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Author Topic: Why has the Orthodox Church done so little evangelism?  (Read 4112 times) Average Rating: 0
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icecreamsandwich
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« on: March 14, 2013, 07:56:13 PM »

I will preface this by simply saying that I do not wish to cause anger or annoyance with anyone. I would simply like someone to explain this to me, because I have not been able to find an answer on my own.

The problem is, I don't honestly get this. Having read John Binn's "An Introduction to the Christian Orthodox Churches", I was interested in what he would say when it came to "missions", and if it'd expand on the bits I knew of the subject. However, he mentioned Cyril and Methodius' work in the Slavic areas, how Christianity was exported to the Russians, and how it was also in Japan and Ethiopia and some of the Middle Eastern countries, at least before they became Muslim... Yeah, that's about it as far as I can recall. Metropolitan Ware mentioned Kenya and Uganda I think, in "The Orthodox Church", as well. I can get that the ex-Byzantines weren't really in a position to evangelise, neither were the Russians during the time of the Soviets, etc, but that doesn't really help the main point: what is it that's being done to bring out Orthodoxy to different parts of the globe in different areas, in the modern age (1900-now)?

Compare this



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orthodoxy_by_country

With this



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_by_country

I'm fully aware of the disparity of this, and I'm fully aware of the fact that Catholicism spread by ship and by colonists to wherever they went. However, it simply proves my point. The situation is the same when it comes to Protestant branches (at least the older ones) - they're more widespread, and easy to get hold of, just as an example.

I am struggling to get over the impression that the Church seems to be, more often than not, a collection of Eastern European cultural entities and rituals, rather than something more ambivalent and neutral - after all that is how most of the various churches are referred to (Serbian, Bulgarian, Romanian, Russian, etc).  As relates to the US, Where did they come in? Alaska, and slowly down to California, and also somehwere on the East Coast and seemingly grinding to a halt from there. As it is there seems to be very little presence outside of the Alaska / DC/ Northeast area, and even there I may be mistaken.

I don't get it. May someone please explain it, perhaps?
« Last Edit: March 14, 2013, 07:57:10 PM by icecreamsandwich » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2013, 08:00:41 PM »

Prepare to be kicked and spat upon for bringing up a legit concern.
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« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2013, 08:14:00 PM »

There are certain intervening circumstances which meant that Orthodox missions were not as far-spread as Roman Catholic missions. Certainly, this should be historically obvious. For one. there was the lack of political authority. Being under the thumb of Mohammedanism for almost 1500 years in many places is a significant challenge when you are forbidden from preaching openly and any converts you make may be killed. Orthodox powers such as there were were not colonial powers to the extent of Spain and France--so you can't really fault the Orthodox Church for not converting Africa and the Americas.

Besides that, it's not like we've been sitting on our hands for 2,000 years. Even today, there are many missionaries. The Patriarchate of Alexandria in the last 50 years has received tens of thousands into the Church.

There is plenty more to do, but to me it seems the OP is upset because of ignorance. Research the Orthodox Christian Mission Center and learn what the Moscow Patriarchate is doing and has done for centuries. Read about Bishop Nektarios of Madagascar (memory eternal!) who went to Madagascar and found there was just one Orthodox Christian and, by the time of his too-soon death, there were more than 10,000. There is also a growing Orthodox mission in Haiti and many thousands have come into the Church in Latin America.

Now, if you really want to compare to Roman Catholicism, there are many parts of Latin America where they no longer have hegemony. They face some of the same problems we do--secularism and the attraction of sects.
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« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2013, 08:17:53 PM »

Definitely valid concerns. Once the jurisdictional mess is cleaned up in America and we have our own identity as American Orthodox, there will be much potential to evangilize effectively.

What Fr. Hopko said about there being a lot nominalism and parishes being nothing more than "ethnic clubs" is one of my chief criticisms.

I have been told that a more uniform American Orthodox Church is going to happen sooner than later for sustainability reasons. However I am skeptical on how soon.

The faithful need to decide are they serving their ethnicity or God.

EDIT: Seeing as you are a catechumen in OCA, I just talked about America only. Don't know much about the rest of the world, but I hear in Latin and South Ameica there has been a larger Orthodox presence.
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« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2013, 08:35:00 PM »

Believe it or not, in many ways the Orthodox Church is making very good progress in missionary efforts. The church does not practice open proselytism as Protestant and Catholic groups but have been making many missionary efforts.

The Orthodox Church is growing especially in all of the continents:

In Europe, Orthodoxy is slowly growing. In addition to the Orthodox revival that has taken place in former Communist countries in Eastern Europe, there are quite a few missionary efforts being made by many different churches mainly taking place in Finland, the UK, Albania, and France.

In Africa, there are huge missions that are growing all over Sub-Saharan Africa especially in Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, Madagascar, Ghana, South Africa and Uganda, under the Greek Patriarch of Alexandria.

In Asia, the Orthodox Church is growing under the Ecumenical Patriarchate and ROCOR. There are great missionary efforts in Japan, Pakistan, China, Korea, and other countries.

In the Americas, the Church is greatly growing in the US, Guatemala, Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina.   

There's even a Russian Church in Antarctica!

If you ask me, the church is making great strides of progress in missionary work although there are some opportunities that aren't always taken advantage of. 
« Last Edit: March 14, 2013, 08:35:56 PM by Cantor Krishnich » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2013, 08:37:41 PM »

Growing in Europe? What?! CIS countries are dying. How can the amount of believers rise? Same for Asia. Where did you get your data from?

I agree it may grom in North America, and Africa. Not so sure about South America, since most of them are cradles there.
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« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2013, 08:38:01 PM »

Prepare to be kicked and spat upon for bringing up a legit concern.

Well, if that's the case then so be it. I don't want to cause problems, though and would hope that someone can explain it.

There are certain intervening circumstances which meant that Orthodox missions were not as far-spread as Roman Catholic missions. Certainly, this should be historically obvious. For one. there was the lack of political authority. Being under the thumb of Mohammedanism for almost 1500 years in many places is a significant challenge when you are forbidden from preaching openly and any converts you make may be killed. Orthodox powers such as there were were not colonial powers to the extent of Spain and France--so you can't really fault the Orthodox Church for not converting Africa and the Americas.

Besides that, it's not like we've been sitting on our hands for 2,000 years. Even today, there are many missionaries. The Patriarchate of Alexandria in the last 50 years has received tens of thousands into the Church.

There is plenty more to do, but to me it seems the OP is upset because of ignorance. Research the Orthodox Christian Mission Center and learn what the Moscow Patriarchate is doing and has done for centuries. Read about Bishop Nektarios of Madagascar (memory eternal!) who went to Madagascar and found there was just one Orthodox Christian and, by the time of his too-soon death, there were more than 10,000. There is also a growing Orthodox mission in Haiti and many thousands have come into the Church in Latin America.

Now, if you really want to compare to Roman Catholicism, there are many parts of Latin America where they no longer have hegemony. They face some of the same problems we do--secularism and the attraction of sects.

I understand that, and thank you for responding Smiley.

However, look at it this way. The Russians (though not officially) took on the mantle of "new Rome", and evangelised to Alaska, fine. Yes, I can understand they had the Communist presence, as did most of Eastern Europe (who also coincidentally are mostly Orthodox), but what of the Ethiopians, for example? They've been Orthodox for a LONG time, probably longer than most, and it's a majority Orthodox country - why did they not do much? What of the times when the Russians weren't being persecuted?

My main reason for being frustrated (and I do admit I am) is that you have to be in church in order to grow. This is not something that really can be done long-distance, or "whenever I can attend": not if you are trying to be wholly committed and serious. The problem is there seems to be a lack of churches, and it simply raises the question, that you're basically stuck if you can't attend a service. What are you supposed to do then? Like, where I grew up, there is no Orthodoxy, whatsoever. I don't necessarily agree with the Catholics, but fact is fact: they have a Cathedral, a Bishop, and a diocese. It's not just them: the Lutherans

For being the second largest (cohesive) Christian entity, how can so much of the globe be so "empty" on that map? What's the answer to someone who can't attend a service (not a Matins / Vespers, mind you, but a Sunday Liturgy) regularly because they're too far from Church? Do you have more examples of missionary work, or a counterpoint to this paragraph, or the one above it?

Definitely valid concerns. Once the jurisdictional mess is cleaned up in America and we have our own identity as American Orthodox, there will be much potential to evangilize effectively.

What Fr. Hopko said about there being a lot nominalism and parishes being nothing more than "ethnic clubs" is one of my chief criticisms.

I have been told that a more uniform American Orthodox Church is going to happen sooner than later for sustainability reasons. However I am skeptical on how soon.

The faithful need to decide are they serving their ethnicity or God.

EDIT: Seeing as you are a catechumen in OCA, I just talked about America only. Don't know much about the rest of the world, but I hear in Latin and South Ameica there has been a larger Orthodox presence.

Thanks Smiley.

Yeah, that's my point. Like, St. Herman came to the US (Alaska) in 1793 (http://orthodoxwiki.org/Herman_of_Alaska), and there are, IIRC, 3 OCA-affiliated seminaries at this point in time (http://oca.org/directories/seminaries). Just 3, two of which were founded in 1938 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Tikhon's_Orthodox_Theological_Seminary and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Vladimir's_Orthodox_Theological_Seminary). Bear in mind Wikipedia is unclear as to when the school that predates St. Herman's was founded. Contrast that with the Roman Catholics, who, while seemingly failing to establish seminaries until 1791 (http://www.stmarys.edu/sot/sot_first_seminary.htm), were already setting up universities (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgetown_university) (by the way, Orthodox have only 2 of those in the US that I know of (one in California, and the other being Hellenic College)) before then. Yes, they had a headstart, and yes they seem to have squandered some of it, but look at their presence now. And of course the various older Protestant denominations follow in these footsteps. Would it not be good if there was some other country besides traditionally Orthodox homelands which could say the same?

(edited to add sources)
« Last Edit: March 14, 2013, 08:41:41 PM by icecreamsandwich » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2013, 08:43:53 PM »

What of the times when the Russians weren't being persecuted?

Everything between Ural and the Pacific.

Quote
What's the answer to someone who can't attend a service (not a Matins / Vespers, mind you, but a Sunday Liturgy) regularly because they're too far from Church?

Can you give some specific examples?

Quote
Do you have more examples of missionary work, or a counterpoint to this paragraph, or the one above it?

Google, forum search...
« Last Edit: March 14, 2013, 08:44:20 PM by Michał Kalina » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2013, 09:00:38 PM »

Growing in Europe? What?! CIS countries are dying. How can the amount of believers rise? Same for Asia. Where did you get your data from?

I agree it may grom in North America, and Africa. Not so sure about South America, since most of them are cradles there.

Practically everyone I've spoken with from Eastern Europe tells me that Orthodoxy has been exploding in the post-Soviet countries for the past 20 years.

http://russianreport.wordpress.com/religion-in-russia/orthodoxy-in-russia-today/
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« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2013, 09:04:00 PM »

Growing in Europe? What?! CIS countries are dying. How can the amount of believers rise? Same for Asia. Where did you get your data from?

I agree it may grom in North America, and Africa. Not so sure about South America, since most of them are cradles there.

The Church may not be growing so vastly in Europe but it is growing nonetheless. The Church is growing in the UK, France, Finland, and Albania. I do agree that there are many unseized opportunities.

The church is growing very rapidly in Japan, Pakistan, Korea and China.  

The church is greatly growing in Latin America especially in Guatemala. Many of the Orthodox Christians in South America are Arab cradles but there are still many converts in those churches, especially in Brazil.  
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« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2013, 09:12:14 PM »

Believe it or not, in many ways the Orthodox Church is making very good progress in missionary efforts. The church does not practice open proselytism as Protestant and Catholic groups but have been making many missionary efforts.

The Orthodox Church is growing especially in all of the continents:

In Europe, Orthodoxy is slowly growing. In addition to the Orthodox revival that has taken place in former Communist countries in Eastern Europe, there are quite a few missionary efforts being made by many different churches mainly taking place in Finland, the UK, Albania, and France.

In Africa, there are huge missions that are growing all over Sub-Saharan Africa especially in Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, Madagascar, Ghana, South Africa and Uganda, under the Greek Patriarch of Alexandria.

In Asia, the Orthodox Church is growing under the Ecumenical Patriarchate and ROCOR. There are great missionary efforts in Japan, Pakistan, China, Korea, and other countries.

In the Americas, the Church is greatly growing in the US, Guatemala, Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina.   

There's even a Russian Church in Antarctica!

If you ask me, the church is making great strides of progress in missionary work although there are some opportunities that aren't always taken advantage of. 

Thank you for your examples Smiley.

Note that Albania, though, borders Greece, and Serbia, both majority Orthodox, and it falls within the traditional domain of the Byzantine Empire. Similarly, Finland borders Russia and despite this, Orthodoxy is very much a minority, holding just over a percent of the country's population (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finnish_Orthodox_Church).

What of the times when the Russians weren't being persecuted?

Everything between Ural and the Pacific.

Quote
What's the answer to someone who can't attend a service (not a Matins / Vespers, mind you, but a Sunday Liturgy) regularly because they're too far from Church?

Can you give some specific examples?

Quote
Do you have more examples of missionary work, or a counterpoint to this paragraph, or the one above it?

Google, forum search...

Thank you Smiley.

1 And the majority of that area either remains Russian, or lacks a significant Orthodox presence to this day.

2 EG, deployed in the military to a non-Orthodox country, or simply living in a place where there is no church? Several members of our parish attend, but live an hour or more from Church and are thus, unable to always make it to service, for example, and this cannot be an uncommon occurrence, if the Orthodox Directory (http://orthodoxyinamerica.org/lr_v10/locator.php) is to be believed, and for example, there are ~7 churches within the state of Montana, 4 in North Dakota, and ~5 in Idaho.

