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« Reply #45 on: July 05, 2004, 10:00:14 AM »

To me, this is a deliberate act by the Lutheran church to deceive those who are unsuspecting and under-educated in Ukraine. I bet if you asked those attending these pseudo-Orthodox Liturgies if they were Orthodox, they would probably say, Yes.  What a scam.

JoeS   :-

[Eastern-rite Protestants?!? how charitable. I've been to a mostly convert Antiochian parish where they seemed to be adopting much eastern/ethnic custom and removing "western" things. ]


However, there is such a thing as 'Eastern Rite Protestants'.  Check out the folowing website regarding the Ukrainian Lutheran Church who uses a modified version of the Orthodox Divine Liturgy instead of the normal Lutheran service.  This church was started by former former Eastern Catholics not in communion with Orthodoxy -

http://www.angelfire.com/ca4/saintsophiaseminary/liturgy.html

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« Reply #46 on: July 05, 2004, 10:06:49 AM »

Hey, how about starting the Liturgy when "everyone" gets there.  Im sure that those who come late would realize that they have inconvenienced those who did come on time.
Just kidding!

JoeS  Roll Eyes

I do despise these jurisdictional pissing contests.  No jurisdiction is perfect. We all do some things well and some things poorly.  I must say, from my point of view at least, that complaining about those who arrive at Liturgy late strikes me as something that is characteristic of someone who is still in what I call "convert mode."  It is necessary at some point for the convert to simply become Orthodox, and stop thinking of himself as a "convert." Those who complain about people arriving to Liturgy late remind me of people standing on the front porch of the Church.  It's time to get off the front porch, come inside the Church and worship.  We cannot control the behavior of other people.  The only behavior we can control is ourselves, and none of us even do that very well.  If being at Divine Liturgy on time is important to you, then be on time.  I'm sure your priest will appreciate it.  I think you'll benefit from it spiritually too.  But, for heaven's sake, be polite and tolerant of those who are not early risers and who come into Liturgy late.  Greet them with a smile and not a prideful look of disdain.  And realize that even the Liturgy itself presupposes latecomers.  Ever notice that the Litany of Supplication, chanted AFTER the Sermon, the Cherubic Hymn and the Great Entrance says "For this holy house, and for those who ENTER with faith, reverence, and the fear of God, let us pray to the Lord."? I daresay that arriving to Liturgy late, while certainly not a virtue or something to be encouraged, is a by product of a more relaxed attitude toward time charateristic of the Mediterrean world in general. In fact, it seems to me that only the Anglo and Germanic worlds have such an obsessive compulsive attitude about EVERYONE being there when a service starts.  Ever been to a Mexican Catholic Mass?  They come in late too, just like the ethnic Greek and Russian Orthodox do.  Are they any less faithful than the American Catholics that arrive at Mass on time?  I think not.
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« Reply #47 on: July 05, 2004, 10:11:42 AM »

Shiloah and Pedro, it's making me want to puke too.  Especially calling the Antiochians "Eastern-Rite Protestants".  That's a very offensive term to me and an insult to all Antiochains, including cradle Antiochians.  

I know of a couple of priests (one GOA and one OCA), that if you show up very late for liturgy (especially at the last minute), you know to not even approach the chalice because the priest will not commune you.
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« Reply #48 on: July 05, 2004, 11:01:05 AM »

Quote
I might add -- that, if something matters to you enough, you'll get there on time.

Excellent point Pedro !  How many here in the South would show up late for a football (American) game or a NASCAR event ??  Do 'we' not only show up on time but have preliminary 'tailgating' activities ??
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« Reply #49 on: July 05, 2004, 11:32:18 AM »

It's not pretty, but it is reality, and it's better to air dirty laundry than have it mildew.


OK, Pedro, I understand that people need to vent. It's just that sometimes that's all they do, vent, and a lot of hot air coming out. Bickering about each other and about everybody else...

Hope people will not just keep airing their dirty laundry but maybe try a little water and soap, like the ones Jesus had for this purpose in

Eph.5:26-27 "That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27.  That he might present it to himself a glorious church,..."  

and in Ma.3:2-3 "But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:
 3.  And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness."


The word "full" is from the Anglo-Saxon fullian, meaning "to whiten." To full is to press or scour cloth in a mill. This art is one of great antiquity. Mention is made of "fuller's soap" (Mal. 3:2), and of "the fuller's field" (2 Kings 18:17). At his transfiguration our Lord's rainment is said to have been white "so as no fuller on earth could white them" (Mark 9:3).

Doesn't the Bible say in Phil.2:13 " For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."  What about those then who are so negligent about what pleases God?
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« Reply #50 on: July 05, 2004, 11:42:53 AM »

And how fitting to today's discussion is today's Reading from St. Paul's Letter to the
   Galatians 5:22-26; 6:1-2

   Brethren, the fruit of the Spirit is
   love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
   faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;

   against such there is no law.

   And those who belong to Christ Jesus

   have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

   If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.

   Let us have no self-conceit,
   no provoking of one another,
   no envy of one another.

   Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass,
   you who are spiritual
   should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.

   Look to yourself, lest you too be tempted.

   Bear one another's burdens,
   and so fulfill the law of Christ.

