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Offline AClaire11

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Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« on: September 22, 2013, 02:57:44 AM »
Hey all,

I've been attending the GOARCH parish down the street for several weeks now, but just found out I'll be moving to a new city in less than a month, where there are a TON of different Orthodox parishes and even some beautiful cathedrals.  There are GOARCH, OCA, and ROCOR parishes, as well as a few others.

My question is: How do I choose?  I am nearly fluent in Russian, since I studied it for nine years and spent two summers in Russia.  I don't know Slavonic, but can figure it out fairly well.  However, I am already picking up some Greek (both liturgical and modern) after only a few weeks.  To some extent I'm worried about getting caught up in the ethnic culture of a ROCOR or GOARCH parish instead of focusing on the religion, but on the other hand I feel that the liturgical language adds a lot to the Divine Liturgy.  Before I started going to the Orthodox church, I'd been attending Latin Mass once a month at a local Catholic parish.  Right now I'm leaning towards the ROCOR parish because I am more familiar with the language and culture.

The other issue is my husband.  He will be going to the Divine Liturgy tomorrow morning with me for the first time.  He's a cradle/cultural Catholic who is basically an agnostic and is wary of the Orthodox Church services because "They don't have pews" and "Services will be four hours long."  I know that the ROCOR parish in DC does not have pews, but the parish here does.  He doesn't like the Latin Mass much because it's in a foreign language and he can't figure out what's going on, so I think he might be more receptive to an OCA parish.  The ROCOR parish has an English liturgy and a Slavonic liturgy, but I don't know if the English liturgy is really 100% English.  (The GOARCH liturgy here is about half English and half Greek.)

It almost appears that we would want opposite things in a parish.  I'm really struggling with how to balance my spiritual needs/desires with the desire to attend a parish that he'll be comfortable in, even though he'd just be attending to do so as a family.

How do you suggest I reconcile these conflicting needs?  I will continue to pray and think things over, but I would appreciate some outside guidance as well.

Thank you   :)
« Last Edit: September 22, 2013, 03:06:04 AM by AClaire11 »

Offline peteprint

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2013, 04:20:59 AM »
Hello AClaire11,

I don't really know anything about the parishes you will have to choose from, but from my experience in San Diego I would suggest Antiochian or OCA, since they tend to be the least ethnocentric.  Of course that is not always the case, but I believe both jurisdictions are trying more than the others to play down the culture club aspect and reach out to Americans of all backgrounds.  The OCA considers itself to be an American church, and Metropolitan Philip has done a magnificent job of having the Antiochian church engage the wider culture.  St. Anthony's Antiochian here in San Diego is a model of what an American Orthodox parish should be, and even the predominantly Arab parish here, St. George's is a welcoming parish.  Best wishes to you and your husband.

http://www.st-anthony.org/
« Last Edit: September 22, 2013, 04:23:22 AM by peteprint »

Offline Alpo

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2013, 12:28:15 PM »
Attend the nearest Orthodox parish.

Problem solved.

Offline Cyrillic

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2013, 12:36:35 PM »
Attend the nearest Orthodox parish.

Problem solved.

Exactly.
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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2013, 12:50:01 PM »
Attend the nearest Orthodox parish.

Problem solved.

Exactly.

That's one way of doing it, but I'd actually recommend checking out at least a few parishes before settling in one.  When I was living in another state, my town had no OO churches, so if I had to stay local, my choices were, in order of distance, Serbian, OCA (Romanian), ACROD, and GOA.  If I had to go by shortest distance, I don't know if I would've stayed, as I didn't feel all that welcome at the Serbian parish, though it was a beautiful building.  I ended up going with the OCA, but would also go to the ACROD parish now and then, and I don't regret having explored a bit before settling.   
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Offline genesisone

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2013, 03:13:37 PM »
I think that choosing a parish is more important that choosing a jurisdiction when you have the choice and are not already attached somehow to a particular jurisdiction. The advice to find the closest parish has some merit as well, so my suggestion would be to attend the closest parish to you (i.e. easiest to get to - not necessarily closest as the crow flies) in which you feel welcomed and can understand what's going on.

I say parish rather than jurisdiction because all the jurisdictions have their pros and cons - as do parishes of course - but it is the parish that will be a home to you on at least a weekly basis.

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2013, 04:26:16 PM »
Attend the nearest Orthodox parish.

Problem solved.

Exactly.

That's one way of doing it, but I'd actually recommend checking out at least a few parishes before settling in one.  When I was living in another state, my town had no OO churches, so if I had to stay local, my choices were, in order of distance, Serbian, OCA (Romanian), ACROD, and GOA.  If I had to go by shortest distance, I don't know if I would've stayed, as I didn't feel all that welcome at the Serbian parish, though it was a beautiful building.  I ended up going with the OCA, but would also go to the ACROD parish now and then, and I don't regret having explored a bit before settling.   
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Offline Alpo

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2013, 04:37:22 PM »
Attend the nearest Orthodox parish.

Problem solved.

Exactly.

That's one way of doing it, but I'd actually recommend checking out at least a few parishes before settling in one.  When I was living in another state, my town had no OO churches, so if I had to stay local, my choices were, in order of distance, Serbian, OCA (Romanian), ACROD, and GOA.  If I had to go by shortest distance, I don't know if I would've stayed, as I didn't feel all that welcome at the Serbian parish, though it was a beautiful building.  I ended up going with the OCA, but would also go to the ACROD parish now and then, and I don't regret having explored a bit before settling.   

That is an understandable approach but this kind of picking and choosing is the very reason for jurisdictional chaos within America.

Offline hecma925

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2013, 04:50:02 PM »
Attend the nearest Orthodox parish.

