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Author Topic: The convert's post-something-grand-about-Orthodoxy thread  (Read 2973 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: May 23, 2014, 02:57:52 PM »

I thought this might be a nice exercise for we converts and would-be converts:  Post something that immediately appealed to you or blessed you upon contact with Orthodoxy.

Of course, a list of such things could be long, so I'm suggesting in each post we offer just one or two or three things that spring to memory. Mine for now:

  • The smell of incense
  • The privilege to adore the Theotokos
  • That I was joining a hundred generations in true friendship and worship
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« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2014, 03:01:28 PM »

Icons certainly pointed me to Christ's Church.  The immediate appeal was the deep sense of peace I have when I'm in Liturgy.
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« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2014, 03:08:41 PM »

I've always been a huge history buff, ever since I was a little kid.  The sense of history and the unbroken continuity of the Church has always held great appeal to me ever since I encountered it.
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« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2014, 03:19:02 PM »

The beauty of the singing.  Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2014, 03:57:27 PM »

A more overt sense of reverence, sacredness, and solemnity, in both thought and practice.
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« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2014, 04:27:43 PM »

The first line of the Liturgy spoken by the priest.
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« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2014, 04:43:52 PM »





They're better with bells.
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« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2014, 05:12:30 PM »

Well let's see.

The incense. I'd hardly ever encountered incense before and it's something that even now automatically makes me think of church.

The icons. The members here helped explain them before my first service because prior to that I didn't understand or agree with them at all.

The sense of reverence towards God everywhere. I distinctly remember a lady, while we were waiting outside before the Liturgy started, crossed herself at the doors of the church, then bowed ,before entering in, and once we got in people were venerating the icons first thing before finding a place to stand. It really said to me "we're in Church now, we need to behave as such". I thought (and still think) it was beautiful.
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« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2014, 05:37:13 PM »

1. The beauty of the Liturgy
2. The smell of incense
3. The icons
4. The bells
5. The candles
6. The reverence of the worshippers
7. The feeling of being transported to another world
8. No pews Smiley

Not necessarily in that order.
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« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2014, 06:08:08 PM »

  • The use of "fall asleep"
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« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2014, 06:16:52 PM »

A more overt sense of reverence, sacredness, and solemnity, in both thought and practice.

Yes, Yes, Yes!

The spirit of sobriety ...

In Roman Catholicism, we said during the Divine Office:
"Be sober, be watchful, for the devil like a roaring lion roams about the world, seeking those whom he may devour; resist him firm in the Faith." (St. Peter).

As part of Orthopraxis, St. Peter's admonition is the rule by which we live our lives especially during Great Lent when we experience the bright sadness of our Lord's Crucifixion, Burial, and Holy Resurrection.

Christ is Risen!

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« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2014, 06:29:48 PM »


  • The privilege to adore the Theotokos


Peter, the Orthodox do not adore the Mother of God. We venerate her. Adoration is for God alone.  police
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« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2014, 06:43:05 PM »

Theosis. Everything about Christianity makes more sense with theosis.
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« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2014, 07:00:50 PM »

Peter, the Orthodox do not adore the Mother of God. We venerate her. Adoration is for God alone.  police

Thank you. The kind of education an inquirer needs.

On a light note, maybe I would prefer 'ad' + 'oro', "to pray or plead toward", over 'veneror', with its root in 'venus' Wink ...

On a serious note: Can anyone point me to what the difference is in Greek?
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« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2014, 07:05:48 PM »

The Liturgy, particular its structure and repetition. A lot of people are turned off by that initially, but I felt right at home (coming from an Orthodox Jewish background). Didn't feel like that at any other Christian church I went to.
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« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2014, 07:06:02 PM »

Peter, the Orthodox do not adore the Mother of God. We venerate her. Adoration is for God alone.  police

Thank you. The kind of education an inquirer needs.

