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Author Topic: Converting for Marriage  (Read 983 times) Average Rating: 0
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helenamarina
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« on: June 01, 2013, 10:12:29 PM »

My boyfriend and I have been together for three years now, and the time has come that we are engaged to be engaged. We aren't looking for a long engagement; we want to be married already and be able to start our life together with blessings from our families and God. He's Coptic, and I'm a protestant Christian. Can anyone explain to me the process of engagement, converting and marriage in the Coptic church? I've been looking online everywhere and cannot seem to find anything that really explains it. I'm also not very familiar with people in his church, and his family seems very standoffish to all my questions, since we aren't married yet. They don't accept girlfriends, or fiancees. Only wives. So it's pretty confusing to me and I'd just like some answers.
Thanks =]
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WPM
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« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2013, 10:22:27 PM »

I think a non-Orthodox person converts for marriage if the intended spouse's family is Orthodox.

That means you would be prepared to participate in social functions for that family. (That means church services,parish events,dinners,funerals etc)
« Last Edit: June 01, 2013, 10:24:18 PM by WPM » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2013, 10:23:49 PM »

Welcome to OC.net.

I hope that you will be open to the Coptic Orthodox Church, not merely because you love a man who is Coptic, but because you really believe that the Jesus is our Lord, God, and Savior, and that He established our Holy Faith to share His Sacred Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist.

If you mention that you are only converting in order to get married, that will upset a lot of people.

Ask the Priest to help instruct you, but only accept Baptism if you truly believe.
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helenamarina
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« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2013, 10:32:55 PM »

Welcome to OC.net.

I hope that you will be open to the Coptic Orthodox Church, not merely because you love a man who is Coptic, but because you really believe that the Jesus is our Lord, God, and Savior, and that He established our Holy Faith to share His Sacred Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist.

If you mention that you are only converting in order to get married, that will upset a lot of people.

Ask the Priest to help instruct you, but only accept Baptism if you truly believe.

I think I was just to excited to finally post something I forgot to mention this subject. Ever since he described his church and gave me some books to read by St. John Chrysostom and H.H. Pope Shenouda III, I felt like this was the place i was supposed to be. After I attended the liturgy and sermons held after by Abouna, I really felt like I needed to be here. I would never have found the church if it wasn't for my boyfriend, and I really think God led me to the Coptic church this way. I haven't really felt included, which I guess I shouldn't really expect to be at this point, but I really felt like this would fill the hole in my life. I never liked church or felt like it did anything for me until then.
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« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2013, 10:39:18 PM »

Welcome to OC.net.

I hope that you will be open to the Coptic Orthodox Church, not merely because you love a man who is Coptic, but because you really believe that the Jesus is our Lord, God, and Savior, and that He established our Holy Faith to share His Sacred Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist.

If you mention that you are only converting in order to get married, that will upset a lot of people.

Ask the Priest to help instruct you, but only accept Baptism if you truly believe.

I think I was just to excited to finally post something I forgot to mention this subject. Ever since he described his church and gave me some books to read by St. John Chrysostom and H.H. Pope Shenouda III, I felt like this was the place i was supposed to be. After I attended the liturgy and sermons held after by Abouna, I really felt like I needed to be here. I would never have found the church if it wasn't for my boyfriend, and I really think God led me to the Coptic church this way. I haven't really felt included, which I guess I shouldn't really expect to be at this point, but I really felt like this would fill the hole in my life. I never liked church or felt like it did anything for me until then.

This is excellent.

Share this with your boyfriend and with Abouna.
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« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2013, 10:42:22 PM »

As you grow in the Holy Faith, you will feel drawn into the community and into the Holy Church.

The Holy Eucharist unites us in the Holy Faith, in our marriage, and in our prayers because Christ is the Way, the Truth, and our Life.
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« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2013, 11:33:36 PM »

Are there any Coptic Orthodox parishes nearby with a priest with whom you'd feel comfortable talking about this process? I would not even try ascertaining what needs to be done via online sources; talk to a real human being who will be receptive to your situation and will provide you with a personalized plan for conversion.

If there are no Coptic parishes, you could look for another parish in communion with them, such as the Ethiopians. I don't know how your boyfriend's family will behave toward you if you're working with a non-Coptic priest, but I thought I should mention that as a valid option. As far as I know, you'll still be fully Orthodox in the eyes of the Coptic Church, and you'll be able to be married there. I only suggest doing this if you can't find a priest in the Coptic Church with whom to work.

I'm glad to hear that you are doing this out of sincere love for Our Lord, and not just for marriage (but of course, I'm also happy that you've found a husband!).
« Last Edit: June 01, 2013, 11:34:33 PM by lovesupreme » Logged
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« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2013, 11:50:31 PM »

Welcome to OC.net.

I hope that you will be open to the Coptic Orthodox Church, not merely because you love a man who is Coptic, but because you really believe that the Jesus is our Lord, God, and Savior, and that He established our Holy Faith to share His Sacred Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist.

If you mention that you are only converting in order to get married, that will upset a lot of people.

Ask the Priest to help instruct you, but only accept Baptism if you truly believe.