Problem solved.

Exactly.

That's one way of doing it, but I'd actually recommend checking out at least a few parishes before settling in one.  When I was living in another state, my town had no OO churches, so if I had to stay local, my choices were, in order of distance, Serbian, OCA (Romanian), ACROD, and GOA.  If I had to go by shortest distance, I don't know if I would've stayed, as I didn't feel all that welcome at the Serbian parish, though it was a beautiful building.  I ended up going with the OCA, but would also go to the ACROD parish now and then, and I don't regret having explored a bit before settling.   

That is an understandable approach but this kind of picking and choosing is the very reason for jurisdictional chaos within America.

That's one way of looking at it, but no.
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Offline Alpo

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2013, 04:55:19 PM »
That's one way of looking at it, but no.

Care to elaborate?

Offline hecma925

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2013, 05:04:48 PM »
You made the assertion that "picking and choosing" is the very reason for jurisdictional chaos.  I would disagree.  I would say that jurisdiction-hopping keeps the chaos going, but even that is not the reason for the multiple jurisdictions.  The Bolshevik revolution and mass immigration to North America has done more than "picking and choosing."  Would you elaborate as to why visiting different parishes to find a Church home is equivalent to "chaos"?
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Offline mike

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2013, 05:07:00 PM »
Would you elaborate as to why visiting different parishes to find a Church home is equivalent to "chaos"?

In normal conditions the problem of choosing jurisdiction does not exist.

Offline hecma925

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2013, 05:12:58 PM »
Would you elaborate as to why visiting different parishes to find a Church home is equivalent to "chaos"?

In normal conditions the problem of choosing jurisdiction does not exist.

Yes, but it would still come down to whether I would got to a predominantly Serbian parish or another that had more Antiochian or Rusyn practices.  In North America, we would still have that option, even having one canonical Church.  Immigrants wouldn't just disappear and all of a sudden we'd have "American" traditions and practices.
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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2013, 05:15:49 PM »
I don't think picking a jurisdiction is as big of a deal as picking a parish.  I don't care what jurisdiction a parish is in, but I do want to go to one that is friendly, where I respect the priest, one that provides good education of Orthodoxy, etc...
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2013, 05:18:09 PM »
A good approach is to choose where you can best work out your salvation, which is sort of a vague thing to say, but that's on purpose. Everyone is different, so it's hard for anyone who doesn't know you personally to discern what you need. If you find someone who seems to be helpful (priest, etc.) then by all means take their advice into consideration, otherwise, search deep in yourself.

As for the very idea of looking around, of course it's fine. People are not only allowed to look around at various monasteries to see which they fit in best at, but even expected to. I see no reason that the same principle would not hold when it comes to parishes. Where can you best be an Orthodox Christian? If the old country did not have such "chaos" or choice, well so much the worse for the old country.

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2013, 05:19:15 PM »
That is an understandable approach but this kind of picking and choosing is the very reason for jurisdictional chaos within America.

The jurisdictional chaos in American Eastern Orthodoxy has many reasons, all of which pre-date the oldest (active or inactive) member of this forum.  Given that it wasn't going to be solved by my choice to walk down the road to the Serbian church rather than drive the three miles to the OCA parish, I think I was within reason.  :P

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2013, 05:20:22 PM »
That is an understandable approach but this kind of picking and choosing is the very reason for jurisdictional chaos within America.

The jurisdictional chaos in American Eastern Orthodoxy has many reasons, all of which pre-date the oldest (active or inactive) member of this forum.  Given that it wasn't going to be solved by my choice to walk down the road to the Serbian church rather than drive the three miles to the OCA parish, I think I was within reason.  :P


Congratulations on singlehandedly causing CHAOS in the Church.  I hope your happy with yourself.  :P
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Offline hecma925

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #17 on: September 22, 2013, 05:21:42 PM »
That is an understandable approach but this kind of picking and choosing is the very reason for jurisdictional chaos within America.

The jurisdictional chaos in American Eastern Orthodoxy has many reasons, all of which pre-date the oldest (active or inactive) member of this forum.  Given that it wasn't going to be solved by my choice to walk down the road to the Serbian church rather than drive the three miles to the OCA parish, I think I was within reason.  :P



The Lord could have used you.  We'll never know now, will we? ;)
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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #18 on: September 22, 2013, 05:27:16 PM »
Congratulations on singlehandedly causing CHAOS in the Church.  I hope your happy with yourself.  :P

I'm happy with myself, it's everyone else I hate.  Enjoy your divided Church, ahahahaha!!
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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #19 on: September 22, 2013, 05:40:10 PM »
That laugh should end every conversation you have in your life.
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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #20 on: September 22, 2013, 05:47:37 PM »
I don't end every conversation with that laugh, but I have used it more than I'm comfortable admitting. 
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Offline Father H

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #21 on: September 22, 2013, 06:04:48 PM »
Attend the nearest Orthodox parish.

Problem solved.

Exactly.

That's one way of doing it, but I'd actually recommend checking out at least a few parishes before settling in one.  When I was living in another state, my town had no OO churches, so if I had to stay local, my choices were, in order of distance, Serbian, OCA (Romanian), ACROD, and GOA.  If I had to go by shortest distance, I don't know if I would've stayed, as I didn't feel all that welcome at the Serbian parish, though it was a beautiful building.  I ended up going with the OCA, but would also go to the ACROD parish now and then, and I don't regret having explored a bit before settling.   

That is an understandable approach but this kind of picking and choosing is the very reason for jurisdictional chaos within America.