3 The googling I've done has yielded the countries I've listed above (original post). I have also not found a counterpoint to being unable to attend Liturgy and properly replacing it, unless it's via a reader's service, or a "replacement prayer" as is found in the All Saints of Alaska prayerbook (http://www.allsaintsofalaska.ca/images/stories/files/Pages%20from%20prayerbook%20-%202-rev%20complete.pdf) neither of which would help you to take Communion, for example, or confess. And note this is exacerbated by there not being something like a "book of common prayer" that outlines all the services in one spot which, while not as good as attending the service itself, would you help follow the rules and practices of the Church more accurately.
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« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2013, 09:17:14 PM »

Practically everyone I've spoken with from Eastern Europe tells me that Orthodoxy has been exploding in the post-Soviet countries for the past 20 years.

Yeah. Check the birthrates.

The Church may not be growing so vastly in Europe but it is growing nonetheless. The Church is growing in the UK, France, Finland, and Albania. I do agree that there are many unseized opportunities.

The church is growing very rapidly in Japan, Pakistan, Korea and China.   

The church is greatly growing in Latin America especially in Guatemala. Many of the Orthodox Christians in South America are Arab cradles but there are still many converts in those churches, especially in Brazil. 

Numbers... Give some numbers.

And I know nothing about organised missions in China. And nothing about "many converts" in South America (Brazil or elsewhere), Japan or wherever apart from Guatemala.

1 And the majority of that area either remains Russian, or lacks a significant Orthodox presence to this day.

Really?

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« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2013, 09:27:00 PM »

Growing in Europe? What?! CIS countries are dying. How can the amount of believers rise? Same for Asia. Where did you get your data from?

I agree it may grom in North America, and Africa. Not so sure about South America, since most of them are cradles there.

Practically everyone I've spoken with from Eastern Europe tells me that Orthodoxy has been exploding in the post-Soviet countries for the past 20 years.

http://russianreport.wordpress.com/religion-in-russia/orthodoxy-in-russia-today/

That's Eastern Europe, though. Don't get me wrong - it's good that churches are reopening/being rebuilt etc in Russia, and other nearby countries, but it is simply reclaiming territory that is already native or was native not very long ago. 

Growing in Europe? What?! CIS countries are dying. How can the amount of believers rise? Same for Asia. Where did you get your data from?

I agree it may grom in North America, and Africa. Not so sure about South America, since most of them are cradles there.

The Church may not be growing so vastly in Europe but it is growing nonetheless. The Church is growing in the UK, France, Finland, and Albania. I do agree that there are many unseized opportunities.

The church is growing very rapidly in Japan, Pakistan, Korea and China.   

The church is greatly growing in Latin America especially in Guatemala. Many of the Orthodox Christians in South America are Arab cradles but there are still many converts in those churches, especially in Brazil. 

Guatemala I'd heard about. That sounds like good news...

Practically everyone I've spoken with from Eastern Europe tells me that Orthodoxy has been exploding in the post-Soviet countries for the past 20 years.

Yeah. Check the birthrates.

The Church may not be growing so vastly in Europe but it is growing nonetheless. The Church is growing in the UK, France, Finland, and Albania. I do agree that there are many unseized opportunities.

The church is growing very rapidly in Japan, Pakistan, Korea and China.   

The church is greatly growing in Latin America especially in Guatemala. Many of the Orthodox Christians in South America are Arab cradles but there are still many converts in those churches, especially in Brazil. 

Numbers... Give some numbers.

And I know nothing about organised missions in China. And nothing about "many converts" in South America (Brazil or elsewhere), Japan or wherever apart from Guatemala.

1 And the majority of that area either remains Russian, or lacks a significant Orthodox presence to this day.

Really?



I apologize for being unclear. By "Russian" I mean the country, and the territory it holds, not the people/people groups.
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« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2013, 09:33:35 PM »

"I am struggling to get over the impression that the Church seems to be, more often than not, a collection of Eastern European cultural entities and rituals, rather than something more ambivalent and neutral - after all that is how most of the various churches are referred to (Serbian, Bulgarian, Romanian, Russian, etc). "

You nailed it. Many of our churches are ethnic clubs and they like it that way. Also, I've noticed over the years that a lot of converts seem to like it small, almost like they get off being in the "elite" of religion.  Both are sickening.

We won't grow until the Church in America get's so sick it has to band together more than it has.  And even then it won't be able to truly evangelize until leadership festers out the ethnic clubs and allows it to truly be an American church.
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« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2013, 09:37:22 PM »

Our Greek Orthodox Church(a small one outside Chicago) has had many visiting Orthodox missionaries who came and spoke to our parishioners and they have supported many such endeavors . I would say there is more going on under your radar than you realize
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« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2013, 09:39:22 PM »

One thing I do agree with Michal is that the birth rates of ethnic Russians and other cradles in Russia is vastly receding. In Russia, there are missionary efforts among groups Muslim and Pagan ethnic groups but it is not as great as it could be. I've heard that with in the last few years, there are huge numbers of converts from Muslim ethnic groups in Russia that prefer to publicly and legally remain Muslim while practicing the Orthodox Christian faith. There are many missionary opportunities in Former Soviet Central Asia that are not taken advantage of.
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« Reply #16 on: March 14, 2013, 09:42:43 PM »

"I am struggling to get over the impression that the Church seems to be, more often than not, a collection of Eastern European cultural entities and rituals, rather than something more ambivalent and neutral - after all that is how most of the various churches are referred to (Serbian, Bulgarian, Romanian, Russian, etc). "

You nailed it. Many of our churches are ethnic clubs and they like it that way. Also, I've noticed over the years that a lot of converts seem to like it small, almost like they get off being in the "elite" of religion.  Both are sickening.

We won't grow until the Church in America get's so sick it has to band together more than it has.  And even then it won't be able to truly evangelize until leadership festers out the ethnic clubs and allows it to truly be an American church.

My Greek orthodox church works with all other local Orthodox churches in various ways, also the preists go to the churches together and have services on certain days .

It may be said that when looking from a worldview you are right, but when you spend even as little as I do at a local level you see mucg goodwill between them.

Also speaking out about ethnicity is not the way to make these churches work closer. IMHO There are better ways , but you have to start at the local level before you can go global.
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« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2013, 09:48:52 PM »

Well, if America had a unified Church, we'd be more than capable with our great wealth and options to fund and do missionaries all across the globe...
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« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2013, 09:56:28 PM »

I will preface this by simply saying that I do not wish to cause anger or annoyance with anyone. I would simply like someone to explain this to me, because I have not been able to find an answer on my own.

The problem is, I don't honestly get this. Having read John Binn's "An Introduction to the Christian Orthodox Churches", I was interested in what he would say when it came to "missions", and if it'd expand on the bits I knew of the subject. However, he mentioned Cyril and Methodius' work in the Slavic areas, how Christianity was exported to the Russians, and how it was also in Japan and Ethiopia and some of the Middle Eastern countries, at least before they became Muslim... Yeah, that's about it as far as I can recall. Metropolitan Ware mentioned Kenya and Uganda I think, in "The Orthodox Church", as well. I can get that the ex-Byzantines weren't really in a position to evangelise, neither were the Russians during the time of the Soviets, etc, but that doesn't really help the main point: what is it that's being done to bring out Orthodoxy to different parts of the globe in different areas, in the modern age (1900-now)?

Compare this



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orthodoxy_by_country

With this



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_by_country

I'm fully aware of the disparity of this, and I'm fully aware of the fact that Catholicism spread by ship and by colonists to wherever they went. However, it simply proves my point. The situation is the same when it comes to Protestant branches (at least the older ones) - they're more widespread, and easy to get hold of, just as an example.

I am struggling to get over the impression that the Church seems to be, more often than not, a collection of Eastern European cultural entities and rituals, rather than something more ambivalent and neutral - after all that is how most of the various churches are referred to (Serbian, Bulgarian, Romanian, Russian, etc).  As relates to the US, Where did they come in? Alaska, and slowly down to California, and also somehwere on the East Coast and seemingly grinding to a halt from there. As it is there seems to be very little presence outside of the Alaska / DC/ Northeast area, and even there I may be mistaken.

I don't get it. May someone please explain it, perhaps?

Unfortunately, these maps are not exactly comparable.  On the RC map, the RC's have the whole world as blue because they have a "0-10%" range.  The Orthodox map would also have blue throughout the world if it was same coloration standards, since "0-10%" qualifies as blue on the other map, and is blocked by 10's rather than by quarters.  But yes, Africa, Guatamala, and even India has active missionary presence. 
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« Reply #19 on: March 14, 2013, 10:23:41 PM »

My Greek orthodox church works with all other local Orthodox churches in various ways, also the preists go to the churches together and have services on certain days .

It may be said that when looking from a worldview you are right, but when you spend even as little as I do at a local level you see mucg goodwill between them.

Also speaking out about ethnicity is not the way to make these churches work closer. IMHO There are better ways , but you have to start at the local level before you can go global.

I can attest to this. I've heard of several instances in which a metropolitan of one jurisdiction has either met with another, or celebrated / been hosted by another jurisdiction's church. The churches do seem to work together quite closely...

I will preface this by simply saying that I do not wish to cause anger or annoyance with anyone. I would simply like someone to explain this to me, because I have not been able to find an answer on my own.

The problem is, I don't honestly get this. Having read John Binn's "An Introduction to the Christian Orthodox Churches", I was interested in what he would say when it came to "missions", and if it'd expand on the bits I knew of the subject. However, he mentioned Cyril and Methodius' work in the Slavic areas, how Christianity was exported to the Russians, and how it was also in Japan and Ethiopia and some of the Middle Eastern countries, at least before they became Muslim... Yeah, that's about it as far as I can recall. Metropolitan Ware mentioned Kenya and Uganda I think, in "The Orthodox Church", as well. I can get that the ex-Byzantines weren't really in a position to evangelise, neither were the Russians during the time of the Soviets, etc, but that doesn't really help the main point: what is it that's being done to bring out Orthodoxy to different parts of the globe in different areas, in the modern age (1900-now)?

Compare this



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orthodoxy_by_country

With this



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_by_country

I'm fully aware of the disparity of this, and I'm fully aware of the fact that Catholicism spread by ship and by colonists to wherever they went. However, it simply proves my point. The situation is the same when it comes to Protestant branches (at least the older ones) - they're more widespread, and easy to get hold of, just as an example.

I am struggling to get over the impression that the Church seems to be, more often than not, a collection of Eastern European cultural entities and rituals, rather than something more ambivalent and neutral - after all that is how most of the various churches are referred to (Serbian, Bulgarian, Romanian, Russian, etc).  As relates to the US, Where did they come in? Alaska, and slowly down to California, and also somehwere on the East Coast and seemingly grinding to a halt from there. As it is there seems to be very little presence outside of the Alaska / DC/ Northeast area, and even there I may be mistaken.

I don't get it. May someone please explain it, perhaps?

Unfortunately, these maps are not exactly comparable.  On the RC map, the RC's have the whole world as blue because they have a "0-10%" range.  The Orthodox map would also have blue throughout the world if it was same coloration standards, since "0-10%" qualifies as blue on the other map, and is blocked by 10's rather than by quarters.  But yes, Africa, Guatamala, and even India has active missionary presence. 

Thank you Father Smiley.

That does not detract from the point that the maps make, though. The majority of the majority Orthodox (Oriental or Eastern) countries, are within their traditional homelands or in places long ago evangelized to (ie, Eastern Europe, Russia, snippets in Western European countries). That is compared to the map showing Roman Catholicism, whose influence is admittedly, as you say, more accurately represented by the "10%"s, but shows signs of consistent and significant evangelism (eg most of South America, Angola and its surrounding areas, Australia, etc). The comparison starts to break down a little as the different Protestant branches themselves do, but continues to be relatively consistent as long as the size of the branch does not shrink too much. For example, Lutherans supposedly are majority in Namibia (ex-German colony), and the Philippines, and if you look here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lutheranism_by_region#Countries_with_more_than_500.2C000_Lutherans) you can see that the countries in which they are largely present is much more geographically diverse than the countries in which Orthodox are present. This, despite Lutherans supposedly numbering about 75 million worldwide. Does that make sense?
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« Reply #20 on: March 15, 2013, 12:50:03 AM »

Only by the Grace of God, did the church survive the scourges of the suppression of the Moslem religion (500 years) and Communism (73, 44 years).  Both World Wars hurt the church substantially, too.  It's still digging itself out from both scourges, rebuilding; the Ancient Patriarchates, the Balkan and the Russian Churches, and, Red China-continuing today). The Holy Orthodox Churches were devastated by these horrors. International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), while founded in the U.S., was established to serve as the social welfare outreach of the Holy Orthodox Churches which did not have the assets to fulfill these responsibilities.
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« Reply #21 on: March 15, 2013, 04:26:45 AM »

My Greek orthodox church works with all other local Orthodox churches in various ways, also the preists go to the churches together and have services on certain days .

It may be said that when looking from a worldview you are right, but when you spend even as little as I do at a local level you see mucg goodwill between them.

Also speaking out about ethnicity is not the way to make these churches work closer. IMHO There are better ways , but you have to start at the local level before you can go global.

I can attest to this. I've heard of several instances in which a metropolitan of one jurisdiction has either met with another, or celebrated / been hosted by another jurisdiction's church. The churches do seem to work together quite closely...

I will preface this by simply saying that I do not wish to cause anger or annoyance with anyone. I would simply like someone to explain this to me, because I have not been able to find an answer on my own.

