Author Topic: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure  (Read 1956 times)

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Offline JMJCatholic

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Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« on: May 28, 2013, 02:52:16 PM »
Hello,

I have recently (Paschatide) discovered the Greek Orthodox Church, and I have been attending Divine Liturgy there on Sunday and every possible opportunity.  I come from a Catholic background, and I had been attending a Traditional Latin Mass for many years, and it is no longer accessible to me.  I had to endure terrible liturgies in the new rite and was very disheartened.  God works in mysterious ways, as I have discovered the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom at a Greek Orthodox Church, and when there, it is a little bit of heaven on earth! 

I have many questions, and the wonderful priest at the church has been answering many of them.   I am sure I will learn more and more as I read these board.

Is there anything anyone can recommend to me as someone learning?  Would it be OK if I continue to attend services without an intention to convert?  I am made to feel very welcome, but I am unsure if there is an expectation that someone like myself who attends all services has the intention to convert.  I know that I can not receive any sacraments, but I am invited to partake of the blessed bread distributed after the Liturgy. 

Strangely enough, even though the Liturgy is so different from what I was accustomed to, and even though it is in a language I don't understand, I am so much at home there, and the hours fly by! 

Thank you!

Joanna

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2013, 02:59:13 PM »
Welcome to OC.net! :)

God, as you say, works in mysterious ways, and above all is patient. Take all the time you want to explore the Orthodox faith; nobody will (or should) press you into committing yourself. Get to know the priest and the people of the parish you attend - they will most likely be happy to answer questions, and so are we here, as well. ;D

If you're looking for recommended reading, Fr. Thomas Hopko's 'Rainbow series' is a good starting point.
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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2013, 03:41:28 PM »
Welcome!

Would it be OK if I continue to attend services without an intention to convert?  I am made to feel very welcome, but I am unsure if there is an expectation that someone like myself who attends all services has the intention to convert.  I know that I can not receive any sacraments, but I am invited to partake of the blessed bread distributed after the Liturgy.

It's absolutely okay to attend services as a non-Orthodox with no intention to convert. You should know that traditionally, non-Orthodox were dismissed during the second part of the Liturgy (the Liturgy of the Faithful, i.e. the Eucharist); this is still practiced in monasteries, but a regular parish should have no problem. I know that there are a few non-Orthodox members at my parish that have been attending for years and years.

When I began attending Orthodox services, I stated my views very plainly. I was an atheist, and I had no intention of converting. When catechism classes started, I had shed most of my atheistic beliefs, but I still wasn't prepared to make any commitments and I told the priest this. He simply replied that there is no expectation, and that I was welcome to come to the classes to learn.

Of course, God converted me to the Faith when the classes ended on Easter of this year. :) I would say that you should be open to the possibility of conversion, without any feeling of compulsion. You never know what will happen in your life, as I can attest. But let everything happen naturally, by God's will. I am sort of a rarity in that I jumped from a non-Christian tradition to Orthodoxy in only 1.5 years or so. For most people, the journey can be much longer, and doesn't always end at the Orthodox Church.

While I firmly believe that The Church is the fullness of the Faith, I also believe that as long as one is sincere and lives a life of prayer and repentance, God will take them where they need to be at the right time.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2013, 03:44:42 PM by lovesupreme »

Offline mike

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2013, 03:43:22 PM »
If you have no intentions of converting why to attend? To watch theatrical performance?

Offline Alpo

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2013, 03:44:57 PM »
Is there anything anyone can recommend to me as someone learning?  Would it be OK if I continue to attend services without an intention to convert?  I am made to feel very welcome, but I am unsure if there is an expectation that someone like myself who attends all services has the intention to convert.

Go ahead. I attended EO services several years before conversion and I had no intention to convert at first. I just liked the services.

Quote
I know that I can not receive any sacraments, but I am invited to partake of the blessed bread distributed after the Liturgy.

Opinions vary on this. IMO the blessed bread is only for those who receive the Eucharist so I refrain from receiving the bread when I don't commune but there are other kind of opinions too.

Welcome to the forum. :)

If you have no intentions of converting why to attend?

God? Prayer? And the stuff like that.

It's absolutely okay to attend services as a non-Orthodox with no intention to convert. You should know that traditionally, non-Orthodox were dismissed during the second part of the Liturgy (the Liturgy of the Faithful, i.e. the Eucharist); this is still practiced in monasteries

I've never heard of it being practiced anywhere inside or outside monasteries. Which monasteries you are talking about?
« Last Edit: May 28, 2013, 03:48:15 PM by Alpo »

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2013, 03:49:18 PM »
If you have no intentions of converting why to attend? To watch theatrical performance?

Michal, with all due respect, I don't think that this rhetorical question is very helpful. Perhaps he feels a holiness in the Liturgy and prefers it to the Novus Ordo masses that he tried attending?

Even if he were just attending for academic or "entertainment" purposes (which I sincerely doubt, since he's a practicing Catholic with a genuine yearning for God), that might just be the way through which God reaches him. I know that was the case for me.

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2013, 03:51:49 PM »
I've never heard of it being practiced anywhere inside or outside monasteries. Which monasteries you are talking about?

When I was not yet Orthodox, a couple invited me to St. Anthony's in Arizona (at least I'm pretty sure it was that one). They told me I would need to leave during some parts of the service. I never ended up going anyway.

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2013, 03:56:10 PM »
If you have no intentions of converting why to attend? To watch theatrical performance?

