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Author Topic: So, how exactly does one convert to Orthodoxy?  (Read 4823 times) Average Rating: 0
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Sir Sundae
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« on: May 07, 2005, 06:22:31 PM »

Greetings in Christ,

I'm a protestant inquirer, and have been greatly interested in Orthodoxy over the past year or so. One thing remains a bit fuzzy to me, however, and that is this: what are the steps one must take before becoming Orthodox? I know there are different levels like catechumate, but just what do they mean?

Thanks for the help in advance,

In Christ,

Chuck
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« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2005, 06:49:44 PM »

Dear Chuck,
The catechumenate is not unique to Orthodoxy. It is the period of time when before Baptism and/or Chrisimation when one recieves instruction in the Orthodox Faith. It is also a time of examination to see whether the catechumen is ready for reception into the Church, but take heart, because at the Divine Liturgy, Orthodox Churches thoughout the world offer prayers for the Catechumens. The very first step you should take is to approach an Orthodox Priest who will then guide you in the steps you must take. Each juristiction has different requirements, for example the minimum period of the Catechumenate in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia is six months, during which the catechumens undertake a 10 week course and are required to attend the Liturgy (and if they are English Speaking, they must attend four English Liturgies). Speak to an Orthodox Priest near you to find out what the particular requirements of the catecumenate in his juristiction are.
I should add that an integral part of the Catechumenate is regular contact with your Spiritual Father (i.e. Priest) who will not only guide you, but also examine your readiness for Baptism and/or Chrisimation.
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« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2005, 07:09:34 PM »

Dear Sir (he he),

My family and I recently completed our catechumenate, and now we're "fully Orthodox"!  It comes with mixed feelings - thrill for finally being a part of the ancient Church, and a bit of sorrow for leaving the catechumenate, where we had almost weekly sessions with our priest for almost a year, with much learning going on.

Now partaking of the Eucharist, though, I'm very glad we arrived.  The catechumanate was wonderful but being in is better.

George
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« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2005, 09:03:34 PM »

Sir Sundae

As George indicated, it's really something you'd have to ask the local priest about. Every catechumenate is different in the Orthodox Church. I've heard of people becoming Orthodox in weeks, I've heard of people taking years. I've heard of priests who gave almost-daily in-depth tutoring, and then in some cases a catechist is assigned to you and gives you a book to read and merely invites you to ask questions if you have any. Sometimes they drill certain things into you (like the Orthodox form of the creed if you are coming from Catholicism), and sometimes they take a very hands-off approach. The first step is to find a place where you can attend services as often as possible, and start talking with the priest. If that's not possible, because you live too far away from a local parish or for some other reason, then give one of the priests who are closest a call and discuss your situation. Whatever you do, take adversity and stumbling blocks as good things--chances to grow and mature--and not as problems to get bitter about. In fact, if you get frustrated about such problems, it will only send the sign to your priest that you aren't yet ready to be Orthodox. See you on Paltalk. Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2005, 09:28:28 PM »

Dear Sir Sundae,
 
Orthodox is not a religion, it is a personal participation in the living reality of the Life of Holy Trinity.

First thing to do is to forget about steps and paths. These are technical terms to describe indescribable experiences.

All that is needed is for you to believe that Christ is the Son of God. Now here comes the interesting point: according to Greek Orthodox Church nobody knows what means to be the "Son of God", but everyone as a member of the Church lives the reality of Christ being the Son of God.

You are ready to enter into the Orthodox Church. Everyone is, in their heart. Being catechumate is a technical term for those who are not ready to enter into the Church with all of their heart, all of their soul and their entire mind. As long as your heart, your soul or your mind has the slightest hesitation, you are regarded as catechumate.

Being a catechumate has nothing to do with studying or reading “about Orthodoxy”. Being a catechumate is the status of coming to realise that yourself is scattering into pieces: one piece of you wants to do something and some other piece resists to that for its own reason - one part of you wants to follow the law of good and some other part of you wants to transgress that same law. So you try to put together all pieces of yourself under one law that is strong enough to unite yourself in one genuine person. Then you present this authentic person to Church and you become a member of the Church by being baptized. As you understand this looks like a process but actually it is not a process, it is you.

