as a result I feel guilty when I read about those of you who have had years of formal catechesis, but I didn't think to question my priest, or the Russians, vs. the American practice.

I'm not sure why the lengths of time here are so different, but I suspect that the lack of any prevailing cultural Protestantism/Catholicism in Russia may be part of it.

So in essence my pre-catechumenate period never happened, and it' hard to say when and how my catechumenate period began!
Logged

It is not the task of Christianity to provide easy answers to every question, but to make us progressively aware of a mystery. God is not so much the object of our knowledge as the cause of our wonder.
-Metropolitan Kallistos Ware
IsmiLiora
Chronic Exaggerator
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: One step closer!
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (GOA)
Posts: 3,434


Back by unpopular demand.


« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2011, 02:15:55 PM »

Like I said, I know this is not a common thing in the US, and as a result I feel guilty when I read about those of you who have had years of formal catechesis, but I didn't think to question my priest, or the Russians, vs. the American practice.
Well, it was up to your priest's discretion. Some priests may "permit" (I don't want to use the wrong word here) those with illnesses to eat dairy and fish during strict-fasts, while others may take a harder line on the topic.

I feel "strange" too that our period will be anywhere from 4 months to a year or so (nothing is set in stone yet, so I may join the other people who remain catechumens for years), but I have to trust his discretion. We don't have any major obstacles (yet), and we don't really have many Protestant hangups. At least that's MY guess. I don't know what he was thinking about it. I'll just trust God for whatever time we have left to pray and grow in the Church before fully becoming a part of it.

Logged

She's touring the facility/and picking up slack.
--
"For in much wisdom is much grief, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow." Ecclesiastes 1:18
--
I once believed in causes too, I had my pointless point of view --
Life went on no matter who was wrong or right
JimCBrooklyn
Site Supporter
High Elder
*****
Offline Offline

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


Если бога нет, то все позволено


« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2011, 02:20:54 PM »

Like I said, I know this is not a common thing in the US, and as a result I feel guilty when I read about those of you who have had years of formal catechesis, but I didn't think to question my priest, or the Russians, vs. the American practice.
Well, it was up to your priest's discretion. Some priests may "permit" (I don't want to use the wrong word here) those with illnesses to eat dairy and fish during strict-fasts, while others may take a harder line on the topic.

I feel "strange" too that our period will be anywhere from 4 months to a year or so (nothing is set in stone yet, so I may join the other people who remain catechumens for years), but I have to trust his discretion. We don't have any major obstacles (yet), and we don't really have many Protestant hangups. At least that's MY guess. I don't know what he was thinking about it. I'll just trust God for whatever time we have left to pray and grow in the Church before fully becoming a part of it.



My lack of Protestant hang-ups may be a big part of it, too; I am coming from a RC background, fairly traditional in nature, but never very big on the major schism issues, i.e. IC, the Pope, etc. I've also lived with an Orthodox Christian for years. Don't mean to hijack the thread, though! I'm just interested in where all the different procedures come from. I think one of the very attractive things about Orthodoxy is the variety of praxis under the umbrella of one unchangeable faith. Would I be correct, newbie as I am, in putting this sort of thing under "Oikonomia"?
Logged

It is not the task of Christianity to provide easy answers to every question, but to make us progressively aware of a mystery. God is not so much the object of our knowledge as the cause of our wonder.
-Metropolitan Kallistos Ware
Cognomen
Site Supporter
OC.net guru
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: Phyletism Rules, OK
Posts: 1,968


Ungrateful Biped


« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2011, 03:22:53 PM »

I would have preferred a clearer delineation between the inquiry and catechumen period, but I certainly appreciate the length and believe that a full and intense period of learning, worship, and reflection is beneficial.

In my parish, those converting to or embracing Orthodoxy for marriage purposes tend to have a much shorter period of instruction.  It seemed to me that they were deemed "ready" in accordance with their wedding date, rather than their level of understanding, acceptance of church teachings, attendance at worship services, etc.  It might be assumed, rightly or not, that the previously Orthodox spouse will help guide the newly received.

I need to recite St. Ephraim's Lenten Prayer more often, as you can see.  