The problem is, I don't honestly get this. Having read John Binn's "An Introduction to the Christian Orthodox Churches", I was interested in what he would say when it came to "missions", and if it'd expand on the bits I knew of the subject. However, he mentioned Cyril and Methodius' work in the Slavic areas, how Christianity was exported to the Russians, and how it was also in Japan and Ethiopia and some of the Middle Eastern countries, at least before they became Muslim... Yeah, that's about it as far as I can recall. Metropolitan Ware mentioned Kenya and Uganda I think, in "The Orthodox Church", as well. I can get that the ex-Byzantines weren't really in a position to evangelise, neither were the Russians during the time of the Soviets, etc, but that doesn't really help the main point: what is it that's being done to bring out Orthodoxy to different parts of the globe in different areas, in the modern age (1900-now)?

Compare this



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orthodoxy_by_country

With this



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_by_country

I'm fully aware of the disparity of this, and I'm fully aware of the fact that Catholicism spread by ship and by colonists to wherever they went. However, it simply proves my point. The situation is the same when it comes to Protestant branches (at least the older ones) - they're more widespread, and easy to get hold of, just as an example.

I am struggling to get over the impression that the Church seems to be, more often than not, a collection of Eastern European cultural entities and rituals, rather than something more ambivalent and neutral - after all that is how most of the various churches are referred to (Serbian, Bulgarian, Romanian, Russian, etc).  As relates to the US, Where did they come in? Alaska, and slowly down to California, and also somehwere on the East Coast and seemingly grinding to a halt from there. As it is there seems to be very little presence outside of the Alaska / DC/ Northeast area, and even there I may be mistaken.

I don't get it. May someone please explain it, perhaps?

Unfortunately, these maps are not exactly comparable.  On the RC map, the RC's have the whole world as blue because they have a "0-10%" range.  The Orthodox map would also have blue throughout the world if it was same coloration standards, since "0-10%" qualifies as blue on the other map, and is blocked by 10's rather than by quarters.  But yes, Africa, Guatamala, and even India has active missionary presence. 

Thank you Father Smiley.

That does not detract from the point that the maps make, though. The majority of the majority Orthodox (Oriental or Eastern) countries, are within their traditional homelands or in places long ago evangelized to (ie, Eastern Europe, Russia, snippets in Western European countries). That is compared to the map showing Roman Catholicism, whose influence is admittedly, as you say, more accurately represented by the "10%"s, but shows signs of consistent and significant evangelism (eg most of South America, Angola and its surrounding areas, Australia, etc). The comparison starts to break down a little as the different Protestant branches themselves do, but continues to be relatively consistent as long as the size of the branch does not shrink too much. For example, Lutherans supposedly are majority in Namibia (ex-German colony), and the Philippines, and if you look here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lutheranism_by_region#Countries_with_more_than_500.2C000_Lutherans) you can see that the countries in which they are largely present is much more geographically diverse than the countries in which Orthodox are present. This, despite Lutherans supposedly numbering about 75 million worldwide. Does that make sense?

The same is true for the Roman Catholics as is for the Orthodox (and also for the Lutherans, Anglicans etc.). Other than the ancient homelands, the vast majority of evangelism is in the old colonies. The difference is that, with the exception of Russia spreading across Asia and into North America, there really are no old Orthodox colonies. The reason there are so many Roman Catholics in South America is far more down to colonisation than anything else.

I'm not saying we don't need to do more (we certainly do), but looking at the geographical spread of the churches without considering the history is bound to be misleading. Here, in the UK, I see very little Orthodox missionary work but I do see some. As an example, we have a friend from our old parish who was recently ordained a priest specifically to start an English language mission parish. Never in my life have I seen anything that would fairly be described as Roman Catholic missionary work here. If you live in the west we must look like a tiny minority because we are, but we're a tiny minority that is growing (not fast enough, in my opinion). For a church to be growing here is amazing in itself. Of course we'd grow faster if we dropped the ethnic aspects and simply became Orthodox, worshipped in English, etc. but as most parishes here are reasonably recent and immigrant in nature, this won't happen over night - most do seem to be moving in the right direction, however.

James
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« Reply #22 on: March 15, 2013, 08:09:02 AM »

One country I often wonder about is China.
Now, I can easily understand that the chinese government isn't the easiest to work with and certainly, the Russian Church has made some progress, but it seems like, at least to me, that where the protestants and the catholics are willing to do missionary work without the approval of the authorities, the russians seem reluctant to take that step.  
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« Reply #23 on: March 15, 2013, 08:24:11 AM »

One country I often wonder about is China.
Now, I can easily understand that the chinese government isn't the easiest to work with and certainly, the Russian Church has made some progress, but it seems like, at least to me, that where the protestants and the catholics are willing to do missionary work without the approval of the authorities, the russians seem reluctant to take that step.  

Missionary work is being done by Orthodox in China (not necessarily by Russians) but it is small and low-key. A major reason that the PRC does not recognize Orthodoxy is that they fear it would be a tool of Russian state influence. In light of that, it might be better that clergy of other jurisdictions are doing the work, even if it is canonically indefensible.
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« Reply #24 on: March 15, 2013, 08:39:06 AM »

Only by the Grace of God, did the church survive the scourges of the suppression of the Moslem religion (500 years)
500 years? 1376 years. And counting.
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« Reply #25 on: March 15, 2013, 09:36:55 AM »

True.
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« Reply #26 on: March 15, 2013, 10:18:51 AM »

Only by the Grace of God, did the church survive the scourges of the suppression of the Moslem religion (500 years) and Communism (73, 44 years).  Both World Wars hurt the church substantially, too.  It's still digging itself out from both scourges, rebuilding; the Ancient Patriarchates, the Balkan and the Russian Churches, and, Red China-continuing today). The Holy Orthodox Churches were devastated by these horrors.

And there you have it. The miracle is that the Orthodox Church survived at all!

Look up the statistics on how many priests, monks and nuns were killed by the Communists in Russia, and how many churches and monasteries were destroyed or desecrated before being critical of a lack of evangelism.
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« Reply #27 on: March 15, 2013, 10:44:10 AM »

Icecreamsandwich is saying what many Orthodox have been saying for decades. It is a fact that many of our jurisdictions are not missionary minded, even though at least lip service is given to evangelization by all jurisdictions. That said, everything that everybody has posted is also true. I think we are at a crossroads and I have a feeling that missionary zeal will indeed increase in the fairly near future. The true turning point will occur when we all believe, as my priest pointed out in his homily on the Sunday of the Canaanite Woman, that we are to be missionaries as the Lord and His Holy Apostles were, that to be an Orthodox Christian is to be a missionary.
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« Reply #28 on: March 15, 2013, 10:53:59 AM »

Icecreamsandwich is saying what many Orthodox have been saying for decades. It is a fact that many of our jurisdictions are not missionary minded, even though at least lip service is given to evangelization by all jurisdictions. That said, everything that everybody has posted is also true. I think we are at a crossroads and I have a feeling that missionary zeal will indeed increase in the fairly near future. The true turning point will occur when we all believe, as my priest pointed out in his homily on the Sunday of the Canaanite Woman, that we are to be missionaries as the Lord and His Holy Apostles were, that to be an Orthodox Christian is to be a missionary.

And we don't have to wait for our Bishop or a church department to engage in evangelism.
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« Reply #29 on: March 15, 2013, 11:14:27 AM »

Only by the Grace of God, did the church survive the scourges of the suppression of the Moslem religion (500 years) and Communism (73, 44 years).  Both World Wars hurt the church substantially, too.  It's still digging itself out from both scourges, rebuilding; the Ancient Patriarchates, the Balkan and the Russian Churches, and, Red China-continuing today). The Holy Orthodox Churches were devastated by these horrors. International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), while founded in the U.S., was established to serve as the social welfare outreach of the Holy Orthodox Churches which did not have the assets to fulfill these responsibilities.

If one premises Christianity to have started in 100AD (I know it didn't: this is for the sake of argument) - that leaves just over 500 years for Christianity to have grown and spread, and yet for the most part apart from where the Apostles seem to have gone first (Ethopia, India, the Roman Empire, and the surrounding area, it seems to have not grown very much outside that area.

Don't get me wrong: I understand that Communism did a lot of damage to the Church, as has being under Muslim occupation, but that's missing the point I make. Not every place was under Muslim occupation, neither was every place under Communist occupation. There are other churches that have been left relatively untouched, again, Ethiopia being an example, and so there is a position from there where missionary work could have been done instead of leaving it up until now.

Why is Orthodoxy so under-prevalent in the Western US despite it having been a base for the Church and the next logical step for growth?

The same is true for the Roman Catholics as is for the Orthodox (and also for the Lutherans, Anglicans etc.). Other than the ancient homelands, the vast majority of evangelism is in the old colonies. The difference is that, with the exception of Russia spreading across Asia and into North America, there really are no old Orthodox colonies. The reason there are so many Roman Catholics in South America is far more down to colonisation than anything else.

I'm not saying we don't need to do more (we certainly do), but looking at the geographical spread of the churches without considering the history is bound to be misleading. Here, in the UK, I see very little Orthodox missionary work but I do see some. As an example, we have a friend from our old parish who was recently ordained a priest specifically to start an English language mission parish. Never in my life have I seen anything that would fairly be described as Roman Catholic missionary work here. If you live in the west we must look like a tiny minority because we are, but we're a tiny minority that is growing (not fast enough, in my opinion). For a church to be growing here is amazing in itself. Of course we'd grow faster if we dropped the ethnic aspects and simply became Orthodox, worshipped in English, etc. but as most parishes here are reasonably recent and immigrant in nature, this won't happen over night - most do seem to be moving in the right direction, however.

James

On the map, though, you can see what they did. Yes, it spread via colonialization, but it spread nevertheless, instead of being mostly in just the area it was founded. It's the same with Islam - you can see they spread relatively far given where their homeland is.

Only by the Grace of God, did the church survive the scourges of the suppression of the Moslem religion (500 years) and Communism (73, 44 years).  Both World Wars hurt the church substantially, too.  It's still digging itself out from both scourges, rebuilding; the Ancient Patriarchates, the Balkan and the Russian Churches, and, Red China-continuing today). The Holy Orthodox Churches were devastated by these horrors.

And there you have it. The miracle is that the Orthodox Church survived at all!

Look up the statistics on how many priests, monks and nuns were killed by the Communists in Russia, and how many churches and monasteries were destroyed or desecrated before being critical of a lack of evangelism.

However, probably all older branches of Christianity have been under persecution at some point in time, or been the persecutors, yet the more Western ones have still managed to thrive.

I may be being critical of the lack of evangelism, yes, but it's highlighting a point, and IMHO it's a legitimate point. How can one be expected to convert to a Church that is rather different to the Western ones, if the Church cannot make the information be shown in a manner that is applicable and relevant to the people (inquirers or otherwise) who are coming in? I thought that that was the point of Orthodox missionary work, and one shining example of it: packaging the teachings of the Gospel in the culture of the surrounding area, and what was done in Alaska and the Slavic countries. 

I'd also like to point out that you're bringing up Russia, which is a valid example. However, I've never been to Russia. I don't know all that much about Russia. I don't understand very many of their customs, or their language, or alphabet. Yet, I'm attending a Russian-descent parish which seemingly follows some of the traditions of the Russian Church. What is my point? That example works well for those who are Russian, or were in a Communist country, as they know the realities of it. Russia is not going to be quite as relevant to me, though, as an example that is closer to my heart. That's the same thing with Serbia, or Bulgaria, or Romania - they're countries that are not in my experience, and the example loses a lot of its relevance, and perhaps power to me. And before someone accuses me of insulting these countries I've been fortunate to meet several Serbians and enjoy their company, and my best friend is a Bulgarian, so this is nothing against the countries being listed.

How does this feed into evangelism? Converts need to attend Church regularly and be in contact with their priest. For a liturgy they likely need to go to a parish. To have a parish you have to have establishment, and that means evangelism.
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« Reply #30 on: March 15, 2013, 11:42:48 AM »

Don't get me wrong: I understand that Communism did a lot of damage to the Church, as has being under Muslim occupation, but that's missing the point I make. Not every place was under Muslim occupation, neither was every place under Communist occupation. There are other churches that have been left relatively untouched, again, Ethiopia being an example, and so there is a position from there where missionary work could have been done instead of leaving it up until now.
?
Ethiopia is just coming out of decades of communist rule, and having been surrounded by Muslim powers (and even briefly having a Muslim Emperor) since the birth of Islam.
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« Reply #31 on: March 15, 2013, 12:14:19 PM »

Not every place was under Muslim occupation, neither was every place under Communist occupation. .

I fear that you are laboring under a misunderstanding of history. Could you provide some examples of places that you believe could have sent out Orthodox missionaries that were not under Muslim or Communist occupation?


(oh, and just btw, I'm not Russian (Irish and German, in fact). You don't have to be a particular ethnicity to recognize injustice and oppression and appreciate its effect on the Orthodox Church and its faithful.)

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« Reply #32 on: March 15, 2013, 04:51:55 PM »

Don't get me wrong: I understand that Communism did a lot of damage to the Church, as has being under Muslim occupation, but that's missing the point I make. Not every place was under Muslim occupation, neither was every place under Communist occupation. There are other churches that have been left relatively untouched, again, Ethiopia being an example, and so there is a position from there where missionary work could have been done instead of leaving it up until now.
?
Ethiopia is just coming out of decades of communist rule, and having been surrounded by Muslim powers (and even briefly having a Muslim Emperor) since the birth of Islam.

I wasn't aware that they had been Communist recently - my mistake. That was from 1974 until recently, so for the greater part of the time between 1900 and now that has not applied. Why I bring this up, is that neighboring Kenya, while having been Arab-influenced, was first introduced to Christianity by the Portuguese (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Kenya) and today holds a 23.4% Catholic presence, as well as a relatively significant LDS presence (both of those comments are shown in that same Wikipedia link). How can that be explained off?

