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Author Topic: Pentecostal Minister Thinking of Converting to Orthodoxy  (Read 3957 times) Average Rating: 0
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oldgoat2013
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« on: July 30, 2013, 11:24:48 PM »

I am a 60 year old Assemblies of God Ordained Minister.  I recently found Orthodoxy.  I began reading the Early Church Fathers and branched out from there.  I have found my theological paradigms shaken.  I have come to realize what the original Church was and that Orthodoxy is that Church. I have felt like my brain is rewiring itself and my thinking has been changed overnight. I have fallen in love with the liturgy and find that I need it. Spiritually I feel like I have come alive like never before.  I am in my heart no longer a Protestant.  I can't go back. I cannot accept Sola Scriptura any longer.

I do have some real struggles that I am trying to overcome that I know come from a lifetime of Protestant teaching and bias.  The first thing has to do with praying to the Saints who are dead.  I understand the reason now based upon a different view of the relationship of the believers to each other living and dead. Even though i understand it, emotionally it feels very strange.  I think the greatest issue and struggle though is praying to the Theotokos.  How did those of you who were Protestants overcome this bias and come to be able to accept it and feel normal about it?

I would have to surrender my credentials in order to convert.  I am at the point where I am able to do that. I am just not a Protestant in my heart. 

I am on a journey that has stretched me more than anything in a long time.

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« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2013, 11:28:20 PM »

One last issue - My wife is not anywhere near the same point where I am.  I am going have to be very patient with her.
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« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2013, 11:37:13 PM »

Welcome to the forum!
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« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2013, 11:50:05 PM »

Welcome to  the forum!
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« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2013, 11:55:30 PM »

Welcome to the forum.
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« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2013, 12:06:20 AM »

Welcome. Please feel free to ask any questions.

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« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2013, 12:12:04 AM »

He already did...

Welcome to the forum Smiley
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« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2013, 12:14:24 AM »

Welcome, oldgoat2013! I am a recent convert to Orthodoxy, and a young person (If you're an old goat, I'm a "kid" in every sense of the word), so I must admit I feel somewhat out of line giving advice to someone who has known Christ for much longer than me and has passed through several milestones that I have not faced, and may never face. Take what I say with a grain of salt; as with all matters Orthodox, the best person to talk to is a real life Orthodox priest!

I am thrilled that you have begun studying the Early Church and have found Orthodoxy there. May I ask what prompted your studies?

You said your brain is rewiring itself and your thinking has been changed overnight. That's great, but never feel rushed. Our Lord is infinitely patient, and it's always better to clear up any issues you have with the Faith before you make any big commitments. That's why I, and others, will recommend that you get in contact with an Orthodox priest who can guide you through this and help you tackle each personal obstacle. You don't have to settle on the first priest you find; just go to some churches, meet the clergy (you don't have to tell them anything), and then approach a priest only if you feel a rapport.

From what I understand, clergy converts are relatively common in America. All of the priests at my Church are converts from various Evangelical groups. Chances are you can find a priest who is experienced with the particular issues of being a clergyman who converts to Orthodoxy. The Roman Catholic Church has a reputable organization called The Coming Home Network; I wish we had something similar!

I regularly listen to Catholic radio, particularly "The Journey Home," which often has clergy converts as guests. As you know, the Roman Catholic Church has many of the same "issues" that the Orthodox Church does, including veneration of Mary and the saints. I'm not one to pose "arguments," but the one that seems to settle things for most of the clergy converts I've heard is this:

The Virgin Mary is the Mother of God. Jesus Christ, as a perfect man, fully honors His mother. And no human being knows Christ as intimately as His mother. This means that Mary is our most effective advocate in God's Kingdom. When we ask for her intercessions, we are asking her to pray to her Son on our behalf. We are not asking her to "fix" our problems or grant us powers; only God can affect such change. Asking prayers from Mary and the Saints is no different than asking prayers from a good friend, except these friends are in heaven.

Also, remember that Mary is completely subservient to God in His plan for her. She wants nothing but the will of God. Any interceding that she does is for the glory of God and God alone. She's not, as some might wrongly believe, "competing" with God for the glory. Although we magnify her, she is still a servant like us all.

Regarding your wife, that is a delicate issue. As someone who is not married, let alone a clergyman, let alone someone qualified to give such fragile advice, I don't feel it is my place to offer any particular advice. I will say that everybody moves at their own pace, and that during this journey, the best thing you can do if your wife is not on the same page as you is to continue to honor and love her and set the best example. Let God handle the rest! However, I urge you to discuss this issue with your priest, as, again, this is a very delicate issue.
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« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2013, 12:17:36 AM »

  I think the greatest issue and struggle though is praying to the Theotokos.  How did those of you who were Protestants overcome this bias and come to be able to accept it and feel normal about it?


If you believe Christ is God the Word, then what of the woman who conceived and bore Him, who gives Life to all?

We extol, praise, venerate, honor, and eagerly seek the intercession before God of His Mother, the woman, human and mortal as we all are, who received God in the most complete way possible. Her life, her obedience, her humility and her conduct, truly and completely fulfilled what God wants from all of us.
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« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2013, 12:23:28 AM »

I know you said you were not having as much issue with the praying for the departed and the Saints, but I thought I would share a quote from the book Living Prayer by Met. Anthony Bloom.  This was shared by Father (a convert himself), in my catechism class since he understands that it is a large issue for so many people.

its long...and pretty deep...so worth reading a few times.


 Praying for the Dead

Metropolitan Anthony Bloom


Many are dismayed at the thought of praying for the dead, and they wonder what one is aiming at, what one can hope in doing so. Can the destiny of the dead be changed if one prays for them, will the praying convince God to do an injustice and grant them what they have not deserved?


If you believe that prayers for the living are a help to them, why should you not pray for the dead? Life is one, for as St Luke says: 'He is not the God of the dead but ofthe living' (20: 38). Death is not an end but a stage in the destiny of man, and this destiny is not petrified at the moment of death. The love which our prayer expresses cannot be in vain; if love had power on earth and had no power after death it would tragically contradict the word of scripture that love is as strong as death (Song 8: 6), and the experience of the Church that love is more powerful than death, because Christ has defeated death in his love for mankind. It is an error to think that man's connection with life on earth ends with his death. In the course of one's life one sows seeds. These seeds develop in the souls of other men and affect their destiny, and the fruit that is born of these seeds truly belongs not only to those who bear it but also to those who sow. The words written or spoken that change a human life or the destiny of mankind, as the words of preachers, philosophers, poets or politicians, remain their authors' responsibility, not only for evil but also for good; the authors' destiny is bound to be affected by the way they have influenced those living after them.



