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Author Topic: The long path to truth  (Read 1546 times) Average Rating: 0
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PonderingProtestant
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« on: August 25, 2013, 01:11:12 PM »

Hey there everyone,

Firstly I'd like to apologise for the potential length of my post but I hope that my genuine eagerness for truth and unity with Christ and his Church comes across.

I'd like to start with a bit about my religious back ground - I was raised Roman Catholic and often attended Mass and the Rosary with my family members however my parents refused to get me baptised until I was old enough to make the choice. I continued to attend Roman Catholic Mass until I had read the Bible at about age 13 and hung in 'limbo' until I started attending my local Anglican Church by myself.

When I was 16 I was baptised and confirmed into the Church of Ireland (Anglican). As I continued to read the Bible and study, I came across a verse which I've never been able to find since but I'm sure it was in the Apocryphal book of Sirach and it said 'Do not worship God how you want to, but how God has told us to'. That was an epiphany moment for me - 'Why did I become an Anglican? was it for me, or for God?'

Sadly, although this kick started me to search for truth, I got even more lost and attended the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for two years and then several Evangelical Churches after. It's not that I'm easily duped as I do have a good grasp of Church History and the Scriptures but I had this yearning for the original Church and the idea of the 'truth restored' sat with me - quite uncomfortably at times but, still.

After this episode of 'truth hunting' I went back to Anglican Church and have been there ever since and have been lucky enough to encounter Priests who have a genuine love for Christ and those who follow him - I have been truly blessed in that regard. I did attend an Antiochian service a few times but that was just to investigate and to see.

But my search goes on, my soul is unsatisfied and I find myself thinking 'If God wants us to worship him how he told us to, what better then than to go back to the beginning of Christian History and find his Church'.

It's obvious to me that the Church established by Jesus Christ and his apostles is the Orthodox Church and not, as the Western Church would have us believe, the Roman Catholic Church. I find in Orthodoxy so many truths that I looked for in 'restored' faiths are still alive in their uncorrupted form in Christ's Church - The true understanding of the Trinity, the Power of the Eucharist, Theosis, God's love for us and the unity of the Church with the Saints in Heaven.

I am still lost Brothers and Sisters, and from here I don't know where to turn - There are no Orthodox Priests in this part of the world, there are no Churches within hundreds of miles. What would you recommend? I want to start living my life as an aspiring Orthodox rather than a Heterodox.

Still though, there are many things I pray about as I'm unable as of yet to reconcile some things with my understanding of God but my mind is open and so is my heart just waiting for Christ to take hold of it and change me forever.
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« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2013, 01:55:29 PM »

Hi, and welcome!

I am still lost Brothers and Sisters, and from here I don't know where to turn - There are no Orthodox Priests in this part of the world, there are no Churches within hundreds of miles. What would you recommend? I want to start living my life as an aspiring Orthodox rather than a Heterodox.

Where exactly are you, if you don't mind my asking?  Perhaps the Orthodox are nowhere near you as you say, but we have been known to pop up in the most unexpected places, or hide successfully under the radar, etc.  Smiley
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PonderingProtestant
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« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2013, 02:01:48 PM »

Suffice it to say I'm in Southern Iberia, but not in Spain.
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« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2013, 02:11:17 PM »

I am still lost Brothers and Sisters, and from here I don't know where to turn - There are no Orthodox Priests in this part of the world, there are no Churches within hundreds of miles. What would you recommend? I want to start living my life as an aspiring Orthodox rather than a Heterodox.

Parishes in Ireland:
http://www.hse.ie/eng/services/Publications/services/SocialInclusion/InterculturalGuide/Orthodox/Orthodox.pdf
http://www.sourozh.org/parishes-eng/
http://www.mitropolia.eu/ro/site/174/
http://www.rocor.org.uk/directory.html
http://www.thyateira.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=86&Itemid=88
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PonderingProtestant
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« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2013, 02:12:53 PM »

Thanks, but I'm no longer in Ireland.
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« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2013, 02:16:03 PM »

Thanks, but I'm no longer in Ireland.

