This may be a more appropriate topic for the Liturgy forum, but I decided to post it here because I'm most interested in the reactions of those who have converted or are thinking of converting from Protestantism, Anglicanism, or the RCC. The general concept has been kicking around in my head since I returned from Compline & Matins on New Calendar Christmas Eve.
In an old Onion Dome
piece (recently recycled), a convert choir member complains that he "doesn't like 'When Augustus Ruled the Earth'" and pleads with his parish to include some Western Christmas carols in its services. As silly as that is, I have to admit that after my third Christmas in an Orthodox parish I have some sympathy for this fictional fellow's point of view. For me, some intangible something
, some oomph
, that I experienced in my old ECUSA life is missing from the Orthodox Nativity services.On the other hand
, I couldn't agree more with what a friend said to me just before my first Orthodox Pascha: "Once you've been to one, you'll never go back." There is nothing else on earth quite like it. 'Nuff said.
My personal feeling can be summed up like this: The West "owns" Christmas, while the East owns Pascha.
For those of you still reading and not already bashing out replies
let me add that I'm talking purely about emotion here -- gut reaction, you might say -- and not theology. I'm really curious to see whether others who have turned East have had similar reactions -- or opposite ones. Also, for those who agree with me, I'd be interested on your take as to why that is.
Finally, allow me to add I wouldn't go back for all the Christmas carols in the all the hymnals of the West.