The life of every person continues to have repercussions until the last judgement, and man's eternal and final destiny is determined not only by the short space of time he has lived on this earth but also by the results of his life, by its good or evil consequences. Those who have received seed sown as in fertile ground, can influence the destiny of the departed by prayerfully beseeching God to bless the man who has transformed their lives, given a meaning to their existence. In turning to God in an act of enduring love, faithfulness and gratitude they enter this eternal kingdom which transcends the limits of time, and they can influence the destiny and the situation of the departed. It is not injustice that is asked of God; we do not ask him merely to forgive a man in spite of what he has done but to bless him because of the good he has done, to which other lives bear witness.


Our prayer is an act ofgratitude and love, in so far as our life is the continuation of something that he stood for. We do not ask God to be unjust, and we do not imagine that we are more compassionate and more loving than he is, nor do we ask him to be more merciful than he would otherwise be; we are bringing new evidence for God's judgement, and we pray that this evidence should be taken into account and that the blessing of God should come abundantly for the one who has meant so much in our life. It is important to realise that we pray not in order to convince God of something but to bear witness that this person has not lived in vain, neither loving nor inspiring love.


Any person who has been the origin of love in any way has something to put forward in his defence, but it is for those who remain to bear witness to what he has done for them. Here again it is not simply a matter of goodwill or emotion. St Isaac of Syria says: do not reduce your prayer to words, make the totality of your life a prayer to God. Therefore, if we wish to pray for our departed, our life must back up the prayer. It is not enough to wake up to a certain feeling for them from time to time and then ask God to do something for them. It is essential that every seed of good, truth and holiness that has been sown by them should bear fruit, because then we can stand before God and say: he has sown good, there was some quality in him which inspired me to do well, and this particle of good is not mine but his and is in a way his glory and his redemption.
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« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2013, 12:28:14 AM »

I shared the same reservations during my conversion.  When asking about venerating icons of the saints, a wise person told me, "First kisses are usually awkward."  When I visited a monastery while I was an inquirer, I stood in front of an icon of St. John Chrysostom and said, "I'm not so sure about all of this.  Pray for me if that is something you do."  That was about four years ago and there are still times that that prayer is useful for me.  Welcome to the forum.
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« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2013, 12:31:28 AM »

You might also find inspiration in the stories on this blog. I unfortunately couldn't find any clergy converts specifically from Assemblies of God, but you should Contact Father John if you're at all interested. He might be able to get you in touch with people who went through similar experiences.
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« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2013, 12:32:16 AM »

I shared the same reservations during my conversion.  When asking about venerating icons of the saints, a wise person told me, "First kisses are usually awkward."

Hah! Also, "Well, have you ever thought that they might want to kiss you?"
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« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2013, 12:56:40 AM »

Welcome to the forum! Being a former Pentecostal I know where you are coming from. After I learnt the biblical basis for praying to the Saints I still felt uncomfortable with it for some time. For me the solution was praying the rosary* and asking the Mother of God herself to teach me.

*I wasn't an Orthodox at that point but was considering Catholicism too.
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« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2013, 01:06:29 AM »

Welcome oldgoat2013, I am a former Open Bible Churches minister. Open Bible if your not familiar with it is shared much history, belief, and practice with AOG. As with yourself I started reading Church history and it changed my views. As you said I couldn't go back to sola scriptura, I was no longer a Protestant in my heart. I surrendered my credential and started going to the Orthodox Church I haven't regretted it.

My wife was also reluctant not as much at first but I think, that unlike myself she was in a hurry to leave our previous church. I like to put it that I did not so much move away from Protestantism as I did move toward Orthodoxy. My wife at first was about leaving our church but not so much about coming to Orthodoxy. It took some time, a lot of patience, and a lot of prayer (A fair amount of it to Mary by the way.)

I also struggled with praying to the Saints praying to Mary. This latter was one of the things that took me the longest to overcome. What stage are you at in these regards I'll be happy to share with you the things that helped me.
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« Reply #15 on: July 31, 2013, 02:08:24 AM »

Welcome!  One way in which I was able to process prayer to the saints (which includes the Theotokos) when I converted was to realize that all the ancient churches do so.  The Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Church, and the Assyrian Church of the East all have the practice of praying to the saints for intercession, and such prayers were not questioned until the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century.  I found it difficult to believe that the Church had fallen into error regarding such practices for over 1500 years.  Accepting it on faith helped me as I entered the path of Orthodox Christianity. 
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« Reply #16 on: July 31, 2013, 03:22:59 AM »

Welcome!
I am a 60 year old Assemblies of God Ordained Minister.  I recently found Orthodoxy.  I began reading the Early Church Fathers and branched out from there.  I have found my theological paradigms shaken.  I have come to realize what the original Church was and that Orthodoxy is that Church. I have felt like my brain is rewiring itself and my thinking has been changed overnight. I have fallen in love with the liturgy and find that I need it. Spiritually I feel like I have come alive like never before.  I am in my heart no longer a Protestant.  I can't go back. I cannot accept Sola Scriptura any longer.

I do have some real struggles that I am trying to overcome that I know come from a lifetime of Protestant teaching and bias.  The first thing has to do with praying to the Saints who are dead.  I understand the reason now based upon a different view of the relationship of the believers to each other living and dead. Even though i understand it, emotionally it feels very strange.  I think the greatest issue and struggle though is praying to the Theotokos.  How did those of you who were Protestants overcome this bias and come to be able to accept it and feel normal about it?

I would have to surrender my credentials in order to convert.  I am at the point where I am able to do that. I am just not a Protestant in my heart.  

I am on a journey that has stretched me more than anything in a long time.
I didn't "get it" with the Theotokos for years, until arguing with a Muslim-they claim that God told Mary that He would protect her and Christ spoke in the cradle to defend her honor. Then it hit me that she said yes, without any guarantees.

Then I started to pay more attention to the words of the hymns to her, following the cue from a Coptic hymn that begins:
"Let us praise the pure Virgin
who held within her Him
Whom the heavens could not hold."

As we sing in the prayers for the departed:
"It is not meet that man should see God
upon Whom the ranks of angels dare not glance
but through you, O Virgin Theotokos
did the Word take flesh and become manifest to men.
Together with the archangel we exclaim
'Hail O Full of Grace!"

And on a Biblical basis, St. Luke recalls that St. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.  And the first thing she said under such inspiration?  "Blessed are you among woman.."
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« Reply #17 on: July 31, 2013, 04:28:29 AM »

Welcome to the forum!

I applaud your courage and faith. It is no easy thing to leave the security of a belief system one has held for years in order to embrace and follow the true Faith. I was an evangelical Protestant for 20 years before I became Orthodox. It took me four years to be baptized, and I often thought it would never happen. But now I see the benefit of that time, and I see how God was working. So, I would definitely encourage you to be patient.