Iberia but not Spain... Ceuta? Gibraltar?
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« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2013, 02:18:26 PM »

If you're in Portugal, a list of parishes can be found here.
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« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2013, 02:23:11 PM »

Thanks, but I'm no longer in Ireland.

Truly a worse state to be in than not being near an Orthodox parish  Sad angel
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« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2013, 02:24:56 PM »

Gibraltar Smiley
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« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2013, 02:37:09 PM »

Parishes in Spain:
http://iglesiaortodoxa.es/index.php?lan=es&area=nuestra_diocesis&pagina=nuestra_diocesis
http://iglesiaortodoxa.es/index.php?lan=es&area=otras_diocesis&pagina=otras_diocesis
http://episcopiaspanieiportugaliei.es/index.php/parohii-ortodoxe-romane-spania?limitstart=0
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« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2013, 02:52:32 PM »

Just curious, do you currently attend the Spanish episcopal church?
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« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2013, 03:01:07 PM »

I am still lost Brothers and Sisters, and from here I don't know where to turn - There are no Orthodox Priests in this part of the world, there are no Churches within hundreds of miles. What would you recommend? I want to start living my life as an aspiring Orthodox rather than a Heterodox.

Still though, there are many things I pray about as I'm unable as of yet to reconcile some things with my understanding of God but my mind is open and so is my heart just waiting for Christ to take hold of it and change me forever.

You may have a longer path to trod than you realize. There is an Orthodox mission in Cadiz (internet maps say its 78miles from Gilbraltar) but what may interest you even more and make it worth your trip is that there is also a school of theology there  http://iglesiaortodoxahispanica.com/lugaresdeculto.html
but then it will be in Spanish. I personally know a priest who will be joining the teaching staff soon, also former Roman Catholic/Episcopal/now Orthodox. I do know that if you ever want to be Orthodox you have to be accepted by a local parish and that can be a very long journey to travel, also. Maybe those on the European continent are a little more welcoming.
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« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2013, 03:03:03 PM »

Gibraltar Smiley

Aha! Good that I was very interested in geography as a kid  Cheesy
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« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2013, 03:04:59 PM »

Just curious, do you currently attend the Spanish episcopal church?

Since the Brits currently posess Gibraltar, then there are definitely Anglican churches there.
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PonderingProtestant
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« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2013, 05:14:25 PM »

Gibraltar is British by the consent of the people, they 'possess' it's future.

I currently attend the Church of England Cathedral here in Gibraltar.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2013, 05:19:08 PM by PonderingProtestant » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2013, 03:01:23 AM »

Hey there everyone,

Firstly I'd like to apologise for the potential length of my post but I hope that my genuine eagerness for truth and unity with Christ and his Church comes across.

I'd like to start with a bit about my religious back ground - I was raised Roman Catholic and often attended Mass and the Rosary with my family members however my parents refused to get me baptised until I was old enough to make the choice. I continued to attend Roman Catholic Mass until I had read the Bible at about age 13 and hung in 'limbo' until I started attending my local Anglican Church by myself.

When I was 16 I was baptised and confirmed into the Church of Ireland (Anglican). As I continued to read the Bible and study, I came across a verse which I've never been able to find since but I'm sure it was in the Apocryphal book of Sirach and it said 'Do not worship God how you want to, but how God has told us to'. That was an epiphany moment for me - 'Why did I become an Anglican? was it for me, or for God?'

Sadly, although this kick started me to search for truth, I got even more lost and attended the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for two years and then several Evangelical Churches after. It's not that I'm easily duped as I do have a good grasp of Church History and the Scriptures but I had this yearning for the original Church and the idea of the 'truth restored' sat with me - quite uncomfortably at times but, still.