Not every place was under Muslim occupation, neither was every place under Communist occupation. .

I fear that you are laboring under a misunderstanding of history. Could you provide some examples of places that you believe could have sent out Orthodox missionaries that were not under Muslim or Communist occupation?

(oh, and just btw, I'm not Russian (Irish and German, in fact). You don't have to be a particular ethnicity to recognize injustice and oppression and appreciate its effect on the Orthodox Church and its faithful.)

Some examples would be, west of Russia (especially west of Finland, before the Protestant Reformation), and the traditional Byzantine areas after the split, and before the Communists came in. That applies (but south as well) to Ethiopia, before the time of their occupation. Another example would be south and east of Alaska, through Canada and western parts of the US (Washington State, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, etc) before the Communists came, and even then, afterwards. I mean, the Church didn't fall apart once the Byzantines did - they kept the faith, and others did too while spreading it - just like what happened with Rome after the Western Roman Empire fell. It's a natural conclusion to say that things would've been different if the Russians hadn't become Orthodox as a result of visiting Constantinople, right?

I agree completely with your last paragraph. Just to be clear, I do not endorse, or support such injustices, and believe firmly that one should be allowed to worship freely, whatever their religious beliefs (if any).

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« Reply #33 on: March 15, 2013, 05:03:07 PM »

Some examples would be, west of Russia (especially west of Finland, before the Protestant Reformation), and the traditional Byzantine areas after the split, and before the Communists came in. That applies (but south as well) to Ethiopia, before the time of their occupation. Another example would be south and east of Alaska, through Canada and western parts of the US (Washington State, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, etc) before the Communists came, and even then, afterwards. I mean, the Church didn't fall apart once the Byzantines did - they kept the faith, and others did too while spreading it - just like what happened with Rome after the Western Roman Empire fell. It's a natural conclusion to say that things would've been different if the Russians hadn't become Orthodox as a result of visiting Constantinople, right?

I'm not sure, but I think you're slightly missing the point. After the fall of Byzantium and during the Muslim occupation, what part of the Orthodox Church (and where, come to that?) would have been able to send missionaries?
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« Reply #34 on: March 15, 2013, 07:37:43 PM »

Regarding USA and Canada I do not see "ethnic churches" (Serbian, Russian, Greek, Romanian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, etc) as the reason why Orthodoxy it has not spread as quickly as one would like. Even though there is a unity among them, I still believe that their relationship could be better (perhaps priests serving at each others churches during the biggest feast of that parish, organizing events in which Orthodox believers from different parishioners attend together, etc...there numerous possibilites).  Having sad that, I repeat that those ethnic churches are not the obstacle to missionary but are instead the reason why Orthodoxy has spread in North America at all...If it wasn't for all the immigrants who "brought" Orthodoxy, then Orthodoxy would still remain unknown to many.  There is an "American" Orthodox Church (OCA) as it should be the case in every country, but that should not mean that other parishes should join their jurisdiction...because those parishes are not simply churches but are instead church-school congregations and preserve ones root...Nobody is preventing OCA of being more  missionary, neither is anyone preventing Serbian (and other "ethnic") Church from doing the same...they are not (nor could they ever be) in each other's way...That is why (at least) on the Week of Orthodoxy I am very happy to see clergy from different juridictions come together and praise the God in the same church...It is a beautiful sight...

Looking at the bigger picture, Orthodoxy was spread willingly...it did not come as a result of occupations and imperialism...even those who attempted have failed misserably.  Serbia was fully evangelized only when Serbs accepted the Orthodoxy willingly under the leadership of St. Sava...that does not minimize the importance of Sts. Cyril and Methodius but provides a different insight on Orthodox missionary.  As a matter of fact there were numerous  Christians (Orthodox and Catholic) living in the Balkans prior to "offical  national conversions."  Same thing happened in Russia who under the leadership of St. Vladimir became Orthodox (on a national level)...even though I am sure there were Orthodox missionaries there prior to that date.  That is why there is a need to distinguish between individual and national conversion.

I do not think there will be any more national conversions...however that does not prevent Orthodox missionaries from spreading the Orthodoxy in other places...Enormous efforts have been made, but (as in life) it can always be done better...I am glad that Orthodox conversions are not taking place as an act of prozelytism but as result of individual's free will in becoming an Orthodox Christian (as it can be seen on this forum)...it makes happier to see a single person becoming Orthodox due to his-her free joice than to see tens of thousands of people becoming Orthodox by forceful methods...

Sorry for the long story...Even though I very much agree with the OP that Orthodox missionary is not as succesful (number wise), I belive that perhaps it is not meant to be that way...as in the Gospel it says "many are called but few are chosen..." (Matthew 22:14).
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« Reply #35 on: March 15, 2013, 10:38:49 PM »

I think another issue that should be considered within the context of this discussion, the "West," is primarily the diaspora of Western Christians, Roman Catholic's and various Protestant denominations.  In the early days of he Ecumenical Movement (late 1940's), there was an understanding that the Christian denominations would not "poach" fellow Christians.  The more traditional Orthodox consider this absurd, but the Holy Orthodox Churches really haven't seen the "West", Western Europe, and the Western Hemisphere, as within their territory of responsibilities.  This is compounded by the minimal number of Orthodox Christians in these regions.  Africa and the Far East, are another story...
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« Reply #36 on: March 15, 2013, 11:45:05 PM »

Icecreamsandwich is saying what many Orthodox have been saying for decades. It is a fact that many of our jurisdictions are not missionary minded, even though at least lip service is given to evangelization by all jurisdictions. That said, everything that everybody has posted is also true. I think we are at a crossroads and I have a feeling that missionary zeal will indeed increase in the fairly near future. The true turning point will occur when we all believe, as my priest pointed out in his homily on the Sunday of the Canaanite Woman, that we are to be missionaries as the Lord and His Holy Apostles were, that to be an Orthodox Christian is to be a missionary.

And we don't have to wait for our Bishop or a church department to engage in evangelism.

^^This^^  Please forgive my bluntness, especially since I am quite new here, but folks can sit around and look at maps and wax eloquent until they are blue in the face.  At the end of the day, all that is required is a good long look in the mirror.  It is my responsibility.  It is the responsibility of each and every one of us.  My comment is directed to the US audience, in particular, because that is obviously where I live.  It is *alarming* how many Americans have never even heard of the Orthodox Church...as we all know.  I'm sorry but, shame on us! IMO, "evangelizing" is the equivalent of living the Orthodox faith.  It's living our daily lives with genuine humility and love for our neighbor...truly caring about them and seeing Christ in them.  Do this, and people will begin to ask questions.  I guarantee it. When they do, undergird the truth with love, feeding them one spoonful at a time.  Rather than mock their beliefs in public view, be in awe of their love for Christ despite not having the full deposit of Christian truth and worship that we have access to each and every day!  I will say that converts have a "leg up" in these sorts of discussions, once we are asked.  We've read the play book. If we answer well and continue to be a living example of the Orthodox Church, it may take a few years but God will slowly open their eyes and ears if they allow.  One person at a time.  That's how we "evangelize."  One person at a time.  This isn't rocket science.
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« Reply #37 on: March 16, 2013, 08:18:24 AM »

Some examples would be, west of Russia (especially west of Finland, before the Protestant Reformation), and the traditional Byzantine areas after the split, and before the Communists came in.

I find your lack of history and geography knowledge quite disturbing.

I would ask you what do you mean by "west of Russia" and how do you include in there west of Finland however I'm too afraid to hear the answer.

There were Swedes in the west of Finland. That's why.

Here you are some examples of missionary work by Russians west of Russia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russification#Poland_and_Lithuania

Quote
traditional Byzantine areas after the split, and before the Communists came in

When they were under Muslims?
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« Reply #38 on: March 16, 2013, 08:23:49 AM »

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« Reply #39 on: March 16, 2013, 09:50:45 AM »

I'm not sure if this point was made already, but in the olden days the most efficient method of evangelization was converting kings and then having the king, erm... invite his subjects to the new religion. (The other major way to make an impression was to get tortured and killed en masse by the authorities.) One-on-one evangelization is tough, slow business.

I think one of the reasons ancient Christianity did not spread too far into sub-Saharan Africa was that, unlike Ethiopia, most of the areas there did not have big centralized governments. That's just my hypothesis though- I don't know much about the history there.  Later pushes by Protestants and Catholics to evangelize there had the backing of colonial powers. Conversely, in the 20th century, some people involved in African national liberation movements (e.g. the Mau-Mau) became interested in Orthodoxy precisely because it was not being pushed by a colonial power. Politics is important in either case.
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« Reply #40 on: March 16, 2013, 09:59:22 AM »

Money> http://www.ocmc.org/ <Mouth

Excellent. 
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« Reply #41 on: March 16, 2013, 10:20:34 AM »

Some missionary work is being done by Orthodox priests in China and Indonesia.  Although we are small in numbers and that churches are really homes made into churches the missionary effort does exist there and it is growing albeit slowly.  Priests, I have heard, can not wear their cassocks or in any way be identified as priests in these areas but "word of mouth" is a good way of getting the word out.  I say there is a thriving but small "underground" church in both countries.  We are also making marked inroads in Nigeria and Tanzania Africa.
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« Reply #42 on: March 16, 2013, 12:16:44 PM »

Regarding USA and Canada I do not see "ethnic churches" (Serbian, Russian, Greek, Romanian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, etc) as the reason why Orthodoxy it has not spread as quickly as one would like. Even though there is a unity among them, I still believe that their relationship could be better (perhaps priests serving at each others churches during the biggest feast of that parish, organizing events in which Orthodox believers from different parishioners attend together, etc...there numerous possibilites).  Having sad that, I repeat that those ethnic churches are not the obstacle to missionary but are instead the reason why Orthodoxy has spread in North America at all...If it wasn't for all the immigrants who "brought" Orthodoxy, then Orthodoxy would still remain unknown to many.  There is an "American" Orthodox Church (OCA) as it should be the case in every country, but that should not mean that other parishes should join their jurisdiction...because those parishes are not simply churches but are instead church-school congregations and preserve ones root...Nobody is preventing OCA of being more  missionary, neither is anyone preventing Serbian (and other "ethnic") Church from doing the same...they are not (nor could they ever be) in each other's way...That is why (at least) on the Week of Orthodoxy I am very happy to see clergy from different juridictions come together and praise the God in the same church...It is a beautiful sight...

Looking at the bigger picture, Orthodoxy was spread willingly...it did not come as a result of occupations and imperialism...even those who attempted have failed misserably.  Serbia was fully evangelized only when Serbs accepted the Orthodoxy willingly under the leadership of St. Sava...that does not minimize the importance of Sts. Cyril and Methodius but provides a different insight on Orthodox missionary.  As a matter of fact there were numerous  Christians (Orthodox and Catholic) living in the Balkans prior to "offical  national conversions."  Same thing happened in Russia who under the leadership of St. Vladimir became Orthodox (on a national level)...even though I am sure there were Orthodox missionaries there prior to that date.  That is why there is a need to distinguish between individual and national conversion.

I do not think there will be any more national conversions...however that does not prevent Orthodox missionaries from spreading the Orthodoxy in other places...Enormous efforts have been made, but (as in life) it can always be done better...I am glad that Orthodox conversions are not taking place as an act of prozelytism but as result of individual's free will in becoming an Orthodox Christian (as it can be seen on this forum)...it makes happier to see a single person becoming Orthodox due to his-her free joice than to see tens of thousands of people becoming Orthodox by forceful methods...

Sorry for the long story...Even though I very much agree with the OP that Orthodox missionary is not as succesful (number wise), I belive that perhaps it is not meant to be that way...as in the Gospel it says "many are called but few are chosen..." (Matthew 22:14).


Thanks for posting - the longer the better Tongue.

I'm not sure if this point was made already, but in the olden days the most efficient method of evangelization was converting kings and then having the king, erm... invite his subjects to the new religion. (The other major way to make an impression was to get tortured and killed en masse by the authorities.) One-on-one evangelization is tough, slow business.

I think one of the reasons ancient Christianity did not spread too far into sub-Saharan Africa was that, unlike Ethiopia, most of the areas there did not have big centralized governments. That's just my hypothesis though- I don't know much about the history there.  Later pushes by Protestants and Catholics to evangelize there had the backing of colonial powers. Conversely, in the 20th century, some people involved in African national liberation movements (e.g. the Mau-Mau) became interested in Orthodoxy precisely because it was not being pushed by a colonial power. Politics is important in either case.

Ah, fair enough. Thank you Smiley.

Some examples would be, west of Russia (especially west of Finland, before the Protestant Reformation), and the traditional Byzantine areas after the split, and before the Communists came in. That applies (but south as well) to Ethiopia, before the time of their occupation. Another example would be south and east of Alaska, through Canada and western parts of the US (Washington State, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, etc) before the Communists came, and even then, afterwards. I mean, the Church didn't fall apart once the Byzantines did - they kept the faith, and others did too while spreading it - just like what happened with Rome after the Western Roman Empire fell. It's a natural conclusion to say that things would've been different if the Russians hadn't become Orthodox as a result of visiting Constantinople, right?

I'm not sure, but I think you're slightly missing the point. After the fall of Byzantium and during the Muslim occupation, what part of the Orthodox Church (and where, come to that?) would have been able to send missionaries?

The Russian Church, immediately after the fall of Constantinople, to the west (see the definition of "west" above), and the church in Ethiopia, bypassing places that were under Muslim influence and moving towards places that weren't, for example further south and east. Etc.