I think most Orthodox converts experience similar things at first- the eagerness to be baptized immediately (like the Ethiopian eunuch), the struggle to reconcile our former scriptural interpretations with Orthodox Teaching and Tradition, and frustrations and discouragements that come from spiritual forces that seek to prevent us from our Baptism.

Persevere with prayer and patience. Continue to learn and study. Submit your former individual interpretations of the Bible to the certain Teachings of the apostolic Faith, and remain humble and open to all that God has to teach you in and through His Church.

"Lord have mercy."


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« Reply #18 on: July 31, 2013, 08:39:01 AM »

I want to thank all of you for your very kind replies to my post.  I feel so much love coming from all of you.  This is one reason becoming Orthodox has meant so much to me.  I feel so much love and more importantly concern for my well-being and that of my family.  There isn't the rush to see me converted, it is a prayer that God will bring me to where I need to be in God's timing and that this choice is truly the correct one for me.

I have much to learn, but I will keep moving forward.

I really appreciate your concern for me and my family.  I feel very blessed and surrounded with love.

Thanks!

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« Reply #19 on: July 31, 2013, 08:44:50 AM »

Welcome to the forum!  If it is any consolation at all, my parish alone has 4 previous protestant ministers who attend there, so many have walked the road before you.  If you haven't been able to connect with a priest yet, I would definitely recommend seeking out one in your area.  If you have several in your area, speak with all of them and see which of them might have the most experience dealing with someone in your situation.  I know from personal experience that having a wife who is not interested in Orthodoxy is very difficult.  My wife and I have had many long "discussions" about it as she is very rooted in her Methodist church.  Fortunately as you noted, Orthodoxy is not something that is rushed.  It is better to take the long winding road to get there instead of rushing towards it and burning out.  May God bless you in your journey.
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« Reply #20 on: July 31, 2013, 09:38:54 AM »

Beloved in the Lord,

The purpose of the Convert issues forum is to provide a a place on the OC.Net where inquirers, catechumen, and newly converted can ask their questions about the Orthodox Faith in a safe and supportive forum without retribution or recrimination. We ask our members to give direct and simple answers with sources. Often you will find they give personal stories and understandings. We encourage you to met with an Orthodox Christian pastor to recieve guidance, readings, and assistance in your journey toward the Holy Orthodox Chritsian Church.

Welcome to the Convert Issues Forum!

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« Reply #21 on: July 31, 2013, 09:56:34 AM »

For some reason, I had no hurdles coming into Orthodoxy, even though I was a former evangelical-turned-atheist. St. Vincent of Lerins gave a pretty simple answer for overcoming these things: the faith of Christ and the Apostles is "that which has been believed always, everywhere, and by all." When I realized I didn't believe in the Evangelical version of Christianity anymore, I could fall headlong into the historic Church and believe absolutely everything they taught, without needing to "convince" myself of it.

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« Reply #22 on: July 31, 2013, 10:11:19 AM »

St. Vincent of Lerins gave a pretty simple answer for overcoming these things: the faith of Christ and the Apostles is "that which has been believed always, everywhere, and by all."

The problem is moving on from there...
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« Reply #23 on: July 31, 2013, 10:18:01 AM »

Welcome to the club! Most of us here have had the experience of having our theological paradigms and pet belief systems changed (if not totally destroyed!) and our brains rewired!

If I had an "issue", it was the all-male priesthood. Veneration of icons, the Theotokos and all that didn't much bother me.

Kind of like sleeper, once I saw what historic Christianity had preached, taught and believed for a couple of millenia, give or take, and was still preaching, teaching and believing in the Orthodox Church, I came to the realization that the Church has been at this a long time and probably knows much better than I do.

As far as praying to the Theotokos, if I ask my own mother and my friends and loved ones for their prayers, why is it such a huge leap to ask His Mother?
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« Reply #24 on: July 31, 2013, 10:21:16 AM »

Define "dead"

The Saints are not dead..
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« Reply #25 on: July 31, 2013, 10:54:14 AM »

St. Vincent of Lerins gave a pretty simple answer for overcoming these things: the faith of Christ and the Apostles is "that which has been believed always, everywhere, and by all."

The problem is moving on from there...
I am apparently on a Chesterton binge as I just quoted him in another thread as well...

“The romantic seeks only to get his head into the heavens. The rationalist seeks to get the heavens into his head – and it is his head that splits.”
― G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy
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« Reply #26 on: July 31, 2013, 11:26:24 AM »

Dear Friends,

Thanks again for your comments. 

A question was asked "How do I define dead?"

Well, obviously I was speaking from a western realist/Protestant perspective.  I do get it now about life existing whether in the physical or spiritual realms.  "Death" has taken on a new and different meaning for me.  It is a concept I am reconstructing.  Many things about Orthodoxy become clearer once one understands the concepts of Orthodoxy and finds these concepts modifying old paradigms once held.

I am learning.

Blessings!
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« Reply #27 on: July 31, 2013, 11:34:48 AM »

Many things about Orthodoxy become clearer once one understands the concepts of Orthodoxy and finds these concepts modifying old paradigms one once held.

Ay, there's the rub! One of the things that makes discussion/conversation so difficult (and often frustrating!) between Protestants and Orthodox is that we use the same vocabulary ("salvation," "grace," etc.) and mean totally different things by them.
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« Reply #28 on: July 31, 2013, 11:46:08 AM »

Welcome, OldGoat2013!

A great help to me was applying to the Saints and the Theotokos the Beatitudes sung every Sunday at the Liturgy - they are the poor in spirit, the meek, the peacemakers, the merciful, bearing the death and life of Christ, the fate of Christ in themselves. We are venerating poor, weak peasants, criminals, fools according to the world above the powerful of this world because this is where we see the truth about God and His grace and His glory. It's totally counter cultural and we are boasting in our heroes who are despised in the human categories. And we simply love them, love them more than our own family because the friends of Christ who already proved their friendship are closer to us than any man. To start praying to the Saints I needed first to discover how precious they are as persons united with God, and especially the Mother of God. The prayer was awkward at first but love to the Saints quickly turned it into great joy and priviledge. Although I don't know any famous ascetic or great wonderworker or elder, I know that at every moment I have access to the One through whom Christ became one of us, to His Apostles, to all Martyrs and the Fathers - poor, meek, kind, peaceful, faithful, merciful. God gave us a family full of people transformed into His image.
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« Reply #29 on: July 31, 2013, 11:51:39 AM »

Katherine of Dixie,

After reading your post I began to think about death.  In the west we have a fear of death and it seems so mysterious to us.  We become anxious discussing it or contemplating it.  If we begin to accept the view of death as defined/experienced by orthodoxy, death no longer seems to be so frightening and is so much easier to accept.