It's interesting, but I started attending EO services (specifically, the Saturday evening vigil) with precisely this intention: to enjoy a free, two hour choral music concert every weekend.  Eventually, the "prayer" outweighed the "performance", and my Saturday nights have never been the same.

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Offline Alpo

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2013, 04:03:57 PM »
I've never heard of it being practiced anywhere inside or outside monasteries. Which monasteries you are talking about?

When I was not yet Orthodox, a couple invited me to St. Anthony's in Arizona (at least I'm pretty sure it was that one). They told me I would need to leave during some parts of the service. I never ended up going anyway.

Interesting. I wonder whether this is practice of US Ephraimite monasteries or private opinion of that specific couple.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2013, 04:04:11 PM by Alpo »

Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2013, 04:04:49 PM »
Quote
Opinions vary on this. IMO the blessed bread is only for those who receive the Eucharist so I refrain from receiving the bread when I don't commune but there are other kind of opinions too.

Really?  I never heard this.  In our parish, those who commune take handfuls of it and pass it out to catechumens, visitors, each other, etc.  
Will we all have to prove our Orthodoxy by adopting St Nicholas avatars now?

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2013, 04:06:55 PM »
If you have no intentions of converting why to attend? To watch theatrical performance?

IMHO, Orthodoxy grows on you.  While you may start going out of curiousity, eventually, you want to participate.  The entire service is designed to be participatory culminating in the Eucharist which is the highlight of participation.
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Offline Alpo

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2013, 04:07:32 PM »
Quote
Opinions vary on this. IMO the blessed bread is only for those who receive the Eucharist so I refrain from receiving the bread when I don't commune but there are other kind of opinions too.

Really?  I never heard this.  In our parish, those who commune take handfuls of it and pass it out to catechumens, visitors, each other, etc.  


Also many Finns encourage visitors to partake the blessed bread. But IIRC I have heard different opinions from both clergy and laymen alike.

Offline mabsoota

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2013, 04:09:29 PM »
i agree. i took it for 3 years before being orthodox, and in the first few months was not attending in order to become orthodox.
just i knew that i knew God (didn't say i was humble!) and i wanted to see if they did too, which i thought they probably did.
i was checking them out to see if they were missing anything.
 :o
 ::)
 :(
(didn't say anywhere that i was humble)

turned out that i was missing something, but it took me 2 years of visiting on average once a month to figure that out!
 :-[
never mind, it ended well...
 :)

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2013, 04:12:38 PM »
Welcome to the forum, Joanna.  I think it's wonderful that you are attending the Divine Liturgy, and as others have stated, you should feel no compulsion to do anything.  Just make sure that you struggle to remain true to yourself and to God's will for you; that is all that any Christian can be asked to do.  I find you story quite inspiring, so thank you.
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Offline truthseeker32

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2013, 04:14:02 PM »
This past Sunday the priest at the Greek Parish I attended recommended "Introducing the Orthodox Church: Its Faith and Life" by Anthony Coniaris.

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #15 on: May 28, 2013, 04:15:09 PM »
Quote
Opinions vary on this. IMO the blessed bread is only for those who receive the Eucharist so I refrain from receiving the bread when I don't commune but there are other kind of opinions too.

Really?  I never heard this.  In our parish, those who commune take handfuls of it and pass it out to catechumens, visitors, each other, etc.

I've always been taught that the antidoron is both a ritual breaking of the fast and a small consolation for those who, for whatever reason, have not communed (anti doron = instead of the Gifts). People take extra pieces (from a basket that comes out at the end, not the platter next to the chalice) to take home for family who could not attend.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2013, 04:15:45 PM by Arachne »
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Offline Elisha

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #16 on: May 28, 2013, 04:22:36 PM »

It's absolutely okay to attend services as a non-Orthodox with no intention to convert. You should know that traditionally, non-Orthodox were dismissed during the second part of the Liturgy (the Liturgy of the Faithful, i.e. the Eucharist); this is still practiced in monasteries

I've never heard of it being practiced anywhere inside or outside monasteries. Which monasteries you are talking about?

You mean at the "Catechumens depart!" before the Great Entrance?  My parish does that, or should I say, our catechumens leave at that point and go study something.  They're not "obligated to", but some catechumens left around 15 years ago and it has stuck around ever since.

Offline JMJCatholic

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2013, 04:30:18 PM »
If you have no intentions of converting why to attend? To watch theatrical performance?

Thank you, everyone, for your welcome and kind replies.  Michal, why would you assume that I have such shallow intentions?  I have learned that the Catholic Church is not the only source of the graces that flow from the liturgy, that my own religion acknowledges the apostolic succession and validity of the Orthodox, and for this and many other reasons, some unknown even to me, I am delighted to have been led to, not a theatrical performance, but a fuller expression of my faith than I have available to me in the Novus Ordo Mass.

Joanna

Offline Santagranddad

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2013, 04:34:14 PM »
I have known folk attend the services who are curious, maybe simply accompany another family member and little by little their attendance takes on a deeper meaning for them. Yes, and others who love theatre and have to rush off quickly because there is a hierarchical Divine Liturgy at the nearby Greek cathedral. Conversation soon reveals this person's Sunday is a series of Church services across the capital. Eccentric certainly and, perhaps, sad too. However who knows when a seed might be sown or how it might grow?

