Author Topic: Length of catechumenate  (Read 1238 times)

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Offline Shiny

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Length of catechumenate
« on: March 18, 2012, 10:23:34 PM »
So is it not unusual to be a catechumen for only a month and then be received into the Church? Why did the Church move away from a 3 year catechism?
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Offline Ortho_cat

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Re: Length of catechumenate
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2012, 10:56:02 PM »
1 month would be unusual. These days you see 6 months to a year most of the time. Why move away from 3 year catechumenate? Not sure, I guess people aren't as patient as they used to be... :P

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Re: Length of catechumenate
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2012, 11:15:44 PM »
A month I would say is unusual, though my catechumenate was pretty short (about 5 months). I think my priest though cut me some slack though because I'd been dipping in and out of catechumenates for a couple of years already.
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Offline JamesRottnek

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Re: Length of catechumenate
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2012, 11:16:19 PM »
Part of it is that there is less chance of being massacred by your friendly neighborhood mob.
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Offline Thomas

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Re: Length of catechumenate
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2012, 11:50:17 PM »
So is it not unusual to be a catechumen for only a month and then be received into the Church? Why did the Church move away from a 3 year catechism?

I have never seen a one month catechumenate except for very specific humanitarian purposes---a soldier being transferred overseas to a war zone, a person who was terminally ill , or someone who is actually dying and chrismated before death. This would be the principal of economia practiced by the Holy Orthodox Church under the guidance of their God-directed bishops.

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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Length of catechumenate
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2012, 05:15:49 AM »
Mine was about 6 months. If it had been 3 years would I have ever converted? Don't know. Let's say I hadn't... would that have been good or bad? You can argue either way... blah... I say go back to 3 years!
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Offline primuspilus

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Re: Length of catechumenate
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2012, 12:34:17 PM »
I was told that you have to go through a lenten period. Mebbe that is for WR only then? hmmm.

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Offline Ortho_cat

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Re: Length of catechumenate
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2012, 12:35:59 PM »
I was told that you have to go through a lenten period. Mebbe that is for WR only then? hmmm.

PP

i was told the same.

Offline Paisius

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Re: Length of catechumenate
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2012, 03:03:21 PM »
Back when three years was the norm how many of those catechumens had any kind of Christian formation or knowledge of the faith previously? Compare that to your typical catechumen today and I think you have at least part of your answer.

Offline Shlomlokh

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Re: Length of catechumenate
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2012, 03:34:37 PM »
I was told that you have to go through a lenten period. Mebbe that is for WR only then? hmmm.

PP
My priest recommends and strongly encourages attending services for roughly a year or so. I attended services for a year but was a catechumen for 6 months. There are others at my parish that were catechumens for 2-3 years and others who were for only a few months. I guess it depends on how the bishop and priest see fit and the catechumen's readiness for entry into the Church.

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Re: Length of catechumenate
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2012, 03:46:12 PM »
I attended services for a little over a year and was officially a catechumen for about 11 months.  It was 2 years and 1 week of walking into the door of the church I was received in before I was chrismated.  Previously, I was going to another Orthodox church for about 4 months before settling on my present parish.

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Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: Length of catechumenate
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2012, 04:58:58 PM »
My experience was similar to Schultz's, except I was attending the RC RCIA.

I've read that one of the reasons we no longer require a three year catechumenate as the norm is because most people today already know quite a lot about Christianity, so the Bishop/Priest isn't starting with a blank slate (so to speak).  This seems the most plausible reason I've heard thus far.  Of coarse, as Thomas pointed out, there are always extenuating situations, and, it's always up to the priest/Bishop.  But having said that, I feel it would be better if it lasted at least one year.  That way, I feel, the priest would already be instilling patience (something Westerners are waaay short on) while making it sort of a test; that is to say making sure the person knows what will be required of them.  Additionally, I think our own Fr. Chris is at the head of the proverbial class because he has his catechumens take an exam.  Hey, if you don't absorb what you're being taught, you could wind up posting a lot of nonsense on a Christian forum.  :P ;)
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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Length of catechumenate
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2012, 05:04:50 PM »
So is it not unusual to be a catechumen for only a month and then be received into the Church? Why did the Church move away from a 3 year catechism?

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Offline LBK

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Re: Length of catechumenate
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2012, 05:20:16 PM »
So is it not unusual to be a catechumen for only a month and then be received into the Church? Why did the Church move away from a 3 year catechism?

For the same reason she allowed pews, organs, dippy harmonies, paraffin candles, information-less Web sites, and strawberry incense.

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Offline Thomas

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Re: Length of catechumenate
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2012, 05:38:04 PM »
Stay on Topic Please.