Being a catechumate, you are not becoming someone else that you are not already, you do not need to be a better “you”, you need to become an authentic person.

Of course you will learn some interesting things about what you will experience in your after baptism life, but that is just “words” compared to real thing.

Its like parachute jump lessons. You have to follow some lessons with an experienced instructor that will give you some valuable information regarding the technique of jumping over an aeroplane, but actually it is a personal decision that you have to make before actually jump over the plane. And as being a parachute lesson student you will make some test flights and some ground exercises and paper work and reading but you will never jump until you are ready, in the same context an experienced Orthodox person must guide you into the discipleship of becoming a member of the Church. This person may be a priest or another person that the Church will provide. (in Orthodox Church the jump is talking you up in heavens instead of dropping down, it's an unbelievable experience)

So, do not search for the method or the process, look carefully for the person that will introduce you in the faith. Because he is important, the course itself is not. You must realise that you entering into a discipleship, so being a catechumate is learning by experience what a disciple is.

Have courage because you will find many obstacles in your way. You are seeking for a very difficult assignment: to find your authentic self and to present him in front of God.
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« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2005, 10:01:47 PM »

All that is needed is for you to believe that Christ is the Son of God.
Don't the Baptists, Episcoplalians, Roman Catholics, Anabaptists, etc,. also do this?

Now here comes the interesting point: according to Greek Orthodox Church nobody knows what means to be the "Son of God", but everyone as a member of the Church lives the reality of Christ being the Son of God.
How can anyone "live a reality" when they don't know what it is? Haven't you just described schizophrenia? Doesn't the Orthodox Church know that Christ is "....The Only Son of God, Eternally Begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God, Begotten, not made, Being of One Essense with the Father, through Whom all things were made, who for us men and for our salvation He came down from Heaven and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and was made Man, for our sake He was crucified under Pontius Pilate suffered death and was buried, and arose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures and ascended into Heaven and is seated at the Right Hand of the Father and will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and His Kingdom shall have no end."?

This person asked a simple question, and instead of a simple answer, you have given them a convoluted, personal opinion which is not shared by the Orthodox Church. It is always best to give the most direct answer rather than attempt to take on the role of "Spiritual Father". As the Scripture says:

" My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Indeed, we put bits in horses' mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things."
James 3:1-5
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« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2005, 10:39:41 PM »


...This person asked a simple question, and instead of a simple answer, you have given them a convoluted, personal opinion which is not shared by the Orthodox Church. ....


Dear ozgeorge,

Here is the teaching of the Orthodox Church that I know of, which I have presented in my previous post (I take this excerpt from a post of Icxn in another thread - it even includes the original greek words - I marked emphasis):

St. Maximus, "On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ"

"...The scriptural Word knows of two kinds of knowledge of divine things. On the one hand, there is relative knowledge, rooted only in reason and ideas, and lacking in the kind of experiential perception of what one knows through active engagement; such relative knowledge is what we use to order our affairs in our present life. On the other hand, there is that truly authentic knowledge, gained only by actual experience, apart from reason and ideas, which provides a total perception of the known object through a participation (+++¡+++¦+++¦-é ) by grace. By this latter knowledge, we attain, in the future state, the supernatural deification (+++¡-ë-â+¦-é ) that remains unceasingly in effect. They say that the relative knowledge based on reason and ideas can motivate our desire for the participative knowledge acquired by active engagement. They say, moreover, that this active, experiential knowledge, which by participation, furnishes the direct perception of the object known, can supplant the relative knowledge based on reason and ideas.

