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PJ26
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« on: December 04, 2013, 04:00:26 PM »

Hello,  this is my first post although I have been checking out the comments here off and on for a while.  I'm sure my questions have been answered repeatedly, but as I am new and well-intentioned, please be patient and indulge me if possible.

I am currently Catholic, but am interested in becoming Orthodox.  I've thought about conversion to Orthodoxy for some time, first in 1997 after a few horrible, disillusioning years in the seminary, but more seriously since 2008 after reading 3 books that really impacted me: The Sayings of the Desert Fathers, the Way of a Pilgrim, and The Mountain of Silence.  Two months ago, I emailed my local Catholic parish priest and did not get a reply.  About a month ago, I emailed the local ROCOR parish, just asking what is involved in the process for a Catholic converting to Orthodoxy, but again I got no answer.  I'm sure both are very busy, so I understand that, but it doesn't help me at all in my discernment, so I thought I would seek advice here.  

For a number of reasons, in my heart, I no longer believe that the Catholic church is the one founded by Christ (no offense intended toward anyone who believes it is).  That being said, I do believe Jesus founded a real, visible, sacramental Church on the Apostles and so looking to the Orthodox Church seems to me to be the next logical step.  

My reading did not stop in 2008.  I've continued to read a number of books on Orthodox spirituality and theology.  I can accept that the "Filioque" should not be in the Creed and that the Pope is not infallible.  Those seem to be the big issues involved (forgive me if that is an oversimplification).

I would have some questions though about Marian spirituality as that has been a big part of my own faith journey.  I have been to Guadalupe, Lourdes, and Fatima and I really believe Our Lady appeared in those places.  I could never deny that.  I just finished reading "Elder Paisios of Mount Athos" and the author talks about how the "Panagia" frequently visited the Elder, so my belief in Marian apparitions in themselves I don't think would be an issue.  I know there is concern amongst the Orthodox about Mary identifying herself as the "Immaculate Conception" to Saint Bernadette - but I know too that Kallistos Ware said that there was not anything necessarily un-Orthodox in that title.  Whatever one calls it, I don't believe that the Virgin Mary ever sinned in any way - so I could never in good conscience say otherwise.  Also, I pray my rosary everyday.  Just thinking of the words of the prayers themselves, I don't think there is anything un-Orthodox in them.  I can't see myself giving up that private devotion either.  Would any of this make conversion to Orthodoxy unadvisable or impossible?  

I do take my faith very seriously since it is through it that we are saved - and what is more important than our salvation?  Any thoughts or advice would be very much appreciated.  Thank you so much.

PS: just wanted to say too, dzheremi's reply 55 on the Francis thread was spot on!
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« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2013, 04:20:21 PM »

Hello,  this is my first post although I have been checking out the comments here off and on for a while.  I'm sure my questions have been answered repeatedly, but as I am new and well-intentioned, please be patient and indulge me if possible.

I am currently Catholic, but am interested in becoming Orthodox.  I've thought about conversion to Orthodoxy for some time, first in 1997 after a few horrible, disillusioning years in the seminary, but more seriously since 2008 after reading 3 books that really impacted me: The Sayings of the Desert Fathers, the Way of a Pilgrim, and The Mountain of Silence.  Two months ago, I emailed my local Catholic parish priest and did not get a reply.  About a month ago, I emailed the local ROCOR parish, just asking what is involved in the process for a Catholic converting to Orthodoxy, but again I got no answer.  I'm sure both are very busy, so I understand that, but it doesn't help me at all in my discernment, so I thought I would seek advice here.  

For a number of reasons, in my heart, I no longer believe that the Catholic church is the one founded by Christ (no offense intended toward anyone who believes it is).  That being said, I do believe Jesus founded a real, visible, sacramental Church on the Apostles and so looking to the Orthodox Church seems to me to be the next logical step.  

My reading did not stop in 2008.  I've continued to read a number of books on Orthodox spirituality and theology.  I can accept that the "Filioque" should not be in the Creed and that the Pope is not infallible.  Those seem to be the big issues involved (forgive me if that is an oversimplification).

I would have some questions though about Marian spirituality as that has been a big part of my own faith journey.  I have been to Guadalupe, Lourdes, and Fatima and I really believe Our Lady appeared in those places.  I could never deny that.  I just finished reading "Elder Paisios of Mount Athos" and the author talks about how the "Panagia" frequently visited the Elder, so my belief in Marian apparitions in themselves I don't think would be an issue.  I know there is concern amongst the Orthodox about Mary identifying herself as the "Immaculate Conception" to Saint Bernadette - but I know too that Kallistos Ware said that there was not anything necessarily un-Orthodox in that title.  Whatever one calls it, I don't believe that the Virgin Mary ever sinned in any way - so I could never in good conscience say otherwise.  Also, I pray my rosary everyday.  Just thinking of the words of the prayers themselves, I don't think there is anything un-Orthodox in them.  I can't see myself giving up that private devotion either.  Would any of this make conversion to Orthodoxy unadvisable or impossible?
The IC doesn't say the Holy Theotokos sinned, it says she was born without ancestral sin, which is the problem.

The Western Rite Orthodox say the rosary.  I don't recall if any modification was needed.  We have threads here somewhere on that.

I do take my faith very seriously since it is through it that we are saved - and what is more important than our salvation?  Any thoughts or advice would be very much appreciated.  Thank you so much.

PS: just wanted to say too, dzheremi's reply 55 on the Francis thread was spot on!
Where are you at?
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« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2013, 04:31:24 PM »

yes, as we don't believe we inherit sin from our father adam (only a nature tending to sin), so we don't have to formulate a new theory that explains how the virgin saint mary somehow failed to inherit this sinful nature.

we love saint mary, especially in the month before Christmas we sing lots of songs telling of her purity and her choosing by God for the incarnation.

see here:
http://tasbeha.org/hymn_library/cat/33
and from that page, go here:
http://tasbeha.org/hymn_library/cat/258
then
http://tasbeha.org/hymn_library/view/206

quote:
All the glory of the daughter of the King is within, arrayed with gold ringed garments, adorned in varied colors. To the King, the virgins follow her and all her friends with her. They shall enter with gladness and rejoicing, enter the temple of the King. Alleluia.

كل مجدُ إبنةُ المَلِكُ من داخل مُشتَملةٌ بأذيال موشَّاة بالذهب. مزينةٌ بأشكالٍ كثيرةٌ. يدخلنَّ إلى المَلِك عذارى خلفها، يدخلن صاحباتها جميعاً، يدخلنَّ بالفرح و التهليل، يدخلنَّ إلى هيكل الملك. الليلويا.

Great is the Lord, and greatly He is blessed in the City of our God. On His Holy Mountain. All the earth is filled with joy. The mountains of Zion, on the sides of the north, the City of the great King. Alleluia.

عظيمٌ هو الربُ و مبارَك جداً فى مدينة إلهنا على جبلهُ المقدس تتسِعُ كل اللأرضِ بالتهليل. جبالُ صيهون جوانب الشمال مدينةُ المَلِك العظيم. الليلويا.

Its foundations are in the holy mountains. The Lord loved the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of You, O City of God. Alleluia

أساساتها فى الجبال المقدسة، الرب أحب أبواب صهيون أفضل من جميع مساكن يعقوب. أعمال كريمة قيلت من أجلِك يا مدينة الله. الليلويا.

(i deleted the coptic as it doesn't show properly here)
the 'city of God' is one of the many images of saint mary from the old testament and there are many more (e.g. the rod of aaron that budded, the golden censer etc.)

so, don't worry, in orthodox Christianity, there is plenty about saint mary.
may God guide u and give u peace.
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PJ26
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« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2013, 04:36:06 PM »

Regarding the IC, Orthodoxy has a different understanding of original sin than Catholics, right? That's why we initially came up with Limbo for unbaptized babies...for me, in my conscience I could not subscribe to anything that suggested that sin touched her in any way...

Where am I at physically? I'm in Texas. 
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ialmisry
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« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2013, 04:41:27 PM »

Regarding the IC, Orthodoxy has a different understanding of original sin than Catholics, right?
Yes.

That's why we initially came up with Limbo for unbaptized babies...for me, in my conscience I could not subscribe to anything that suggested that sin touched her in any way...

Where am I at physically? I'm in Texas.  
It's a big (and great) place, but IIRC there are a couple of Western Rite Orthodox parishes there.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2013, 04:43:06 PM by ialmisry » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2013, 04:56:06 PM »

IIRC?
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PJ26
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« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2013, 05:02:34 PM »

@ mabsoota

"may God guide u and give u peace."

Thank you Grin

I haven't mastered the quote function yet... Angry
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Maria
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« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2013, 05:13:40 PM »

I would have some questions though about Marian spirituality as that has been a big part of my own faith journey.  I have been to Guadalupe, Lourdes, and Fatima and I really believe Our Lady appeared in those places.  I could never deny that.  I just finished reading "Elder Paisios of Mount Athos" and the author talks about how the "Panagia" frequently visited the Elder, so my belief in Marian apparitions in themselves I don't think would be an issue.  I know there is concern amongst the Orthodox about Mary identifying herself as the "Immaculate Conception" to Saint Bernadette - but I know too that Kallistos Ware said that there was not anything necessarily un-Orthodox in that title.  Whatever one calls it, I don't believe that the Virgin Mary ever sinned in any way - so I could never in good conscience say otherwise.  Also, I pray my rosary everyday.  Just thinking of the words of the prayers themselves, I don't think there is anything un-Orthodox in them.  I can't see myself giving up that private devotion either.  Would any of this make conversion to Orthodoxy unadvisable or impossible?  

Welcome!

We converted from Roman Catholicism back in the mid 1990's. We used to pray the Rosary with permission from our OCA priest at that time.

During our catechumenate, we visited the Western Rite of the Antiochian Orthodox Church, but we were not impressed. The East has so many more ancient devotions to our Blessed Lady the Theotokos. Please look into those devotions and you will be thrilled.

Gradually over time, we found the prayers of the Orthodox Church to be rich in devotion to the Most Holy Theotokos. For example, at the beginning of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, Immediately after the three small litanies before the Epistle, and at the Ektenia of the Prothesis before the Nicene Creed, the priest chants repeatedly:
Quote
Calling to remembrance our all-holy, immaculate,
most blessed and glorious Lady Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary,
with all the Saints, let us commend ourselves and each other,
and all our life unto Christ our God.
Reference: A Pocket Prayer Book for Orthodox Christians published by the Antiochians, pages 63, 65, 66, 82.

