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Author Topic: Why would the church make people a Catechumen?  (Read 1127 times) Average Rating: 5
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yeshuaisiam
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« on: January 08, 2013, 12:54:39 AM »

Something I've always wondered about.

It takes a lot of courage for somebody to show up to an Orthodox Church, especially if they've never been Orthodox.

Once they have decided to join, attended, "starting to get juiced in", they are made a Catechumen...  Which most of us know what that is.

But I have never understood why the wait?   The person is ready to become Orthodox.  The person wants to confess & repent their sins.  The person wants the Eucharist.

If this is what they want and their faith is this way, why not just baptize them?   Why a "trial period"?  
If a person is one of those who are VERY dedicated, then regress later, does this hurt the church?  There are full blown members who leave....

Anwyay, I was just curious about this.  It just seems to withhold baptism and the Eucharist from somebody just because of their "lack of due time" seems very cruel to me.   I often wonder if Christ would have accepted those who truly came to him.

If a person came in off the streets, talked with the priest for a while, and upon him seeing the faith in the person - why not just baptize?   I did not see scrutiny performed by John the Baptist or the Apostles that I know of...

I'd appreciate some enlightenment on the subject.
Thanks
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« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2013, 12:57:40 AM »

Ive wondered the same. Interested in hearing some responses.
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« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2013, 01:02:54 AM »

Just because one attends church doesn't mean that one is knowledgeable in the faith. The Catechumenate stage gives the candidate a period to be instructed in the basics of the faith that they may not otherwise know and to ensure that there is some base level of knowledge before being admitted as a full member of the church. For example, how many Catechumen are aware of the proper preparation for communion? Of the fasting periods? Of what they will be committing to when baptized/chrismated, etc.


-Nick
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« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2013, 01:07:37 AM »

I think it was a good move to start doing it, and wouldn't be against returning to a longer catechumenate as was done in the early Church (though 3 years probably wouldn't work). As for reasons for it, here are a few that come to mind:

- Testing interest. Converting to the Church and then leaving it is a big deal. Being a catechumen is like being engaged, and joining Orthodoxy is like getting married. Leaving the Church afterwards is like a very harmful and nasty divorce. Sure some will complete the catechumenate and then leave later. But if you can weed out those who see Orthodoxy as a flavor-of-the-month, that'd be good for them, the priest, and the Church.

- Teaching. It's good to prepare people so they know what they're getting into. Better they know ahead of time, and not have some "I was lied to!" emotional reaction afterwards.

- Practice. A catechumenate gives people time to start learning how to be Orthodox. And there's a certain psychological safety in the idea that this is a time when you are supposed to be stumbling and falling, and not doing everything perfectly.

- Expectation. Making people wait builds expectation, so that they really appreciate what it means to be Orthodox once they finally join. If anyone can come and go as they please then that makes Orthodoxy a little more worldly.

- Family and friends. Often when people convert there are family and friends who will have to adjust to the change. This is especially the case when a spouse, or parent of a minor, is involved. It's good to give them time to see that Orthodoxy is not a cult, and that it can and will have positive impact on the person, and what it's all about.
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« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2013, 01:16:19 AM »

Just because one attends church doesn't mean that one is knowledgeable in the faith. The Catechumenate stage gives the candidate a period to be instructed in the basics of the faith that they may not otherwise know and to ensure that there is some base level of knowledge before being admitted as a full member of the church. For example, how many Catechumen are aware of the proper preparation for communion? Of the fasting periods? Of what they will be committing to when baptized/chrismated, etc.


-Nick

I understand (not arguing).  But why does one need the base understanding if they ask for it?  If they are willing to confess.  If they are willing to adhere to the church... If they yearn to receive the body & blood of Christ and say so.   If they want the "fullness"...  

If they leave, it is their fault.... Not the fault of the church or the Eucharist.  Even if they don't fully understand Orthodoxy, the church does understand it.  

Is the Eucharist only for those who fully understand it?

I honestly do not believe there is one person on this forum who can grasp the awesomeness and glory of the Eucharist to fully understand it.   "God in us.... and us in him!!!!"  Wow!

It's just troubling to think somebody who wants baptism, is willing to confess, and yearns from the fullness of the Eucharist is made to wait...
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« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2013, 01:19:40 AM »

It also teaches patience--something in short supply with many of us these days. But the spiritual life (especially in Orthodoxy) does require patience and persistence.

"Since the days of John the Baptist the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force."
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« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2013, 01:29:29 AM »

I think it was a good move to start doing it, and wouldn't be against returning to a longer catechumenate as was done in the early Church (though 3 years probably wouldn't work). As for reasons for it, here are a few that come to mind:

- Testing interest. Converting to the Church and then leaving it is a big deal. Being a catechumen is like being engaged, and joining Orthodoxy is like getting married. Leaving the Church afterwards is like a very harmful and nasty divorce. Sure some will complete the catechumenate and then leave later. But if you can weed out those who see Orthodoxy as a flavor-of-the-month, that'd be good for them, the priest, and the Church.

- Teaching. It's good to prepare people so they know what they're getting into. Better they know ahead of time, and not have some "I was lied to!" emotional reaction afterwards.

- Practice. A catechumenate gives people time to start learning how to be Orthodox. And there's a certain psychological safety in the idea that this is a time when you are supposed to be stumbling and falling, and not doing everything perfectly.

- Expectation. Making people wait builds expectation, so that they really appreciate what it means to be Orthodox once they finally join. If anyone can come and go as they please then that makes Orthodoxy a little more worldly.