Some examples would be, west of Russia (especially west of Finland, before the Protestant Reformation), and the traditional Byzantine areas after the split, and before the Communists came in.

I find your lack of history and geography knowledge quite disturbing.

I would ask you what do you mean by "west of Russia" and how do you include in there west of Finland however I'm too afraid to hear the answer.

There were Swedes in the west of Finland. That's why.

Here you are some examples of missionary work by Russians west of Russia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russification#Poland_and_Lithuania

Quote
traditional Byzantine areas after the split, and before the Communists came in

When they were under Muslims?

If my historical or geographical knowledge is off, please feel free to correct it. I don't see where the geographical error is, though, and if it persists, please feel free to use a map to point it out. I'm using modern day borders to make my point, unless they are too unwieldy to use (for example, referencing the old Byzantine Empire and its borders). Modern day Russia borders modern day Finland, and by "west of Russia" I mean places that are west of Russia, for example Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland (the latter two of which, you mentioned). By west of Finland, I mean Sweden. Yes, there were Swedes in the west of Finland, but what is the significance of that? From what I can gather the Swedes had become Christianized by the 1100s, before which they were visited by a monk from France in the 800's, and then when Lutheranism came about, they became mostly Lutheran.

Whoops. My mistake and I apologize. (See my mind is running faster than I type Tongue). That should have read "...outside the traditional Byzantine areas after the split, and before the Communists came in". This area I mean, includes places like Eastern Germany (to its furthest extent), Poland (which you mentioned), Slovakia, and perhaps also northern Austria and Hungary.

I think another issue that should be considered within the context of this discussion, the "West," is primarily the diaspora of Western Christians, Roman Catholic's and various Protestant denominations.  In the early days of he Ecumenical Movement (late 1940's), there was an understanding that the Christian denominations would not "poach" fellow Christians.  The more traditional Orthodox consider this absurd, but the Holy Orthodox Churches really haven't seen the "West", Western Europe, and the Western Hemisphere, as within their territory of responsibilities.  This is compounded by the minimal number of Orthodox Christians in these regions.  Africa and the Far East, are another story...

Thank you and that starts to make a lot more sense.

Money> http://www.ocmc.org/ <Mouth

Understandable, but the thing is, that would answer to today and tomorrow. I'm asking about yesterday, and the times before then that have led to Orthodoxy being prevalent where it is at the present moment.
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« Reply #43 on: March 16, 2013, 01:27:56 PM »

1. we should spread the love of God more than we do.

2. my friend invited a stranger in to church today! God bless him for that.

3. Lord have mercy on those who do practice their faith where it is difficult and then suffer for it:
http://news.yahoo.com/christians-were-tortured-libya-182030253.html;_ylt=AvToWaImUnpm.sNSYNFqYfu1qHQA;_ylu=X3oDMTQ5dnY5amdiBG1pdANUb3BTdG9yeSBXb3JsZFNGIE1pZGRsZUVhc3RTU0YEcGtnAzJhYzE1OTEzLTkzMmEtM2UxNS05MTE4LWUxOTk5Y2JhNWVmNARwb3MDMTEEc2VjA3RvcF9zdG9yeQR2ZXIDYjY2NTc3ODAtOGRiYi0xMWUyLTk3MmYtMDgzMWZhNGMxZTQy;_ylg=X3oDMTF1cDZjaTBwBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdAN3b3JsZHxtaWRkbGVlYXN0BHB0A3NlY3Rpb25z;_ylv=3
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« Reply #44 on: March 16, 2013, 04:29:37 PM »

Whoops. My mistake and I apologize. (See my mind is running faster than I type Tongue). That should have read "...outside the traditional Byzantine areas after the split, and before the Communists came in". This area I mean, includes places like Eastern Germany (to its furthest extent), Poland (which you mentioned), Slovakia, and perhaps also northern Austria and Hungary.

"Why did Ruthenian dutches or later Russia did not conquer RC Germany or Poland?"

They didn't have enough military power.

Are you satisfied with the answer?
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« Reply #45 on: March 17, 2013, 06:48:11 PM »


Quote
What's the answer to someone who can't attend a service (not a Matins / Vespers, mind you, but a Sunday Liturgy) regularly because they're too far from Church?
<some things removed to save bandwidth>

if the Orthodox Directory (http://orthodoxyinamerica.org/lr_v10/locator.php) is to be believed, and for example, there are ~7 churches within the state of Montana,

That doesn't have the real situation, either.  Of the seven indicated on that map, not all are parishes at least a couple are missions. All of them are located in the cities:

the capital of Helena - mission, no priest, according their page and some Sundays it's recommended that people travel to either Butte or Bozeman for services
Billings the largest city - two parishes according to the link but one is OCA, has clergy and a building and is active and on their site it says that the other one was closed some years ago.
Great Falls second or third largest city with a long established Greek Orthodox parish but no resident priest for a good number of years.  The last I knew they had a priest come in from out of state a few times a year.
Missoula and Bozeman which are both university towns - both missions, no resident priest at either according to their websites. The one in Bozeman had a priest until last spring according to their site. Both seem to get clergy visits occasionally.
Butte - the oldest parish in the state, started by Serbians who came as miners on "the Richest Hill on Earth". Has a priest.

So, just going on that information, for the entire state of Montana there are 2 parishes with services every week, both in cities and they're about 230 miles apart along the main interstate that runs through the southern part of the state.   Montana is a big place more than 600 miles long and 250 miles north to south with many smaller towns and outlying areas scattered in mountainous areas as well as high plains with long distances in between.

So even if there was someone who knew about EO or was curious, there might not be a weekly service that he/she could get to within 4 to 8 hours drive or more depending on conditions of weather, road (we still have some gravel roads there) and ability.
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« Reply #46 on: March 17, 2013, 09:08:49 PM »

http://orthodoxyinamerica.org/lr_v10/locator.php

The website is out of date...who is running it?  Perhaps they should check the websites from Orthodox Dioceses from time to time...I don't intend to sound ungrateful, they did a great job, but needs to be updated annually...
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« Reply #47 on: March 17, 2013, 09:17:48 PM »


Quote
What's the answer to someone who can't attend a service (not a Matins / Vespers, mind you, but a Sunday Liturgy) regularly because they're too far from Church?
<some things removed to save bandwidth>

if the Orthodox Directory (http://orthodoxyinamerica.org/lr_v10/locator.php) is to be believed, and for example, there are ~7 churches within the state of Montana,

That doesn't have the real situation, either.  Of the seven indicated on that map, not all are parishes at least a couple are missions. All of them are located in the cities:

the capital of Helena - mission, no priest, according their page and some Sundays it's recommended that people travel to either Butte or Bozeman for services
Billings the largest city - two parishes according to the link but one is OCA, has clergy and a building and is active and on their site it says that the other one was closed some years ago.
Great Falls second or third largest city with a long established Greek Orthodox parish but no resident priest for a good number of years.  The last I knew they had a priest come in from out of state a few times a year.
Missoula and Bozeman which are both university towns - both missions, no resident priest at either according to their websites. The one in Bozeman had a priest until last spring according to their site. Both seem to get clergy visits occasionally.
Butte - the oldest parish in the state, started by Serbians who came as miners on "the Richest Hill on Earth". Has a priest.

So, just going on that information, for the entire state of Montana there are 2 parishes with services every week, both in cities and they're about 230 miles apart along the main interstate that runs through the southern part of the state.   Montana is a big place more than 600 miles long and 250 miles north to south with many smaller towns and outlying areas scattered in mountainous areas as well as high plains with long distances in between.

So even if there was someone who knew about EO or was curious, there might not be a weekly service that he/she could get to within 4 to 8 hours drive or more depending on conditions of weather, road (we still have some gravel roads there) and ability.


I have a friend who was living in Billings and was interested in inquiring into Orthodoxy.  This is exactly what she described and it was very discouraging for her.  Thankfully, her family has moved back to Omaha, where she has now been visiting with a priest there.  I live in South Dakota and there are 2 Orthodox churches in the state, at opposite ends and 7 hours from one another.  I'm one of the fortunate ones and have "only" 100 miles to drive each way.  (And it's worth every mile.)
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« Reply #48 on: March 17, 2013, 09:58:56 PM »

I think it's because we're honestly more concerned with maintaining our rituals and our churches.
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« Reply #49 on: March 19, 2013, 12:54:27 AM »

ORTHODOXY IN SOUTH AMERICA
Metropolitan Amfilohije meets with Orthodox Bishops in Argentina
25. August 2012
http://www.spc.rs/eng/metropolitan_amfilohije_meers_orthodox_bishops_argentina

Metropolitan Amfilohije visits Orthodox Community in Peru
13. September 2012
http://www.spc.rs/eng/metropolitan_amfilohije_visits_orthodox_community_peru

Metropolitan Amfilohije visits Brazil
28. September 2012
http://www.spc.rs/eng/metropolitan_amfilohije_visits_brazil

Metropolitan Amfilohije in His Pastoral Visit to Chile
October 20, 2012
http://theorthodoxchurch.info/blog/news/2012/10/metropolitan-amfilohije-in-his-pastoral-visit-to-chile/

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« Reply #50 on: March 19, 2013, 03:45:58 AM »

Honestly, you raise a good question. However, it may be well to mention history. Historically, the Orthodox Church hasn't really been in as fortunate of circumstances as say the Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches. The RC Church spread so far because it was the most powerful and influential organization in all of western Europe for quite a while, and thus was able to use its vast wealth, power and ties with colonialism to spread. Protestants were able to travel to the New World and thus develop almost unimpeded upon in the most powerful, wealthy nation on Earth, and thus likewise use their resources to spread their faith. But Orthodoxy? Really, what do we have? We've been in the hot-seat for the past 700 years. The only time we were ever really fortunate was during the Byzantine Empire era, and during that era, nearly the entire Middle East and Russia were converted, showing that we did in fact make evangelization efforts when it was possible. But then Islam rose and pretty much undid all of our work in the Middle East and made us a minority barely capable of managing ourselves, let alone make missionary efforts. Russia continued to spread the faith in eastern Europe, but then when the Bolsheviks took over, Orthodoxy in Russia and eastern Europe became oppressed as well.

Now, fast forward to modern times. We're in a state of recovery. We're picking up the pieces of ruin from the persecution and destruction we endured. We haven't quite reached the missionary stage yet. Fortunately, when/if an official, unified American Orthodox Church is ever established, we may finally see vast evangelization efforts someday.
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« Reply #51 on: March 19, 2013, 04:19:18 AM »

Russia continued to spread the faith in eastern Europe,

"Eastern Europe continued to spread the faith in Russia" - that would be more correct.
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« Reply #52 on: March 19, 2013, 06:31:44 PM »

There is an "American" Orthodox Church (OCA) as it should be the case in every country, but that should not mean that other parishes should join their jurisdiction...because those parishes are not simply churches but are instead church-school congregations and preserve ones root...
I am confused here: if there must be a local church here in America, why must we also have churches from abroad to preserve one's root? Isn't this the heresy of ethnophiletism? And, why can't those who wish to do so cannot prosper under a local "American" church?

Quote
Nobody is preventing OCA of being more  missionary, neither is anyone preventing Serbian (and other "ethnic") Church from doing the same...they are not (nor could they ever be) in each other's way...
In fact, they could be in each other's way. I saw that happen in Austin, Texas where everybody went to one church: St Elias Antiochian. Then, the ethnic divisions started to happen, not to spread the word and evangelize but to preserve one's roots. Fortunately, this mess eventually ended well as Orthodoxy spread anyway in Greater Austin, but in other places the outcome has been a fractured witness to the heterodox. Fractured witness, not only because there is not a united front, but also because the ethnic parishes give the wrong idea to the heterodox--that to be Orthodox you may also need to become Serbian, Greek or Russian.
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« Reply #53 on: March 19, 2013, 08:13:31 PM »

Quote
Why has the Orthodox Church done so little evangelism?


I think its because Christian T.V. programming has already claimed to reach around the world through satellite and radio.
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« Reply #54 on: March 19, 2013, 08:50:48 PM »

There is an "American" Orthodox Church (OCA) as it should be the case in every country, but that should not mean that other parishes should join their jurisdiction...because those parishes are not simply churches but are instead church-school congregations and preserve ones root...
I am confused here: if there must be a local church here in America, why must we also have churches from abroad to preserve one's root? Isn't this the heresy of ethnophiletism? And, why can't those who wish to do so cannot prosper under a local "American" church?

Quote
Nobody is preventing OCA of being more  missionary, neither is anyone preventing Serbian (and other "ethnic") Church from doing the same...they are not (nor could they ever be) in each other's way...
In fact, they could be in each other's way. I saw that happen in Austin, Texas where everybody went to one church: St Elias Antiochian. Then, the ethnic divisions started to happen, not to spread the word and evangelize but to preserve one's roots. Fortunately, this mess eventually ended well as Orthodoxy spread anyway in Greater Austin, but in other places the outcome has been a fractured witness to the heterodox. Fractured witness, not only because there is not a united front, but also because the ethnic parishes give the wrong idea to the heterodox--that to be Orthodox you may also need to become Serbian, Greek or Russian.

I agree to an extent that I understand that most would feel they should not look to join one of these unless they have ties to those countries. So for someone looking at a directory or a phone book type list would eliminate those he feels are for people of that ethnicity.

Saying that , I also think there are good things about ethnic churches that may be good for others who are not already tied through ethnicity. From personal experience all my life I have witnessed complete strangers to our ethnic ties and Orthodoxy join our Greek Orthodox parish . I do not know all of their personal stories how they arrived there, I do know that it was not through the usual marriage into it or having distant family ties.