On a light note, maybe I would prefer 'ad' + 'oro', "to pray or plead toward", over 'veneror', with its root in 'venus' Wink ...

On a serious note: Can anyone point me to what the difference is in Greek?

Veneration is proskynesis, adoration is douleia.
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« Reply #16 on: May 23, 2014, 07:08:36 PM »

Peter, the Orthodox do not adore the Mother of God. We venerate her. Adoration is for God alone.  police

Thank you. The kind of education an inquirer needs.

On a light note, maybe I would prefer 'ad' + 'oro', "to pray or plead toward", over 'veneror', with its root in 'venus' Wink ...

On a serious note: Can anyone point me to what the difference is in Greek?

Veneration is proskynesis, adoration is douleia.

Thank you thank you. Smiley Smiley I love it. Cheesy
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« Reply #17 on: May 23, 2014, 07:44:48 PM »

Peter, the Orthodox do not adore the Mother of God. We venerate her. Adoration is for God alone.  police

Thank you. The kind of education an inquirer needs.

On a light note, maybe I would prefer 'ad' + 'oro', "to pray or plead toward", over 'veneror', with its root in 'venus' Wink ...

On a serious note: Can anyone point me to what the difference is in Greek?

Dear Peter,

As a linguist, I checked the meaning of adore to get the current definitions. I am using an ESL dictionary to benefit those on this forum who did not learn English as their First Language.

Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary, Second Edition, Cambridge UP, 2005, p 17.

Adore 1. - to love someone very much, especially in an admiring or respectful way, or to like something very much.
--adorable - describes a person or animal that makes you feel great affection ....
--adoration -- very strong love for someone
--adoring --showing very strong love for someone

Adore 2. - to worship.


According to other dictionaries which I have consulted, the word VENERATION can also have the same meaning as adore, so if I were to tell a Protestant that I venerate the Theotokos, they would most likely interpret my statement to mean that I adore her.

It is best to say that I honor the Most Holy Theotokos for she gave birth to our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ.
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« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2014, 07:56:10 PM »

Well, yes, in common speech the terms are synonyms. However, in theology and ecclesiology they are technical terms (that LBK is versed in and I wasn't). You can see it's a practical disadvantage not to come from a Roman Catholic or Anglican background. Oh and my comment on the Latin roots was just humor. Smiley
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« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2014, 08:58:48 PM »

Well, yes, in common speech the terms are synonyms. However, in theology and ecclesiology they are technical terms (that LBK is versed in and I wasn't). You can see it's a practical disadvantage not to come from a Roman Catholic or Anglican background. Oh and my comment on the Latin roots was just humor. Smiley

You must be aware that few of us on this board are "certified" in theology, and LBK is not a theologian, neither am I. The term "Theologian" is conferred by the Church, not by an academic committee.

For example, we have St. John the Theologian.

Theologians in the Orthodox Church are those who experience God through their prayers.  [Mystical experience]
Theologians in the Roman Catholic Church are those who have earned a doctorate degree. [Scholastic studies]


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« Reply #20 on: May 25, 2014, 07:06:28 AM »

Theologians in the Orthodox Church are those who experience God through their prayers.  [Mystical experience]
Theologians in the Roman Catholic Church are those who have earned a doctorate degree. [Scholastic studies]

Coming from Catholicism, that would be one of the things that attracts me the most about Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #21 on: May 25, 2014, 07:57:20 AM »

Walking into church and experiencing Liturgical worship for the first time
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« Reply #22 on: May 25, 2014, 09:02:34 AM »

The feeling of reverence during Liturgy, that we were in Gods presence!

The whole experience of all senses!  Wink
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« Reply #23 on: May 25, 2014, 09:50:42 AM »

Remembering our most holy, pure, blessed, and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and ever virgin Mary, with all the saints, let us commit ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God.