We also sing to the Most Holy Theotokos in the Refrains of the First Antiphon,
"Through the intercessions of the Theotokos, O Savior, save us" (ibid. p. 64).

In the Refrain of the Second Antiphon, we remember the Holy Theotokos as we sing
Quote
O Only-begotten Son and Word of God , who art immortal,
yet didst deign for our slavation to be incarnate of the Holy Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary ....
(ibid. p. 66).

Then, just before the Trisagion Hymn, we sing the Kontakion to the Theotokos, O Protectress of Christians. This song will call to mind the Catholic prayer, the Memorare , but this ancient Eastern Orthodox hymn to the Theotokos predates this Memorare and is the inspiration of the Memorare which came from St. Benedict, didn't it?

Later, we sing the Magnificat in her honor immediately after the Consecration,
Quote
It is truly meet to bless thee, O Theotokos,
who art ever blessed and all-blameless, and the mother of our God.
More honorable than the Cherubim, and more glorious beyond compare
than the Seraphim, thou who without stain barest God the Word,
and art truly Theotokos: we magnify thee
(ibid, p. 90).

Ever since October of this year, my husband and I have been chanting the small canon to the Theotokos every night with our evening prayers due to the conditions in which we find ourselves. In these prayers, one finds the comfort and strength of the Blessed and Holy Theotokos to continue the Christian life.

There is the old saying attributed to St. Augustine: "To sing is to pray twice."
« Last Edit: December 04, 2013, 05:20:09 PM by Maria » Logged

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ialmisry
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« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2013, 05:14:50 PM »

IIRC?
if I remember correctly.
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Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
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                           and both come out of your mouth
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« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2013, 07:13:56 PM »

@ Maria

Thank you so much for your welcome and all the wonderful things you wrote regarding devotion to the Theotokos.

Could you tell me a little about your time as a catechumen?  I imagine there were classes with a priest?  How long did it last?  Were you received thru chrismation on Holy Saturday like converts to Catholicism after going thu RCIA?  I've tried to read as much as I can on the Internet, but that information is often unreliable.  I could be wrong, but I think I remember someone saying that they had to get rebaptized as well as some type of solemnization of their marriage.  Was that your experience?  Do different Orthodox churches have different rites of initiation?

Also, I don't wish to pry, but if I may ask - was the decision to convert mutual with you and your husband?  Did one lead the other?  My wife is Mexican from a strong Catholic culture.  I've tried to broach the topic with her and got A LOT of pushback.  Do you have any suggestions?  I think she might accept me continuing to go with her to Mass and then her coming with me to the Divine Liturgy.  I think it's important we continue to pray together.  The situation is easier in that we have no children.  But I really don't want to do the two church thing.  I'd like to be of the same faith and especially continue to receive Communion together and I don't want to harm my marriage in any way...Thoughts??

Thanks again.
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« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2013, 07:30:32 PM »

@ Maria

Thank you so much for your welcome and all the wonderful things you wrote regarding devotion to the Theotokos.

Could you tell me a little about your time as a catechumen?  I imagine there were classes with a priest?  How long did it last?  Were you received thru chrismation on Holy Saturday like converts to Catholicism after going thu RCIA?  I've tried to read as much as I can on the Internet, but that information is often unreliable.  I could be wrong, but I think I remember someone saying that they had to get rebaptized as well as some type of solemnization of their marriage.  Was that your experience?  Do different Orthodox churches have different rites of initiation?
Some will have a formal ceremony making one a catechumen, others will not.

Generally speaking, the catechumenate is tailored to the individual rather than taking an RCIA approach, though I am anecdotally seeing more and more parishes take a similar tack.

The administration of baptism/chrismation will be the same wherever you are, though the administration of which you will receive will depend on the local priest/bishop (some may ask for baptism, others just chrismation, others — though they are really rare — only confession of faith for Catholics...Don't hold out hope for the last option).

Quote
Also, I don't wish to pry, but if I may ask - was the decision to convert mutual with you and your husband?  Did one lead the other?  My wife is Mexican from a strong Catholic culture.  I've tried to broach the topic with her and got A LOT of pushback.  Do you have any suggestions?  I think she might accept me continuing to go with her to Mass and then her coming with me to the Divine Liturgy.  I think it's important we continue to pray together.  The situation is easier in that we have no children.  But I really don't want to do the two church thing.  I'd like to be of the same faith and especially continue to receive Communion together and I don't want to harm my marriage in any way...Thoughts??
Praying together should be no problem. No Orthodox prayer coming from an English prayerbook is going to conflict with RCC faith.

The other issue is a little more tricky. My spouse was initially reluctant — even telling me "never" — but came around after a short time. Others here have not been so fortunate, and can testify to the strain with which they live. The key is to approach things with humility and make sure she knows that — while your convictions are changing — you are not looking to undermine or critique her faith.

And, you know, pray.
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« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2013, 07:53:38 PM »

Quote
I do take my faith very seriously since it is through it that we are saved
Though this may be true to a certain extent, please keep in mind that if any protestant read this, he would agree with you entirely.  We are saved BY GOD'S MERCY.  Please do remember the parable of the Last Judgment which ultimately tells us that when we face the Lord in His second coming, He will judge us, according TO OUR WORKS and according to the manner in which we loved one another.  Love is the issue here.  To have loved is to have lived the way Our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ lived while He became one like us.  It was the ultimate example of how we should live.  In love for one another to the death.  Salvation also involves growing closer in the likeness of Jesus Christ.  We believe that during our time on earth, we should strive to reach what we call in the Orthodox Church: "theosis", which is the ultimate being of communion with the Lord God.  Theosis is achieved by praying, fasting, almsgiving, confession, attending the Divine Liturgy, partaking of communion, celebrating His feast days and the days of His saintly mother and saints and in the Life of His Church, Jesus Christ's Church.  His mysteries speak of His life, to be one with his mysteries is to also be one with Him.  We must also live in love for one another, caring and supporting one another.  Giving to the poor, the orphan and the widow. To be one with Him, to be one with His children, is growing in that likeness of Him. 

Now, compare that to "being saved by my faith."

I'm a former roman catholic too.

Quote
Just thinking of the words of the prayers themselves, I don't think there is anything un-Orthodox in them.  I can't see myself giving up that private devotion either.
The wonderful thing is that we have our own devotions in Orthodoxy too to the most holy Theotokos.  Actually there are many beautiful Akathist services where, if you read the content, there is absolutely nothing like them.  Nothing! This is coming from a former roman catholic.  So, the wonderful thing is that your devotion to her would only continue to grow and improve.

There is so much more I wish to say regarding your post but I'm afraid I will have to do so tomorrow.

God bless you on your journey, may you join us someday.
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« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2013, 08:04:57 PM »

Quote
I do take my faith very seriously since it is through it that we are saved
Though this may be true to a certain extent, please keep in mind that if any protestant read this, he would agree with you entirely. 
He wouldn't be wrong, either, because it's not true to a certain extent — it's just true.

The Orthodox are just as bad about pitting faith against works as are the Protestants.

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« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2013, 09:47:37 PM »

Quote
I do take my faith very seriously since it is through it that we are saved
Though this may be true to a certain extent, please keep in mind that if any protestant read this, he would agree with you entirely. 
We are saved through faith. Read St. Paul.
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« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2013, 09:59:14 PM »

Quote
I do take my faith very seriously since it is through it that we are saved
Though this may be true to a certain extent, please keep in mind that if any protestant read this, he would agree with you entirely. 
We are saved through faith. Read St. Paul.

Actually we are saved through works. Though the "work of faith," as St. Paul called it, is an important one.
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« Reply #15 on: December 04, 2013, 10:27:04 PM »

Welcome to the forums. As with any community, you'll find disagreements amongst members (see above). The best advice someone can give you at this point in your journey is to open communication with an Orthodox priest. Are there any parishes near by? If so, I'd advise that you visit them (look up their service schedules) and get a feel for the clergy there. When you meet a priest who strikes a chord with you, explain to him your situation and your intentions. He'll be able to best guide you further. That's not to say that getting advice elsewhere is fruitless, but it's important early on to establish a relationship with your priest, as you will be obedient to him (and the bishop under which he serves) as a member of the Church.
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« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2013, 10:31:47 PM »

And just to be clear, my response above wasn't meant to be as confrontational as I guess it might appear. Or maybe it doesn't. Anyway, I should have added a winking face. Regarding the original question, I'm afraid I don't have anything that would even come close to being helpful. Though fwiw I was in a not-dissimilar situation in that I was also searching and was sure a visible Church founded by Christ was out there, that it just had to be found (discerned? ...)   
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« Reply #17 on: December 04, 2013, 11:25:18 PM »

I am currently Catholic, but am interested in becoming Orthodox.  

For a number of reasons, in my heart, I no longer believe that the Catholic church is the one founded by Christ (no offense intended toward anyone who believes it is).  That being said, I do believe Jesus founded a real, visible, sacramental Church on the Apostles and so looking to the Orthodox Church seems to me to be the next logical step.  

If only the reality in these churches approached what you might read in books.
The best way to become Orthodox is to be born that way, just like with RC.
 
"looking to the Orthodox Church seems to me to be the next logical step."  

This exposes a Roman Catholic way of thinking.
The boundaries of logic and reason end at the borders of the RC Church.
Going to the Orthodox is like falling into a black hole of mysticism and unreality.
I'm yet to find anything logical or reasonable about it. 

Roman Catholics have a left-brained church service that revolves around the recitation of words.
Your right-brain is free to be whatever it wants.
The Orthodox service is right-brained and a visual experience.  It is visual and image based.
Logic and reason are left-brain concepts that just don't seem to apply much with the Orthodox,
at least in my personal experience, that is.

I wish you all the best in your conversion process.
Please let us know how it goes and if you are successful.
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« Reply #18 on: December 04, 2013, 11:33:24 PM »

I am currently Catholic, but am interested in becoming Orthodox.  