- Family and friends. Often when people convert there are family and friends who will have to adjust to the change. This is especially the case when a spouse, or parent of a minor, is involved. It's good to give them time to see that Orthodoxy is not a cult, and that it can and will have positive impact on the person, and what it's all about.

Thanks for this response!

I know this kind of sounds bad... Even if the person decides they had a lack of concern for the church, and the church knowingly has the body & blood of Christ, baptism, etc.,   Is it right to withhold these things from somebody who seeks them?

A person off the streets says to a priest "I'm in desperate need of the Eucharist.  I have never been baptized and I yearn for the body and blood of Christ.  I am willing to confess my sins before God"....  

How can they be told to wait?

I know it is a very old practice (yeah 3 years of wait long ago- WOW!!!) and I do not argue it.  

Hypothetically if I was a priest and they agreed with the creed, and were willing to sincerely state that they believed in what it said, I would baptize them on the spot.

It's funny because what you state makes sense, and that's how I always believed it to be. (Though you articulated it wonderfully).  On the flip side, I can't imagine not baptizing one who sincerely is asking for it.
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« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2013, 01:51:33 AM »

I think it was a good move to start doing it, and wouldn't be against returning to a longer catechumenate as was done in the early Church (though 3 years probably wouldn't work). As for reasons for it, here are a few that come to mind:

- Testing interest. Converting to the Church and then leaving it is a big deal. Being a catechumen is like being engaged, and joining Orthodoxy is like getting married. Leaving the Church afterwards is like a very harmful and nasty divorce. Sure some will complete the catechumenate and then leave later. But if you can weed out those who see Orthodoxy as a flavor-of-the-month, that'd be good for them, the priest, and the Church.

- Teaching. It's good to prepare people so they know what they're getting into. Better they know ahead of time, and not have some "I was lied to!" emotional reaction afterwards.

- Practice. A catechumenate gives people time to start learning how to be Orthodox. And there's a certain psychological safety in the idea that this is a time when you are supposed to be stumbling and falling, and not doing everything perfectly.

- Expectation. Making people wait builds expectation, so that they really appreciate what it means to be Orthodox once they finally join. If anyone can come and go as they please then that makes Orthodoxy a little more worldly.

- Family and friends. Often when people convert there are family and friends who will have to adjust to the change. This is especially the case when a spouse, or parent of a minor, is involved. It's good to give them time to see that Orthodoxy is not a cult, and that it can and will have positive impact on the person, and what it's all about.

I think all of these are pretty good reasons. My catechumenate was about a year, and I think it could have been longer - but definitely not shorter. The length of time does a great deal to help the transition to being Orthodox, and not just acting Orthodox for a bit then burning out.

At first, during much of the catechumenate, Orthodoxy is like a new wardrobe. You feel like a new person with them on, and you wear them around proudly showing them off. At any time you could just get rid of the clothes and go get new ones, but if you don't after so long these feelings begin to fade away and are replaced with comfortable familiarity and often a new self-identity. No longer are the clothes depicting something or someone else - they have come to truly depict you. In fact they are almost actually you, whereas before they were just covering you. Now say you bought the wardrobe during a fad or on a whim and even wore them for some time; someone else might see you and think that these clothes are just part of who you are and could see you wearing them at your funeral. However, it turns out it only lasted until the next fad came along or your tastes changed, and the old clothes are put in a box never to be worn again.

The analogy probably isn't the best, but the point is that it is probably impossible to tell the long-term sincerity of a person in a short time. People can be honestly sincere one day yet completely revert the next. It's easy to see this in people who try to quit smoking cigarettes. Wink
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« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2013, 02:07:37 AM »

It's just troubling to think somebody who wants baptism, is willing to confess, and yearns from the fullness of the Eucharist is made to wait...

Societies evolve.  

http://www.stgeorgegoc.org/PastorsCornerCatechism.html

Quote
Thank you for expressing interest in learning more about the Orthodox Christian Faith. We welcome everyone, including our own members, to grow in knowledge of the Church teachings and traditions.

A catechumen is defined as “one receiving instruction in the basic doctrines of Christianity before admission to communicant membership in the Church.” You may have already decided to join the Orthodox Church. However, participating in a learning program does not obligate you to join the Church.

If you have decided to enter into the process of preparation, the following is an outline of the process—its guidelines and requirements. See checklist at the end.
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« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2013, 02:53:40 AM »

I think it has to do with separating the lambs from the wolves in sheep's clothing. Essentially, the catechesis process acts like a purifying flame, getting rid of the unpure elements and strengthening the pure elements. We have no way of knowing for sure whether or not a person really desires the true Christ and is really willing to submit Himself to the Church and be a part of God's new community and Sacramental life just from them saying that they do. People lie. People can be mistaken etc. Sometimes people--*eyes on YOU hyper-emotional Evangelicals*--can make rash decisions based off of emotions and then change their mind immediately later, or want to join for the wrong reasons. What if they are just "Church-hoppers" who travel Church to Church due to their emotions and don't really have any intention of truly submitting and being a part of the Sacramental life? What if they only like the Orthodox Church because of the beauty but really have no interest in theology or living out the Sacramental life?--like many snobby connoisseurs of Churches that we see sometimes? The catechesis process is beneficial in the sense that it roots out those who are truly dedicated and desire God from these types of people, and also beneficial even for the catechumen himself because the constant longing to be a part of the Church and receive the Sacraments can promote Holiness and motivate them to pursue Godliness more.
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« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2013, 05:51:21 AM »

Hypothetically if I was a priest and they agreed with the creed, and were willing to sincerely state that they believed in what it said, I would baptize them on the spot.
A priest-friend of mine actually does something very similar to this, though he ensures that they have a very accurate understanding of Orthodoxy first. I doubt it is too common of a practice though.
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« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2013, 06:08:27 AM »

Quote
though he ensures that they have a very accurate understanding of Orthodoxy first.