Edit: Most in my lot were joining due to marriage.  They came to the instruction with the expressed desire to join the Church. So, there were only a couple of us who were proper "inquirers."
« Last Edit: April 14, 2011, 03:26:01 PM by Cognomen » Logged

North American Eastern Orthodox Parish Council Delegate for the Canonization of Saints Twin Towers and Pentagon, as well as the Propagation of the Doctrine of the Assumption of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 (NAEOPCDCSTTPPDAMAFM®).
JimCBrooklyn
Site Supporter
High Elder
*****
Offline Offline

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


Если бога нет, то все позволено


« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2011, 03:38:30 PM »

I would have preferred a clearer delineation between the inquiry and catechumen period, but I certainly appreciate the length and believe that a full and intense period of learning, worship, and reflection is beneficial.

In my parish, those converting to or embracing Orthodoxy for marriage purposes tend to have a much shorter period of instruction.  It seemed to me that they were deemed "ready" in accordance with their wedding date, rather than their level of understanding, acceptance of church teachings, attendance at worship services, etc.  It might be assumed, rightly or not, that the previously Orthodox spouse will help guide the newly received.

I need to recite St. Ephraim's Lenten Prayer more often, as you can see.  

Edit: Most in my lot were joining due to marriage.  They came to the instruction with the expressed desire to join the Church. So, there were only a couple of us who were proper "inquirers."

Do you know of a similar precedent for people already married to an Orthodox spouse who has not yet converted, who wants to convert not for marriage?
Logged

It is not the task of Christianity to provide easy answers to every question, but to make us progressively aware of a mystery. God is not so much the object of our knowledge as the cause of our wonder.
-Metropolitan Kallistos Ware
HandmaidenofGod
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA (Ecumenical Patriarch)
Posts: 3,378


O Holy St. Demetrius pray to God for us!


« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2011, 05:03:52 PM »

I would have preferred a clearer delineation between the inquiry and catechumen period, but I certainly appreciate the length and believe that a full and intense period of learning, worship, and reflection is beneficial.

In my parish, those converting to or embracing Orthodoxy for marriage purposes tend to have a much shorter period of instruction.  It seemed to me that they were deemed "ready" in accordance with their wedding date, rather than their level of understanding, acceptance of church teachings, attendance at worship services, etc.  It might be assumed, rightly or not, that the previously Orthodox spouse will help guide the newly received.

I need to recite St. Ephraim's Lenten Prayer more often, as you can see.  

Edit: Most in my lot were joining due to marriage.  They came to the instruction with the expressed desire to join the Church. So, there were only a couple of us who were proper "inquirers."

Do you know of a similar precedent for people already married to an Orthodox spouse who has not yet converted, who wants to convert not for marriage?

Everything varies with the priest and the individual.

To compare experiences is not wise. Each Spiritual Father decides what their child needs based on his/her spiritual maturity.

Each person's reception into the Church is unique. Follow what your priest tells you to do, and don't worry about the rest.
Logged

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jer 29:11
mike
Stratopedarches
**************
Offline Offline

Posts: 21,467


WWW
« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2011, 05:58:57 PM »

I would have preferred a clearer delineation between the inquiry and catechumen period, but I certainly appreciate the length and believe that a full and intense period of learning, worship, and reflection is beneficial.

In my parish, those converting to or embracing Orthodoxy for marriage purposes tend to have a much shorter period of instruction.  It seemed to me that they were deemed "ready" in accordance with their wedding date, rather than their level of understanding, acceptance of church teachings, attendance at worship services, etc.  It might be assumed, rightly or not, that the previously Orthodox spouse will help guide the newly received.

I need to recite St. Ephraim's Lenten Prayer more often, as you can see.   

Edit: Most in my lot were joining due to marriage.  They came to the instruction with the expressed desire to join the Church. So, there were only a couple of us who were proper "inquirers."

Do you know of a similar precedent for people already married to an Orthodox spouse who has not yet converted, who wants to convert not for marriage?

IDK but I suppose it's the "Old country" thing.
Logged

Byzantinism
no longer posting here
Cognomen
Site Supporter
OC.net guru
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: Phyletism Rules, OK
Posts: 1,968


Ungrateful Biped


« Reply #15 on: April 14, 2011, 11:15:07 PM »

Do you know of a similar precedent for people already married to an Orthodox spouse who has not yet converted, who wants to convert not for marriage?