For the sages say that it is impossible for rational knowledge (++-î+¦++-é ) of God to coexist with the direct experience (-Ç+¦+»-ü+¦) of God, or for conceptual knowledge (++-î++-â+¦-é ) of God to coexist with immediate perception (+¦+»-â++++-â+¦-é ) of God. By "rational knowledge of God" I mean the use of the analogy of created beings in the intellectual contemplation of God; by "perception" I mean the experience, through participation, of the supernatural goods; by "conceptual knowledge" I mean the simple and unitary knowledge of God drawn from created beings. This kind of distinction may be recognized with every other kind of knowledge as well, since the direct "experience" of a thing suspends rational knowledge of it and direct "perception" of a thing renders the "conceptual knowledge" of it useless. By "experience" (-Ç+¦+»-ü+¦ ) I mean that knowledge, based on active engagement, which surpasses all reason. By "perception" (+¦+»-â++++-â+¦-é ) I mean that participation in the known object which manifests itself beyond all conceptualization. This may very well be what the great Apostle is secretly teaching when he says, As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will disappear (1 Cor. 13:8 ). Clearly he is referring here to that knowledge which is found in reason and ideas."

Also St Maximos in his essay on Knowledge presents the teaching of the Orthodox Church that:

"37. In the active person the Word grows fat by the practice of virtue and becomes flesh. In the contemplative it grows lean by spiritual understanding and becomes as it was in the beginning, God the Word.

38. The one who is involved in the moral teaching of the Word through rather earthly examples and words out of consideration for his hearers is making the Word flesh. On the other hand, the one who expounds mystical theology using the sublimest contemplative experiences is making the Word spirit.

39. The one who speaks of God in positive affirmations is making the Word flesh. Making use only of what can be seen and felt he knows God as their cause. But the one who speaks of God negatively through negations is making the Word spirit, as in the beginning He was God and with God. Using absolutely nothing which can be known, he knows in a better way the utterly Unknowable."

You see brother ozgeorge,
Orthodox Church dare to make clauses such as "Using absolutely nothing which can be known,..." that sounds non-logical, but there is no other way to express, using a created language and logic, the Uncreated God's realities that She experiences . And the reality of "Christ being Son of God" is such an Uncreated reality.
You asked: "How can anyone "live a reality" when they don't know what it is? ". It is a question that fails to realize that I was referring to the Uncreated reality of Sonhood of Christ. I hope that now that I clarify my earlier post we may find a common ground in our points of view.
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« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2005, 11:07:18 PM »

Here is the teaching of the Orthodox Church that I know of, which I have presented in my previous post

Ipap,

You are not hearing me, nor are you hearing St. Maximos the Confessor, and in fact, you are misapplying his teachings, and you are not hearing the Holy Orthodox Church.

Firstly, the theology of the Orthodox Church is a knowledge based on experience, but it is still a knowledge. Metaphysical Truth is still “truth” and it is still knowable. St Maximos merely compares empirical knowledge (which will pass away) with Metaphysical Knowledge (which will not pass away). And this Metaphysical Knowledge is expressible in words as Christ said: “Heaven and Earth shall pass away, but My words shall never pass away.” The Orthodox Church is the Treasury of these “words which shall never pass away.”

Secondly, you are asking someone who is not even a catechumen to think like someone who has attained theosis. A babe who is fed solid meat before they are fed milk will die. And the one who fed him solid meat will give an account for the death of the babe on the Day of Judgement.

Don’t be so carried away by your newfound knowledge and ideas that you think you can act as a spiritual father to others. If a single soul is lost because of what we say, even if we are convinced that we are right, we shall give account for it before the Dreadful Judgement Seat.
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« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2005, 12:35:49 AM »

Whatever you do, take adversity and stumbling blocks as good things--chances to grow and mature--and not as problems to get bitter about. In fact, if you get frustrated about such problems, it will only send the sign to your priest that you aren't yet ready to be Orthodox. See you on Paltalk. Smiley

This is very true so you must be careful about where you end up.  Any issues that you have with the priest will be taken by him as something wrong with you, that you aren't ready for chrismation.  So it's very important you choose to work with a priest who understands you. 

Frustrations are perfectly normal.  We are human beings, after all.  Only a select few of us have reached theosis.  The rest of us muddle through and sometimes get angry and frustrated.  But once you're a catechumen, it will be held against you.  So it's best to have a relationship with a priest where these frustrations don't develop.  And then to keep from him your frustrations and pitfalls, etc. 