Which is exactly the purpose of catechism.  Wink
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« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2013, 06:18:50 AM »

Quote
though he ensures that they have a very accurate understanding of Orthodoxy first.

Which is exactly the purpose of catechism.  Wink
True, so perhaps it could be understood as a very, very informal catechism. Many of the people I occasionally drove to his church for baptism didn't live close enough to attend classes or even attend a church of their own with any regularity. Economia is the word that comes to mind.
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« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2013, 06:42:43 AM »

Interesting. The checklist on the earlier link does not bode well for me. I work Sundays alternating nights and days for equal periods. When on nights, I attend the liturgy even if it is between two work shifts. But if I had to make those 12 feasts, it would undoubtedly take a decade. (Not that I will keep this schedule for a decade, I plan on rather permamently moving to a schedule that will result in me working 1/3 of Sundays rather than 1/2).
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« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2013, 08:58:59 AM »

It's just troubling to think somebody who wants baptism, is willing to confess, and yearns from the fullness of the Eucharist is made to wait...
Every thing is eventually about truth, baptism into what, Confess what, understanding of the Eucharist, it all matters.

I like to look at it this way. Compare it to marriage, I want this be with this person, I say I love her, I want to live with her, have sex, why wait. Do I really know her, do I understand her, are there things about her that will in the long term create conflict, can I live with all that makes her unique, are we compatible.  To find out takes time, and effort.
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« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2013, 09:32:33 AM »

Asteriktos has described it very well.

Although my family in half is Orthodox and from time to time I was present in the church and even participated 3 pilgrimages, I had to pass the catechumante period. However, it was just 2 and half month made up of a few meetings with my priest, and he said it's just trial period to "make him sure I want to do it". I didn't need any catechisation, explanation of rites or something like that; we just summed up the differences between Catholic and Orthodox Church and discussed some practical aspects in my future Orthodox life: sacraments (how t prepare to confessions, how often take Holy Eucharist), prayer rule, spiritual lectures. And of course I've started attendind Vigils and Sunday Liturgies every week. So, to conclude, it was necessary time for me, although as even my priest say "I was prepared".

So if even people from mixed families need this time of being a catechumen, people coming form another background the more need it to not be disappointed later or to not be cause of misunderstanding in the church.

I think the posted checklist is nto bad idea, but under the condition, that the time of inquring is included. If not, the catechumenate would be lasting long time... E.g I can't imagine joing the Orthodox Church withouth earleir participation in most important services - Holy Week with Pascha, some lenten services and at least 2 Great Feasts
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« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2013, 02:22:52 PM »

IMHO its not a trial period. It is more of a period of proper education in the faith, including what we believe and why.

The reason is very simple. Membership into the Body of Christ is the Eucharist. One should not approach the chalice if they dont know what they believe.

Raising your hand and saying a prayer doesnt make you a member of the body no more than me sewing on a third and fourth arm makes me Goro from Mortal Kombat.

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« Reply #17 on: January 08, 2013, 03:31:37 PM »

Interesting. The checklist on the earlier link does not bode well for me. I work Sundays alternating nights and days for equal periods. When on nights, I attend the liturgy even if it is between two work shifts. But if I had to make those 12 feasts, it would undoubtedly take a decade. (Not that I will keep this schedule for a decade, I plan on rather permamently moving to a schedule that will result in me working 1/3 of Sundays rather than 1/2).

Not every Orthodox community uses such a checklist in preparing cathecumens.
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« Reply #18 on: January 08, 2013, 03:38:59 PM »

The idea that should become a catechuemn so if they leave, it doesn't matter, doesn't really make sense. If someone is a catechumen and has complete faith in Christ and then looses it, it is of no less severity.
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« Reply #19 on: January 08, 2013, 03:48:13 PM »

Just because one attends church doesn't mean that one is knowledgeable in the faith. The Catechumenate stage gives the candidate a period to be instructed in the basics of the faith that they may not otherwise know and to ensure that there is some base level of knowledge before being admitted as a full member of the church. For example, how many Catechumen are aware of the proper preparation for communion? Of the fasting periods? Of what they will be committing to when baptized/chrismated, etc.


-Nick

I understand (not arguing).  But why does one need the base understanding if they ask for it?  If they are willing to confess.  If they are willing to adhere to the church... If they yearn to receive the body & blood of Christ and say so.   If they want the "fullness"...  

If they leave, it is their fault.... Not the fault of the church or the Eucharist.  Even if they don't fully understand Orthodoxy, the church does understand it.  

Is the Eucharist only for those who fully understand it?

I honestly do not believe there is one person on this forum who can grasp the awesomeness and glory of the Eucharist to fully understand it.   "God in us.... and us in him!!!!"  Wow!

It's just troubling to think somebody who wants baptism, is willing to confess, and yearns from the fullness of the Eucharist is made to wait...


Firstly, how can a priest, who is responsible for everyone he ministers to, come to Know the heart of those who feel ready to learn about the faith? Time is the answer.

Secondly and I believe most importantly, priests are responsible to carry the burden of delivering the Eucharist. Should he give the sacraments to every Tom, Dick and Harry who ask to be baptized without assessment? It is a coal that burns the unworthy! It is detrimental to the soul of those who are not yet ready... Casting pearls before swine.