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« Reply #51 on: July 05, 2004, 01:40:43 PM »

Quote
The Hispanic hieromonk from the OCA who helps the GOA parish here with their Spanish-speaking mission is very subdued, yet very sincere. He is one of many examples of clergy -- ranging from "yellers," I suppose, like Fr. Guilquist, to the subdued Fr. Efra+¡n -- who celebrate with joy and do not come across as bored and flat...I guess you've just never seen a liturgy done by a priest who was like this...count your blessings.

I believe I know the priest you are referring to, and to be fair, he is a very devout and quiet man who happens to be afflicted with a very droning and quiet voice, whereas Fr. Efrain has a very full and vibrato-rich voice. I don't think it's an intentional thing by that priest, but simply how his voice is, and if he's busy trying to stay on pitch it may be a bit much to ask that he add expressiveness as well.
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« Reply #52 on: July 05, 2004, 02:00:20 PM »

Perhaps it is just my background which affects how I look at this... but in the end, while the value of the sermon is affected by the capabilities of the celebrant, in the end the value of the Divine Liturgy, and of the Church Services in general, has little to do with the personality of the Priest.   Ideally we should love our clergy (even in spite of their shortcomings), but when they minister, try to see through them - for Christ is ultimatly the Bishop, Priest, and Deacon of our Church.

Roman Catholics generally have this attitude - the Priest as a man is interchangable.  On the other hand, I've noticed in Protestantism the opposite is the case; congregations often split over the removal of a pastor, the cult of personality being much more strongly underlined.  I'm probably biased, but I cannot help but see the first way (RC) of looking at such things as being the more appropriate, and in line with the Orthodox Church's tradition of non-judgement, humility, and mysticism.

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« Reply #53 on: July 05, 2004, 04:09:53 PM »

I believe I know the priest you are referring to, and to be fair, he is a very devout and quiet man who happens to be afflicted with a very droning and quiet voice, whereas Fr. Efrain... (emph. mine)

Hmm...now I'm confused.  Fr. Efra+¡n was the Hispanic priest -- really, the heiromonk -- I was referring to who had the subdued voice...he certainly doesn't have a rich, vibrato tone (not sure who you're talking about there).  Nonetheless, Fr. Efra+¡n conveys the liturgy in a very meaningful way.

Quote
Ideally we should love our clergy (even in spite of their shortcomings), but when they minister, try to see through them - for Christ is ultimatly the Bishop, Priest, and Deacon of our Church.

This is true; we should try to see through them.  However, congregants follow their leader in the way he leads.  Some might possibly say that to deviate from or disagree with the established way of "saying Mass" or "performing the Liturgy" (both terms I despise) is to deviate from "Orthodox tradition" in favor of one's own, pre-Orthodox, American prejudices.
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« Reply #54 on: July 05, 2004, 04:19:02 PM »

How many here in the South would show up late for a football (American) game or a NASCAR event ??  Do 'we' not only show up on time but have preliminary 'tailgating' activities ??

Too true, though this is nothing new, as we see from St. John Chrysostom:

Quote
Is it not strange that those who sit by the market can tell the names, and families, and cities of charioteers, and dancers, and the kinds of power possessed by each, and can give exact account of the good or bad qualities of the very horses, but that those who come hither should know nothing of what is done here, but should be ignorant of the number even of the sacred Books? If thou pursuest those worldly things for pleasure, I will show thee that here is greater pleasure. Which is sweeter, tell me, which more marvelous, to see a man wrestling with a man, or a man buffering with a devil, a body closing with an incorporeal power, and him who is of thy race victorious?

Let's get some priorities straight here; that's all I'm sayin'.
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« Reply #55 on: July 05, 2004, 05:36:25 PM »

Quote
Hmm...now I'm confused. Fr. Efra+¡n was the Hispanic priest -- really, the heiromonk -- I was referring to who had the subdued voice...he certainly doesn't have a rich, vibrato tone (not sure who you're talking about there). Nonetheless, Fr. Efra+¡n conveys the liturgy in a very meaningful way.

Hmmm... we are talking about the Hispanic OCA hieromonk who serves in Dallas? I may be misremembering, but I seem to remember him having a very pronounced vibrato, to the point where I occasionally had difficulty making out what he was singing. The very devout and quiet man I referred to was the one who I thought you were referring to as serving with a very "boring, flat" tone (unless we are thinking of two different priests, which is perfectly possible).
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« Reply #56 on: July 05, 2004, 09:02:22 PM »

I may be misremembering, but I seem to remember him having a very pronounced vibrato, to the point where I occasionally had difficulty making out what he was singing.

Maybe.  I've never been to Transfiguration Mission myself, but he's always been relatively quiet when officiating at Vespers at San Demetrio.

Quote
The very devout and quiet man I referred to was the one who I thought you were referring to as serving with a very "boring, flat" tone (unless we are thinking of two different priests, which is perfectly possible).

Nope...Fr. Efra+¡n was the devout, quiet man, which, as I was saying, is not the same as "boring" or "flat."
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« Reply #57 on: July 05, 2004, 09:28:09 PM »

Since our behavior is the only behavior we can control, why continue to point the finger at our Orthodox brethren who arrive late for Liturgy?  I just don't get this.  Does it make those who have arrived on time feel smug, holy and more "spiritual" in some way? This is starting to remind me of the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican .... "I thank Thee, O Lord, that I am not like these vile latecomers ..."  Again, coming late is not an excellent practice, but it's much better than not coming at all.  I simply do not understand why we cannot be polite and tolerant of such people.  Everyone in the Church is not on the same spiritual level.  In the Orthodox Church we have all levels of spirituality, from the Saints like Saint Seraphim of Sarov who prayed for 1,000 days on a rock and was never late for Liturgy to the curious seeker who might not even believe in God yet, who wanders into Church late, stands at the back, and just takes it all in, and everyone in between.  I call for a loving welcome to all.
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« Reply #58 on: July 05, 2004, 10:45:51 PM »

Ok, I think I have this sorted out...

