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Author Topic: Best way to begin inquiring...?  (Read 893 times) Average Rating: 0
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britgirl
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« on: August 04, 2011, 05:24:04 PM »

Hello, all!
I am new to OC.net but I've already learned so much about Orthodox Christianity through this site. This site really is a blessing.

Anyway, I am a 19 year old college student. I go to school in Boston, but I don't live there. I've been interested in Orthodox Christianity for a few months now and once I return to Boston, I am interested in attending a service (should I attend a Vespers service or a Divine Liturgy?). 
My question is, what should I know about attending a service? I've already read Presbytera Frederica Mathewes-Green's "12 things I wish I'd known", but I feel like it is an explanation of behaviors of the faithful, instead of appropriate actions for non-Orthodox during a service.
Additionally, I'd like to take the steps in order to become a catechumen. How would I go about this? I'd love some input.
In Christ,
Britgirl
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« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2011, 05:32:30 PM »

Check out Kallistos Ware's  The Orthodox Church, and welcome.
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« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2011, 05:37:21 PM »

Welcome and e-mail the priest of the local church (I know that there are several in Boston, but pick one if you know which jurisdiction you're interested in!).

Set up a meeting and ask him all these questions. I didn't attend Divine Liturgy for 3 weeks after first meeting with the priest because I was still scared. Asking him to go through the service alleviated a lot of those fears. But it's honestly not too bad, if you sit in the back. Just do not go up for communion! At my church, they distribute the antidoron, which non-Orthodox can partake in, but if you want to stay safe, you can just stay at your seat and someone in the church may get a piece of the bread for you.
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« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2011, 05:55:08 PM »

Greetings and welcome to OC.net!

The best advice, I think, when it comes to the question of taking the next step, is to join a community. Find a parish and visit. Visit several different parishes! Speak to each priest and let him know what you've told us here, and that you're making rounds at a few different parishes.

If you find a parish you really love, still make sure you go to a few others, at least once. Keep in contact with the people you meet. Eventually, you'll pick a parish and start working with that priest, asking questions and getting answers. He'll probably recommend some books for you, and just be there to bounce thoughts and questions off of. There will most likely be inquirer's or catechumen's classes offered...start attending them regularly.

Doing all of these things, you'll learn more about Orthodoxy and intregate yourself into a parish community. The priest will eventually make you a catechumen, and then receive you into the Church. Smiley

Again, welcome to OC.net!
« Last Edit: August 04, 2011, 05:56:22 PM by Benjamin the Red » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2011, 08:55:48 PM »

Hello BritGirl!

As to which service to attend, I'd say whichever one is next, and definitely attend the next available Divine Liturgy. No matter how much you read up on it, it will be new to you for a little while, but it will grow on you and you'll soon not need the book to follow along.

You're welcome to participate as much as you want, with the exception of getting in line to receive the Eucharist. There is nothing that is "appropriate" or "inappropriate" for a non-Orthodox to do. The only thing reserved for the faithful during the Liturgy is the Eucharist; everything else is fair game. Feel free to say "Lord, have mercy", "Amen", "To Thee, O Lord", or anything else to your heart's desire... or say nothing at all...

As far as becoming a Catechumen, talk to the priest and tell him what's on your heart. The two of you can then work together toward the path that is best for you and your spiritual situation. It's different for every person depending on their needs and spiritual state.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2011, 08:56:41 PM by Knee V » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2011, 09:02:23 PM »

Summer is a good time for this. Many people are out of town and so the Priests have a bit more time.
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« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2011, 09:07:12 PM »

What I did at my first Orthodox service:

1. Walk in and kiss the icon at the stanchion in the lobby.

2. Light a candle and place it in the stand.

3. Take a seat towards the back.

It's been essentially the same for a year and a half (except I stand up now).
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« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2011, 11:13:15 PM »

Hello, all!
I am new to OC.net but I've already learned so much about Orthodox Christianity through this site. This site really is a blessing.

