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Author Topic: Orthodox Reading List? & Greek, Russian, OCA  (Read 537 times) Average Rating: 0
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Rob1500
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« on: December 31, 2013, 10:24:18 PM »

I am trying to learn more about Orthodoxy. However, I have found an issue with finding good books to read. Also, would anyone recommend a good/widely used prayer book? I come from being Roman Catholic and have prayed the LOTH (Liturgy of the Hours, Divine office, etc.). Is there an equivalence to that in Orthodoxy? Any popular/good books would be greatly helpful.

Also, I am a bit confused by the Greek and Russian Orthodox Churches, and the OCA. I know the Orthodox Church is one but I have no clue which one to look into converting to! I've read something about ethnicity but I know that is far from what these churches are. If anyone could please explain the differences or any recommendations would be appreciated. (Should the OCA not being recognized as autocephalous by all Orthodox Churches be a concern?) Thanks!
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ThePapist
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« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2013, 10:27:04 PM »

I am in a similar boat to you of interest in Orthodoxy. I as well pray the Liturgy of the Hours almost daily and would love to know something similar in Orthodoxy.

God bless!
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« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2013, 11:16:26 PM »

I am trying to learn more about Orthodoxy. However, I have found an issue with finding good books to read. Also, would anyone recommend a good/widely used prayer book? I come from being Roman Catholic and have prayed the LOTH (Liturgy of the Hours, Divine office, etc.). Is there an equivalence to that in Orthodoxy? Any popular/good books would be greatly helpful.

Also, I am a bit confused by the Greek and Russian Orthodox Churches, and the OCA. I know the Orthodox Church is one but I have no clue which one to look into converting to! I've read something about ethnicity but I know that is far from what these churches are. If anyone could please explain the differences or any recommendations would be appreciated. (Should the OCA not being recognized as autocephalous by all Orthodox Churches be a concern?) Thanks!
No, it is no concern: the Metropolitan of the OCA and his bishops are in communion with all the other 14 autocephalous primates.

Are there a Greek, Russian and OCA Church near you?  If not, the issue is pretty theoretical.  Any of the three (and Antiochian, Romanian, Bulgarian, etc.) would be Orthodox.

Yes, we have the Service of the Hours.  Were you looking or Eastern or Western? (there are Western Rite Orthodox Churches).

I still like Bulgakov's "The Orthodox Church"
http://books.google.com/books?id=HAaNyj20KDYC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Orthodox+Church+Bulgakov&hl=en&sa=X&ei=MY3DUqvaOMqyyAGJ64DACw&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Orthodox%20Church%20Bulgakov&f=false
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« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2013, 11:31:32 PM »

I come from being Roman Catholic and have prayed the LOTH (Liturgy of the Hours, Divine office, etc.). Is there an equivalence to that in Orthodoxy?

Yes there is! Smiley  A good one to start off with is The Manual of the Hours of the Orthodox Church.  You can also download an audio version of it here.

There are also versions available online, such as this one (click on the Daily Prayers tab).  The Dynamic Horologion & Psalter is neat - it gives you the appropriate hourly prayer based on your location time, and automatically inserts the Psalms and prayers for the Saint or feast of the day. Smiley
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Rob1500
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« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2014, 01:04:54 AM »

Well if I convert to the Orthodox Church, would I become a member of the WHOLE (they are in Communion, so technically) Orthodox Church or would it be through one of the divisions (Greek, Russian, Etc.) of the Orthodox Church? It seems it doesn't really matter but just checking. Thanks.
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« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2014, 01:07:27 AM »

Well if I convert to the Orthodox Church, would I become a member of the WHOLE (they are in Communion, so technically) Orthodox Church or would it be through one of the divisions (Greek, Russian, Etc.) of the Orthodox Church? It seems it doesn't really matter but just checking. Thanks.

You would be a communicant of the WHOLE Orthodox Church.
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Rob1500
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« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2014, 01:37:01 AM »

Well if I convert to the Orthodox Church, would I become a member of the WHOLE (they are in Communion, so technically) Orthodox Church or would it be through one of the divisions (Greek, Russian, Etc.) of the Orthodox Church? It seems it doesn't really matter but just checking. Thanks.

