OrthodoxChristianity.net
August 27, 2014, 09:19:59 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Catholic to Orthodox w/ questions  (Read 1223 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
izrima
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Raised Catholic, Inquiring Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Rome/OCA
Posts: 82



« on: November 06, 2012, 12:46:20 AM »

Hi everyone!
I was born and raised Catholic: Catholic schools, church every week, the whole nine yards. There was one Lent where I became a daily communicant and began to wonder if I had a vocation to the priesthood. Nearly four years ago, though, I picked up Bp. Kallistos Ware's "The Orthodox Church" and began to question the whole narrative of Church history. I read a few other books about Orthodoxy and got deeply into Russian novels, but at the time, I was living in a city where the only Orthodox church was a Greek one. I went once to liturgy and didn't get it. Though I felt like there was more doctrinal truth in Orthodoxy than Catholicism, I went back to being Catholic because of my love of the liturgy (note: not the best reasoning, I know).

About a year and a half later, I  moved to Seattle and right away went to the ROCOR cathedral in town. I majored in Russian (B.A.) and Slavic Studies (M.A.), but even still, Slavonic threw me for a loop and again I drew back from Orthodoxy. What followed was a year of deep hedonism where I wasn't even going to mass for the first time in my life.

Just over a year ago, I picked up Fr. Thomas Merton's "Seven Storey Mountain" at a used book sale and read it in one afternoon. Slowly I crept back to the sacraments. I started going to mass every week again and took up regular confession. This summer, I took a Jesuit as a spiritual director. Yet still, I felt Orthodoxy gnawing at me; in one of my early meetings with the Jesuit, I surprised even myself by blurting out a question about the filioque. But more importantly, I've been a fan of the blogger Rod Dreher for a long time. There was something about the human and honest way Rod wrote about the tragedy of the goings-on with +Jonah this summer that made me want to look into the OCA for the first time. I'd read briefly about the OCA back when I first read Fr. Alexander Schmemann, but I didn't know much beyond that. This research helped me realize I could be Orthodox in my own language. I started devouring Fr. Tom Hopko's archive on Ancient Faith Radio and getting excited about things. I ordered a heap of books from Amazon and then, for the first time, I went to St. Spiridon Cathedral here in Seattle. I was terribly nervous, but as the liturgy progressed, I felt like I belonged. I loved it. I went home and wrote the priest to explain my situation right away and soon after began attending inquirer's classes.

I go back and forth between Seattle and Vancouver a lot, so I've been worshiping at St. Spiridon for a while now and just began attending St. John of Shanghai mission in Vancouver on the weekends I am there. Meanwhile, at home, I am reading the Bible for the first time in my life and also working through the stack of Orthodox books I have on my shelf now. For most of my life, I've been a religious person, but there has never been a moment, not even when I was thinking about the Catholic priesthood, where I felt as excited and in love with Christianity as I do now and have ever since I started going to St. Spiridon.

So, a few questions:

1. At what point do I become a catechumen? Is this something I request or will my priest offer me the opportunity when he feels I am ready?

2. Should I look at other Orthodox churches around town to make sure this is absolutely the best fit? The community at St. Spiridon is fantastic, but there is another OCA mission not so far away, plus three Greek churches and a Serbian one that seem to use a lot of English as well. Would there be anything wrong if I came into the church at St. Spiridon and then decided to switch to another congregation later?

3. What should I do about my Jesuit spiritual director? I canceled our next appointment, but I am worried about telling him I want to convert to Orthodoxy. He is a very old, frail man, something like 85. I wouldn't want him to feel like it was his fault that I left.

Thanks for your help, everyone! I've already learned a lot just from reading the forum. Your prayers and assistance are most welcome as I move forward.
Logged
Benjamin the Red
Recovering Calvinist
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America, Diocese of Dallas and the South ||| American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese
Posts: 1,601


Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.


« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2012, 01:43:38 AM »

Welcome to the forum, izrima! Always good to see a new face. Thank you for sharing your story.

Allow me to give my opinion on your questions:

1. Inquire for a while. The catechumenate is personal, and depends both on the priest and the one converting. Get to know Orthodoxy, make SURE you want to be Orthodox...then become a catechumen. I say this because, traditionally, the catechumenate is understood as an engagement to the Church, and to break it is tantamount to apostasy. Make sure you know what you want.