« Last Edit: May 28, 2013, 04:36:28 PM by Santagranddad »

Offline mike

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #19 on: May 28, 2013, 04:39:27 PM »
Michal, with all due respect, I don't think that this rhetorical question is very helpful. Perhaps he feels a holiness in the Liturgy and prefers it to the Novus Ordo masses that he tried attending?

Even if he were just attending for academic or "entertainment" purposes (which I sincerely doubt, since he's a practicing Catholic with a genuine yearning for God), that might just be the way through which God reaches him. I know that was the case for me.

I know "God works in mysterious ways" and you are not the only one example of that.

On the other hand I cannot really say I personally like the idea of "sympathizers of Orthodoxy" (I do not like this term either) who visit Orthodox churches to "experience the ecumenism", "enrich spiritual life", "enjoy the beauty of Orthodox Liturgy", "for curiosity" and other various reasons I've heard that are not tied with at least considering a possibility of conversion. I do not deny their good intentions but I do not like the idea either of Orthodox Christianity being some cultural phenomena to be elucidated, artistic performance to be enjoyed or spiritual buffet to choose things you like and mix with other meals. I do not treat other religions like that and would like others do not treat mine this way.

I am aware it is an isolated opinion.

Offline JMJCatholic

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #20 on: May 28, 2013, 04:48:34 PM »
Michal, with all due respect, I don't think that this rhetorical question is very helpful. Perhaps he feels a holiness in the Liturgy and prefers it to the Novus Ordo masses that he tried attending?

Even if he were just attending for academic or "entertainment" purposes (which I sincerely doubt, since he's a practicing Catholic with a genuine yearning for God), that might just be the way through which God reaches him. I know that was the case for me.

I know "God works in mysterious ways" and you are not the only one example of that.

On the other hand I cannot really say I personally like the idea of "sympathizers of Orthodoxy" (I do not like this term either) who visit Orthodox churches to "experience the ecumenism", "enrich spiritual life", "enjoy the beauty of Orthodox Liturgy", "for curiosity" and other various reasons I've heard that are not tied with at least considering a possibility of conversion. I do not deny their good intentions but I do not like the idea either of Orthodox Christianity being some cultural phenomena to be elucidated, artistic performance to be enjoyed or spiritual buffet to choose things you like and mix with other meals. I do not treat other religions like that and would like others do not treat mine this way.

I am aware it is an isolated opinion.

I can understand and respect what you are saying.  I am not one of those that you describe.  :)  I know of people who will "convert" to another religion without much thought for reasons more to do with convenience or things you mention than faith. 

Thanks, again, for the responses and suggestions.  I'll keep checking back. 

Joanna


Offline JMJCatholic

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #22 on: May 28, 2013, 04:54:07 PM »
Thank you, Servos, for the links.

Joanna

Offline Maria

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #23 on: May 28, 2013, 04:54:29 PM »
Dear Joanne,

I too discovered a treasure in Orthodox Christianity. I stayed, they conquered.
Within three years, I was received into Holy Orthodox.


To Michal:
Some Roman Catholics attend a Greek Orthodox Divine Liturgy because it is so awesome.
Catholics are taught to respect the Orthodox Christian Divine Liturgy because Christ is truly present in the Eucharist. I have seen quite a few Catholics come before the Divine Liturgy during Orthros just to light candles because they do not have candles in many Roman Catholic Churches, instead they have those artificial lights where you place a quarter for 25 minutes of electricity.  ::) They want the real thing.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2013, 04:57:27 PM by Maria »
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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #24 on: May 28, 2013, 04:55:34 PM »
On the other hand I cannot really say I personally like the idea of "sympathizers of Orthodoxy" (I do not like this term either) who visit Orthodox churches to "experience the ecumenism", "enrich spiritual life", "enjoy the beauty of Orthodox Liturgy", "for curiosity" and other various reasons I've heard that are not tied with at least considering a possibility of conversion. I do not deny their good intentions but I do not like the idea either of Orthodox Christianity being some cultural phenomena to be elucidated, artistic performance to be enjoyed or spiritual buffet to choose things you like and mix with other meals. I do not treat other religions like that and would like others do not treat mine this way.

I am aware it is an isolated opinion.

I can respect that. However, I would again point out that these reasons, while not ideal, might be what begins someone's conversion.

I think you're speaking out against the larger problem of religious pluralism and cultural relativism. I am pretty revolted by the idea that someone feels entitled to mix and match various spiritual traditions into their own religion (or sampling from the "spiritual buffet," as you put it) but that is sadly the spirit of this age. Fortunately, it does appear that God works through these postmodernist sensibilities to bring people to a genuine understanding of The Faith.

Offline JMJCatholic

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #25 on: May 28, 2013, 04:56:10 PM »
If you have no intentions of converting why to attend? To watch theatrical performance?

Lord have mercy. What a terrible response, Michal!

Some Roman Catholics attend a Greek Orthodox Divine Liturgy because it is so awesome.
Catholics are taught to respect the Orthodox Christian Divine Liturgy because Christ is truly present in the Eucharist. I have seen quite a few Catholics come before the Divine Liturgy during Orthros just to light candles because they do not have candles in many Roman Catholic Churches, instead they have those artificial lights where you place a quarter for 25 minutes of electricity.  ::) They want the real thing.

Thank you, Maria!  I think you understand  :)

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #26 on: May 28, 2013, 04:59:23 PM »
I am not one of those that you describe.  