Anyway, I am a 19 year old college student. I go to school in Boston, but I don't live there. I've been interested in Orthodox Christianity for a few months now and once I return to Boston, I am interested in attending a service (should I attend a Vespers service or a Divine Liturgy?).  
My question is, what should I know about attending a service? I've already read Presbytera Frederica Mathewes-Green's "12 things I wish I'd known", but I feel like it is an explanation of behaviors of the faithful, instead of appropriate actions for non-Orthodox during a service.
Additionally, I'd like to take the steps in order to become a catechumen. How would I go about this? I'd love some input.
In Christ,
Britgirl

Hi Britgirl, I am a 19 year old inquirer as well so I sort of am in the same boat as you, though my journey started 3 years ago. When I first really looked into Orthodoxy I learned as much about the theology as I could (especially Theosis and how to properly understand it), using the www.antiochian.org and researching the thoughts of the Early Church Fathers. Davidpwithun's Youtube Channel also helped me get the ball rolling in my journey to Orthodoxy. C.S. Lewis's book Mere Christianity (though not an Orthodox book) became a good tool for me in some ways to come to accept Orthodoxy. Lately I have been making use of two additional websites to further my understanding and to get closer to finally coming to the big conversion. The first one is http://www.orthodoxanswers.org/ and the second website is http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/. I have also been reading a lot from http://goodguyswearblack.org/ though that is mostly due to my personal circumstances to understand where I may end up if I completely follow what I feel God is calling me towards though there may be some helpful articles in general there as well. I have contacted Priests like others are suggesting, though not a local Priest yet, which has defiantly been helpful on many levels. And of course this website has been very helpful, especially due to me still being a Methodist, but I get some form of fellowship with Orthodox Christians as I wait for the right time to convert.

That is everything I can think of atm that has been helpful for me, hopefully at least some of it will be helpful for you as well.

May you be blessed in your inquiry,
Nicholas.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2011, 11:16:07 PM by Stephanos Nikolaos » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2011, 11:50:23 PM »

Hello, all!
I am new to OC.net but I've already learned so much about Orthodox Christianity through this site. This site really is a blessing.

Anyway, I am a 19 year old college student. I go to school in Boston, but I don't live there. I've been interested in Orthodox Christianity for a few months now and once I return to Boston, I am interested in attending a service (should I attend a Vespers service or a Divine Liturgy?).  
My question is, what should I know about attending a service? I've already read Presbytera Frederica Mathewes-Green's "12 things I wish I'd known", but I feel like it is an explanation of behaviors of the faithful, instead of appropriate actions for non-Orthodox during a service.
Additionally, I'd like to take the steps in order to become a catechumen. How would I go about this? I'd love some input.
In Christ,
Britgirl

Hi Britgirl, I am a 19 year old inquirer as well so I sort of am in the same boat as you, though my journey started 3 years ago. When I first really looked into Orthodoxy I learned as much about the theology as I could (especially Theosis and how to properly understand it), using the www.antiochian.org and researching the thoughts of the Early Church Fathers. Davidpwithun's Youtube Channel also helped me get the ball rolling in my journey to Orthodoxy. C.S. Lewis's book Mere Christianity (though not an Orthodox book) became a good tool for me in some ways to come to accept Orthodoxy. Lately I have been making use of two additional websites to further my understanding and to get closer to finally coming to the big conversion. The first one is http://www.orthodoxanswers.org/ and the second website is http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/. I have also been reading a lot from http://goodguyswearblack.org/ though that is mostly due to my personal circumstances to understand where I may end up if I completely follow what I feel God is calling me towards though there may be some helpful articles in general there as well. I have contacted Priests like others are suggesting, though not a local Priest yet, which has defiantly been helpful on many levels. And of course this website has been very helpful, especially due to me still being a Methodist, but I get some form of fellowship with Orthodox Christians as I wait for the right time to convert.

That is everything I can think of atm that has been helpful for me, hopefully at least some of it will be helpful for you as well.

May you be blessed in your inquiry,
Nicholas.
Stephanos Nikolaos, if this is too off topic I can start a new thread, but I'm just curious as to how Mere Christianity prepared you for Orthodoxy. I know in my case, Lewis helped me understand the Orthodox view of Atonement.

Hi, britgirl! I'm afraid I don't have any unique advice to give but I'll be praying for you.
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« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2011, 11:55:40 PM »

I want to thank everyone for their advice! I feel very welcomed and I will definitely contact a priest once I return to Boston next month. If there are any other suggestions, please keep them coming.  Smiley
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« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2011, 12:02:48 AM »

Stephanos Nikolaos, if this is too off topic I can start a new thread, but I'm just curious as to how Mere Christianity prepared you for Orthodoxy. I know in my case, Lewis helped me understand the Orthodox view of Atonement.

Hi, britgirl! I'm afraid I don't have any unique advice to give but I'll be praying for you.

