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Author Topic: Do you have any helpful suggestions for my first Pascha?  (Read 723 times) Average Rating: 0
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acts420
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« on: April 09, 2012, 01:24:25 PM »

I'm a catechumen.  Before I visited an Orthodox Church for the first time, I found an online "helpful things to know" list (which I found very helpful!)  I would have been much more shocked by the things I saw were it not for the list (things like the veneration of icons, the bowing and kissing, the candles, the many things I had never experienced as a Southern Baptist).  I was thankful for preparation.

Now I'm getting ready for my first Pascha, and for some reason I feel almost as nervous as my first visit.  Part of this probably has to do with the fact that I will not be at my "home" orthodox church for Pascha.  I have to be traveling this weekend.  Although I normally attend an orthodox church from the Russian tradition near where I live, I'm considering celebrating Pascha with a Greek church instead.  I figure since I'll be traveling anyway it will be a good time to experience another culture's way of doing Pascha, so to speak.  But I haven't even ever experienced my own church's "culture" with regards to Pascha yet! 

I do know that, allegedly, "we" do a potluck dinner.  People drop off their food in the kitchen before the service.  Does that sound right?  Apparently some even bring alcohol because it is a pretty big feast (so I've heard).  That last part is the "strange" bit to me.  I say that not because I have anything against alcohol; I love beer and wine as much as the next guy.  The thing is, if I were to bring my own beer or wine to anything at my former Southern Baptist churches I would get a stern rebuke from one of the pastors.  So...

... basically, do you have any suggestions for me?  The Church I plan to visit is Greek Orthodox Church in America, and it is not a small one.  What I should bring to Pascha?  Obviously I should bring a prepared heart before God well before the liturgy.   Any suggestions on the type of food or drink to bring for the actual feast?

Should I even go to a Greek Church?  Do you think I would be more welcome at an OCA church while traveling? (Although I have Sicilian roots, I'm not Greek at all.  I'm a second generation American.)  Sorry if these last questions offend.  I'm just not sure how any of this orthodox stuff works yet... and obviously my own background is a bit, um, screwy.

thanks for any insights,
Jason
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« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2012, 01:41:17 PM »

I doubt anyone will bring the stuff Wink

Mr. Panos is eager to lecture about the way Greeks celebrate Easter.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2012, 01:46:29 PM by Michał Kalina » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2012, 01:55:08 PM »


Wear comfortable shoes, and get some sleep before the service begins!!!!

It's going to be a long, exciting and rewarding night and morning!!!

I don't know how the Greeks do it, only the Ukrainians....and boy do we do it!

Everyone brings a basket to be blessed.  These are set up on tables in the church hall.

Once the Paschal services are over, everyone crowds downstairs, lights the candles in the baskets and awaits the priest to come and bless them.  This is around 3 or 3:30 a.m! 

Once blessed, many people rush home!  Others stay and share the food that just got blessed. 

There's no fancy meal, just the bread, eggs, cheese, sausage, etc.

...but, it's the best food, ever! 

That first bit of kovbasa (sausage) is the best kovbasa!!!!

That's how we do it!

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« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2012, 02:35:16 PM »


Whoa!  After watching that video I think I'm going to stick with the OCA.  lol
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« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2012, 02:40:34 PM »


This is going on my Facebook:

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« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2012, 02:51:19 PM »

All of my experiences in Greek churches go against the "you're not Greek, why are you here?" stereotype, so it's tough to predict what you'll encounter. I just visited a Greek church this morning and everyone was friendly and welcoming (I'm half Chinese and it shows pretty well). Chances are most people will just be doing their own thing and won't really notice you.
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« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2012, 03:00:17 PM »

i think i'm just going to go home after the service ends this year...
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« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2012, 03:06:43 PM »

All of my experiences in Greek churches go against the "you're not Greek, why are you here?" stereotype, so it's tough to predict what you'll encounter. I just visited a Greek church this morning and everyone was friendly and welcoming (I'm half Chinese and it shows pretty well). Chances are most people will just be doing their own thing and won't really notice you.

Seconded. I am white but my wife is Japanese, making our kids halfsies. Everyone has been nothing but welcoming. My kids and I were baptized and chrismated, respectively, about two weeks ago. Our priest loves my wife's sushi!

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« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2012, 03:15:28 PM »

i have heard the greek service is lovely (pls ignore the dodgy video!) and they have a special bit in the service that we have copied.
before it is announced that Christ is risen, it is all dark and serious, then after, it is light and loud and very exciting! feel free to make (lots of) noise. the greeks in the church i visited in uk were welcoming and kind.
i won't tell u more about the paschal service, it will spoil the surprise!
 Wink
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« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2012, 05:41:10 PM »

All of my experiences in Greek churches go against the "you're not Greek, why are you here?" stereotype, so it's tough to predict what you'll encounter. I just visited a Greek church this morning and everyone was friendly and welcoming (I'm half Chinese and it shows pretty well). Chances are most people will just be doing their own thing and won't really notice you.

