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Author Topic: Predominate Orthodox Church in America  (Read 4998 times) Average Rating: 0
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primuspilus
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« Reply #45 on: July 18, 2012, 12:53:24 PM »

Quote
I agree than if/when all the Orthodox Christians in America are united, then they must form a new American Orthodox Church;  let each parish determine the language(s) and customs per the needs of the congregants.  As I stated in my original post, at my pan-ethnic church, languages other than English have been added or deleted to/from the services depending upon the needs of the parishioners.  Where I live, there is a large hispanic population, and if we are ever successful in attracting some into our church, then we'll be adding Spanish
I personally dont think we will ever have a church structure like the other jurisdictions. There is simply too much money, too much property, and too much investment to simply walk away from. Nobody, not the EP, MP, Antioch, or anyone else will do that.

I'm beginning the think that American Orthodoxy will look more like a corporate body of sorts.

PP
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« Reply #46 on: July 18, 2012, 01:06:38 PM »

Besides the EP (and they have many other income sources too) no other OC depends on their American dependencies. Quite the other way around. Especially not Moscow.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2012, 01:06:49 PM by augustin717 » Logged
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« Reply #47 on: July 18, 2012, 01:34:58 PM »

Not to mention all the times I go to a Greek parish and everyone speaks Greek to eachother and exclude me and anyother non-Greek person.

You can't force people to like you or talk to you.

I sait it isn't just me, they do it to every Greek person.

Michal, sometimes you really annoy me with that thing you do.
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« Reply #48 on: July 18, 2012, 01:34:58 PM »

I've only once visited an EP parish (for vespers) with my family.

Before the service I approached two young guys who happened to speak English and they told me when the vespers start etc. Secondly we were approached by a deacon who gave us a detailed tour on the church (and realised we have some common friends). Finally we were blessed by the local bishop.

No, I can't say it was not welcoming enough. For me maybe to much.

Does that somehow negate my experience?
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« Reply #49 on: July 18, 2012, 01:34:58 PM »

If this is not your experience with a GOAA parish, I'd like to see from where it is that you are seeing all this cultural orientation.

2 Greek priests told me "Orthodoxy is not for Scandinavians, it is for Greeks, Arabs, and Slavs.". I had to seek out the OCA and Russians, because the Greeks only want culturally/ethnically Greek people at their churches.

Not to mention all the times I go to a Greek parish and everyone speaks Greek to eachother and exclude me and anyother non-Greek person.

WHERE IS THIS "GREEK PARISH [WHERE] EVERYONE SPEAKS GREEK TO EACHOTHER (sic) AND [EXCLUDES] YOU AND ANYOTHER (sic) NON-GREEK PERSON?"

Trondheim, Norway; Baton Rouge, La; Pensacola, Fl; London, UK; Wellington, NZ
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« Reply #50 on: July 18, 2012, 01:34:58 PM »



As a Swede (Svenska) and Orthodox I guess I am a pioneer of sorts?


Intersting enough, the Scandinavians inhabited what is now northwestern Russia at least thats what Ive been told.

What part of Sweden?

And yes, the Rus tribe.
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« Reply #51 on: July 18, 2012, 01:45:20 PM »

Not to mention all the times I go to a Greek parish and everyone speaks Greek to eachother and exclude me and anyother non-Greek person.

You can't force people to like you or talk to you.

I sait it isn't just me, they do it to every Greek person.

Michal, sometimes you really annoy me with that thing you do.

I really don't understand why the fact you can't make friendships easily is related to that parish.
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88Devin12
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« Reply #52 on: July 18, 2012, 01:58:36 PM »

Quote
I agree than if/when all the Orthodox Christians in America are united, then they must form a new American Orthodox Church;  let each parish determine the language(s) and customs per the needs of the congregants.  As I stated in my original post, at my pan-ethnic church, languages other than English have been added or deleted to/from the services depending upon the needs of the parishioners.  Where I live, there is a large hispanic population, and if we are ever successful in attracting some into our church, then we'll be adding Spanish
I personally dont think we will ever have a church structure like the other jurisdictions. There is simply too much money, too much property, and too much investment to simply walk away from. Nobody, not the EP, MP, Antioch, or anyone else will do that.

I'm beginning the think that American Orthodoxy will look more like a corporate body of sorts.

PP

See, I don't really understand this sort of attitude.

If people took a little time to read more into the Assembly, to listen to the interviews with each bishop:
http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/thearena/

As well as if more read about the decree from Chambesy, they would understand that this has been mandated. Membership in the Assembly is not optional, it is required. Also, it has been required by our mother churches that we come up with a plan for jurisdictional unity by the time of the Pan-Orthodox Council. It isn't that we "should" have a plan, or that they just would like us to have a plan, it is that we absolutely have to have a plan. This is the same for every other part of the world in the same situation (like South & Central America, Western Europe, Asia, Australia and parts of Africa).

