This started from another thread about distances to church in which I was told that I don't HAVE to go to the Serbian church.
I responded, in part:
I'm pretty sure we HAVE to go to the Serbian church. If one is reasonably close, that is where we will go. When you choose your jurisdiction, it's your jurisdiction and you have an obligation. If you are born into a jurisdiction, barring some extenuating circumstances, you remain under that jurisdiction. How can you ever really live Orthodoxy if you keep jurisdiction hopping, even if unofficially?
Our priest had a Greek Orthodox person come to him after this person had a fight with the priest. The visitor wanted to come to our church and get over this other priest.
Our priest told the visitor that there are things he didn't know about the Greek traditions. He also reminded the Greek parishioner of his status as a member of the Greek church here and his responsibilties of obedience. He then told the visitor to go back to the Greek priest and confess to him the wrongs done and make peace. Then come back.
The person went back to the Greek parish, made confession and never came back to our parish. There wasn't a need to come back.
admiralnick then responded, in part:
I wasn't aware that Orthodoxy was something that was meant to be separated by Nationalistic borders (yes, you can yell at me for using that scary N word... I'll even do it again... Nationalistic!) I am Carpatho-Russian by birth, but I feel that my church and diocese are not living up to my expectations as an Orthodox Christian. If I want to get away from that, the only other choice is an orthodox church of another "jurisdiction". Is it so bad to jump jurisdictions if it means the saving of your eternal soul? Thats not for me to debate. But the important thing to remember is that as long as the churches remain separated along "jurisdictional lines" we can never truly all be "One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church".
There are certainly times when a jurisdictional change is beneficial to the churches and to the individual. One of our parishoners was OCA. He found himself to be much more traditional and yet was not willing to say that the OCA was heretical, etc., as some "traditionalists" have done. He received permission to change to the Serbian jurisdiction because it follows the JC, was more traditional and does not have canonical "issues."
If a person makes a permanent move to another jurisdiction, that will alter the persons situation. Eventually that person may find themselves living their life in the manner of the other jurisdiction. Say, a Serb moving to Russia, or an Antiochian moving to place that only has a Russian church. HOWEVER, A PERSON MUST ALWAYS REMAIN OBEDIENT TO THEIR PATRIARCH, BISHOP AND PRIEST AND A CHANGE SHOULD NOT BE MADE WITHOUT PRAYERFUL CONSIDERATION AND PERMISSION OF THE JURISDICTION BEING LEFT
. I should probably make that even more bold.
What I describe is a real, valid change, not jurisdiction shopping. Shopping is when a person goes from jurisdiction to jurisdiction until they feel comfortable. That is so antithetical to Orthodoxy I don't even know where to begin. I'm going to borrow some comments I made to another thread.
"Concerning praxis, different Orthodox traditions have integrated the daily life of the believer with the Faith. By picking and choosing what one will and will not follow can and probably will affect one's ability to live according to the Faith. It's Orthodoxy in the worst American style: smorgasbord. Take a little of this and a little of that, toss in a priest and a patriarch and, voila! Orthodox!"
"But *I* chose to go to a Serbian church when there is an Antiochian, Greek and OCA church here. *I* chose it. So now that I am there I live my faith the way the Church has developed in that setting so as not to lose everything the fullness of the Tradition has to offer. The fullness of the WHOLE tradition."
This has NOTHING to do with ethnicity. It has to do with the effectiveness of praxis! I'm not a Serb, but I live my life as a Serbian Orthodox Christian, not just a generic EO. There is no such thing. I think the OCA has some serious struggles ahead of it, but those are the struggles of the people who have chosen that path! They are *not* generic EOs. They are a developing tradition. That's a hard road to hoe.
In shourt, shopping robs the Church and the believer.
If you wish to change from Carpatho-Russian to something else, do so with the direction of your priest, if at all possible. Remember that when you change jurisdictions, you will need to add the way that jurisdiction practices the faith to your private practice as well. I say "add" because I'm assuming you will retain some of the traditions you were brought into and which have become a natural part of your daily life.
Personally, I love the Carpatho-Russian praxis and chant. If there had been a Carpatho-Russian Orthodox church in Houston, we probably would have gone there since my wife's family is Eastern Slovak and we were coming from the Ruthenian Catholic Church. Once again, it's not about ethnicity, it's about continuing to live the life as an Orthodox Christian the way we best know. One of the main reasons we went to the Serbian Church was because of Her connection to the Czechoslovak Orthodox Church and the historical connections.
This may seem like a fine line between ethnicity and praxis. It may be fine, but it's still a bright line. I'll never be Serbian, but I am Serbian Orthodox.