I think I was just to excited to finally post something I forgot to mention this subject. Ever since he described his church and gave me some books to read by St. John Chrysostom and H.H. Pope Shenouda III, I felt like this was the place i was supposed to be. After I attended the liturgy and sermons held after by Abouna, I really felt like I needed to be here. I would never have found the church if it wasn't for my boyfriend, and I really think God led me to the Coptic church this way. I haven't really felt included, which I guess I shouldn't really expect to be at this point, but I really felt like this would fill the hole in my life. I never liked church or felt like it did anything for me until then.

A question to think about: what have you learned about the Coptic Orthodox Church?  The attitude of parishioners towards you is reminiscent on how EO Communities viewed interfaith relationships/marriages in the 1950's and 1960's.  You (and your fiance) need to be in communication with a Coptic Orthodox Priest and ask a lot of questions about things that affect what I bolded in your above statement.  More OO posters responding to this thread can help you develop a better understanding of the Coptic (and Oriental Orthodox) Church.
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« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2013, 01:45:30 AM »

Hey there helenamarina,

Welcome Smiley I'm sort of in the same situation, my fiance is also Coptic, I'm not. I came across a really cool blog where a Canadian woman documented her whole process of getting married in a COC (literally top to bottom) so if I find it I'll send it your way. I haven't been to a COC in America....yet although soon I will get over myself and make the hour drive to the closest one.

It is strange you say they don't accept fiancees because I was pretty well received and that was in the villages of Egypt; maybe it depends on the family. Anyway, the engagement will, or should, have its own ceremony with gold rings that would have his name on yours, and vice versa. I'm skipping all the prayers and such which will be in the ceremony, but those will happen as well. Forgive me because I just gave the most basic description there that I could.....it is late here  Tongue

I'll echo was Maria said, ask the abouna for guidance but don't accept being baptized unless you really believe. And also take note that there is no divorce in the COC typically except in a few situations.
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« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2013, 03:40:54 AM »

I hope that you will be open to the Coptic Orthodox Church, not merely because you love a man who is Coptic, but because you really believe that the Jesus is our Lord, God, and Savior, and that He established our Holy Faith to share His Sacred Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist.

If you mention that you are only converting in order to get married, that will upset a lot of people.

Ask the Priest to help instruct you, but only accept Baptism if you truly believe.


Please forgive me, I apologize if my tone may be misunderstood; but this quote above raises a very serious question for me.
I'm not directing this toward the original poster, but perhaps to someone more advanced who could help me understand better.

There is an article I just read today about "Worshiping God in Spirit and Truth" that causes me some concern.
http://www.pravmir.com/worshiping-god-in-spirit-and-truth/

I have attended both Orthodox and Roman Catholic services, and even though I am not Orthodox yet,
I cross myself the Orthodox Way at BOTH services, even when going up for Catholic Communion.

I had a Catholic Priest tell me it was okay to do this, and they even approach me and offer me Catholic Communion
KNOWING that I am going to Cross Myself the Orthodox Way, in the Catholic Church, in front of everyone.

I will explain that I was raised Roman Catholic, I made my first communion at age 7, and it was all forced on me.

When I started attending the Orthodox Church, the right to left way of crossing oneself seemed more natural to me.
So, I always do it that way, even when I'm with Roman Catholics who all cross themselves from left to right.

I will admit that I have NEVER seen anyone cross themselves the Roman Catholic Way in the Orthodox Church,
however, I have witnessed others crossing themselves the Orthodox Way in the Catholic Church on occasion, also.

Internally, I feel so strongly about crossing myself the Orthodox Way, that I'm incapable of doing it the Catholic Way anymore.

If I were to ever go up for Catholic Communion and cross myself the Catholic Way, that would be an extreme act of hypocrisy
on my part, because I would be doing it only out of intimidation for how it "looks", or out of "fear"; instead of any kind of sincerity.


I'm not necessarily interested in the technical issues about Orthodox receiving Catholic Communion, here.
I have the desire to become Orthodox eventually, but it hasn't happened yet.
When I attend Orthodox services, the Roman Catholic services become much more interesting to me.
So, I either go to both of them, or neither of them, at the current moment.
But, since I made my Catholic Communion at age 7, I feel entitled to receive Catholic Communion,
until I actually become Orthodox; and since they freely offer it to me,
even though I already told several Catholic Priests that I plan to become Orthodox,
and I openly cross myself the Orthodox Way; and they are okay with it, I still accept Catholic Communion when I go there.

My only point here, is that if a Catholic Priest refused me communion, or told me I had to cross myself the Catholic Way;
then I would rather not receive Catholic Communion, instead of crossing myself the Catholic Way.
But, instead they freely offer it to me, and even say it is okay to cross myself the Orthodox Way, so I still accept it.


What I am trying to do here, is to address the issue of Crossing Myself the Orthodox Way in a Catholic Church;
and the way I would feel if someone insisted I must cross myself the Catholic Way, because "that will upset a lot of people".