This isn't like Ligonier or SCOBA, where they want to do this voluntarily and nothing has to get done. This is not an option for our Bishops, it is something that has to be done, or I'm sure we could expect a form of discipline like excommunication for not doing it.
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« Reply #53 on: July 18, 2012, 02:12:04 PM »

On the subject of ethnicity and ethnic identity in American Orthodoxy:

"The common stereotype is that the Orthodox Churches in the USA are “ethnic” Churches of certain
immigrant communities. The study shows that this not the case anymore. Nine out of ten parishioners in both
GOA and OCA are American-born. Further, today, more than one-quarter (29%) of the GOA and a majority
of OCA (51%) members are converts to Orthodoxy – persons born and raised either Protestants or Roman
Catholics."
http://www.orthodoxinstitute.org/files/PressReleaseShort1.pdf

When asked: "“How well does the statement ‘Our parish has a strong ethnic heritage that we are trying to preserve’ describe your parish?”"
59% of GOA parishioners answered true, 22% of OCA parishioners answered true
31% of GOA parishioners answered somewhat true, 37% of OCA parishioners answered somewhat true
10% of GOA parishioners answered not true, 41% of OCA parishioners answered not true
http://www.orthodoxinstitute.org/files/Brochuretogether.pdf

Yet at the same time, when asked about how well the following issues applied to their parish, GOA & OCA parishioners answered thus...

"Our parish is open to social, ethnic, cultural diversity"
63% GOA parishioners answered quite well, 70% OCA parishioners answered quite well

"New people are easily incorporated into our parish"
64% GOA parishioners answered quite well, 52% of OCA parishioners answered quite well

"Our parish has strong ethnic heritage"
59% GOA parishioners answered quite well, 22% of OCA parishioners answered quite well

"Local community is well informed about our parish"
39% of GOA parishioners answered quite well, 19% of OCA parishioners answered quite well

"% of parishioners who said that the issue of "ethnic" versus "American" parishes is VERY IMPORTANT to be openly discussed in the Church"
45% of GOA parishioners answered very important, 40% of OCA parishioners answered very important

http://www.orthodoxinstitute.org/files/OrthChurchFullReport.pdf
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Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)
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« Reply #54 on: July 18, 2012, 02:34:00 PM »

Quote
I agree than if/when all the Orthodox Christians in America are united, then they must form a new American Orthodox Church;  let each parish determine the language(s) and customs per the needs of the congregants.  As I stated in my original post, at my pan-ethnic church, languages other than English have been added or deleted to/from the services depending upon the needs of the parishioners.  Where I live, there is a large hispanic population, and if we are ever successful in attracting some into our church, then we'll be adding Spanish
I personally dont think we will ever have a church structure like the other jurisdictions. There is simply too much money, too much property, and too much investment to simply walk away from. Nobody, not the EP, MP, Antioch, or anyone else will do that.

I'm beginning the think that American Orthodoxy will look more like a corporate body of sorts.

PP

See, I don't really understand this sort of attitude.

If people took a little time to read more into the Assembly, to listen to the interviews with each bishop:
http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/thearena/

As well as if more read about the decree from Chambesy, they would understand that this has been mandated. Membership in the Assembly is not optional, it is required. Also, it has been required by our mother churches that we come up with a plan for jurisdictional unity by the time of the Pan-Orthodox Council. It isn't that we "should" have a plan, or that they just would like us to have a plan, it is that we absolutely have to have a plan. This is the same for every other part of the world in the same situation (like South & Central America, Western Europe, Asia, Australia and parts of Africa).

This isn't like Ligonier or SCOBA, where they want to do this voluntarily and nothing has to get done. This is not an option for our Bishops, it is something that has to be done, or I'm sure we could expect a form of discipline like excommunication for not doing it.

I interpreted Primuspilus' remark differently. I thought "looking like a corporate body" meant that we could be a collection of divisions, like General Motors used to be. Let the folks select the flavor they want; don't force it down their throats.

Give you an example: Austin, Texas. There was but one Orthodox Church when I arrived there in 1977; Saint Elias of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese (AOCA), a pan-Orthodox parish that had been founded in the 1930s by Lebanese and Syrian immigrants. Out of this church came five churches: one Greek, two AOCA, one Serbian, and one Romanian (mission still meeting at St Elias). There are also additional Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches in the metro area. As far as I can tell, all the clergy and congregants are happy that there are more churches rather than less. For one thing, it gives folks a choice and for another the increased number itself is an outreach tool. The Austin experience is similar to the well known business phenomenon: when two same businesses are located near each other, instead of splitting the customers, they each get more than they had originally.

I think that this approach can work for the foreseeable future and, as long as there is no push to force everybody to standardize 100%, I think you will have a natural growth of a distinct indigenous American church, which will be yet another flavor among many. I find that prospect thrilling: who likes to go to an ice cream shop that has only chocolate, vanilla and strawberry only?
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« Reply #55 on: July 18, 2012, 03:10:14 PM »

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I agree than if/when all the Orthodox Christians in America are united, then they must form a new American Orthodox Church;  let each parish determine the language(s) and customs per the needs of the congregants.  As I stated in my original post, at my pan-ethnic church, languages other than English have been added or deleted to/from the services depending upon the needs of the parishioners.  Where I live, there is a large hispanic population, and if we are ever successful in attracting some into our church, then we'll be adding Spanish
I personally dont think we will ever have a church structure like the other jurisdictions. There is simply too much money, too much property, and too much investment to simply walk away from. Nobody, not the EP, MP, Antioch, or anyone else will do that.

I'm beginning the think that American Orthodoxy will look more like a corporate body of sorts.

PP

See, I don't really understand this sort of attitude.

If people took a little time to read more into the Assembly, to listen to the interviews with each bishop:
http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/thearena/

As well as if more read about the decree from Chambesy, they would understand that this has been mandated. Membership in the Assembly is not optional, it is required. Also, it has been required by our mother churches that we come up with a plan for jurisdictional unity by the time of the Pan-Orthodox Council. It isn't that we "should" have a plan, or that they just would like us to have a plan, it is that we absolutely have to have a plan. This is the same for every other part of the world in the same situation (like South & Central America, Western Europe, Asia, Australia and parts of Africa).