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« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2005, 01:38:08 AM »



This is very true so you must be careful about where you end up. Any issues that you have with the priest will be taken by him as something wrong with you, that you aren't ready for chrismation. So it's very important you choose to work with a priest who understands you.

Frustrations are perfectly normal. We are human beings, after all. Only a select few of us have reached theosis. The rest of us muddle through and sometimes get angry and frustrated. But once you're a catechumen, it will be held against you. So it's best to have a relationship with a priest where these frustrations don't develop. And then to keep from him your frustrations and pitfalls, etc.


that last sentence there sounds very dangerous!  I certainly wouldn't advise keeping secrets from your priest, especially if it's something that might "boil over" afterwards.

but to answer Sir Sundae's question (awesome name, BTW! Smiley ), there's no standard practice as to how exactly the process goes, but there are generally 2 steps prior to becoming an Orthodox Christian.  The first is to be an inquirer, which you are right now.  This is a period of investigation, that usually includes reading books, going to Orthodox services, and talking to people (in person, not on forums Wink ).  Once you become serious about possibly becoming Orthodox, and you show (and tell) your commitment to become Orthodox to the priest, you will at some point enter the second phase...you become a catechumen.  This is an official step where prayers are said over you in a ceremony, and you publicly profess your interest.  This is kind of like being engaged to the Church, in the sense that you are committed to the Church BUT if it just "doesn't work out," then you are free to leave (although by this point most people are sure that this is really for them).  This phase is characterized by a more intense study and usually taking classes and attending services regularly.  Then, at some point after this, the priest will feel that you are ready to be baptised/chrismated into the Church.  I use those two terms because at a typical baptismal service, you are both baptised (with water) and annointed with oil (and sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit).  However, many Orthodox Churches won't re-baptize you if you've been baptized in a traditional Catholic or Protestant church, but will still Chrismate you.

Apologies to all if I made mistakes in the above explanation.  Best of luck and you have my prayers!
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« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2005, 01:45:21 AM »


that last sentence there sounds very dangerous! I certainly wouldn't advise keeping secrets from your priest, especially if it's something that might "boil over" afterwards.


It's not keeping secrets but rather not mentioning certain things.  As the post I responded to noted, frustrations are seen as a sign that you're not ready to be Orthodox but frustrations are perfectly normal.  In fact, while you're a catechumen, you should expect to be under attack by the evil one.  The attacks can take many forms.  One being frustrations with your catechumenate.  But mentioning it will be an indication that you're not ready to be chrismated so you shouldn't mention it. 

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« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2005, 01:53:57 AM »

Jennifer,
If you don't show the physician where the enemy has wounded you, how can he heal the wound?
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« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2005, 01:58:20 AM »

Jennifer,
If you don't show the physician where the enemy has wounded you, how can he heal the wound?

Ideally yes, but people are what they are.  Frustrations are normal and actually, IMHO of course, a sign of growth but they will be seen as an indication of no growth so it's best to keep them to yourself. 

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« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2005, 02:01:35 AM »

.... so it's best not to keep them to yourself.
Sometimes God works through freudian slips! Wink
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« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2005, 09:26:33 AM »


Ipap,

You are not hearing me, nor are you hearing St. Maximos the Confessor, and in fact, you are misapplying his teachings, and you are not hearing the Holy Orthodox Church.

Firstly, the theology of the Orthodox Church is a knowledge based on experience, but it is still a knowledge. Metaphysical Truth is still “truth” and it is still knowable. St Maximos merely compares empirical knowledge (which will pass away) with Metaphysical Knowledge (which will not pass away). And this Metaphysical Knowledge is expressible in words as Christ said: “Heaven and Earth shall pass away, but My words shall never pass away.” The Orthodox Church is the Treasury of these “words which shall never pass away.”

Secondly, you are asking someone who is not even a catechumen to think like someone who has attained theosis. A babe who is fed solid meat before they are fed milk will die. And the one who fed him solid meat will give an account for the death of the babe on the Day of Judgement.