So, now we have someone converting in order to get married and be accepted into an Orthodox Family;
and then someone says:

"If you mention that you are only converting in order to get married, that will upset a lot of people."

So, now it is not enough to merely "Convert" to try and please your future husband and his family;
but now you have to take it to the next level.

Not to say this would happen, but if this engagement broke up and this person met a protestant,
do you really think they would still go through with the conversion and become Orthodox to marry a protestant?


Now please, I mean this as a very serious question, not as a joke.

If you are converting just to please an Orthodox Family, why isn't that enough?
You could just refuse to convert, and have a divided household.

Why the necessity to say something that is not true, because "that will upset a lot of people"?
Isn't it worse to go through all of this pretending; than to be honest about why you are converting?

And, please, I'm not addressing the sincerity of the first poster here.
I'm saying, why the intimidation?
Isn't it enough to convert to be accepted into a family?
Can't the faith part come later?

Roman Catholics make communion at 7, and confirmation at 13; and yet even the confirmation is forced.
If you are from a strong Roman Catholic family, you do not have a choice to leave until you are 18.

I see Orthodox giving Communion to infants.
Do you not primarily become Orthodox because your family is Orthodox?

Why do you also have to fake some kind of sincerity, just because you were not "born" into an Orthodox family?

Honestly, I only say this because if a protestant wanted to convert to RC to marry a Catholic,
the issue I would have is "why do you want to do that to yourself"?  Why not stay protestant?
I could never question their sincerity; because I do not know any "sincere" Roman Catholics.
I only know "forced" Roman Catholics, and the ones who went to Parochial Catholic Schools
seem much less enthused about being Catholic, than the ones who escaped to Public School.

The alternative is to require all Orthodox to become a certain age, before ANY of them get baptized.
Then, you can start questioning converts sincerity.

So my issue is, why is it that if you come from an Orthodox family,
you are seemingly exempted from any sincerity requirements;
but if you are a protestant, it is not enough to just convert to become accepted;
but now you MUST prove that you are "sincere" as well;
or you will "upset a lot of people"?

How sincere are these "people" being about their Christianity, to get "upset" about someone's motives for converting?
Especially when the only main reason "they" are Orthodox is because they were born into it?

I'm not denying the reality that this may be true.
Maybe it is not enough to convert, but you also have to prove you are "sincere" about it as well.
But, my concern is:  "How is that Christian?"

According to this article about "Worshiping in Spirit and Truth"
it would seem to be better to be honest about converting because you want to get married?


I will cross-reference this with another article from http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/46642.htm


True worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth [Jn 4:23].

True worshipers worship in Truth. We can be bad, we can be much more sinful than the Samaritan woman, but we cannot be liars, we should not be liars. God is capable of saving every person, but He is powerless before our lies, when we become enmeshed in lies, when we lie before ourselves, lie before people, lie before God. Christ can save the repentant sinner, but He cannot help the sham righteous person, as we like to represent ourselves.

Now, when people are exhausted by spiritual thirst, sick and poisoned by the rubbish of toxic atheistic teachings, modern Samaritans and pagans seek the true water of life in order to revive their dying spirits and to strengthen their weakened bodies, everyone needs to find within themselves the truthfulness and strength to see themselves without embellishment and lies. For only then can the Lord—the Truth, Righteousness, and Life—respond to our bitter truth and teach us to worship Him in spirit and truth.



According to this, isn't it better to be honest about why you want to convert,
even it is "just for marriage"; than to be forced to take it to the next level, so as "not to upset people"?

Again, I'm not denying that this might be true, and that people might be upset with someone converting just for marriage.
But, why should your motive for converting have to respond to this kind of intimidation?

Did the Samaritan Woman in the article need to face intimidation before being "allowed" to accept Christ
or was it simply enough for her to believe?


I'm just not sure why the "fear of upsetting people" should be the motive for anything to do with the church
outside of a sincere desire to join it?

How are you "Worshiping in Spirit and Truth" if your main motive is to avoid "upsetting people"?
I guess I'm just troubled because the first two posts on this thread were honest, and the rest seems questionable.


And I had just finished reading this article which I will quote again:

True worshipers worship in Truth. We can be bad, we can be much more sinful than the Samaritan woman, but we cannot be liars, we should not be liars. God is capable of saving every person, but He is powerless before our lies, when we become enmeshed in lies, when we lie before ourselves, lie before people, lie before God. Christ can save the repentant sinner, but He cannot help the sham righteous person, as we like to represent ourselves.



These two points are contradictory.
Either it is better to just admit you want to convert to be married and leave it at that;
and it is unacceptable for these people to become upset
or this article is wrong,
and being a Christian is all about intimidation and not upsetting people, rather than
"Worshiping in Spirit and Truth".


Why defend this idea of people being upset and intimidating people into telling you what you want to hear?

I guess it would be helpful if someone could explain how to make church attendance more about Worshiping God
rather than all about being afraid of "upsetting people"?

Any assistance that could be provided in this direction would be very helpful.
Thank you.
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« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2013, 05:43:06 AM »

Not really sure what point that story about crossing had.