This isn't like Ligonier or SCOBA, where they want to do this voluntarily and nothing has to get done. This is not an option for our Bishops, it is something that has to be done, or I'm sure we could expect a form of discipline like excommunication for not doing it.

I interpreted Primuspilus' remark differently. I thought "looking like a corporate body" meant that we could be a collection of divisions, like General Motors used to be. Let the folks select the flavor they want; don't force it down their throats.

Give you an example: Austin, Texas. There was but one Orthodox Church when I arrived there in 1977; Saint Elias of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese (AOCA), a pan-Orthodox parish that had been founded in the 1930s by Lebanese and Syrian immigrants. Out of this church came five churches: one Greek, two AOCA, one Serbian, and one Romanian (mission still meeting at St Elias). There are also additional Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches in the metro area. As far as I can tell, all the clergy and congregants are happy that there are more churches rather than less. For one thing, it gives folks a choice and for another the increased number itself is an outreach tool. The Austin experience is similar to the well known business phenomenon: when two same businesses are located near each other, instead of splitting the customers, they each get more than they had originally.

I think that this approach can work for the foreseeable future and, as long as there is no push to force everybody to standardize 100%, I think you will have a natural growth of a distinct indigenous American church, which will be yet another flavor among many. I find that prospect thrilling: who likes to go to an ice cream shop that has only chocolate, vanilla and strawberry only?

I see I misread what he was saying now that I go back and read it.

However I think I still disagree with what he was saying. Phyletism is a heresy and whatever our final structure is, there cannot be a difference between our churches. Parishes could and should be able to keep certain aspects of their liturgical traditions. However the parishes located in the same region should be under the same Bishop. A parish, if it were Antiochian before, would simply become Orthodox and while it may be a little more Byzantine in liturgical "flavor" and use some Arabic, there should be nothing separating it from the others.

Take Kansas City for example. We have two Greek parishes, St. Dionysios and Annuncation. We also have three Serbian parishes: St. George, St. Mary of Egypt & St. Michaels. Two OCA parishes: St. James (currently with St. Michaels) and Holy Trinity. One ROCOR: Holy Protection. One Antiochian: St. Basil.

All of these parishes meet together for the Sunday of Orthodoxy, and the events or mission-work from each parish is promoted in the other parishes (both in announcements and bulletins). While relations haven't always been perfect, I think they've been pretty good the last few years. OCA priests help at St. Mary's and St. Michael's Serbian Churches. An OCA priest was also temporarily given to Annunciation Greek Church after it's last parish reposed and they waited for a new Priest from Denver.

Once jurisdictional unity is reached, each one of these parishes should have their designations dropped. So instead of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church and St. George Serbian Orthodox Church. They would simply be St. Dionysios Orthodox Church, Annunciation Orthodox Church, St. George Orthodox Church. They could retain the liturgical traditions unique to each one's background (like Byzantine or Russian/Slavic) and can use the languages respective to their own tradition. But other than that, I don't think we should give any parish any room to separate themselves from the others.

In the past, America had parishes that were multi-ethnic, Greek and Russian, Russian and Lebanese, or such... Eventually these split into their own unique parishes. This was simply wrong to do, because as Orthodox, our church is not based on ethnic identity and in fact, such is the heresy of phyletism. But God always uses the sins of men to bring about the salvation of others. In this case, while it was sinful for us to split along ethnic lines, it (as you say) gives us more parishes.

In the future, parishes should not be created based on ethnic identity, but simply to spread the gospel. They should be created as missionary work or be placed were Orthodox Christians have no parish.

Orthodoxy isn't the rest of Christianity, we aren't cafeteria Christianity. Our unique situation currently of being able to "pick and choose" is not the Orthodox way. Laity belong to the diocese, and are free to attend any parish. But traditionally, you attend the parish which is closest to you, not the parish that has your unique ethnic identity. It is also wrong to leave a parish simply because you are upset at people within that parish, upset at the Priest, or simply don't like how they do things. That is not Orthodoxy.

We should not have separate Bishops or Diocese for each unique ethnicity. If you read about Constantinople 1872, it was precisely this that was condemned as phyletism.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2012, 03:15:23 PM by 88Devin12 » Logged
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« Reply #56 on: July 18, 2012, 03:17:10 PM »

Take Kansas City for example. We have two Greek parishes, St. Dionysios and Annuncation. We also have three Serbian parishes: St. George, St. Mary of Egypt & St. Michaels. Two OCA parishes: St. James (currently with St. Michaels) and Holy Trinity. One ROCOR: Holy Protection. One Antiochian: St. Basil.

All of these parishes meet together for the Sunday of Orthodoxy, and the events or mission-work from each parish is promoted in the other parishes (both in announcements and bulletins). While relations haven't always been perfect, I think they've been pretty good the last few years. OCA priests help at St. Mary's and St. Michael's Serbian Churches. An OCA priest was also temporarily given to Annunciation Greek Church after it's last parish reposed and they waited for a new Priest from Denver.

That is a lot of churches in the local area, which is great!  Our church is Greek but our priest is on loan from the OCA.  They are trying to make it long term, but that is up to the Bishops.
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« Reply #57 on: July 18, 2012, 03:23:38 PM »

Take Kansas City for example. We have two Greek parishes, St. Dionysios and Annuncation. We also have three Serbian parishes: St. George, St. Mary of Egypt & St. Michaels. Two OCA parishes: St. James (currently with St. Michaels) and Holy Trinity. One ROCOR: Holy Protection. One Antiochian: St. Basil.