Well, yes and no.  Even within traditional Orthodox countries, you have people passing several capable parishes to go to another.  I know one person in Cyprus who goes to the parish that is 6th in distance from his house (the nearest one is a few hundred yards away and in walking distance, the next closest 2 miles over the hill) and to him is worth the extra 15 minutes and a car ride.  Some of it has to do with personality conflicts with priest or people (doesn't like the village attitude, or chit-chatting in the nave while Liturgy is going on, etc.).  Theoretically none of this "should" exist if our world was perfect, but souls are still being saved within the bounds of Orthodoxy.  This will exist even if all 5 of the nearest parishes were all same jurisdiction, same ethnic background, etc.     

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #22 on: September 22, 2013, 07:52:52 PM »
If there "are a TON of different Orthodox parishes" in the new area, check them all out; have some fun.  There's a lot more to the spiritual inspiration and simple general comfort people secure in a parish, than to which ecclesial jurisdiction the parish is affiliated.  How inspirational is the Divine Liturgy being celebrated?  How inspiring and informational are the priest's sermons?  Does the choir chant inspirationally?  Is there sufficient opportunity for congregational participation during celebration of the Divine Services?  How do you like the language mix during celebration of the Divine Services, if more than one language is utilized?  How inspiring and condusive to worship is the appearance of the church, the interior particularly?  Does the priest intone clearly, or does he a mumble?  Does the parish offer activities and ministries of which you are interested in participating, i.e. Catechetical instruction; Bible Study, ministries for mixed couples, fellowships for your age group, ministries including Religious Education for the youth, if you have children?  How do you like the interaction among parishioners you encounter or what do you notice about the interaction among the parishioners?  Is the priest(s) (deacon's) actively engaged in parish life?  How sufficient is the cycle of Divine Services offered, i.e. weekday feast day Liturgies, Matins (Orthros), Vespers, Supplications to the Theotokos, etc., if you're interested in  participating in more than the Sunday Liturgy?  Does the diocese to which the parish is part of, offer ministries and activities that are beneficial?  You may want to ask to secure a monthly bulletin to see what the parish offers; and of course, check out the parish's website.

No parish necessarily has everything an individual seeks from parish life, neither are matters listed above necessarily of interest to or important to you, but these are a few matters to consider in your search and evaluation.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2013, 07:53:57 PM by Basil 320 »
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Offline Alpo

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #23 on: September 23, 2013, 12:07:47 AM »
Would you elaborate as to why visiting different parishes to find a Church home is equivalent to "chaos"?

In normal conditions the problem of choosing jurisdiction does not exist.

Yes, but it would still come down to whether I would got to a predominantly Serbian parish or another that had more Antiochian or Rusyn practices.

Doesn't matter. If people had just sticked with their nearest parish and/or jurisdiction instead of bringing their own from their home countries you'd have a lot less problems. IMO Having parishes with different customs is not that bad problem. Having tons of different jurisdiction within the same area is a problem.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2013, 12:11:36 AM by Alpo »

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #24 on: September 23, 2013, 12:12:25 AM »
Doesn't matter. If people had just sticked with their nearest parish and/or jurisdiction instead of bringing their own from their home countries you'd have a lot less problems.


This is like affirming that we'd have less problems if Adam and Eve hadn't disobeyed God.  Well, sure, but it is rather pointless to have that discussion now. 
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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #25 on: September 23, 2013, 12:50:40 AM »
Doesn't matter. If people had just sticked with their nearest parish and/or jurisdiction instead of bringing their own from their home countries you'd have a lot less problems.


This is like affirming that we'd have less problems if Adam and Eve hadn't disobeyed God.  Well, sure, but it is rather pointless to have that discussion now. 

No use crying over imported ethnic parish!

Offline Alpo

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #26 on: September 23, 2013, 12:52:48 AM »
Doesn't matter. If people had just sticked with their nearest parish and/or jurisdiction instead of bringing their own from their home countries you'd have a lot less problems.


This is like affirming that we'd have less problems if Adam and Eve hadn't disobeyed God.  Well, sure, but it is rather pointless to have that discussion now. 

The problem might be solved more easily if people disregarded their taste and ethnicity and just started attending their nearest parishes.

Offline AClaire11

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #27 on: September 23, 2013, 01:27:18 AM »
If there "are a TON of different Orthodox parishes" in the new area, check them all out; have some fun.  There's a lot more to the spiritual inspiration and simple general comfort people secure in a parish, than to which ecclesial jurisdiction the parish is affiliated.  How inspirational is the Divine Liturgy being celebrated?  How inspiring and informational are the priest's sermons?  Does the choir chant inspirationally?  Is there sufficient opportunity for congregational participation during celebration of the Divine Services?  How do you like the language mix during celebration of the Divine Services, if more than one language is utilized?  How inspiring and condusive to worship is the appearance of the church, the interior particularly?  Does the priest intone clearly, or does he a mumble?  Does the parish offer activities and ministries of which you are interested in participating, i.e. Catechetical instruction; Bible Study, ministries for mixed couples, fellowships for your age group, ministries including Religious Education for the youth, if you have children?  How do you like the interaction among parishioners you encounter or what do you notice about the interaction among the parishioners?  Is the priest(s) (deacon's) actively engaged in parish life?  How sufficient is the cycle of Divine Services offered, i.e. weekday feast day Liturgies, Matins (Orthros), Vespers, Supplications to the Theotokos, etc., if you're interested in  participating in more than the Sunday Liturgy?  Does the diocese to which the parish is part of, offer ministries and activities that are beneficial?  You may want to ask to secure a monthly bulletin to see what the parish offers; and of course, check out the parish's website.

No parish necessarily has everything an individual seeks from parish life, neither are matters listed above necessarily of interest to or important to you, but these are a few matters to consider in your search and evaluation.

