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Author Topic: Conversion process  (Read 2971 times) Average Rating: 0
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smalltowngl
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« on: November 11, 2004, 02:34:24 PM »

For those of you that have converted, how open with the conversion process was your priest?  I've asked the priest at the church about what I need to do and expect, but I haven't gotten much of an answer other than a list of books to read (which I requested) and was told to attend Divine Liturgy.  I'm doing that.  

THis parish is really small, so I don't think there is an actual class.  I haven't been asked any questions by the priest about anything.  I email him question every once in a while, but they're mainly about the actual execution of the faith (ex. fasting requirements, etc.)  He answers those questions well.  I tend to not have many questions about the actual faith because I've read just about everything I can get my hands on.  I think I'm pretty familiar with the actual belief system.

I'm just wondering how he will ever know if I'm ready or not since it's never really brought up.  I know it's too soon for me to be chrismated right now, but I would like to know that I'm being considered for it some time in the near future.

How should I handle this without looking like I'm trying to rush things?  I just like to have a basic plan drawn out for things so I'll know when I'm on the right path or not.

Thanks,
Kim
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MsGuided
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« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2004, 03:03:44 PM »

Wow, I got a little confused by the end of your message, I thought I had written it in my sleep or something (I'm Kim too Smiley)

I'm not quite sure what the process is either, but I'd guess that you can make an appointment with him specifically to discuss your situation, and simply ask what he thinks about your conversion, and where he thinks you should be, and maybe an ETA, so to speak.

Prayers for you in this process!

Kim

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Jennifer
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« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2004, 03:47:27 PM »

Have you formally become a catechumen?  Are there other catechumens in your parish?  

In my observation, smaller parishes have a much 'individualized,' less 'organized' conversion process.  If the priest has a group of catechumens he might try to bring them into the Church at the same time but if you're the only one then he'll bring you in when you both think you're ready.  

It seems to me that priests often wait for you to come to them and tell them where you are in your journey.
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smalltowngl
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« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2004, 04:43:04 PM »

I guess I should explain the circumstances a little more.  The parish has only about 40-60 people in it.  I'm pretty sure I'm the only person currently seeking conversion.  I was expecting it to be more of a one on one type situation because of that, but I still expected more structure of some sort.

I attend Divine Liturgy every other Sunday because I live 2 hours away from the church.  The priest and I email when I have questions because of the distance.

It isn't the best of situations, but it's my only option right now.  

p.s. msguided, I've had the same reaction when I've read your posts.  It is a strange feeling to see your name signed to something that you're sure you didn't write. :-) LOL
« Last Edit: November 11, 2004, 04:44:37 PM by smalltowngl » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2004, 08:49:58 AM »

Hi Kim,

This morning I started reading your first post, and it was soooo much like my situation, I started wondering if I wrote it in my sleep or something, and didn't remember doing so!!!  The ONLY difference is the 2 hour drive.  I am only a short walk from the church.
Have to run, but wanted to let you know we are in the same place! Exactly!

Irene : )  
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Fr. David
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« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2004, 11:34:42 PM »

Hey, Kim...

The priest that chrismated me seems to be somewhat like yours.  He made me a catechumen after a few months of attending services regularly, then just let me "marinade" for several months.  We didn't have formal catechism, just sort of a free-flowing Q and A session kind of thing on a regular basis, along with the (more important, in his opinion) attendance of the services and acquaintance with the spiritual life of the Church.  So now I'm jealous of the catechumens at my current parish...they're systematically going through Abp. DMITRI's book Orthodox Christian Teaching.  But I guess it takes all kinds...I had done most of my "doctrinal reading" independantly, as have you.

Fr. George waited until Holy Saturday rolled around.  He had hinted several times (though somewhat vaguely) that that was the plan for me and the several other catechumens at the time...gonna do it up "old school," I guess... Grin  Nevertheless, we did have to pin him down and ask directly, "So, yes or no...Holy Saturday?  Is that the day I wear white, or no?"  He finally gave us the green light.

I'd say anyone would know you're anxious; as others have said, perhaps a little nudge is in order if waiting around produces nothing.