You also seem to ignore Reply #3 where the OP states she is sincerely convinced by the Oriental Orthodox faith.

As to your 3rd point, there is one reason. People who are being brought in Orthodox families are supposed to organically learn Orthodox faith, mentality, traditions, etc. Converts (and potential converts) lack especially the latter two. It may result in deforming the worship or beliefs. Being supervised by parents or priests who oversees the conversion process intends to prevent some distortions.
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« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2013, 03:56:14 PM »

I hope that you will be open to the Coptic Orthodox Church, not merely because you love a man who is Coptic, but because you really believe that the Jesus is our Lord, God, and Savior, and that He established our Holy Faith to share His Sacred Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist.

If you mention that you are only converting in order to get married, that will upset a lot of people.

Ask the Priest to help instruct you, but only accept Baptism if you truly believe.


Please forgive me, I apologize if my tone may be misunderstood; but this quote above raises a very serious question for me.
I'm not directing this toward the original poster, but perhaps to someone more advanced who could help me understand better.

There is an article I just read today about "Worshiping God in Spirit and Truth" that causes me some concern.
http://www.pravmir.com/worshiping-god-in-spirit-and-truth/

I have attended both Orthodox and Roman Catholic services, and even though I am not Orthodox yet,
I cross myself the Orthodox Way at BOTH services, even when going up for Catholic Communion.

I had a Catholic Priest tell me it was okay to do this, and they even approach me and offer me Catholic Communion
KNOWING that I am going to Cross Myself the Orthodox Way, in the Catholic Church, in front of everyone.

I will explain that I was raised Roman Catholic, I made my first communion at age 7, and it was all forced on me.

When I started attending the Orthodox Church, the right to left way of crossing oneself seemed more natural to me.
So, I always do it that way, even when I'm with Roman Catholics who all cross themselves from left to right.

I will admit that I have NEVER seen anyone cross themselves the Roman Catholic Way in the Orthodox Church,
however, I have witnessed others crossing themselves the Orthodox Way in the Catholic Church on occasion, also.

Internally, I feel so strongly about crossing myself the Orthodox Way, that I'm incapable of doing it the Catholic Way anymore.

If I were to ever go up for Catholic Communion and cross myself the Catholic Way, that would be an extreme act of hypocrisy
on my part, because I would be doing it only out of intimidation for how it "looks", or out of "fear"; instead of any kind of sincerity.


I'm not necessarily interested in the technical issues about Orthodox receiving Catholic Communion, here.
I have the desire to become Orthodox eventually, but it hasn't happened yet.
When I attend Orthodox services, the Roman Catholic services become much more interesting to me.
So, I either go to both of them, or neither of them, at the current moment.
But, since I made my Catholic Communion at age 7, I feel entitled to receive Catholic Communion,
until I actually become Orthodox; and since they freely offer it to me,
even though I already told several Catholic Priests that I plan to become Orthodox,
and I openly cross myself the Orthodox Way; and they are okay with it, I still accept Catholic Communion when I go there.

My only point here, is that if a Catholic Priest refused me communion, or told me I had to cross myself the Catholic Way;
then I would rather not receive Catholic Communion, instead of crossing myself the Catholic Way.
But, instead they freely offer it to me, and even say it is okay to cross myself the Orthodox Way, so I still accept it.


What I am trying to do here, is to address the issue of Crossing Myself the Orthodox Way in a Catholic Church;
and the way I would feel if someone insisted I must cross myself the Catholic Way, because "that will upset a lot of people".

So, now we have someone converting in order to get married and be accepted into an Orthodox Family;
and then someone says:

"If you mention that you are only converting in order to get married, that will upset a lot of people."

So, now it is not enough to merely "Convert" to try and please your future husband and his family;
but now you have to take it to the next level.

Not to say this would happen, but if this engagement broke up and this person met a protestant,
do you really think they would still go through with the conversion and become Orthodox to marry a protestant?


Now please, I mean this as a very serious question, not as a joke.

If you are converting just to please an Orthodox Family, why isn't that enough?
You could just refuse to convert, and have a divided household.

Why the necessity to say something that is not true, because "that will upset a lot of people"?
Isn't it worse to go through all of this pretending; than to be honest about why you are converting?

And, please, I'm not addressing the sincerity of the first poster here.
I'm saying, why the intimidation?
Isn't it enough to convert to be accepted into a family?
Can't the faith part come later?

Roman Catholics make communion at 7, and confirmation at 13; and yet even the confirmation is forced.
If you are from a strong Roman Catholic family, you do not have a choice to leave until you are 18.

I see Orthodox giving Communion to infants.
Do you not primarily become Orthodox because your family is Orthodox?

Why do you also have to fake some kind of sincerity, just because you were not "born" into an Orthodox family?

Honestly, I only say this because if a protestant wanted to convert to RC to marry a Catholic,
the issue I would have is "why do you want to do that to yourself"?  Why not stay protestant?
I could never question their sincerity; because I do not know any "sincere" Roman Catholics.
I only know "forced" Roman Catholics, and the ones who went to Parochial Catholic Schools
seem much less enthused about being Catholic, than the ones who escaped to Public School.