You would be a communicant of the WHOLE Orthodox Church.

So then what exactly determines what division? Just preference?
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SolEX01
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« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2014, 01:46:57 AM »

Well if I convert to the Orthodox Church, would I become a member of the WHOLE (they are in Communion, so technically) Orthodox Church or would it be through one of the divisions (Greek, Russian, Etc.) of the Orthodox Church? It seems it doesn't really matter but just checking. Thanks.

You would be a communicant of the WHOLE Orthodox Church.

So then what exactly determines what division? Just preference?

Try not to look at the ethnic Orthodox churches as "divisions."  Each Orthodox Church can be traced back to a founding Apostle, missionary Saint or Ecumenical Council granting that church autocephaly.  The OCA was granted autocephaly in 1970; however, she has existed in the Americas for 5 centuries (going back to the evangelization of the Aleuts & Inuits by the Moscow Patriarchate).

You will find many similarities in the Orthodox jurisdictions as well as little "t" traditions.  Some use 100% English; some use 100% liturgical language (e.g. Old Church Slavonic).  Inquire with the Orthodox churches in your area and attend a couple of them to see if you feel comfortable.  If you're uncomfortable at one church, do not indict the rest of the Orthodox church based on that one experience.

I hope I answered your question.  Others may answer your question better than I can.   Smiley
« Last Edit: January 01, 2014, 01:49:12 AM by SolEX01 » Logged
Justin Kissel
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« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2014, 07:34:51 AM »

One option is The Hours of Prayer ($18), sold by orthodoxgoods.com, and discussed briefly in this thread. If you want something more in-depth there are books like this one ($45) and this one ($127), among others.
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« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2014, 01:28:45 PM »

I am trying to learn more about Orthodoxy. However, I have found an issue with finding good books to read. Also, would anyone recommend a good/widely used prayer book? I come from being Roman Catholic and have prayed the LOTH (Liturgy of the Hours, Divine office, etc.). Is there an equivalence to that in Orthodoxy? Any popular/good books would be greatly helpful.

Also, I am a bit confused by the Greek and Russian Orthodox Churches, and the OCA. I know the Orthodox Church is one but I have no clue which one to look into converting to! I've read something about ethnicity but I know that is far from what these churches are. If anyone could please explain the differences or any recommendations would be appreciated. (Should the OCA not being recognized as autocephalous by all Orthodox Churches be a concern?) Thanks!

Don't worry at all about the jurisdictions.  They all teach the same faith.  Historically, there are reasons for them and you will see, here and in other places, squabbles between them on these points.  But never, never, never, do they impact the substance of the faith or teaching of the Orthodox Church.  

Generally speaking, as you may know, the Eastern Orthodox Church is comprised of fifteen autocephalous Churches, all of which are in communion with each other.  Generally speaking, each autocephalous Church governs a particular territory, and within its territory there may also be autonomous Churches, which pretty much run themselves to one degree or another administratively, but still depend on a particular autocephalous Church for leadership guidance on certain occasions.

Here is a thumbnail sketch to alleviate your concerns:
Alaska was originally part of the Russian Empire, and the Russians brought the Orthodox faith to the native peoples there beginning in 1794.  Their efforts were successful and eventually they began to establish parishes further down the coast, by the mid-19th century, in the area of California.  In the rest of what is now the United States, the first immigrants were generally from northern and western Europe, so they brought their faith (generally Protestantism or Roman Catholicism), so Orthodoxy was practically unheard of in the rest of the USA (with one prominent exception, that of a Virginian named Philip Ludwell who converted to Orthodoxy on a trip to London at the Russian Church there in the mid-1700s and whose family was Orthodox for a few generations at least after that).  In the mid-1800s, the Greeks began to arrive and establish some parishes in the southern USA, with one in New Orleans as early as 1864.    By the 1880s, mass immigration from Eastern and Southern Europe and the Middle East began in earnest because America was industrializing and industrialists were recruiting these poor foreigners to work in factories and mines at lower wages, and also to supply commerce on the expanding urban scene.  Many of these new immigrants were Eastern Orthodox and established parishes upon their arrival here.  Many others were Eastern-rite Catholics, who worshipped according to Orthodox liturgies but affirmed the supremacy of the pope.  After their arrival in the USA, many of these Eastern-rite Catholics converted to/returned to/joined (depending on your parlance and the group in question) the Orthodox Church.