All of these parishes meet together for the Sunday of Orthodoxy, and the events or mission-work from each parish is promoted in the other parishes (both in announcements and bulletins). While relations haven't always been perfect, I think they've been pretty good the last few years. OCA priests help at St. Mary's and St. Michael's Serbian Churches. An OCA priest was also temporarily given to Annunciation Greek Church after it's last parish reposed and they waited for a new Priest from Denver.

That is a lot of churches in the local area, which is great!  Our church is Greek but our priest is on loan from the OCA.  They are trying to make it long term, but that is up to the Bishops.

Yeah, right now (I think I mentioned this) there were three OCA Priests which alternate each Sunday at St Michael's Serbian/St. James OCA. Occasionally a Serbian Priest comes from St. Louis to serve at the parish.

Also as I had mentioned, the OCA Parish (Holy Trinity) gave one of its Priests to one of the Greek parishes (Annunciation) until it received a new priest. I think the parish does do the Liturgy in English with parts in Greek, but the Priest given to the Greek Parish actually grew up in the Greek Archdiocese and so he knew it in Greek anyway.

I can't remember which Bishop it was, but in an interview with Fr. Josiah Trenham about the Assembly, this Bishop said that he believes that when unity is achieved, that Holy Cross Seminary should teach the Slavic style with some Church Slavonic in addition to the Byzantine, Greek & Arabic. Also that St. Vladimirs and Tikhon's Seminaries should teach the Byzantine style with some Greek & Arabic as well as the Slavic style. He basically said that our Priests (and I guess our Deacons as well) should be taught the multiple traditions and at least dabble in the various languages so that they are better prepared to be sent to any parish in the United States regardless of its background.

I've only been to five of those parishes in KC: Holy Trinity, St. George, St Michael's, St. James & St. Basil's. But all of them felt really welcoming, and I would eventually like to go to the other parishes.

It is quite interesting though, because we also have two Oriental Orthodox Churches: Debre Sahel Medhani Alem Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and St. Mark's Coptic Church. We also have one Eastern Rite Catholic parish: St. Luke's Byzantine Catholic Church. Plus we have one group that has their own parish and "monastery" but are simply a schismatic group.

I was amazed at how much we really have here in KC despite not being that large of a city. (compared to other bigger cities with less parishes)
« Last Edit: July 18, 2012, 03:29:44 PM by 88Devin12 » Logged
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« Reply #58 on: July 18, 2012, 03:58:57 PM »

As well as if more read about the decree from Chambesy, they would understand that this has been mandated. Membership in the Assembly is not optional, it is required. Also, it has been required by our mother churches that we come up with a plan for jurisdictional unity by the time of the Pan-Orthodox Council. It isn't that we "should" have a plan, or that they just would like us to have a plan, it is that we absolutely have to have a plan. This is the same for every other part of the world in the same situation (like South & Central America, Western Europe, Asia, Australia and parts of Africa).

Not Africa or Asia.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2012, 03:59:13 PM by Michał Kalina » Logged

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« Reply #59 on: July 18, 2012, 04:05:53 PM »

Not to mention all the times I go to a Greek parish and everyone speaks Greek to eachother and exclude me and anyother non-Greek person.

You can't force people to like you or talk to you.

I sait it isn't just me, they do it to every Greek person.

Michal, sometimes you really annoy me with that thing you do.

I really don't understand why the fact you can't make friendships easily is related to that parish.

There you go again, insulting me again. Okay, I am perfectly fine at making friends, I am a people person. Those Greeks don't just ignore me, but EVERY non-Greek person there. So obviously it isn't me. I recommend you recognize that and post somethig that makes sense, or shut up with the ad hominems.
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« Reply #60 on: July 18, 2012, 04:05:53 PM »

Not to mention all the times I go to a Greek parish and everyone speaks Greek to eachother and exclude me and anyother non-Greek person.

You can't force people to like you or talk to you.

I sait it isn't just me, they do it to every Greek person.

Michal, sometimes you really annoy me with that thing you do.

I really don't understand why the fact you can't make friendships easily is related to that parish.

If you need to learn how to speak/understand English, they have a thread for that here.
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« Reply #61 on: July 18, 2012, 04:07:09 PM »

There you go again, insulting me again. Okay, I am perfectly fine at making friends, I am a people person. Those Greeks don't just ignore me, but EVERY non-Greek person there. So obviously it isn't me. I recommend you recognize that and post somethig that makes sense, or shut up with the ad hominems.

OK, they ignore. So what?
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« Reply #62 on: July 18, 2012, 04:25:28 PM »

I assume the sort of thing I am seeing on this thread is one of the reasons it is such a slow process to merge all the different jurisdictions in America.
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« Reply #63 on: July 18, 2012, 04:50:46 PM »

There you go again, insulting me again. Okay, I am perfectly fine at making friends, I am a people person. Those Greeks don't just ignore me, but EVERY non-Greek person there. So obviously it isn't me. I recommend you recognize that and post somethig that makes sense, or shut up with the ad hominems.

OK, they ignore. So what?

They were rude an un-inviting for every one that wasn't of their ethnic group. Must I say the word?