Don’t be so carried away by your newfound knowledge and ideas that you think you can act as a spiritual father to others. If a single soul is lost because of what we say, even if we are convinced that we are right, we shall give account for it before the Dreadful Judgement Seat.


Dear ozgeorge,

I feel no need to “defend” the rightness of my actions, as only others can have the right vision of me. Thank you for sharing your vision of myself. This is exactly why I participate in this forum: “to live the authentic life of others even if that presupposes to accept their unpleasantly comments about their view of my behaviour”. I sincerely thank you for your personal comments. Perhaps I failed to act according to my intention, and I thank you for presenting my failure. As for my fear of standing before the Dreadful Judgement Seat presenting my failures I have only one defence witness to present: my honest and personal love for the persons that I failed to serve as I wanted to. I hope that God will see in my heart that "my spirit is willing but my flesh is weak".   

I feel nevertheless the need to present the following thesis of Fr. Romanidis (professor of the University of Thessaloniki, in Orthodox Dogmatic) as a true Orthodox doctrine that I tried to follow:

“In the Orthodox partisan tradition, genuine spiritual experience is the foundation of dogmatic formulations which, in turn, are necessary guides for leading to glorification. Translated into the language of science, this would mean that verification by observation is expressed in descriptive symbols which, in turn, act as guides for others to repeat this same verification by observation. Thus, the observations of prior astronomers, biologists, chemists, physicists, and doctors become the observations of their successors.

 In exactly the same manner, the experience of glorification of the prophets, apostles, and saints are expressed in linguistic forms, whose purpose is to act as a guide to the same experience of glorification by their successors.

 The tradition of empirical observation and verification is the cornerstone of sifting factual reality from hypotheses in all of the positive sciences. The very same is true of the Orthodox patristic theological method also.

 A basic characteristic of the Frankish scholastic method, mislead by Augustinian Platonism and Thomistic Aristotelianism, had been its naive confidence in the objective existence of things rationally speculated about. By following Augustine, the Franks substituted the patristic concern for spiritual observation, (which they had found firmly established in Gaul when they first conquered the area) with a fascination for metaphysics. They did not suspect that such speculations had foundations neither in created nor in spiritual reality.

 No one would today accept as true what is not empirically observable, or at least verifiable by inference, from an attested effect. So it is with patristic theology. Dialectical speculation about God and the Incarnation as such are rejected. Only those things which can be tested by the experience of the grace of God in the heart are to be accepted. "Be not carried about by divers and strange teachings. For it is good that the heart by confirmed by grace," a passage from Hebrews 13.9, quoted by the Fathers to this effect. “
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« Reply #15 on: May 08, 2005, 02:58:51 PM »

Thanks for all the answers everyone.

Well, as of now I have not yet found an Orthodox parish. I'm in the process, however, and at the end of this month I'll be in a city with an Orthodox church...God willing I'll be able to speak with a priest at that time. It will take some time and alot of study before I take that next step, but you just gotta trust in God...

Thanks again,

Chuck
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« Reply #16 on: May 08, 2005, 11:00:00 PM »

Or, quite possibly, frustrations, depending upon what you are frustrated, can be a sign that you are ready. You should not withold feelings from your priest when a catechuman, and if you are, you either need to get a new priest (NOT the best choice) or, since you can;t change the one you have, start working on yourself on frustration.
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« Reply #17 on: May 09, 2005, 12:06:28 PM »

But, if we can be totally honest about this......
I think Jennifer (from what i've read), has been very open and honest to her priest.   And, I think she expresses what some might hold back on.    It seems like he is hearing everything, and with his behavior, has discouraged her from being open and up front.  (by the way he has treated her at times).
I have seen some people hold back in some ways so as not to hold back their progress towards a Chrismation date.    They  assume they will continue to grow after Chrismation, too. They know what they want, and if they meet certain criteria, should be given the green light.   If it is waiting until someone is perfect, no one will ever be able to do it.   
I can see Jennifer's point.    IMO, she is ready, and they should let her be Chrismated soon.
I think she has a longer wait than most due to her priest.
   