Quote
Nope...Fr. Efra+¡n was the devout, quiet man, which, as I was saying, is not the same as "boring" or "flat."

Right, but two pages back you had said:

Quote
Asking why the priest sounded bored while praying [...] and being told that "enthusiasm is not the 'Orthodox way.'"

And all I was saying was that, if the priest I have in mind (who is not Fr. Efrain) is indeed the one you had this experience with, it's probably not because he finds the prayers boring but because that's just how his voice is.

BTW, how's the cathedral coming along? I've not been up there in quite awhile; they only had one wall finished last time I was there.
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« Reply #59 on: July 06, 2004, 02:29:30 AM »

Quote
Since our behavior is the only behavior we can control, why continue to point the finger at our Orthodox brethren who arrive late for Liturgy?  I just don't get this.  Does it make those who have arrived on time feel smug, holy and more "spiritual" in some way? This is starting to remind me of the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican .... "I thank Thee, O Lord, that I am not like these vile latecomers ..."  Again, coming late is not an excellent practice, but it's much better than not coming at all.  I simply do not understand why we cannot be polite and tolerant of such people.  Everyone in the Church is not on the same spiritual level.  In the Orthodox Church we have all levels of spirituality, from the Saints like Saint Seraphim of Sarov who prayed for 1,000 days on a rock and was never late for Liturgy to the curious seeker who might not even believe in God yet, who wanders into Church late, stands at the back, and just takes it all in, and everyone in between.  I call for a loving welcome to all.

Yea, but as someone else pointed out on this board, this is not the "old country". America is a time driven nation, those are our customs. This is the least of the points I would make on this problem though.

If you can't give 2 measly hours out of the whole week to God, then something is really wrong. I find it somewhat offensive when people come strolling in late all the time. Once in a while is fine, but when it gets to take effect on many members who start doing it, then it becomes a problem. I noticed at the local Serbian church by my house that they have way more people half way through the liturgy than at the start. It's almost as if most of them have timed it & know exactly what time eucharist is that they all show up right at that point. I feel really sorry for the priest also because he's such a nice guy & wonder if people are taking advantage of him.
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« Reply #60 on: July 06, 2004, 02:58:46 AM »

This is starting to remind me of the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican .... "I thank Thee, O Lord, that I am not like these vile latecomers ..."

Let's not take either this situation or the parable out of context.  Yes, there's a similarity in that both I and the Pharisee are pointing out (albeit to different people) the faults of another.
Two differences, however:

  • I am not trying to enumerate my virtues here to God in an attempt to make myself seem more righteous to Him.  I don't mention this in confession.
  • The parable is not a justification for always letting the faults of other people just slide by, even to the point of being encouraged as "vintage Orthodoxy".
  • These are hardly repentant "tax collectors" we're speaking of here; these are men and women who were brought up in the Church and feel it is their "right" to do it this way, despite the "request" of the priest.
Quote
In the Orthodox Church we have all levels of spirituality, from the Saints like Saint Seraphim of Sarov who prayed for 1,000 days on a rock and was never late for Liturgy to the curious seeker who might not even believe in God yet, who wanders into Church late, stands at the back, and just takes it all in, and everyone in between.  I call for a loving welcome to all.

Nice thought, but "to whom much is given, much is required."  The curious newcomer who didn't know what time things got underway has more than enough of an excuse to show up right after the homily, but people who were baptized as infants in that parish and still stroll in talking right after the homily (how convenient)?  No, thank you, and the priest has said as much.

Again: if we don't know the person's intent, it's good not to say anything.  If they've made their opinion plenty clear -- "Well, I just don't see what the big deal is...maybe if he just cut out some of the service or didn't do all that preaching," or, "well, if it's good enough for my grandmother, it's good enough for me, and it should be good enough for Father!" -- then something must be done.  I applaud the abovementioned priests who have started witholding the Eucharist from late stragglers.  Such people have no concept, apparently, of the Church as worship.
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« Reply #61 on: July 06, 2004, 07:05:37 AM »

After observing this thread for a while, I've come to some sort of conclusion that actually ties in w/ the original topic of the thread (not that we have strayed terribly Wink).

It seems that there are virtues to be learned and gained from ethnics who now live and worship here in America, if only for the simple fact that the mindsets transplanted from wholly Orthodox countries are going to be different than the mindsets of us born-and-bred Americans - by no fault or choice of our own - and the "transplanted" mindset is probably more prone to leading lives obedient to the Church (since their entire CULTURE is saturated with church-life).

However, the ethnics are either immigrants themselves or have parents, grandparents, great grandparents, etc. who were immigrants into this GREAT country, where they have been granted with opportunities not available in the homeland. I know all about this - my grandparents were Italian immigrants, as was my mom when she was 3 years old, so I am no stranger to the significance of being able to settle in America. I would not be who I am today if they did not.