2. I think it's always a good idea to get a feel for Orthodoxy as a whole and visit tons of different parishes. I always love traveling to new places and having the joy of finding a local parish I've never been to before. Where I converted, my priest had me attend each of the area Orthodox churches to make sure I wanted to convert to Orthodoxy, and not just his particular parish. He also recommended I visit, at least one more time, a church or two from a tradition I respect, including the church I had been attending prior to coming to his parish, to make sure I did not want to remain where I was coming from. This is advice that I, in turn, always give.

3. You seem to really care about your Catholic spiritual father, and that tells me he cares a great deal for you. He's probably a very hold man, and prays for you. I think it would be wrong to simply leave him hanging. You should let him know, as I'm sure he would be concerned about you. Assure him that he's been a great adviser to you, and that this is something you have wrestled with long before you met him. Perhaps even keep in touch with him.
Logged

"Hades is not a place, no, but a state of the soul. It begins here on earth. Just so, paradise begins in the soul of a man here in the earthly life. Here we already have contact with the divine..." -St. John, Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco, Homily On the Sunday of Orthodoxy
izrima
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Raised Catholic, Inquiring Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Rome/OCA
Posts: 82



« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2012, 02:22:10 AM »

Thanks, Benjamin! Nice to make your acquaintance.

1. You make a good point about the catechumenate. I will talk it over with my priest and see what he thinks specifically. I wouldn't want to make a mistake, especially such a grave one, but it is challenging to wait, especially since I am not able to engage with the sacraments.

2. One of my problems with parishes, haha, is that I've been spoiled as a Catholic--with all of the masses offered each weekend, it isn't hard to visit 2-3 parishes if you really want. Right now, I'm in Vancouver every other weekend. If I take a weekend off from St. Spiridon to go to the Serbian place, suddenly it becomes a month since I've last been to liturgy there. Again, I guess I will have to talk to father about it. I feel like I'm starting to make some friends at St. Spiridon as well, but I guess I could keep in touch with the community through vespers and the inquirer's class.

3. I think you're right, but my, my, is it going to be tough! I have always argued in favor of face-to-face communication over notes and emails. This will be where the rubber hits the road--likely the toughest conversation of my life. And I would like to keep in touch with him. I have been a beneficiary of the Catholic Church, especially godly man such as this father. I do not leave the RCC with any ill will in my heart.
Logged
choy
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,316


« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2012, 02:45:43 AM »

1. At what point do I become a catechumen? Is this something I request or will my priest offer me the opportunity when he feels I am ready?

You need to discuss this with your priest.  We have had with ours.  Basically whenever you are ready to start the process.  It is up to him to gauge how long you need to go through the "program".  Our priest told us of examples where someone went through a whole year, and others a few weeks.  Depends on the knowledge of the person about Orthodoxy.  Normally Catholics are quite close to Orthodoxy so it may not be that long.

2. Should I look at other Orthodox churches around town to make sure this is absolutely the best fit? The community at St. Spiridon is fantastic, but there is another OCA mission not so far away, plus three Greek churches and a Serbian one that seem to use a lot of English as well. Would there be anything wrong if I came into the church at St. Spiridon and then decided to switch to another congregation later?

I've heard of people who'd do that.  I don't know what is the best answer.  If you have a chance to go "parish shopping", why not do it now?  Good for you that you have options.  I don't have much options up north from where you are (I am in Vancouver).  We have 2 OCA parishes and all the other Orthodox churches are ethnic parishes in foreign languages.  But the one I am looking to join has a great priest and a great community, so I'm not regretting that there aren't other choices.

3. What should I do about my Jesuit spiritual director? I canceled our next appointment, but I am worried about telling him I want to convert to Orthodoxy. He is a very old, frail man, something like 85. I wouldn't want him to feel like it was his fault that I left.

You have to be honest with him, you owe him this much.  I am in the same dilemma, I need to tell people at my current church and I am quite close with our bishop.  I still have to muster the guts to do that, it is hard.  I don't hate them, I don't believe they are heretics or anything.  Sometimes I wish there are ill feelings, maybe it would be easier to just disappear from the parish.  But I love them all.  Of course, I want to pursue this path because I truly believe that the path to Christ is in Orthodoxy.
Logged
choy
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,316


« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2012, 02:46:55 AM »

I'm in Vancouver every other weekend.