After this episode of 'truth hunting' I went back to Anglican Church and have been there ever since and have been lucky enough to encounter Priests who have a genuine love for Christ and those who follow him - I have been truly blessed in that regard. I did attend an Antiochian service a few times but that was just to investigate and to see.

But my search goes on, my soul is unsatisfied and I find myself thinking 'If God wants us to worship him how he told us to, what better then than to go back to the beginning of Christian History and find his Church'.

It's obvious to me that the Church established by Jesus Christ and his apostles is the Orthodox Church and not, as the Western Church would have us believe, the Roman Catholic Church. I find in Orthodoxy so many truths that I looked for in 'restored' faiths are still alive in their uncorrupted form in Christ's Church - The true understanding of the Trinity, the Power of the Eucharist, Theosis, God's love for us and the unity of the Church with the Saints in Heaven.

I am still lost Brothers and Sisters, and from here I don't know where to turn - There are no Orthodox Priests in this part of the world, there are no Churches within hundreds of miles. What would you recommend? I want to start living my life as an aspiring Orthodox rather than a Heterodox.

Still though, there are many things I pray about as I'm unable as of yet to reconcile some things with my understanding of God but my mind is open and so is my heart just waiting for Christ to take hold of it and change me forever.
I would like to first commend and congratulate you for pondering your Protestantism and formerly your Catholicism. You are genuinely seeking the truth, and this speaks wonders. From personal experience, I can tell you that you will find that truth in the Orthodox Church, and it will forever change you. It will make you whole as you continue to grow in Faith of the True Lord, Jesus Christ. His Church will become your spiritual home, and you will ask yourself why it took you so long to come home. I am guessing the Orthodox Church is also a well-kept secret in western Europe. I understand that the Catholic church is especially strong in Ireland.

I can see that having no Orthodox parishes in your immediate area will have a hindrance on your spiritual journey, but I implore you to get around it any way you can. If you are seeking the truth, you will find it in the Orthodox Church. Best of luck, and may peace be with you, and may God bless you!
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« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2013, 01:42:16 PM »

Thank you for your kind words Smiley I don't expect it to be a fast journey nor a one without it's trials. I'm confident that with Christ, nothing can close my eyes to this now.
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« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2013, 12:35:17 PM »

I don't really have any advice. I just pray you find the spiritual healing and peace of God in The Church.
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« Reply #18 on: August 27, 2013, 09:38:42 PM »

I suppose, in the meantime, I need advice on how to live:

I have no idea about morning, evening and before bed prayers or the prayers to say before eating (Excuse my Protestantism Tongue). Also, fasting, I don't understand when to fast and how to do so (as some eating seems to be ok?). I've read a lot of threads but there does seem to be some confusion on the matter. Advice would be awesome.

I really value the Eucharist in my life, even if as Orthodox you feel there is no validity or goodness in Anglican Communion, it helps sustain me and focus my mind on Christ - Is it ok to continue taking it?
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« Reply #19 on: August 27, 2013, 10:10:55 PM »

I suppose, in the meantime, I need advice on how to live:

I have no idea about morning, evening and before bed prayers or the prayers to say before eating (Excuse my Protestantism Tongue).

There are two "basic" traditions regarding daily prayer.  One is more "liturgical": the morning and evening prayer regimen consists of parts of the Divine Office or abbreviations thereof.  The other is more "devotional": within a basic liturgical structure, there are certain prayers for morning and evening, which can be all read straight through or selectively chosen. 

Then there's the matter of what Church tradition you are interested in.  For instance, if you are leaning toward EO, the Greek prayer book tradition is more "liturgical" while the Slavic prayer book tradition tends to be more "devotional".  Both are perfectly acceptable.  Since a form(s) of the Western Rite is used within Eastern Orthodoxy, you might even be able to use certain Western books for your private prayers.  I'm sure people here can link to various types of prayer books, or to threads where this has been discussed before.  The texts of some of these are online, so that's another option. 