Originally, the Russian Church considered North America its mission project, a continuation of the work it started in 1794 in Alaska.  In 1898, Bishop Tikhon came to America and changed the "Diocese of the Aleutians and Alaska" to the "Diocese of the Aleutians and North America."  He established a monastery in South Canaan, Pennsylvania (St. Tikhon's) and did other good works.  He recognized that the Orthodox immigrants were of many different nationalities so, in a novel take on the division of bishoprics, he named coadjutor bishops who could deal with the different nationalities.  Not all of the Orthodox immigrants wished to be part of this project, however.  The Patriarch of Constantinople gave oversight of the Greek Orthodox faithful in the USA to the Church of Greece in 1908.

In 1917, the Russian Revolution disrupted all of the plans of the Russian Church, as it was now being persecuted under Communism.  Various immigrant groups in the USA looked back to their homeland for hierarchical support and priests.  After the Ottoman Empire fell in 1922, the Greek Orthodox were transferred back to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.  Antiochian Orthodox now received oversight from the Patriarch of Antioch.  The newly-independent Ukraine consecrated a new hierarchy of bishops in 1921 (questionable at first, but later legitimized through re-consecration) and established parishes in America.  Others included Serbians (1926), Romanians (1930s), and Bulgarians (1930s).  In 1938, disaffected Carpatho-Russian Greek Catholics established the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese under the Ecumenical Patriarch.  In 1949-50, Albanian Orthodox in America also came under the Ecumenical Patriarch.  The remnant Russian Orthodox in the USA became more and more self-ruling and were called the 'Metropolia' during this period.  Some Russians refused to acknowledge the authority of the Patriarch of Moscow, whom they believed to be under Communist influence; in 1927, they separated into the "Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia" (ROCOR).  In 1970 the Patriarch of Moscow granted autocephaly to its parishes in America (except a dozen or so which remain to this day part of the "Russian Orthodox Church in the USA"), which became the Orthodox Church in America, together with parishes of the Albanian, Romanian, and Bulgarian dioceses.  Constantinople did not recognize this grant of autocephaly but remains in communion with the parishes; it simply treats the OCA parishes as if they are still under Moscow.  In 1995 the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, having gone through horrible schisms in the church in Ukraine in the early '90s, also came under the Ecumenical Patriarch.  In 2007, ROCOR came back under the Patriarch of Moscow.  Most recently, the Georgian Orthodox Church also established a presence in America.  The Patriarchate of Jerusalem had a presence here for a time as well.

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops is presently trying to resolve these canonical anomalies.  Their website is:  www.assemblyofbishops.org.  If the parish you are interested in is in communion with one of the bishops named on that website, then it is a canonical Eastern Orthodox parish with the same faith and Holy Tradition (although local and ethnic customs may differ).  
« Last Edit: January 01, 2014, 01:32:51 PM by Yurysprudentsiya » Logged
Sam G
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« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2014, 12:40:47 AM »

To answer your original question about reading material, I also come from a Roman Catholic background and in beginning I too had problems of really where to begin with reading about Orthodoxy.  One thing you have to accept is that no book is going to be perfect or be a real substitute for attending a Divine Liturgy and inquiring one on one with a priest at a local parish.

That being said, one of the best books to begin with is Timothy Ware's "The Orthodox Church".  It's a fairly easy read and is a good summary on Church history and practice.  If you're looking for a contrast between Eastern and Western Christianity I've heard good things about James R. Payton's "Light From the Christian East".  If you're looking for something a bit more scholarly and exhaustive (and very dense) I'd recommend Fr. John Anthony McGuckin's "The Orthodox Church: An Introduction to it's History, Doctrine, and Spiritual Culture". 

All the above mentioned books are available on Amazon, but I've been able to find both "The Orthodox Church" (Ware) and "Light from the Christian East" at more than one library in my area.

God bless, and I hope you enjoy your reading!

   
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