I'm sure most aren't that way, but it seems to be that way in nearly every Greek parish I visit.
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« Reply #64 on: July 18, 2012, 04:51:44 PM »

They were rude because they told you to leave or they did not expand the red carpet for you?
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« Reply #65 on: July 18, 2012, 04:56:54 PM »

Well since this is still going on I'm going to put my 2 cents in, which is not meant to validate or invalidate anything said by anyone else, it's just my rather limited experience. I've only been to one liturgy at a Greek Church, in addition to staying at a Greek Monastery for a weekend (and visiting another Greek monastery, but only for a couple hours). At the Church I felt out of place, but that probably had more to do with my awkwardness and social anxiety (it was the biggest Orthodox Church I'd been in, stuff was in Greek, I hardly knew anyone, etc.)  At the monastery I felt very welcomed, though. The monk who I spent most of the time with learning how they went about things was very nice, and we talked about a number of different subjects. (Admittedly, that he had been an Antiochian before becoming a monk, and that I was an Antiochian at the time, may have had some very minor impact.) I did not feel excluded because I wasn't Greek/Serbian/Russian/etc.
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« Reply #66 on: July 18, 2012, 05:31:17 PM »

I am sure there are churches everywhere which display ethnic resistance, but I do not believe that is common place.  I have heard Russian churches are more resistant to non-members than Greeks, but have no firsthand experience to reference.

 I would never be considered Greek, but my church welcomed me openly and are wonderful people.  If I do not fit in, it is a result of my actions, not theirs.  Every time I see them, they smile and speak to me, even outside church.  My first few visits, it was all I could do to keep from being pulled into a conversation during coffee hour.  Admittedly, we are more Pan-Orthodox, but still under Greek jurisdiction and predominately Greek in membership.

 I even learned one of the members is relatives to the owners of some restaurants in my hometown several hours and a state away.  I have thoroughly enjoyed my church.
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« Reply #67 on: July 18, 2012, 06:56:59 PM »

Not to mention all the times I go to a Greek parish and everyone speaks Greek to eachother and exclude me and anyother non-Greek person.

Since most first-generation, let alone 2nd-3rd, Greek-Americans barely speak any Greek, and you said they all spoke Greek to each other, they must be immigrants.  Maybe they don't speak English?

Is it a large church?  It seems to me in smaller churches it's usually a lot easier to get to know people.
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« Reply #68 on: July 18, 2012, 07:37:48 PM »

I'm so happy to see that many of you do not have the "GOAA churches are Greek social clubs" bias.

(PARTIAL) REPLY TO REPLY NO. 33

Liza, There are only two (maybe 3) Albanian parishes under the Ecumenical Patriarchate.  I don't know how many they have, but there are quite a few more in an Albanian Archdiocese that is within the OCA.

In my post, I spoke of MY experience growing up in One Particular GOA church.  I NEVER said that my experience was typical.  I even allowed that I might have been mistaken in my perceptions.  Would you prefer that I LIE about MY experiences so as not to offend your Greek sensibilities? 

BTW, I am not a self-loathing Greek, but I am an American before I am a Greek, and I am an Orthodox Christian before I am an American (a fact which irks some of the Greeks to whom this has been told).

Do you think I criticized you or your post for some reason in my Reply No. 41?  In no way did I intend to criticize you.  I do not understand why you wrote this post, would you mind elaborating?

I am also in full agreement with you as to your patriotic and religious priorities.
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« Reply #69 on: July 18, 2012, 11:04:45 PM »

Basil, I quoted the wrong post in my reply; this was the post I intended to respond to:

For some reason that is a perception on this forum, that GOAA churches are culturally oriented.  At 59 years old, I've lived through witnessing some ethnicity, but growth in the faith was always the overwhelming dominant thrust of the parish's ministry.  The culture came up on Greek Independence Day, and sometimes "Ochi" Day, October 28th, (when Greece pushed the Fascist Italians back out of Greece into Albania).  Keep in mind there has been very limited Greek immigration since the 1970's.  I see only a little culture anymore in the GOAA parishes, at least in my experience, in the Metropolis of Pittsburgh, (Northeast and Central Ohio, Pennsylvania except Greater Philadelphia, and West Virginia).  Probably New York, New Jersey, and Chicago retain more cultural attachment these days (Canada and Australia too, I'm sure), but really, I don't see this Greekness that you assert.  We do have a Greek School and allow them to offer a Christmas play in church, most of it in Greek, following the Liturgy, and the Sunday School does one too, in English; likewise a 10 minute Greek Independence Day program is allowed after church.  No other mention of ethnicity, none, all year long; just worship and living the life of the Orthodox Church through the church calendar.  We have a Greek dance group among our youth that dances at our annual Grecian Festival, which is more of a fund raiser, than a cultural event and includes instructional church tours (many of which I conduct).  I find GOAA priests dedicated, devout churchman, wholly dedicated to the Christ-centered priestly ministry exclusively.  Our year round Sunday Liturgy is 90% in the English language of the priest's parts, though the choir chants almost all of the a major hymns in Greek still, but it's more because they haven't taken the time to learn them in English yet. We have much more English, probably 80% overall, in the Summer months when we have chanters and congregational participation.  My priest always looks over the congregation to decide how much of which language we will emphasize, but I recall a funeral when he was new to our parish, I am the chanter and went into the Sanctuary to whisper to him he might want to do a little more Greek, but he replied, "They have to understand this is the way we execute the services at St. ____."  Our Liturgical Assistant Priest is an American convert, St. Vladimir Seminary graduate, affiliated with the Antiochian Archdiocese, with a limited knowledge of Greek.

And frankly, retention of cultural activities comes from primarily American born, often 2nd generation parents of the youth, who want the kids to learn the culture, there isn't another venue for that even though we have Greek fraternal organizations.  I was looking over our 70+ youth in the dance groups and I'll bet the majority of them are 25% Greek.  It is not the Parish Council or the Priests, and not our Metropolitan, promoting ethnicity in the churches. 