Once you pick a prayer book, I'd say the morning and evening prayers in there would be sufficient to start with, even in part.  Prayers before/after meals are included in such books, but honestly there's so much variety in that practice that you're probably just fine with whatever you're doing now.   

Quote
Also, fasting, I don't understand when to fast and how to do so (as some eating seems to be ok?). I've read a lot of threads but there does seem to be some confusion on the matter. Advice would be awesome.

Yeah, some eating is OK.  Smiley  It's not a "no food at all" fast.  It's a limitation on amount and type.  Again, there are probably old threads which go over a lot of these rules and varying customs. 

While you should not take on anything your health cannot handle, I've usually recommended that people new to the discipline of fasting start by not eating meat on Wednesdays and Fridays.  You can build upon that foundation once that is set, or you can take on a little more if that's not "sacrificial" enough for you. 

Quote
I really value the Eucharist in my life, even if as Orthodox you feel there is no validity or goodness in Anglican Communion, it helps sustain me and focus my mind on Christ - Is it ok to continue taking it?

Honestly, I don't know how to answer that.  On the one hand, if you believe in the Orthodox faith, then continuing to receive Communion in the Anglican Church is not ideal in terms of either tradition.  On the other hand, you're not a member of the Church, the nearest Church is pretty far, if/when/how you will convert is yet to be determined, and the practice currently "helps sustain you and focus your mind on Christ".  Definitely try to get in touch with a priest as close as possible to you, discuss such things with him, and take it from there, but in the meantime, do what you can.  If something helps keep you centered on Christ, hold on to it.  If something is more of a burden than a help, let it go for now and maybe come back to it later.  Always make progress toward Christ, as you can and as much as you can...leave the rest to him. 
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« Reply #20 on: August 27, 2013, 10:13:52 PM »

Welcome and may God bless you!

I only have one suggestion and that is to find a priest who is willing to keep in touch with you online. And.can get in touch via phone...It would great if you can visit his parish once in a while...if not then find one that is willing to be in contactt on a more frequent basis...some of them are present online...if youcan't find any we can provide some names...

Ps. Perhaps others in your area will follow your example.
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« Reply #21 on: August 27, 2013, 10:16:09 PM »

Oh and as Mor Ephrem mentioned, there might be Orthodox Christians not far from you even if there aren't any Orthodox parishes nearby. Perhals the closest priest to you might know...
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« Reply #22 on: August 27, 2013, 10:22:47 PM »

Thank you for the great advice regarding prayers and fasting - I've found, in the past, that it's best to take things step by step and that as one does, one is enlightened to further truth. God is patient and merciful...thankfully!

There are plenty of Romanians across the border in Spain but, there's no Orthodox Church (I've been able to find) in the surrounding area and...I don't speak Spanish or Romanian Tongue Perhaps an 'Online Priest' is the only way for the immediate future.
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« Reply #23 on: August 27, 2013, 10:39:50 PM »

Dear Pondering,

First things first. Get in touch with a priest, perhaps one from a reputable parish or monastery in the British Isles. Talk to him about the faith, and your concerns as an isolate.

I began as an isolate, living on an island in the middle of the Pacific 2000 kilometers from the nearest Orthodox parish of any sort. I wrote priests and metropolitans from the Philippines to Hong Kong to the Midwest and Deep South. A priest in the PI put me in touch with the Greek Metropolitan in Hong Kong, who told me about a guy in South Africa running a St. Nicholas of Japan Missionary Society. The brother in SA gave me the contact information for an English speaking priest in Japan, and so began a correspondence and a telephone call or two with that priest. During this time a friend of mine at work also became interested in Orthodoxy and I put him in touch with the priest in Japan. Given our difficult situation he received a blessing from his bishop to catechize us via mail (and email). He told us what books to buy, what articles to read, then questioned us closely on what we had learned, like a distance learning college course (and it was that tough). After a year or so of this he told us we were ready and come to Tokyo as soon as we were able…and we were able to do so following Pentecost 1998. We spent several days there, were baptized, taught and quizzed more, introduced to the experience of Orthodox worship and then we went home and were only able to afford to go to church once a year for a few days for the next few years.  Eventually we both ended up back stateside, but for me it's still a 2 hour drive every Sunday to get to church. Sometimes I've lived closer for a little while when work permitted, but most of the time my church commute has been 45 min. to 2 hours.  Recently there has been movement starting a small mission in my area. We meet once a month and are growing, but it will be a while yet before we can establish a true parish. Still, that's only a 20 min. drive.  