IMO that:

I have learned that the Catholic Church is not the only source of the graces that flow from the liturgy, that my own religion acknowledges the apostolic succession and validity of the Orthodox, and for this and many other reasons, some unknown even to me, I am delighted to have been led to, not a theatrical performance, but a fuller expression of my faith than I have available to me in the Novus Ordo Mass.

fits into the "buffet" thing. You try mixing your Church's teachings with Orthodox liturgical life. I think you should try attending some Eastern Catholic parish instead.

Again, I'd like to repeat it's my personal opinion that does not represent the Orthodox Church or opinions of the majority of Orthodox faithful.

Some Roman Catholics attend a Greek Orthodox Divine Liturgy because it is so awesome.
Catholics are taught to respect the Orthodox Christian Divine Liturgy because Christ is truly present in the Eucharist. I have seen quite a few Catholics come before the Divine Liturgy during Orthros just to light candles because they do not have candles in many Roman Catholic Churches, instead they have those artificial lights where you place a quarter for 25 minutes of electricity.  ::) They want the real thing.

All of this reasons are IMO not worthy to attend Liturgy and well represent what I am against to.

I can respect that. However, I would again point out that these reasons, while not ideal, might be what begins someone's conversion.

I think you're speaking out against the larger problem of religious pluralism and cultural relativism. I am pretty revolted by the idea that someone feels entitled to mix and match various spiritual traditions into their own religion (or sampling from the "spiritual buffet," as you put it) but that is sadly the spirit of this age. Fortunately, it does appear that God works through these postmodernist sensibilities to bring people to a genuine understanding of The Faith.

That's why I'm split a bit.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2013, 05:01:58 PM by Michał Kalina »

Offline Alpo

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #27 on: May 28, 2013, 05:03:22 PM »
While I understand your fascination for Byzantine rite you might want to know there are also some EO monasteries and parishes who use Roman rite. You might want to visit one if there is any of those somewhere near you.

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #28 on: May 28, 2013, 05:06:36 PM »
If you have no intentions of converting why to attend? To watch theatrical performance?

Lord have mercy. What a terrible response, Michal!

Some Roman Catholics attend a Greek Orthodox Divine Liturgy because it is so awesome.
Catholics are taught to respect the Orthodox Christian Divine Liturgy because Christ is truly present in the Eucharist. I have seen quite a few Catholics come before the Divine Liturgy during Orthros just to light candles because they do not have candles in many Roman Catholic Churches, instead they have those artificial lights where you place a quarter for 25 minutes of electricity.  ::) They want the real thing.

Thank you, Maria!  I think you understand  :)

I became sick with pneumonia and was running a high fever of 105 degrees F for five days. Cipro did not stop the fever. I could not keep hydrated even though I was pushing the liquids and they were giving me IVs. I was sweating constantly as my fever went from 105 to 99 and then immediately back to 105.

The doctor told my husband that he did not think I would make it. We were very distraught about the innovations and constant liturgical revolutions here in the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, plus my son did not like all the sexual predator coverups, so we prayed earnestly, and made a promise to Christ that we would visit a Greek Orthodox Church if I were saved. The doctors then called to give me a new drug just on the market, and my fever left me within two days.

One visit, and we were hooked. We felt like we were truly entering heavenly worship with all the angels and saints surrounding us.
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Offline JMJCatholic

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #29 on: May 28, 2013, 05:13:06 PM »
If you have no intentions of converting why to attend? To watch theatrical performance?

Lord have mercy. What a terrible response, Michal!

Some Roman Catholics attend a Greek Orthodox Divine Liturgy because it is so awesome.
Catholics are taught to respect the Orthodox Christian Divine Liturgy because Christ is truly present in the Eucharist. I have seen quite a few Catholics come before the Divine Liturgy during Orthros just to light candles because they do not have candles in many Roman Catholic Churches, instead they have those artificial lights where you place a quarter for 25 minutes of electricity.  ::) They want the real thing.

Thank you, Maria!  I think you understand  :)

I became sick with pneumonia and was running a high fever of 105 degrees F for five days. Cipro did not stop the fever. I could not keep hydrated even though I was pushing the liquids and they were giving me IVs. I was sweating constantly as my fever went from 105 to 99 and then immediately back to 105.

The doctor told my husband that he did not think I would make it. We were very distraught about the innovations and constant liturgical revolutions here in the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, plus my son did not like all the sexual predator coverups, so we prayed earnestly, and made a promise to Christ that we would visit a Greek Orthodox Church if I were saved. The doctors then called to give me a new drug just on the market, and my fever left me within two days.

One visit, and we were hooked. We felt like we were truly entering heavenly worship with all the angels and saints surrounding us.

What a beautiful and inspiring story! Thank you for sharing it.

I have a heavenly experience at the Greek Orthodox Church, and I can't wait to go back each time.  Tomorrow there will be a liturgy for Mid-Pentecost, and I am so looking forward to it.

I would ask Michal if he thinks that one must be born into the Orthodox Church.  It seems this way because otherwise how would someone convert without having experienced the Liturgy as a catechumen?

Joanna

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #30 on: May 28, 2013, 05:22:22 PM »
I would ask Michal if he thinks that one must be born into the Orthodox Church.  It seems this way because otherwise how would someone convert without having experienced the Liturgy as a catechumen?

By experiencing Liturgy as a serious inquirer or cathechumen, not from prolonged visitting.

Offline genesisone

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #31 on: May 28, 2013, 05:53:36 PM »
I would ask Michal if he thinks that one must be born into the Orthodox Church.  It seems this way because otherwise how would someone convert without having experienced the Liturgy as a catechumen?