So it logically follows: if your (my Wink) ancestors saw something worthwhile in this country and its ways, it can be taken as insulting to their incredible sacrifice to scoff at all things "American," particluarly when they are positive things, like arriving to church on time.

If the ways of this country were good enough for them to move and settle here, granting YOU (me) with a life you (I) otherwise wouldn't have, then I think it's safe to say that there is something to our "ways," just like we have incredible amounts to learn by example from those who've had more experience at allowing Orthodoxy to seep into every aspect of one's life - family, school, church, the work place, all of it.

We may not be an Orthodox country, but we do have plenty of virtues to be learned, and there is much to be gained from our ways - your grandparents, etc. thought so at least.

It is stating the obvious perhaps to say that more charity on both sides of the argument would allow for a mutual learning experience, but in my mind I think it falls to the ethnic Orthodox who have grown up with the Church at the center of their lives to teach (by example) poor, wretched, confused converts (like myself - although I am not Orthodox yet) how to lead Orthodox Christian lives.

I didn't mean to offend anyone with this post. Please forgive me if I have.
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« Reply #62 on: July 06, 2004, 09:03:39 AM »

Not to sound cynical, but most immigrants have come to the new world for opportunistic (and I mean this in the most enlightened, justified way possible - poverty sucks, and I don't blame anyone for wanting something better for their children) reasons, more so than an initial infatuation with whatever we can say is uniquely "American."  Were the "opportunity" to have suddenly ran dry in the "land of opportunity", I can guarantee the immigration would have stopped, and plenty of folks would have gotten back on their boats and headed home.

Actually, that does sound pretty cynical. Sad  Didn't mean it that way.

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« Reply #63 on: July 06, 2004, 09:48:37 AM »

Quote
IOW, when is it OK for an American Church to replace Russian traditions that were present at the Church's founding with distinctly American ones?

It will eventually happen.  When it happens is not for us to decide.  Be patient.

Quote
Well, some things I or friends of mine have done that we've found resistence to from cradle Orthodox, right off the top of my head:
-+   Making the sign of the cross at "inappropriate times," i.e., other than @ "Fr., Son, HS" and "It is truly meet."
-+   Saying responses such as "Indeed, He is risen!" or, "He is, and ever shall be!" in a manner that was accused, at first, of being "too loud," and, when volume was turned down, of being "too enthusiastic" or even, in my personal case, of saying them in "non-Orthodox languages" (-íEn verdad, ha resucitado!)
-+   Bringing things like seafood gumbo, crawfish etouffee or fish tacos to coffee hour because they "weren't Orthodox" or "from Orthodox countries."
-+   Asking why the priest sounded bored while praying (in contrast to the words of Fr. Peter Guilquist(sp?) -- "A little boy heard my name and said, 'Oh, you're the one who shouts when he preaches!' I don't think I'll ever get to the decibel level that some cradle Orthodox would like...") -- and being told that "enthusiasm is not the 'Orthodox way.'"  Not that we need to be swinging from the chandeliers, but why sound bored saying prayers to the All-Holy Trinity?
-+   Being "called on the carpet" for going to confession and communion "too frequently" by people who were NOT the priest (and who, truthfully, were the kind who came once, maybe twice a year to confession themselves, some of them just as often to commune)...these people were pretty much given tacit approval to do this parish-wide, as they were some of the founding members ("And they came OVER from the old country, you know!") and wanted to "safeguard against some people's (read: converts') 'abusing the sacraments'"!

BUT NONE OF THESE ARE VALID RELIGIOUS ETHNIC CUSTOMS!  Would the leader of any ethnic church look at your list and say that these other parishioners had practiced their faith according to their received tradition?  

These may well be the practices of lazy believers and of cultists who don’t want anyone else in their club.  I’m talking about traditions like Slava, maintaining fasts in a particular way, responding in whatever language with which you are greeted, or giving and receiving the kiss of peace without turning away in revulsion.  

Pedro, you should come to my church.  It is primarily made up of political refugees from Bosnia and Croatia (for those of you who like to make this great nation look better by bad-mouthing immigrants, these folks would rather be able to live in their country, but thanks to the EU and, in part, this country, they do not have the right to return to where they want to live) and they would be thrilled to have etouffee or fish tacos.  A word of warning, though: folks who don’t speak English but do like your food may bombard you with compliments and free beer.  


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« Reply #64 on: July 06, 2004, 10:12:11 AM »

BUT NONE OF THESE ARE VALID RELIGIOUS ETHNIC CUSTOMS!  Would the leader of any ethnic church look at your list and say that these other parishioners had practiced their faith according to their received tradition?

Sadly, there have been some parishes (read: only two in my direct experience or those of friends) who have treated the above as such.  As for metropolitans or such saying so, no, this hasn't happened to my knowledge.  Which was my only point: that people had taken things that were NOT valid religious customs and had treated them as such, where converts were made to feel guilty if they didn't follow them.  To many inquirers or converts, it doesn't matter if the Metropolitan or Archbishop endorses what they do; the converts don't have to attend liturgy with the hierarchs, most times.  Things that, to most people's mind, can be up to individual interpretation within the life of the Church -- like the things mentioned above, which converts from Protestantism (or nowhere in particular) can have their own concept of upon entering the Church -- should not be "enforced" as though they were an integral part of the Faith.