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« Reply #30 on: July 31, 2013, 11:53:51 AM »

Luka and all - Thanks!
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« Reply #31 on: July 31, 2013, 12:07:53 PM »

I'm an older goat than you (see my profile for details  Cheesy).

I was christmated in 2005 after more than 50 years in a holiness denomination that was/is becoming more contemporary, and at least at the congregational level is pretty sparse on holiness/Wesleyan teaching. During those years I did just about everything a layman could do, including three years on a foreign mission field. Hobnobbed plenty with clergymen, so I think I have a fairly good grasp of where you're coming from.

Quite honestly, prayer to the saints is not something that I do naturally, even yet. Not because I have a problem with it, but simply habit.

One thing that helped me was the realization that when we go to worship, we join the saints who continually worship - that's clear in Scripture. I'm sure you can quote the references. As I've allowed that truth to sink in, the whole concept of interacting with them and asking for their intercessions seems just as reasonable as doing the same with my fellow worshippers at church. As for the Theotokos, it only stands to reason that she is to be honoured for the simple fact of being the mother of our Lord. If God would honour her with that responsibility, she deserves my honour as well.

The best advice I can give is that you attend services as often as your schedule permits. Reading is useful, but participation will teach much more.

As for your wife: my wife wants next to nothing to do with Orthodoxy. However, there have been some recent developments in our relationship that may soften her stand. How you deal with your wife is a personal matter. Every situation is different and there is no one-size-fits-all answer.

Welcome to the forum. I hope you keep asking questions and exploring.
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« Reply #32 on: July 31, 2013, 07:21:13 PM »

Hey Genesisone,

Thanks for the reply. 

One thing I wouldn't want to happen would be my wife and I attending different churches on Sunday.  That would be difficult and so unnatural.  I know many couples do this, but it would not be my first choice.  Naturally I wouldn't want her to go the services just to appease me and not be able to truly worship. Just as I cannot truly in my heart of hearts be Protestant any longer.

I must trust in God for the answer to this issue. 

My wife was raised Lutheran and so has no problem with liturgical worship. She is really turned off by praying to the Saints and Mary.  I think that is her biggest issue.
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« Reply #33 on: July 31, 2013, 07:53:56 PM »

Hey Genesisone,

Thanks for the reply. 

One thing I wouldn't want to happen would be my wife and I attending different churches on Sunday.  That would be difficult and so unnatural.  I know many couples do this, but it would not be my first choice.  Naturally I wouldn't want her to go the services just to appease me and not be able to truly worship. Just as I cannot truly in my heart of hearts be Protestant any longer.

I must trust in God for the answer to this issue. 

My wife was raised Lutheran and so has no problem with liturgical worship. She is really turned off by praying to the Saints and Mary.  I think that is her biggest issue.
Yes, that was the biggest struggle for my wife and I as we had always gone to church together and were very involved.  Now, I go to hers and then when that is over, I go to Divine Liturgy and she goes home.  I will admit that it is very difficult.  Sad
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« Reply #34 on: July 31, 2013, 09:14:48 PM »

I think that some people convert to Orthodoxy and still feel uncomfortable with reverencing Mary and the saints. As long as they accept the Church's teachings on the matter and regard their discomfort as a personal issue that they should sort out with spiritual guidance, this should be acceptable. You're not expected to engage in all the myriads of devotions as soon as you get confirmed. You'll find that as you read more about the saints and see them around you as you worship, you'll grow a natural affinity for them. It's a relationship; most people don't fall in love with someone else overnight.

I'm speaking in generalities, not specifically for your wife.
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« Reply #35 on: July 31, 2013, 09:16:00 PM »

I think that some people convert to Orthodoxy and still feel uncomfortable with reverencing Mary and the saints. As long as they accept the Church's teachings on the matter and regard their discomfort as a personal issue that they should sort out with spiritual guidance, this should be acceptable. You're not expected to engage in all the myriads of devotions as soon as you get confirmed. You'll find that as you read more about the saints and see them around you as you worship, you'll grow a natural affinity for them. It's a relationship; most people don't fall in love with someone else overnight.

I'm speaking in generalities, not specifically for your wife.
I think this is an excellent point, thank you lovesupreme.  Smiley
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« Reply #36 on: July 31, 2013, 09:54:53 PM »

I think that some people convert to Orthodoxy and still feel uncomfortable with reverencing Mary and the saints. As long as they accept the Church's teachings on the matter and regard their discomfort as a personal issue that they should sort out with spiritual guidance, this should be acceptable. You're not expected to engage in all the myriads of devotions as soon as you get confirmed. You'll find that as you read more about the saints and see them around you as you worship, you'll grow a natural affinity for them. It's a relationship; most people don't fall in love with someone else overnight.

I'm speaking in generalities, not specifically for your wife.
I think this is an excellent point, thank you lovesupreme.  Smiley

A most excellent point indeed.

I am a -very- observant person, under the guise of 'if you see what everyone does and that which only some do, you figure out what you -have- to do and what is not 100% obligatory'  and I see a great variation in the folks in my parish that I happen to know are more recently illuminated Orthodox Christians, in the veneration of Icons and saints etc.

I myself am slowly working my way 'up' to doing more, and that doesn't mean i don't believe in things, it just means the physical manifestation of that belief is slower to become an ingrained way of life for me.
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« Reply #37 on: July 31, 2013, 10:13:49 PM »

How did those of you who were Protestants overcome this bias and come to be able to accept it and feel normal about it?

First I believe that it is a tragedy that so many stories of great and holy protestants will be lost to history. Few people know who Corrie Ten Boom is or what she was able to do with Gods help. 500 years from now, no one will remember her at all. If she were orthodox, we would be ten threads on this forum arguing the merits of whether she should be recognized as a saint or not and 500 years from now someone else facing a similar situation would be able to gain wisdom and courage from her story and make the same difference as she did.

As for actually praying to saints, well I was raised southern baptist so I was in the same boat as you. I read about the saints and I watch and listen to the Orthodox people around me and I know that I want what they have. If i want to get what they have I have to do what they do.
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« Reply #38 on: August 01, 2013, 10:39:05 AM »

How did those of you who were Protestants overcome this bias and come to be able to accept it and feel normal about it?

First I believe that it is a tragedy that so many stories of great and holy protestants will be lost to history. Few people know who Corrie Ten Boom is or what she was able to do with Gods help. 500 years from now, no one will remember her at all. If she were orthodox, we would be ten threads on this forum arguing the merits of whether she should be recognized as a saint or not and 500 years from now someone else facing a similar situation would be able to gain wisdom and courage from her story and make the same difference as she did.