The alternative is to require all Orthodox to become a certain age, before ANY of them get baptized.
Then, you can start questioning converts sincerity.

So my issue is, why is it that if you come from an Orthodox family,
you are seemingly exempted from any sincerity requirements;
but if you are a protestant, it is not enough to just convert to become accepted;
but now you MUST prove that you are "sincere" as well;
or you will "upset a lot of people"?

How sincere are these "people" being about their Christianity, to get "upset" about someone's motives for converting?
Especially when the only main reason "they" are Orthodox is because they were born into it?

I'm not denying the reality that this may be true.
Maybe it is not enough to convert, but you also have to prove you are "sincere" about it as well.
But, my concern is:  "How is that Christian?"

According to this article about "Worshiping in Spirit and Truth"
it would seem to be better to be honest about converting because you want to get married?


I will cross-reference this with another article from http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/46642.htm


True worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth [Jn 4:23].

True worshipers worship in Truth. We can be bad, we can be much more sinful than the Samaritan woman, but we cannot be liars, we should not be liars. God is capable of saving every person, but He is powerless before our lies, when we become enmeshed in lies, when we lie before ourselves, lie before people, lie before God. Christ can save the repentant sinner, but He cannot help the sham righteous person, as we like to represent ourselves.

Now, when people are exhausted by spiritual thirst, sick and poisoned by the rubbish of toxic atheistic teachings, modern Samaritans and pagans seek the true water of life in order to revive their dying spirits and to strengthen their weakened bodies, everyone needs to find within themselves the truthfulness and strength to see themselves without embellishment and lies. For only then can the Lord—the Truth, Righteousness, and Life—respond to our bitter truth and teach us to worship Him in spirit and truth.



According to this, isn't it better to be honest about why you want to convert,
even it is "just for marriage"; than to be forced to take it to the next level, so as "not to upset people"?

Again, I'm not denying that this might be true, and that people might be upset with someone converting just for marriage.
But, why should your motive for converting have to respond to this kind of intimidation?

Did the Samaritan Woman in the article need to face intimidation before being "allowed" to accept Christ
or was it simply enough for her to believe?


I'm just not sure why the "fear of upsetting people" should be the motive for anything to do with the church
outside of a sincere desire to join it?

How are you "Worshiping in Spirit and Truth" if your main motive is to avoid "upsetting people"?
I guess I'm just troubled because the first two posts on this thread were honest, and the rest seems questionable.


And I had just finished reading this article which I will quote again:

True worshipers worship in Truth. We can be bad, we can be much more sinful than the Samaritan woman, but we cannot be liars, we should not be liars. God is capable of saving every person, but He is powerless before our lies, when we become enmeshed in lies, when we lie before ourselves, lie before people, lie before God. Christ can save the repentant sinner, but He cannot help the sham righteous person, as we like to represent ourselves.



These two points are contradictory.
Either it is better to just admit you want to convert to be married and leave it at that;
and it is unacceptable for these people to become upset
or this article is wrong,
and being a Christian is all about intimidation and not upsetting people, rather than
"Worshiping in Spirit and Truth".


Why defend this idea of people being upset and intimidating people into telling you what you want to hear?

I guess it would be helpful if someone could explain how to make church attendance more about Worshiping God
rather than all about being afraid of "upsetting people"?

Any assistance that could be provided in this direction would be very helpful.
Thank you.

Hello,

I have started a new thread where you can discuss the Sign of the Cross, so that this thread will not go off topic:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,51782.new.html#new
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« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2013, 05:26:09 PM »

Thanks be to God!  I am happy for you and am sure that the Holy Spirit will lead you in this matter.  You have been given good advice here by some other Coptics.

Welcome to OC.net.

I hope that you will be open to the Coptic Orthodox Church, not merely because you love a man who is Coptic, but because you really believe that the Jesus is our Lord, God, and Savior, and that He established our Holy Faith to share His Sacred Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist.

If you mention that you are only converting in order to get married, that will upset a lot of people.

Ask the Priest to help instruct you, but only accept Baptism if you truly believe.

I think I was just to excited to finally post something I forgot to mention this subject. Ever since he described his church and gave me some books to read by St. John Chrysostom and H.H. Pope Shenouda III, I felt like this was the place i was supposed to be. After I attended the liturgy and sermons held after by Abouna, I really felt like I needed to be here. I would never have found the church if it wasn't for my boyfriend, and I really think God led me to the Coptic church this way. I haven't really felt included, which I guess I shouldn't really expect to be at this point, but I really felt like this would fill the hole in my life. I never liked church or felt like it did anything for me until then.
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« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2013, 10:41:38 PM »

First off, helenamarina, congratulations, and I wish you the best of success in this process! As said, you've been given great advice.

To Robotron 2084, while I doubt I can touch on all the points of what you write (and Maria started a new thread dedicated to a significant part of your post), I want to touch on the "upsetting people" part. Michał Kalina provided a great response already, but I just want to add to it in relation to this thread.