Donna, your post was great, as always, and thought provoking.  You managed to sum up how I actually feel about the issue, though I'm afraid I've had to sound pretty one-sided as of late.

Folks, I'd like to ask everyone for their forgiveness if I've come across as inherently anti-cradle Orthodox.  Such is not the case.  Many very legitimate traditions have been named in this thread -- things we Americans have no concept of or counterpart for -- that have been of incalculable worth upon entering the Church and which, really, made our entrance to the Church truly possible.

Quote
Pedro, you should come to my church.  It is primarily made up of political refugees from Bosnia and Croatia (for those of you who like to make this great nation look better by bad-mouthing immigrants, these folks would rather be able to live in their country, but thanks to the EU and, in part, this country, they do not have the right to return to where they want to live) and they would be thrilled to have etouffee or fish tacos.  A word of warning, though: folks who don’t speak English but do like your food may bombard you with compliments and free beer.  

Thanks, cizinec; sounds like a great time.  I deplore the situations that caused them to leave their homeland -- not that we won't love them here! -- so it sounds like they're making the best of -- and making new friends during -- a very hard situation.  I myself commune at an OCA parish which has, I believe, a majority of converts, but not by much, as we have a very large (and open-minded) Russian/Ukranian base.  Not one of my complaints (OK, one, but it's been worked out) came from this parish; it's an example of what can happen when everybody's willing to give a little on certain things for the benefit of the whole group.
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« Reply #65 on: July 06, 2004, 11:09:13 AM »

What we are experiencing now in the life of the Orthodox Church in America is the tension between people who are thoroughly American in culture who have converted to the Orthodox faith and immigrants from the Old Country who are still a large portion of many of our parishes.  I think it is ridiculous to think the native born Americans and foreign born immigrants will never have any differences.  If the supply of immigrants from the Old Country dries up, within several generations our churches will be completely American in culture, and I'll bet arriving late for liturgy will almost disappear.  Until that time comes, we will continue to experience the tension between the uptight (dare I say, anal-retentive) American attitude toward time, and the more relaxed Mediterrean/Eastern Euopean attitude toward time. I do think it is necessary for converts to the Orthodox faith to transcend and move beyond this horror they have of people arriving late to church.  Eventually, as our churches become more American in culture, the lateness will subside.  Until then, we should be polite and tolerant of each other.
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« Reply #66 on: July 06, 2004, 10:36:27 PM »

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Until then, we should be polite and tolerant of each other.

At least.  I think we may even be able to forge that new American Orthodox experience and tradition if we listen to one another and enjoy and learn from each other.
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« Reply #67 on: July 07, 2004, 02:46:41 AM »

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At least.  I think we may even be able to forge that new American Orthodox experience and tradition if we listen to one another and enjoy and learn from each other.

Amen, +æ++++++, -É-+-+-+-î!!!    

I think in time this will naturally happen, the only thing stopping it is artificially being too American or intentionally trying to exlcude converts.
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« Reply #68 on: July 09, 2004, 11:57:27 AM »

Well, some things I or friends of mine have done that we've found resistence to from cradle Orthodox, right off the top of my head:

  • Making the sign of the cross at "inappropriate times," i.e., other than @ "Fr., Son, HS" and "It is truly meet."
  • Saying responses such as "Indeed, He is risen!" or, "He is, and ever shall be!" in a manner that was accused, at first, of being "too loud," and, when volume was turned down, of being "too enthusiastic" or even, in my personal case, of saying them in "non-Orthodox languages" (-íEn verdad, ha resucitado!)
  • Bringing things like seafood gumbo, crawfish etouffee or fish tacos to coffee hour because they "weren't Orthodox" or "from Orthodox countries."
  • Asking why the priest sounded bored while praying (in contrast to the words of Fr. Peter Guilquist(sp?) -- "A little boy heard my name and said, 'Oh, you're the one who shouts when he preaches!' I don't think I'll ever get to the decibel level that some cradle Orthodox would like...") -- and being told that "enthusiasm is not the 'Orthodox way.'"  Not that we need to be swinging from the chandeliers, but why sound bored saying prayers to the All-Holy Trinity?
  • Being "called on the carpet" for going to confession and communion "too frequently" by people who were NOT the priest (and who, truthfully, were the kind who came once, maybe twice a year to confession themselves, some of them just as often to commune)...these people were pretty much given tacit approval to do this parish-wide, as they were some of the founding members ("And they came OVER from the old country, you know!") and wanted to "safeguard against some people's (read: converts') 'abusing the sacraments'"! Angry
Why should Americans' tendencies towards these things be looked down upon?

Respetuosamente (I hope,  :-),

Pedro

I read of Pedro's experience and wanted to contrast his with my family's experience as converts at a very healthy OCA parish in the Chicago area.

*On our first visit, places were reserved for us up front so we could see everything. We were told "don't worry, no one is going to wag their finger at you and say you are doing something wrong. If you need to sit, sit. No one will be focusing on you, just don't be disruptive or disprespectful."

*Afterwards we were introduced to so many people our heads began to spin. We were made to feel very welcome, and could not help but sense the fraternal love among the parishioners.

*The more enthusiastic people tend to arrive early and take places close to the front. If you arrive late or have small children, you tend to be towards the back. Enthusiasm dwindles the farther back you get.

*One is more inclined to have meaningful conversations with a priest than to have "formal" confessional sacrements throughout the Liturgical year, but it is required you confess at least once per year during Lent.

