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Author Topic: Needs Advice..  (Read 2227 times) Average Rating: 0
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canadian1
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« on: April 30, 2005, 01:13:13 PM »

Hi,
I have grown up in a family of Protestants and Catholics. The Protestant Side was never religious, never went to church, and really cared very little for their faith. The Catholic side was somewhat the same, whereas faith was only important to certain people in the family. For about 5 years now, I have had an increased interest in the Middle East in particular. Technically, I am protestant as well, but I do not feel that the Protestant church offers anything for me. I do not agree with Protestant traditions, and some of the stances that they have taken on certain issues. I would really like to CONVERT - I have been specifically interested in Syrian Orthodox teachings. My best friend is Syrian Orthodox, though he was born in Canada, he comes from a family of Middle Eastern Heritage. This is what makes me different from him. My family does not have any Arab or Middle Eastern heritage as far as I know, and I would really like to convert to Syrian Orthodox.

One problem I will have though, is a feeling that I won't be as "good" as the other members. Because I do not come from the same Heritage as they do, and I was not born into the religion, I will feel almost inferior to them. Does anyone have any suggestions, or Advice?
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MsGuided
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« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2005, 01:40:03 PM »

Speaking to a priest in that church may help to ease some fears.  If it were not for people converting to the faith, where would the Church be?
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irene
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« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2005, 02:44:16 PM »

I am merely an inquirer, but have attended Orthodox since October.     

I have gone through some of the things you are thinking about, your heritage issue.    Not being Greek, but attending a Greek Orthodox Church.    I will never be Greek, no matter how hard i try, lol.    So, I've come full circle to see it is about God anyway.   It can even make you stronger.   You decide this is where I feel God wants me to be, so.....I'm going to follow through.   I have even found it to make me learn to focus more on Him than man.   When you ask Him in prayer, and know in your heart this is where He wants you, follow Him.   Keep your focus on that, and it will give you perserverence, too.

Irene     

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lpap
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« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2005, 07:49:17 PM »

Brother canadian1,

You have to make clear in your heart that you are interested in being yourself in relation to Orthodox Faith.
You do not have to become like someone else that you like. You will never become "like them". You shall always be yourself.
You have to understand that Church is not asking you to be transformed into someone else. The Church merely asks you to come and show your authentic personality in a personal relation with God. You, as a person, have a place in Heaven. You are not supposed to be as "good" as anyone.
Just be as "goof" as yourself. To make it clear in the context you are asking for advice: Just be as "worst" as yourself. No problem. This is not a beauty contest.

If you like Syrian Orthodox Church, I recommend to explore the history and current status of this church regarding Orthodox Faith of other Orthodox Churches.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2005, 02:26:05 AM by lpap » Logged

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canadian1
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« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2005, 01:26:04 AM »

I have two other questions to ask..

When you become Orthodox are you given a new Middle name for Example?
And, when you are baptized, do you recieve new godparents, if you were already Christian in the first place?
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lpap
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« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2005, 02:31:45 AM »

When someone is baptized, he gets a new Christian name. This new name symbolise the new beginning in a new life in Christ.

If "you were already Christian in the first place" then again the new baptism is a new begining because the "previous christianity" might relying in false doctrine.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2005, 03:46:17 AM by lpap » Logged

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Hadel
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« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2005, 03:38:52 AM »

Hi,

Syrian Orthodox is a faith based and not nationality...Syrian, because they broke away from the Greeks... remember, "All is welcomed in God's table."

I am Jordanian (Orthodox) that attended a Greek Orthodox Church in my University (US)... yes all in Greek and I did not understand, however, I was very welcomed, because the aim was the belief in Christ and in True Faith in Christ...in the end, in my own experience all the Orthodox faiths had basically the same faith from all walks of life.

Speak to your friend and speak to the priest of the Church, I believe, if I am not mistaken you will be more welcome and part of the community then the original Arabs of Syrian Heritage as I was welcomed by the Greek Heritage people of the  GO Church.

I hope this helps you some what... by the way Happy Easter.

