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Rival
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« on: November 27, 2013, 06:16:22 PM »

I am a really confused person. I was raised a lukewarm Anglican and I've always had 'a thing' for Religion. For about three years (age 13-16) I was a crazy Evangelical "Y'ALL GON' BURN IN HEY-ULL!" kind of Christian. I was so full of anger and hate, which just isn't good for anybody. After this, I (long story really short) became an atheist. I thought I knew it all and Dawkins was my homeboy.

Now, I have quite a few friends in Romania and two are Orthodox, one is an Asatruer. It just makes me confused; I have this nagging in my head which won't leave me alone. I have searched various faiths (notably Heathenism, Gnosticism, Islam and Celtic Paganism) and not found 'it'. Then one day I took what I believe to be the most awful Protestant Bible translation ever (the NIV) and read The Book of Job.
  Oh wow, did that have some sway over me! Yahweh really can use bad things for really good purposes! After this, I started feeling a pull towards Him again.

 All these atheist arguments are still running around in my head and going "Yeah but...!", yet on the other side I have another voice going "Yeah but...so what?"

Is there a way to clear my brain of all the atheist crap? I want to be saved. I want to feel satisfied and I feel like I've been missing the whole picture this entire time. I remember, when I declared myself an atheist in private for the first time to myself I was in an antiques store. I did what most people do and thought, "If you really exist, show me a sign." So the first room I walked into had a crucifix on the wall, slap in front of me. Haha, should have seen the look on my face  Cheesy

But honestly, enough of my stupid biography. I've lost sleep over this. I've cried and begged and prayed. So I believe in Yahweh and the Christ. Can anyone, whoever or wherever you are, give me any kind words or advice or anything, please? I came to Orthodoxy for a number of reasons, but mostly because Protestantism is clearly wrong (to me) and I always saw it was a watered down Christianity for people who aren't really Christian. I was also brought to Orthodoxy by my love of Romania and understanding that it is the original Christianity. I'm really tired and I feel I should explain more, but I haven't the energy. I'm almost falling asleep at the keyboard.

Sorry this seems disjointed and odd. I'm not in a good state right now  Embarrassed
Thanks for anything.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2013, 06:29:54 PM by Rival » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2013, 06:21:53 PM »

I think most people today go through an atheistic phase.

Do you have an Orthodox priest with whom you can talk?

Know that I will pray for you. It gets better; it really does, especially once you have a rule of prayer as prayer keeps you centered on God.
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« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2013, 06:46:39 PM »

I think most people today go through an atheistic phase.

Do you have an Orthodox priest with whom you can talk?

Know that I will pray for you. It gets better; it really does, especially once you have a rule of prayer as prayer keeps you centered on God.


Yeah, I think they do. It almost seems a necessary part of the search these days. I think it is a very useful but painful phase.
Sadly, there are no Orthodox Priests around here. No joke, my only Orthodox Church is a whole day's drive away. People in the UK think Orthodoxy is for Slavs and other non-Western Europeans; at least, that's been my experience. I'm faced with "Why not just be a Protestant? What's the massive difference anyway, it's basically the same."  Roll Eyes
Thanks. Hopefully things can only become better.
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« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2013, 06:53:56 PM »

If you can get your hands on the creed (better yet, here's a link: http://oca.org/orthodoxy/prayers/symbol-of-faith ) read it a few times, let it sink in and then SPEAK (out loud - if you have to scream it, or yell it, go for it!)  it at least once a day every single day.  Do the same with the Lord's Prayer (here's a link to the Lord's Prayer, too: http://www.goarch.org/chapel/liturgical_texts/lords_prayer )

I don't know what it is about these two prayers, but they go a long long long way to break the bonds that hold you captive to atheism.

I second Maria's suggestion to contact a priest and go talk to him.  He can give wonderful guidance.  You're in a battle, you'll have to be armed.  

And our prayers - and the Angel's prayers, and the Saint's prayers, and our Blessed Holy Theotokos' prayers. . .will fight with you.

And you'll get there . . . and the wonder you find will be something you will never ever want to turn away from again.  Smiley

Lord have mercy.  Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy on our dear Rival.
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« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2013, 06:57:57 PM »

I think most people today go through an atheistic phase.

Do you have an Orthodox priest with whom you can talk?

Know that I will pray for you. It gets better; it really does, especially once you have a rule of prayer as prayer keeps you centered on God.