As for actually praying to saints, well I was raised southern baptist so I was in the same boat as you. I read about the saints and I watch and listen to the Orthodox people around me and I know that I want what they have. If i want to get what they have I have to do what they do.

Sometimes I pray to my deceased wife to say a prayer for us or watch over our children if they are going through some issue. Sometimes I look at her picture.
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« Reply #39 on: August 01, 2013, 11:50:27 AM »

My wife was raised Lutheran and so has no problem with liturgical worship. She is really turned off by praying to the Saints and Mary.  I think that is her biggest issue.

http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2011/08/oldest-hymn-to-theotokos.html

If your wife believes in the Trinity, I don't know why she is against prayer to Saint Mary, after all the Trinity wasn't dogmatized until the 4th century. Hymns to the Holy Mother of God were chanted before that as early as the 200s.

It's likely that St. Athanasius himself prayed this prayer.

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« Reply #40 on: August 01, 2013, 02:09:51 PM »

I was struck by the following conversion story (http://www.frederica.com/writings/dn-barnabas-powell.html) in which Frederica Mathewes-Green was interviewing Deacon Barnabas Powell (now a priest in the Greek Archdiocese). Deacon Barnabas had been a Pentecostal pastor, had an Evangelical radio ministry and had also worked for the In Touch Ministries” of Dr. Charles Stanley, among others.

In this wonderfully open and inspiring interview, the following exchange took place:

Frederica:  And do you find that this is something that—when you’re talking to people who are Pentecostal—do they get this?  Do they have this hunger, the deep hunger of the soul, which is obviously there in everybody?  But can they make that leap to understanding that here is a way, a path, whereby they can be profoundly transformed?  Or do they think it’s just sort of all nice, you know, pietistic words?

Dn. Powell:  Yes and no.

Frederica:  Or do they see what you’re saying and they want to run the opposite direction?

Dn. Powell:  I’ve had every one of those experiences and seven more.  It’s just, it’s—

Frederica:  It’s person by person.


Dn. Powell:  It really is person by person.  It depends on how the Holy Spirit has formed a person and what they’ve said yes to throughout their lives.  It’s just—we’re never going to get beyond the Theotokos.  Where the messenger comes with good news and then the moment of truth—let it be done to me as you have said.  I am the Lord’s servant.  Every place where a person has had that confrontation with good news from the messenger of God—whether it be from the Spirit calling inside, or another person, or just from life’s circumstances—when they’ve been able to say, “Let it be done to me as you have said, I am the Lord’s servant—we’re never going to get beyond the Theotokos.  The Theotokos is our model of Christianity.

Being with her—learning from her, this is tough for an old Pentecostal to talk about.  Although, once I saw the icon of Our Lady of the Sign, all my questions were answered.  It was a mystical, instantaneous clarity that no one else in the journey had but me."
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« Reply #41 on: August 01, 2013, 05:31:35 PM »

I appreciate all of the help and wisdom in your posts. Thanks!

xOrthodox4Christx - Thanks for the link.  I love history!  I will listen to the hymn when I get home tonight.

 
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« Reply #42 on: August 01, 2013, 05:32:14 PM »

Carl,

I did read the interview previously.  It was very good and helpful to me.
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« Reply #43 on: August 05, 2013, 02:01:43 AM »

Dear Oldgoat2013,

If I may speak briefly out of my own experience in coming to Orthodoxy. I was a Charismatic for around 21 years and spend a lot of time in my youth around AoG churches. So, I'm familiar with the faith background you are coming from.

The Dead: Strangely enough the groundwork for this was laid for my by Met. Kalistos Ware in his book The Orthodox Church which I read back in my 20s.  One point he raised that I could not ever refute was the assertion that the Church is the Body of Christ, and that Church includes those present in the earth and those who have gone to be with the Lord. What body does not have communion with itself? Bodies with interrupted communion are grievously injured or paralyzed. St. Paul said that the Body is joined together in the Spirit by that which every joint supplieth. Those joints don't break when we pass away. Indeed we might even expect that those most deeply rooted in Christ in this life would have supplied a lot more in the joint/joining department than most. Since we are joined together in the Spirit, then it is reasonable that the way we access and invest in that joint communion is likewise in the Spirit.  If you hit your thumb with a hammer, what does your body do? Your other fingers wrap around the injured thumb, your other hand gently explores the extent of the injury or shelters it even more.  Every muscle in your body tenses to minimize jarring the injured thumb further. Your breathing quickens and your heart beats faster driving oxygen rich blood to the site of the injury to flush the wound, make a scab and begin healing.  Now how does every other member of your body know to come to the aide of your banged up thumb? Is it not the head who sees and directs it all? It's no different in the Body of Christ. The whole body is joined together mystically by the Spirit and it is in the Spirit that the body moves to attend to the needs of it's members…and who directs all this help, both seen and unseen? Is it not the Head?

The truth that Met. Kalistos shared is simply this: Death does not have the power to sunder the body of Christ.

As for the saint's I was taught that the reason we are drawn to one particular saint's icon or another is that that saint has taken a personal interest in us. Once you have been Orthodox a few years, take a look at your icon shelf and the cloud of witnesses there and on your walls. To reflect upon the great and noble company who have chose to pray for your salvation and healing in Christ, to help you on your way in serving Him. It will stagger you, bring you to tears. There's St. Seraphim of Sarov, and maybe St. Issac of Nineveh, St. John the Wonderworker, and maybe St. Xenia or St. Elizabeth the New Mary, and in the midst of the the blessed Theotokos…and all their eyes are turned to you like the rays of the sun shining out from heaven. And who are you that the chiefest treasures of Heaven would love you and take an interest in you and pray for you and want to be in your own home. Do not doubt that you will weep that the Lord has loved you so much as to entrust you to the care of such choice bearers of the Kingdom.