For a number of reasons, in my heart, I no longer believe that the Catholic church is the one founded by Christ (no offense intended toward anyone who believes it is).  That being said, I do believe Jesus founded a real, visible, sacramental Church on the Apostles and so looking to the Orthodox Church seems to me to be the next logical step.  

If only the reality in these churches approached what you might read in books.
The best way to become Orthodox is to be born that way, just like with RC.
 
"looking to the Orthodox Church seems to me to be the next logical step."  

This exposes a Roman Catholic way of thinking.
The boundaries of logic and reason end at the borders of the RC Church.
Going to the Orthodox is like falling into a black hole of mysticism and unreality.
I'm yet to find anything logical or reasonable about it. 

Roman Catholics have a left-brained church service that revolves around the recitation of words.
Your right-brain is free to be whatever it wants.
The Orthodox service is right-brained and a visual experience.  It is visual and image based.
Logic and reason are left-brain concepts that just don't seem to apply much with the Orthodox,
at least in my personal experience, that is.

I wish you all the best in your conversion process.
Please let us know how it goes and if you are successful.

Hey, when we went to my first Orthodox Divine liturgy, my husband and I felt  immediately at home as the hymns to our Lady the Theotokos warmed our hearts.

I studied the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas at a Catholic university and was exposed to mystical theology, so this left vs right-brain comparison is not true. 
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« Reply #19 on: December 04, 2013, 11:47:10 PM »

About a month ago, I emailed the local ROCOR parish, just asking what is involved in the process for a Catholic converting to Orthodoxy, but again I got no answer.  I'm sure both are very busy, so I understand that, but it doesn't help me at all in my discernment, so I thought I would seek advice here.  

Sorry, I forgot to mention this. 
The ROCOR catechism book is called:  "The Law of God" by Seraphim Slobodskoi in case you like to read books.
http://www.amazon.com/The-Law-God-Study-School/dp/0884650448/

It covers the Orthodox Version of the Old and New Testaments as well as other topics about the church.
Hope this helps!!!

 
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« Reply #20 on: December 05, 2013, 12:12:30 AM »

Hey, when we went to my first Orthodox Divine liturgy, my husband and I felt  immediately at home as the hymns to our Lady the Theotokos warmed our hearts.

I studied the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas at a Catholic university and was exposed to mystical theology, so this left vs right-brain comparison is not true. 

Hi Maria,
It is always nice to hear from you.
No doubt your exposure to "mystical theology" whatever that is, came from the pages of a book. (left-brain)
I was just relating to my impressions of the actual church experience.
In the RC church, I used to find this almost robotic recitation of the liturgical responses everyone memorized since the age of 7.
That is, until they changed them recently.  Now, it seems like mostly confusion.

The Orthodox service is very visual and appears much like a theater play.
Perhaps your Orthodox experience is different from mine, but
I am often haunted for a long time by the images that I see while in church.
It invades my entire life, and I cannot get rid of, or dispose of them, easily.

That is non-existent in the RC church or any other Western church, which operates mostly on words alone.
The whole Orthodox mentality seems to be visual to me, or more visual than verbal, at least.
That's all I was trying to say.

The only way you can get away with unequivocally stating "this left vs right-brain comparison is not true"
is to say it is not true in your case or you haven't personally realized it yet.
But it is very true in my case, and I've suffered endless difficulties from it.

I would love (more than anything) to make it "not true", and obliterate my entire Orthodox experience from my brain,
if that were only possible. 
Instead, I carry around these mental pictures (or images) of what happens there, and they still haunt me every day.

Anyways, I'm just trying to be helpful and describe experiences in my own way.
Yours are obviously different from mine.  But, does that make what I said "not true" though?
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« Reply #21 on: December 05, 2013, 07:23:08 AM »

@ Agabus

Thank you for your reply.  I tried broaching the subject again with my wife last night.  We talked about the papacy.  My wife has a lot of common sense but not "book smarts".  I'm the exact opposite - book smarts and zero common sense.

I thought one of the best arguments I read against the Catholic view of the papacy was also one of the simplest - I think I read it in "His Broken Body".  I know I will butcher it here, but it was the idea that tradition tells us that Saint John outlived Saint Peter by around 30 years.  I think Saint Clement would have been pope at the time John died.  I asked my wife, if you had a doctrinal question and you had to ask one or the other - Saint John or Saint Clement - who would you ask?  She said Saint John.  I agreed.  I asked do you think Saint Clement would kneel before Saint John or would Saint John kneel before Saint Clement?  She said she thought Clement would kneel to John.  I agreed.  But when I tried to get her to see the logical conclusion to that line of reasoning (sorry Robotron - I'll always be left-brained  Grin ), the discussion fizzled out...  Sad
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« Reply #22 on: December 05, 2013, 08:53:09 AM »

sorry Robotron - I'll always be left-brained  Grin 

No need to apologize to me.  I'm all for reason, logic & math; and especially book smarts.
But it may require something other than that to become Orthodox.
When you say "next logical step" -- I haven't found much "logic" in the Orthodox.

Maybe it is all about "status" or "rank"?

That means it is essentially a roll of the dice.
Is the priest in a good mood that day, or will he start screaming at you for no reason?
Will anyone tell you what is required ahead of time, or just judge you for not knowing anything?

It is easy to criticize the Roman Catholic church.  That is allowed...if logical or reasonable.
It does not appear to be acceptable to be critical of anything in the Orthodox Church.
You are always wrong.  It is always your fault.  There isn't any objective accountability or truth.
Just "status" and "rank".  It is all arbitrary.   

"Right" and "Wrong" or "Truth" appears to be determined by the "rank" of those involved in the discussion
instead of the objective content (or logic and reason) in their arguments.


I pray that you have a positive experience in the Orthodox Church and that you are received warmly.
Please let us know how it goes.
(Sometimes it is nice to be able to walk into the middle of the street and scream "I hate my government"
and know that you won't be thrown into prison.
)
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« Reply #23 on: December 05, 2013, 10:59:46 AM »

Quote
Quote from: NicholasMyra on Yesterday at 09:47:37 PM
Quote from: Nektarios_In_E.S. on Yesterday at 07:53:38 PM
Quote
I do take my faith very seriously since it is through it that we are saved
Though this may be true to a certain extent, please keep in mind that if any protestant read this, he would agree with you entirely. 
We are saved through faith. Read St. Paul.

Actually we are saved through works. Though the "work of faith," as St. Paul called it, is an important one.

Catholic Epistle of St.James
Chapter 2
[14] What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
[15] If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
[16] And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
[17] Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
[18] Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
[19] Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
[20] But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

[24] Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

[26] For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
             ~~~~~~~~~
Holy Gospel according to St.John
Chapter 6

[28] Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
[29] And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
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« Reply #24 on: December 05, 2013, 12:00:01 PM »

Quote
I know there is concern amongst the Orthodox about Mary identifying herself as the "Immaculate Conception" to Saint Bernadette - but I know too that Kallistos Ware said that there was not anything necessarily un-Orthodox in that title.  Whatever one calls it, I don't believe that the Virgin Mary ever sinned in any way - so I could never in good conscience say otherwise.
We do not believe in an immaculate conception because it is inherently tied in with a belief regarding humans being born with a "stain" and "guilt" of "original sin" and of Adam's particular sin.  These are clear exclusive roman catholic dogmas influenced by the scholastic theology of thomas aquinas through a wrongful understanding of St.Augustine.  We do not believe we inherit "guilt" or a "stain" from Adam's sin.  Instead, we believe we inherit the fallen nature of Adam.  It is more like a "propensity" or an "inclination" to sin.  Because we are not "co-transgressors" with Adam (we didn't exist back then), we cannot inherit the "guilt" of his sin.  Some Orthodox prefer to refer to "original sin" as "Ancestral sin" and if you own a copy of the Orthodox Study Bible, you will see a section titled like that where that is discussed.  To us, the Theotokos does not have to be immaculate conception in order for us to consider her most holy -as she was and is!  She lived a sinless life and did not need that sort of conception in order to live such. 

Quote
My reading did not stop in 2008.  I've continued to read a number of books on Orthodox spirituality and theology.  I can accept that the "Filioque" should not be in the Creed and that the Pope is not infallible.  Those seem to be the big issues involved (forgive me if that is an oversimplification).
Actually, there are many other issues that sets our Churches apart that are extremely important: these also include scholasticism vs. hesychasm, which includes the Orthodox understanding of the Energies of God, "created" grace, baptism practices, fasting, liturgical issues, change of the Paschalion in the Calendar, using monastics as social workers, the treatment of popes against Patriarchs historically and much more.

In case you you're able to, I would like to highly highly recommend that you read some books which I believe will answer many of your questions and even answer some you may not have at the moment:

1. Popes and Patriarchs: An Orthodox Perspective on Roman Catholic Claims by Michael Whelton
http://store.ancientfaith.com/popes-and-patriarchs-an-orthodox-perspective-on-roman-catholic-claims/

2. The Truth: What every Roman Catholic should know about the Orthodox Church
http://reginaorthodoxpress.com/trutiwevromc.html

3. Two Paths: Papal Monarchy - Collegial Tradition
http://reginaorthodoxpress.com/twopaths.html

4. Orthodoxy and Catholicism: What are the Differences?
http://store.ancientfaith.com/orthodoxy-and-catholicism-what-are-the-differences/

All of these are on sale right now and you can also find them in your local Orthodox Church bookstore.

I wish and pray that you may be enlightened and afterwards come to join us in the Holy Orthodox Church,
Nektarios in E.S.
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« Reply #25 on: December 05, 2013, 01:33:49 PM »

Quote
Quote from: NicholasMyra on Yesterday at 09:47:37 PM
Quote from: Nektarios_In_E.S. on Yesterday at 07:53:38 PM
Quote
I do take my faith very seriously since it is through it that we are saved
Though this may be true to a certain extent, please keep in mind that if any protestant read this, he would agree with you entirely. 
We are saved through faith. Read St. Paul.

Actually we are saved through works. Though the "work of faith," as St. Paul called it, is an important one.

Catholic Epistle of St.James
Chapter 2
[14] What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
[15] If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
[16] And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
[17] Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
[18] Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
[19] Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
[20] But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

[24] Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

[26] For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
             ~~~~~~~~~
Holy Gospel according to St.John
Chapter 6

[28] Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
[29] And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
St. James must be spinning in his reliquary.