Sure, worship, church, all of that should remain holy and all. But, and here's the thing, we are human. We are flawed sinners. Even receiving the Eucharist, when we should be most pure, often thoughts will wander in church and we had sinned right before receiving Christ! But, each and every individual tries. They try their hardest in their lives day by day, minute by minute, to live "the right path." By no means is this easy as the world is filled with plenty of evil to tear us away from this pursuit. But, as part of our worship (which carries out into the world, not just into the church, as Orthodoxy is a lifestyle as well), we must remain as servants of God and recognize our place in all of this.

How does this relate to this story of marriage? The young man's family are protective of this precious gift from being raised Oriental Orthodox and from living this out, possibly for generations. What a precious gift is the gift of God, and we must protect it and carry it through the world with us in all we do! When something new comes along, say a Protestant, someone who is unfamiliar with the faith, I imagine the worries that could appear related to their faith. (Again, faith is lived out beyond the walls of the church.) Orthodoxy carries with it an experiential component beyond just reading knowledge. I am a relatively new convert, and I have so much more to learn. I'm familiar with history, doctrines, etc., but I don't know all of it. Much less do I know fully how to live it out in ALL ways yet. I long for it and I'm trying, but I am at a disadvantage nearing 30 and living my life as a Baptist. I have a lot to learn as far as the experience and reality is concerned. I worry about upsetting people in church or even outside of church, especially as a new convert, because I represent what they've lived out forever to the world and I'm yet a "newbie." How would it fully be Christian if when I left church I gambled, cussed all over the place, ended up in the newspaper for disorderly conduct, etc.? Our lived lives need to be guided by God as much as our worship, prayer life, and everything else. So, yes, trying not to upset people is important. But, helenamarina said she truly believes in this faith, and she will not upset them. Maria offered good advice, and helenamarina is sincere and taking the right way of thinking about this as it shows she understands the seriousness in it all and how important it is.

God helps us and can make all things possible. Upsetting people or not, God can and will help us worship if we put the effort in and follow Him. All the earthly details and things will be sorted out through His grace.
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« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2013, 04:22:58 AM »

How would it fully be Christian if when I left church I gambled, cussed all over the place, ended up in the newspaper for disorderly conduct, etc.?

That would just be "normal" behavior for most Roman Catholics that I know.
Do the Orthodox not allow gambling?

RC's have it inside the church with endless raffles and bingo, etc...
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« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2013, 04:32:10 AM »

Welcome and congrats helenamarina Smiley

How would it fully be Christian if when I left church I gambled, cussed all over the place, ended up in the newspaper for disorderly conduct, etc.?

This brings up bad memories...

Do the Orthodox not allow gambling?

RC's have it inside the church with endless raffles and bingo, etc...

Some allow it, some don't.
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« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2013, 05:21:51 AM »

Not really sure what point that story about crossing had.
The point was about what fear of upsetting people has to do with Worshiping God in Spirit and Truth?
That was an Orthodox authored article, you know?

You also seem to ignore Reply #3 where the OP states she is sincerely convinced by the Oriental Orthodox faith.
I'm sincerely convinced the OP doesn't want to upset people, but I did also state:

I'm not directing this toward the original poster
And, please, I'm not addressing the sincerity of the first poster here.


I asked this more as a general question in the form of:

Maybe it is not enough to convert, but you also have to prove you are "sincere" about it as well.
But, my concern is:  "How is that Christian?"

I'm just not sure why the "fear of upsetting people" should be the motive for anything to do with the church
outside of a sincere desire to join it?

How are you "Worshiping in Spirit and Truth" if your main motive is to avoid "upsetting people"?
Why defend this idea of people being upset and intimidating people into telling you what you want to hear?

As to your 3rd point, there is one reason.
People who are being brought in Orthodox families are supposed to organically learn Orthodox faith, mentality, traditions, etc.
Converts (and potential converts) lack especially the latter two.
It may result in deforming the worship or beliefs.
Being supervised by parents or priests who oversees the conversion process intends to prevent some distortions.

It sounds like this has less to do with belief in or sincere love for Our Lord?
Organically learning the Orthodox faith sounds entirely different from that.
Wouldn't that happen automatically just with church attendance?
Why get upset at someone Converting for Marriage, if they plan to attend church regularly?
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« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2013, 08:18:53 AM »

Welcome and congrats helenamarina Smiley

How would it fully be Christian if when I left church I gambled, cussed all over the place, ended up in the newspaper for disorderly conduct, etc.?

This brings up bad memories...

Do the Orthodox not allow gambling?

RC's have it inside the church with endless raffles and bingo, etc...

Some allow it, some don't.

I don't know of any Bingo parties but we do have "penny" parties once a year........
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« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2013, 09:39:05 AM »

Robotron

Is being "sincere" about converting a true requirement, loving God and wanting to be closer to him in my view is being "sincere". Normally the catechumen period will provide the instruction needed for the individual to determine if the Orthodox faith is something they can accept. During this period the catechumen also experiences the life of the Church through services and normally establishing a prayer rule. It is only by this means that anyone can come to some understanding of the Orthodox faith. I have been Orthodox for 30 years (Convert) and I still feel like there is so much more I can learn and do, that at times I feel that I am still a novice.