Actually, yes.  There is a relative newcomer to the Catechumenate (RC background such as yourself) whose wife is Orthodox.  I don't know them well, but they have been married for years, with relatively little religious strife.  The husband became interested in certain elements of her tradition, began further inquiry and will now embrace Orthodoxy. 
Thanks for asking that question.  My initial, curmudgeonly reply was going to be that I had not witnessed this. 

Everything varies with the priest and the individual.
To compare experiences is not wise. Each Spiritual Father decides what their child needs based on his/her spiritual maturity.
Each person's reception into the Church is unique. Follow what your priest tells you to do, and don't worry about the rest.

Agreed, hence the Lenten Prayer of St. Ephraim reference.  It is a bit difficult to shut off assessment though, and to assume that every decision made is right.  Still, I know that nothing good comes from worrying about the rest; I will try to heed your advice.
Logged

North American Eastern Orthodox Parish Council Delegate for the Canonization of Saints Twin Towers and Pentagon, as well as the Propagation of the Doctrine of the Assumption of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 (NAEOPCDCSTTPPDAMAFM®).
Eugenio
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: I love them all
Posts: 460



« Reply #16 on: April 18, 2011, 02:25:15 AM »

Actually, this is one of the things that kind of bugs me about the Orthodox churches in the US.

I know of priests who have decided to chrismate people after sitting down with them for an hour or so. And I know of parishes where people have been attending for three years and the priest there still considers them not worthy of chrismation.

In all Catholic churches in the US, they have the RCIA program (Rite of Christian Initiation). This does not vary from church to church, so all catechumens in Catholic churches know exactly what's expected of them.

I do like that Orthodox priests in the US have some "economia" as to how long each candidate's catechumenate should last. But I think that too much leeway is given - there ought to be some guidelines that reach across jurisdictions. I hope this topic is raised for discussion amongst the US Orthodox bishops who are contemplating administrative unity of the jurisdictions.
Logged
thetraditionalfrog
Traditional Frog
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Posts: 197



« Reply #17 on: April 18, 2011, 03:48:39 AM »

When I hearkened to God's call to become Orthodox, this is the process in which He took me. (I was brought up Roman Catholic, but had Serbian Orthodox relatives on my mother's side, so it wasn't totally strange). Anyway, I contacted the priest who suggested I meet with him. After a few reschedules this finally happened. He suggested that I attend his inquirers class after Wednesday vespers. I attended with another couple exploring Orthodoxy. Father talked about the church on a basic level, and then took and answered questions. Sometimes we had discussion on various topics. I also met with him one on one as well. After attending services for a time as well as the class, I decided that I wanted to commit to Orthodoxy, and Father agreed. One Wednesday after Vespers, I was made a catechumen (yes, a full ritual). In my parish the catechumenate is usually a year (more or less depending, but rarely less than six months).The idea is to ensure the person is sincere, and to acquaint them with the full cycle of services and the litugical year. My catechumenate was six months. During this time whilst continuing to attend services, I also went to Catechumen classes (Father uses Fr Michael Pomazansky's Dogmatic Theology. He would break before a major feast to discuss and explain it. We were also instructed in orthopraxis and custom.) once a week. With Fathers help and blessing I established a prayer rule, and slowly took on fasting. Finally, when Father and I both were in agreement **I was baptized (my parish will receive either by chrismation or baptism, although chrismation is the more common practice now) on Theophany prior to Divine Liturgy. Yes, I wore my white robe the full 40 days afterwards when at church services. That is the general practice in my parish, although rather than a formal inquirers class, people tend to meet one on one. Everything else is basically the same.

**My parish was under a noncanonical bishop when I joined in the late 1990s. About ten years ago, my parish was received by Metropolitan JOSEPH of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. I was (re)chrismated at that time along with the other members of my parish. Marriages were (re)blessed, and clergy (re)ordained.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2011, 03:53:12 AM by thetraditionalfrog » Logged

“For the honorable Cross and golden freedom!” -Sv Lazar

 “Give up everything for Christ, but Christ for nothing!” -Sv Sava
Agabus
The user formerly known as Agabus.
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Pan-American Colloquial Convert Hybrid Orthodoxy.
Jurisdiction: We are all uncanonical now.
Posts: 2,122



« Reply #18 on: April 18, 2011, 10:42:24 AM »

Quote from: Eugenio
In all Catholic churches in the US, they have the RCIA program (Rite of Christian Initiation). This does not vary from church to church, so all catechumens in Catholic churches know exactly what's expected of them.
Oooooooooooooooh, but the RCIA process does vary from church to church. The catechesis from place to place can be very different, depending on the traditionalist tenor of the parish. (On an aside, I know of two unrelated adults who were received into the Catholic church from Protestantism outside of the RCIA program.)