During his archepiscopal tenure, 1996-'99, Archbishop Spyridon of America reported that 30% of the GOAA parishes didn't have Greek Schools.

The other GOAA parishes in my area are similar with their expression of Greek ethnicity.  Out of 6 parishes in the area, 1 has always been the more ethnically oriented parish.  It's the intercity "mother church," the ethnic orientation keeps its membership numbers up, because no one lives near it anymore.  That church, in the past decade, has declined in membership (They're transferring to our churches in the suburbs.)  The current priest assigned there is American born, and his Greek is not perfect.  When he was assigned, the Metropolitan had their parish council come to Pittsburgh to meet, to tell them the parish had to move more toward English in the Divine Services because their youth were now in their 30's and they are American born, primarily,  (They have youth too, who are the children of yesterday's youth.)

Anyway, these discussions about the "Greekness" of the GOAA parishes annoy me because they ignore the massive decline in cultural association in the parishes over the past 30 years that I've witnessed, and ignore the Orthodox spirituality which overwhelmingly dominates the life of the parishes.  I can recall parish bulletins that were half in English.  Today, there is not a word of Greek in our parish publications.

If this is not your experience with a GOAA parish, I'd like to see from where it is that you are seeing all this cultural orientation.

I guess I was replying to your being annoyed with certain posters and I assumed you were referring to my previous post.  Whether you were or were not referring to my post, I think my reply was a bit stronger than it should have been, and I apologize for doing so (my Greek temper, you know). 
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« Reply #70 on: July 19, 2012, 12:30:13 AM »

They were rude because they told you to leave or they did not expand the red carpet for you?

Because they told me their church was for Greeks.
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« Reply #71 on: July 19, 2012, 12:30:56 AM »

Well Bigsinner, I had to go back and check, and to be honest, I was reacting to your other post and a few others.  But, no, I would not expect you to lie, but I felt compelled to present my experience.  I'd be interested to know where that GOAA parish is.  As I noted, I don't see what you experienced in the GOAA.  I'd almost want to report that parish to the Archbishop or if it is in Pennsylvania, I would want Metropolitan Savas to know, I'm so disturbed that such behavior exists today, but no, I wouldn't do that, unless you would not mind--send me a Personal Message if you like.  Also, I'm quite surprised by the percentage of Greeks in your OCA parish, especially from where you seem to be, there should be GOAA parishes around there; (nothing against the OCA, thank God they are there for the Greek-American's).  Are the GOAA parishes around there like the parish you described, or is there a particular problem with the GOAA parishes in the area?

Greeks are temperamental?  Ha, (just kidding).  Remember Fr. Alexander Schmemmen's comment, (paraphrased), "God proved He had a sense of humor when He gave the perfect faith to people like us."
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« Reply #72 on: July 19, 2012, 02:48:31 AM »

Not to mention all the times I go to a Greek parish and everyone speaks Greek to eachother and exclude me and anyother non-Greek person.

Since most first-generation, let alone 2nd-3rd, Greek-Americans barely speak any Greek, and you said they all spoke Greek to each other, they must be immigrants.  Maybe they don't speak English?

Is it a large church?  It seems to me in smaller churches it's usually a lot easier to get to know people.

I don't know, some of the ones at the Greek church by me go to my university, so they must know English atleast as well as I do. Plus, it isn't just in America, as I said Norway had that problem as well.

This particular one is small actually. But I have faced worse at bigger churches.
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« Reply #73 on: July 19, 2012, 06:27:38 AM »

Because they told me their church was for Greeks.

Ever been to a Norwegian church outside of Norway? Try the one in London and see how much English is spoken. People are friendly and welcoming, but they will not suddenly switch to English when conversing with one another just because a non-Norwegian walked in, nor will they make any apologies for the fact that the church is there first and foremost to serve the Norwegian community.

I am very happy that in my 8 years in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese here, my experience does not match yours in any way.

Plus, it isn't just in America, as I said Norway had that problem as well.

English is a world language and useful to learn. Norwegian is pretty much a waste of time if you're not planning to settle permanently, which most Greek immigrants there probably aren't. Even when I attended the Orthodox church in Oslo which has a Norwegian priest, I had to use English and some Arabic to talk to the parishioners during coffee hour.
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« Reply #74 on: July 19, 2012, 07:15:12 AM »

I am Greek and I find puzzling that many outsiders are in such a rush to excuse the behaviour of the Greeks.

They are, in fact, quite often parochial and insular, arrogant (without warrant), unsmiling, rude and pushy. The lack of individual differences amongst them also suggests that they are put together on some sort of assembly line somewhere.

Can't speak for Norwegians, but I do know their food sucks.
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« Reply #75 on: July 19, 2012, 07:18:40 AM »

Take Kansas City for example. We have two Greek parishes, St. Dionysios and Annuncation. We also have three Serbian parishes: St. George, St. Mary of Egypt & St. Michaels. Two OCA parishes: St. James (currently with St. Michaels) and Holy Trinity. One ROCOR: Holy Protection. One Antiochian: St. Basil.

All of these parishes meet together for the Sunday of Orthodoxy, and the events or mission-work from each parish is promoted in the other parishes (both in announcements and bulletins). While relations haven't always been perfect, I think they've been pretty good the last few years. OCA priests help at St. Mary's and St. Michael's Serbian Churches. An OCA priest was also temporarily given to Annunciation Greek Church after it's last parish reposed and they waited for a new Priest from Denver.

That is a lot of churches in the local area, which is great!  Our church is Greek but our priest is on loan from the OCA.  They are trying to make it long term, but that is up to the Bishops.