I understand the desire about not wanting to upsetting people because one wishes to experience Orthodoxy. But we all live in a fallen state and no one is perfect except Christ. Come and experience the Orthodox faith and go from there, you are not required to do anything but observe if that is your desire.
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« Reply #19 on: June 10, 2013, 01:29:12 PM »

Robotron

Is being "sincere" about converting a true requirement, loving God and wanting to be closer to him in my view is being "sincere". Normally the catechumen period will provide the instruction needed for the individual to determine if the Orthodox faith is something they can accept. During this period the catechumen also experiences the life of the Church through services and normally establishing a prayer rule. It is only by this means that anyone can come to some understanding of the Orthodox faith. I have been Orthodox for 30 years (Convert) and I still feel like there is so much more I can learn and do, that at times I feel that I am still a novice.

I understand the desire about not wanting to upsetting people because one wishes to experience Orthodoxy. But we all live in a fallen state and no one is perfect except Christ. Come and experience the Orthodox faith and go from there, you are not required to do anything but observe if that is your desire.


Very nice response!

How would it fully be Christian if when I left church I gambled, cussed all over the place, ended up in the newspaper for disorderly conduct, etc.?

This brings up bad memories...


I can only imagine!

I think people picked up on that part that I wrote more than anything. While I'm not condemning any singular behavior (we sin countless times a day for all sorts of things), I think we should at least still make an attempt at behaving properly. (And, some things are based on people's consciences and guidance they receive. Some may not find cussing bad. I'm no judge. It's a search of finding your "triggers" and everything that can lead to greater problems. Some can drink a few beers with no effect, while it can lead others to dangerous places. Bingo can be harmless, or it can lead people to cuss people out, lose a lot of money, and smash up cars in the parking lot.)


I don't know of any Bingo parties but we do have "penny" parties once a year........

I've never heard of that. What is a "penny" party?
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« Reply #20 on: July 01, 2013, 05:06:17 PM »

I hope that you will be open to the Coptic Orthodox Church, not merely because you love a man who is Coptic, but because you really believe that the Jesus is our Lord, God, and Savior, and that He established our Holy Faith to share His Sacred Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist.

If you mention that you are only converting in order to get married, that will upset a lot of people.

Ask the Priest to help instruct you, but only accept Baptism if you truly believe.


Please forgive me, I apologize if my tone may be misunderstood; but this quote above raises a very serious question for me.
I'm not directing this toward the original poster, but perhaps to someone more advanced who could help me understand better.

There is an article I just read today about "Worshiping God in Spirit and Truth" that causes me some concern.
http://www.pravmir.com/worshiping-god-in-spirit-and-truth/

I have attended both Orthodox and Roman Catholic services, and even though I am not Orthodox yet,
I cross myself the Orthodox Way at BOTH services, even when going up for Catholic Communion.

I had a Catholic Priest tell me it was okay to do this, and they even approach me and offer me Catholic Communion
KNOWING that I am going to Cross Myself the Orthodox Way, in the Catholic Church, in front of everyone.

I will explain that I was raised Roman Catholic, I made my first communion at age 7, and it was all forced on me.

When I started attending the Orthodox Church, the right to left way of crossing oneself seemed more natural to me.
So, I always do it that way, even when I'm with Roman Catholics who all cross themselves from left to right.

I will admit that I have NEVER seen anyone cross themselves the Roman Catholic Way in the Orthodox Church,
however, I have witnessed others crossing themselves the Orthodox Way in the Catholic Church on occasion, also.

Internally, I feel so strongly about crossing myself the Orthodox Way, that I'm incapable of doing it the Catholic Way anymore.

If I were to ever go up for Catholic Communion and cross myself the Catholic Way, that would be an extreme act of hypocrisy
on my part, because I would be doing it only out of intimidation for how it "looks", or out of "fear"; instead of any kind of sincerity.


I'm not necessarily interested in the technical issues about Orthodox receiving Catholic Communion, here.
I have the desire to become Orthodox eventually, but it hasn't happened yet.
When I attend Orthodox services, the Roman Catholic services become much more interesting to me.
So, I either go to both of them, or neither of them, at the current moment.
But, since I made my Catholic Communion at age 7, I feel entitled to receive Catholic Communion,
until I actually become Orthodox; and since they freely offer it to me,
even though I already told several Catholic Priests that I plan to become Orthodox,
and I openly cross myself the Orthodox Way; and they are okay with it, I still accept Catholic Communion when I go there.

My only point here, is that if a Catholic Priest refused me communion, or told me I had to cross myself the Catholic Way;
then I would rather not receive Catholic Communion, instead of crossing myself the Catholic Way.
But, instead they freely offer it to me, and even say it is okay to cross myself the Orthodox Way, so I still accept it.


What I am trying to do here, is to address the issue of Crossing Myself the Orthodox Way in a Catholic Church;
and the way I would feel if someone insisted I must cross myself the Catholic Way, because "that will upset a lot of people".