The OP makes a somewhat poorly worded statement about how he’s serious about what he believes because he wants to be saved, and you accuse him of crypto-Protestantism.

Pitting St. Paul against St. James (or Christ) is silly. While one apostle argues that one cannot be good enough to earn their way into Heaven, the other argues that right belief will result in right action. No action means you never really bought in, not that you didn’t earn the points necessary. The apostles use similar vocabulary, but a pretty basic reading of the texts shows they don’t use the words “faith” and “works” in the exactly the same way. Faith, in the end, is a work.
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« Reply #26 on: December 05, 2013, 02:50:54 PM »

Whatever one calls it, I don't believe that the Virgin Mary ever sinned in any way - so I could never in good conscience say otherwise.  Also, I pray my rosary everyday.  Just thinking of the words of the prayers themselves, I don't think there is anything un-Orthodox in them.  I can't see myself giving up that private devotion either.  Would any of this make conversion to Orthodoxy unadvisable or impossible?  

The Orthodox Church believes that the Theotokos was cleansed of sin at the Annunciation once she had agreed to God's request.  She is venerated because of Jesus and not separately from Him, but she is the best example of man's free will accepting God's offer of salvation.  I think it's spiritually dangerous to believe she was born without sin or never sinned as she isn't, in fact, the 4th person of the Trinity.
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« Reply #27 on: December 05, 2013, 03:02:57 PM »

The Orthodox Church believes that the Theotokos was cleansed of sin at the Annunciation once she had agreed to God's request.  She is venerated because of Jesus and not separately from Him, but she is the best example of man's free will accepting God's offer of salvation.  I think it's spiritually dangerous to believe she was born without sin or never sinned as she isn't, in fact, the 4th person of the Trinity.

Read the service for the feast of the Entrance on 21 November.  There is a higher Mariology there than what you claim is believed by the Orthodox Church. 

"Born without sin" or "never sinned" =/= "Person of the Trinity" 

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« Reply #28 on: December 05, 2013, 03:16:25 PM »

First of all, St.Paul does not go against St.James, nor Our Lord, Jesus Christ for that matter.

Holy Gospel according to St.John
Chapter 6

[28] Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
[29] And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

St.Paul 1st Epistle to the Corinthians, Chapter 3
[13] Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.

                               ~~~~~~~~~
Sir, you talk about "earning one's way into heaven" and "not being good enough to earn their way into heaven."  Sir, Orthodox Christians do not talk like that.  When it comes to "Salvation"; "earning" salvation is just not Orthodox.  Your accusations sound like the attacks I would get from protestants when I would talk to them about being co-workers with God (II Corinthians 6:1).  

The issue here is "Salvation", is it not? I think it is very important to begin by looking at what "Salvation" means.  "Salvation" means to be made whole, to be healed.  Now, for us to be healed, it is obvious that we must be suffering from a sickness and that sickness is sin. In order to be healed -as I stated initially- the Holy Orthodox Church; the Body of Christ, has given us many medicines to help us be healed from the illness of sin.  This includes, being in the Life of the Church and not exclusively faith.  Quoting what I said earlier:
Quote
Theosis is achieved by praying, fasting, almsgiving, confession, attending the Divine Liturgy, partaking of communion, celebrating His feast days and the days of His saintly mother and saints and in the Life of His Church, Jesus Christ's Church.  His mysteries speak of His life, to be one with his mysteries is to also be one with Him.  We must also live in love for one another, caring and supporting one another.  Giving to the poor, the orphan and the widow. To be one with Him, to be one with His children, is growing in that likeness of Him.
If you have a problem with this, please read Nicholas Cabasilas "The Life in Christ" ( http://www.academia.edu/1905623/_The_Life_in_Christ_by_Nicholas_Cabasilas_A_Mystagogical_Work_  ) .  Sir, I am no one, but I trust the Fathers of the Church and I'm merely echoing what they say.

Further, on this point of salvation as I mentioned above:
Quote
We are saved BY GOD'S MERCY.
 If you disagree, then read this:

Patriarch Jeremias II of Constantinople refuting Article VI of the Protestant Augsburg Confession, regarding salvation by faith alone:

The sixth [article] gives the assurance that it is necessary to do good works but not to be dependent on them according to the passage: "Enter not into judgment with thy servant" [Ps 143:2]. With regard to this we say that faith precedes, and then the works follow and are necessary according to the commandment of God. The one who fulfills them, as he must, receives reward and honor in everlasting life. Indeed, good works are not separate from, but necessary for, true faith. One should not trust in works nor be boastful in a Pharisaic manner. And even if we have fulfilled everything, according to the word of the Lord, "we are unworthy servants" [Lk 17:10]. All things should be referred to the righteousness of God because those things which have been offered by us are small or nothing at all. According to Chrysostom, it has been established that God does not lead those of us who are idle into His kingdom. The Lord "opposes the proud, but he gives grace to the humble" [1 Pet 5:5; see Jas 4:6; Pr 3:24]. One should not boast about works. But to do and fulfill them is most necessary. For without divine works it is impossible to be saved. If, then, we will be convinced by the Lord who says, "If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them" [Jn 13:17], it shall be to our benefit.

It is necessary to join our good works together with the mercy from above. If we excuse ourselves because of our weakness or the goodness of God and do not add something of our own, there will be no benefit to us. How can we invoke mercy for the cure of our iniquities if it, no way have we done anything to appease the Divine One?
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« Reply #29 on: December 05, 2013, 04:26:14 PM »

The Orthodox Church believes that the Theotokos was cleansed of sin at the Annunciation once she had agreed to God's request.

No, it doesn't.  This might be your own personal belief, or even the belief of recent theologians who were influenced too much by Lutheranism (especially) or Roman Catholicism, but this is not the doctrine of the Church.

Quote
She is venerated because of Jesus and not separately from Him, but she is the best example of man's free will accepting God's offer of salvation.

Fair enough, I suppose....

Quote
 I think it's spiritually dangerous to believe she was born without sin or never sinned as she isn't, in fact, the 4th person of the Trinity.

Many (most?) Orthodox think the All-Holy never sinned, a few think she did.  Regardless, she is universally regarded as the holiest person (aside from our Lord Himself) who ever lived.
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« Reply #30 on: December 05, 2013, 05:34:13 PM »

The Orthodox Church believes that the Theotokos was cleansed of sin at the Annunciation once she had agreed to God's request.  She is venerated because of Jesus and not separately from Him, but she is the best example of man's free will accepting God's offer of salvation.  I think it's spiritually dangerous to believe she was born without sin or never sinned as she isn't, in fact, the 4th person of the Trinity.

Read the service for the feast of the Entrance on 21 November.  There is a higher Mariology there than what you claim is believed by the Orthodox Church. 

"Born without sin" or "never sinned" =/= "Person of the Trinity" 



Thank you, Mor, for your clarification.

I have met a few ex-Catholics who are now Orthodox Christians, and who trip all over themselves attacking the Roman Catholic Church to prove their new found loyalty to Orthodoxy. That is not necessary. In fact, it can be hurtful and turn off devout Catholics to the truth about Orthodoxy.

Met. Kallistos Ware's book shows a healthy balance. St. Siluan of Mt. Athos also believed that Our Lady the Theotokos was born without sin and never committed any sins.
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« Reply #31 on: December 05, 2013, 06:03:54 PM »

A wonderful link in relation to Nicholas Cabasilas; his life and his work:

http://modeoflife.org/2012/06/22/st-nicholas-cabasilas-and-the-life-in-christ/
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« Reply #32 on: December 05, 2013, 08:50:33 PM »

A wonderful link in relation to Nicholas Cabasilas; his life and his work:

http://modeoflife.org/2012/06/22/st-nicholas-cabasilas-and-the-life-in-christ/

From the link...



That can't feel good!  Shocked

But apart from that, thank you for the link. I will have to return tomorrow to read it, but I do much enjoy what I've read of/by St. Nicholas Cabasilas. Smiley
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« Reply #33 on: December 05, 2013, 08:54:30 PM »

So y'all are saying Fr. Anthony Coniaris in his book "Introducing the Orthodox Church" and Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburg in his essay on "The Dogmatic Tradition of the Orthodox Church" on the goarch web site in which he refers to St. John Chrysostom's belief that Mary committed the sin of vanity or was not exempt from venial sins are all wrong?  Just...wow.
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« Reply #34 on: December 05, 2013, 09:00:42 PM »

So y'all are saying Fr. Anthony Coniaris in his book "Introducing the Orthodox Church" and Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburg in his essay on "The Dogmatic Tradition of the Orthodox Church" on the goarch web site in which he refers to St. John Chrysostom's belief that Mary committed the sin of vanity or was not exempt from venial sins are all wrong?  Just...wow.

Yes, just wow!

No one is infallible in the Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #35 on: December 05, 2013, 09:20:21 PM »

No one is infallible in the Orthodox Church.

Regardless, what I've learned makes more sense to me than what I'm now reading here, so I'll just take the word of one who mentored my own priest and we'll all be wrong together.
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« Reply #36 on: December 05, 2013, 09:23:46 PM »

So y'all are saying Fr. Anthony Coniaris in his book "Introducing the Orthodox Church" and Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburg in his essay on "The Dogmatic Tradition of the Orthodox Church" on the goarch web site in which he refers to St. John Chrysostom's belief that Mary committed the sin of vanity or was not exempt from venial sins are all wrong?  Just...wow.

I have not read Fr Coniaris or Met. Maximos, so I can't really comment on their writings except based on your comments.  If your summary is accurate, then yes, I would say they are wrong.  If I have to choose between a Metropolitan or the Menaion, I'm choosing the Menaion.      
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« Reply #37 on: December 05, 2013, 10:11:48 PM »

The Orthodox Church believes that the Theotokos was cleansed of sin at the Annunciation once she had agreed to God's request.

No, it doesn't.  This might be your own personal belief, or even the belief of recent theologians who were influenced too much by Lutheranism or Roman Catholicism, but this is not the doctrine of the Church.


Christina is correct:

The descent of the Holy Spirit has purified my soul; it has sanctified my body: it has made me a temple containing God, a divinely adorned Tabernacle, a living Sanctuary, and the pure Mother of Life. (from ode 7, Canon at Matins for the Annunciation)

Lex orandi, lex credendi.