Thirdly, closed communion is established apostolically to protect not only the novice but also the very faith. Are we Orthodox? If yes, then we must practice what has been handed down to us from the Apostles.
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« Reply #20 on: January 08, 2013, 03:50:04 PM »

But I have never understood why the wait?  
God waited 14 billion years to make us, so a few months on our part probably wouldn't hurt. Shocked Smiley
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« Reply #21 on: January 08, 2013, 03:51:07 PM »

The Catechumenate is about making sure the people are instructed properly and that their beliefs are aligned with the essential Orthodox beliefs.  You don't want to give Communion to people who are still uneasy about praying to saints or venerating the Theotokos.

For me it is also a humbling process.  Though I won't be baptized given I'm coming from the Catholic Church, it is still a humbling process.  I can easily tell the priest that I know a lot about Orthodoxy, probably more than the Protestant converts who have been there for years.  But I told the priest I submit to his decision on when he would chrismate my family.

I will take this process spiritually, knowing that I have to be on the outside looking in.  It is not about knowledge.  The books I read aren't going to get me to heaven (though the information can certainly guide me).  What is our path to Theosis is the life we live in God, and that is a process.  Catechumenate is part of that process.
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« Reply #22 on: January 08, 2013, 03:59:28 PM »

Just because one attends church doesn't mean that one is knowledgeable in the faith. The Catechumenate stage gives the candidate a period to be instructed in the basics of the faith that they may not otherwise know and to ensure that there is some base level of knowledge before being admitted as a full member of the church. For example, how many Catechumen are aware of the proper preparation for communion? Of the fasting periods? Of what they will be committing to when baptized/chrismated, etc.


-Nick

I understand (not arguing).  But why does one need the base understanding if they ask for it?  If they are willing to confess.  If they are willing to adhere to the church... If they yearn to receive the body & blood of Christ and say so.   If they want the "fullness"...  

If they leave, it is their fault.... Not the fault of the church or the Eucharist.  Even if they don't fully understand Orthodoxy, the church does understand it.  

Is the Eucharist only for those who fully understand it?

I honestly do not believe there is one person on this forum who can grasp the awesomeness and glory of the Eucharist to fully understand it.   "God in us.... and us in him!!!!"  Wow!

It's just troubling to think somebody who wants baptism, is willing to confess, and yearns from the fullness of the Eucharist is made to wait...

Are you trying to make sense out of all this? You can't. This is one of the reasons why I would never become a priest. I wouldn't be able to do what I think is right. Only what others think is right. If I was a priest a priest however, I wouldn't make anyone wait that much. And the reason for that is this, A person believes today, Tomorrow we don't know. Therefore if I refused to baptize today someone who believes, if they died tonight without the baptism they so longed for, I would probably be at least partly responsible for their loss, wouldn't I.?
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« Reply #23 on: January 08, 2013, 04:00:41 PM »

....Therefore if I refused to baptize today someone who believes, if they died tonight without the baptism they so longed for, I would probably be at least partly responsible for their loss, wouldn't I.?
What loss are you talking about?
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« Reply #24 on: January 08, 2013, 04:22:12 PM »

....Therefore if I refused to baptize today someone who believes, if they died tonight without the baptism they so longed for, I would probably be at least partly responsible for their loss, wouldn't I.?
What loss are you talking about?

that of their salvation. That is what.
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« Reply #25 on: January 08, 2013, 04:25:34 PM »

....Therefore if I refused to baptize today someone who believes, if they died tonight without the baptism they so longed for, I would probably be at least partly responsible for their loss, wouldn't I.?
What loss are you talking about?

that of their salvation. That is what.
Will someone not be saved if they want to get baptized but can't? I know the Catholics teach the baptism of desire, in which someone's desire to be baptized is enough for salvation.
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« Reply #26 on: January 08, 2013, 04:35:36 PM »

Catechumens receive an Orthodox burial if they pass away...
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« Reply #27 on: January 08, 2013, 04:45:23 PM »

Something I've always wondered about.

It takes a lot of courage for somebody to show up to an Orthodox Church, especially if they've never been Orthodox.

Once they have decided to join, attended, "starting to get juiced in", they are made a Catechumen...  Which most of us know what that is.

But I have never understood why the wait?   The person is ready to become Orthodox.  The person wants to confess & repent their sins.  The person wants the Eucharist.

If this is what they want and their faith is this way, why not just baptize them?   Why a "trial period"?  
If a person is one of those who are VERY dedicated, then regress later, does this hurt the church?  There are full blown members who leave....

Anwyay, I was just curious about this.  It just seems to withhold baptism and the Eucharist from somebody just because of their "lack of due time" seems very cruel to me.   I often wonder if Christ would have accepted those who truly came to him.

If a person came in off the streets, talked with the priest for a while, and upon him seeing the faith in the person - why not just baptize?   I did not see scrutiny performed by John the Baptist or the Apostles that I know of...

I'd appreciate some enlightenment on the subject.
Thanks

The way it always was in the original church, you had to go through a "catechism" (though it was not called that), you had to learn the faith, you had to thoroughly leave your pagan background behind.

One should not take the body and blood of Christ if they believe a heresy, or don't accept the orthodox doctrine of Christianity. Even early Christians had creeds that you recited, some can even be seen in the New Testament itself.