* The priests know everyone in the parish -- they know who should and should not be receiving receiving Holy Communion, and there has never been an issue on this matter.

*If you are a regular and don't show up one Sunday -- don't be surprised if a priest calls to see that everyone is alright.

*Congregational singing means everybody sings and it is loud and beautiful.

* More than 12 different languages are spoken in our Parish. The chidren try to learn to say "Christ is Risen. Indeed, He Is Risen" in all of them. This includes Viet Namese, Spanish, German and many "Non-Orthodox" languages. (the emphasis here is on the word "try".)

* Spring Rolls, corn bread, sushi, Spaghetti -- we've seen everything at coffee hour in our hall and the variety is quite wonderful.

Ethnicity, language and cultural traditions can be a strength...but when a parish focuses on these things more than Christ's teachings, they are dooming the parish to die a slow death.
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« Reply #69 on: July 09, 2004, 01:19:22 PM »

It's a truism that different parishes are different.  Some Orthodox parishes are more welcoming than others, some are more vibrant than others, etc., it just depends on where you fit best.  The same can be said of any church, however, including the RCC.
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« Reply #70 on: July 10, 2004, 12:25:33 AM »

Quote
I read of Pedro's experience and wanted to contrast his with my family's experience as converts at a very healthy OCA parish in the Chicago area.

*On our first visit, places were reserved for us up front so we could see everything. We were told "don't worry, no one is going to wag their finger at you and say you are doing something wrong. If you need to sit, sit. No one will be focusing on you, just don't be disruptive or disprespectful."

Spartacus,

It's nice to hear that you had such a nice experience when you first visited St. Joseph's. Was it the first time you had ever visited an Orthodox Church?

Quote
Ethnicity, language and cultural traditions can be a strength...but when a parish focuses on these things more than Christ's teachings, they are dooming the parish to die a slow death.

Yup, I definitely agree with you on that.

Quote
It's a truism that different parishes are different.  Some Orthodox parishes are more welcoming than others, some are more vibrant than others, etc., it just depends on where you fit best.  The same can be said of any church, however, including the RCC.

Brendan,

I know exactly what you are talking about. In my many visits to Orthodox churches of various jurisdictions and different churches in those jurisdictions I have had my fair share of experiences where I might as well have been invisible because nobody even acknowledged my presence. It's to be expected in larger parishes and during holy days, but when it's a small mission parish with 80 people or so attending it's a little harder to understand why someone can't even smile or stop to at least say hi.

But, the positive experiences that I have had have been truly wonderful and they definitely make up for all the negative times.  Cheesy

In Christ,
Aaron
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« Reply #71 on: July 10, 2004, 12:30:28 AM »

I read of Pedro's experience and wanted to contrast his with my family's experience as converts at a very healthy OCA parish in the Chicago area.

Fr. John painted a similar picture when he visited during Lent...your parish is mostly converts, am I right?

Quote
Ethnicity, language and cultural traditions can be a strength...but when a parish focuses on these things more than Christ's teachings, they are dooming the parish to die a slow death.

Here, here!

I have to say that, in both the churches I've been a member of (Antiochian in Tulsa; OCA in Ft. Worth), 99% of the time, convert/cradle relations have been excellent.  Lots of understanding going both ways.  My comments were sparked mostly from (one-time-only!) visits of mine and friends of mine to other Churches.
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« Reply #72 on: July 10, 2004, 04:20:35 AM »

I've been following this thread closely, being as I am considering Orthodoxy. When I think of converting, I don't think in terms of adopting ethnic customs; I think about growing closer to God through fasting, prayer, the Liturgy and the sacraments.  Of course if I get exposed to some interesting Greek, Russian or other ethnic customs and foods Smiley along the way-I'll enjoy that.
As far as converts changing the church, of course an influx of "white bread" Americans will cause some change, intentional or not. Also bear in mind that many "cradle" Orthodox in the US are themselves people who were born and raised in this country. More and more of them are removed from thier immigrant ancestors and esentially Americanized in their thinking.
Think about this: how many Lutherans in the US actually speak German or Scandinavian languages anymore?
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« Reply #73 on: July 10, 2004, 11:12:32 AM »

As I and my wife are recent converts, I find this very interesting. We are members of a Greek Orthodox parish and admittedly felt a little strange at first. Fortunately, the liturgy book is in both Greek and English and after a few weeks we were able to follow along with ease.  I have even learned a little Helenica to my surprise and am able to partipate in some of the responses in Greek.  I am now making an effort to learn Greek with a Pimsleur course, not because I feel I need to, but because I want to.

We have also encountered some problems with the frequency of receiving Holy Communion.  We addressed this with our Spitual Father who told us as long as we were not in grievous sin and met the other reqirements to not worry about it. Old traditions die hard.
After all, what is the ultimate purpose of the Eucharistic  celebration?  

BTW, are their any resources availiable to learn the "Our Father" and the "Nicene Creed" in Greek?

John
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« Reply #74 on: July 10, 2004, 11:58:51 PM »


BTW, are their any resources availiable to learn the "Our Father" and the "Nicene Creed" in Greek?


John,
Both should be in the pew copy of the Divine Liturgy that you reference above.