Do you read Chinese? We had an Orthodox Chinese man at our parish for awhile. He read the Gospel for Agape Vespers in Chinese. I think he read the whole thing three times, instead of dividing it up into three sections because Chinese is such a quick language. Makes me want to use liturgical Chinese for our longer services, lol.
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« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2012, 05:42:40 PM »

Acts,

Just relax and be joyful. Don't let whatever snafus may occur phase you. Of course, it helps if you get to know people. But, God-willing, there will be gracious people wherever you go who will adopt you.

Have a blessed Holy Week,

Eric
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« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2012, 05:56:36 PM »

i think i'm just going to go home after the service ends this year...

Really?  If I did that, then I'd be missing communion.  You see, for me (as a catechumen), I don't get to drink the Blood.  So wine and a meal with the Brothers and Sisters is the closest I can get to it.  Wine is not served every Sunday at the meal after the liturgy at my church.  So I'm really looking forward to finally drinking with some orthodox people... if that makes any sense.
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« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2012, 05:58:02 PM »

Acts,

Just relax and be joyful. Don't let whatever snafus may occur phase you. Of course, it helps if you get to know people. But, God-willing, there will be gracious people wherever you go who will adopt you.

Have a blessed Holy Week,

Eric

Thank you.
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« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2012, 05:34:55 PM »


Thanks Mical, that video was hilarious.  Unfortunately, I'm starting to think there may be some truth to it (as far as some Greeks misrepresenting orthodox Passover to the world).  

When I called the Greek church I was considering celebrating Pascha with to ask about service times and how to bring anything to the feast, they said they don't do the feast until later in the afternoon.  And it is $10 to get in.  Then I can buy my food from their vendors inside.  They're nice enough to let me bring my own food too though.  That $10 charge struck me as... not quite right.  So I went to the website and poked around a little more.  Keep in mind a website is basically the front door of the church in modern America.  Under "Sacraments" it says, "Baptism is required for salvation..." Immediately following that were the "fees" for baptism. $500 for an adult (up that to $600 for the infants).  I wish I was kidding.  I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.  I opted for cry.

So, needless to say... I'll be finding another church to celebrate with.  Thankfully there are a few OCA ones down there.  I called a couple of them for details, looked at their websites, and they seem to be ... um... orthodox.  Thank God.

God have mercy on me, a sinner.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2012, 05:43:51 PM by acts420 » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2012, 07:31:14 PM »

P.S. - I just want to add the reason that $10 charge struck me as being somewhat "off."  Its not because of the amount.  I'm not a cheapskate, and I hope I have not come across as one.  I would gladly have dropped a $20 in any of the donation buckets.  Rather, it struck me because I believe ministry should always be offered for free.  In my heart I believe that.  Donations *can* be accepted but even those sometimes should be rejected.  

I can't judge anyone else, and even if I could my own transgressions are too many.  This is just a massive issue for me.  Some things I saw, what I would term systemic abuses, in my former "evangelical Christian" experiences struck my heart very deeply in these regards.  I was hoping orthodoxy would be different.  And thank God in so many ways it is.  However, I guess even we have our own little... um... quirks too.  

This hit me like a brick between the eyes to be honest.  I have never even imagined a Church of the living God that charges for salvation.  I have never considered that to be possible.

I'm tempted to go just to see what such a place would even be like.  But... for my first Passover in orthodoxy?  I don't think my heart will let me.  I'm just going to try to find a small one closest to where I'm sleeping that night... whether Greek, OCA, Antiochian... doesn't matter.  Any preference for OCA I expressed was just for increasing the chance of more English in the liturgy.  I'm not trying to set any one Church or culture against any other.  The first one I looked into just happened to be Greek. 
« Last Edit: April 10, 2012, 07:54:43 PM by acts420 » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: April 10, 2012, 09:32:55 PM »

Apparently some even bring alcohol because it is a pretty big feast (so I've heard). 
Heh. Yes.

Bring enough to share.
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« Reply #16 on: April 10, 2012, 09:36:29 PM »

All of my experiences in Greek churches go against the "you're not Greek, why are you here?" stereotype, so it's tough to predict what you'll encounter. I just visited a Greek church this morning and everyone was friendly and welcoming (I'm half Chinese and it shows pretty well). Chances are most people will just be doing their own thing and won't really notice you.

Do you read Chinese?

Nah, not really. I can speak some but I'm basically illiterate.

Quote
We had an Orthodox Chinese man at our parish for awhile. He read the Gospel for Agape Vespers in Chinese. I think he read the whole thing three times, instead of dividing it up into three sections because Chinese is such a quick language. Makes me want to use liturgical Chinese for our longer services, lol.

It would be possible to stretch out the reading in Chinese. You can intone with great gravity and pomp like a Confucian scholar reciting the Analects.
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« Reply #17 on: April 11, 2012, 05:13:07 AM »

I don't understand what do you have against Mr. Panos. I'd love to spend Eastern with him.
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