Yeah, I think they do. It almost seems a necessary part of the search these days. I think it is a very useful but painful phase.
Sadly, there are no Orthodox Priests around here. No joke, my only Orthodox Church is a whole day's drive away. People in the UK think Orthodoxy is for Slavs and other non-Western Europeans; at least, that's been my experience. I'm faced with "Why not just be a Protestant? What's the massive difference anyway, it's basically the same."  Roll Eyes
Thanks. Hopefully things can only become better.

There are always new missions being established in the UK especially by the Antiochians, and there maybe a new one in your neighborhood or in the university nearest you.

If you contact a Priest, he can better advise you if his jurisdiction or that of another one is starting a new mission. Perhaps the priest can introduce you to a person who can travel with you.

If you search online, there are Orthodox Priests who have church websites. Through these websites, you can contact those priests and find out where new missions are being established.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2013, 07:07:54 PM by Maria » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2013, 06:59:19 PM »

You sure you checked all posibilites of churches?

http://www.thyateira.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=32&Itemid=36
http://www.exarchate.org.uk/parishes-communities
http://www.uaoc-diaspora.com/GB.htm
http://www.antiochian-orthodox.co.uk/Parishes/parishes.htm
http://www.sourozh.org/parishes-eng/
http://www.rocor.org.uk/directory.html
http://www.mitropolia.eu/ro/site/173/
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« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2013, 07:03:27 PM »

All right. I'll try to be in touch with someone as soon as I can. Thanks all. I'm sure there will be someone floating around who can talk with me. I don't think the Lord would just leave me out here on my own.  Smiley

Also, perhaps I didn't choose the best username. I don't mean 'Rival' in a bad sense. It's the meaning of my real name.

Many thanks for those links!  Grin
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« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2013, 07:08:56 PM »

Glory to God for leading you home!  Smiley

As far as clearing the atheist thoughts from your head, I wouldn't worry about it.  That will come with time.  Pray...especially the Jesus Prayer ("Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner")...and build a relationship with God.  He's already communicating with you.  If you have a relationship with someone, you won't feel compelled to debate whether or not their real, especially if they're helping you all the time.  If I told you I had serious doubts as to whether or not your Mom was real, you'd likely laugh in my face.  Keep prayerful, seek out an Orthodox community to be with and learn from, and know that many of us here (me included) will be praying for you.

As far as finding a priest, et cetera, are you aware of the British Orthodox Church?

http://britishorthodox.org/

Reach out any time, in the forum or via pm.  You'll be all right.  God loves you.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2013, 07:10:47 PM by Antonious Nikolas » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2013, 07:10:46 PM »

As far as finding a priest, et cetera, are you aware of the British Orthodox Church?

http://britishorthodox.org/

The OP clearly mentions he is interested in Chalcedonian Orthodoxy with impressions on Romania.
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« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2013, 07:12:50 PM »

The OP clearly mentions he is interested in Chalcedonian Orthodoxy with impressions on Romania.

If that's the case, he can correct me.  He mentioned he was interested in Orthodoxy, and as the policy of these boards is that Oriental Orthodoxy is Orthodoxy, I have no compunctions about letting him know about an Orthodox Church that is British in ethos and culture and might be in his area.
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« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2013, 07:16:07 PM »

The OP clearly mentions he is interested in Chalcedonian Orthodoxy with impressions on Romania.

No, he does not "clearly mention" that he is interested in "Chalcedonian Orthodoxy".   
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« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2013, 07:19:42 PM »

Hahaha. As far as I'm aware my female gender hasn't changed since I joined  Shocked.
Never mind it, though, I'm still new to Orthodoxy so I'm still finding my feet. Although yes, I do 'have impressions' on Romania. Romanians are those from whom I learnt of Orthodoxy. I would still like to talk with a local Priest in any case.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2013, 07:20:57 PM by Rival » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2013, 07:21:18 PM »

Hahaha. As far as I'm aware my female gender hasn't changed since I joined  Shocked.
Never mind it, though, I'm still new to Orthodoxy so I'm still finding my feet. Although yes, I do 'have impressions' on Romania. Romanians are those from whom I learnt of Orthodoxy. I would still like to talk with a local Priest in any case.

Smiley
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« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2013, 07:24:56 PM »

Hello, Rival.

I can certainly understand the strong grasp atheism can have on the psyche. I struggled with "letting go" of my atheism while I pursued Orthodoxy. It can be especially difficult when the atheism was a response to a sort of religious fundamentalism, which was the case for me.

