Author Topic: Which Church ?  (Read 5079 times)

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Offline wretched sinner

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Which Church ?
« on: April 28, 2005, 01:03:44 PM »
I wish to become an Orthodox belivier. I have read 'The way of the pilgrim', and it has impressed me greatly. I have no religious background , and I don't even know how to start my journey. There is so much confusion about which Orthodox church is correct. I don't even know where to even ask questions, as each group derides the others. I am very simple and unleared person, and I find the arguments  very confusing to me. I find myself at a standstill. Is there anywhere a very basic explanation of what Orthodoxy is, without factional bias? Ever time I run in to doubt my already weak faith waivers, and my sins beset me.

Please pray for my conversion.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2005, 01:08:15 PM by wretched sinner »
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Offline Elisha

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Re: Which Church ?
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2005, 01:37:34 PM »
You course of action:

1) Find a parish in your vicinity from here:http://www.scoba.us/jurisdictions/ , Jerusalme Patriarchate in the US or ROCOR (Russian Church Outside of Russia).  This assumes you reside in the US or Canada, but could apply to outside as well.

2) Visit all in your area and talk to the priests.

3) Pick one in which you feel comfortable, but give each several visits in order to not be hasty.

4) GO TO CHURCH!

5) Repeat from step 4) ad infinitum

Offline SetFree

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Re: Which Church ?
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2005, 09:48:17 PM »
Wretched Sinner,
   You have options my friend...You must remember one thing though, even though Orthodox is prefixed by Greek, Antiochian, Romanian, etc., they are all the same church.  If you are looking for Eastern Orthodox (and are in America), as was said, your best bet is to check out www.scoba.us .  This will list all of the Canonical jurisdictions in the USA.  If Oriental Orthodoxy is more your thing (EO and OO have the same faith and equally valid mysteries, some would argue with me on that...but), there is always the:

Coptic Orthodox Church
Armenian Apostolic Church
Syriac Orthodox Church
Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church of India
Ethiopian Tewahedo Orthodox Church
Eritrean Tewahedo Orthodox Church

Where are you from???  Maybe we can locate a church or two for ya.  I say, visit a couple (prayerfully...always prayerfully), and see where God wants you to go.
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Offline QuoVadis

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Re: Which Church ?
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2005, 11:43:13 PM »
For more information on the Web about the Orthodox Church, you can visit:

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/

I always find this site very helpful if I have questions that come to mind.

Another website that has more indepth articles is:

http://www.fatheralexander.org/

I love that particular website too.
Hope they help.  I pray God will guide you on your journey  :)

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Offline Sabbas

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Re: Which Church ?
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2005, 03:48:12 PM »
Quote
(EO and OO have the same faith and equally valid mysteries, some would argue with me on that...but
wretchedsinner if you want to be Orthodox remember that part of being Orthodox is believing in the validity of the Council of Chalcedon and the Church's Ecclesiology not following opinions based on limited historical and theological inquiry.
In your search for a church I would say to beware dilettantism such as that expressed by SetFree. It is not about finding what 'your thing' is it is about knowing where you can practice the Orthodox faith. I am not sure where you are from but I hope you live near an Orthodox church. It is very easy for people to forget that throughout most of the U.S. there are not Orthodox churches close and usually not close enough that you can visit several and pick the one you are most 'comfortable' with. In fact I would say be careful if you do feel comfortable as that can be a sign of prelest. "Orthodoxy is not comfortable unless it is fake," is what Fr.Seraphim of Platina said. Follow that little guideline, pray, read the Scriptures, the Fathers, and books by authors such as Met.Hierotheos Vlachos, the late Fr.John Romanides, and other solid authors and you should be fine.
www.hungersite.com  Ãƒâ€šÃ‚  www.freedonation.com you can donate up to 20 times at freedonation.  http://www.pomog.org/ has online 1851 Sir Lancelot C.L. Brenton English translation of Septuagint.http://www.cnrs.ubc.ca/greekbible/ Original Koine Septuagint and New Testament.

Offline Matthew777

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Re: Which Church ?
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2005, 03:51:51 PM »
Is there anywhere a very basic explanation of what Orthodoxy is, without factional bias?