Thank you, this response was very helpful!

To people suggesting that I just automatically go to the nearest parish: We haven't found an apartment yet, so I don't know which one will be nearest to us.  Also, it's not always best to go to the closest one.  If I followed that advice when I was Catholic, I'd have been going to a parish where the priest wore a Buddhist bracelet and they openly support homosexual partnerships, etc.  Obviously this would not be the case in an Orthodox parish (I hope!), but I don't think blindly attending the nearest one is the answer, especially when there are quite a few within a 10-minute drive.  It would be a whole different issue, I think, if I was choosing to attend a parish 45 minutes away over one five minutes away.

Also, my husband really enjoyed the liturgy this morning, so that's good.

EDIT:  I just double-checked and there are literally 16 parishes within about a 9-mile radius of one of the homes we're looking at.  We're moving to Arlington, VA if that helps.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2013, 01:37:04 AM by AClaire11 »

Offline AClaire11

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #28 on: September 23, 2013, 01:30:52 AM »
You made the assertion that "picking and choosing" is the very reason for jurisdictional chaos.  I would disagree.  I would say that jurisdiction-hopping keeps the chaos going, but even that is not the reason for the multiple jurisdictions.  The Bolshevik revolution and mass immigration to North America has done more than "picking and choosing."  Would you elaborate as to why visiting different parishes to find a Church home is equivalent to "chaos"?

^^^  Especially since we haven't officially converted yet...

Offline IoanC

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #29 on: September 23, 2013, 02:01:41 AM »
Personally, I would choose one that I feel it's best for my soul first and foremost, or none at all. That also implies that it functions within the boundaries of reality :), so that people get along normally, there are no priests and/or people who demand total control over one's personal life, it is integrated in the social life and does not act separately from the world as if it was better or special in some way. The rest are details and come last for me.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2013, 02:09:15 AM by IoanC »

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #30 on: September 23, 2013, 06:13:30 AM »
Quote
Also, my husband really enjoyed the liturgy this morning, so that's good.

EDIT:  I just double-checked and there are literally 16 parishes within about a 9-mile radius of one of the homes we're looking at.  We're moving to Arlington, VA if that helps.

That's great news that your husband enjoyed liturgy!  And really good that you're going to Arlington.  A lot of the parishes in the area are going to be OCA, but you have GOA, AOA, and ROCOR.  Also plan to visit St. Nicholas Cathedral (OCA), St. John the Baptist Cathedral (ROCOR), and St. Sophia Cathedral (GOA); all are beautiful and will give you a chance to see what a cathedral parish is like.  May your family find a parish home that truly feels like home.
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Offline katherineofdixie

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #31 on: September 23, 2013, 09:46:03 AM »
I think that choosing a parish is more important that choosing a jurisdiction when you have the choice and are not already attached somehow to a particular jurisdiction. The advice to find the closest parish has some merit as well, so my suggestion would be to attend the closest parish to you (i.e. easiest to get to - not necessarily closest as the crow flies) in which you feel welcomed and can understand what's going on.

I say parish rather than jurisdiction because all the jurisdictions have their pros and cons - as do parishes of course - but it is the parish that will be a home to you on at least a weekly basis.

Agreed. One thing to consider, is that if you do choose the closest, it will be a lot easier for you participate in the parish life, and attend services, events and activities other than on Sunday. It will also help a lot during Holy Week!
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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #32 on: September 23, 2013, 10:27:15 AM »
If there "are a TON of different Orthodox parishes" in the new area, check them all out; have some fun.  There's a lot more to the spiritual inspiration and simple general comfort people secure in a parish, than to which ecclesial jurisdiction the parish is affiliated.  How inspirational is the Divine Liturgy being celebrated?  How inspiring and informational are the priest's sermons?  Does the choir chant inspirationally?  Is there sufficient opportunity for congregational participation during celebration of the Divine Services?  How do you like the language mix during celebration of the Divine Services, if more than one language is utilized?  How inspiring and condusive to worship is the appearance of the church, the interior particularly?  Does the priest intone clearly, or does he a mumble?  Does the parish offer activities and ministries of which you are interested in participating, i.e. Catechetical instruction; Bible Study, ministries for mixed couples, fellowships for your age group, ministries including Religious Education for the youth, if you have children?  How do you like the interaction among parishioners you encounter or what do you notice about the interaction among the parishioners?  Is the priest(s) (deacon's) actively engaged in parish life?  How sufficient is the cycle of Divine Services offered, i.e. weekday feast day Liturgies, Matins (Orthros), Vespers, Supplications to the Theotokos, etc., if you're interested in  participating in more than the Sunday Liturgy?  Does the diocese to which the parish is part of, offer ministries and activities that are beneficial?  You may want to ask to secure a monthly bulletin to see what the parish offers; and of course, check out the parish's website.

No parish necessarily has everything an individual seeks from parish life, neither are matters listed above necessarily of interest to or important to you, but these are a few matters to consider in your search and evaluation.

Thank you, this response was very helpful!

To people suggesting that I just automatically go to the nearest parish: We haven't found an apartment yet, so I don't know which one will be nearest to us.  Also, it's not always best to go to the closest one.  If I followed that advice when I was Catholic, I'd have been going to a parish where the priest wore a Buddhist bracelet and they openly support homosexual partnerships, etc.  Obviously this would not be the case in an Orthodox parish (I hope!), but I don't think blindly attending the nearest one is the answer, especially when there are quite a few within a 10-minute drive.  It would be a whole different issue, I think, if I was choosing to attend a parish 45 minutes away over one five minutes away.

Also, my husband really enjoyed the liturgy this morning, so that's good.