By experiencing Liturgy as a serious inquirer or cathechumen, not from prolonged visitting.
Michał, you are being unfair to the OP. People are drawn into Orthodoxy for any number of reasons - even very trivial ones. I don't understand why you are trying to discourage someone from experiencing the beauty of our liturgical services. Let me remind you of St Vladimir who listened to his envoys who declared that they didn't know whether they were in heaven or on earth when they visited Constantinople. He converted without even experiencing Orthodoxy himself - but merely on hearing of its beauty! That's what drew him in, and he ultimately accepted Orthodoxy in its fullness.

Offline mike

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #32 on: May 28, 2013, 05:58:22 PM »
Let me remind you of St Vladimir who listened to his envoys who declared that they didn't know whether they were in heaven or on earth when they visited Constantinople. He converted without even experiencing Orthodoxy himself - but merely on hearing of its beauty! That's what drew him in, and he ultimately accepted Orthodoxy in its fullness.

He had had intention of converting before he send them there.

Offline genesisone

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #33 on: May 28, 2013, 06:37:45 PM »
Let me remind you of St Vladimir who listened to his envoys who declared that they didn't know whether they were in heaven or on earth when they visited Constantinople. He converted without even experiencing Orthodoxy himself - but merely on hearing of its beauty! That's what drew him in, and he ultimately accepted Orthodoxy in its fullness.

He had had intention of converting before he send them there.
You mean like he had the intention of converting to Islam or Judaism when he sent envoys to those people?

Also, please reread the OP. JMJCatholic clearly states that she is wanting to learn. She does not rule out the possibility of becoming Orthodox, but wants to know how soon the intention of converting ought to be declared. Most of us who converted from heterodoxy had the same questions. If I had been quizzed about my intentions on my first visit, it almost certainly would have been the last.

Offline Santagranddad

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #34 on: May 28, 2013, 07:09:29 PM »
It is saddening to see the negative comments. People attend our services for all sorts of reasons. Welcoming them without pressure is surely neighbourly? More than one priest has said in my hearing that the celebrating of church services is in itself a missionary activity.

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #35 on: May 28, 2013, 09:09:40 PM »
This past Sunday the priest at the Greek Parish I attended recommended "Introducing the Orthodox Church: Its Faith and Life" by Anthony Coniaris.

Thank you.  I found this available at the library, and I requested it.

Joanna

Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #36 on: May 28, 2013, 10:14:11 PM »
Welcome Joanna - to the Forum and to Orthodoxy.  I hope you find both irresistible and decide to call them both "home".

Excuse, Michal.  He's just being overly protective.  While I understand the root of his comments - fear of non-Orthodox coming in and diluting, or demanding changes to, or taking lightly the Divine Liturgy, I feel he is going about it the wrong way.

We are instructed to go and spread the Word, not hide it from others.  To be the Light to the world, to let our Light shine before all men, etc.

Please, do not let his comments dissuade you from attending services.  If the parish priest has no issues with you being there, than nobody else should, either.  It's his parish, his flock, and his to protect.

Once again, welcome to the Forum!!!
« Last Edit: May 28, 2013, 10:17:21 PM by LizaSymonenko »
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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #37 on: May 28, 2013, 10:49:17 PM »
Thank you so much, Liza.  I really appreciate your warm welcome and encouraging words.  I have discovered a whole new world, and I have the deepest awe and reverence for the Orthodox, so Michal need not worry about me  ;).

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #38 on: May 29, 2013, 03:58:08 AM »
Welcome Joanna - to the Forum and to Orthodoxy.  I hope you find both irresistible and decide to call them both "home".

Excuse, Michal.  He's just being overly protective.  While I understand the root of his comments - fear of non-Orthodox coming in and diluting, or demanding changes to, or taking lightly the Divine Liturgy, I feel he is going about it the wrong way.

We are instructed to go and spread the Word, not hide it from others.  To be the Light to the world, to let our Light shine before all men, etc.

Please, do not let his comments dissuade you from attending services.  If the parish priest has no issues with you being there, than nobody else should, either.  It's his parish, his flock, and his to protect.

Once again, welcome to the Forum!!!


Amen to that.

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #39 on: May 29, 2013, 04:26:03 AM »
Michal seems like he's the only one being honest in this thread, imo. He's the only one who has taken the OP's words seriously when she she says she doesn't want to convert. Everyone else is like "Suuuuuure you won't convert  ;) ;) ;)" and then they fill the thread with anecdotes proving the liturgy's magical attraction will make her convert or taking passive aggressive jabs at Catholicism. Seems manipulative and dishonest to me. Michal is the only one who is actually respecting the OP, the only one who believes her and who isn't treating her as a confused wanderer going through the standard "I'm in denial about wanting to convert" phase.
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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #40 on: May 29, 2013, 07:51:58 AM »

Oh, we take her seriously.

We are not condoning she do something disrespectful or sacraliguous.

Believe me, we would all be ganging up on her if she showed the slightest disrespect.

However, she seems to be there because she likes what she is experiencing at the Divine Liturgy. God willing, she will like it so much that she will decide to stay.

All converts start somewhere.  She seems to have a genuine curiosity and admiration, and is not there to do any harm.

If God brought her to the church, who are we to bar her from the Church?

Until she does something to warrant hostility, or until the parish pastor deems otherwise, she is welcome to attend, hear God's Word, and experience a little bit of Heaven.  The priest is aware of who and what she is, and if he has no reservations about her praying quietly in the corner, why should we?