Early Christianity was nothing like modern non-denominational Protestantism and certainly nothing like modern so-called "messianic Judaism". Such are modern innovations which have mistakenly tried to recreate early Christianity without any real knowledge of what the early Church was like and simply took the New Testament and modern Judaism and tried to use the two to make up what they think early Christianity was. Both have missed the mark significantly.

You didn't just enter the Christian Church back then like you can in many Protestant Churches today.
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« Reply #28 on: January 08, 2013, 04:50:00 PM »

Will someone not be saved if they want to get baptized but can't? I know the Catholics teach the baptism of desire, in which someone's desire to be baptized is enough for salvation.

Orthodoxy teaches that we cannot limit God to what we can percieve though the Church and the Sacraments.  If God wants to save an atheist, He can.  We can't wave our finger at Him and say, "hey, he isn't baptized, you can't do that."
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« Reply #29 on: January 08, 2013, 06:36:38 PM »

Hypothetically if I was a priest and they agreed with the creed, and were willing to sincerely state that they believed in what it said, I would baptize them on the spot.
A priest-friend of mine actually does something very similar to this, though he ensures that they have a very accurate understanding of Orthodoxy first. I doubt it is too common of a practice though.

Why would you make your avatar Madam Helena Blavatsky from Theosophy?  Your signature also contains the Theosophy symbol representing the worm ouroboros, (eat its own tail), and the star of Remphan?

This is the bunch Hitler adopted the Pagan Swastika from.
Also Aliester Crowley adopted much of his satanic teachings from them.

(By the way I'm not attacking you or anything).

I do butt heads a lot on this forum.  At the end of the day though we all have respect for God, his son Jesus (Yeshua) and all wish to achieve salvation.

I just don't understand this.  Some people consider Theosophy to be completely demonic...

Crowley made a liturgy for the Ordo Templi Orientis (Based of Theosophy teachings).   In this liturgy that he adapted from the liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, he blasphemes everything Orthodox.  Including the Eucharist which he called the "cake of light", which contained semen.

Sorry, it just kind of eeks me to see somebody promoting (I guess that's what you are doing) Theosophy.  Christianity of course takes all types...
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« Reply #30 on: January 08, 2013, 06:49:22 PM »

The Catechumenate is about making sure the people are instructed properly and that their beliefs are aligned with the essential Orthodox beliefs.  You don't want to give Communion to people who are still uneasy about praying to saints or venerating the Theotokos.

For me it is also a humbling process.  Though I won't be baptized given I'm coming from the Catholic Church, it is still a humbling process.  I can easily tell the priest that I know a lot about Orthodoxy, probably more than the Protestant converts who have been there for years.  But I told the priest I submit to his decision on when he would chrismate my family.

I will take this process spiritually, knowing that I have to be on the outside looking in.  It is not about knowledge.  The books I read aren't going to get me to heaven (though the information can certainly guide me).  What is our path to Theosis is the life we live in God, and that is a process.  Catechumenate is part of that process.

In no way am I attacking the practice of this, so please don't take my following question this way...

But what right does one have to withhold the body & blood of Christ, Baptism, or the sacraments, who is WILLING to CONFESS their faith and mean it?  If they confess the Creed it's a confession of faith.

We know what it says, and it fully defines    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oMGgOozpXM "I believe in one God, the Father almighty...."   The creed is a direct confession of faith.   If the person confesses their sins to the priest and is willing to accept the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and the Eucharist as the body and blood of Christ...  

I'm just having trouble seeing "well, you gotta wait.  I want to make sure you know about lent, and that your cheeks will get raw on forgiveness Sunday (jk), and that you will have to pray intercession to the saints & Theotokos..."

Hopefully what I'm getting at makes sense... It's hard to describe really.  The body and blood of Christ is for all of mankind.  A miracle.  Why withhold over "little stuff", if they confess faith, confess sins, yearn for baptism & the Eucharist?

I know it is important for somebody to be a good member of the church, and understand Orthodoxy, however, are the sacraments above these issues if a person confesses their faith & sins?
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« Reply #31 on: January 08, 2013, 06:52:33 PM »

Well, maybe it is to help assuage the issue of people who fail and need more help. Me, for instance.  Tongue
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« Reply #32 on: January 08, 2013, 07:16:38 PM »

Well, I'd feel bad diverting too much attention away from your thread's purpose, but your questions deserve answers.

Why would you make your avatar Madam Helena Blavatsky from Theosophy?  Your signature also contains the Theosophy symbol representing the worm ouroboros, (eat its own tail), and the star of Remphan?

This is the bunch Hitler adopted the Pagan Swastika from.
Also Aliester Crowley adopted much of his satanic teachings from them.

(By the way I'm not attacking you or anything).

I do butt heads a lot on this forum.  At the end of the day though we all have respect for God, his son Jesus (Yeshua) and all wish to achieve salvation.

I just don't understand this.  Some people consider Theosophy to be completely demonic...

Crowley made a liturgy for the Ordo Templi Orientis (Based of Theosophy teachings).   In this liturgy that he adapted from the liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, he blasphemes everything Orthodox.  Including the Eucharist which he called the "cake of light", which contained semen.

Sorry, it just kind of eeks me to see somebody promoting (I guess that's what you are doing) Theosophy.  Christianity of course takes all types...
It's because I am a Theosophist, not a Christian (or at least a Christian by any exoteric understanding of the word). I am here, however, because I still have a great interest in Orthodoxy (and Christianity in general) - mostly for purposes of comparative religion. I share my experiences/understanding with those who ask. This is really a great community. I feel you can discuss Christianity whilst being spared (for the most part) the cant so common of religious forums.