EDIT:  I just double-checked and there are literally 16 parishes within about a 9-mile radius of one of the homes we're looking at.  We're moving to Arlington, VA if that helps.

Given your Catholic background, you might want to try St. Gregory the Great Orthodox Church in Washington, DC.  It is Antiochian Western Rite, with the services in English.

Offline podkarpatska

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #33 on: September 23, 2013, 10:37:56 AM »
Would you elaborate as to why visiting different parishes to find a Church home is equivalent to "chaos"?

In normal conditions the problem of choosing jurisdiction does not exist.

It might not in your country, but it's not unique to.many inquirers or transferees, starting with modern Jerusalem running  through most of non historically Orthodox Europe..London, Paris. Across the pond... Canada, Mexico... across the Pacific to Australia.


Offline Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #34 on: September 23, 2013, 11:51:05 AM »
I think that choosing a parish is more important that choosing a jurisdiction when you have the choice and are not already attached somehow to a particular jurisdiction. The advice to find the closest parish has some merit as well, so my suggestion would be to attend the closest parish to you (i.e. easiest to get to - not necessarily closest as the crow flies) in which you feel welcomed and can understand what's going on.

I say parish rather than jurisdiction because all the jurisdictions have their pros and cons - as do parishes of course - but it is the parish that will be a home to you on at least a weekly basis.

Agreed. One thing to consider, is that if you do choose the closest, it will be a lot easier for you participate in the parish life, and attend services, events and activities other than on Sunday. It will also help a lot during Holy Week!

I second Catherine as Washington DC traffic can be awful. I hope that you choose a true parish home and become an active participant of that family.

Offline mike

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #35 on: September 23, 2013, 01:06:07 PM »
Would you elaborate as to why visiting different parishes to find a Church home is equivalent to "chaos"?

In normal conditions the problem of choosing jurisdiction does not exist.

It might not in your country, but it's not unique to.many inquirers or transferees, starting with modern Jerusalem running  through most of non historically Orthodox Europe..London, Paris. Across the pond... Canada, Mexico... across the Pacific to Australia.



I'm talking about "normal situation" not "uncanonical mess".

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #36 on: September 23, 2013, 03:29:19 PM »
Quote from: podkarpatska lcanonica=53851.msg993774#msg993774 date=1379947076
Would you elaborate as to why visiting different parishes to find a Church home is equivalent to "chaos"?

In normal conditions the problem of choosing jurisdiction does not exist.

It might not in your country, but it's not unique to.many inquirers or transferees, starting with modern Jerusalem running  through most of non historically Orthodox Europe..London, Paris. Across the pond... Canada, Mexico... across the Pacific to Australia.



I'm talking about "normal situation" not "uncanonical mess".

But the "normal situation" in historical terms or as found in textbook definitions  as compared to actual experiences are not always synonymous. Also, perhaps "'non-canonical" or "extra- canonical" mess more accurately conveys the situation than does "uncanonical."

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #37 on: September 23, 2013, 04:37:10 PM »
Do you feel drawn to any particular parish? I looked at all the churches available in the closest city, and I kept feeling drawn to a particular Antiochian Orthodox Church.

Also, you might consider getting a liturgy book in English, so wherever you decide to go, your husband can follow along. Though even in English, since some of the prayers change daily, it's still rather difficult to keep up!

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #38 on: September 23, 2013, 05:20:54 PM »
if your husband starts going to church and finds a relationship with God, this will improve your spiritual life much, much more than a parish that you think will suit you, but where he does not attend.
so i hope and pray you find one that he finds he can attend and that focuses on the church as the body of Jesus Christ bringing the people into relationship with God.

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #39 on: September 23, 2013, 06:53:12 PM »
I am going to be a big bad nosy person here...and just let some of you know....

Arguing amongst yourselves about the current situation in America with jurisdictions...In CONVERT ISSUES where the OP was asking for -practical- differences and probably does not yet understand nor give a toss about all the nasty petty bickering level infighting about the topic, is really unhelpful and additionally really from the perspective of someone interested in Orthodoxy, so offputting, that I am shocked that anyone who posts pre-attending here goes on to convert.  

I honestly suspect that quite a lot of the most vehement, don't actually care if an inquirer ever finds Orthodoxy, they would rather just hammer home their point every single time the word 'jurisdiction' is mentioned....

Some of you really need to get past this and talk about the GOOD things for once.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2013, 06:54:18 PM by DeniseDenise »

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #40 on: September 23, 2013, 08:05:56 PM »
I am going to be a big bad nosy person here...and just let some of you know....

Arguing amongst yourselves about the current situation in America with jurisdictions...In CONVERT ISSUES where the OP was asking for -practical- differences and probably does not yet understand nor give a toss about all the nasty petty bickering level infighting about the topic, is really unhelpful and additionally really from the perspective of someone interested in Orthodoxy, so offputting, that I am shocked that anyone who posts pre-attending here goes on to convert.  

I honestly suspect that quite a lot of the most vehement, don't actually care if an inquirer ever finds Orthodoxy, they would rather just hammer home their point every single time the word 'jurisdiction' is mentioned....

Some of you really need to get past this and talk about the GOOD things for once.
+1

Well said.
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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #41 on: September 23, 2013, 08:19:43 PM »
I picked the church closest to my house. However, after that, I gave it time so I could get to know the place.
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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #42 on: September 23, 2013, 08:38:47 PM »

We're moving to Arlington, VA if that helps.

Welcome to NoVA and the DMV.  :)

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #43 on: September 23, 2013, 08:40:25 PM »
And since my money is where my mouth is....below are my thoughts...