BC?  You should look me up!  We can go to St. Herman's together!
Logged
izrima
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Raised Catholic, Inquiring Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Rome/OCA
Posts: 82



« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2012, 03:02:50 AM »

Hi Choy!
Yes, I did mean Vancouver, BC variety. Looks like St. Herman is in Langley. Kind of a hike, but I'm sure we can work something out. I stay in Kerrisdale. St. John of Shanghai is just off Commercial Drive. If you haven't been down, you should try it. Everyone was super nice there, I probably got eight pieces of bread on my first visit. The weird thing is that most of the parishioners seem to be hipsters, but whatever the outward appearance, they are super sincere in their worship and quite friendly.

You raised a question for me about the catechumenate--are catechumens only received at Easter? I know typical Catholic practice is to have one RCIA class/year that finishes up with reception at the Easter Vigil.

I don't envy your separation situation. I've followed some of your other threads and it sounds especially tough for you because of your family ethnic background in EC. My family are devout Catholics of distant Irish extraction, but I don't imagine it will be too hard to tell them. They love me quite unconditionally and will probably be glad I have found a church I love.
Logged
choy
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,316


« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2012, 03:08:22 AM »

Hi Choy!
Yes, I did mean Vancouver, BC variety. Looks like St. Herman is in Langley. Kind of a hike, but I'm sure we can work something out. I stay in Kerrisdale. St. John of Shanghai is just off Commercial Drive. If you haven't been down, you should try it. Everyone was super nice there, I probably got eight pieces of bread on my first visit. The weird thing is that most of the parishioners seem to be hipsters, but whatever the outward appearance, they are super sincere in their worship and quite friendly.

You raised a question for me about the catechumenate--are catechumens only received at Easter? I know typical Catholic practice is to have one RCIA class/year that finishes up with reception at the Easter Vigil.

I don't envy your separation situation. I've followed some of your other threads and it sounds especially tough for you because of your family ethnic background in EC. My family are devout Catholics of distant Irish extraction, but I don't imagine it will be too hard to tell them. They love me quite unconditionally and will probably be glad I have found a church I love.

St. John is a daughter parish of St. Herman's.  St. Herman's is a great and thriving parish.  As you can see the memberships come from all over the lower mainland and have sprung up 2 daughter parishes (the other is in Victoria).  I wouldn't mind visiting St. John but currently I would go exclusively to St. Herman's because that is where I am inquiring.

Catechumens can be received anytime (same case in the RC) but it is greatly encouraged that it be during a Great Feast.  Preferably of course over Pascha/Easter, but it is not a canon that it is restricted to that.  If the priest feels you are ready then he can Chrismate you the very next Sunday.  Though Theophany is a Sunday this January (if you are following the New Calendar) so if you become a Catechumen now and the priest determines a short Catechumenate for you, then you can surely be Chrismated on Theophany.  Remember this is my opinion, it is up to the priest really.  If he says you have to wait for Pascha, or even a full year, then that is what he will do.
Logged
choy
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,316


« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2012, 03:09:14 AM »

On a non-convert related question, is there a place in Seattle to buy Icons and possibly Orthodox books?
Logged
izrima
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Raised Catholic, Inquiring Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Rome/OCA
Posts: 82



« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2012, 03:58:43 AM »

Interesting background on St. John/St. Herman--now that you mention it, I think someone at the parish did mention St. Herman to me last time. I'm also just itching to get out and see that monastery on the Sunshine Coast. Darn if that doesn't sound amazing! There's one (ROCOR) down here on Vashon Island in Seattle that I want to visit as well...the abbot does a near-daily podcast on Ancient Faith Radio.

As far as Orthodox wares in Seattle, I know St. Spiridon has a small book shop that runs during coffee hour and includes some icons as well. I get my books from Amazon or the Seattle Public Library. I wouldn't be shocked if some of the Greek places down here had things as well. The one Greek church, St. Demetrios, is sort of huge and swanky. Also, at least two of the churches run publishing houses to some degree. The Serbian church (Holy Protection of the Theotokos) has a publishing house mentioned on their website that seems to sell mostly young adult novels written by the priest. There is some sort of Greek breakaway parish (American Orthodox Church?) in Capitol Hill that looks to have a more developed religious press.
Logged
LBK
Moderated
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Posts: 10,505


Holy Father Patrick, pray for us!


« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2012, 05:01:54 AM »

Quote
There's one (ROCOR) down here on Vashon Island in Seattle that I want to visit as well...the abbot does a near-daily podcast on Ancient Faith Radio.