So, now we have someone converting in order to get married and be accepted into an Orthodox Family;
and then someone says:

"If you mention that you are only converting in order to get married, that will upset a lot of people."

So, now it is not enough to merely "Convert" to try and please your future husband and his family;
but now you have to take it to the next level.

Not to say this would happen, but if this engagement broke up and this person met a protestant,
do you really think they would still go through with the conversion and become Orthodox to marry a protestant?


Now please, I mean this as a very serious question, not as a joke.

If you are converting just to please an Orthodox Family, why isn't that enough?
You could just refuse to convert, and have a divided household.

Why the necessity to say something that is not true, because "that will upset a lot of people"?
Isn't it worse to go through all of this pretending; than to be honest about why you are converting?

And, please, I'm not addressing the sincerity of the first poster here.
I'm saying, why the intimidation?
Isn't it enough to convert to be accepted into a family?
Can't the faith part come later?

Roman Catholics make communion at 7, and confirmation at 13; and yet even the confirmation is forced.
If you are from a strong Roman Catholic family, you do not have a choice to leave until you are 18.

I see Orthodox giving Communion to infants.
Do you not primarily become Orthodox because your family is Orthodox?

Why do you also have to fake some kind of sincerity, just because you were not "born" into an Orthodox family?

Honestly, I only say this because if a protestant wanted to convert to RC to marry a Catholic,
the issue I would have is "why do you want to do that to yourself"?  Why not stay protestant?
I could never question their sincerity; because I do not know any "sincere" Roman Catholics.
I only know "forced" Roman Catholics, and the ones who went to Parochial Catholic Schools
seem much less enthused about being Catholic, than the ones who escaped to Public School.

The alternative is to require all Orthodox to become a certain age, before ANY of them get baptized.
Then, you can start questioning converts sincerity.

So my issue is, why is it that if you come from an Orthodox family,
you are seemingly exempted from any sincerity requirements;
but if you are a protestant, it is not enough to just convert to become accepted;
but now you MUST prove that you are "sincere" as well;
or you will "upset a lot of people"?

How sincere are these "people" being about their Christianity, to get "upset" about someone's motives for converting?
Especially when the only main reason "they" are Orthodox is because they were born into it?

I'm not denying the reality that this may be true.
Maybe it is not enough to convert, but you also have to prove you are "sincere" about it as well.
But, my concern is:  "How is that Christian?"

According to this article about "Worshiping in Spirit and Truth"
it would seem to be better to be honest about converting because you want to get married?


I will cross-reference this with another article from http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/46642.htm


True worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth [Jn 4:23].

True worshipers worship in Truth. We can be bad, we can be much more sinful than the Samaritan woman, but we cannot be liars, we should not be liars. God is capable of saving every person, but He is powerless before our lies, when we become enmeshed in lies, when we lie before ourselves, lie before people, lie before God. Christ can save the repentant sinner, but He cannot help the sham righteous person, as we like to represent ourselves.

Now, when people are exhausted by spiritual thirst, sick and poisoned by the rubbish of toxic atheistic teachings, modern Samaritans and pagans seek the true water of life in order to revive their dying spirits and to strengthen their weakened bodies, everyone needs to find within themselves the truthfulness and strength to see themselves without embellishment and lies. For only then can the Lord—the Truth, Righteousness, and Life—respond to our bitter truth and teach us to worship Him in spirit and truth.



According to this, isn't it better to be honest about why you want to convert,
even it is "just for marriage"; than to be forced to take it to the next level, so as "not to upset people"?

Again, I'm not denying that this might be true, and that people might be upset with someone converting just for marriage.
But, why should your motive for converting have to respond to this kind of intimidation?

Did the Samaritan Woman in the article need to face intimidation before being "allowed" to accept Christ
or was it simply enough for her to believe?


I'm just not sure why the "fear of upsetting people" should be the motive for anything to do with the church
outside of a sincere desire to join it?

How are you "Worshiping in Spirit and Truth" if your main motive is to avoid "upsetting people"?
I guess I'm just troubled because the first two posts on this thread were honest, and the rest seems questionable.


And I had just finished reading this article which I will quote again:

True worshipers worship in Truth. We can be bad, we can be much more sinful than the Samaritan woman, but we cannot be liars, we should not be liars. God is capable of saving every person, but He is powerless before our lies, when we become enmeshed in lies, when we lie before ourselves, lie before people, lie before God. Christ can save the repentant sinner, but He cannot help the sham righteous person, as we like to represent ourselves.



These two points are contradictory.
Either it is better to just admit you want to convert to be married and leave it at that;
and it is unacceptable for these people to become upset
or this article is wrong,
and being a Christian is all about intimidation and not upsetting people, rather than
"Worshiping in Spirit and Truth".


Why defend this idea of people being upset and intimidating people into telling you what you want to hear?

I guess it would be helpful if someone could explain how to make church attendance more about Worshiping God
rather than all about being afraid of "upsetting people"?

Any assistance that could be provided in this direction would be very helpful.
Thank you.

You are joining my ever-shrinking list of favorite posters.

I look forward to reading more of this stuff.
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