Disclaimer: I currently attend an English speaking OCA  mission parish of very mixed background parishioners (Priest is a convert with a Serbian wife. Everyone else is -everything- else, from Japanese, to a whole contingent of Romanians, a family or two of Russian speakers, some native Alaskans, some Ethiopians, a Swede, and a bunch of other converts of random origin(i haven't yet surveyed them all!))

I have also attended a more Russian OCA parish, and visited ROCOR (in my former city)


My question is: How do I choose?  I am nearly fluent in Russian, since I studied it for nine years and spent two summers in Russia.  I don't know Slavonic, but can figure it out fairly well.  However, I am already picking up some Greek (both liturgical and modern) after only a few weeks.  To some extent I'm worried about getting caught up in the ethnic culture of a ROCOR or GOARCH parish instead of focusing on the religion, but on the other hand I feel that the liturgical language adds a lot to the Divine Liturgy.  Before I started going to the Orthodox church, I'd been attending Latin Mass once a month at a local Catholic parish.  Right now I'm leaning towards the ROCOR parish because I am more familiar with the language and culture.

The other issue is my husband.  He will be going to the Divine Liturgy tomorrow morning with me for the first time.  He's a cradle/cultural Catholic who is basically an agnostic and is wary of the Orthodox Church services because "They don't have pews" and "Services will be four hours long."  I know that the ROCOR parish in DC does not have pews, but the parish here does.  He doesn't like the Latin Mass much because it's in a foreign language and he can't figure out what's going on, so I think he might be more receptive to an OCA parish.  The ROCOR parish has an English liturgy and a Slavonic liturgy, but I don't know if the English liturgy is really 100% English.  (The GOARCH liturgy here is about half English and half Greek.)

It almost appears that we would want opposite things in a parish.  I'm really struggling with how to balance my spiritual needs/desires with the desire to attend a parish that he'll be comfortable in, even though he'd just be attending to do so as a family.

The fact he would attend at all.....I would encourage that by picking something he can understand.  I would also encourage that by picking something that feels welcoming to him.

If i can say so, your desire to have DL in a 'liturgical language' is nice, but not (in my opinion) nearly as important as the potential of having him come with you, enjoy things, and see the goodness and truth that is Orthodoxy.  

I am not married, so you can basically tell me to take a flying leap, but a lot of my catechesis class seems focused on people who have spouses who are not converting and Father is always talking about how in Orthodoxy marriage is about working out your salvation together with the other person, and that it all only works when each party in essence puts the other person's needs before their own.  In this case, putting his potential salvation above 'russian-ness' and the perceived beauty in that, at least for a while, as he is putting your need to explore Orthodoxy before his doubt....would seem the ticket.

That said, if I were you, I would explore the various OCA parishes around the area...for ones that have a nice combo of English with the Thee/Thy/Thou quotient.  Mine current parish is like that, and it's plenty 'liturgical'.

Down the line when life changes again, you can get that experience of the beautiful Russian speaking parish...and you can always do a once a month service or special holiday services at another church to get your 'fix'
 

Offline Basil 320

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #44 on: September 23, 2013, 09:32:40 PM »
I am going to be a big bad nosy person here...and just let some of you know....

Arguing amongst yourselves about the current situation in America with jurisdictions...In CONVERT ISSUES where the OP was asking for -practical- differences and probably does not yet understand nor give a toss about all the nasty petty bickering level infighting about the topic, is really unhelpful and additionally really from the perspective of someone interested in Orthodoxy, so offputting, that I am shocked that anyone who posts pre-attending here goes on to convert.  

I honestly suspect that quite a lot of the most vehement, don't actually care if an inquirer ever finds Orthodoxy, they would rather just hammer home their point every single time the word 'jurisdiction' is mentioned....

Some of you really need to get past this and talk about the GOOD things for once.


Frankly, I really didn't see the advocacy for ones particular ecclesiastical jurisdiction and argumentative criticism against other jurisdictions, which several of us who have posted herein can be quite verbose about, in this thread.  I think genuine good advice was passed along that will benefit the original poster's search.
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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #45 on: September 23, 2013, 11:07:26 PM »
Choose a parish, not a jurisdiction

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #46 on: September 24, 2013, 02:51:06 PM »
i agree with most of this advice, but am allergic to 'thee/thou' especially as it is usually used in a grammatically incorrect or inconsistent form in churches.
i can cope with listening to bad arabic (i speak it!) but bad english hurts, as it's my mother tongue!
 ;)

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #47 on: September 24, 2013, 03:04:21 PM »
Choose a parish, not a jurisdiction

But also take time to learn about the jurisdiction and the local Bishop. The pastor won't be in any one parish forever and he may not reflect the general "m.o." of a particular jurisdiction or be on board with his Bishop's philosophy. Change under those circumstances can be jarring and disheartening.

Offline AClaire11

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #48 on: October 19, 2013, 01:24:47 PM »
Hey guys,

Thanks for all the replies.  We finally got settled in, and we went to St. Katherine's last weekend.  It's Greek, which is what my husband wanted (he is irrationally against any Russian-affiliated church, including OCA), and also the closest one.

It was nice, but I just didn't feel as at home there as I did back on the west coast.  No one talked to us (understandably, I guess), only the cantors sang, and almost EVERYTHING was in Greek, including the creed.  Not to mention there was no transliteration of the Greek in the little book, and neither my husband nor I can read Greek.  Back home things were about half and half, and everyone sang the "people's" parts.  We dressed nicely (husband wore a polo shirt and nice pants), but still felt out of place since everyone was in suits or equivalent.  Everything just seemed stiff and distant.

We won't be able to go tomorrow because my MIL is dragging us to her old Lutheran church while she's visiting because they're having some festival and she's a big deal or some such.