Demetri
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« Reply #75 on: July 11, 2004, 05:52:48 PM »

 Smiley I know they are in the liturgy book-I failed to make myself clear. I want to learn it in Greek--phonetically since I do not read Greek at this point.
Thanks,
John
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« Reply #76 on: July 11, 2004, 06:14:50 PM »

John,
I think your experience is what all parishes AND converts should be aiming towards. Together, converts and cradle can make more out of each other. Language ,even a little bit, is a way of building bridges to your brothers and sisters in Christ. You can enrich them by bringing your equivalent of fish tacos (or possibly helping them negotiate a strange cuiltural situation).
The result-a strong community in Christ!

Spiros
(feeling unusually optimistic)

Demetri-is the GOA prayerbook in phonetic Greek? all Arabic (trisagion, etc) in our prayer book is phonetic, with English characters.
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« Reply #77 on: July 13, 2004, 05:08:10 PM »

IMO it is better to learn the Greek alphabet since it is fairly simple to learn and Greek is VERY phonetic.  And in time once you get used to it, the sounds of Greek and hear in church you will want to learn the language - there is no escaping it! Smiley

Also knowing the alphabet will allow you to read the names on icons and other little things like that here and there which is very helpfull.

But if needed, I'd be happy to post some transliterations later this week when I get a chance.
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« Reply #78 on: July 31, 2004, 09:41:34 PM »

Have tried to follow this whole through in one go, phew!

Surely cradle Orthodox and 'converts' both have something to other, but this is only possible with a degree of mutual respect and growing understanding between everyone.

Pews are cited as being 'comfortable' among others things, but they introduce a rigidity and impediment to movement. Try doing metonia or prostration with pews. Modest loose clothing helps too, a scoop top and shortish skirt ain't fun. Men on one side and women on the other introduces a certain order and reduces 'unwanted' distraction. God made us male and female not androgynous. Personally I find head-scarves and male facial hair helps prevent me making social faux pas!To say nothing of clergy who look like clergy rather your best mate or an interloper from that Anglican/Catholic/Lutheran kirk down the road! Roman collars belong round the necks of Latin priests.

As to something which is a specifically American, Canadian, British or Irish expression of Orthodoxy, this will come over time. The Slavs took their Orthodoxy in all senses from Constantinople. Individual use and custom evolved rather was manufactured over a short period.

Lateness I abhor, and have tried to understand. Some come far. Sometimes the church is so crowded so an informal rota comes into play and people take in turns to go out so others may take their place for a while. A considerate custom I noted at Serbian churches. Among the Russians I noted if you might question whether something should be done this way rather than that, it was because, "Darlink, you no understand our Roosian ways".
Greeks in deference to the crownds made tiny signs of the cross on their central chest, thus avoiding crowding their neighbour whose ribs were no doubt recovering from the elbowing you had given them going up for communion. Somewhere will be a bearded male who stand parade ground still before breaking into great circular signs of the cross accompanied by deep bows, the Orthodox gymnast. On feast days the menfolk would kindly beef up the sounds of bells by loosing off a few rounds from their world war 11 relics, or the family shotgun. (It helps reduce pigeon roosting on the temple, you know).

Seriously I have met great kindness from Orthodox folk regardless of their background, race, language group or anything else. There are always one or with an 'attitude', often with a poor or extremely rigid comprehension of what Orthodoxy is.

There are 'converts' who appear to leap from being inquirers to unrecognised mini-popes in a season, and others who confuse piety with dressing as extras in a 19th century play.

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« Reply #79 on: August 02, 2004, 04:49:54 AM »

 Somewhere will be a bearded male who stand parade ground still before breaking into great circular signs of the cross accompanied by deep bows, the Orthodox gymnast.


ROFLOL   Egads!  I am a bearded male, and I make my sign of the cross the old fashioned Russian way (actually I HAD too, we had an Old Russian man in my parish who used to watch people make the sign of the cross and when it was not made properly to his satisfaction you'd get this Father Vasily Vasilevich style questioning of "What is this? This is not Chreeeeeestian way to make sign of Cross! Is outrage! In Leningrad we never ..... "
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« Reply #80 on: August 02, 2004, 10:51:32 AM »

Off subject:

What is this "circular way of making the cross?"  

From what I have been taught it is the first three fingers together, the last two bent into the palm. "The Father" (point three fingers to top of forehead), "The Son" (point to lower chest), "and Holy Spirit" point from right shoulder to left shoulder.

(Be nice to me, I'm an inquirer who has decided to convert.)
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« Reply #81 on: August 02, 2004, 10:57:39 AM »

Off subject:

What is this "circular way of making the cross?"  

From what I have been taught it is the first three fingers together, the last two bent into the palm. "The Father" (point three fingers to top of forehead), "The Son" (point to lower chest), "and Holy Spirit" point from right shoulder to left shoulder.

(Be nice to me, I'm an inquirer who has decided to convert.)

LOL, thornygrace!
I think the description is merely of exaggerated motions overly drawing attention to one's 'piety' versus a more humble signing.

We aren't nice to everyone?  Shocked

Demetri
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« Reply #82 on: August 02, 2004, 03:29:14 PM »

<LOL @ Demetri's sarcasm>

I remember talking to one lady who talked about how displeased God was with us if we weren't making perfect signs of the cross, taking care to touch each place with the utmost precision, etc.