Conquer evil men by your gentle kindness, and make zealous men wonder at your goodness. Put the lover of legality to shame by your compassion. With the afflicted be afflicted in mind. Love all men, but keep distant from all men.
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Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #41 on: May 29, 2013, 08:07:40 AM »
Welcome to Orthodoxy, the only faith where the members attack you if you demonstrate interest in it.  ;D
Will we all have to prove our Orthodoxy by adopting St Nicholas avatars now?

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #42 on: May 29, 2013, 08:40:33 AM »
Dismissal of catechumen was included for some reasons. I suspect because of reasons mentioned here.

Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #43 on: May 29, 2013, 09:29:31 AM »
Dismissal of catechumen was included for some reasons. I suspect because of reasons mentioned here.

Exactly! 

However, that is why I stated that if the parish priest, knowing who and what she is, has no issues, and is not asking her to step out, than who are we to tell her she needs to?

In all honesty, I'm curious if any regular (non-monastic) parishes actually enforce that the not baptized Orthodox individuals, actually leave at that point.

I know in the U.S., a not predominantly Orthodox nation, there are often mixed couples who come together.  On any given Sunday, you will find Roman Catholics, Greek Catholics, and Orthodox at my parish.  Some days we even have Protestants.

For the funeral of my uncle, my coworkers came....in addition to the usual mix, there were Baptists, Jews, Hindus and Muslims.  They stood for the entire Liturgy and funeral service.

Conquer evil men by your gentle kindness, and make zealous men wonder at your goodness. Put the lover of legality to shame by your compassion. With the afflicted be afflicted in mind. Love all men, but keep distant from all men.
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Offline katherineofdixie

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #44 on: May 29, 2013, 09:32:42 AM »
Michal, with all due respect, I don't think that this rhetorical question is very helpful. Perhaps he feels a holiness in the Liturgy and prefers it to the Novus Ordo masses that he tried attending?

Even if he were just attending for academic or "entertainment" purposes (which I sincerely doubt, since he's a practicing Catholic with a genuine yearning for God), that might just be the way through which God reaches him. I know that was the case for me.

I know "God works in mysterious ways" and you are not the only one example of that.

On the other hand I cannot really say I personally like the idea of "sympathizers of Orthodoxy" (I do not like this term either) who visit Orthodox churches to "experience the ecumenism", "enrich spiritual life", "enjoy the beauty of Orthodox Liturgy", "for curiosity" and other various reasons I've heard that are not tied with at least considering a possibility of conversion. I do not deny their good intentions but I do not like the idea either of Orthodox Christianity being some cultural phenomena to be elucidated, artistic performance to be enjoyed or spiritual buffet to choose things you like and mix with other meals. I do not treat other religions like that and would like others do not treat mine this way.

I am aware it is an isolated opinion.

I feel the same way. But also about other faith communities, as well. It has always seemed almost "condescending" or disrespectful when people who are not Jewish hold seders or people who are not Native American go to sweat lodges.
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Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #45 on: May 29, 2013, 10:22:32 AM »
I've never heard of it being practiced anywhere inside or outside monasteries. Which monasteries you are talking about?

When I was not yet Orthodox, a couple invited me to St. Anthony's in Arizona (at least I'm pretty sure it was that one). They told me I would need to leave during some parts of the service. I never ended up going anyway.

Interesting. I wonder whether this is practice of US Ephraimite monasteries or private opinion of that specific couple.

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Offline podkarpatska

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #46 on: May 29, 2013, 10:28:51 AM »

Oh, we take her seriously.

We are not condoning she do something disrespectful or sacraliguous.

Believe me, we would all be ganging up on her if she showed the slightest disrespect.

However, she seems to be there because she likes what she is experiencing at the Divine Liturgy. God willing, she will like it so much that she will decide to stay.

All converts start somewhere.  She seems to have a genuine curiosity and admiration, and is not there to do any harm.

If God brought her to the church, who are we to bar her from the Church?

Until she does something to warrant hostility, or until the parish pastor deems otherwise, she is welcome to attend, hear God's Word, and experience a little bit of Heaven.  The priest is aware of who and what she is, and if he has no reservations about her praying quietly in the corner, why should we?



I agree. I recommend that our visitor read this article written by the beloved and brilliant Greek Bishop-emeritus of Pittsburgh, Metropolitan Maximos. He begins with this:
"Orthodoxy, a way of life, is known for its experiential approach to faith and doctrine."

http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith8038

I can not think of a better experiential way to learn about our Faith than by attending Liturgy with an open heart.

As my grandparents would have said, "Vitajte na nás" - basically meaning, we welcome you!

Offline JMJCatholic

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #47 on: May 29, 2013, 11:13:19 AM »
Thank you! And thank you for the link.  I'll visit the site.

Joanna

[/quote]

I agree. I recommend that our visitor read this article written by the beloved and brilliant Greek Bishop-emeritus of Pittsburgh, Metropolitan Maximos. He begins with this:
"Orthodoxy, a way of life, is known for its experiential approach to faith and doctrine."

http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith8038

I can not think of a better experiential way to learn about our Faith than by attending Liturgy with an open heart.

As my grandparents would have said, "Vitajte na nás" - basically meaning, we welcome you!
[/quote]

Offline katherineofdixie

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #48 on: May 29, 2013, 11:20:01 AM »
Naturally visitors are always welcome. We had a gentleman in our parish who attended on a more or less regular basis for 10 years before being received into the Orthodox Church. We fondly referred to him as "the Oldest Living Catechumen."