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« Reply #38 on: December 05, 2013, 10:46:02 PM »

The Orthodox Church believes that the Theotokos was cleansed of sin at the Annunciation once she had agreed to God's request.

No, it doesn't.  This might be your own personal belief, or even the belief of recent theologians who were influenced too much by Lutheranism or Roman Catholicism, but this is not the doctrine of the Church.


Christina is correct:

The descent of the Holy Spirit has purified my soul; it has sanctified my body: it has made me a temple containing God, a divinely adorned Tabernacle, a living Sanctuary, and the pure Mother of Life. (from ode 7, Canon at Matins for the Annunciation)

Lex orandi, lex credendi.



Lex orandi, lex credendi indeed, but I am not at all sure that the hymnography is trying to say that the Theotokos was not pure before the Spirit descended on her at the Annunciation.  Surely there is more in the ineffable descent of the Spirit on the Theotokos at the time of her conception than simply making her "sinless."   Why, the hymnography itself is struggling to say this, but words are simply inadequate to express this inconceivable Mystery!  Who knows, reallly....how much did the Spirit descend on the Theotokos before the incredible epiklesis under discussion?  If you want to look at hymnography, why not consider the kontakion of the feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple?:

The most pure Temple of the Saviour; the precious Chamber and Virgin; the sacred Treasure of the glory of God, is presented today to the house of the Lord.  She brings with her the grace of the Spirit, which the angels of God do praise.  Truly this woman is the Abode of Heaven!

This kontakion affirms that even at the tender age of 3, the Theotokos was "the most pure Temple of the Saviour, etc." and that she brought with her into the Holy of Holies the "grace of the Spirit"!    I will grant you, though, that a lot of her ineffable holiness does seem to our puny minds to have to do with her being the "living Temple of God".  But can we really understand the depths of her holiness or if there was a point when she was cleansed of all "residual" sin?

Also, even if the ode of the canon does support Christina's assertion, which I don't believe it does, it would take more than one ode from a canon at matins to make this a widely-adhered-to Church teaching.  Maybe you have noticed someone from earlier in Church history teaching the concept expressed by Christina, but I have not seen it turn up anywhere until quite late in the game, maybe the last two hundred years or even less?  

I believe some fathers do talk about the Theotokos receiving something special at the Annunciation, but it is understood in terms of more Grace rather than "purification from sin".  It is thought of, if you will, as making perfection more perfect, if that were possible.  Perfection is not thought of as being unmoving, but rather dynamic and growing.

So, in the end, I do not agree that there was some point where the All-Holy was somehow "cleansed from all sin."  It seems much too juridical a thing to say in the face of this Mystery, in some ways akin to an Orthodox version of the Immaculate Conception

Really, this is all such a great Mystery, I am fearful even writing about it when it gets to this level.
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« Reply #39 on: December 05, 2013, 10:46:18 PM »

Christina is correct:

The descent of the Holy Spirit has purified my soul; it has sanctified my body: it has made me a temple containing God, a divinely adorned Tabernacle, a living Sanctuary, and the pure Mother of Life. (from ode 7, Canon at Matins for the Annunciation)

Lex orandi, lex credendi.



I don't think it's as simple as "Christina is correct", LBK (no offence, Christina!).  I see your 25 March Matins Canon and raise you two 21 November Matins Canons*:

Quote
Today has the temple become a wedding adornment and a fair chamber for the Virgin, as it receives the living Bridal Chamber of God, pure and without spot, she who shines more brightly than all the creation.

David, leading the dance, leaps in gladness and rejoices with us, and thee, O undefiled and all-pure Virgin, he calls the Queen, clad in raiment of many-coloured needlework, standing in the temple before the King and God.

First Canon, Ode 3

Quote
Be glad today, O Joachim, and rejoice exceedingly in spirit, O Ann, who now present unto the Lord your daughter, as a three-year old victim of sacrifice, holy and utterly without spot.

Second Canon, Ode 3

Quote
The ewe-lamb without blemish, the pure dove, is brought as an offering to dwell in the house of God: the undefiled Virgin who was foreordained to become the Mother of God.  

A child in the flesh but perfect in soul, the holy Ark enters into the house of God, there to feed upon divine grace.  

Second Canon, Ode 6

Quote
Mary without spot rejoiced in body and spirit, dwelling as a sacred vessel in the temple of the Lord.

Second Canon, Ode 7

Quote
"Truly this act is in accordance with the Law", said the priest to her.  "I perceive that this is a thing wholly strange: for I see led into the house of God her who wondrously surpasses the sanctuary in grace.  Therefore I cry in joy: O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord."

"Hearing thy words", said Ann to him, "I am filled with new strength.  For thou dost understand these things by the Spirit of God, and hast clearly announced what shall come to pass in the Virgin.  Take, then, the Undefiled into the temple of thy Creator, and sing unto Him in joy: O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord."  

First Canon, Ode 8

Quote
Thy wonders, O pure Theotokos, surpass the power of words.  For in thee I see something beyond speech: a body that was never subject to the taint of sin.  Therefore in thanksgiving I cry to thee: O pure Virgin, thou art truly high above all.

First Canon, Ode 9



*Mother Mary and Archimandrite Kallistos Ware, tr.  The Festal Menaion (South Canaan, PA: St Tikhon's Seminary Press, 1998). 
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« Reply #40 on: December 05, 2013, 11:14:55 PM »

Whatever one calls it, I don't believe that the Virgin Mary ever sinned in any way - so I could never in good conscience say otherwise.  Also, I pray my rosary everyday.  Just thinking of the words of the prayers themselves, I don't think there is anything un-Orthodox in them.  I can't see myself giving up that private devotion either.  Would any of this make conversion to Orthodoxy unadvisable or impossible?  

The Orthodox Church believes that the Theotokos was cleansed of sin at the Annunciation once she had agreed to God's request.  She is venerated because of Jesus and not separately from Him, but she is the best example of man's free will accepting God's offer of salvation.  I think it's spiritually dangerous to believe she was born without sin or never sinned as she isn't, in fact, the 4th person of the Trinity.

Yes, it does say that Faith will save you but think for moment about that Faith.  Would not Faith manifest itself through good works, or are good works the results of having a deep Faith in Jesus?  Of course. One follows the other and I think this is what James was referring to.
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« Reply #41 on: December 06, 2013, 12:01:25 AM »

Christina is correct:

The descent of the Holy Spirit has purified my soul; it has sanctified my body: it has made me a temple containing God, a divinely adorned Tabernacle, a living Sanctuary, and the pure Mother of Life. (from ode 7, Canon at Matins for the Annunciation)

Lex orandi, lex credendi.



I don't think it's as simple as "Christina is correct", LBK (no offence, Christina!).  I see your 25 March Matins Canon and raise you two 21 November Matins Canons*:

Quote
Today has the temple become a wedding adornment and a fair chamber for the Virgin, as it receives the living Bridal Chamber of God, pure and without spot, she who shines more brightly than all the creation.

David, leading the dance, leaps in gladness and rejoices with us, and thee, O undefiled and all-pure Virgin, he calls the Queen, clad in raiment of many-coloured needlework, standing in the temple before the King and God.

First Canon, Ode 3

Quote
Be glad today, O Joachim, and rejoice exceedingly in spirit, O Ann, who now present unto the Lord your daughter, as a three-year old victim of sacrifice, holy and utterly without spot.

Second Canon, Ode 3

Quote
The ewe-lamb without blemish, the pure dove, is brought as an offering to dwell in the house of God: the undefiled Virgin who was foreordained to become the Mother of God.  

A child in the flesh but perfect in soul, the holy Ark enters into the house of God, there to feed upon divine grace.  

Second Canon, Ode 6

Quote
Mary without spot rejoiced in body and spirit, dwelling as a sacred vessel in the temple of the Lord.

Second Canon, Ode 7

Quote
"Truly this act is in accordance with the Law", said the priest to her.  "I perceive that this is a thing wholly strange: for I see led into the house of God her who wondrously surpasses the sanctuary in grace.  Therefore I cry in joy: O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord."

"Hearing thy words", said Ann to him, "I am filled with new strength.  For thou dost understand these things by the Spirit of God, and hast clearly announced what shall come to pass in the Virgin.  Take, then, the Undefiled into the temple of thy Creator, and sing unto Him in joy: O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord."  

First Canon, Ode 8

Quote
Thy wonders, O pure Theotokos, surpass the power of words.  For in thee I see something beyond speech: a body that was never subject to the taint of sin.  Therefore in thanksgiving I cry to thee: O pure Virgin, thou art truly high above all.

First Canon, Ode 9



*Mother Mary and Archimandrite Kallistos Ware, tr.  The Festal Menaion (South Canaan, PA: St Tikhon's Seminary Press, 1998). 

Frankly you both could use a little help in the genre criticism area.

ROBOTRON,

SEE THIS -------^

AND THIS:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum

There is a lot of criticism and conflict and reason within the Orthodox Church. It sounds from all your posts you have had a rather unbalanced sampling.

Hang in there. I like your style!
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« Reply #42 on: December 06, 2013, 12:08:16 AM »

Frankly you both could use a little help in the genre criticism area.

What do you recommend?  I know what I was doing.  Wink
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« Reply #43 on: December 06, 2013, 01:11:30 AM »

Christina is correct:

The descent of the Holy Spirit has purified my soul; it has sanctified my body: it has made me a temple containing God, a divinely adorned Tabernacle, a living Sanctuary, and the pure Mother of Life. (from ode 7, Canon at Matins for the Annunciation)

Lex orandi, lex credendi.



I don't think it's as simple as "Christina is correct", LBK (no offence, Christina!).  I see your 25 March Matins Canon and raise you two 21 November Matins Canons*:

Quote
Today has the temple become a wedding adornment and a fair chamber for the Virgin, as it receives the living Bridal Chamber of God, pure and without spot, she who shines more brightly than all the creation.

David, leading the dance, leaps in gladness and rejoices with us, and thee, O undefiled and all-pure Virgin, he calls the Queen, clad in raiment of many-coloured needlework, standing in the temple before the King and God.

First Canon, Ode 3

Quote
Be glad today, O Joachim, and rejoice exceedingly in spirit, O Ann, who now present unto the Lord your daughter, as a three-year old victim of sacrifice, holy and utterly without spot.