Feel free to ask me any questions, either in the thread or via Private Message. May God bless you on your journey.
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« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2013, 07:27:01 PM »

Are there any in-depth sources from which I can learn more while waiting for the chance to speak to someone? Thanks.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2013, 07:27:49 PM by Rival » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: November 27, 2013, 07:27:48 PM »

Hahaha. As far as I'm aware my female gender hasn't changed since I joined  Shocked.
Never mind it, though, I'm still new to Orthodoxy so I'm still finding my feet. Although yes, I do 'have impressions' on Romania. Romanians are those from whom I learnt of Orthodoxy. I would still like to talk with a local Priest in any case.

Well, "Rival" is gender neutral, and I guess I wrongly assumed that you were male because of the avatar, but now that you've given yourself away, I think I'm able to puzzle out what your real first name might be.  Don't worry.  I'll keep it under my hat.  Smiley

I know you said that your first exposure to Orthodoxy was through people of Romanian extraction, but you also mentioned that people in the UK think that Orthodoxy is strictly the province of Slavs and other Eastern Europeans and that you're receiving some pressure to "just be Protestant", so I thought there'd be no harm in pointing you towards a church that is both Orthodox and thoroughly British.  No harm intended.  If that's not the way you want to go, God bless and guide you on your journey.  Smiley
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« Reply #16 on: November 27, 2013, 07:30:10 PM »

Are there any in-depth sources from which I can learn more while waiting for the chance to speak to someone? Thanks.

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NIV is a terrible translation. If you're going to use Protestant translations use the ESV.
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« Reply #17 on: November 27, 2013, 07:30:46 PM »

Are there any in-depth sources from which I can learn more while waiting for the chance to speak to someone? Thanks.

What to learn about Orthodoxy? The "rainbow" series by Fr. Thomas Hopko comes to mind. It's available online for free, here.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2013, 07:30:57 PM by lovesupreme » Logged

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« Reply #18 on: November 27, 2013, 07:33:01 PM »

Since you've indicated that you're still finding your feet, you can also take a free course in Orthodox catechesis here:

http://www.lsocs.co.uk/index.php

And your fellow Brit Bishop Kallistos (Timothy) Ware has penned this classic:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Orthodox-Church-Timothy-Ware/dp/0140146563/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1385596095&sr=1-1&keywords=the+orthodox+church+kallistos+ware
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« Reply #19 on: November 27, 2013, 07:38:10 PM »

Are there any in-depth sources from which I can learn more while waiting for the chance to speak to someone? Thanks.

Orthodox Church in America

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NIV is a terrible translation. If you're going to use Protestant translations use the ESV.

I agree. Honestly, I paid 50p for the NIV and even that was too much. My main Bible is the KJV and NKJV. None are perfect and the minute I can buy a non-Protestant translation I will. Thank Goodness for the recommendation though, I own an ESV Bible (I own 11 Bibles haha. I collect antique ones).
« Last Edit: November 27, 2013, 07:42:26 PM by Rival » Logged

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« Reply #20 on: November 27, 2013, 07:42:08 PM »

I agree. Honestly, I paid 50p for the NIV and even that was too much. My main Bible is the KJV and NKJV. None are perfect and the minute I can buy a non-Protestant translation I will.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/ORTHODOX-STUDY-BIBLE-HB-AUTHOR/dp/0718003594/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1385596804&sr=1-1&keywords=orthodox+study+bible
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« Reply #21 on: November 27, 2013, 07:44:04 PM »

I agree. Honestly, I paid 50p for the NIV and even that was too much. My main Bible is the KJV and NKJV. None are perfect and the minute I can buy a non-Protestant translation I will.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/ORTHODOX-STUDY-BIBLE-HB-AUTHOR/dp/0718003594/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1385596804&sr=1-1&keywords=orthodox+study+bible

To be fair, the OSB uses NKJV for the NT. If she wants an Orthodox translation, she'd be better off with The Eastern/Greek Orthodox New Testament.

Then, if she wants the Greek Old Testament, she could go with either the OSB, or the standalone A New Translation of the Septuagint.
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« Reply #22 on: November 27, 2013, 07:49:33 PM »

To be fair, the OSB uses NKJV for the NT. If she wants an Orthodox translation, she'd be better off with The Eastern/Greek Orthodox New Testament.

Then, if she wants the Greek Old Testament, she could go with either the OSB, or the standalone A New Translation of the Septuagint.