This is a good place to start, my fellow pilgrim:
http://www.goarch.org/en/ourfaith/articles/article8029.asp
http://www.goarch.org/en/ourfaith/
« Last Edit: May 04, 2005, 03:54:28 PM by Matthew777 »
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Offline GiC

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Re: Which Church ?
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2005, 04:01:17 PM »
Sabbas,
SetFree included a disclaimer ('some would not agree with me on that')...and there are pleanty of other fairly recent threads where we can debate this issue and defend our Most Holy and Oecumenical Synod of Chalcedon, without having to drag this poor inquirer into the middle of it.


wretched sinner,
As far as things to read, I would have to recommend the 'Our Faith' Section of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese website, the articles are unbiased and reflect mainstream orthodox theology and scholarship. Some Introductory articles can be found here:

http://www.goarch.org/en/ourfaith/introduction/

and if you want more information on any subject, there is a list of subjects, each with its own set of articles, on the left.
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Offline Fr. David

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Re: Which Church ?
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2005, 04:24:05 PM »
Sabbas,
SetFree included a disclaimer ('some would not agree with me on that')...and there are pleanty of other fairly recent threads where we can debate this issue and defend our Most Holy and Oecumenical Synod of Chalcedon, without having to drag this poor inquirer into the middle of it.

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Well, uh--yeah!  Beat me to it, why don't ya'?  ;D
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Offline Keble

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Re: Which Church ?
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2005, 04:32:30 PM »
I like Elisha's plan best.

As far as websites are concerned: besides the fact that at least one of these is (in my opinion) contaminated by a convert-itis, ask yourself this question:

Are you going to worship in a website?

You need to go to a parish and see for yourself that you are going to encounter the Spirit there and that your faith is going to be made alive there. Reading websites isn't going to do that.

Here's how I first chose a church when I got out of high school: I got out the yellow pages and looked under "Churches-- XXX" (where "XXX" was my denomination). At this point, that's your best technique.

Offline anastasia33

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Re: Which Church ?
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2005, 05:07:12 PM »


Follow your heart. It's already talking to you.

Offline Philokalia

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Re: Which Church ?
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2005, 05:34:31 PM »
The Byzantine Catholic Church follows the Orthodox Way of worship but also belongs to the worldwide Roman Catholic family. If you are American this http://www.byzcath.org/ would be the relevant link. I too have read the Way of the Pilgrim and am greatly impressed by it.

If you want to find out more about what the orthodox believe I found The Orthodox Way by Kallistos Ware short, straightforward and easy to understand. You might want to read that before taking the plunge. Prayer will help too.
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Which Church ?
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2005, 05:46:37 PM »
The Byzantine Catholic Church follows the Orthodox Way of worship but also belongs to the worldwide Roman Catholic family.
He said he wanted to become an Orthodox believer, not dress up and play Orthodox'.
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Offline Philokalia

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Re: Which Church ?
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2005, 05:52:06 PM »

He said he wanted to become an Orthodox believer, not dress up and play Orthodox'.

I did recommend the Orthodox Way by Kallistos Ware. Do you always ignore the bits that don't get you angry? Do you enjoy berating people?
Violence is a lie, for it goes against the truth of our faith, the truth of our humanity. Violence destroys what it claims to defend: the dignity, the life, the freedom of human beings. Violence is a crime against humanity, for it destroys the very fabric of society.

Offline lpap

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Re: Which Church ?
« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2005, 06:11:31 PM »
Dear wretched sinner,

You asked for a " very basic explanation of what Orthodoxy is, without factional bias ".

You can find it here: http://www.trinitylight.net/theology.html (there are many english texts regarding faith)
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Offline Veniamin

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Re: Which Church ?
« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2005, 06:11:43 PM »
I did recommend the Orthodox Way by Kallistos Ware. Do you always ignore the bits that don't get you angry? Do you enjoy berating people?