As for gifts and all that, every good thing promised by the Charismatic/Pentecostal movement I have found fulfilled in the Orthodox faith, fulfilled in a fulness I never anticipated, and all done decently and in order, every gift and grace united to great holinessness…no name it and claim it salvation, no name it and claim it gifts…but there is salvation, and there are gifts. But in the Orthodox Church, those who prophesy don't have words that fall to the ground, they see hearts open to their depths, they ask and they receive…they are joyful, yet sober, they are poor but enrich many. They do not showboat…no TBN shows for them. They live in mountains and forests, and caves and secluded places lift up their hands in a life dedicated to following the path of unceasing prayer.  If you read the lives of Elder Porphyrios, Elder Pasius, Mother Gavriella, Elder Cleopas, Fr. Arseny, St. Silouan, to name but a few it would astound you the things they did, some so much that you hardly believe they are true except for many of these the witness to those things still live. I've read that Fr. Justin Popovich (I think a saint now) and Elder Porphyrios would meet on occasion and neither spoke the other's language, so each conversed in his own, yet both understood each other perfectly.  These are those who following the ancient invitation in Christ have become all fire. These are lives transfigured…often quite literally (and I mean literally). My point is not to set you chasing miracle workers like the next great circus act….rather to illustrate that what the Charismatic movement and the Pentecostal movement wanted to be but could not be because of their discontinuity with the Church and sometimes quite erroneous (though ignorantly so) teachings. I saw enough as a Charismatic to know that such things though hard to find were real. In Orthodoxy, I found the reality I thought had long ago vanished from the earth and was needed restoration. But the faith and power of the Apostles were never lost…our spiritual ancestors had just lost track of it over the centuries, and hungered for it, following many vain paths to try and satisfy that hunger.

In my experience, its all here, and its all accessible if you can walk the walk that gets you there, as God calls. All these wonderful things are to be found hidden deep in the heart of the Orthodox faith, but we don't make a big fuss about them (most of the time). We expect the Spirit to be in the Church. And we know from the teachings of the saints that it's not the big miracles and wonders that matter most in the Kingdom. The man who has conquered himself and keeps his tongue from evil is greater than one who has raised the dead. Indeed we know from the scriptures that at the last judgement we won't be facing a theological entrance exam…rather we will be asked of Christ if we fed Him, clothed Him, gave Him to drink, comforted Him and visited Him when in need.  The pious Orthodox Christian wants to do these things, to have a life in which all is infused with prayer and done for Christ's sake, to judge ourselves and not our brother, and to confess Christ with all that we are and all that we do and stand as one with that innumerable company of Saints and Angels from all ages gathered around the Throne, the Assembly of the Firstborn. One of the best summations of this mindset I think comes from Elder Porphyrios, who on his deathbed and surrounded by his disciples was asked what he should say to Christ when ask if he should be sent to Heaven or Hell. The holy elder replied, "I shall say, 'Wherever Thy love places me O Lord, Wherever Thy love places me, only do not separate me from Thy love."  This is the beating heart of beauty that ravished me with a single glance almost 20 year ago now. As a codicil to that, a spiritual son of his that lived far away was not aware when the elder had passed on and so about two months after elder Porphyrios was buried called his number on the telephone. The elder answered his question then told him he now lived with Christ in heaven and not to try and call him on the phone, rather he was to ask in prayer and the elder would help him. Yes…that last is an extremely difficult thing to believe, and yet it happened. My point? The grace, the truth, the depth of living faith and encounter in Christ and the Spirit we hoped for and stretched out our hands for…but could never quite grasp as Charismatics and Pentecostal is alive and well, and present until this very hour as it was in the days of the Holy Apostles. The Church still reproduces in kind from that day to this. This is the faith of the Apostles, the faith upon which the universe was established. The Church did not die and need to be reestablished, was not corrupted so that it needed to be reformed, diminished so that it need a restoration of what it had lost.

This is Orthodoxy, and while I am grateful for the path that led me here, I cannot imagine believing or worshiping any other way ever again. I'm Home.
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« Reply #44 on: August 05, 2013, 03:07:09 AM »

The first thing has to do with praying to the Saints who are dead.  I understand the reason now based upon a different view of the relationship of the believers to each other living and dead. Even though i understand it, emotionally it feels very strange.  

The doctrine of the Communion (koinonia/fellowship -Bonhoeffer translated the word "life together") of the Saints is found in the Apostle's Creed and its precursor, the Roman Creed; it is attested in tomb inscriptions in the catacombs. From the beginning Christians have understood the Church to be a single living body: visible, invisible, and indivisible -all three. Not even death can separate us from Christ's body.

I cannot recall the context, but there is a story about an elder who was asked about prayers to the dead. In response the elder simply replied, "dead?"

Christ said "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?" -John 11:25-26

"Within the Mystical Body there takes place a unique communication and correlation: within that communion the gifts of the Holy Spirit -the power to forgive sins, to transmit salvation, to suffer by proxy for one another, and the power of intercession- become effective. And these powers extend down to the domain of the dead, for God is "a Lord of the living, not the dead." -Ernst Benz, The Eastern Orthodox Church: Its Thought and Life.


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« Reply #45 on: August 05, 2013, 04:59:11 AM »

Boy did I get a big smile on my face when I saw the thread title.Grin I had a sneaking suspicion that it was Assemblies of God related too! Oldgoat, I also grew up AG and coincidentally graduated from the “mecca” of AG schools, Evangel University in Springfield Missouri (AG headquarters here also!) even though I have been Orthodox for the last 7 years. I have a ton of great stories I could tell with my experience going to Evangel and relating to Pentecostals while being Orthodox.

I had to take a few theology courses to complete my business degree and that ended up being quite an interesting experience. I initially went in thinking I would just lay back and stay quite, but that went out the door pretty quickly. It all started with the exclamation from someone in class that stated that the AG could quite well be the “most charismatic church on earth today.” I quickly had to correct that faulty notion and said that they had it wrong because the Eastern Orthodox easily laid claim to being the most charismatic church on earth because it’s the church of Christ, the apostles, and saints! Should have seen the look on their faces, priceless! I continually would poke holes at faulty protestant premises (easy to do!) throughout the classes I had and would clarify it with what the church has always believed throughout the eons. By the end of one of my classes, I had like 6 guys (these were guys in ministry and theological degrees to boot!) that came up to me wanting to know more about Orthodoxy and they took down my phone number!

Here’s another great nugget of a story from my encounters while I was there. One of the most respected ‘higher ups’ (founded many churches which gives you a big name in the AG!) in the AG who was serving as the head chaplain at the college invited me over to his house for a ‘talk’ because he was concerned about my choice of Christianity. I guess in AG terms he was worried about my ‘salvation’ and making sure I have accepted Jesus into my heart lol! So I go over and we sit down in his home office and he’s thinking he’s about to show up this poor lost soul who has wandered from the AG into some weird Catholic like cult.