In Christ,
Hadel
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canadian1
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« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2005, 10:11:47 PM »

Someone mentioned that you do recieve a new name, because it is the beginning of a new path, or something to that effect.

Now, when you say a New name, do you mean a new Middle Name, or a New First name or what? I mean, I could never change my First and Last name, as they were given to me by my parents... the Middle Name wouldn't be such a big deal, but is that what you mean?

Or does it all get changed!
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« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2005, 10:30:17 PM »

From what I've observed, the name taken at Chrismation is used only within the Church, and even then, only at communion.  It's also common for someone to take a patron saint who shares their name, if they already have a saint's name, so there's not much change for them.  Some take entirely different saints, though, and those who don't have a saint's name already take one.  Actual usage and practice varies, however.  For example, my given name is Benjamin.  Since I'm of Russian descent and have an affinity for martyrs for some reason, I chose St. Veniamin of Petrograd as my patron, which simply gave me the Russian form of my name.   For the most part, the English form is what's used in daily use, but the Russian does get used every once in a while.  It really does vary from person to person and among jurisdictions and parishes as well, from what I've observed.  As a practical matter, when you take a saint's name, you probably won't be using that all the time unless you just really want to, so you don't have to feel like it's replacing one of your given names. 
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lpap
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« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2005, 03:54:51 AM »

canadian1,

If it is more convenient for your, you can keep your secular name in your social life.

Here we are talking about your Christian name. Your Christian name should have a symbolic meaning of a new beginning but It would have a deeper spiritual meaning too.

When Abraham met with God, God gave him the following order:

Genesis 17:5
"No longer shall your name be called Abram,
But your name shall be Abraham;
For I have made you the father of a multitude of nations."


This name changing has the spiritual meaning of that a name is actually referring to a specific person. So if my pre-baptism name is John, it refers to myself as being non-Christian-person. If I was to be called with this name there would be a name calling that would refer to my past. In Orthodox tradition the Christian name is referring to the future person that I would be called by this name in heaven. So a new name is given in order to make clear that the old person is dead in sin and a new person is born in Christ, not just symbolically, but also substantially. If someone is referring to me with my pre-baptism name he calls a dead person. As a new person in Christ I have the need for a new name.

In the above verse from Old Testament Abram received the name Abraham that was referring to a future event (his fatherhood of a multitude of nations). At the time he got this new name he had no children of his own, he lacked fatherhood at all. His new name was to stand in eternity referring to whom he was not before his meeting with God and to whom he was to become after his meeting with God.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2005, 04:11:56 AM by lpap » Logged

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QuoVadis
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« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2005, 07:38:34 PM »

In regards to the name changing, it's much similiar in the New Testament when Jesus Christ renamed Simon, and called him Peter.  Or what about Saul, who Jesus renamed Paul!?  If you look at things in that perspective, it's like their "pre-Christ" name, and "after-Christ" name.  My birth name is Michelle, but when I became an Orthodox Christian, I chose the name Katherine - which I actually much prefer.  But, my name Katherine is only used at church, and amongst some of my Russian friends who prefer to call me "Katia" because "it suits me more" ...  Smiley

As unusual as this sounds, I have actually been baptized three times.  Firstly as a child, secondly when I became a "born-again" Christian as an adult, and became a member of a Baptist church.  Thirdly - my real baptism - when I decided to join the real Church of God and became Orthodox.  My Aunty was my godparent when I was baptised as a child, and seeing she is Russian Orthodox, I simply chose her again to be my godparent when I joined the Orthodox Church.  So all worked out for the best.

One more thing, don't feel that you will not be "as good as the others" in regard to your nationality.  The Church is based on your faith in, and love for Jesus Christ - it is not based on what nationality you are.  Remember what it says in the Bible, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." - Galatians 3:28.

Amen to that.
All the best to you if and when you do convert.  God will guide you.
Joy in the Resurrected Christ!
Katherine
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"Without sorrows there is no salvation. On the other hand, the Kingdom of God awaits those who have patiently endured. And all the glory of the world is nothing in comparison." - St Seraphim of Sarov
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