Yes, both Ariosophy and Crowley were influenced by Theosophy, but they departed from its teachings on a great number of issues. We [Theosophists] do not endorse their writings or actions.

Certainly, many have called Theosophy demonic/evil/satanic/etc. It is no such thing. If those critics would actually take the time to examine what we believe, they would be hard pressed to continue in such accusations. Theosophy, at its core, is about dying to self/the passions - acquiring perfected love.

Feel free to PM me.
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« Reply #33 on: January 08, 2013, 07:27:11 PM »

The Catechumenate is about making sure the people are instructed properly and that their beliefs are aligned with the essential Orthodox beliefs.  You don't want to give Communion to people who are still uneasy about praying to saints or venerating the Theotokos.

For me it is also a humbling process.  Though I won't be baptized given I'm coming from the Catholic Church, it is still a humbling process.  I can easily tell the priest that I know a lot about Orthodoxy, probably more than the Protestant converts who have been there for years.  But I told the priest I submit to his decision on when he would chrismate my family.

I will take this process spiritually, knowing that I have to be on the outside looking in.  It is not about knowledge.  The books I read aren't going to get me to heaven (though the information can certainly guide me).  What is our path to Theosis is the life we live in God, and that is a process.  Catechumenate is part of that process.

In no way am I attacking the practice of this, so please don't take my following question this way...

But what right does one have to withhold the body & blood of Christ, Baptism, or the sacraments, who is WILLING to CONFESS their faith and mean it?  If they confess the Creed it's a confession of faith.

We know what it says, and it fully defines    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oMGgOozpXM "I believe in one God, the Father almighty...."   The creed is a direct confession of faith.   If the person confesses their sins to the priest and is willing to accept the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and the Eucharist as the body and blood of Christ...  

I'm just having trouble seeing "well, you gotta wait.  I want to make sure you know about lent, and that your cheeks will get raw on forgiveness Sunday (jk), and that you will have to pray intercession to the saints & Theotokos..."

Hopefully what I'm getting at makes sense... It's hard to describe really.  The body and blood of Christ is for all of mankind.  A miracle.  Why withhold over "little stuff", if they confess faith, confess sins, yearn for baptism & the Eucharist?

I know it is important for somebody to be a good member of the church, and understand Orthodoxy, however, are the sacraments above these issues if a person confesses their faith & sins?
see reply #19
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« Reply #34 on: January 08, 2013, 07:35:54 PM »

Quote
Re: Why would the church make people a Catechumen?

You become a catechumen when the priest initiates your preparation for instruction.

After you finish instruction, ~ they chrismate and receive you into the orthodox church.
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« Reply #35 on: January 08, 2013, 08:46:01 PM »

In no way am I attacking the practice of this, so please don't take my following question this way...

But what right does one have to withhold the body & blood of Christ, Baptism, or the sacraments, who is WILLING to CONFESS their faith and mean it?  If they confess the Creed it's a confession of faith.

Conversely, what right do you have to receive them?  God gives us grace freely out of His own will, not because it is our right to have them.  The Church, being the body of Christ, is God's agent on earth.  If we cannot trust the wise counsel of a priest about the process we need to take, whether it is the catechumenate or our fasting and prayer routines, or whatever, then who do we trust?

We know what it says, and it fully defines    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oMGgOozpXM "I believe in one God, the Father almighty...."   The creed is a direct confession of faith.   If the person confesses their sins to the priest and is willing to accept the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and the Eucharist as the body and blood of Christ...  

I'm just having trouble seeing "well, you gotta wait.  I want to make sure you know about lent, and that your cheeks will get raw on forgiveness Sunday (jk), and that you will have to pray intercession to the saints & Theotokos..."

Hopefully what I'm getting at makes sense... It's hard to describe really.  The body and blood of Christ is for all of mankind.  A miracle.  Why withhold over "little stuff", if they confess faith, confess sins, yearn for baptism & the Eucharist?

I know it is important for somebody to be a good member of the church, and understand Orthodoxy, however, are the sacraments above these issues if a person confesses their faith & sins?

Maybe forward this concern to your priest and see what he says?
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« Reply #36 on: January 08, 2013, 09:26:39 PM »

I am not yet a catachumen, but perhaps I can suggest this to the notion of "making somebody wait who is allegedly ready." Remember the rich young ruler. He was eager and 'ready', but Jesus turned him away despite his eagerness because he was not truly prepared.

I think the the concept of a catachumen makes sense, although on the other hand the "3 years" and the provided checklist do seem a bit draconian.
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« Reply #37 on: January 08, 2013, 09:41:48 PM »

In no way am I attacking the practice of this, so please don't take my following question this way...

But what right does one have to withhold the body & blood of Christ, Baptism, or the sacraments, who is WILLING to CONFESS their faith and mean it?  If they confess the Creed it's a confession of faith.

Conversely, what right do you have to receive them?  God gives us grace freely out of His own will, not because it is our right to have them.  The Church, being the body of Christ, is God's agent on earth.  If we cannot trust the wise counsel of a priest about the process we need to take, whether it is the catechumenate or our fasting and prayer routines, or whatever, then who do we trust?

We know what it says, and it fully defines    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oMGgOozpXM "I believe in one God, the Father almighty...."   The creed is a direct confession of faith.   If the person confesses their sins to the priest and is willing to accept the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and the Eucharist as the body and blood of Christ...  

I'm just having trouble seeing "well, you gotta wait.  I want to make sure you know about lent, and that your cheeks will get raw on forgiveness Sunday (jk), and that you will have to pray intercession to the saints & Theotokos..."