And so would I!  Sold!  Thank you, Trane.  Grin
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« Reply #23 on: November 27, 2013, 07:53:07 PM »

You guys have been amazing. I honestly only expected one or two replies to this. It's ten past midnight here and I need to go now. Your help has really uplifted me. I was nearly in tears when I wrote that but I thought that sounded kind of pathetic and attention seeking, so  Undecided
Good night and God bless all!
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« Reply #24 on: November 27, 2013, 07:57:39 PM »

Good night, sleep tight...God bless you and be with you.
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« Reply #25 on: November 28, 2013, 03:06:43 AM »

so I thought there'd be no harm in pointing you towards a church that is both Orthodox and thoroughly British. 

EOs cannot be "thoroughly British"?
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« Reply #26 on: November 28, 2013, 10:17:21 AM »

EOs cannot be "thoroughly British"?

Sure they can.  No one said otherwise.  But that is part of the mission statement of the BOC.  What, do you want some big debate about this?  She said she's "finding her feet" and was open to meeting a priest from whatever jurisdiction.  She made no distinction between EO and OO.  Until she tells me she no longer wants info regarding OO churches, I'll continue to post what I think would be helpful to her on her journey (and please note that that has included EO and OO resources).
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« Reply #27 on: November 28, 2013, 10:23:28 AM »

After considering this more I've noticed I do feel more 'at home' being labelled with 'EO'. Those resources would be best for me Smiley. I hope this clears this up.
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« Reply #28 on: November 28, 2013, 10:36:44 AM »

EOs cannot be "thoroughly British"?

Stop being petulant.  Since Rival has clarified herself, you can resume being helpful. 
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« Reply #29 on: November 28, 2013, 11:04:09 AM »

may God guide u. i am in uk too, so will send pm (private message).
i am also female.
my icon is saint matthias who i really like.
he wasn't so famous as the other apostles but he worked really hard for God and eventually was martyred and stayed true to God until the end (like the other apostles).
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« Reply #30 on: November 28, 2013, 11:18:44 AM »

After considering this more I've noticed I do feel more 'at home' being labelled with 'EO'. Those resources would be best for me Smiley. I hope this clears this up.

No problem, kiddo.  Then that's what I'll post.  That being the case, you might be best served contacting these good folks: http://www.antiochian-orthodox.co.uk/

Stop being petulant.

You'd have better luck asking this guy.
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« Reply #31 on: November 28, 2013, 01:27:29 PM »

EOs cannot be "thoroughly British"?

Stop being petulant.  Since Rival has clarified herself, you can resume being helpful. 

You can check when that was written and when he clarified himself. And compare the time.
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« Reply #32 on: November 28, 2013, 01:45:35 PM »

People. Please. Lips Sealed



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« Reply #33 on: November 28, 2013, 04:57:37 PM »

Quote
I've cried and begged and prayed.
That's the key, dear Rival! Humble your heart as much you can and our Lord will pour out his grace upon you - with his infinite humble love.
Be patient.


In UK there's the most famous orthodox monastery in the West - Patriarchal Stavropegic Monastery of St John the Baptist, Essex. There're some holy people there and they could give certainly to you some deep inspiration for your heart, mind and path. Check it out! Wink
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« Reply #34 on: November 28, 2013, 05:03:30 PM »

Quote
I've cried and begged and prayed.
That's the key, dear Rival! Humble your heart as much you can and our Lord will pour out his grace upon you - with his infinite humble love.


In UK there's the most famous orthodox monastery in the West - Patriarchal Stavropegic Monastery of St John the Baptist, Essex. There're some holy people there and they could give certainly to you some deep inspiration for your heart, mind and path. Check it out! Wink

Thank You Smiley
I'd love to go. It would have to be a planned trip out though, Essex isn't exactly a five minute drive away from here. I'll drag my Protestant friend with me  Grin. She's swaying in her faith right now, it might benefit her to check Orthodoxy out, since she's barely aware of it.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2013, 05:05:37 PM by Rival » Logged

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« Reply #35 on: November 28, 2013, 05:08:59 PM »

The single greatest take down of the New Atheists and their works is Atheist Delusions by David Bentley Hart, and his newest book, The Experience of God is just as good, if not better. If you want to clear your head of atheist nonsense, then I couldn't recommend these two books more.
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« Reply #36 on: November 28, 2013, 05:15:25 PM »

Quote
Thank You Smiley
I'd love to go. It would have to be a planned trip out though, Essex isn't exactly a five minute drive away from here. I'll drag my Protestant friend with me  Grin. She's swaying in her faith right now, it might benefit her to check Orthodoxy out, since she's barely aware of it.