I'm just feeling discouraged, I guess.  Not from the faith itself, but about moving here and not feeling any real fellowship like I did at home.

Offline SolEX01

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #49 on: October 19, 2013, 03:49:03 PM »
Hey guys,

Thanks for all the replies.  We finally got settled in, and we went to St. Katherine's last weekend.  It's Greek, which is what my husband wanted (he is irrationally against any Russian-affiliated church, including OCA), and also the closest one.

It was nice, but I just didn't feel as at home there as I did back on the west coast.  No one talked to us (understandably, I guess), only the cantors sang, and almost EVERYTHING was in Greek, including the creed.  Not to mention there was no transliteration of the Greek in the little book, and neither my husband nor I can read Greek.  Back home things were about half and half, and everyone sang the "people's" parts.  We dressed nicely (husband wore a polo shirt and nice pants), but still felt out of place since everyone was in suits or equivalent.  Everything just seemed stiff and distant.

We won't be able to go tomorrow because my MIL is dragging us to her old Lutheran church while she's visiting because they're having some festival and she's a big deal or some such.

I'm just feeling discouraged, I guess.  Not from the faith itself, but about moving here and not feeling any real fellowship like I did at home.

One church doesn't set the standard for a metropolitan area.  Try attending other Greek Orthodox churches in the DC metro area.  There's always day trips to churches like Baltimore, Annapolis, Frederick and Harford County

Divine Liturgy starts at 10 AM for all churches and all of them have ample parking.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2013, 03:50:26 PM by SolEX01 »

Offline mabsoota

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #50 on: October 19, 2013, 04:10:55 PM »
try this:
The Divine Liturgy for Mixed Voices in Greek and English (SEM 1012)
This is a Liturgy based on traditional hymns. The main hymns appear twice, once in Greek and again in English, so there are no awkward adjustments of the text. Contains the basic Liturgy, eight apolytikia and hierarchichal liturgical responses. It is 161 pages in length, and one has two complete liturgies, one Greek and one in English. The Greek text with English phonetics.

which is no. 37 on this page:
http://churchmusic.goarch.org/publications/availablemusic/englishmusic

what did your husband think about it?
i have been to 2 greek liturgies, so i understand that it can seem very distant to the new person, but if you pluck up courage to speak to the people there, you should find that many of those people who look very silent are actually praying a lot internally.

may God guide you both, and bless your mother in law with your presence next weekend.

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #51 on: October 19, 2013, 04:33:24 PM »
Here's a quick directory of EO churches in the DMV area. I don't know if Romanian counts as too Russian in your husband's book, but the Protection of the Holy Mother Orthodox Church is not too far from St. Katherines. It's only a couple miles away.

Offline AClaire11

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #52 on: October 24, 2013, 11:11:11 PM »
Hey guys,

Thanks for all the replies.  We finally got settled in, and we went to St. Katherine's last weekend.  It's Greek, which is what my husband wanted (he is irrationally against any Russian-affiliated church, including OCA), and also the closest one.

It was nice, but I just didn't feel as at home there as I did back on the west coast.  No one talked to us (understandably, I guess), only the cantors sang, and almost EVERYTHING was in Greek, including the creed.  Not to mention there was no transliteration of the Greek in the little book, and neither my husband nor I can read Greek.  Back home things were about half and half, and everyone sang the "people's" parts.  We dressed nicely (husband wore a polo shirt and nice pants), but still felt out of place since everyone was in suits or equivalent.  Everything just seemed stiff and distant.

We won't be able to go tomorrow because my MIL is dragging us to her old Lutheran church while she's visiting because they're having some festival and she's a big deal or some such.

I'm just feeling discouraged, I guess.  Not from the faith itself, but about moving here and not feeling any real fellowship like I did at home.

One church doesn't set the standard for a metropolitan area.  Try attending other Greek Orthodox churches in the DC metro area.  There's always day trips to churches like Baltimore, Annapolis, Frederick and Harford County

Divine Liturgy starts at 10 AM for all churches and all of them have ample parking.

 :o  Thank you for the information, but there's no way I'd drive 2 hours every Sunday to go to Baltimore for church!

Offline AClaire11

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #53 on: October 24, 2013, 11:14:29 PM »
try this:
The Divine Liturgy for Mixed Voices in Greek and English (SEM 1012)
This is a Liturgy based on traditional hymns. The main hymns appear twice, once in Greek and again in English, so there are no awkward adjustments of the text. Contains the basic Liturgy, eight apolytikia and hierarchichal liturgical responses. It is 161 pages in length, and one has two complete liturgies, one Greek and one in English. The Greek text with English phonetics.

which is no. 37 on this page:
http://churchmusic.goarch.org/publications/availablemusic/englishmusic

what did your husband think about it?
i have been to 2 greek liturgies, so i understand that it can seem very distant to the new person, but if you pluck up courage to speak to the people there, you should find that many of those people who look very silent are actually praying a lot internally.

may God guide you both, and bless your mother in law with your presence next weekend.

^^^^This is what my old church did!  I really liked that things were in Greek and then repeated in English, and we all got to sing the people's parts.  At St. K's, almost everything was just in Greek, and there was barely any participation.

He didn't dislike it...He suggested that we'd probably have to join a group or something to actually meet people.  Sad but probably true.  Once I get back from being out of town, we're probably going to check out an OCA mission church that I convinced him we should try.  Hopefully this will be better suited to our needs.

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #54 on: October 24, 2013, 11:17:14 PM »
Here's a quick directory of EO churches in the DMV area. I don't know if Romanian counts as too Russian in your husband's book, but the Protection of the Holy Mother Orthodox Church is not too far from St. Katherines. It's only a couple miles away.