Second Canon, Ode 3

Quote
The ewe-lamb without blemish, the pure dove, is brought as an offering to dwell in the house of God: the undefiled Virgin who was foreordained to become the Mother of God.  

A child in the flesh but perfect in soul, the holy Ark enters into the house of God, there to feed upon divine grace.  

Second Canon, Ode 6

Quote
Mary without spot rejoiced in body and spirit, dwelling as a sacred vessel in the temple of the Lord.

Second Canon, Ode 7

Quote
"Truly this act is in accordance with the Law", said the priest to her.  "I perceive that this is a thing wholly strange: for I see led into the house of God her who wondrously surpasses the sanctuary in grace.  Therefore I cry in joy: O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord."

"Hearing thy words", said Ann to him, "I am filled with new strength.  For thou dost understand these things by the Spirit of God, and hast clearly announced what shall come to pass in the Virgin.  Take, then, the Undefiled into the temple of thy Creator, and sing unto Him in joy: O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord."  

First Canon, Ode 8

Quote
Thy wonders, O pure Theotokos, surpass the power of words.  For in thee I see something beyond speech: a body that was never subject to the taint of sin.  Therefore in thanksgiving I cry to thee: O pure Virgin, thou art truly high above all.

First Canon, Ode 9



*Mother Mary and Archimandrite Kallistos Ware, tr.  The Festal Menaion (South Canaan, PA: St Tikhon's Seminary Press, 1998). 

Indeed!

Did not Roman Catholics use these very quotations as part of their proofs from the Holy Fathers that Our Lady is the Immaculate One?
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« Reply #44 on: December 06, 2013, 03:28:21 AM »

Quote
I do take my faith very seriously since it is through it that we are saved
Though this may be true to a certain extent, please keep in mind that if any protestant read this, he would agree with you entirely. 
We are saved through faith. Read St. Paul.

Actually we are saved through works. Though the "work of faith," as St. Paul called it, is an important one.
If you want to exegete Paul, go ahead. But if St. Paul said something a certain way, then it's Orthodox to say it that certain way, wouldn't you say?
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« Reply #45 on: December 06, 2013, 03:33:08 AM »

I don't know Greek, so I am in the dark mostly. I know he spoke of things like a "work of faith, labour of love" and such in English translation though, so that's sort of what I'm going with. I also don't see a reason to make something not a work just because it is a mental activity. I think St. Paul spoke against trying to be justified by fulfilling the law or doing such deeds as some type of merit-earning act, as St. James also did, but I think that's different than the works that we do as part of the process of our salvation.
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« Reply #46 on: December 07, 2013, 02:13:06 AM »

If someone says we're saved through faith, and someone else freaks out and adds a bunch of disclaimers, I think that's a bit reactionary.
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« Reply #47 on: December 07, 2013, 05:35:32 AM »

But is it reactionary to move the discussion to where it should be- that is, what is "faith" exactly? Is it just a belief, or does it involve actually doing/not doing certain things? I think part of the reason some feel the need to add disclaimers is that the definition of "faith" has become so diluted by this point in history as to not mean what even the translators of (say) the KJV would have meant.

Given the season, think of "Deck the Halls"- doesn't the whole line about "Don we now our gay apparel" almost beg for disclaimers? Would it be possible that someone a hundred years from now might take that line to mean butt-less chaps and Village People costumes are traditional Christmas wear?
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« Reply #48 on: December 07, 2013, 07:15:10 PM »

I have a question.  I know that our faith is expressed in the services of the Church, but to what extent do we believe that the kontakions and other parts of the services for say, the Entrance of the Theotokos, are infallible?  When were these services written, since we know these feasts were not part of the early Church?  I really am curious and not trying to stir up any argument.  The authors often put words into the mouths of Biblical figures; were they inspired by the Holy Spirit as to what they were writing?

We can easily look to the Fathers for a consensus on certain issues, but that process doesn't work with the hymns and written services.
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« Reply #49 on: December 07, 2013, 11:38:15 PM »


We can easily look to the Fathers for a consensus on certain issues, but that process doesn't work with the hymns and written services.

On the contrary. The hymnography of the Church is indeed proclaiming the consensus patrum, what is believed by all Orthodox everywhere, irrespective of geographic location or jurisdiction. Individual saints and Fathers might differ in their views on many matters, but the hymns and canonical icons of the Church do not, in what they teach and proclaim.
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« Reply #50 on: December 08, 2013, 08:12:50 PM »

Hello,  this is my first post although I have been checking out the comments here off and on for a while.  I'm sure my questions have been answered repeatedly, but as I am new and well-intentioned, please be patient and indulge me if possible.

I am currently Catholic, but am interested in becoming Orthodox.  I've thought about conversion to Orthodoxy for some time, first in 1997 after a few horrible, disillusioning years in the seminary, but more seriously since 2008 after reading 3 books that really impacted me: The Sayings of the Desert Fathers, the Way of a Pilgrim, and The Mountain of Silence.  Two months ago, I emailed my local Catholic parish priest and did not get a reply.  About a month ago, I emailed the local ROCOR parish, just asking what is involved in the process for a Catholic converting to Orthodoxy, but again I got no answer.  I'm sure both are very busy, so I understand that, but it doesn't help me at all in my discernment, so I thought I would seek advice here.  

For a number of reasons, in my heart, I no longer believe that the Catholic church is the one founded by Christ (no offense intended toward anyone who believes it is).  That being said, I do believe Jesus founded a real, visible, sacramental Church on the Apostles and so looking to the Orthodox Church seems to me to be the next logical step.  

Hey, congrats on looking into the Orthodox Faith.  I too was once Roman Catholic.  Your certainly not alone in that regard.  Are there other Orthodox parishes nearby?  You could email the priest there, or just visit the ROCOR parish.
And don't let any theological debate on this forum discourage you!
Praying for you!
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« Reply #51 on: December 08, 2013, 08:16:18 PM »

Welcome to the forums. As with any community, you'll find disagreements amongst members (see above). The best advice someone can give you at this point in your journey is to open communication with an Orthodox priest. Are there any parishes near by? If so, I'd advise that you visit them (look up their service schedules) and get a feel for the clergy there. When you meet a priest who strikes a chord with you, explain to him your situation and your intentions. He'll be able to best guide you further. That's not to say that getting advice elsewhere is fruitless, but it's important early on to establish a relationship with your priest, as you will be obedient to him (and the bishop under which he serves) as a member of the Church.
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« Reply #52 on: December 09, 2013, 12:41:12 AM »

I have a question.  I know that our faith is expressed in the services of the Church, but to what extent do we believe that the kontakions and other parts of the services for say, the Entrance of the Theotokos, are infallible?

I would say that they aren't "infallible" in the sense that the way the hymns describe a given event is exactly how it happened.  For example, every Tuesday evening in our (Syriac) Vespers, we sing a hymn in which our Lady speaks to her infant Son, asking how it is possible that she has borne him, and asking him to command the cherubim and the seraphim to draw back their wings, with which they protect him, so that she can enter within and nurse him who provides for and nourishes all creation.  Did that happen exactly like that?  Probably not.  But the hymn is conveying truth: that God truly became man through a Virgin Mother, attended by the host of heaven because he is God, and cared for by his Mother because he's human; all of creation depends on him for its very existence, and he depends on his Mother for his life.  

Similarly, the hymns of the Entrance of the Theotokos always give me a bit of trouble in terms of history.  The tradition of the Church is that she was raised not just in the Temple but in the Holy of Holies.  That's not in Scripture, of course, and everything we read in Scripture regarding the Holy of Holies makes this seem impossible: or if it did happen, people would've talked, and it would've been known.  Personally, I don't know what to make of it in terms of history.  But the texts of the service, to me, don't focus on the history as much as they use the story as a sort of springboard to meditate on Mary in the light of Christ.  In teaching us who Mary is, we gain an insight into who Christ is, or we confirm our faith in who Christ is.  

In that sense and in similar senses, yes, the texts are infallible because the truths they teach are infallible, being essential to the gospel or deriving from the gospel.  The texts we sing are the texts we pray as the Church, and when we sing and pray them, they are the voice of the Church, the confession of the Church, the pillar and foundation of the truth.  But are they true in terms of their history?  In some cases, we can and must say yes.  In others, we can't be so sure.  But in both cases, there is something deeper which is or ought to be the focus.        

Quote
When were these services written, since we know these feasts were not part of the early Church?  I really am curious and not trying to stir up any argument.  The authors often put words into the mouths of Biblical figures; were they inspired by the Holy Spirit as to what they were writing?

Depending on the feast, some were indeed part of the early Church.  The texts of the services as we have them may have come later, of course, but Pascha, Pentecost, Christmas, Epiphany, some feasts of martyrs, etc. are fairly early.  

As to how old the services are, it's probably easier to ask about specific services.  For instance, the Paschal Canon was written by St John of Damascus sometime ca. 7th century, the custom of venerating the Cross on Good Friday goes back at least to the 4th century, and so on.  

I don't think the liturgical texts were written by authors inspired by the Holy Spirit in the same way as the Scriptures.  But the texts were written by people of deep faith, profound theological insight, and spiritual and ascetic practice, who prayed as they composed, and gave their prayer to the Church for her to pray.  Whether accepted as is or developed further, the Church made that prayer her own, and the Holy Spirit dwells in the Church, in the saints.  It's a different process from the writing of the Scriptures, but there is still a cooperation of sorts between the Holy Spirit and the Church from which these texts arise.  

Quote
We can easily look to the Fathers for a consensus on certain issues, but that process doesn't work with the hymns and written services.

Actually, I think it's easier to find consensus within the liturgical texts than it is to find consensus in the patristic writings.  But you have to understand what the liturgy is doing, what it is not doing, and how to understand it and use it on its own terms.    
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« Reply #53 on: December 09, 2013, 01:00:52 AM »

Similarly, the hymns of the Entrance of the Theotokos always give me a bit of trouble in terms of history.  The tradition of the Church is that she was raised not just in the Temple but in the Holy of Holies.  That's not in Scripture, of course, and everything we read in Scripture regarding the Holy of Holies makes this seem impossible: or if it did happen, people would've talked, and it would've been known.  Personally, I don't know what to make of it in terms of history.  But the texts of the service, to me, don't focus on the history as much as they use the story as a sort of springboard to meditate on Mary in the light of Christ.  In teaching us who Mary is, we gain an insight into who Christ is, or we confirm our faith in who Christ is.