My point. Do what is in your hand to do, be faithful in what you have received, little or great, and in due season God will open a way. As was told to me many times during my 3 year wait between when I wanted to convert, and the time I was enabled to convert, "St. Mary of Egypt went 40 years before she communed, so do not despair." By the time I made it to the font in Tokyo I had priests in the US., nuns in Greece, and assorted clergy and laymen from Australia to Mississippi praying for me and my friend for a door to open.

Also, since you are very near Spain, why not also make a pilgrimage to visit St. James and ask his help and intercession…and since you are Irish why not get icons or icon prints of St. Patrick, St. Kevin, St. Finnian of Clonard, St. Finnian of Lindisfarne, St. Brendan, St. Columbanus, or any others whose lives and images engage your heart. We are encompassed by a great cloud of witnesses…we can ask assistance.

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« Reply #24 on: August 27, 2013, 10:58:07 PM »

Wow, praise God for your faithfulness and devotion to him. It must have been tough be so distant from a Church and your situation makes mine look easy Tongue

I have to admit, invocation of the Saints is certainly an area on which I need assistance from a Priest ._.
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« Reply #25 on: August 27, 2013, 11:06:26 PM »

I suppose, in the meantime, I need advice on how to live:

I have no idea about morning, evening and before bed prayers or the prayers to say before eating (Excuse my Protestantism Tongue). Also, fasting, I don't understand when to fast and how to do so (as some eating seems to be ok?). I've read a lot of threads but there does seem to be some confusion on the matter. Advice would be awesome.I really value the Eucharist in my life, even if as Orthodox you feel there is no validity or goodness in Anglican Communion, it helps sustain me and focus my mind on Christ - Is it ok to continue taking it?

For prayers I pray the Trisagion (Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal have mercy), the Our Father prayer is good also, it's how Christ taught us. Also, for meals "Christ God, bless the food and drink of thy servants, for thou art holy now and ever, unto ages of ages. Amen." Although, I say "this sinner" instead of "thy servants", I don't consider myself God's servant yet.

I think it's fine to continue taking communion as long as you acknowledge that it is truly the blood and flesh of the Christ. I would also recommend finding some prayers by the Fathers before they take communion that you could incorporate into your worship...

That's my opinion, some people would say to stay away from that Church altogether and focus on Orthodox Praxis, even though you cannot attend a Church.

Don't take my word on it by itself, because I am not knowledgeable or wise enough to tell you what to do. Honestly, I still haven't figured out what I have to do.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2013, 11:12:32 PM by xOrthodox4Christx » Logged

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« Reply #26 on: August 28, 2013, 06:33:07 AM »

I have no idea about morning, evening and before bed prayers or the prayers to say before eating (Excuse my Protestantism Tongue).

You are in luck there, as there is a lot of material to be found online. I'm not going to confuse you with formal book suggestions (you'd better get someone more qualified to advise you on that) but this user has a few good bits of learner-level material to download. Just don't feel obligated to do the colouring bits. Wink

Also, fasting, I don't understand when to fast and how to do so (as some eating seems to be ok?).

The Planner is an excellent resource to accustom you to the Orthodox ecclesiastical year.