I have watched these families blossom in our church and never learn to speak Greek, and others have used it as a way to broaden there minds as well as souls by learning Greek through the church school. Mostly they never speak Greek as  is the case with most others there who are Greek.

There are some younger people who in the last ten years have become quite integral without having had any previous ties.There are older families who also joined that way and are still active after many generations.

 Our parish is a suburb of Chicago that does not get much in the way of fresh immigrants for a long time. So our only real means of growth is vital to these types of people . I am still amazed when i see this happen . I believe the Holy Spirit has been integral too their journey and longevity in the parish.

So do not write off the way of God in what you think should be, Go out and look around your local parish and you may be surprised at what you find, And it is there we can make a difference right now, God knows I do nothing much, but I know from those cases I have observed were from love of another at a specific locale .

Mainly I think there is very little to gain here by global politics as some would suggest just because that is what seems to the problem.
 
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« Reply #55 on: March 19, 2013, 11:50:29 PM »

Time to offend everyone here, but I think that anyone who is would complain due to ethnicity needs to get over it. You go to Church to worship and receive the Sacraments; not for a social club amongst your own kind. It's not about your personal comfort but about submitting to God. The Church shouldn't have to cater to you because you don't want to adapt to American society. You want to be around your ethnic group, then do it outside of Church. Period.

/rant
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« Reply #56 on: March 20, 2013, 12:04:05 AM »

Time to offend everyone here, but I think that anyone who is would complain due to ethnicity needs to get over it. You go to Church to worship and receive the Sacraments; not for a social club amongst your own kind. It's not about your personal comfort but about submitting to God. The Church shouldn't have to cater to you because you don't want to adapt to American society. You want to be around your ethnic group, then do it outside of Church. Period.

/rant

One could use the same argument against the Anglo-Americans (or whoever) who attend "ethnic" churches and whine that they're just social clubs and no one speaks English in the Liturgy. Get over it. Worship God. Stop whining.
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« Reply #57 on: March 20, 2013, 12:15:22 AM »

Time to offend everyone here, but I think that anyone who is would complain due to ethnicity needs to get over it. You go to Church to worship and receive the Sacraments; not for a social club amongst your own kind. It's not about your personal comfort but about submitting to God. The Church shouldn't have to cater to you because you don't want to adapt to American society. You want to be around your ethnic group, then do it outside of Church. Period.

/rant

One could use the same argument against the Anglo-Americans (or whoever) who attend "ethnic" churches and whine that they're just social clubs and no one speaks English in the Liturgy. Get over it. Worship God. Stop whining.

I haven't ever whined at Church. The way I see it is that each parish should take a vote on what language to have services in, and the majority vote wins. The minority group should just adapt to it.
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« Reply #58 on: March 20, 2013, 09:32:17 AM »

Time to offend everyone here, but I think that anyone who is would complain due to ethnicity needs to get over it. You go to Church to worship and receive the Sacraments; not for a social club amongst your own kind. It's not about your personal comfort but about submitting to God. The Church shouldn't have to cater to you because you don't want to adapt to American society. You want to be around your ethnic group, then do it outside of Church. Period.

/rant

One could use the same argument against the Anglo-Americans (or whoever) who attend "ethnic" churches and whine that they're just social clubs and no one speaks English in the Liturgy. Get over it. Worship God. Stop whining.

I haven't ever whined at Church. The way I see it is that each parish should take a vote on what language to have services in, and the majority vote wins. The minority group should just adapt to it.

I don't know...I'm going to take up for James here a bit.  The topic is evangelism, is it not?  I read in the notes of a Denver Metropolis meeting that English speaking churches are growing faster and that some members are being lost to English speaking parishes.  Unfortunately, I didn't bookmark it so if I need to remove that sentence, please let me know and I will do so.  This simply cannot come as a surprise to anyone!  Our parish was floundering until they made the change to primarily English. If evangelism is a goal...and it should be...then the atmosphere needs to be set which will best allow that to happen.  Thinking that people can fully worship in a service that is done in another language is unrealistic...especially for an inquirer who is already being overwhelmed with change.  When given the choice of becoming a catechumen in a parish that serves in primarily English or one that serves in primarily another language, I can guarantee that the vast majority (if not all) will choose the English speaking parish.  Of course they will!  I have yet to encounter an inquirer who said, "Yippee!  I can't wait to worship in a language that I can not speak nor understand!!" We are called to *participate.*  How can that worship through participation be truly experienced when 100% of the people there speak English, but many fewer speak the other language and yet it is the other language which is being spoken?  IMO, that is not evangelism.  It is, rather, stifling growth with a "take it or leave it" approach.
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« Reply #59 on: March 20, 2013, 10:12:33 AM »

For better or worse, and this is true for all churches, not just the Orthodox, that as time goes by, the ethnic identification will become less and less, especially without new immigrants from the "old country." It's the common "normal" American pattern of assimilation.

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« Reply #60 on: March 20, 2013, 04:03:19 PM »

There is an "American" Orthodox Church (OCA) as it should be the case in every country, but that should not mean that other parishes should join their jurisdiction...because those parishes are not simply churches but are instead church-school congregations and preserve ones root...
I am confused here: if there must be a local church here in America, why must we also have churches from abroad to preserve one's root? Isn't this the heresy of ethnophiletism? And, why can't those who wish to do so cannot prosper under a local "American" church?

Dear Carl, I assume you have gone to various different parishes and have seen a difference...just mention the few: language (which does not impact the language of the services but also the melody), calendar, types of feasts (ie. Slava is only celebrated by Serbs, while names day is not)...it is not about belonging to the ethnic clubs, but also about preserving one's root...Orthodox immigrants have tied their religious and cultural roots in the church-school congregations while non-Orthodox Christians (ie. Italians, Portugese...) have their Clubs separate from the church. Secondly, membership to such "ethnic" (how bad the label is, but...) churches is not exclusive...I know that for the fact...It does not make anyone any less American-Canadian or anything as such. It does not mean that someone puts a specific ethnicity above the other which is so wrongly perceived...eventually most of such "ethnic" parishes will cease to exist in such a manner (since second and third generation immigrants are forgetting their "mother" tongue)...so it will not any more prevent "American Church" from spreading the Gospel to others, as if that was ever the reason.  It is my belief that such view is very narrow minded and tries to abolish to beautiful diversity which Orthodoxy in North America has...I believe that the issues of a jurisdiction can be resolved in a different manner...

Nobody is preventing OCA of being more  missionary, neither is anyone preventing Serbian (and other "ethnic") Church from doing the same...they are not (nor could they ever be) in each other's way...

In fact, they could be in each other's way. I saw that happen in Austin, Texas where everybody went to one church: St Elias Antiochian. Then, the ethnic divisions started to happen, not to spread the word and evangelize but to preserve one's roots. Fortunately, this mess eventually ended well as Orthodoxy spread anyway in Greater Austin, but in other places the outcome has been a fractured witness to the heterodox. Fractured witness, not only because there is not a united front, but also because the ethnic parishes give the wrong idea to the heterodox--that to be Orthodox you may also need to become Serbian, Greek or Russian.


Do you really believe that "ethnic" churches do not evangelize?  Again, I am in awe how wrongfully such churches are preserved as a group of American hating immigrants who want nothing to do with them and first count your blood cells prior to letting you in? How have English speaking Americans become Orthodox until now? Orthodoxy did not spread in greater Austin in spite of ethnic churches, but also thanks to them...If the whole idea of Evangelizing is to spread-preserve the Orthodoxy in a manner that is most appealing to the present and future believers without changing the essence of Orthodoxy (some because of the Calendar, others language, melody, etc), then why limit the Evangelizing to only English and make it uniform...
OCA, SOC, ROCOR, GOA, etc are just different flavours of our beautiful Orthodoxy and no person right in their mind would think that belonging to a certain jurisdiction you have to became a member of that ethnicity...we have numerous examples of posters on this forum who belong to "ethnic" jurisdictions and they have not become Serbian, Greek, Russian or anything else but have remained English speaking country loving Americans...
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Great googly moogly!


« Reply #61 on: March 20, 2013, 08:02:55 PM »

Time to offend everyone here, but I think that anyone who is would complain due to ethnicity needs to get over it. You go to Church to worship and receive the Sacraments; not for a social club amongst your own kind. It's not about your personal comfort but about submitting to God. The Church shouldn't have to cater to you because you don't want to adapt to American society. You want to be around your ethnic group, then do it outside of Church. Period.

/rant

Ok , my turn, everyone who moves here does not have to become whatever you or uncle schmuck thinks they require to be American, and the English language is not from this country either.The Service at my Greek church is all in  english now anyway, but more importantly is why they began that way was because they did not speak English back in those days and needed people who could understand them and help them when they first came here, especially when it comes to God. The thing with the greeks especially is they have insisted on the children learning the language too, I resisted that when I was little , but now appreciate it as any other education that has definite advantages later in life.There are many scholars of Protestant, Catholic, and all who strive to understand the scriptures better , they all learn Greek to be able to read the original manuscripts and also to understand where many terms come from.

So learning an Ethnicity helps you know God better.

It also helps you love others as yourself, because usually the extreme racists in this country cannot even speak English very good.

The real issue is you have ethnic churches and the best way for the lord to utilize them is to start small and keep wprking at it, seriously, those who envy the Catholics having so much more should humble themselves and rejoice for what we have.There are reasons you do not want what they have and may be why God works better this way, on a local small level and not globally.

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« Reply #62 on: March 20, 2013, 09:37:19 PM »

Time to offend everyone here, but I think that anyone who is would complain due to ethnicity needs to get over it. You go to Church to worship and receive the Sacraments; not for a social club amongst your own kind. It's not about your personal comfort but about submitting to God. The Church shouldn't have to cater to you because you don't want to adapt to American society. You want to be around your ethnic group, then do it outside of Church. Period.

/rant

One could use the same argument against the Anglo-Americans (or whoever) who attend "ethnic" churches and whine that they're just social clubs and no one speaks English in the Liturgy. Get over it. Worship God. Stop whining.

I haven't ever whined at Church. The way I see it is that each parish should take a vote on what language to have services in, and the majority vote wins. The minority group should just adapt to it.

Orthodoxy is not democracy. It is not a majority rule...If you look at church history there are instances where minority has prevailed because its belief was rooted in the Apostolic "Tradition"...so Apostolic tradition and Canons are what we look up to when resolving certain issues...The issue with two or more bishops presiding over the same city should be resolved but there is the right way and I am sure that it will be resolved happily in one of the pan-Orthodox meetings...
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« Reply #63 on: March 21, 2013, 10:31:10 AM »

Ok , my turn, everyone who moves here does not have to become whatever you or uncle schmuck thinks they require to be American, and the English language is not from this country either.The Service at my Greek church is all in  english now anyway, but more importantly is why they began that way was because they did not speak English back in those days and needed people who could understand them and help them when they first came here, especially when it comes to God. The thing with the greeks especially is they have insisted on the children learning the language too, I resisted that when I was little , but now appreciate it as any other education that has definite advantages later in life.There are many scholars of Protestant, Catholic, and all who strive to understand the scriptures better , they all learn Greek to be able to read the original manuscripts and also to understand where many terms come from.

So learning an Ethnicity helps you know God better.

I was 100% with you up til this point. No, learning an ethnicity does not help you know God better. It doesn't have a whole lot to do with it at all. (And scholars learn koine Greek, which is not the modern Greek that is taught in afternoon or Saturday language schools.) Now I deplore our American monolingualism, and think that learning another language(s) is always a Good Thing. But contrary to what some people believe, God did not speak modern Greek.
(I don't really have a dog in this fight, but I do have some sympathy for and knowledge of language difficulties. In my former Lutheran church, it wasn't that long ago that in Lutherland (Minnesota and Wisconsin - lol) you would find several Lutheran churches in one small town: the German, Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish churches, and then the English church that all their children and grandchildren attended, because they could no longer speak their parents' and granparents' language. My former church was formed as the German Lutheran Congregation of Atlanta, and up until WWII or so, had parish council meetings, catechism and services in German and English. The memorial stained glass windows are still in German. My own grandfather, despite our family being here since the 1700s, spoke a mixture of German and English at home when he was a child. Do I or any of my family speak German? No, despite my having taken it through high school and college - if you don't use it, you lose it!  Wink)
For good or ill, the common pattern of assimilation is for the second, third and fourth generations to become more "American" (whatever that may be) and less "hyphenated-American." That includes language and customs.
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« Reply #64 on: March 21, 2013, 11:10:27 AM »

Ok , my turn, everyone who moves here does not have to become whatever you or uncle schmuck thinks they require to be American, and the English language is not from this country either.The Service at my Greek church is all in  english now anyway, but more importantly is why they began that way was because they did not speak English back in those days and needed people who could understand them and help them when they first came here, especially when it comes to God. The thing with the greeks especially is they have insisted on the children learning the language too, I resisted that when I was little , but now appreciate it as any other education that has definite advantages later in life.There are many scholars of Protestant, Catholic, and all who strive to understand the scriptures better , they all learn Greek to be able to read the original manuscripts and also to understand where many terms come from.

So learning an Ethnicity helps you know God better.

I was 100% with you up til this point. No, learning an ethnicity does not help you know God better. It doesn't have a whole lot to do with it at all. (And scholars learn koine Greek, which is not the modern Greek that is taught in afternoon or Saturday language schools.) Now I deplore our American monolingualism, and think that learning another language(s) is always a Good Thing. But contrary to what some people believe, God did not speak modern Greek.
(I don't really have a dog in this fight, but I do have some sympathy for and knowledge of language difficulties. In my former Lutheran church, it wasn't that long ago that in Lutherland (Minnesota and Wisconsin - lol) you would find several Lutheran churches in one small town: the German, Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish churches, and then the English church that all their children and grandchildren attended, because they could no longer speak their parents' and granparents' language. My former church was formed as the German Lutheran Congregation of Atlanta, and up until WWII or so, had parish council meetings, catechism and services in German and English. The memorial stained glass windows are still in German. My own grandfather, despite our family being here since the 1700s, spoke a mixture of German and English at home when he was a child. Do I or any of my family speak German? No, despite my having taken it through high school and college - if you don't use it, you lose it!  Wink)
For good or ill, the common pattern of assimilation is for the second, third and fourth generations to become more "American" (whatever that may be) and less "hyphenated-American." That includes language and customs.