Do you always come onto Orthodox boards and proselytize inquirers?  Do you enjoy duping people into becoming "Orthodox in communion with Rome?"
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Offline EkhristosAnesti

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Re: Which Church ?
« Reply #15 on: May 04, 2005, 07:33:45 PM »
Sabbas,

Quote
wretchedsinner if you want to be Orthodox remember that part of being Orthodox is believing in the validity of the Council of Chalcedon

GǪ.to make an arbitrary assertion is one thing; to provide substance to it is another. Who made you the authority to decide what defines Orthodoxy, and why? Or who made the person you’re parroting such an authority, and why? An incomplete dialogue remains at the following link: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/newboard/index.php/topic,5870.30.html

 - I’m not sure if GiC just got bored of the discussion or what, but we didn’t even get the chance to start being specific about much. Feel free to join the party, rather than being a party-pooper. That is all.

wretchedsinner,

I pray that God guides you to the church that best leads you down the narrow road to His Kingdom.

Peace.
No longer an active member of this forum. Sincerest apologies to anyone who has taken offence to anything posted in youthful ignorance or negligence prior to my leaving this forum - October, 2012.

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Offline Fr. David

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Re: Which Church ?
« Reply #16 on: May 04, 2005, 11:24:58 PM »
<mod hat for the second time today!>

For the new guy....

This was posted a couple of years ago by Anastasios:

From now on, banners in signatures to other forums are not allowed although you may link to another forum or website in your signature, without comment.

From now on, you may not advertise your other web forum on our forum.  Links to threads on other forums are allowed, however, if they are pertinent to discussions here.

Proselytizing people to your jurisdiction is no longer allowed.  I don't care if it is the GOA or the ROAC, we don't exist to give spiritual advice, but rather to discuss spiritual matters. There is a healthy distinction.  If you feel the need to plug your group then do it by private message.

You may not private message others to solicit them to join your forum, however.  We have the ability to read other people's private messages (this is disclosed in the member agreement you sign when joining the forum) and we don't do that usually, but we can, and we will, if we think you are trying to lure people away from our site.


As this is an Orthodox Catholic--and not Roman Catholic--forum, the right has been reserved to forbid the plugging of forums of other faiths (and even other, perhaps rivaling, Orthodox Catholic jurisdictionis).  Please don't plug byzcath in the future.  Thanks.

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Offline Jennifer

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Re: Which Church ?
« Reply #17 on: May 05, 2005, 12:50:01 AM »

Do you always come onto Orthodox boards and proselytize inquirers? Do you enjoy duping people into becoming "Orthodox in communion with Rome?"

He (or she) isn't technically prosletizing because he merely gave a link and mentioned that Byzantine Catholics are in communion with Rome.  And he (or she) isn't "duping" anyone because it's obvioius that he's Catholic.  He also didn't write that Byzantine Catholics were Orthodox.  Note that he wrote that they follow the Orthodox "way of worship."  As a law student, you'll get this...the most logical way to interpret his (or her) use of the word "worship" is as "liturgy," therefore he (or she) wrote that Byzantine Catholics use the same liturgy which is true. 

"Or she" is reminding me of that scene from the Life of Brian (heretical movie but still funny) where Brian meets the Judean People's Front.  :) 

Offline Fr. David

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Re: Which Church ?
« Reply #18 on: May 05, 2005, 12:56:38 AM »
(Not to be confused with the People's Front of Judea, of course...)

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Offline GiC

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Re: Which Church ?
« Reply #19 on: May 05, 2005, 12:59:19 AM »
- I’m not sure if GiC just got bored of the discussion or what, but we didn’t even get the chance to start being specific about much. Feel free to join the party, rather than being a party-pooper. That is all.

Sorry Ekhristos Anesti, I hadn't actually checked the thread since you posted, but now I have and I replied...next time pm me and tell me if I take two weeks to respond ;)
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Offline Veniamin

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Re: Which Church ?
« Reply #20 on: May 05, 2005, 01:06:27 AM »
He (or she) isn't technically prosletizing because he merely gave a link and mentioned that Byzantine Catholics are in communion with Rome.  And he (or she) isn't "duping" anyone because it's obvioius that he's Catholic.  He also didn't write that Byzantine Catholics were Orthodox.  Note that he wrote that they follow the Orthodox "way of worship."  As a law student, you'll get this...the most logical way to interpret his (or her) use of the word "worship" is as "liturgy," therefore he (or she) wrote that Byzantine Catholics use the same liturgy which is true. 

