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Author Topic: Visiting an Orthodox Liturgy  (Read 1063 times) Average Rating: 0
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JohnnyTideFan
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« on: May 23, 2011, 03:34:32 PM »

This is my first post. I won't give too many details about my background, but I am an Anglican who is looking for something deeper. I have began to study Orthodoxy and hope to visit an Orthodox Liturgy soon, maybe Sunday. There is an OCA parish not far from my house. I drove by it today and I can get there in 15 minutes.

In my short 30 years on earth, I was raised Baptist, but had a Charismatic experience as a teenager. I was part of the Pentecostal movement for 10 years and attended a Pentecostal seminary. Then, after studying the early church and seeing their beliefs, and becoming Jaded with the divisions within Protestant Christianity, I converted to Catholicism. I studied more and I have become troubled by many post-schism Catholic dogma. Looking for a further option, I went to Episcopal-thinking great, this is the perfect place for me, halfway between Catholicism and Protestantism. But the liberal developements of TEC bother me, so I moved to a Continuing Anglican Parish that I love. However, I have examined Orthodoxy off and on during this journey, and its timeless tradition strikes something in me. I feel like I have to check it out and learn more about it. It seems much more in harmony with the ancient church than Anglicanism.

What can I do to prepare myself? I have read some of Timothy Ware's works, and I am reading "Facing East" my Matthews-Greene right now. Suggestions? I welcome them.

Thanks
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« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2011, 03:45:11 PM »

This is my first post. I won't give too many details about my background, but I am an Anglican who is looking for something deeper. I have began to study Orthodoxy and hope to visit an Orthodox Liturgy soon, maybe Sunday. There is an OCA parish not far from my house. I drove by it today and I can get there in 15 minutes.

In my short 30 years on earth, I was raised Baptist, but had a Charismatic experience as a teenager. I was part of the Pentecostal movement for 10 years and attended a Pentecostal seminary. Then, after studying the early church and seeing their beliefs, and becoming Jaded with the divisions within Protestant Christianity, I converted to Catholicism. I studied more and I have become troubled by many post-schism Catholic dogma. Looking for a further option, I went to Episcopal-thinking great, this is the perfect place for me, halfway between Catholicism and Protestantism. But the liberal developements of TEC bother me, so I moved to a Continuing Anglican Parish that I love. However, I have examined Orthodoxy off and on during this journey, and its timeless tradition strikes something in me. I feel like I have to check it out and learn more about it. It seems much more in harmony with the ancient church than Anglicanism.

What can I do to prepare myself? I have read some of Timothy Ware's works, and I am reading "Facing East" my Matthews-Greene right now. Suggestions? I welcome them.

Thanks

here is an essay by Fredrica; 12 Things I Wish I’d Known before attending my first liturgy.

http://www.frederica.com/12-things/

In my opinion, the trick is to go several weeks in a row and get a feel for the liturgy. Allow it to all sink in slowly.
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« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2011, 03:49:58 PM »


What can I do to prepare myself?

Thanks

Have "a broken and contrite heart." Seriously, repentance and humility are more valuable than any book. God be with you.
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JohnnyTideFan
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« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2011, 03:58:16 PM »


What can I do to prepare myself?

Thanks

Have "a broken and contrite heart." Seriously, repentance and humility are more valuable than any book. God be with you.

Thanks, I do think that I have the finding the head knowledge part down.  I am sort of nervous about going to tell you the truth, like I will really be out of place. I take no offense at the advice you offered.

Thanks for the Link Marc, its informative.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2011, 04:00:03 PM by JohnnyTideFan » Logged
Marc1152
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« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2011, 04:09:08 PM »


What can I do to prepare myself?

Thanks

Have "a broken and contrite heart." Seriously, repentance and humility are more valuable than any book. God be with you.

Thanks, I do think that I have the finding the head knowledge part down.  I am sort of nervous about going to tell you the truth, like I will really be out of place. I take no offense at the advice you offered.

Thanks for the Link Marc, its informative.

Be brave.
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« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2011, 04:39:18 PM »


What can I do to prepare myself?

Thanks

Have "a broken and contrite heart." Seriously, repentance and humility are more valuable than any book. God be with you.

Thanks, I do think that I have the finding the head knowledge part down.  I am sort of nervous about going to tell you the truth, like I will really be out of place. I take no offense at the advice you offered.

Thanks for the Link Marc, its informative.

Be brave.
"Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord." -Psalm 31

In Christ,
Andrew
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« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2011, 05:08:23 PM »

Quite a journey for 30 short years. I would say, as unsolicited advice, everything becomes so much simpler when you just don't care about being right .
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« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2011, 05:40:51 PM »

Quite a journey for 30 short years. I would say, as unsolicited advice, everything becomes so much simpler when you just don't care about being right .

So true and well stated. As soon as I got this through my head I became much more at peace with converting. I just figured, "Hey I'm new, and I don' know this stuff and I have to learn it somehow to get closer to my creator and I accept with open arms I am going to look stupid so just go with it and not care."
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JohnnyTideFan
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« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2011, 09:54:31 PM »

Quite a journey for 30 short years. I would say, as unsolicited advice, everything becomes so much simpler when you just don't care about being right .