A Canadian friend tells me the monastery is wonderful, as is Abbot Tryphon. My friend tells me another attraction there is Hammi the cat, and the coffee the monks sell.
Logged
izrima
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Raised Catholic, Inquiring Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Rome/OCA
Posts: 82



« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2012, 12:02:20 PM »

Quote
There's one (ROCOR) down here on Vashon Island in Seattle that I want to visit as well...the abbot does a near-daily podcast on Ancient Faith Radio.

A Canadian friend tells me the monastery is wonderful, as is Abbot Tryphon. My friend tells me another attraction there is Hammi the cat, and the coffee the monks sell.

Seattle: where even our monks take coffee seriously!

Really, though, I have heard good things about the coffee. According to OrthdoxWiki, the land for the monastery was donated by the guy who played Cliff on "Cheers." That is awesome. I wonder if he's Orthodox. His last name is Ratzenberger, but he could've converted.
Logged
choy
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,316


« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2012, 01:31:57 PM »

I will pray for you on your journey and I hope to get to meet you someday.
Logged
izrima
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Raised Catholic, Inquiring Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Rome/OCA
Posts: 82



« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2012, 02:50:48 PM »

I will pray for you on your journey and I hope to get to meet you someday.

Thanks, Choy! It might not be until the new year (going to be pretty busy in Vancouver my next few trips up, then heading east for Christmas for a week), but I look forward to meeting you as well!

In the meantime, if you find yourself in Vancouver or Seattle, let me know. I will probably be at either St. Spiridon or St. John every Sunday until Christmas.
Logged
quietmorning
QuietMorning
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 1,921


May my Dad's Memory be Eternal.


WWW
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2012, 03:48:24 PM »

Welcome! Izrima! 
Logged

In His Mercy,
BethAnna
izrima
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Raised Catholic, Inquiring Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Rome/OCA
Posts: 82



« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2012, 04:39:43 PM »

Welcome! Izrima! 

Thanks, quiet! Nice to meet you.
Logged
mabsoota
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Coptic
Posts: 2,463


Kyrie eleison


« Reply #15 on: November 06, 2012, 05:33:21 PM »

are there any of the eastern orthodox churches in the east of vancouver? i have a friend who is moving there, and i know only about the coptic churches (from the internet).
i think any orthodox church that has the service mainly in english would be good for her as she does not speak arabic or russian or greek.
which one would you guys recommend? my friend is protestant, having converted from another religion a long time ago.

please enclose an internet link with yr recommendation.

and izrima, please tell yr spiritual father about this as soon as possible.
i expect he will not be surprised, he may have realised it was happening (some very spiritual people are like this).
oh, and welcome to the forum!
 Smiley
Logged
LBK
Moderated
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Posts: 10,505


Holy Father Patrick, pray for us!


« Reply #16 on: November 06, 2012, 05:45:07 PM »

Quote
There's one (ROCOR) down here on Vashon Island in Seattle that I want to visit as well...the abbot does a near-daily podcast on Ancient Faith Radio.

A Canadian friend tells me the monastery is wonderful, as is Abbot Tryphon. My friend tells me another attraction there is Hammi the cat, and the coffee the monks sell.

Seattle: where even our monks take coffee seriously!


I've yet to meet an Orthodox monk who doesn't take coffee seriously. And, it's practically a canonical requirement for monastics to have, or at least have a fondness for, cats.  laugh
Logged
choy
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,316


« Reply #17 on: November 06, 2012, 05:45:56 PM »

are there any of the eastern orthodox churches in the east of vancouver? i have a friend who is moving there, and i know only about the coptic churches (from the internet).
i think any orthodox church that has the service mainly in english would be good for her as she does not speak arabic or russian or greek.
which one would you guys recommend? my friend is protestant, having converted from another religion a long time ago.

please enclose an internet link with yr recommendation.

and izrima, please tell yr spiritual father about this as soon as possible.
i expect he will not be surprised, he may have realised it was happening (some very spiritual people are like this).
oh, and welcome to the forum!
 Smiley

Do you mean East of Vancouver, which is areas East outside of Vancouver?  Or East Vancouver, which is the Eastern portion of Vancouver.

If they want English Orthodox parishes, there are two:

St. Herman of Alaska in Langley, BC http://sthermanofalaskachurch.blogspot.ca/
St. John of Shanghai in East Vancouver, BC (within Vancouver city) http://www.stjohnofshanghai.org/

There are also a number of Russian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Antiochian Orthodox and Ukrainian Orthodox.  If you need any one of those, let me know.