"Or she" is reminding me of that scene from the Life of Brian (heretical movie but still funny) where Brian meets the Judean People's Front.  :) 

And yet the entire implication of his (or her) post was that Byzantine Catholicism is just as good as Orthodoxy...and has the Pope, too!  As a law student, I also get that the way something appears is frequently a great deal more important to people than the way it actually is.
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Offline Jennifer

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Re: Which Church ?
« Reply #21 on: May 05, 2005, 01:11:07 AM »

And yet the entire implication of his (or her) post was that Byzantine Catholicism is just as good as Orthodoxy...and has the Pope, too! As a law student, I also get that the way something appears is frequently a great deal more important to people than the way it actually is.

That's not necessarily the case.  The way it "actually is" is the truth while the way it "appears" is just that, the way it "appears." 

And I disagree that the implication was that Byzantine Catholicism is just as good.  That's not what he wrote.  I think you're attributing motives to him. 

BTW, good luck on your law school exams!


Offline Veniamin

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Re: Which Church ?
« Reply #22 on: May 05, 2005, 01:24:59 AM »
That's not necessarily the case.  The way it "actually is" is the truth while the way it "appears" is just that, the way it "appears." 

While I agree with your assessment of the difference, my point was that people are more concerned with the way things look than with the truth.  Style over substance and all that (yes, I know that's a cynical outlook).

Quote
And I disagree that the implication was that Byzantine Catholicism is just as good.  That's not what he wrote.  I think you're attributing motives to him. 

If it had been what he wrote, it wouldn't have been an implication.  Perhaps I am attributing motives unconciously, but that is the way it looked when I read it, and at least one other poster got the same or a similar impression.

Quote
BTW, good luck on your law school exams!

Thanks!  Just one left to go on Friday, then I get to start work for the summer!

BTW, that last sentence from you was just scary.  It looked like something my godmother would write verbatim (who's also a Jennifer).  Eek!
« Last Edit: May 05, 2005, 01:25:45 AM by Veniamin »
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Offline Philokalia

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Re: Which Church ?
« Reply #23 on: May 05, 2005, 01:01:28 PM »


Do you always come onto Orthodox boards and proselytize inquirers?  Do you enjoy duping people into becoming "Orthodox in communion with Rome?"

If I was prosellytizing I would not have mentioned Bishop Ware's book. It is my believe that both the Catholic and Orthodox families are part of the body of Christ. If Wretched Sinner becomes Orthodox thats a good thing. I will be happy about that. What I was doing was pointing out that some who believe, wrongly in your opinion, they walk in the same or similar spiritual path to the Pilgrim are linked to Rome.

I have the name Philokalia because the Way of the Pilgrim has had a profound impact on my life also although it has not led me into the Orthodox family.
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Which Church ?
« Reply #24 on: May 05, 2005, 06:33:09 PM »
Philokalia,
While I don't hold it to be true, I acknowledge your belief about the Orthodox and Catholic Churches both being part of the Body of Christ. And I acknowledge that you respect my opinion that on this.
The Byzantine Catholic Churches are a very touchy subject. If they were not touchy, there would have been no need for an agreed statement between the Catholic and Orthodox Bishops about them (Balamand Aggreement). Whether we agree or disagree with the statements of the Balamand agreement (and I disagree with some of it's statements), it's very existence points to the fact that the Uniate Churches are a very touchy subject.
So while I respect your right to hold your beliefs about Catholicism and the Uniate Churches, this is an Orthodox forum, so you must expect some reaction to statements based on your belief about the Uniate Churches, especially when you do not post them in the "Orthodox-Catholic Discussion" forum, but instead, post them in the "Convert Issues" Forum.
George
« Last Edit: May 05, 2005, 06:34:40 PM by ozgeorge »
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Offline Orthodoc

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Re: Which Church ?
« Reply #25 on: May 05, 2005, 06:48:10 PM »
[He also didn't write that Byzantine Catholics were Orthodox.  Note that he wrote that they follow the Orthodox "way of worship." ]

If he used the the terminology 'Orthodox In Communion With Rome' he certainly did!