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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Length of catechumenate
« Reply #15 on: March 19, 2012, 05:44:41 PM »
Okay, to get back on topic, I think that, as the Church has more experience with converts, she moves away from a shorter catechumenate popular, I think, in those churches where most converts married into the faith, to a longer, more in-depth catechumenate in which both the catechumen and the priest have plenty of time to build a relationship and get to know one another. I do not think the process of learning what needs to be learned about the Orthodox faith and about how one fits into it--that is, about oneself and one's own spiritual life--can be undertaken satisfactorily in less than a year, and would require a period even longer than this to be thorough. We're dealing with an attrition rate of about 50 percent, and a lot of this is due, I think, to problems not addressed in the period of the catechumenate.
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Offline Dominika

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Re: Length of catechumenate
« Reply #16 on: March 19, 2012, 07:28:28 PM »
One month it's really unusual; I've never heard about so fast conversion.. From my experience it usually takes from 6 months to one year. Mine lasted 3 and half month but probably because my father is Orthodox, so sometimes I had been attending the services before the official start of my catechumenate. I was told only to start going to church every Sunday and feast and read the Orthodox Catechism - my priest told me that I was prepared and he wanted only to ascertain I really want become Orthodox. So I think it all depends on your previous denomination, how much time you were inquiring into Orthodoxy, the practice of the jurisdiction/parish etc. Going through the period of the Great Lent and Holy Week is always nice perceived as it's traditional times for preparation into being received into Church; maybe in some cases it helps to shorten the period of the catechumenate if you went though this holy time.
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Offline Shiny

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Re: Length of catechumenate
« Reply #17 on: March 21, 2012, 01:55:02 AM »
The reason I made this thread, and sorry I have to single you out Tgebar but :

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,43662.0.html

I was very, very surprised how quickly he is going to be received in the Church.
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Offline Thomas

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Re: Length of catechumenate
« Reply #18 on: March 21, 2012, 09:43:58 AM »
TGEBAR has been active on this forum since August 11, 2011, if he entered the inquiorer stage at that time and was meeting with a priest, attending catechism classes , it is possible that the priest felt he was ready to enter the catechumenate and then be brought into the Church in time for PASCHA. If so that would mean his total investigatory period could exceed 7 months. Not all jurisdictions have a prolonged catechumenate. Severakl years ago, I witnessed several   inquiorers who were not made catechumen until the day of their Chrismation and the catechumen service was done just prior to their chrismation on the same day and that was in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese (GOARCH).

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Offline Patty Joanna

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Re: Length of catechumenate
« Reply #19 on: March 22, 2012, 05:29:16 PM »
One month is pretty short.  But I do know that some priests have Inquirers go through a Lenten season, and catechism, and that they are made catechumens only after they have done this--and therefore are catechumens only a short time.  Other priests make people a catechumen before they start catechesis, so the time as catechumen is longer. 

There's a bunch of other good reasons stated previously, so I'll just let those stand without reiteration from me. 

Our own catechumenate was 4 months, but we had been faithfully attending and going to both inquirer classes and catechesis for a year...and then we went through catechesis again, it was that good.  :0)  We had a wonderful catechist and there was so much to learn.

Offline Tgebar

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Re: Length of catechumenate
« Reply #20 on: March 23, 2012, 04:40:59 AM »
I didn't even know my name had been brought up in this thread! I had been attending services regularly before I was active on these forums, since April, 2011. I began to receive instruction from the presbyter of the parish I attend over the catechetical lectures of St. Cyril of Jerusalem almost exactly when I became active on these forums. We (two of my friends are also converting and have been with me since the beginning) were made catechumen last Sunday, and were asked after the Liturgy if we would like to be received into the Church at Pascha.
:)

Offline Sauron

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Re: Length of catechumenate
« Reply #21 on: March 23, 2012, 03:06:12 PM »
I have never been made an official catechumen, but have been attending services for a little over a year and have had a few sits with our priest. My children and I will be baptized and chrismated, respectively, next week.

Offline mabsoota

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Re: Length of catechumenate
« Reply #22 on: March 24, 2012, 01:00:14 PM »
yea, sauron!
 :)
and hope u come soon as well tgebar  :)
may God bless u both and all enquirers.
in our church, we don't usually have a formal catechumenate, but people go to church for a while (months usually) and have lots of chats with the priest.
in my case, after more than a year, my priest asked me 'you're already orthodox, so what are u waiting for?!' i had been waiting so as not to create tidal waves in the family, it took them a while to get used to the idea.
just recently, i was trying to explain (again) to my relatives that it wasn't the orthodox who changed the date of easter...