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« Reply #18 on: May 09, 2005, 01:14:08 PM »

Irene, I thought that issue was being discussed on another thread.
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« Reply #19 on: May 09, 2005, 04:24:23 PM »

well, it appears they are being intertwined if you read back on all the posts.

     
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« Reply #20 on: May 09, 2005, 08:24:34 PM »

But, if we can be totally honest about this......
I think Jennifer (from what i've read), has been very open and honest to her priest. And, I think she expresses what some might hold back on. It seems like he is hearing everything, and with his behavior, has discouraged her from being open and up front. (by the way he has treated her at times).
I have seen some people hold back in some ways so as not to hold back their progress towards a Chrismation date. They assume they will continue to grow after Chrismation, too. They know what they want, and if they meet certain criteria, should be given the green light. If it is waiting until someone is perfect, no one will ever be able to do it.
I can see Jennifer's point. IMO, she is ready, and they should let her be Chrismated soon.
I think she has a longer wait than most due to her priest.
 

Thanks Irene, but I kinda freaked out.  I have my little "issues" that sometimes interfere with this. 

For the record, I haven't had to wait longer than most people do.  From the internet it seems like people get chrismated after a few months but the average catechumenate is probably from six months to a year.  I've only been a catechumen about five months. 

The priest and I had a good talk and we worked things out. 

The thing to remember is that we're all human beings and human beings sin.  We're so used to sin that we don't know how to live differently.  And all of these personal issues get come into play and it's a recipe for problems.  My main argument here is that frustrations are to be expected and are normal.  In fact, I would be somewhat worried about a catechumenate that was all 'euphora' because there will eventually be a crash down to earth.  Christians often have the expectation that Christians should be blissfully happy all of the time.  IMHO, that assumption is a very harmful one.  Some Christian people don't get the help that they need because they think their depression or anxiety is their fault.  And then other Christians look down on 'normal' ones of us. 

I have so admit that I was misjudging this priest.  A lot of this was my fault.  Although I don't know if I'd go so far as to assign blame.  It's just that I'm a fallen, sinful person which is why I need the Church.  And he's the same just like all of the rest of us. 

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« Reply #21 on: May 10, 2005, 02:56:09 PM »

I'm glad this problem has improved, Jennifer.

I was very concerned because he is supposed to be a spiritual father, and a humble servant of God.

Irene 
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« Reply #22 on: May 10, 2005, 04:44:54 PM »

My Dear Friends,

I am really new to this forum, and I cannot believe what I have just read through.  I myself am a convert (raised Baptist, then Catholic), and if I read most of these replies before converting, I do not know if I ever would have.  I do not recall reading in Scripture ANYWHERE, where Jesus went through this kind of dialogue to invite those to follow Him.

I don't know, maybe I am missing something?  Hmmmm.

For me, I befriended a holy monk at a monastery that began by e-mail.  From that point, I just followed the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

Again, I cannot believe that someone asks how to enter Holy Orthodoxy, and they are given this?

Peace,

Seraphim
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« Reply #23 on: May 10, 2005, 11:07:57 PM »

You know what, I am glad you added that comment, Zographou. I had a thought hit me today: I should let God lead me where he wants me to go, I shouldn't attempt to blaze my own trail. The obvious answer is to let God lead you. (And may God grant me the grace and strength to do such a thing.) However, I was inquiring more to what the actual physical, real, practical, tangible, steps are when one seeks to enter the Orthodox Church. As I remarked in opening post this was an area of some confusion for me; I knew there were steps in the process, if you want to call them such, which, I thought, needed clearing up. For instance, I didn't know what exactly the word "catechumate" meant; now I know. I didn't know the projected amount of time between the catechumate period and chrismation/baptism; again, now I know.

Hope this clears up some confusion.

Peace,

Chuck
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« Reply #24 on: May 11, 2005, 12:07:41 AM »

I am really new to this forum, and I cannot believe what I have just read through.  I myself am a convert (raised Baptist, then Catholic), and if I read most of these replies before converting, I do not know if I ever would have.  I do not recall reading in Scripture ANYWHERE, where Jesus went through this kind of dialogue to invite those to follow Him.