You have it hard, because there are only 10 registered Orthodox parishes in the whole of Spain. I second the suggestion to contact a parish back in Britain or Ireland. Directory is a bit out of date, but it should serve.
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« Reply #27 on: August 28, 2013, 07:03:09 AM »

My brother or sister I am very happy that you searched forthe Truth. Most believe themselves to be right.
''But the heart of men often betrays because they turst in it and the voice of the soul is almost lost in darkness.''
I hope you turn Orthodox and do not worry. What can split us from Christ? If possible move near a church. Otherwise even if far you can go.
As for other questions ask and if possible it will be answered. God bless you. Smiley
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« Reply #28 on: August 28, 2013, 07:21:55 AM »

You have it hard, because there are only 10 registered Orthodox parishes in the whole of Spain.

LOL. Romanians alone have over 90.

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« Reply #29 on: August 28, 2013, 07:46:43 AM »


My sources may have been rather outdated. Smiley Still, none of those parishes is within reach from Gibraltar. The southernmost is a few kilometres south of Madrid. Undecided
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« Reply #30 on: August 28, 2013, 07:52:20 AM »


My sources may have been rather outdated. Smiley Still, none of those parishes is within reach from Gibraltar. The southernmost is a few kilometres south of Madrid. Undecided

I think Malaga or Cadiz are closer than that.

edit:

EP website says they organize a parish in Gibraltar too.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2013, 07:57:28 AM by Michał Kalina » Logged

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« Reply #31 on: August 28, 2013, 07:58:39 AM »

edit:

EP website says they organize a parish in Gibraltar too.

Now that would be just what the doctor ordered. Grin
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« Reply #32 on: August 28, 2013, 08:01:55 AM »

edit:

EP website says they organize a parish in Gibraltar too.

Now that would be just what the doctor ordered. Grin

It is written there are Liturgies in Gibraltar twice a year. And there are 2 regular parishes both in Malaga and Cadiz.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2013, 08:02:19 AM by Michał Kalina » Logged

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« Reply #33 on: August 28, 2013, 08:07:44 AM »

edit:

EP website says they organize a parish in Gibraltar too.

Now that would be just what the doctor ordered. Grin

It is written there are Liturgies in Gibraltar twice a year. And there are 2 regular parishes both in Malaga and Cadiz.

If services are in Spanish, those wouldn't be much good. Undecided The one in Gibraltar would be English-speaking.
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« Reply #34 on: August 28, 2013, 08:08:40 AM »

edit:

EP website says they organize a parish in Gibraltar too.

Now that would be just what the doctor ordered. Grin

It is written there are Liturgies in Gibraltar twice a year. And there are 2 regular parishes both in Malaga and Cadiz.

If services are in Spanish, those wouldn't be much good. Undecided

Ahh, philetism...

Reminded me of one poster here who was looking for an English-speaking parish in Korea.
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« Reply #35 on: August 28, 2013, 08:09:29 AM »

edit:

EP website says they organize a parish in Gibraltar too.

Now that would be just what the doctor ordered. Grin

It is written there are Liturgies in Gibraltar twice a year. And there are 2 regular parishes both in Malaga and Cadiz.

If services are in Spanish, those wouldn't be much good. Undecided

Ahh, philetism...

No, language barrier.
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« Reply #36 on: August 28, 2013, 09:50:37 PM »

Gibraltar is an English speaking country; I assume any liturgy here would be either in Romanian or English. However we have no Romanians in Gibraltar (according to the census) as things are pretty strict here in terms of residency.

Can you show me where it says liturgies are in Gibraltar so I can hunt it down and contact them?
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« Reply #37 on: August 29, 2013, 01:56:02 AM »

Can you show me where it says liturgies are in Gibraltar so I can hunt it down and contact them?

I already did. Twice.

http://www.iglesiaortodoxa.net/index_archivos/Page510.htm
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« Reply #38 on: August 29, 2013, 04:43:22 AM »

I do apologise but you hadn't posted that link before and I was unable to find that page you have found. There's no need to be rude.
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« Reply #39 on: December 28, 2013, 06:44:13 PM »

Try contacting them:
https://www.facebook.com/OrthodoxGibraltar
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