If your friend wants someone to go with her to the church, let me know.  I'll see what I can do to help.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2012, 05:47:25 PM by choy » Logged
izrima
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Raised Catholic, Inquiring Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Rome/OCA
Posts: 82



« Reply #18 on: November 06, 2012, 06:00:37 PM »

Mabsoota, choy has covered it pretty well. If your friend is interested in going to St. John in the near future, let me know and there's a good chance I'll be there that weekend or next. There is another OCA church called Holy Resurrection (http://www.holyres.org/en/) that is more in central Vancouver and seems to alternate services week-by-week between English and Slavonic.

I don't know about the Greek churches, but I imagine there must be a few--Vancouver has a large Greek community. Most of them have been in Canada for a few generations now, so they probably would have a large part of the service in English.

Thanks for your advice about my spiritual director as well. You might be right about him having an inkling. When we were discussing meditation and prayer, I know I mentioned my interest in Orthodox spirituality to him.
Logged
choy
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,316


« Reply #19 on: November 06, 2012, 07:02:48 PM »

Off the top of my head, there are Orthodox parishes for the following in the Lower Mainland:

OCA
Russian
Greek
Romanian
Ukrainian (of Canada and Kiev Patriarchate)
Antiochian
Serbian

And for Oriental Orthodox
Coptic
Ethiopian
Malankara

This is the Greek Orthodox parish on Boundary Rd. in Vancouver http://www.saintsnicholasanddimitrios.org/
« Last Edit: November 06, 2012, 07:03:38 PM by choy » Logged
NicholasMyra
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian/Greek
Posts: 5,835


Avowed denominationalist


« Reply #20 on: November 06, 2012, 11:52:26 PM »

2. One of my problems with parishes, haha, is that I've been spoiled as a Catholic--with all of the masses offered each weekend, it isn't hard to visit 2-3 parishes if you really want. Right now, I'm in Vancouver every other weekend. If I take a weekend off from St. Spiridon to go to the Serbian place, suddenly it becomes a month since I've last been to liturgy there. Again, I guess I will have to talk to father about it. I feel like I'm starting to make some friends at St. Spiridon as well, but I guess I could keep in touch with the community through vespers and the inquirer's class.

If I weren't already going to my current church I would surely go to either St. Spiridon's or St. Demetrios most regularly. All of the churches in the area are great, really, and most are very connected to each other.

St. Spiridon's seems to have a good community and, at the risk of sounding a bit sectarian, they have a good "worship space" too.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2012, 11:52:35 PM by NicholasMyra » Logged

Quote from: Orthonorm
if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.

"You are philosophical innovators. As for me, I follow the Fathers." -Every heresiarch ever
izrima
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Raised Catholic, Inquiring Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Rome/OCA
Posts: 82



« Reply #21 on: November 07, 2012, 12:43:15 AM »

2. One of my problems with parishes, haha, is that I've been spoiled as a Catholic--with all of the masses offered each weekend, it isn't hard to visit 2-3 parishes if you really want. Right now, I'm in Vancouver every other weekend. If I take a weekend off from St. Spiridon to go to the Serbian place, suddenly it becomes a month since I've last been to liturgy there. Again, I guess I will have to talk to father about it. I feel like I'm starting to make some friends at St. Spiridon as well, but I guess I could keep in touch with the community through vespers and the inquirer's class.

If I weren't already going to my current church I would surely go to either St. Spiridon's or St. Demetrios most regularly. All of the churches in the area are great, really, and most are very connected to each other.

St. Spiridon's seems to have a good community and, at the risk of sounding a bit sectarian, they have a good "worship space" too.

It's reassuring to hear you say that; my outsider's perspective from reading their websites and attending the various church festivals and bazaars was that each of the communities seemed nice.

I like St. Spiridon quite a bit. Physically it is quite beautiful and the music is top notch, but the thing that strikes me most so far is how nice everyone has been from Fr. Yuri on down to all of the parishioners I've met. The small community of Orthodoxy gives it a huge leg up over Catholicism for me. Maybe Catholics treat converts like this, I don't know, but my experience as a cradle Catholic and a product of Catholic institutions is such that I find it incredibly hard to imagine a decent-sized group of Catholics sitting down together for lunch after church each week. I don't mean that as any sort of slur against the RCC because, like I said, I've always been a beneficiary of the Church.
Logged
Tags:
Pages: 1   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.088 seconds with 49 queries.