The OP states up front that she has no intention (or presumably desire) to convert. I give her the respect of taking her at her word.

Not that this is what she is doing, but I personally would not attend a synagogue or a Buddhist or Hindu temple etc. (unless invited, or for a specific purpose, such as a funeral or wedding) out of mere curiosity, or to "see how they do it." Or to "incorporate aspects into my own spirituality." (as I often hear). That seems to me to be disrespectful.
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Offline Martyr Eugenia

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #49 on: May 29, 2013, 11:41:02 AM »
If God brought her to the church, who are we to bar her from the Church?

Welcome to Orthodoxy, the only faith where the members attack you if you demonstrate interest in it.  ;D

it helps us identify the tares

Dismissal of catechumen was included for some reasons. I suspect because of reasons mentioned here.

I think it was to protect non-orthodox believers of Christ from the pain of being barred from the Eucharist until some 'man' thought they were worthy enough. Frankly I like walking outside and sitting quietly with God, waiting.

Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #50 on: May 29, 2013, 12:07:26 PM »
Naturally visitors are always welcome. We had a gentleman in our parish who attended on a more or less regular basis for 10 years before being received into the Orthodox Church. We fondly referred to him as "the Oldest Living Catechumen."

The OP states up front that she has no intention (or presumably desire) to convert. I give her the respect of taking her at her word.

Not that this is what she is doing, but I personally would not attend a synagogue or a Buddhist or Hindu temple etc. (unless invited, or for a specific purpose, such as a funeral or wedding) out of mere curiosity, or to "see how they do it." Or to "incorporate aspects into my own spirituality." (as I often hear). That seems to me to be disrespectful.

While I understand what you are saying, and agree with you to a certain degree, the OP did post in the Converts Forum, not Other Topics, or Free For All, etc.

As a rule, I tend to be encouraging of individuals who might, even on the slightest of chances, actually convert.

Therefore, I find that it is better to err on the side of having them convert, rather than err on the side of dissuading them from possibly converting.

Joanna didn't say she was only attending services for merely a novelty experience.  In fact, she stated that she has conversed with the priest, is learning more and more, is on this Forum to learn even more, and asked for advice on reading materials on Orthodoxy.

All this points to a valid interest.  Perhaps a spark that needs to be fanned and encouraged, and not extinguished.

Conquer evil men by your gentle kindness, and make zealous men wonder at your goodness. Put the lover of legality to shame by your compassion. With the afflicted be afflicted in mind. Love all men, but keep distant from all men.
—St. Isaac of Syria

Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #51 on: May 29, 2013, 12:21:17 PM »
Dismissal of catechumen was included for some reasons. I suspect because of reasons mentioned here.

No.  The dismissal of catechumens took place because the non-baptized were not considered to be "prepared" to offer and receive the Eucharistic sacrifice.  They weren't "of the faithful", of the community of those who, through baptism, receive the grace of illumination.  It wasn't to dissuade people who might not yet be ready for "the big jump". 

I am guessing that the modern Byzantine form of this dismissal is an abridged version.  In the versions preserved in the Oriental traditions, it's not just the catechumens who are dismissed explicitly, but also "the penitents", "those possessed by devils and unclean spirits", "the unclean", "those of little faith", etc.  I don't know where this is really practiced anymore, but if you really followed the spirit of the dismissal, and not just the letter, I suppose that "coffee hour" would commence immediately for just about everyone.
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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #52 on: May 29, 2013, 12:28:11 PM »
Michal seems like he's the only one being honest in this thread, imo. He's the only one who has taken the OP's words seriously when she she says she doesn't want to convert. Everyone else is like "Suuuuuure you won't convert  ;) ;) ;)" and then they fill the thread with anecdotes proving the liturgy's magical attraction will make her convert or taking passive aggressive jabs at Catholicism. Seems manipulative and dishonest to me. Michal is the only one who is actually respecting the OP, the only one who believes her and who isn't treating her as a confused wanderer going through the standard "I'm in denial about wanting to convert" phase.

If the OP doesn't want to convert ever, so what?  That's between her and God.  As long as she's not sheep-stealing or causing a ruckus in the parish, what's our problem?  Certainly, no one is welcome anywhere if they are not welcome to enter a church to pray and learn in peace. 

As I read the first post, I didn't take it as a declaration that she had no intention of ever converting.  I read it as a question about the appropriateness of "an outsider" associating herself with the community without being a part of it.  Orthodoxy's a fairly intimidating religion for those who are not so familiar with it, and it's commendable that people want to go through the trouble of asking questions in advance in order to be respectful.
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Offline elephant

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #53 on: May 29, 2013, 02:24:59 PM »
Dear Joanna,

Welcome to the octagon, whoops I mean the forum! 

You might like to visit this site:  http://ematins.org/matins.htm
You will find side-by-side Greek/English translations of the Matins service (which preceeds the Divine Liturgy).  There are also selected Vespers services.  The hymnogoraphy of the Church is wonderful.  With these translations, you would be able to follow along during the Matins and Vespers services. 

Love, elephant

Offline William

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #54 on: May 29, 2013, 02:40:17 PM »
Michal seems like he's the only one being honest in this thread, imo. He's the only one who has taken the OP's words seriously when she she says she doesn't want to convert. Everyone else is like "Suuuuuure you won't convert  ;) ;) ;)" and then they fill the thread with anecdotes proving the liturgy's magical attraction will make her convert or taking passive aggressive jabs at Catholicism. Seems manipulative and dishonest to me. Michal is the only one who is actually respecting the OP, the only one who believes her and who isn't treating her as a confused wanderer going through the standard "I'm in denial about wanting to convert" phase.