That sentence popped out at me, also.  I'd like to clarify that I have nothing but the utmost of respect for the Greek people who are the foundation of our parish.  They have welcomed this fair-complected, former Protestant woman with open, embracing arms unlike anything I had ever experienced.  I was overwhelmed...in a good way. I see and hear the concerns they have about the "Americanization" of our parish through the language changes that have occurred in recent years and I can't help but feel a bit guilty about it.  What I believe we would all agree upon is that the Church must be carefully and diligently guard against is the degree of change beyond language.  For example, I was, at first, relieved to see pews.  Now, I'm understanding what all the fuss is about and would prefer them to be gone.
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« Reply #65 on: March 21, 2013, 06:48:26 PM »

What I was getting at was about loving others as yourself,
If by getting to know another culture you learn to love those who it involves , this is what is good .And you learn to love God by loving others.

 People tend to fear what they do not understand, and understanding and participating in other cultures is good for you, and the people who are involved.

And if you seperate it from Church is that doing the best for all, or should you not involve God in all you do.
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« Reply #66 on: March 22, 2013, 09:35:21 AM »

But non-Greek Orthodox folks (or "American", for want of a better term) have a culture just as the Greeks do. It may not look like culture to first or second generation Greeks, but it is a culture - my culture is rooted in the American South - I feed people if they show up at my house, I say "yes, ma'am" and "no, sir" to older folks, I call older people who are close to my family but no blood kin at all "Uncle" and "Aunt", I ask where you come from when I meet you, who your people are and where you go to church, if you are sick or have a death in the family, I bring you a ham or potato salad or a pound cake. I serve pork, blackeyed peas and collard greens to my Greek friends on New Year's, along with the vasilopita. (And speaking of pork, barbecue is not a synonym for cooking meat on a grill outside, and it is always pork - never "shudder" beef! ;DO)

Now you may say that these are trivial examples, and they are, but sometimes I notice what seems to be an assumption that only folks with what they call an "ethnic identity" have a culture. There are all types of culture, and everyone has one!
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« Reply #67 on: March 22, 2013, 10:12:03 AM »

There is an "American" Orthodox Church (OCA) as it should be the case in every country, but that should not mean that other parishes should join their jurisdiction...because those parishes are not simply churches but are instead church-school congregations and preserve ones root...
I am confused here: if there must be a local church here in America, why must we also have churches from abroad to preserve one's root? Isn't this the heresy of ethnophiletism? And, why can't those who wish to do so cannot prosper under a local "American" church?

Dear Carl, I assume you have gone to various different parishes and have seen a difference...just mention the few: language (which does not impact the language of the services but also the melody), calendar, types of feasts (ie. Slava is only celebrated by Serbs, while names day is not)...it is not about belonging to the ethnic clubs, but also about preserving one's root...Orthodox immigrants have tied their religious and cultural roots in the church-school congregations while non-Orthodox Christians (ie. Italians, Portugese...) have their Clubs separate from the church. Secondly, membership to such "ethnic" (how bad the label is, but...) churches is not exclusive...I know that for the fact...It does not make anyone any less American-Canadian or anything as such. It does not mean that someone puts a specific ethnicity above the other which is so wrongly perceived...eventually most of such "ethnic" parishes will cease to exist in such a manner (since second and third generation immigrants are forgetting their "mother" tongue)...so it will not any more prevent "American Church" from spreading the Gospel to others, as if that was ever the reason.  It is my belief that such view is very narrow minded and tries to abolish to beautiful diversity which Orthodoxy in North America has...I believe that the issues of a jurisdiction can be resolved in a different manner...

I see that we are somewhat in agreement. I am also looking forward to an administratively united, autocephalous church in North America, a continent that will have no other churches reporting to any other local church, except of course the representational churches. This American church can indeed have dioceses that minister to ethnic parishes, perhaps as is provided for in the OCA Statute:

"Article XII. National Groups
When the good of the Church requires that particular national groups receive an assurance of identity, the Holy Synod may establish dioceses and/or deaneries and set standards for their participation in the life of the Orthodox Church in America by mutual agreement with the group and until such time as the diocesan structure of the Church can be organized on an exclusively territorial basis. If a given group is organized as a diocese, the bishop of this diocese is a member of the Holy Synod and receives an episcopal title defined territorially. The Statute shall constitute the fundamental law for the existence of all such groups within the Orthodox Church in America."

Nobody is preventing OCA of being more  missionary, neither is anyone preventing Serbian (and other "ethnic") Church from doing the same...they are not (nor could they ever be) in each other's way...

In fact, they could be in each other's way. I saw that happen in Austin, Texas where everybody went to one church: St Elias Antiochian. Then, the ethnic divisions started to happen, not to spread the word and evangelize but to preserve one's roots. Fortunately, this mess eventually ended well as Orthodoxy spread anyway in Greater Austin, but in other places the outcome has been a fractured witness to the heterodox. Fractured witness, not only because there is not a united front, but also because the ethnic parishes give the wrong idea to the heterodox--that to be Orthodox you may also need to become Serbian, Greek or Russian.

Do you really believe that "ethnic" churches do not evangelize?  Again, I am in awe how wrongfully such churches are preserved as a group of American hating immigrants who want nothing to do with them and first count your blood cells prior to letting you in? How have English speaking Americans become Orthodox until now? Orthodoxy did not spread in greater Austin in spite of ethnic churches, but also thanks to them...If the whole idea of Evangelizing is to spread-preserve the Orthodoxy in a manner that is most appealing to the present and future believers without changing the essence of Orthodoxy (some because of the Calendar, others language, melody, etc), then why limit the Evangelizing to only English and make it uniform...
OCA, SOC, ROCOR, GOA, etc are just different flavours of our beautiful Orthodoxy and no person right in their mind would think that belonging to a certain jurisdiction you have to became a member of that ethnicity...we have numerous examples of posters on this forum who belong to "ethnic" jurisdictions and they have not become Serbian, Greek, Russian or anything else but have remained English speaking country loving Americans...
I am all for preserving different flavors; I just happen to have a cosmopolitan taste, but we are talking about evangelism here, aren't we? I do not wish to detract from the efforts made by our several jurisdictions on this continent. Indeed, I happen to believe that the Antiochian Archdiocese has been quite successful in converting folks "off the street" rather than through marriage (which is not a bad thing in itself). I know that not all OCA dioceses have had equal success in converting folks "off the street." I know less about the other jurisdictions and will not comment on the efficacy of their efforts at evangelization. What I am talking about is the best way to evangelize. I just do not think that the present level of effort and approach is as effective as it could be. Nor do I believe that the current situation is sound from  Biblical, patristic or canonical perspectives. It is what it is--a lemon, and we are making lemonade. That is good. But, I believe that we can do better and we should certainly figure out how to achieve the best.
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« Reply #68 on: March 22, 2013, 10:24:16 AM »

I don't know if it has already been mentioned, but much of the evangelism being done by protestants is often in Christianized country including Romania, Russia and other Orthodox countries.  As Orthodox, we do not typically look to prosletize RC or protestant areas.  It would probably be much more beneficial for Christendom as a whole if evangelism was focused on regions of the world that Christianity has a much more limited penetration rather than poaching each others converts.
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« Reply #69 on: March 22, 2013, 10:35:29 AM »

Here is the truth folks, the Antiochians have been mentioned as being one of the best Diocese at evangelism since the 90s when I became orthodox.  Guess what, this Sunday there will be about 27,000 people TOTAL, NATIONWIDE, in Antiochian churches. (They have about 75,000 people nationwide who call themselves members but most don't attend regularly).

We will never move forward until we face reality and deal with it.  Part of that reality is that by any objective criteria even our most evangelistic Diociose's effort is almost inconsequential on a nationwide scale. Heck it's inconsequential statistically on any scale - local, state, regional, or nationwide.

I would say the biggest problem is the perception we are an ethnic club.  For instance, when the question comes up of where I go to church, the first question out of someone's mouth is "I didn't know you were Russian."

You can confirm the above number here, http://www.hartfordinstitute.org/research/2010-USOrthodox-Census.pdf

All that being said, I praise God for the evangelism we have done.  It just needs to be done better if we are ever going to build larger, healthier Orthodox communities and truly impact those around us.
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« Reply #70 on: March 22, 2013, 09:17:27 PM »

But non-Greek Orthodox folks (or "American", for want of a better term) have a culture just as the Greeks do. It may not look like culture to first or second generation Greeks, but it is a culture - my culture is rooted in the American South - I feed people if they show up at my house, I say "yes, ma'am" and "no, sir" to older folks, I call older people who are close to my family but no blood kin at all "Uncle" and "Aunt", I ask where you come from when I meet you, who your people are and where you go to church, if you are sick or have a death in the family, I bring you a ham or potato salad or a pound cake. I serve pork, blackeyed peas and collard greens to my Greek friends on New Year's, along with the vasilopita. (And speaking of pork, barbecue is not a synonym for cooking meat on a grill outside, and it is always pork - never "shudder" beef! ;DO)

Now you may say that these are trivial examples, and they are, but sometimes I notice what seems to be an assumption that only folks with what they call an "ethnic identity" have a culture. There are all types of culture, and everyone has one!


What I am getting at as you probably gather anyway is that we all could use more culture and acceptance of others, I should try Russian or Serbian for instance .It is all in good faith , I am just a foolish man who would tell others to try what i THINK, but really I did spend much time in Europe trying different things, not all good, but I am open to all, I played drums incidentally at many Greek festivals in the South, NC, Mo.So I spent time with Greek southerners as well many times.
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« Reply #71 on: March 24, 2013, 08:45:11 PM »

I think it's because we're honestly more concerned with maintaining our rituals and our churches.

That would make sense.

Honestly, you raise a good question. However, it may be well to mention history. Historically, the Orthodox Church hasn't really been in as fortunate of circumstances as say the Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches. The RC Church spread so far because it was the most powerful and influential organization in all of western Europe for quite a while, and thus was able to use its vast wealth, power and ties with colonialism to spread. Protestants were able to travel to the New World and thus develop almost unimpeded upon in the most powerful, wealthy nation on Earth, and thus likewise use their resources to spread their faith. But Orthodoxy? Really, what do we have? We've been in the hot-seat for the past 700 years. The only time we were ever really fortunate was during the Byzantine Empire era, and during that era, nearly the entire Middle East and Russia were converted, showing that we did in fact make evangelization efforts when it was possible. But then Islam rose and pretty much undid all of our work in the Middle East and made us a minority barely capable of managing ourselves, let alone make missionary efforts. Russia continued to spread the faith in eastern Europe, but then when the Bolsheviks took over, Orthodoxy in Russia and eastern Europe became oppressed as well.

Now, fast forward to modern times. We're in a state of recovery. We're picking up the pieces of ruin from the persecution and destruction we endured. We haven't quite reached the missionary stage yet. Fortunately, when/if an official, unified American Orthodox Church is ever established, we may finally see vast evangelization efforts someday.

Yeah this makes sense. I agree with the hope of a unified American Church, with one bishop per city like it's supposed to be - like you say, it could be a very powerful force.

I don't know if it has already been mentioned, but much of the evangelism being done by protestants is often in Christianized country including Romania, Russia and other Orthodox countries.  As Orthodox, we do not typically look to prosletize RC or protestant areas.  It would probably be much more beneficial for Christendom as a whole if evangelism was focused on regions of the world that Christianity has a much more limited penetration rather than poaching each others converts.

Thanks for mentioning this Smiley.
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« Reply #72 on: March 24, 2013, 11:11:01 PM »

http://orthodoxmissions.wordpress.com/

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« Reply #73 on: March 25, 2013, 05:52:12 PM »

300 years of Orthodoxy in China

The main problems of the first task:
 ■Legislation of China, Chinese Orthodox Autonomous Church is legally unformed and therefore unrecognized by the authorities;
 ■Renewal and strengthening of ties between Russian Orthodox Church and Chinese Autonomous Orthodox Church, which were significantly weakened in the 1950s;
 ■Lack of Orthodox priests among the Chinese;
 ■The establishment of institutions of theological education and training of the clergy, as well as the question of the recognition of the Chinese Autonomous Orthodox Church by world Orthodoxy, which is absolutely impossible without substantial support from outside.
 
Solving these problems is seen in three main directions:
 1.Awareness of the mission in the Chinese world as the problem of the whole Church;
 2.Development and coordination of programs for church institutions, aimed at normalizing the situation of the Orthodox Church in China;
 3.Establishing mechanisms of regular financing of missionary projects concerning preaching of Orthodoxy in the Chinese world.

The whole text can be read at http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/2013/02/25/300-years-of-orthodoxy-in-china/
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« Reply #74 on: March 27, 2013, 03:43:37 PM »

300 years of Orthodoxy in China

The main problems of the first task:
 ■Legislation of China, Chinese Orthodox Autonomous Church is legally unformed and therefore unrecognized by the authorities;
 ■Renewal and strengthening of ties between Russian Orthodox Church and Chinese Autonomous Orthodox Church, which were significantly weakened in the 1950s;
 ■Lack of Orthodox priests among the Chinese;
 ■The establishment of institutions of theological education and training of the clergy, as well as the question of the recognition of the Chinese Autonomous Orthodox Church by world Orthodoxy, which is absolutely impossible without substantial support from outside.
 