This was a woman who told us that crossing ourselves for a car ride after the engine was turned on was showing a neglect of God....  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #83 on: August 03, 2004, 12:10:16 AM »

WOW! I didn't expect my initial post to cause such a flurry of excitement and controversy. But that is what this is all about. The reason I brought this all up in the 1st place was that growing up in Australia we are predominantly 1st gen aussies so we don't see this change taking place in churches here as it is in the US.
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« Reply #84 on: August 08, 2004, 08:15:16 AM »

aussies? wow! yayy! Smiley

i must admit the orthodox churches in australia definitely seem much more traditional than those in the US. as for an english service? well you may be lucky to see one a month in some churches with a younger priest, but its pretty much all Church Slavonic.

questions: there are orthodox priests without beards?!!! this i find truly difficult to believe. is this normal? it is common? pardon my ignorance i have just never heard of such a thing.

my church (in australia) has women and men on different sides, and women do wear scarves (they must) - is that also different in the US. i know in sydney most churches are scarf free, as the GOA church here in Spain is.

cheers,

mike
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« Reply #85 on: August 08, 2004, 09:01:34 AM »

Didn't the Aussie Orthodox just sign some type of statement saying that the recognize heterodox baptisms? Maybe I misread...
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« Reply #86 on: August 09, 2004, 12:06:11 AM »

There is a local Priest here in Michigan who has no beard, but my Priest has one.
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« Reply #87 on: August 10, 2004, 12:05:05 PM »

i didn't know there was an Aussie Orthodox church. i have no knowledge of it. my jurisdiction is in Braila Rumania. I find it funny that that priest has no beard. my priest has been a member of the clergy for 30 years now. since his ordination he has not cut his hair or beard ONCE! even his moustache is so long that when he eats he must push it to the sides first. his beard is very long (santa claus length!) and his hair to his bum!

in australia with temps reaching 40+ (celcius) it can be hot, but its his faith.

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« Reply #88 on: August 10, 2004, 10:19:20 PM »

Quote
questions: there are orthodox priests without beards?!!! this i find truly difficult to believe. is this normal? it is common? pardon my ignorance i have just never heard of such a thing.

Yes, especially within Greek parishes in the United States. Some of the GOA bishops, while they maintain their beards, trim them heavily and have short hair; and some OCA bishops merely have goatees, including their primate. The priest who baptized me, though I believe him to be a godly and compassionate man, has no beard. It is very common in the U.S.

Quote
my church (in australia) has women and men on different sides, and women do wear scarves (they must) - is that also different in the US.

Yes, this is quite different. In some more traditional parishes (some OCA and all ROCOR) you will find pewless churches and women wearing head scarves, but to my knowledge there are no parishes, save those within the ROCOR, who place men and women on separate sides. I may be wrong about this, but such has been my experience.
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« Reply #89 on: August 12, 2004, 02:53:47 AM »

Smiley I know they are in the liturgy book-I failed to make myself clear. I want to learn it in Greek--phonetically since I do not read Greek at this point.
Thanks,
John
Fair enough, shanmo9. It will take a bit more for the Creed, I afra+¦d - there is no "official", agreed, translation. Demetri


The Lord’s Prayer

+á+¦-ä+¦-ü +¦++-ë++

Pater imon

OUR FATHER


++ +¦++ -ä+++¦-é ++-à -ü+¦+++++¦-é

o en tis ouranis

WHO ART IN HEAVEN


+æ+¦+¦+¦-â++++-ä-ë -ä++ +++++++++¦ +ú++-Ã

Agiasthito to onoma Sou

HALLOWED BE THY NAME


+ò+++++¦-ä-ë ++ +¦+¦-â+¦+++¦+¦+¦ +ú++-Ã

Eltheto i vasilia Sou

THY  KINGDOM COME


+ô+¦++++++++-ä-ë -ä++ +++¦+++++++¦ +ú++-Ã
-ë-é +¦++ ++-à -ü+¦++-ë +¦+¦+¦ +¦-Ç+¦ -ä++-é +¦++-é

Yenithito to thelima Sou
Os en ourano ke epi tis yis

THY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH
AS IT IS IN HEAVEN


+ñ++++ +¦-ü-ä++++ ++++-ë++ -ä++++
+ò-Ç+¦++-à -â+¦++++ +¦++-é +++++¦++ -â+++++¦-ü++++

Ton arton imon ton epiousion
Thos imin simeron

GIVE US THIS DAY
OUR DAILY BREAD


+Ü+¦+¦ +¦-å+¦-é +++++¦++ -ä+¦ ++-å+¦+¦+++++++¦-ä+¦ ++++-ë++

Ke afes imin ta ofilimata imon

AND FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES


-ë-é +¦+¦+¦ +++++¦+¦-é +¦-å+¦+¦+++¦++ -ä+++¦-é ++-å+¦+¦+++¦-ä+¦+¦-é ++++-ë++

 os ke imis afiemen tis ofiletes imon

AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO TRESPASS AGAINST US


+Ü+¦+¦ ++++ +¦+¦-â+¦+++¦+¦+¦++-é +++++¦-é +¦+¦-é -Ç+¦+¦-ü+¦-â++++++

Ke mi isenegis imas is pirasmon

AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION


+æ+++++¦ -ü-Ã -â+¦+¦ +++++¦-é +¦-Ç++ -ä++-Ã  -Ç++++++-ü++-Ã

Alla rise imas apo tou ponirou

BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL


+æ++++++
Amin
AMEN

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