Indeed it has been. The first 27 were just Baptist and Pentecostal...its the last 3-4 years that have been really wacky. I just worried about offending the people at the church, or looking like I was an outsider. From talking to people this is something that I do not need to worry about. People will know and I will not be judged for it.
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« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2011, 11:17:11 PM »

Quite a journey for 30 short years. I would say, as unsolicited advice, everything becomes so much simpler when you just don't care about being right .

Indeed it has been. The first 27 were just Baptist and Pentecostal...its the last 3-4 years that have been really wacky. I just worried about offending the people at the church, or looking like I was an outsider. From talking to people this is something that I do not need to worry about. People will know and I will not be judged for it.

Don't worry about offending people.  Just sit/stand with everyone else and enjoy yourself.  You probably already know not to get into the communion line.  I recomend staying afterward to talk to other parishners and the priest. 
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JohnnyTideFan
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« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2011, 11:52:58 PM »

Quite a journey for 30 short years. I would say, as unsolicited advice, everything becomes so much simpler when you just don't care about being right .

Indeed it has been. The first 27 were just Baptist and Pentecostal...its the last 3-4 years that have been really wacky. I just worried about offending the people at the church, or looking like I was an outsider. From talking to people this is something that I do not need to worry about. People will know and I will not be judged for it.

Don't worry about offending people.  Just sit/stand with everyone else and enjoy yourself.  You probably already know not to get into the communion line.  I recomend staying afterward to talk to other parishners and the priest. 

I will do my best to do that. I may even drop the priest and e-mail ahead of time, or I may just show up, I don't know. Yeah, oh boy do I know not to receive communion, and that doesn't bother me in the least, I understand the rationale for it.
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JohnnyTideFan
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« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2011, 11:13:10 PM »

I went to Vespers tonight at the closest parish to my house. Only about 7 people plus the priest there, but a wonderful learning experience. I almost made the whole time standing up, but sat down after about 30 minutes. The people were welcoming and the priest was very glad to answer my questions afterward. It showed me that there is only so much I can learn from a book-Orthodoxy is liturgically grounded and must be experienced as well.

Things I noticed: When someone said they sing the whole thing, they meant it. Also, there is alot of crossing of yourself. I mean they crossed themselves more times than I think I have in a years worth of Anglican services. I was impressed by the beauty of the Vespers. It felt foreign to me but I just went with it with an open mind.  I am excited to return for a liturgy.
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« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2011, 11:50:38 PM »

Glad to hear of your attendance and appreciation of the Vespers service. 

You're right about Orthodox services being a bit of a workout, between the standing and crossing (wait until you see Lenten services, especially in the Slavic traditions). 

I'm also glad that you were able to get past the "foreign" feeling.  Reverently worshiping God, the Holy Trinity, should transcend cultural or even linguistic barriers.
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« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2011, 12:21:35 PM »

i would also recommend you read anything by the reposed father michael harper (who i almost met, i visited his church when he wasn't there!) who, like you, spent time in various church traditions before finding the depth and beauty of orthodoxy.
i listened to an interview with him once on the 'ancient faith radio' website. he was an antiochian orthodox priest in uk.
it helped me make sense of all the things that happened on my own spiritual journey to orthodoxy.
 Smiley
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« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2011, 03:20:07 PM »

I hope you find what you are looking for at your first liturgy, but don't be discouraged if you feel slightly out of place . And don't worry too much about the foreign part, at least your first liturgy will be in English... mine was mostly in Greek with repeated parts in Greek and English, luckily I had a service book that had the Greek and English parts side by side to keep up... Which brings me to my next point; if your parish has them, try to grab a service book so you can keep up with the liturgy (just make sure to put it back after the service!).
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JohnnyTideFan
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« Reply #15 on: May 28, 2011, 07:09:30 PM »

Thanks, I appreciate all the insights shared with me. I play on returning tomorrow for the divine liturgy. I think going to Vespers was a good way to get my feet wet. The parishoners told me I am welcome to participate as much as I like or little as a like, minus the Eucharist, which I totally understand. I think they would stop me from doing anything sacrilegous.  Grin
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« Reply #16 on: May 28, 2011, 09:44:28 PM »

Thanks, I appreciate all the insights shared with me. I play on returning tomorrow for the divine liturgy. I think going to Vespers was a good way to get my feet wet. The parishoners told me I am welcome to participate as much as I like or little as a like, minus the Eucharist, which I totally understand. I think they would stop me from doing anything sacrilegous.  Grin

That's what we did as well -- Great Vespers first, then Divine Liturgy later.  I agree it's a good way to get acquainted.  Usually there aren't as many people at Vespers, at least in our parish. 

As for participating, we learned primarily by observation.  If you're the only person doing something, that's probably a red flag, and if you're the only person not doing something, feel free (but not obligated) to do it.  Most of our "weirdness" is just making the sign of the cross, bowing and kissing things.  There is very little else that would be off-putting to anyone.
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