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Author Topic: Western Rite Conversion stories  (Read 522 times) Average Rating: 0
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Rdunbar123
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« on: April 24, 2011, 05:23:20 PM »

I know there is a general thread labelled Orthodox conversioin stories, but as a RC consideing a western rite church, i would be interested in how some of the posters on this site converted to WRO. Particularlly Roman Catholics. What was the deciding  factor? Thanks.
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Sleeper
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« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2011, 10:57:48 AM »

When I converted to Orthodoxy, it wasn't so much about external expression as much as it was about internal consistency, theological balance; truly Apostolic faith. In my reading, it was always these aspects that set my heart on fire and really pushed me to contact a priest and start easing my way into things.

Coming from a non-liturgical background, I had no concept of "Eastern" rite or "Western" rite, or what those delineations even meant (and, to be honest, was kind of freaked out by that language of "rites" and "secret prayers"), so when I received an email reply from a Western Orthodox priest (the only one that responded to my inquiries, interestingly enough) and began talking with him about Orthodoxy, I found someone who expressed that theological balance and worldview that had sparked my interest in the first place. All I knew about the Western Rite was that it was simply the way the believers and Saints of the first-millennium Western world had worked out their salvation and incarnated the Apostolic faith.

So, my first (and for a while, my only) experience of the Orthodox faith was through the Western expression, and from day one it felt like water to my soul. It embodied and expressed the Apostolic faith in such unforgettable language, with such artful precision in the movements of the priest and deacons, with such a perfectly rhythmic flow to the service, such focus in the content of the festal theme, in a space that was so beautifully adorned with images and statues of the Saints, that during my first visit I was struck silent. It all seemed so ancient, so biblical.

To put it simply, I was haunted by it.

So, it was that combination of balanced Orthodox theology and an expression of it that seemed like it was created just for me and my heart, in the way that it spoke to me, that ultimately brought me into the Church, glory be to God.

As time has passed, I've had the joy and privilege to experience quite a lot of the Eastern expression, but to be honest, every time I come away from it I'm extremely thankful for the Western expression. For me, there's simply no comparison. I find the language, the symbolism, the architecture, the chant, the rhythm of the liturgical year, etc., to be vastly more meaningful to me and the way that they usher me into the Mysteries of the Faith is such that I don't want to have it happen any other way. Obviously I'm not the only one that this is true for, and the Antiochian Church (as well as ROCOR) have recognized this great need for thoroughly Western people to have the option of embracing the fullness of Orthodox theology and expressing it through the rites that were birthed by their forefathers, coming from the Western experience, and speaking to the Western experience.

I'm sure that you have experienced this some yourself, being a Roman Catholic, so I don't know if you can identify with my experience at all as someone that came into the Western expression from a dis-embodied, historically and culturally forgetful Evangelical background, but this seems to be a general theme for many that are Western Orthodox. They walked into a place that expressed the Faith they held in a way that set their hearts ablaze and never looked back.
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SubdeaconDavid
"...the spread of the light of Orthodoxy among the peoples of all the lands where our Church exists continues as an inseparable part of our mission": Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of ROCOR
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« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2011, 11:09:23 AM »

I know there is a general thread labelled Orthodox conversioin stories, but as a RC consideing a western rite church, i would be interested in how some of the posters on this site converted to WRO. Particularlly Roman Catholics. What was the deciding  factor? Thanks.
Christ is Risen!  It would be inspiring to understand the conversion experiences of clergy and leaders in the Western-rite movement in Orthodoxy, especially those who came to Orthodoxy to the Western-use rather than coming via the Eastern Orthodox way.
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