Three hours later he’s shaking my hand and telling me what respect he has for my knowledge of the Christian faith in general and that he wanted to do some more research into church history because he was intrigued by what I told him. What’s funny was that in the middle of our chat, he was relating a sermon he gave about faith and works and he quoted something he heard from another AG pastor that he thought was so profound…he said it went something like this, “Preach the gospel at all times, and if you must, use words.” LOL! I looked at him and asked do you know who originally said that? He said “no” of course! I looked bemused and said back it was Saint Francis! Should have seen him after I said that! He was pretty much done with me and he knew he brought knives to a gun fight. What’s ironic is that he grew up Catholic but thought he found the real faith in the AG when he was older. I told him that’s like trading in a Ferrari for a Ford Fiesta. laugh

Anywho, though you would enjoy that because I understand the AG mindset and it took me many years before becoming Orthodox. I promised I would find the holes in Orthodoxy, and as I spent several years looking for those fault lines one by one, the walls of the Orthodox Church held strong as I could not find one single thing that they were theologically wrong on. I felt pretty small at the time but felt relief in finding the true Christian Faith which I eventually realized that it was always here!     
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« Reply #46 on: August 05, 2013, 11:30:35 AM »

Thanks Seraphim 98/Nacho

I was a professor at North Central University (AOG) in Minneapolis for 20 + years.

I appreciate your responses very much!

Blessings!

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« Reply #47 on: August 07, 2013, 12:10:41 PM »

Carl,

I did read the interview previously.  It was very good and helpful to me.

When I read the article, I thought that Deacon Powell's appreciation of the icon Our Lady of the Sign, as opposed to other icons of the Theotokos, was a critical factor in his conversion. At least to me, this icon underlines the fact that Virgin Mary gave birth not to a mere baby but the Creator of the universe that was incarnated as our Savior, fully God and fully man.
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« Reply #48 on: August 07, 2013, 11:05:15 PM »

One last issue - My wife is not anywhere near the same point where I am.  I am going have to be very patient with her.

That's a good idea.
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« Reply #49 on: August 07, 2013, 11:37:16 PM »

I had that issue too. Patience is the only answer.  Smiley
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« Reply #50 on: August 08, 2013, 01:28:54 AM »

^^ Yea it could take some time! I still keep in touch with a few friends in the AG and every time I try to explain the whole concept of liturgical sacramental worship I feel like I'm getting blank stares. Sometimes I'm met with a response that typically goes something like this, "hmmm no drums and live action, I need something to pump me up when I'm praising the Lord...what you describe sounds extremely boring to me!"  Roll Eyes

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« Reply #51 on: August 08, 2013, 09:25:26 PM »

Hey Nacho,

I just had someone say the same thing to me today.  He said it would be boring.  I wanted to say (but didn't), "Is worship about you or God?"
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« Reply #52 on: August 09, 2013, 02:04:38 PM »

One last issue - My wife is not anywhere near the same point where I am.  I am going have to be very patient with her.

That's a good idea.

Same issue.  Lots of patience and lots of prayer.  This is something my priest reminds me to do whenever I come to him.  My childhood church, Church of God, was right across the street from the Assemblies of God church in Clarksville, TN back in the day.  I had a few hang ups when learning about the Church, but then I figured that if I wanted to accomplish what Christ wanted (John 17:20-26), I would have to accept His whole Body and all therein, not just the doctrines I like or agreed with.  Regarding Mary, she is my Mother too, because I believe that she bore Jesus in all His flesh AND Divinity.  In the end, it takes a lot of prayer and sometimes just telling God "Lord, I believe!  Help my unbelief!"
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« Reply #53 on: August 09, 2013, 09:21:15 PM »

Thanks, Hecma295!
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« Reply #54 on: August 10, 2013, 02:36:34 PM »

some lovely stories here.
i was protestant from fairly early childhood (atheist family before that) up until 5 years ago - more than 30 years.
it took me 3 years after becoming orthodox to feel 100% comfortable singing to the angels and saints and asking their intercessions.
so, patience is the answer!
(especially as i am still the only orthodox Christian in my family)

it's all about love, and humility, as many of the other lovely posts above explain.
i especially liked seraphim78s post as it mirrors my own experience and views as an ex charismatic.
you should all read it, even though it is quite long, there is great wisdom there.

may God guide u, and take it slowly.
when you are driving a car with passengers, you go slow around the corners.
do the same when you have family/close friends who are 'sitting in' on your spiritual journey and getting a bit travel sick.

and thanks for sharing with us, it is a real blessing.
 Smiley
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« Reply #55 on: August 10, 2013, 03:42:44 PM »

Welcome my brother.
I was not Orthodox until some months before and I am 16!
Well love is the center of the True church because God is Love. Imagine now...
God created you to give us all nature under our command... We betrayed Him...
Yet He send His Son because He love us until death. Tell me what is the biggest sacrifice?
 A child to sacrifice his parent or a parent to sacrifice his child? And for who? Us! Those who are the worst...
And yet He call us... He say to us just one moment after we have sinned. " Please come to me to forgive you.''
God plea us to come to Him and save us! When we sin we make God sad but He becomes sad not because He is angry or because we didn't do his will.
He is sad because He knows that if we don't do His will we are getting far away into the darkness. He is sad for us...
Uh such Love! God is the best and we are the worse. That's the base.
Four things remember:
a) God is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
b) Eastern Orthodox is his Church.
c) He Love us.
d) I am the worst sinner.
As for the saints and Mary here thus: We don't say they are gods. We worship them not. We venerate them. There are two kind of churches fully united. The victorious church, those who have already went into heaven and the church which we can see. Dead and alive are both in front of God. After all only their body is dead. Their souls are eternal and they live. We ask their help, we thank them for praying to God for us, we love them and try to become like them because they became like Christ. We venerate them. As for Mary... The mother of God who became the highest of all saints. You may hear at Divine Liturgy when we pray to her to save us. Some may say '' But only God can save...'' Yes. When we ask her to save us we mean that we ask her to pray to God, to say please to God for us. So strong are her pleas that one can be saved. God saves but thanks of course to His love but also to her pleas. As for your wife speak when you find the chance and when she tries to '' show you the truth'' but force her not. Pray to God for her. I hope you and she baptize soon. Have hope and I hope God will save both you.
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« Reply #56 on: August 10, 2013, 08:30:58 PM »

Thanks Nikolas for the very beautiful reply from the heart. I appreciate your words and sentiments very much.

I have an update for everyone concerning my wife.  I went to a service at an OCA parish Wednesday evening. My wife could not come because she had a work conflict.  When I returned home I told her about the service.  She asked me if I was thinking about converting to Orthodoxy and I told her i was.  She said "I thought so" and smiled.  She did not disapprove or try to tell me I should not.  She expressed no objections.

I will take it easy with her, but I am happy she does not object to my journey towards the Orthodox faith.
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« Reply #57 on: August 11, 2013, 12:04:18 AM »

Glad to hear it. Glory to God.  Smiley keep praying for her: for her enlightenment, for you: for patience.
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« Reply #58 on: August 11, 2013, 12:16:21 AM »

Katherine of Dixie,

After reading your post I began to think about death.  In the west we have a fear of death and it seems so mysterious to us.  We become anxious discussing it or contemplating it.  If we begin to accept the view of death as defined/experienced by orthodoxy, death no longer seems to be so frightening and is so much easier to accept.