Hopefully what I'm getting at makes sense... It's hard to describe really.  The body and blood of Christ is for all of mankind.  A miracle.  Why withhold over "little stuff", if they confess faith, confess sins, yearn for baptism & the Eucharist?

I know it is important for somebody to be a good member of the church, and understand Orthodoxy, however, are the sacraments above these issues if a person confesses their faith & sins?

Maybe forward this concern to your priest and see what he says?

I understand this.

But it makes it sound like the church is "protecting the Eucharist".

It makes it sound like a priest has the right to directly withhold the sacraments from anybody he deems "not worthy".   

The scriptures state:  "that which you do the the least of all men, you do unto me".   Also it was the tax collectors, women of ill morals, etc., that our savior 'accepted'.

It just seems like a strange concept that a person agreeing with the creed, professing the creed, willing to confess their sins, yearning for baptism, yearning for the Eucharist, would be placed in limbo.   What right do we have as human beings to determine who may receive God or not for those who proclaim their faith and confess?

Would have Christ rejected the least worthy, or held them in limbo? 
(not meant argumentative, but questioningly)
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« Reply #38 on: January 08, 2013, 09:44:17 PM »

I am not yet a catachumen, but perhaps I can suggest this to the notion of "making somebody wait who is allegedly ready." Remember the rich young ruler. He was eager and 'ready', but Jesus turned him away despite his eagerness because he was not truly prepared.

I think the the concept of a catachumen makes sense, although on the other hand the "3 years" and the provided checklist do seem a bit draconian.

3 years?  Our priest judges on a case-to-case basis.  Sometimes there are people who come to the parish as visitors for a while and as questions and attend the Liturgy on-and-off (I guess unofficially you can say they are Inquirers) and when they become catechumens then they are more ready that those who came from a similar background but just showed up in church two weeks ago.  In our case my first visit was March, I've been meeting with the priest since May, brought my family in September, also we're coming from an Eastern Catholic Church.  Yet we have to wait 'til Pascha, though my priest told me I do not require instruction anymore (he has also recommended books for me to read since last year) but I did say my wife does want to ask questions and learn more from him.

I think the longest someone has to wait in this parish is 1 year, coming from an Evangelical/Pentecostal background.
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« Reply #39 on: January 08, 2013, 09:55:00 PM »

I understand this.

But it makes it sound like the church is "protecting the Eucharist".

Of course she is!  Technically, it is we who the Church is protecting from the Eucharist.  Those who eat and drink unworthily eats and drinks judgment unto themselves.

It makes it sound like a priest has the right to directly withhold the sacraments from anybody he deems "not worthy". 

That is part of the job description.

The scriptures state:  "that which you do the the least of all men, you do unto me".   Also it was the tax collectors, women of ill morals, etc., that our savior 'accepted'.

Note the passage I paraphrased above about eating and drinking unworthily.

It just seems like a strange concept that a person agreeing with the creed, professing the creed, willing to confess their sins, yearning for baptism, yearning for the Eucharist, would be placed in limbo.   What right do we have as human beings to determine who may receive God or not for those who proclaim their faith and confess?

The Church is not about rights. Salvation is not a right.  God did not give us rights, he gives us love.  But remember that love is a two way street.  To come into communion with Him (that is why the Eucharist is called Communion) is such an intimate and deep bond, we must be at that state of faith that we are willing to accept everything He offers to us.

Would have Christ rejected the least worthy, or held them in limbo? 
(not meant argumentative, but questioningly)

For the same reason I can't assume WWJD, neither can you.  We do not know fully the mind of Christ.  We know He is merciful and desires all to be saved.

Try reading the canons of the Early Councils.  Back then people can be barred from communion for 10 years for certain sins.  Obviously this is not something new that the Church is doing.  The entry requirement is high, and the requirement to stay in is high as well.  Like I said, trust your priest and trust that all of this is God's will.
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« Reply #40 on: January 08, 2013, 10:06:42 PM »

I am not yet a catachumen, but perhaps I can suggest this to the notion of "making somebody wait who is allegedly ready." Remember the rich young ruler. He was eager and 'ready', but Jesus turned him away despite his eagerness because he was not truly prepared.

I think the the concept of a catachumen makes sense, although on the other hand the "3 years" and the provided checklist do seem a bit draconian.

3 years?  Our priest judges on a case-to-case basis.  Sometimes there are people who come to the parish as visitors for a while and as questions and attend the Liturgy on-and-off (I guess unofficially you can say they are Inquirers) and when they become catechumens then they are more ready that those who came from a similar background but just showed up in church two weeks ago.  In our case my first visit was March, I've been meeting with the priest since May, brought my family in September, also we're coming from an Eastern Catholic Church.  Yet we have to wait 'til Pascha, though my priest told me I do not require instruction anymore (he has also recommended books for me to read since last year) but I did say my wife does want to ask questions and learn more from him.

I think the longest someone has to wait in this parish is 1 year, coming from an Evangelical/Pentecostal background.

Yes, I understand that, I think the parish I am inquiring at will be similar (I come from Evangelical/Reformed), I was only addressing some comments that mentioned a 3 year period and I think that sounds a bit draconian.
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« Reply #41 on: January 08, 2013, 10:24:15 PM »

But it makes it sound like the church is "protecting the Eucharist".

It makes it sound like a priest has the right to directly withhold the sacraments from anybody he deems "not worthy".   