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Pravoslavbob
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« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2004, 10:51:08 PM »

It looks like my catechumenate was a lot like Pedro's , only more "loosy-goosy", if that's possible!  Of course, at the time I was a member of a tiny, tiny, parish.  But you know, years later I don't feel any the worse for it, or that I missed out on something by not having a more formal catechumenate.  Everything seemed to flow very organically  and worked out fine in the end.  It's funny how much I see of my own catechumanate in the other posts here.  On the other hand, it does seem like every priest has his own way of approaching things.
"Marinade"......that's hilarious, Pedro.  Grin  But it does describe the situation accurately.  And just how patient do you think the "sparerib" feels while its marinading?  Not very!

Bob
« Last Edit: November 19, 2004, 10:54:56 PM by Pravoslavbob » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2004, 09:32:53 PM »

Kim,

What jurisdiction is the Orthodox Church you're attending?  My wife and I converted in the Greek Orthodox Church of America, and our experience was similar to yours.  The priest did actually have catechism class about every other week for five months, which was good-- but it left much to be desired.  We were never told about true Orthodox prayer life, almsgiving, or fasting.  It had more to do with learning certain Greek words for things we already knew in English.  I'm certain he meant well, but lifted up to us the Greek-American status quo as the ideal Orthodox life.  And this guy was Italian!  But it worked out, and we became more and more convinced that we had, in words of the post-communion hymn, "found the true faith, worshipping the undivided Trinity..."

My point?  Deal with whatever God gives you.  Unless you're on Mt. Athos or Optina Monastery, chances are you're not going to have a God-bearing elder to guide you into the faith.  You're going to find a fallible human who may or may not know what is best for you, and may or may not know all the intricacies and complexities of Orthodox dogmatic theology.  And that's ok.

Now conversely, I will also warn you about the opposite.  Early on, I took whatever I had been told as Gospel.  The Greek way was the Orthodox way, for me.  I found out later that people in the Church can be wrong... and so you have to hold fast to that which is good, and later when you discover what Orthodoxy really teaches, you have to let go of what you had been incorrectly taught.  Or at least, such was the case with me in the GOAA, but you will find the same in any jurisdiction.
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TomS
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« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2004, 12:07:41 AM »

I found out later that people in the Church can be wrong... and so you have to hold fast to that which is good, and later when you discover what Orthodoxy really teaches, you have to let go of what you had been incorrectly taught.  Or at least, such was the case with me in the GOAA, but you will find the same in any jurisdiction.  

Hi Isaac,

Could you expand on the above statements? What exactly were you told that was wrong?
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Arystarcus
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« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2004, 01:04:58 AM »

Hi Isaac,

Could you expand on the above statements? What exactly were you told that was wrong?

TomΣ,

Notice that Isaac said:

Quote
I found out later that people in the Church can be wrong... and so you have to hold fast to that which is good, and later when you discover what Orthodoxy really teaches, you have to let go of what you had been incorrectly taught.

nudge nudge, wink wink.  Wink

 Grin

Kiddingly,
Aaron
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« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2004, 04:48:39 PM »

I started the catechumenate 4 weeks ago, the priest gave me a book to read; "Orthodox Dogmatic Theology", by Micheal Pomazansky. I meet with him about every 2 weeks, and am going to meet with a couple of laypersons who are converts also.
I'm sure there's a pun somewhere in "Dogmatic"  and "catechumen" but I can't seem to make it happen.
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Donna Rose
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« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2004, 08:12:45 PM »

Quote
I'm sure there's a pun somewhere in "Dogmatic"  and "catechumen" but I can't seem to make it happen.

at my church we have a cat that was originally a stray of sorts that the 2 monks who run my church took in and take care of...they never officially named it, but call it variations on "cat" "kitty" "kitty cat" and, my personal favorite, "catechumen" hehehe

im a catechumen also, and so me and the cat at my church have a lot in common lol altho i sense the cat is pretty orthodox already, since it's around in the lobby/narthex during services

(please note: this is meant in jest...i am not implying that my church baptises animals! Wink )
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Tallitot
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« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2004, 09:52:23 PM »

kitty-catechumen?
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Donna Rose
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« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2004, 11:48:22 PM »

Quote
kitty-catechumen?

hehehe :smiley1: that works too!

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hmmmm...
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