If the OP doesn't want to convert ever, so what?  That's between her and God.  As long as she's not sheep-stealing or causing a ruckus in the parish, what's our problem?  Certainly, no one is welcome anywhere if they are not welcome to enter a church to pray and learn in peace. 

As I read the first post, I didn't take it as a declaration that she had no intention of ever converting.  I read it as a question about the appropriateness of "an outsider" associating herself with the community without being a part of it.  Orthodoxy's a fairly intimidating religion for those who are not so familiar with it, and it's commendable that people want to go through the trouble of asking questions in advance in order to be respectful.

That has nothing to do with my post. I was criticizing the manipulativeness and desperation for converts of the Orthodox, not Joanna.
Apart from moral conduct, all that man thinks himself able to do in order to become acceptable to God is mere superstition and religious folly. - Immanuel Kant

Offline JMJCatholic

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #55 on: May 29, 2013, 02:45:27 PM »
Michal seems like he's the only one being honest in this thread, imo. He's the only one who has taken the OP's words seriously when she she says she doesn't want to convert. Everyone else is like "Suuuuuure you won't convert  ;) ;) ;)" and then they fill the thread with anecdotes proving the liturgy's magical attraction will make her convert or taking passive aggressive jabs at Catholicism. Seems manipulative and dishonest to me. Michal is the only one who is actually respecting the OP, the only one who believes her and who isn't treating her as a confused wanderer going through the standard "I'm in denial about wanting to convert" phase.

If the OP doesn't want to convert ever, so what?  That's between her and God.  As long as she's not sheep-stealing or causing a ruckus in the parish, what's our problem?  Certainly, no one is welcome anywhere if they are not welcome to enter a church to pray and learn in peace. 

As I read the first post, I didn't take it as a declaration that she had no intention of ever converting.  I read it as a question about the appropriateness of "an outsider" associating herself with the community without being a part of it.  Orthodoxy's a fairly intimidating religion for those who are not so familiar with it, and it's commendable that people want to go through the trouble of asking questions in advance in order to be respectful.

That has nothing to do with my post. I was criticizing the manipulativeness and desperation for converts of the Orthodox, not Joanna.

Thank you, all,  for your understanding and support, the resources and suggestions.  This link is wonderful!  Just what I needed, Greek and English side by side.  Thank you so much!!

Joanna

Offline Alpo

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #56 on: May 29, 2013, 02:50:46 PM »
I've never heard of it being practiced anywhere inside or outside monasteries. Which monasteries you are talking about?

When I was not yet Orthodox, a couple invited me to St. Anthony's in Arizona (at least I'm pretty sure it was that one). They told me I would need to leave during some parts of the service. I never ended up going anyway.

Interesting. I wonder whether this is practice of US Ephraimite monasteries or private opinion of that specific couple.

"That specific group" follows the Athonite Typikon. 

I've never heard of Athonite monastery who expels non-Orthodox from their services. I admit though that I've never been there.

Offline serb1389

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #57 on: May 29, 2013, 02:54:07 PM »
I'd also like to mention to EVERYONE that there are a number of saints who were converted just by walking BY a church.  They did not go into the church with the intent of being converted.  For example, St. Mary of Egypt comes to mind, as well as St. Anthony.  They were outside of the church when the gospel was being read.  Happened to be the same gospel, telling people to sell everything, pick up their cross & follow Christ.  They did not go into the church seeking converstion, yet that is exactly what they received, in a radical way. 

Just adding to the conversation. 
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Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #58 on: May 29, 2013, 02:55:23 PM »

Wow!  That's a great reminder.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2013, 02:55:56 PM by LizaSymonenko »
Conquer evil men by your gentle kindness, and make zealous men wonder at your goodness. Put the lover of legality to shame by your compassion. With the afflicted be afflicted in mind. Love all men, but keep distant from all men.
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Offline xariskai

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #59 on: May 29, 2013, 04:41:04 PM »
Welcome to Orthodoxy, the only faith where the members attack you if you demonstrate interest in it.  ;D

it helps us identify the tares
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them'" (cf. Matt 13:24-30).

Offline Maria

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #60 on: May 29, 2013, 04:41:20 PM »
I'd also like to mention to EVERYONE that there are a number of saints who were converted just by walking BY a church.  They did not go into the church with the intent of being converted.  For example, St. Mary of Egypt comes to mind, as well as St. Anthony.  They were outside of the church when the gospel was being read.  Happened to be the same gospel, telling people to sell everything, pick up their cross & follow Christ.  They did not go into the church seeking converstion, yet that is exactly what they received, in a radical way. 

Just adding to the conversation. 

another

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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Catholic discovering an Orthodox treasure
« Reply #61 on: May 29, 2013, 11:27:17 PM »
That has nothing to do with my post. I was criticizing the manipulativeness and desperation for converts of the Orthodox, not Joanna.

Well, I'm sorry for the confusion.  I'm also sorry I don't see the manipulation and desperation for converts that you apparently observe. 
"Do not tempt the Mor thy Mod."

Mor no longer posts on OCNet.  He follows threads, posts his responses daily, occasionally starts threads, and responds to private messages when and as he wants.  But he really isn't around anymore.