Interestingly, on the Feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos the bishop was present and gave a short talk after the Liturgy. He univocally said the event as described not historical and completely impossible to have ever happened, but that it did in fact affirm dogmatic truth beyond the described event. IIRC he went on to say part of it was to affirm the Theotokos as the new Ark of the Covenant, etc., but I can't remember too well at the moment.

Either way, just agreeing that they are infallible in the truths taught, even if some are not in terms of literal historicity.
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« Reply #54 on: December 09, 2013, 01:05:39 AM »

Interestingly, on the Feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos the bishop was present and gave a short talk after the Liturgy. He univocally said the event as described not historical and completely impossible to have ever happened, but that it did in fact affirm dogmatic truth beyond the described event. IIRC he went on to say part of it was to affirm the Theotokos as the new Ark of the Covenant, etc., but I can't remember too well at the moment.

Either way, just agreeing that they are infallible in the truths taught, even if some are not in terms of literal historicity.

I sympathise with the bishop, obviously, but I wouldn't go so far as to say the "history" described in the service is "completely impossible".  On that basis, we'd also have to throw out the Incarnation, the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, and a bunch of other things.  It certainly seems impossible, but that's about as far as I'm willing to go with that. 
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« Reply #55 on: December 09, 2013, 01:26:09 AM »

I sympathise with the bishop, obviously, but I wouldn't go so far as to say the "history" described in the service is "completely impossible".  On that basis, we'd also have to throw out the Incarnation, the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, and a bunch of other things.  It certainly seems impossible, but that's about as far as I'm willing to go with that. 

I think the "impossibility" of those points and the Feast are qualitatively different. He, and another priest (a professor and expert in ancient Judaism, who seemed to share his view), might say it's impossible in that the Sadducees simply would never have permitted it or something along those lines. Their reasoning may be more than that, but IDK. It also seems that Fr. Thomas Hopko doesn't view the event as historical either, interestingly.

Honestly, while I definitely lean toward denying its literal historicity, I don't think it really matters so long as the dogmatic purposes of the Feast are affirmed.
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« Reply #56 on: December 11, 2013, 03:48:37 AM »

ROBOTRON, SEE THIS -------^ AND THIS:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum

There is a lot of criticism and conflict and reason within the Orthodox Church. It sounds from all your posts you have had a rather unbalanced sampling.

Hang in there. I like your style!
Thanks for your supportive statement.  I really am trying..., perhaps way too hard.
Could you re-post the above link.  It just takes me back to the forum.


All these subjective discussions seem irrelevant to me at the moment.
Anything could be anything, when your statements are unprovable in the absolute.
Quoting the myth-books, the bible, or the church canons?
It seems all about what audience you are trying to please (what faith you proclaim)
than any absolute essence about anything stated in them.

My issue about converting to Orthodoxy being a "logical step" was meant as a categorical (absolute, objective) statement.
I do not believe it is possible to ever reach that conclusion (logically, that is).
I'm not saying if it is right or wrong to convert or not; I just cannot see it as a "logical step".
If anyone on this board believes that it is, please tell me how it is?  I truly don't know (but I'd like to) [It would really help.]
It seems to me that it could only ever be a subjective choice to convert.  Not a "logical step".

My only question all along is what is the absolute essence of being Orthodox?
Being born into an Orthodox family that baptizes you as an infant is One of them.
Are there any other or none other? 
I see all this Hyperdox Herman stuff that appears to be cradles lording their superiority over converts.
The Original Christians were all converts so this is a violation of Matt 28:19-20 "Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
Neither the cradles nor the converts seem to know the essential essence of Orthodoxy.
That's what Hyperdox Herman says to me.  This is not for cradles to be proud of, or to make fun of.
Why not at least follow the bible and set an example then, instead of making fun of those you are supposed to be teaching?
(I understand that Hyperdox Herman may have been meant as a joke, and that part is okay; but that's not what I mean.)

Here are 3 specific examples of what I'm trying to say:

1.  The reversal of Hyperdox Herman (that I'm guilty of myself) came up in the Robert Hanssen case, with him being in Opus Dei.
I'll admit to not knowing what Opus Dei even is, but to be a RC Clergy you must be Celibate and that is a major sacrifice.
It does not seem normal for an ordinary parishioner to be that obsessed with the Catholic Church, unless you are clergy material.
It did not add anything to my personal appraisal of him to be that obsessed with the catholic religion as an ordinary person.
It seemed more symptomatic of a problem than a good thing.  Perhaps that is what Hyperdox Herman means?  I don't know.
Most Catholics I know serve under obligation more than by personal choice.  (Not meant to offend anyone, sorry.)
I would just have recommended to him that he is not scoring any points by pretending to be a zealot.

2.  I just ask for the "bare minimum" of Orthodoxy, which got criticism here, but no real clarification that I remember.
What is the "bare minimum" of Orthodoxy?
Here is my 2nd example then.  I was in the hospital and happened to be visited by 2 Orthodox Priests there (for the 1st time)
who showed up dressed as Orthodox priests. 
Either coincident to that or right after they left, a Roman Catholic Priests showed up, and I asked him for communion.
To my shock, (for the 1st and only time ever), he actually challenged me about whether I was Roman Catholic and he didn't believe me.
The way he asked me to prove that I was RC was to recite the "Our Father" prayer.
This is perhaps what I mean about the "essence" or "bare minimum".
(Just to clarify, it was not the prayer he was after but the specific pronunciation of the words he cared about.  You know, saying the prayer the exact Roman Catholic Way, that would have mattered.)
How can you prove what you are, short of presenting a baptismal certificate to a priest that challenges you?
I recited the "Our Father" prayer that I had memorized as a child, and he gave me communion.
What would an Orthodox Priests ask of you, to prove you are Orthodox?     


3.  This is the main example that I have which causes me problems about calling Orthodox conversion a "logical step".
I will quote this directly out of the posting rules, since that's where the issue came up for me:
Academic Discourse -- Practically speaking, academic discussion means not referring to figures on your side as "St. so and so" while referring to figures of the other party as "the heretic so and so."

This gets to the essence of what the problem is.
How is it possible for the determination of whether someone is a Saint or a Heretic to be about which side you are on?
It should be about an objective evaluation of the Saint, themselves.

It seems to me that everything about Orthodoxy is in the eye of the beholder (which side you are on).
What is the basic essence of being Orthodox? 
Is there anything that is not completely subjective?
Can you only be born Orthodox?
If so, then how can you say you are right to someone who was born Roman Catholic,
if you have no available tools to accept them into your own church?



I apologize in advance to anyone I might have offended by this post. 
I'm just seeking the truth, and don't really know how to find it anywhere.
Thanks for you help.  Positive comments are always appreciated.
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« Reply #57 on: December 11, 2013, 05:50:08 AM »

Can you try to work on stylistics? I mean trying to write in paragraphs, not to exclaim single sentences one after another?

Here is my 2nd example then.  I was in the hospital and happened to be visited by 2 Orthodox Priests there (for the 1st time)
who showed up dressed as Orthodox priests. 
Either coincident to that or right after they left, a Roman Catholic Priests showed up, and I asked him for communion.
To my shock, (for the 1st and only time ever), he actually challenged me about whether I was Roman Catholic and he didn't believe me.
The way he asked me to prove that I was RC was to recite the "Our Father" prayer.
This is perhaps what I mean about the "essence" or "bare minimum".
(Just to clarify, it was not the prayer he was after but the specific pronunciation of the words he cared about.  You know, saying the prayer the exact Roman Catholic Way, that would have mattered.)
How can you prove what you are, short of presenting a baptismal certificate to a priest that challenges you?
I recited the "Our Father" prayer that I had memorized as a child, and he gave me communion.

Orthodox priest gave you Communion? Not nice, not nice at all.

Quote
If so, then how can you say you are right to someone who was born Roman Catholic, if you have no available tools to accept them into your own church?

We have, baptism, chrismation and Communion.
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« Reply #58 on: December 11, 2013, 06:14:45 AM »


Orthodox priest gave you Communion? Not nice, not nice at all.


Michal, please read Robotron's post carefully. He was given communion by an RC priest, not an Orthodox one.
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« Reply #59 on: December 11, 2013, 06:19:07 AM »


Orthodox priest gave you Communion? Not nice, not nice at all.


Michal, please read Robotron's post carefully. He was given communion by an RC priest, not an Orthodox one.

Right.
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« Reply #60 on: December 13, 2013, 11:43:55 AM »


Quote
If so, then how can you say you are right to someone who was born Roman Catholic, if you have no available tools to accept them into your own church?

We have, baptism, chrismation and Communion.

you are being facetious again. As someone who spent two years of their life in serious inquiry and catechesis in the Eastern Orthodox faith, I defend Robotron in his assertions. I believe I was in the hands of ex-protestant converts who aim to 'break' Catholics. The orthodox after supposedly 2000yrs of existance have NO systematic method of converting anyone not born orthodox. As to how those ex-protestants got in, cradles you are allowing your church to be diluted by the vanity of wanting to boost your numbers. Look to a person's character, not their purse when you accept catechumens. If they spew anti-Catholic rhetoric, they may not be orthodox. The foxes are in the hen house.
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« Reply #61 on: December 13, 2013, 01:44:05 PM »

Your posts do not express serious inquiring, quite the contrary.
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« Reply #62 on: December 15, 2013, 01:25:37 PM »

My only question all along is what is the absolute essence of being Orthodox?
Being born into an Orthodox family that baptizes you as an infant is One of them.
Are there any other or none other? 

The Original Christians were all converts so this is a violation of Matt 28:19-20 "Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

Neither the cradles nor the converts seem to know the essential essence of Orthodoxy.


Your posts do not express serious inquiring, quite the contrary.

Dear Michal:
Thank you for proving my last point about not knowing the essential essence of Orthodoxy.
You try to turn the tables and say it is not the Church's obligation to teach, but the inquirer's obligation to force them to teach?
I'm saying you cannot be a part of a true church if there is no way to receive someone into it.