I believe he does, does he not? I think the phrase I've heard is "guarding the chalice"  Huh
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« Reply #42 on: January 08, 2013, 10:36:39 PM »

Perhaps the best-known of the pre-communion prayers:

I believe, O Lord, and I confess that You are truly Christ, the Son of the Living God, who came into the world to save sinners, of which I am the first. Also I believe that this is Your sacred Body and this is Your precious Blood. Moreover, I pray to You to have mercy on me and pardon my transgressions, voluntary and involuntary, in word and deed, in knowledge or in ignorance. Make me worthy to partake without condemnation of Your sacred Mysteries, for the remission of sins and for everlasting life. Amen.

O Son of God, admit me today as a participant to Your Mystical Supper, for I will not speak of the Mystery to Your enemies. I will not kiss You as Judas did, but like the repentant thief, I will confess to You: Remember me, Lord, in Your Kingdom.

Let not the communion of Your holy Mysteries be toward judgement or condemnation, but for the healing of my soul and body. Amen.
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« Reply #43 on: January 08, 2013, 10:40:23 PM »

I have been told before in confession that I needed to be excluded from communion for a certain period of time for a sin I did. I doubt I could have gone up to receive communion the next day just because I said the pre-communion prayers.  Smiley
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« Reply #44 on: January 09, 2013, 12:04:53 AM »

I understand this.

But it makes it sound like the church is "protecting the Eucharist".

Of course she is!  Technically, it is we who the Church is protecting from the Eucharist.  Those who eat and drink unworthily eats and drinks judgment unto themselves.

It makes it sound like a priest has the right to directly withhold the sacraments from anybody he deems "not worthy". 

That is part of the job description.

The scriptures state:  "that which you do the the least of all men, you do unto me".   Also it was the tax collectors, women of ill morals, etc., that our savior 'accepted'.

Note the passage I paraphrased above about eating and drinking unworthily.

It just seems like a strange concept that a person agreeing with the creed, professing the creed, willing to confess their sins, yearning for baptism, yearning for the Eucharist, would be placed in limbo.   What right do we have as human beings to determine who may receive God or not for those who proclaim their faith and confess?

The Church is not about rights. Salvation is not a right.  God did not give us rights, he gives us love.  But remember that love is a two way street.  To come into communion with Him (that is why the Eucharist is called Communion) is such an intimate and deep bond, we must be at that state of faith that we are willing to accept everything He offers to us.

Would have Christ rejected the least worthy, or held them in limbo? 
(not meant argumentative, but questioningly)

For the same reason I can't assume WWJD, neither can you.  We do not know fully the mind of Christ.  We know He is merciful and desires all to be saved.

Try reading the canons of the Early Councils.  Back then people can be barred from communion for 10 years for certain sins.  Obviously this is not something new that the Church is doing.  The entry requirement is high, and the requirement to stay in is high as well.  Like I said, trust your priest and trust that all of this is God's will.

So the church is there to protect us from God's damnation by unworthily taking the Eucharist....

What about baptism?  Are you damned for an unworthy baptism?   
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yeshuaisiam
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« Reply #45 on: January 09, 2013, 12:06:49 AM »

I have been told before in confession that I needed to be excluded from communion for a certain period of time for a sin I did. I doubt I could have gone up to receive communion the next day just because I said the pre-communion prayers.  Smiley

If this was post absolution, then confession and absolution would be rendered useless.   
Being absolved from sin means exactly that.

If there was no absolution, then I could see that from an Orthodox perspective.
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« Reply #46 on: January 09, 2013, 12:16:49 AM »

I have been told before in confession that I needed to be excluded from communion for a certain period of time for a sin I did. I doubt I could have gone up to receive communion the next day just because I said the pre-communion prayers.  Smiley

If this was post absolution, then confession and absolution would be rendered useless.   
Being absolved from sin means exactly that.

If there was no absolution, then I could see that from an Orthodox perspective.

What is the point of absolution if you will sin again?  Though we do recognize that we will indeed probably fall again, the point is that we try not to.  Intentionally going against the direction of your priest is not trying.
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yeshuaisiam
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« Reply #47 on: January 09, 2013, 12:45:07 AM »

I have been told before in confession that I needed to be excluded from communion for a certain period of time for a sin I did. I doubt I could have gone up to receive communion the next day just because I said the pre-communion prayers.  Smiley

If this was post absolution, then confession and absolution would be rendered useless.   
Being absolved from sin means exactly that.

If there was no absolution, then I could see that from an Orthodox perspective.

What is the point of absolution if you will sin again?  Though we do recognize that we will indeed probably fall again, the point is that we try not to.  Intentionally going against the direction of your priest is not trying.

But if he granted absolution, then the sin is absolved.

If the priest did not absolve this, then I understand.  Once absolved, it's made "whiter than snow".

The priest then absolves and then says 'skip the Eucharist'?

Then the priest did not believe in absolution.  (of course, only he knows if the absolution prayers were said)
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« Reply #48 on: January 09, 2013, 01:11:42 AM »

But if he granted absolution, then the sin is absolved.

If the priest did not absolve this, then I understand.  Once absolved, it's made "whiter than snow".

The priest then absolves and then says 'skip the Eucharist'?

Then the priest did not believe in absolution.  (of course, only he knows if the absolution prayers were said)


I am not a priest, but in my personal opinion what you have shown here proves that you do need to go through a catechumenate.  Just my two cents.

The forbidding from the Eucharist has nothing to do with cleaning your slate.  Having a clean slate does not mean you have reformed.  Forgiveness is nothing if we do not repent.  Repentance is about changing your life.
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