I'd gladly reply in another thread, may be too off-topic plus I do not want to hijack Britgirl's thread.

Nicholas.

P.S. Also here is the link to David's youtube channel, since I didn't attach it to my post. http://www.youtube.com/user/davidpwithun
« Last Edit: August 05, 2011, 12:06:05 AM by Stephanos Nikolaos » Logged

“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either.” +Luke 6:27-29
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« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2011, 12:21:37 AM »

Here you go. And thanks! http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,38579.msg614927.html#msg614927
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« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2011, 12:29:55 AM »

The only advice I have to offer is commit to attending a certain number of services.  When I decided to finally attend an Orthodox church I was given the same advice.  I committed to going to liturgy 8 times.  I am so glad I did.  Some people seem to "get" it on their first visit, but after my first visit I think I was more confused than ever (but I sometimes make an art out of being confused...)  I'm not saying that you should commit to 8, that was just the number that seemed right for me.  It me that long to get out of the way so I could really experience Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2011, 08:57:06 AM »

Of course, attend whichever parish you'd like, but I have a friend in Boston who attends Holy Resurrection Church http://hrocboston.org/, and she's quite fond of it. You may have already pin-pointed a parish to attend. If so, don't let me change your plans.
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« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2011, 09:10:41 AM »

hi and welcome  Smiley
the advice here is all really good. 2 more things to do:
1. talk to God and ask for His guidance (even if u r not sure u know or believe in God, talk with Him 'just in case' He is there).
2. go to a church and hang around at the end and ask questions. it doesn't matter if u don't know when to sit/stand/whatever. if you want to observe, just sit or stand and watch what goes on. if u agree with what is being said/prayed, u can follow the other people as they sit/stand etc. if u want to be respectful, then be sure to stand up when the gospel (matthew, mark, luke, john) is read. this is the part when even all the old ladies try to stand up out of respect. of course, there will always be people who can't stand, but if it's just a bit of arthritis, people usually stand.
try to find out in advance when the next service is as things may change from what is on the notice board (from my experience!)
may God bless u
 Cheesy
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« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2011, 09:31:36 AM »

Dear britgirl,

You might like to check into the Orthdox Christian Fellowship which is a pan-Orthodox group for college students.  Pan-Orthodox just means it is shared by people from the various Orthodox Churches.  They are particularly active in Boston, in fact that is where they are headquartered.  You do not need to be a student at the particular college where they meet. I think their leader is Fr. Demetrios Tonias.  You can get his email from the churchwebsite:  www.goarchangels.org

Love, elephant
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« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2011, 09:35:48 AM »

Welcome Britgirl

I hope that you will find the Convert Issues forum to be place where you as an inquirer may ask their questions about the Orthodox Faith in a safe and supportive forum.  WE try to provide an understanding of the basic teachings and practices of the Orthodox churches. WE try to keep our answers direct and simple with sources if possible.

For those who are converts, this forum is a safe place to discuss issues that arise after one converts in a safe and supportive forum without retribution or recrimination. WE try to avoid jurisdiction debates and you may find a the topic that will be split and sent the appropriate OC.Net forum to continue the discussion or debate if it strays from the guidelines of our Forum Purpose.

Again I want to welcome you warmly to the Convert Issues Forum and hope you will enjoy your time as a member here.

In Christ,
Thomas
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PS> First step for an inquirer is to go to an Orthodox Church and meet with the priest.
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« Reply #17 on: August 05, 2011, 09:57:47 AM »

Of course, attend whichever parish you'd like, but I have a friend in Boston who attends Holy Resurrection Church http://hrocboston.org/, and she's quite fond of it. You may have already pin-pointed a parish to attend. If so, don't let me change your plans.
I second this. They have a wonderful and active community along with an Orthodox school. I know people that go there, too. I was just up there a few weeks ago. Fr. Patrick is a very inspiring priest. Very approachable. I would go there if I lived up there.

In Christ,
Andrew
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« Reply #18 on: August 05, 2011, 10:20:28 AM »

Welcome to the forum Smiley
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« Reply #19 on: August 05, 2011, 10:41:50 AM »

Another college inquirer nice! I'm 19 also and hopefully becoming a catechumen in the fall. One thing I have to suggest is go to an English speaking church. Even if the service is in English that doesn't always mean people in the church speak English while there. If at all possible go to a church which uses English throughout the parish life. Also, I found Becoming Orthodox to be a good read.
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