I expect a one-size-fits-all approach would have similar results in Orthodoxy.  
« Last Edit: April 18, 2011, 10:43:56 AM by Agabus » Logged

Blessed Nazarius practiced the ascetic life. His clothes were tattered. He wore his shoes without removing them for six years.

THE OPINIONS HERE MAY NOT REFLECT THE ACTUAL ORTHODOX CHURCH
JimCBrooklyn
Site Supporter
High Elder
*****
Offline Offline

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


Если бога нет, то все позволено


« Reply #19 on: April 18, 2011, 01:28:40 PM »

Quote from: Eugenio
In all Catholic churches in the US, they have the RCIA program (Rite of Christian Initiation). This does not vary from church to church, so all catechumens in Catholic churches know exactly what's expected of them.
Oooooooooooooooh, but the RCIA process does vary from church to church. The catechesis from place to place can be very different, depending on the traditionalist tenor of the parish. (On an aside, I know of two unrelated adults who were received into the Catholic church from Protestantism outside of the RCIA program.)

I expect a one-size-fits-all approach would have similar results in Orthodoxy.  

This is quite true; I was originally a convert to Catholicism from an atheist/agnostic upbringing. My "RCIA" was reading an abridged catechism, weekly, for about 6 months, with the parish priest. My friend Chris, in Atlanta, attended big seminars with power-point presentations. Some programs touch on social issues, some not; some last a year, some a month. Some don't check if you've even attended.
Logged

It is not the task of Christianity to provide easy answers to every question, but to make us progressively aware of a mystery. God is not so much the object of our knowledge as the cause of our wonder.
-Metropolitan Kallistos Ware
TheodoraElizabeth3
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Posts: 342


« Reply #20 on: April 19, 2011, 10:57:46 PM »

As others have noted, at least in the US, it's to weed out those who jump from religion to religion in exploration, those who might try it for a bit, but, for various reasons, wouldn't make the long haul.

In my previous parish, which at the time was almost exclusively converts (I hear they've gotten more cradle Orthodox since I left), at the time I was chrismated, you were not made a catechumen until you'd been there a minimum of six months, regardless if you wanted to become one sooner and knew you were going to convert. You needed to get some seasoning, experience of the Church year, experience of fasting, prayer life, etc. I became a catechumen at the six month mark, and was chrismated exactly six months later. I came in by myself and had no family issues (husband or kids) to be concerned about.

If you were lax about church attendance, other than for reasons of being out of town/being ill/taking care of someone ill, that lengthened your period of either waiting to become a catechumen or your catechumen period itself.

I was rather a self-starter and only needed to be pointed in the direction of specific things to read, some of which I'd read before I began attending. I was pointed towards the Orthodox Church by a friend.

In contrast, at my current parish, people are made catechumens somewhat sooner if they've been attending regularly, but we have someone, very well-trained and well-read, who does one-one-one or small groups every other week (depending on the number of catechumens at a given time), in addition to the catechumens meeting with our priest. At first the catechist does an introduction to Orthodoxy of 4-5 sessions, and then the catechumens can choose to take more instruction with the view of coming into the Church. Again time between first attending and coming into the Church is generally around a year, but it might be longer, depending on individual circumstances.
Logged
JimCBrooklyn
Site Supporter
High Elder
*****
Offline Offline

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


Если бога нет, то все позволено


« Reply #21 on: April 20, 2011, 04:18:46 AM »

As others have noted, at least in the US, it's to weed out those who jump from religion to religion in exploration, those who might try it for a bit, but, for various reasons, wouldn't make the long haul.

In my previous parish, which at the time was almost exclusively converts (I hear they've gotten more cradle Orthodox since I left), at the time I was chrismated, you were not made a catechumen until you'd been there a minimum of six months, regardless if you wanted to become one sooner and knew you were going to convert. You needed to get some seasoning, experience of the Church year, experience of fasting, prayer life, etc. I became a catechumen at the six month mark, and was chrismated exactly six months later. I came in by myself and had no family issues (husband or kids) to be concerned about.