You must not like the idea that an RC Priest can determine I'm a cradle RC just by reciting one prayer in a specific manner.
All you can do is condemn the fact that he gave me communion?
I guess you have no (absolute/quick) way to prove you are Orthodox to anyone, do you?

I appreciate your response because what you are saying is the church is full of shallow people who can care less about inquirers.
That actually helps me not to fear anyone anymore.  I'm not a mind-reader and they don't care.  Just refuse to teach and only condemn.
That isn't Christianity but according to my prior faith, acting like a bunch of Pharisees.
But it also makes you no better than RC's then, as I would hope for better than an RC mentality. 
I'm not sure if I'm interested in converting to Orthodoxy if it is just another flavor of RC-ism.  That demystifies it.

If you are born into the Orthodox faith, and I am born into the RC faith on what basis can you claim to be superior?
I mean this question rhetorically, not directly to you personally.

What if my immediate family is all RC and firm believers in that,
but I have some distant family several generations ago that was Originally Orthodox but converted to RC.
and now I say that I'm not satisfied with being an RC and may want to undo a family member's conversion to RC.

It is not my fault that I wasn't born into Orthodoxy, but that of ONE relative of mine several generations earlier.
I'll tell you what.  Because I have this great-grandparent who was born Orthodox I want to be considered born Orthodox too.

Why do I have such a greater burden than someone whose immediate parent was Orthodox?
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« Reply #63 on: December 15, 2013, 01:54:45 PM »

Can you try to work on stylistics? I mean trying to write in paragraphs, not to exclaim single sentences one after another?

That is my preferred writing style.  Sorry if you don't like it, but I should have a right to write my posts the way I so choose.
I do it to make my words more understandable.  But, that doesn't always work, unfortunately.

Quote
If so, then how can you say you are right to someone who was born Roman Catholic, if you have no available tools to accept them into your own church?

We have, baptism, chrismation and Communion.
[/quote]

Those only matter if they are accessible.
I am trying to figure out how to make them accessible.
But, I am not a mind reader, and cannot figure out how.
It is a very painful experience to try.

Thank you for letting me know it's not my fault.
 Violation of the purpose of the convert issue forum by taking an adversarial role in the Forum against the
 Violation of the purpose of the Convert Issue Forum by taking on an adversarial role in the Forum against the Orthodox Church. The convert issue forum is not a place for combative debate or arguement. 

 Your post moderation is set at 30 days and started on 12/15/2013, your posts will be moderated and posted in appropriate forums after review by the moderation team. Thomas,
Convert Issues Forum Moderator
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« Reply #64 on: December 16, 2013, 12:21:24 AM »

Robotron, as a moderator for the Convert Issues Forum, I agree that you have overstep the purpose of the Convert Issues Forum by your adversarial approach to this Forum, as such I will be asking that all posts you do in Convert Issues be reviewed before they will be posted. This is not a place for Roman Catholic apologetics or a place to attack the way the Holy Orthodox chooses to catechize their inquirers or how the various local Orthodox Churches choose to handle their catechumens.

I am sorry that we have to take this step however in view of you inappropriate posts and statements about the Holy Orthodox Church in general, your violation of the Convert Issues Forum Purpose has made strep necessary.

Thomas
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« Reply #65 on: December 18, 2013, 07:58:55 AM »

Ok.  I emailed the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese yesterday asking for information on what would be involved for a Catholic wishing to join the Antiochian Orthodox Church.  They replied saying I needed to contact my local Antiochian Orthodox priest.  I sent him an email and he replied that he would not talk about it via email and that we would need to meet in person.  I know I can't convert over the Internet.  I know I will need to speak in person with a priest, take classes, etc.  But could someone please just outline for me what is involved?  Are there official steps like inquirer, catechumen, etc?  How long is the process?  Is the process the same for a Catholic as opposed to a Jew or Muslim or even a Protestant?  I just want to get a general idea of what is in front of me before moving ahead.  Thanks again. Smiley
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« Reply #66 on: December 18, 2013, 08:20:22 AM »

But could someone please just outline for me what is involved?  Are there official steps like inquirer, catechumen, etc?  How long is the process?  Is the process the same for a Catholic as opposed to a Jew or Muslim or even a Protestant?  I just want to get a general idea of what is in front of me before moving ahead.  Thanks again. Smiley

Not really. Everything is decided on a case-by-case basis. It all depends where the inquirer comes from, where they are in their spiritual life, how much they have to learn as well as unlearn, how they learn, what they have difficulty with, etc.
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« Reply #67 on: December 18, 2013, 08:34:23 AM »

But could someone please just outline for me what is involved?  Are there official steps like inquirer, catechumen, etc?  How long is the process?  Is the process the same for a Catholic as opposed to a Jew or Muslim or even a Protestant?  I just want to get a general idea of what is in front of me before moving ahead.  Thanks again. Smiley

Not really. Everything is decided on a case-by-case basis. It all depends where the inquirer comes from, where they are in their spiritual life, how much they have to learn as well as unlearn, how they learn, what they have difficulty with, etc.

At any rate, I've heard it takes a long time to be fully accepted into the Church.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2013, 08:34:39 AM by xOrthodox4Christx » Logged

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« Reply #68 on: December 18, 2013, 09:08:16 AM »

But could someone please just outline for me what is involved?  Are there official steps like inquirer, catechumen, etc?  How long is the process?  Is the process the same for a Catholic as opposed to a Jew or Muslim or even a Protestant?  I just want to get a general idea of what is in front of me before moving ahead.  Thanks again. Smiley

Not really. Everything is decided on a case-by-case basis. It all depends where the inquirer comes from, where they are in their spiritual life, how much they have to learn as well as unlearn, how they learn, what they have difficulty with, etc.

At any rate, I've heard it takes a long time to be fully accepted into the Church.

It takes even longer to realize that one is a sinner and needs Christ in His Church.
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« Reply #69 on: December 18, 2013, 09:34:28 AM »

But could someone please just outline for me what is involved?  Are there official steps like inquirer, catechumen, etc?  How long is the process?  Is the process the same for a Catholic as opposed to a Jew or Muslim or even a Protestant?  I just want to get a general idea of what is in front of me before moving ahead.  Thanks again. Smiley

Not really. Everything is decided on a case-by-case basis. It all depends where the inquirer comes from, where they are in their spiritual life, how much they have to learn as well as unlearn, how they learn, what they have difficulty with, etc.

At any rate, I've heard it takes a long time to be fully accepted into the Church.

It takes even longer to realize that one is a sinner and needs Christ in His Church.

Not for me it doesn't.
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« Reply #70 on: December 18, 2013, 09:36:44 AM »

But could someone please just outline for me what is involved?  Are there official steps like inquirer, catechumen, etc?  How long is the process?  Is the process the same for a Catholic as opposed to a Jew or Muslim or even a Protestant?  I just want to get a general idea of what is in front of me before moving ahead.  Thanks again. Smiley

Not really. Everything is decided on a case-by-case basis. It all depends where the inquirer comes from, where they are in their spiritual life, how much they have to learn as well as unlearn, how they learn, what they have difficulty with, etc.

At any rate, I've heard it takes a long time to be fully accepted into the Church.

It takes even longer to realize that one is a sinner and needs Christ in His Church.

Not for me it doesn't.

Good for you.
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« Reply #71 on: December 21, 2013, 09:22:31 PM »

My only question all along is what is the absolute essence of being Orthodox?
Being born into an Orthodox family that baptizes you as an infant is One of them.
Are there any other or none other? 

The Original Christians were all converts so this is a violation of Matt 28:19-20 "Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

Neither the cradles nor the converts seem to know the essential essence of Orthodoxy.


Your posts do not express serious inquiring, quite the contrary.

Dear Michal:
Thank you for proving my last point about not knowing the essential essence of Orthodoxy.
You try to turn the tables and say it is not the Church's obligation to teach, but the inquirer's obligation to force them to teach?
I'm saying you cannot be a part of a true church if there is no way to receive someone into it.

You must not like the idea that an RC Priest can determine I'm a cradle RC just by reciting one prayer in a specific manner.
All you can do is condemn the fact that he gave me communion?
I guess you have no (absolute/quick) way to prove you are Orthodox to anyone, do you?

I appreciate your response because what you are saying is the church is full of shallow people who can care less about inquirers.
That actually helps me not to fear anyone anymore.  I'm not a mind-reader and they don't care.  Just refuse to teach and only condemn.
That isn't Christianity but according to my prior faith, acting like a bunch of Pharisees.
But it also makes you no better than RC's then, as I would hope for better than an RC mentality. 
I'm not sure if I'm interested in converting to Orthodoxy if it is just another flavor of RC-ism.  That demystifies it.

If you are born into the Orthodox faith, and I am born into the RC faith on what basis can you claim to be superior?
I mean this question rhetorically, not directly to you personally.

What if my immediate family is all RC and firm believers in that,
but I have some distant family several generations ago that was Originally Orthodox but converted to RC.
and now I say that I'm not satisfied with being an RC and may want to undo a family member's conversion to RC.

It is not my fault that I wasn't born into Orthodoxy, but that of ONE relative of mine several generations earlier.
I'll tell you what.  Because I have this great-grandparent who was born Orthodox I want to be considered born Orthodox too.

Why do I have such a greater burden than someone whose immediate parent was Orthodox?

Dear friend, don't be off put by anyone who is already Orthodox.  I guarantee you, Orthodoxy is NOT "another flavor of RC-ism".  As someone who used to be RC, I can tell you that Orthodoxy is Christ's Church, and that the RC church broke off.  Stay strong.   angel
Talk to the local Orthodox priest. 
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« Reply #72 on: December 31, 2013, 02:56:51 AM »

But could someone please just outline for me what is involved?  Are there official steps like inquirer, catechumen, etc?  How long is the process?  Is the process the same for a Catholic as opposed to a Jew or Muslim or even a Protestant?  I just want to get a general idea of what is in front of me before moving ahead.  Thanks again. Smiley

Not really. Everything is decided on a case-by-case basis. It all depends where the inquirer comes from, where they are in their spiritual life, how much they have to learn as well as unlearn, how they learn, what they have difficulty with, etc.


THIS.

A poster criticized us for not having a "systematic" way of accepting converts....I would contend that it is a great thing that there is no "systematic" way for the exact reasons above.


Meet with your priest, and they will determine the program that meets YOUR needs.
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