THIS.
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« Reply #24 on: May 25, 2014, 12:06:52 PM »

Dogmatics.
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« Reply #25 on: May 27, 2014, 11:21:06 PM »

It may not be something specific like the incense or the icons, but the first time I attended Vespers made a huge impact on me.  The only context in which I had experienced liturgical worship before had been the modern RC Mass.  In addition to the spiritual aspect of the service, it was just nice to be surrounded by people who didn't think it was weird to want to gather as a community and worship God more than one hour once a week on Sunday.
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« Reply #26 on: May 27, 2014, 11:23:09 PM »

It may not be something specific like the incense or the icons, but the first time I attended Vespers made a huge impact on me.  The only context in which I had experienced liturgical worship before had been the modern RC Mass.  In addition to the spiritual aspect of the service, it was just nice to be surrounded by people who didn't think it was weird to want to gather as a community and worship God more than one hour once a week on Sunday.

I consistently went to Vespers at my parish for several months and I learned a lot.  It was very peaceful, too.
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« Reply #27 on: May 27, 2014, 11:25:41 PM »

Dogmatics.

Sounds like it could be turned into a wonky title for a book translation: "Grand Dogmatics of the Orthodox Christian Faith"...
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« Reply #28 on: May 28, 2014, 10:23:07 AM »

Walking into church and experiencing Liturgical worship for the first time


Same here.
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« Reply #29 on: May 28, 2014, 10:29:48 AM »

Dogmatics.

Sounds like it could be turned into a wonky title for a book translation: "Grand Dogmatics of the Orthodox Christian Faith"...

You need to add something like "ancient" and "mystical" too.
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« Reply #30 on: May 28, 2014, 10:37:11 AM »

Dogmatics.

Sounds like it could be turned into a wonky title for a book translation: "Grand Dogmatics of the Orthodox Christian Faith"...

You need to add something like "ancient" and "mystical" too.
"Mystical Grand Dogmatics of the Ancient Orthodox Christian Faith" by Bp. Alpo of Finland
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« Reply #31 on: May 28, 2014, 05:05:31 PM »

Well, yes, in common speech the terms are synonyms. However, in theology and ecclesiology they are technical terms (that LBK is versed in and I wasn't). You can see it's a practical disadvantage not to come from a Roman Catholic or Anglican background. Oh and my comment on the Latin roots was just humor. Smiley

You must be aware that few of us on this board are "certified" in theology, and LBK is not a theologian, neither am I. The term "Theologian" is conferred by the Church, not by an academic committee.

For example, we have St. John the Theologian.

Theologians in the Orthodox Church are those who experience God through their prayers.  [Mystical experience]
Theologians in the Roman Catholic Church are those who have earned a doctorate degree. [Scholastic studies]




I do not know if that is how it is really treated in reality though
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« Reply #32 on: May 29, 2014, 12:22:27 AM »

That we still do so many of the things I had been reading in the ancient texts. The very real feel of connection between past, present, and future.

My wife would say the peace and the deep worship of God.
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« Reply #33 on: May 29, 2014, 06:14:19 AM »

I keep a sort of on-again, off-again journal when I can be bothered with it. After attending my very first Orthodox liturgy, I sat down and wrote this:

“…The most striking part of the Liturgy was the sheer gravity and reverence of it all. One could never dream of denying the presence of God in such a place. These people have such a reverence and respect for their faith; no, rather the Liturgy inspires a reverence in those that wish to find it. Perhaps both.

“The Liturgy and everything involved gives a great sense of holiness. I mean to say, it is very strange to see things considered holy in a church. There is a lackadaisical affect in the Protestant services that I know. Communion is a snack, worship is an out-of-tune guitar and some PowerPoint slides with a bad wannabe rock band. In the Liturgy, everything is done with tremendous reverence, as though one were in the physical presence of God Himself…

“The whole service centers around the Eucharist; what my Protestant brothers would know as ‘communion’. It bears no similarity at all. To the Protestant churches I have known, communion is some dry crackers in a bowl and individual plastic cups of Welches Grape Juice. It is passed around by the ushers for anyone to mash their grubby fingers into while they dig around for the biggest cracker.