Thank you for the useful link!  We're hoping to check out All Saints of America once I'm back in town.

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #55 on: October 25, 2013, 12:14:46 AM »
Hey guys,

Thanks for all the replies.  We finally got settled in, and we went to St. Katherine's last weekend.  It's Greek, which is what my husband wanted (he is irrationally against any Russian-affiliated church, including OCA), and also the closest one.

It was nice, but I just didn't feel as at home there as I did back on the west coast.  No one talked to us (understandably, I guess), only the cantors sang, and almost EVERYTHING was in Greek, including the creed.  Not to mention there was no transliteration of the Greek in the little book, and neither my husband nor I can read Greek.  Back home things were about half and half, and everyone sang the "people's" parts.  We dressed nicely (husband wore a polo shirt and nice pants), but still felt out of place since everyone was in suits or equivalent.  Everything just seemed stiff and distant.

We won't be able to go tomorrow because my MIL is dragging us to her old Lutheran church while she's visiting because they're having some festival and she's a big deal or some such.

I'm just feeling discouraged, I guess.  Not from the faith itself, but about moving here and not feeling any real fellowship like I did at home.

One church doesn't set the standard for a metropolitan area.  Try attending other Greek Orthodox churches in the DC metro area.  There's always day trips to churches like Baltimore, Annapolis, Frederick and Harford County

Divine Liturgy starts at 10 AM for all churches and all of them have ample parking.

 :o  Thank you for the information, but there's no way I'd drive 2 hours every Sunday to go to Baltimore for church!

I'm a shameless promoter for MD.   :angel: Lord have mercy.

Offline newtoorthodoxy

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #56 on: October 30, 2013, 04:52:20 PM »
I don't think picking a jurisdiction is as big of a deal as picking a parish.  I don't care what jurisdiction a parish is in, but I do want to go to one that is friendly, where I respect the priest, one that provides good education of Orthodoxy, etc...


I'd say these would be primary concerns in choosing between parishes.  Personally, I felt more at home at the Greek parish down the street, but being new to Orthodoxy and not at all familiar with Greek, I switched to an OCA church for a few liturgies.  About two weeks ago, I decided to just go to the Greek church I loved so much, and hope that over time, I'll pick up enough Greek to truly understand everything going on in the Liturgy.
Some of my questions might appear patently stupid to those well-versed in Orthodoxy, but I'm brand new, having no background in the faith.  Please grant me a great deal of patience and consideration as I learn the basics.

Online WPM

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #57 on: October 30, 2013, 05:46:13 PM »
Why not just choose the Orthodox Church that falls under the banner of the United States? Its better that way.

Offline Marc1152

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #58 on: October 30, 2013, 06:22:27 PM »
Hey all,

I've been attending the GOARCH parish down the street for several weeks now, but just found out I'll be moving to a new city in less than a month, where there are a TON of different Orthodox parishes and even some beautiful cathedrals.  There are GOARCH, OCA, and ROCOR parishes, as well as a few others.

My question is: How do I choose?  I am nearly fluent in Russian, since I studied it for nine years and spent two summers in Russia.  I don't know Slavonic, but can figure it out fairly well.  However, I am already picking up some Greek (both liturgical and modern) after only a few weeks.  To some extent I'm worried about getting caught up in the ethnic culture of a ROCOR or GOARCH parish instead of focusing on the religion, but on the other hand I feel that the liturgical language adds a lot to the Divine Liturgy.  Before I started going to the Orthodox church, I'd been attending Latin Mass once a month at a local Catholic parish.  Right now I'm leaning towards the ROCOR parish because I am more familiar with the language and culture.

The other issue is my husband.  He will be going to the Divine Liturgy tomorrow morning with me for the first time.  He's a cradle/cultural Catholic who is basically an agnostic and is wary of the Orthodox Church services because "They don't have pews" and "Services will be four hours long."  I know that the ROCOR parish in DC does not have pews, but the parish here does.  He doesn't like the Latin Mass much because it's in a foreign language and he can't figure out what's going on, so I think he might be more receptive to an OCA parish.  The ROCOR parish has an English liturgy and a Slavonic liturgy, but I don't know if the English liturgy is really 100% English.  (The GOARCH liturgy here is about half English and half Greek.)

It almost appears that we would want opposite things in a parish.  I'm really struggling with how to balance my spiritual needs/desires with the desire to attend a parish that he'll be comfortable in, even though he'd just be attending to do so as a family.

How do you suggest I reconcile these conflicting needs?  I will continue to pray and think things over, but I would appreciate some outside guidance as well.

Thank you   :)

Our Parrish in Beltsville (PG County) may be a good choice for you. We are Rocor but all the services are entirely in English. The Priests are converts and born and raised locally. We are close to the U of Maryland. Many people are bi-lingual at a minimum. One fellow is a professional translator and speaks seven or eight languages. He is also a former Roman Catholic Priest.

Missions are very humble. We are in an office park but own a Church down the road built in 1880 that we are renovating. The vibe is different than a big Parrish. Very family oriented. Lots of babies and lots of kids crying and fussing. No pews but benches along the walls for those who prefer.

Private message me if you want.
Your idea has been debunked 1000 times already.. Maybe 1001 will be the charm

Offline podkarpatska

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Re: Choosing a Jurisdiction/Parish
« Reply #59 on: October 30, 2013, 08:56:07 PM »
Why not just choose the Orthodox Church that falls under the banner of the United States? Its better that way.

What do you mean by"under the banner of the United States"? And what would necessarily make what you suggest correct, as I assume you mean OCA? I have no axe to grind with the OCA, but why would you assume it to be the correct "default" choice?