Solving these problems is seen in three main directions:
 1.Awareness of the mission in the Chinese world as the problem of the whole Church;
 2.Development and coordination of programs for church institutions, aimed at normalizing the situation of the Orthodox Church in China;
 3.Establishing mechanisms of regular financing of missionary projects concerning preaching of Orthodoxy in the Chinese world.

The whole text can be read at http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/2013/02/25/300-years-of-orthodoxy-in-china/

At this point the Chinese Orthodox Autonomous Church, as an organization, really exists only on paper. They have no bishops; the few faithful and clergy are very elderly and many live outside China. There are of course Chinese Orthodox Christians in China but generally they are being served by clergy of other jurisdictions. It's not so much a matter of "renewing ties" between the Russian Church and the Chinese church, but of rebuilding the Chinese church from the ground up. And it might be better this time for the Church to be dependent, at least officially, on a different church from Russia to avoid PRC suspicions of the church being a tool of Russian foreign policy.
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« Reply #75 on: March 27, 2013, 11:50:23 PM »

300 years of Orthodoxy in China

The main problems of the first task:
 ■Legislation of China, Chinese Orthodox Autonomous Church is legally unformed and therefore unrecognized by the authorities;
 ■Renewal and strengthening of ties between Russian Orthodox Church and Chinese Autonomous Orthodox Church, which were significantly weakened in the 1950s;
 ■Lack of Orthodox priests among the Chinese;
 ■The establishment of institutions of theological education and training of the clergy, as well as the question of the recognition of the Chinese Autonomous Orthodox Church by world Orthodoxy, which is absolutely impossible without substantial support from outside.
 
Solving these problems is seen in three main directions:
 1.Awareness of the mission in the Chinese world as the problem of the whole Church;
 2.Development and coordination of programs for church institutions, aimed at normalizing the situation of the Orthodox Church in China;
 3.Establishing mechanisms of regular financing of missionary projects concerning preaching of Orthodoxy in the Chinese world.

The whole text can be read at http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/2013/02/25/300-years-of-orthodoxy-in-china/

At this point the Chinese Orthodox Autonomous Church, as an organization, really exists only on paper. They have no bishops; the few faithful and clergy are very elderly and many live outside China. There are of course Chinese Orthodox Christians in China but generally they are being served by clergy of other jurisdictions. It's not so much a matter of "renewing ties" between the Russian Church and the Chinese church, but of rebuilding the Chinese church from the ground up. And it might be better this time for the Church to be dependent, at least officially, on a different church from Russia to avoid PRC suspicions of the church being a tool of Russian foreign policy.

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« Reply #76 on: April 19, 2013, 12:59:42 PM »

All one has to do is look at the history of the Orthodox Church.

1)  Half of all Orthodox Christians live in Ukraine and Russia.  Those 2 countries had MASSIVE death tolls from WW2 (about 30 million civilians) and maybe just as many deaths from Stalin and other Soviet leaders, combined with a program of State Atheism.  Lets assume those 2 things never happened, the Orthodox Church could probably be 100 million more people.

2)  During the age of colonization, half the the Orthodox Church was either under the control of Islam, or was being forced to convert to islam, making it impossible to spread the message to other lands.
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« Reply #77 on: April 23, 2013, 02:19:33 PM »

The spread of Catholicism and Protestantism cannot be compared to the spread of Orthodoxy, and for one main reason: The Sword.

Western Europe, under the Franks, had a powerful army, and kept the Muslims away by force, and thus Western Europe remained Catholic (until the Reformation, that is). Centuries later, powerful Western European nations began to colonize the world and brought "the gospel" with them by means of the sword as they conquered. Catholic nations like Spain and Portugal did it in Central and South America, as well as parts of Asia, and other nations like France and England did it in North America.

Orthodoxy has wielded the sword to spread the faith. We've done it by sending missionaries into nations, planting missions, and letting them embrace it themselves. Working on people's hearts can take a little more time than putting a sword to someone's throat.

That's not to say that every segment of Western Christianity is violent, nor that every segment of Orthodox is peaceful. But the sword has absolutely defined the spread of Western Christianity, while persecution and missions has defined Orthodoxy.

We've always been involved in missions. It's just that ours isn't the kind that always move quickly.
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« Reply #78 on: April 27, 2013, 05:34:55 PM »

LOL!!! You are honestly going to deny the violent sword that Orthodoxy used? I guess then that the Byzantine Empire never existed and all of those pagans that they conquered never had religion forced on them.
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« Reply #79 on: April 27, 2013, 06:44:07 PM »

LOL!!! You are honestly going to deny the violent sword that Orthodoxy used? I guess then that the Byzantine Empire never existed and all of those pagans that they conquered never had religion forced on them.

Oh, do please actually read some history.
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« Reply #80 on: April 29, 2013, 02:12:24 AM »

I did not read through the whole thread; forgive me. 

I want to add my experience to the conversation though.  Many, many people in America are coming to Orthodoxy and the internet has been a major avenue.  I can personally vouch for about 30 people coming in on this Holy Saturday to come, from only two parishes.  And in large part, it is because of converts from Protestantism sharing their journey online in various circles.  I was one of them last year.  I think it is erroneous to say that the Orthodox do not evangelize.  We may not stand at a corner and preach, or send people overseas specifically to preach the words of the Gospel, but what we do have are people finding the True Church and then *living it*.  There's no better way to evangelize, imo, than by living the commandments. 
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« Reply #81 on: April 29, 2013, 03:33:04 AM »

LOL!!! You are honestly going to deny the violent sword that Orthodoxy used? I guess then that the Byzantine Empire never existed and all of those pagans that they conquered never had religion forced on them.

Oh, do please actually read some history.

This.
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« Reply #82 on: May 20, 2013, 01:54:44 AM »

This concern has much to do with history and how the Church, over the centuries, has to rediscover its missionary roots. Over the centuries the Church has been under Islam and Communism, which curtailed much evangelization and missionary work of the Church. Only now, after taking off the yokes of Islam and Communism, has the Church slowly began to rediscover its missionary zeal. But much work is still to be done.
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« Reply #83 on: May 20, 2013, 05:40:40 AM »

Time to offend everyone here, but I think that anyone who is would complain due to ethnicity needs to get over it. You go to Church to worship and receive the Sacraments; not for a social club amongst your own kind. It's not about your personal comfort but about submitting to God. The Church shouldn't have to cater to you because you don't want to adapt to American society. You want to be around your ethnic group, then do it outside of Church. Period.

/rant

This contribution reminded me of a friend years ago. He was what might be called a Hugh Church Tory (others might better explain that than me) and being in Singapore at Christmas went to an Anglican Church. On entering his first recognition was on seeing the congregation being made up of Chinese Christians, "I can't get away from these bl..dy Chinese even in Church. The welcome again found by too many West Indians on migrating to Britain was such that an explosion of 'Black' churches followed.

The Eastern Roman Empire begat  the Slav Orthodox Churches, the Russians in their turn brought Orthodoxy to the area between the Urals to Kamchatka and Alaska beyond as well as the founding of a native Japanese Orthodox Church.. I have met Orthodox Christians including priests and monks from the Congo, Uganda and Kenya. The photographs I have seen of Chinese Orthodox clergy and people taken before the Chinese Communists took over were remarkable for the numbers of folk.

Gunboat backed missionaries was the colonial experience, whether British, French or Spanish. While the Orthodox were either exceeding restricted under the Ottomans, Venetians or faced state sponsored hostility in Imperial China, including the activities of the Boxers (affecting as they did Christians of every hue. Japan was long a hostile environment under the Shoguns relieved a little by Portugese naval muscle. Britain shut Russia out of India, fearful of Russian ambitions.



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« Reply #84 on: May 20, 2013, 07:59:54 AM »

Quote
Nobody is preventing OCA of being more  missionary, neither is anyone preventing Serbian (and other "ethnic") Church from doing the same...they are not (nor could they ever be) in each other's way...
In fact, they could be in each other's way. I saw that happen in Austin, Texas where everybody went to one church: St Elias Antiochian. Then, the ethnic divisions started to happen, not to spread the word and evangelize but to preserve one's roots. Fortunately, this mess eventually ended well as Orthodoxy spread anyway in Greater Austin, but in other places the outcome has been a fractured witness to the heterodox. Fractured witness, not only because there is not a united front, but also because the ethnic parishes give the wrong idea to the heterodox--that to be Orthodox you may also need to become Serbian, Greek or Russian.
[/quote]

Luckily for Austin, a dynamic priest (Father James Kenna of blessed memory) at St Elias was very Pan Orthodox and evangelistic---St Elias became the "Mother Church that gave birth to a large Greek Orthodox Parish, several Orthodox missions--- some that have grown to full parishes in Cedar Park (St John the Fore Runner), Fredricksburg, San Antonio, and Dripping Springs (St Sophia's) jn less than 10 years. Even though "retired Father James continued to mentor new missions and was priest over a Mission (St Sophia in Dripping Springs) he reposed after an accident in bad weather as he was out blessing homes. A true priest if I ever saw one and a true Evangelical  missionary in the Orthodox Church---we miss him in Austin Area.
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« Reply #85 on: May 20, 2013, 08:15:11 AM »

I'm sorry that I don't have much knowledge of the orthodox church situation in America, as I'm Australian and Protestant. But I wanted to say. Several people on this thread were concerned about the lack of one single autocephalous church in the US. And that's probably a valid concern, sounds like things would be a lot smoother if the orthodox churches could be more closely allied. What I don't understand is why people say that it is impeding missions. As a point of reference, and I don't know how appropriate it is to compare these, the Protestants in any country I know don't have an overall unity. There's no single "Protestant" church, no patriarch that governs all the churches in an area in an orderly fashion. It's hundreds and hundreds of loosely banded denominations and non-denominationals. Some of the older ones have their own archbishops, but there's always several denominations in the same place, and so several hierarchies. But none of the Protestants find it embarrassing or say that it impedes missions. Among most churches there's an implicit understanding that it doesn't matter which particular local church a convert ends up in or who's under which denominational label. So why are the Orthodox in America saying that things will be much smoother once there's a united Orthodox church? If the Protestants can evangelise with little formal unity, why not the Orthodox?

Secondly, the languages thing. I think it's great that more Orthodox churches are English speaking now. (Mostly because I recently visited a Greek Orthodox church service without checking what language it was going to be in, and sat for a couple hours trying to work out what was being said in Modern Greek from what I know of Classical Greek... it didn't work out so well Tongue) However it would be narrow-minded to say that services in minority languages are bad and should all be done away with. Mostly because it's not just young people who need to be evangelised, it's the old as well.

Case in point, I used to be part of a Pentecostal church that was made up of just one ethnicity: Malaysian Chinese immigrants. And it had services in English and Chinese. I felt the ethnic character wasn't helping the church's evangelism overall, although they were very good at evangelising more Malaysian Chinese immigrants. And some years later I moved to an Anglican church that was much more ethnically diverse (and younger demographic). But when my grandmother decided to convert, only about ten years ago, she needed the Chinese church. She has very little English up her sleeve, and spiritual matters are especially hard to grapple with in a foreign tongue. If it weren't for the ethnic Malaysian Chinese church that we were connected to, I doubt her conversion would have been so well accommodated. So there is a role for ethnic churches - not all success is measured in converting the young, mainstream of the society. Churches all have their areas of influence, just because not all of them cater to the largest part of the population doesn't mean they're failing to reach who God wants them to reach.

Having said that, I think the largest number of churches should be in English in countries where English is the majority language. But wherever there is a real need, there should also be some minority ethnic churches as long as they reach people who would otherwise have struggled to find a home church.
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« Reply #86 on: May 20, 2013, 08:17:46 AM »

So why are the Orthodox in America saying that things will be much smoother once there's a united Orthodox church? If the Protestants can evangelise with little formal unity, why not the Orthodox?

One bishop per area.
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« Reply #87 on: May 20, 2013, 09:54:14 AM »

Okay, this thought just came to me and is perhaps a bit rabid but see how it sits with you.

Perhaps inquirers are scandalized by the relative size of Orthodoxy in America because they are operating, perhaps subconsciously, under the assumption that America is this great Christian nation and that millions of sincere people are languishing in Protestantism and Catholicism and would hop into Orthodoxy if only they would stop speaking Russian and knock on their door.
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« Reply #88 on: May 20, 2013, 10:44:24 AM »

Okay, this thought just came to me and is perhaps a bit rabid but see how it sits with you.

Perhaps inquirers are scandalized by the relative size of Orthodoxy in America because they are operating, perhaps subconsciously, under the assumption that America is this great Christian nation and that millions of sincere people are languishing in Protestantism and Catholicism and would hop into Orthodoxy if only they would stop speaking Russian and knock on their door.


The mentality among people's in Anglophone countries may also reflect a bias that only sees or understands Christianity as either Protestant or Catholic, anything else either doesn't fit or is simply categorised as smells and bells minus the Pope. Certainly when an Orthodox Church was attacked by Prods several years all they saw was smell and bells, plus plus.

Another obstacle may be the involvement in the ecumenical movement, after all if there are aspects of Orthodoxy that appeal you simply incorporate that into your own life/worship. Example, see Lady Thatcher's funeral or a Royal wedding/funeral, etc., you see a large traditional prominently displayed in the Anglican cathedral or church. Others incorporate the Jesus prayer. The lack of clear unified statements which so characterised Roman Catholic dogma prior to Vatican 2 means we appear to carry little weight other than we add a bit of colour or even legitimacy to the theological relativism that we have slid into, unfortunately.
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