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Offline Jennifer

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Re: Which Church ?
« Reply #26 on: May 05, 2005, 07:42:39 PM »
[He also didn't write that Byzantine Catholics were Orthodox. Note that he wrote that they follow the Orthodox "way of worship." ]

If he used the the terminology 'Orthodox In Communion With Rome' he certainly did!

Orthodoc

He didn't use the phrase "Orthodox in communion with Rome." 


Offline Orthodoc

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Re: Which Church ?
« Reply #27 on: May 05, 2005, 09:23:08 PM »

[He didn't use the phrase "Orthodox in communion with Rome." ]

You are right.  He didn't.  My apologies.

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Offline wretched sinner

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Re: Which Church ?
« Reply #28 on: May 13, 2005, 07:29:52 PM »


Follow your heart. It's already talking to you.

Thank you. I'm going to a ROCOR church this sunday. Please pray for me.
Kyrie eleison

Offline Hadel

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Re: Which Church ?
« Reply #29 on: May 14, 2005, 04:04:27 AM »
Please ignore the disputes...there are alot of hot heads who believe they are the True word...you follow your heart, meet all Priests and the one that touches your heart, makes you feel spiritually alive in Christ with True Love then this is the Church for you. Open your heart and you will find the Truth. Remember, learn the Heart of the Law and not the Letter of the Law...God reads the heart and "dislikes" arrogance and wolves dressed in white.

We will pray for you, believe me, Jesus will guide you...you will turn a corner and not know how you got there.

If you choose Orthodox, then welcome and I hope you find your peace and love.

In Christ,
Hadel
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Offline cizinec

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Re: Which Church ?
« Reply #30 on: May 14, 2005, 08:12:03 AM »
Yes, ignore these disputes.  You will soon find many of them to be of very little importance.

To the rest of you:

Most of this stuff could have been debated in PMs or split into another thread.  Shame for not allowing an inquirer to come on and ask a simple question wihout allowing yourselves to get sucked into arguments in that very thread.  Go create another thread and debate there.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2005, 08:13:18 AM by cizinec »
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Offline Zographou

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Re: Which Church ?
« Reply #31 on: May 14, 2005, 08:13:46 AM »
Wretched Sinner,

Amid all of the back and forth that is going on here, put it aside, and do just what you are doing.  Go visit a Church (like you already said you are doing this Sunday), and keep praying!  May I recommend that you access the website already mentioned http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ .  There on the front page, you can   read the about the Saints for that particular day, and also the Scripture readings for the day.  You CANNOT go wrong with reading about the Lives of the Saints and Sacred Scripture.  I know when I read them, I get spiritually charged up!  May I also suggest reading, "God's Revelation to the Human Heart" by Father Seraphim Rose.  His writings and his life continue to deeply inspire me.  Glory Be to God!

My prayers are with you my friend!

Peace,

Seraphim


For Some of You Other Folks in this Forum:

I say this with Christian love.  WHY do some of you insist on taking "pop-shots" at each other in this forum?  IF, you must do this, may I humbly suggest that you do it privately?  This kind of dialogue can only serve as a deterent to inquirers.    What do you all think?  I mean, if I was an inquirer to Orthodoxy, and read some of the replies being offered, I might get turned off.  If this is way these forums operate, then I have some reservations.  And YES, I do agree, that this should be a website that promotes Holy Orthodoxy.

Offline Fr. David

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Re: Which Church ?
« Reply #32 on: May 15, 2005, 09:09:53 AM »


Thank you. I'm going to a ROCOR church this sunday. Please pray for me.

Lord, have mercy.  Se+¦or, ten piedad.

Enjoy!
Priest in the Orthodox Church in America - ordained on March 18, 2012

Oh Taste and See (my defunct blog)

From Protestant to Orthodox (my conversion story)

Offline Philokalia

  • Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat
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Re: Which Church ?
« Reply #33 on: May 15, 2005, 09:32:57 AM »
Thank you. I'm going to a ROCOR church this sunday. Please pray for me.

Let us know how you got on. May the Lord bless you and keep you and make his face to shine upon you.
Violence is a lie, for it goes against the truth of our faith, the truth of our humanity. Violence destroys what it claims to defend: the dignity, the life, the freedom of human beings. Violence is a crime against humanity, for it destroys the very fabric of society.