You are correct about the Eastern Orthodox view of death. In fact, during our Divine Liturgy on the eve of
Easter (Pascha ) every priest in every church reads the sermon of St. John Chrysostom which captures that view of death. Here it is below:

If any man be devout and love God, let him enjoy this fair and radiant triumphal feast.
If any man be a wise servant, let him rejoicing enter into the joy of his Lord.
If any have labored long in fasting, let him now receive his recompense.

 

If any have wrought from the first hour, let him today receive his just reward.
If any have come at the third hour, let him with thankfulness keep the feast.
If any have arrived at the sixth hour, let him have no misgivings; because he shall in no wise be deprived therefore.
If any have delayed until the ninth hour, let him draw near, fearing nothing.
If any have tarried even until the eleventh hour, let him, also, be not alarmed at his tardiness; for the Lord, who is jealous of his honor, will accept the last even as the first; he gives rest unto him who comes at the eleventh hour, even as unto him who has wrought from the first hour.

 

And he shows mercy upon the last, and cares for the first; and to the one he gives, and upon the other he bestows gifts.
And he both accepts the deeds, and welcomes the intention, and honors the acts and praises the offering.
Wherefore, enter you all into the joy of your Lord; and receive your reward, both the first, and likewise the second.

 

You rich and poor together, hold high festival.
You sober and you heedless, honor the day.
Rejoice today, both you who have fasted and you who have disregarded the fast.
The table is full-laden; feast ye all sumptuously.
The calf is fatted; let no one go hungry away.
Enjoy ye all the feast of faith: Receive ye all the riches of loving-kindness.

 

Let no one bewail his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed.
Let no one weep for his iniquities, for pardon has shown forth from the grave.
Let no one fear death, for the Savior's death has set us free.
He that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it. By descending into Hell, He made Hell captive.

 

He embittered it when it tasted of His flesh. And Isaiah, foretelling this, did cry:
Hell, said he, was embittered, when it encountered Thee in the lower regions.
It was embittered, for it was abolished.
It was embittered, for it was mocked.
It was embittered, for it was slain.
It was embittered, for it was overthrown.
It was embittered, for it was fettered in chains.
It took a body, and met God face to face.
It took earth, and encountered Heaven.
It took that which was seen, and fell upon the unseen.

 

O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory?
Christ is risen, and you are overthrown!
Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen!
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is risen, and life reigns!
Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave!
For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages. Amen.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2013, 12:18:08 AM by Tamara » Logged
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« Reply #59 on: August 11, 2013, 04:07:35 AM »

My friend thank God and not me...
Quote
O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory?
Christ is risen, and you are overthrown!
Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen!
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is risen, and life reigns!
Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave!
For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages. Amen.
I love this lines. Our hymns alone can explain a lot.
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« Reply #60 on: August 11, 2013, 04:04:53 PM »

My friend thank God and not me...
Quote
O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory?
Christ is risen, and you are overthrown!
Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen!
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is risen, and life reigns!
Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave!
For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages. Amen.
I love this lines. Our hymns alone can explain a lot.

All of our liturgical hymns are instructive, profound and sublime.
They contain the whole of our theology and moral teaching,
give us Christian consolation and instill in us a fear of the Judgment.
He who listens to them attentively has no need of other books on the Faith.

St Theophan the Recluse


We are surrounded by the theology of our church every time we enter to worship. The mysteries, the prayers, the hymns, the incense, the iconography all teach us what it means to be a Christian.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2013, 04:06:57 PM by Tamara » Logged
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« Reply #61 on: August 12, 2013, 10:28:59 AM »

I agree, one can not really understand the depths of knowledge that i found in the orthodox Chruch if one has not heard the hylmns, especiallythose attached to the feasts that are sung during the Great Vespers of Orthos services of the Church. When I first heard them sung in English so I could understand them (not Greek as I found in my first Orthodox jurisdiction or Slavonic like my second jurisdiction---we moved around a lot and went to whatever jurisdiction was closest) I learned more in that year than in the fiove years I had attended Church. The greattreasury of knowledge  about the Orthodox Church beliefs is not the wealth of books written for the layman but rather the Hymns of the Church sung in a language you can understand.

Thomas
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« Reply #62 on: August 20, 2013, 01:59:11 AM »

Seraphim, are you certain it's not Elders Justin and Cleopa instead?...not like it makes a difference or questions your statement...just curious...that's all...



Welcome to the forum oldgoat and may you find what you seek...
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« Reply #63 on: August 20, 2013, 09:54:48 AM »

I agree, one can not really understand the depths of knowledge that i found in the orthodox Chruch if one has not heard the hylmns, especiallythose attached to the feasts that are sung during the Great Vespers of Orthos services of the Church. When I first heard them sung in English so I could understand them (not Greek as I found in my first Orthodox jurisdiction or Slavonic like my second jurisdiction---we moved around a lot and went to whatever jurisdiction was closest) I learned more in that year than in the fiove years I had attended Church. The greattreasury of knowledge  about the Orthodox Church beliefs is not the wealth of books written for the layman but rather the Hymns of the Church sung in a language you can understand.

Thomas

There is definitely a strong didactic emphasis to Orthodox services. They are meant to teach the faith as well as bring you into God's grace.
If you diligently attend for a year you will learn a lot. Then the cycle is repeated and you will pick up things you missed in year one. Repeat, until done.  Smiley
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« Reply #64 on: August 20, 2013, 11:11:52 AM »

I agree, one can not really understand the depths of knowledge that i found in the orthodox Chruch if one has not heard the hylmns, especiallythose attached to the feasts that are sung during the Great Vespers of Orthos services of the Church. When I first heard them sung in English so I could understand them (not Greek as I found in my first Orthodox jurisdiction or Slavonic like my second jurisdiction---we moved around a lot and went to whatever jurisdiction was closest) I learned more in that year than in the fiove years I had attended Church. The greattreasury of knowledge  about the Orthodox Church beliefs is not the wealth of books written for the layman but rather the Hymns of the Church sung in a language you can understand.

Thomas

There is definitely a strong didactic emphasis to Orthodox services. They are meant to teach the faith as well as bring you into God's grace.
If you diligently attend for a year you will learn a lot. Then the cycle is repeated and you will pick up things you missed in year one. Repeat, until done.  Smiley

.... only that you can never be done, no matter how long you live.  angel
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« Reply #65 on: August 23, 2013, 12:35:13 AM »

It might be Elder's Justin and Cleopas. The essential point I took away from the account of their conversations was that both were very holy prayerful men and neither naturally spoke the other's language.
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