A protestant friend of mine who was in the same situation as your friend - swaying in faith, no idea what orthodoxy may be-, visited the monastery in Essex and - he couldn't believe it. He was so deeply touched.

But don't forget: If you go and if you want to stay for several days in the monastery you have to call the monastery about two month before your arrival and make a reservation.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2013, 05:21:36 PM by Nathanael » Logged

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« Reply #37 on: November 29, 2013, 03:19:02 PM »

2 months in advance!
wow, there really are true orthodox british Christians!
 Wink
how very british to plan so far in advance!

(don't think i'll ever be able to go, has been many years since i planned something that far in advance...)

also, i forgot to ask earlier, what is an asatruer?
some kind of monk?
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« Reply #38 on: November 29, 2013, 03:27:45 PM »

2 months in advance!
wow, there really are true orthodox british Christians!
 Wink
how very british to plan so far in advance!

(don't think i'll ever be able to go, has been many years since i planned something that far in advance...)

also, i forgot to ask earlier, what is an asatruer?
some kind of monk?

Asatru is the Norse Pagan faith, which the Scandinavians and Germanics had before Christianity. I looked into it a lot because I thought it would be like going back to my roots. So it includes well known gods such as Woden (Odin), Tyr, Freya, Thor and Loki.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2013, 03:34:43 PM by Rival » Logged

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« Reply #39 on: November 29, 2013, 05:01:37 PM »

Quote
2 months in advance!
wow, there really are true orthodox british Christians!
 Wink
how very british to plan so far in advance!

(don't think i'll ever be able to go, has been many years since i planned something that far in advance...)

That's because people come from all over the world!  Wink And they don't have so many rooms for visitors unfortunately.
2 months if you want to be quite sure. You can call 3 weeks, a month in advance - but what I was told is that women visit this monastery more frequently than men do. Therefore women have to plan more in advance.
Cool

for phone number and directions:
http://www.monachos.net/conversation/topic/1022-st-john-the-baptist-monastery-essex/page-8
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« Reply #40 on: November 29, 2013, 07:19:01 PM »

Asatru is the Norse Pagan faith, which the Scandinavians and Germanics had before Christianity.

Nope. It's reconstruction of what some people think the native Northern religions looked like. The actual religions are long gone.
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« Reply #41 on: November 30, 2013, 06:00:30 AM »

Asatru is the Norse Pagan faith, which the Scandinavians and Germanics had before Christianity.

Nope. It's reconstruction of what some people think the native Northern religions looked like. The actual religions are long gone.

Yeah, I'm aware that it is. So are the Celtic ones. There's also the Odinism sect.  Wink
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« Reply #42 on: November 30, 2013, 12:40:37 PM »

The single greatest take down of the New Atheists and their works is Atheist Delusions by David Bentley Hart, and his newest book, The Experience of God is just as good, if not better. If you want to clear your head of atheist nonsense, then I couldn't recommend these two books more.
Plus Mr. Hart is Orthodox.
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« Reply #43 on: December 05, 2013, 03:19:11 AM »

For what it is worth there are some notable Orthodox who are relations of the British Royal Family (The Prince Consort...raised Orthodox, converted to marry, but I believe he continues to cross himself orthodox fashion. His mother became an Orthodox nun and had an Orthodox chapel in the palace. Prince Charles has made several trips to visit the Orthodox monastic republic of Mt. Athos. The New Martyr Grand Duchess Elizabeth was (I believe) a niece or cousin of Queen Victoria.  Also...after that little dustup in Hastings, the children of King Harold fled to the protection of the Slavs. One married a daughter of Prince Vladimir and their son became a monk and a saint who preached around present day Slovakia. Other English joined the elite Varangian Guard the Greek Emperor which was composed principally of germanic mercenaries (English, Scandinavians, Germans, etc.).  So...historically there are definitely connections.

As for other advice given, I completely echo the advice of making contact with a priest and visiting the monastery in Essex, God willing.  Also don't give up. God is faithful...doors will open in due season. When I converted the nearest church to me was 2000 km away....and that's the one I went to and was baptized at after having to wait three years to find contacts and enter catechesis.
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« Reply #44 on: December 05, 2013, 04:17:13 AM »

Quote
The New Martyr Grand Duchess Elizabeth was (I believe) a niece or cousin of Queen Victoria.

Granddaughter, as was her sister, Tsarina Alexandra, wife of Tsar Nicholas II.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2013, 04:17:43 AM by LBK » Logged
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