“The pastor then spends 30 minutes lecturing on the unimportance of the communion. He tells you why it’s just a cracker; it’s just juice; we do it because Jesus said so. Anyone can take some without regard for their relationship with God; there is no preparation of the heart but for a moment of silence before chowing down. Leftovers are tossed in the trash and little cups are littered throughout the sanctuary leaving little red juice stains on the pews. Snackin’ for Jesus ™.

“But, to the Orthodox, the entirety of the Liturgy centers around its preparation. The elements are consecrated and set aside as holy before the Lord. It is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ… it is a divine mystery that cannot be explained. One must prepare to receive the Eucharist, fasting, prayer, and confession of sins are all absolutely necessary… even the remnants are considered holy, and they are treated as such…”

I went on and wrote about some other stuff too, but this was the main thing that really hit me hard about Orthodoxy. Coming from the non-denominational Protestant background that I knew my entire life, surrounded by all the “Jesus is my homeboy” dudebros that I was friends with, I was always searching for a place where I felt that God was given the proper reverence due to His position. Orthodoxy is where I found it, and it’s where I plan to stay.
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« Reply #34 on: May 29, 2014, 08:27:31 AM »

1)The theology of the Icon
2)Theosis
3)The portrayal of God as a Loving and Merciful entity which is in contrast with God as wrathful and angry as in Protestantism
4)Higher emphasis on the community rather than on the individual self(Communion of Saints)
5)Divine Liturgy
6)Devotion towards the Theotokos(There's  hardly any form of veneration and Honor given to the Theotokos during a typical RC Mass, only on certain feast days and Novenas) 
7)Much more logical than Catholicism and Protestantism
8)Not legalistic
9)It dates back into antiquity
10)Mysticism
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« Reply #35 on: May 29, 2014, 10:24:19 AM »

Very initial contact:
beautiful icons
the physicality of the worship

As I've come to know more about Orthodoxy:
The Orthodox acceptance of not knowing everything about God (as compared to other faiths/Christian traditions).
The Orthodox appreciation of those who've "gone before" in the faith. (saints, Fathers, Ancient Church)
The Orthodox emphasis on man's free will.
The Orthodox recognition of creation and Man as essentially good (as originally created, at least) because they were created by God.

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« Reply #36 on: May 29, 2014, 02:04:43 PM »

Another thing that has had a lasting impression is simply being remembered; During Liturgy and Vespers the names of the sick, catechumens, newly baptized, newborns, or the recently dead are remembered.  Even if a person died years and years ago, we can serve in Church to remember them.
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« Reply #37 on: May 29, 2014, 04:11:56 PM »

No longer have to be in grave fear and danger for even showing the slightest interest in evolution and anthropology.
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« Reply #38 on: May 30, 2014, 12:49:31 PM »

At first:

  • the sacredness of the atmosphere
  • the idea that other Christians over the world and through history were joining in the SAME worship
  • the fact that they seemed to have the correct answer for every theological question

And now:

  • the understanding of community and connectedness through creation that I am only just beginning to comprehend
  • the Loving God that truly wants to forgive us and heal us instead of watching for our slip-ups - that I knew in my head before but finally know what it means to know Him in my HEART
  • the fact that they don't NEED to give an explanation for every theological question Wink


I could go on and on, but trying to cut it to just a few.
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« Reply #39 on: June 03, 2014, 08:30:04 PM »

As an agnostic American exchange student, at St. Vladimir's Cathedral in then-Leningrad, autumn 1984. Besides the incense, candles, and singing, seeing the grandmothers at the front of the church prostrating themselves and then oh so painfully getting to their feet, clawing their way up the metal railing.
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« Reply #40 on: June 03, 2014, 09:47:57 PM »

For now, having been to Vespers once:


1. The laity participating without there being the lack of reverence as in the Novus Ordo. There were two lay people, a man and woman, singing up front, but not in the sanctuary which was nice. The priest was in the sanctuary, which was a hidden place.
2. How there are icons to bow and kiss, even outside the church. It's like I've seen in movies where the pious old woman bows down and kisses some icon.
3. The constant crossing of oneself

In general

1. The Jesus Prayer. So simple, yet so powerful. We have the Hail Mary in Catholicism, which becomes almost magical because of certain developments in Latin Mariology. And I like the Hail Mary and still say the Three Hail Marys, but I like how the Jesus Prayer obviously has graces that are beyond us, yet still reminds us of our sinfulness and need for God's mercy, and how we can constantly repent with simple words repeated over and over as required.
2. The great sermons online and how they are all, so far as I have heard, about piety. Coming from traditional Catholicism there is no going on about modernism or this or that political problem, but simple sermons on how to be a good Christian, usually as taught in the Gospel for the day.
3. How the liturgy has not been changed in the age of modernism that effected the Roman and Protestant churches. Even in communism the Russian Church stayed strong in the liturgy at least and this the faithful stayed strong.
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Aristotle says in the Metaphysics that "in mathematics goodness does not exist." It is a rather great quote to show to any math teacher when they tell you how important math is. Give them a riddle: I am not tall, I am not short, nor big nor take up any space but simply am. I have no name but I am.
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« Reply #41 on: June 03, 2014, 10:42:14 PM »

Post something that immediately appealed to you or blessed you upon contact with Orthodoxy.

Like many others, probably the reverence and refinement of the whole thing. After having spent years getting degrees in Religious Studies, an initial thought was, "Now this is a religion!" I felt like it actually did a 2,000 year heritage justice. Something that had aged well, like a fine wine.
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wainscottbl
By the grace of God, King of the South, Grand Duke of Louisville, Bardstown, Lexington and all the Kentuckys, Prince of Alaska, East Ukraine, Crimea and Wallachia
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How's this avatar, Mor? An angel! Profane not!


« Reply #42 on: June 03, 2014, 11:18:32 PM »

Post something that immediately appealed to you or blessed you upon contact with Orthodoxy.

Like many others, probably the reverence and refinement of the whole thing. After having spent years getting degrees in Religious Studies, an initial thought was, "Now this is a religion!" I felt like it actually did a 2,000 year heritage justice. Something that had aged well, like a fine wine.

And you can drink it with a hot native girl.  Wink Like say a Russian, Eastern European, or Middle Eastern.

Just kidding though it is a possibility. I found myself attracted by all the foreign names in the parish bulliten. Mostly Middle Eastern since it is a Antiochian parish.
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Aristotle says in the Metaphysics that "in mathematics goodness does not exist." It is a rather great quote to show to any math teacher when they tell you how important math is. Give them a riddle: I am not tall, I am not short, nor big nor take up any space but simply am. I have no name but I am.
wainscottbl
By the grace of God, King of the South, Grand Duke of Louisville, Bardstown, Lexington and all the Kentuckys, Prince of Alaska, East Ukraine, Crimea and Wallachia
Warned
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How's this avatar, Mor? An angel! Profane not!


« Reply #43 on: June 03, 2014, 11:19:54 PM »

In other words its a nice way to enjoy people with cultures other than WASPism.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2014, 11:20:19 PM by wainscottbl » Logged

Aristotle says in the Metaphysics that "in mathematics goodness does not exist." It is a rather great quote to show to any math teacher when they tell you how important math is. Give them a riddle: I am not tall, I am not short, nor big nor take up any space but simply am. I have no name but I am.
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« Reply #44 on: June 03, 2014, 11:29:29 PM »

In other words its a nice way to enjoy people with cultures other than WASPism.

And yet another way to exercise that self-flagellating Western guilt and self-hatred.
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