If you were lax about church attendance, other than for reasons of being out of town/being ill/taking care of someone ill, that lengthened your period of either waiting to become a catechumen or your catechumen period itself.

I was rather a self-starter and only needed to be pointed in the direction of specific things to read, some of which I'd read before I began attending. I was pointed towards the Orthodox Church by a friend.

In contrast, at my current parish, people are made catechumens somewhat sooner if they've been attending regularly, but we have someone, very well-trained and well-read, who does one-one-one or small groups every other week (depending on the number of catechumens at a given time), in addition to the catechumens meeting with our priest. At first the catechist does an introduction to Orthodoxy of 4-5 sessions, and then the catechumens can choose to take more instruction with the view of coming into the Church. Again time between first attending and coming into the Church is generally around a year, but it might be longer, depending on individual circumstances.
This confuses me a bit: if someone is regularly attending services, fasting, studying, etc., in what sense are they not already essentially a Catechumen?
Logged

It is not the task of Christianity to provide easy answers to every question, but to make us progressively aware of a mystery. God is not so much the object of our knowledge as the cause of our wonder.
-Metropolitan Kallistos Ware
Agabus
The user formerly known as Agabus.
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Pan-American Colloquial Convert Hybrid Orthodoxy.
Jurisdiction: We are all uncanonical now.
Posts: 2,122



« Reply #22 on: April 20, 2011, 10:04:38 AM »

This confuses me a bit: if someone is regularly attending services, fasting, studying, etc., in what sense are they not already essentially a Catechumen?
They are not formally a catechumen. The formal catechumenate is a bit like an engagement, where the couple is all but wed but not quite.
Logged

Blessed Nazarius practiced the ascetic life. His clothes were tattered. He wore his shoes without removing them for six years.

THE OPINIONS HERE MAY NOT REFLECT THE ACTUAL ORTHODOX CHURCH
JimCBrooklyn
Site Supporter
High Elder
*****
Offline Offline

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


Если бога нет, то все позволено


« Reply #23 on: April 20, 2011, 10:09:59 AM »

This confuses me a bit: if someone is regularly attending services, fasting, studying, etc., in what sense are they not already essentially a Catechumen?
They are not formally a catechumen. The formal catechumenate is a bit like an engagement, where the couple is all but wed but not quite.
Ok. I guess this is just so unlike what I went through that it's confusing!
Logged

It is not the task of Christianity to provide easy answers to every question, but to make us progressively aware of a mystery. God is not so much the object of our knowledge as the cause of our wonder.
-Metropolitan Kallistos Ware
Agabus
The user formerly known as Agabus.
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Pan-American Colloquial Convert Hybrid Orthodoxy.
Jurisdiction: We are all uncanonical now.
Posts: 2,122



« Reply #24 on: April 20, 2011, 10:19:01 AM »

This confuses me a bit: if someone is regularly attending services, fasting, studying, etc., in what sense are they not already essentially a Catechumen?
They are not formally a catechumen. The formal catechumenate is a bit like an engagement, where the couple is all but wed but not quite.
Ok. I guess this is just so unlike what I went through that it's confusing!
It is essentially a pastoral decision. As I have said elsewhere, having a formal entrance into the catechumenate provided a solid psychic break from my old life, even though at that point I already self-identified as Orthodox.
Logged

Blessed Nazarius practiced the ascetic life. His clothes were tattered. He wore his shoes without removing them for six years.

THE OPINIONS HERE MAY NOT REFLECT THE ACTUAL ORTHODOX CHURCH
Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 6,598



« Reply #25 on: April 20, 2011, 10:25:40 AM »

This confuses me a bit: if someone is regularly attending services, fasting, studying, etc., in what sense are they not already essentially a Catechumen?
They are not formally a catechumen. The formal catechumenate is a bit like an engagement, where the couple is all but wed but not quite.
Ok. I guess this is just so unlike what I went through that it's confusing!
\

Jim--don't worry about it. It is a journey, after all, for everybody, including the cradles. If you start too early, you have time to catch up. If you start on time, it does not mean that you still do not have miles to go.
Logged

Michal: "SC, love you in this thread."
Tags:
Pages: 1   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.104 seconds with 52 queries.