Lawl, last time we tried that, the poor man got death-threats.

It was completely shameful, and unfortunate in that he had much better elocution than his predecessor (in Greek, even).
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« Reply #76 on: July 19, 2012, 07:21:32 AM »

I did not feel excluded because I wasn't Greek/Serbian/Russian/etc.

The rank-and-file Greeks don't feel any kinship with Russians, Serbs, Bulgarians, &c.

There are two types of people to them: Greeks and non-Greeks. Other species of Orthodox Christian are still non-Greeks.

The headaches my family suffered when one of my cousins decided to marry a Serb ...
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« Reply #77 on: July 19, 2012, 07:45:15 AM »

I have not been a member of a Greek church since 1983 (in the Deep South). I did experience just a bit of prejudice, but nothing like what Celticfan and Akimoro relate. From the reaction of Basil and the testimony of others, it seems to me that the Greeks in the GOA are a different kind than those abroad. And, that is a good thing.
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« Reply #78 on: July 19, 2012, 08:06:54 AM »

I have not been a member of a Greek church since 1983 (in the Deep South). I did experience just a bit of prejudice, but nothing like what Celticfan and Akimoro relate. From the reaction of Basil and the testimony of others, it seems to me that the Greeks in the GOA are a different kind than those abroad. And, that is a good thing.

Indeed -- more power to them!
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« Reply #79 on: July 19, 2012, 09:26:17 AM »

Can't speak for Norwegians, but I do know their food sucks.

No one in Norway actually eats lutefisk. Don't believe what the Minnesotans tell you :p
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« Reply #80 on: July 19, 2012, 10:18:16 AM »

2 Greek priests told me "Orthodoxy is not for Scandinavians, it is for Greeks, Arabs, and Slavs.".

Well yeah! You can't have just anyone becoming Orthodox, right?

Seriously, though, I've noticed that Orthodox never seem to tire of saying that Eastern Catholics should "come on home" etc, and yet Latin Catholics (which is to say, about 98% of Catholics) seem quite invisible to you guys. The "Orthodoxy is not for Scandinavians" thing doesn't seem any more surprising than that.
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« Reply #81 on: July 19, 2012, 10:18:35 AM »

In terms of awesomeness? ACROD!! Cheesy

What is the metric for awesomeness?

The units are "megafonzies". I don't know if that's metric or not.
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« Reply #82 on: July 19, 2012, 10:21:00 AM »

2 Greek priests told me "Orthodoxy is not for Scandinavians, it is for Greeks, Arabs, and Slavs.".

Well yeah! You can't have just anyone becoming Orthodox, right?

Seriously, though, I've noticed that Orthodox never seem to tire of saying that Eastern Catholics should "come on home" etc, and yet Latin Catholics (which is to say, about 98% of Catholics) seem quite invisible to you guys. The "Orthodoxy is not for Scandinavians" thing doesn't seem any more surprising than that.

Dear Latin Catholic

Come on home!

In Christ

Justin

 Grin
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« Reply #83 on: July 19, 2012, 10:27:11 AM »

Well Bigsinner, I had to go back and check, and to be honest, I was reacting to your other post and a few others.  But, no, I would not expect you to lie, but I felt compelled to present my experience.  I'd be interested to know where that GOAA parish is.  As I noted, I don't see what you experienced in the GOAA.  I'd almost want to report that parish to the Archbishop or if it is in Pennsylvania, I would want Metropolitan Savas to know, I'm so disturbed that such behavior exists today, but no, I wouldn't do that, unless you would not mind--send me a Personal Message if you like.  Also, I'm quite surprised by the percentage of Greeks in your OCA parish, especially from where you seem to be, there should be GOAA parishes around there; (nothing against the OCA, thank God they are there for the Greek-American's).  Are the GOAA parishes around there like the parish you described, or is there a particular problem with the GOAA parishes in the area?

Greeks are temperamental?  Ha, (just kidding).  Remember Fr. Alexander Schmemmen's comment, (paraphrased), "God proved He had a sense of humor when He gave the perfect faith to people like us."

Basil, the GOA parish I described was the one I attended in my youth (I'm 51 now and don't live near that church anymore).  On two occasions I recently (within the past 5 years) attended that church during holy week for holy unction (it's very close to my work, and during the week easier to attend). I was embarrassed by the level of talking during the service.  Now by talking, I don't mean a few words here or there, but multiple sustained conversations.  It sounded like a kafeneion in Greece.  Even though this church has a microphone for the priest, I had difficulty hearing him.  None of the parishioners tried to shush them.  The priest actually stopped the service twice to admonish the parishioners to pipe down, but to no avail ( well, the talking dropped to a murmur for about 15 seconds and them resumed as before).  What else should I assume but that socializing is the number one priority with these parishioners.  

As to my current situation, the closest 2 GOA parishes are about 45-55 minutes away, whereas the closest non-Greek churches are 5, 6, 20, and 30 minutes away.  I am only a little familiar with the two GOA parishes, but I do not see an advantage to traveling the extra distance.  In my mind, Orthodox is Orthodox.  As to the OCA church I attend, I felt welcome here the first time I visited and the parishioners are like family to me.

