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Author Topic: Differences between churches  (Read 803 times) Average Rating: 0
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SeekingTruth
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« on: May 30, 2012, 06:26:14 PM »

I want to visit an Orthodox church here in San Antonio, and I've found 3 online--a Greek, an Antiochan, and an OCA. What are the differences between these? Also, I've heard about some potential converts being rebuffed when visiting parishes because they tend toward "ethnic insulation".
What should I expect?
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age234
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« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2012, 07:07:05 PM »

Broadly speaking:

— Antiochian churches have an Arab heritage. Greek churches have a Greek heritage. Antiochian and Greek come from the Byzantine liturgical tradition. OCA churches have a Russian heritage and Slavic liturgical tradition.

— Antiochian and OCA will be completely or mostly English, while the Greeks tend to use both Greek and English more equally.

— Most of our worship is done standing. OCA is less likely to have pews, while Antiochian and Greek parishes tend to have them. (Pews or not, every church I've been to has had seating available for people who cannot stand, incase that's a problem.)

Beyond this and apart from liturgical minutae, it's hard to say what they will be like. Every parish will have its own flavor. I would visit all of them and see where you feel more at home.

As far as ethnic issues, that also depends on the individual parish. I go to an ethnic parish and I never felt like I was being rebuffed. I've never met anyone who has told me they have been. The most I've heard was confusion ("Why would an American want to be Orthodox?"), but not hostility. I'm sure those kinds of parishes exist somewhere, but their presence is a bit overblown I think.

I hope your visits go well! Smiley
« Last Edit: May 30, 2012, 07:12:38 PM by age234 » Logged
witega
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« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2012, 08:20:56 PM »

I want to visit an Orthodox church here in San Antonio, and I've found 3 online--a Greek, an Antiochan, and an OCA. What are the differences between these? Also, I've heard about some potential converts being rebuffed when visiting parishes because they tend toward "ethnic insulation".
What should I expect?

I don't know the Greek church in San Antonio, but you won't have to worry about 'ethnic insulation' at either the Antiochian or the OCA churches. Both are all in English. St. Anthony's (OCA) doesn't have pews. Also, Fr. Leo (the priest at St. Anthony's) is an RC convert.
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SeekingTruth
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« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2012, 09:53:11 PM »

Thanks, that's good to know.  Smiley He'll be in a good position to answer questions I'll have.

Are you also in SA?
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witega
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« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2012, 10:10:35 PM »

Thanks, that's good to know.  Smiley He'll be in a good position to answer questions I'll have.

Are you also in SA?

No, I live in Dallas, but my godson is in San Antonio, and I've been to St. Anthony's a number of times over the years. I only know the Antiochian parish there through him but I've heard plenty of good things about the priest there as well. And I mentioned Fr. Leo's background specifically because I noticed your 'status' :-)
« Last Edit: May 30, 2012, 10:12:09 PM by witega » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2012, 10:15:03 PM »

I am going to try out this too and will for the first time on sunday visit a more multi-etnich parish that is under the Constaninople patriarchate.
It`s a bad thing to critizise or blame anyone (I am the sinner, the guilty one and maybe (yes maybe the one, who made the wrong choice).
But my catechumenate was more or less put on hold yesterday.

We have had classes for three months and this was the last one before christmas. When I asked "what happens now?" the answer was that it is not certain there would be anymore. Understanding that the parish not really have any resources to take care of new people, as it is mainly a russian-dominated parish. It is fine and knowing that my priest is sick and needs a surgery, it could be a long time before anything happens
(if at all). Knowing it also can take years, it is fine too.

Realizing however that there excists another parish and a priest that has a reputation for wanting to help newbies like me, I am going to see what the parish is like. Maybe this is not right of me, but then again...how wrong can it be? It is canonical and the original parish. The parish I am in now broke out and formed it`s own parish 16 years ago.
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« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2012, 10:00:00 AM »

In our Antiochian church English is primarily used although we will alternate various liturgical hymns & responses to Arabic, Slavonic, & Greek. For ex. for about 4 out of 5 weeks the Hymn of the Cherubim is sung in English & then will alternate to Slavonic or Arabic on the lesser frequency. Every couple months there seems to be a cycle in which Arabic will be used to occupy more than 1/3 of the liturgy. So depending on the week or parish different impressions can be had.

I have only otherwise attended the liturgy at an OCA church several times & that was always in English.

As far as the "ethnic" parish, all I can say is that I think some churches have not had many visitors in general. In this case, the "ethnic" culture is sometimes just a habit but not snobbery. Our church seems to fall into this tendency; most people are basically friendly, genuinely faithful, not theologically deep, & will cluster in familiar circles during coffee hour. You will not get much Orthodoxy after the DL, some friendly overtures & a visitor may feel welcome. It was socially easy for me to convert since my father's family were cradle Orthodox in my parish; my catechesis was thorough.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2012, 10:06:04 AM by recent convert » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2012, 11:53:16 AM »

seekingTruth,
may God guide u.
tommelomsky,
i don't think you're doing the wrong thing, at least it's not wrong to visit the other church.

we should all (ok, people who are not able to walk / drive / hop to the next nearest orthodox church excluded) visit other churches from time to time anyway, in order to encourage one another and to avoid becoming too insular.

as for changing to the other church, that depends on your motives; only God knows your heart, and He will guide you.
eg. if you are bored and don't like commitments, that's not a great reason to change churches.
but if you are seeking God, this may be a good reason to change churches.
also you have the option of going back to your current church once you are orthodox.
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Tommelomsky
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« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2012, 08:36:14 PM »

Yes and I can tell you excactly what happened: It was a mistake. The minute I sat foot inside the door (a great NO) came to mind inside of me and knewing that it is not where I belong.

And there are people at the ROCOR parish that will help me, so I am staying and will learn people to know, pray, trust in God and listen to His guidance. The last days I am so ashamed of. Selfish emotions got the better of me.

I pray for my priest to have his surgery soon and recover just fine. He didn`t say the thinks I wished to hear (to the study group), but he said the things we needed to hear. As for motivation, it was the best thing that could happen. It took three days to realize it.
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The meaning of life is to acquire the grace of the Holy Spirit.
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« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2012, 08:55:05 PM »

I want to visit an Orthodox church here in San Antonio, and I've found 3 online--a Greek, an Antiochan, and an OCA. What are the differences between these? Also, I've heard about some potential converts being rebuffed when visiting parishes because they tend toward "ethnic insulation".
What should I expect?

I don't know the Greek church in San Antonio, but you won't have to worry about 'ethnic insulation' at either the Antiochian or the OCA churches. Both are all in English. St. Anthony's (OCA) doesn't have pews. Also, Fr. Leo (the priest at St. Anthony's) is an RC convert.

Note though that there are ethnic parishes under the OCA.  Either because there aren't that many parishes here in North America or in a part of North America and they want a bishop to be more local, they moved to be under the omophor of the OCA bishop, or they are an OCA parish that has been "taken over" by an ethnic group and have steered the parish towards being an ethnic one.
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