Talking about the percentage of Greeks in my parish, if all of the regular Orthodox church attending Greeks within a 20 minute radius of my church attended their local Orthodox church, our Sunday attendance would more than double.  I must stress, most of these Greeks were active members of this church before the GOA church was built 45 minutes away.  

edited to add:  I do realize that holy week attendees do not necessarily represent the regular attendees;  however I saw and heard none of the regulars trying to quiet them down.  Only one person voiced a shhh, and that was a visitor (me).  police
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« Reply #84 on: July 19, 2012, 10:36:15 AM »

This is just me, of course, but I kind of think that other peoples' behavior in church, rude or otherwise, is none of my beeswax.
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« Reply #85 on: July 19, 2012, 10:45:07 AM »

This is just me, of course, but I kind of think that other peoples' behavior in church, rude or otherwise, is none of my beeswax.
I would disagree. It is your business if others are being unnecessarily disruptive. I believe your right to worship in peace (ring any bells?) trumps whatever excuse they have for sustained conversation. That being said, in the example given by Bigsinner, I think the priest could/should have taken a firmer position - perhaps even bluntly asking them to leave the nave. Might that task - i.e. crowd control, which really is what it is - fall within the duties of the doorkeepers? But I guess that would mean we would have to have doorkeepers in the first place  Cheesy.
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« Reply #86 on: July 19, 2012, 10:48:04 AM »

2 Greek priests told me "Orthodoxy is not for Scandinavians, it is for Greeks, Arabs, and Slavs.".

Well yeah! You can't have just anyone becoming Orthodox, right?

Seriously, though, I've noticed that Orthodox never seem to tire of saying that Eastern Catholics should "come on home" etc, and yet Latin Catholics (which is to say, about 98% of Catholics) seem quite invisible to you guys. The "Orthodoxy is not for Scandinavians" thing doesn't seem any more surprising than that.

Dear Latin Catholic

Come on home!

In Christ

Justin

 Grin

See now, was that so hard?   laugh
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« Reply #87 on: July 19, 2012, 10:55:23 AM »

This is just me, of course, but I kind of think that other peoples' behavior in church, rude or otherwise, is none of my beeswax.
I would disagree. It is your business if others are being unnecessarily disruptive. I believe your right to worship in peace (ring any bells?) trumps whatever excuse they have for sustained conversation. That being said, in the example given by Bigsinner, I think the priest could/should have taken a firmer position - perhaps even bluntly asking them to leave the nave. Might that task - i.e. crowd control, which really is what it is - fall within the duties of the doorkeepers? But I guess that would mean we would have to have doorkeepers in the first place  Cheesy.

I disagree. Obviously.  Grin
No one has either officially or unofficially appointed me Chief Sssher in Charge. If someone is being that disruptive, even to the point of ignoring the priest, my glaring at them or even telling them to pipe down will have absolutely no effect, but will distract me and my fellow worshippers even more.
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« Reply #88 on: July 19, 2012, 10:56:50 AM »

I had a young Serbian kid tell me several weeks ago that he'd never met an "American Orthodox" before. He'd met Russians, Greeks and such... I wanted to shake him and tell him that he IS "American Orthodox", he ethnically may be Serbian, but he was born, baptized and raised here.

Yet over in Greece, I would have Greeks ask if I were from Russia (as to why I was in church and couldn't speak Greek) and I would say no, America and while they would be surprised, they seemed actually happy rather than skeptical.

I think there are a lot of people out there who may be somewhat ethnically oriented towards the faith, they grow up in countries where that is all that there is. They regard all other Orthodox as their brothers & sisters and are happy to welcome you.

In fact, it seemed to me that the Orthodox in Greece that I met who regularly attended church and who were very dedicated to the faith actually didn't have serious issues and actually were very happy to welcome me. To see converts usually brought a smile to their face because they don't really see that even though they know we exist.

If we go into a church, especially an ethnic one, expecting all the people to be perfect, we make a big mistake and set ourselves up for disappointment. I'm sure for newer converts or inquirers, this is a big turnoff, but for me, I simply ignore it or try to reason with them as to why Orthodoxy is for everyone.

Some Greeks may say to new members, "why don't you try that Russian Church across town?" even while their Priest welcomes you. This could be the first step, not in you turning around to walk out, but in helping them to grow in their faith and expand their knowledge of the faith.

I'm sure many of these people see what we see, and see many people falling to Americanization and assimilating. Some may be legitimately scared of losing their unique heritage and culture. We must try to respect this, while nothing excuses the heresy of phyletism, there may be a reason why they feel the way that they do. It is okay for them to want to preserve their culture, and converts don't necessarily have to threaten that culture. It takes time, understanding and education about the faith. Orthodoxy isn't Hellenism (or any other ethnic flavor), but members can have love for their ethnic heritage and still be Orthodox. There may be a few bad eggs out there, but we cannot just run away whenever we see them.

(and I say all of this while wearing a "got ouzo?" shirt, while I'm not Greek, that doesn't mean I can't enjoy aspects of their culture,  Grin)
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« Reply #89 on: July 19, 2012, 11:04:36 AM »

This is just me, of course, but I kind of think that other peoples' behavior in church, rude or otherwise, is none of my beeswax.

Katherine, I agree with your position most of the time.  Talking here or there doesn't bother me; children being children doesn't bother me either.  When the occasional cell phone goes off (I recently saw a woman sit on her purse to muffle the sound, rather than take the phone out to shut it off because that would be louder and more disruptive) I feel sorry for the embarrassed parishioner, while quickly checking my own phone to make sure it's turned off (I sometimes forget).  On the other hand, if/when the talking prevents me from hearing the electrically amplified priest during the service, then I am being deprived of my participation.  As I am sure you know, we are to participate in the service, not relegate it to the role of background music at a party.  

edited to emphasize, it's not others' lack of participation in the service that I have a problem with, but the prevention of my participation
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