I don't know, maybe I am missing something?  Hmmmm....Again, I cannot believe that someone asks how to enter Holy Orthodoxy, and they are given this?

Seraphim,

What is it that troubles you so much about what you read?  Granted, Ipap and ozgeorge did sidetrack the thread there for a bit...then it got sidetracked partially with Jennifer's struggles...but what about this troubles you?  Guess I just don't see it...

You know what, I am glad you added that comment, Zographou. I had a thought hit me today: I should let God lead me where he wants me to go, I shouldn't attempt to blaze my own trail. The obvious answer is to let God lead you. (And may God grant me the grace and strength to do such a thing.)

And He ultimately will.  Hopefully, you've had enough of blazing your own trail and come to the well-worn, narrow path.  Glad you're with us fellow pilgrims on this forum.

However, I was inquiring more to what the actual physical, real, practical, tangible, steps are when one seeks to enter the Orthodox Church. As I remarked in opening post this was an area of some confusion for me; I knew there were steps in the process, if you want to call them such, which, I thought, needed clearing up. For instance, I didn't know what exactly the word "catechumate" meant; now I know. I didn't know the projected amount of time between the catechumate period and chrismation/baptism; again, now I know.

Here was my personal process:

  • Showed up at the nearest Orthodox Church I could find, attended a Vespers service, met the priest.
  • Set up an appointment to ask questions about the Church, doctrine, life, etc. (these soon became weekly or bi-weekly meetings)
  • Attended services more and more regularly while continuing to talk with Fr.  Prayed morning and evening prayers, bought first few icons to pray with.
  • (After formally resigning from my place in my former church,) became catechuman in the Orthodox Church; this was done by Fr. praying a prayer over me directly after the homily (sermon) one Sunday.
  • Continued attending services, praying, asking, etc. while a catechuman.
  • Set a date (after almost nine months as a catechuman) for chrismation.
  • Was chrismated (thus energizing and validating the form of my Protestant baptism) on Holy Saturday of '01, and admitted to communion for the first time on Pascha night, thus coming fully into union with the Orthodox Catholic Church of the East--Christ's Church.

I hope this serves as something to help you in the "practical" aspects of what you might expect in a journey into Orthodoxy.

Peace,

Pedro, mod
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« Reply #25 on: May 11, 2005, 06:06:17 AM »

Pedro,

The ONLY problem I had was the fact that Sir Sundae asked for a simple answer, and he received an overwhelming one.  I have NO problem with the Theology, rather, it was the method used.

The process you described at the end of your message is what I believe Sir Sundae asked for (the practical), NOT Theological depth.  That will come in time.

Sir Sundae, keep searching, praying, and reading.  Have you ever read anything by Bl Fr Seraphim Rose of Platina?  Seek out his writings.  He was a VERY holy man.

Peace,

Seraphim
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« Reply #26 on: May 11, 2005, 12:55:48 PM »

I can see his point, it did get side tracked, and we should be careful with that.
But, I also feel strongly that it is important for people to speak what is truly on their minds, to talk about problems, because that is the way of healing, too.   
It happens with inquirers, catechumens, members, etc....
So, if i got over-involved, sorry.   It bothered me because we are vulnerable, and whoever is taking us under his wing, (the priest), should be sensitive to this.  Most probably are, thank God, but it seemed like one wasn't.   
If Jennifer has resolution, than that is enough for me.   I went into my defense attorney mode!

Peace,
Irene   
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« Reply #27 on: May 11, 2005, 11:21:25 PM »


If Jennifer has resolution, than that is enough for me. I went into my defense attorney mode!


Thanks, Irene.  Are you a defense attorney?  Me too!  Although in civil cases not criminal. 

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« Reply #28 on: May 12, 2005, 05:17:34 PM »

Sir Sundae
visit an Orthodox Church or two or three. Talk to the priest at each one. There is wisdom in many counselors. Eventually you will sense that one of the parishes is where you are supposed to be. The additional benefit is that you will have learned from several priests, maybe seen a couple different parishes within a jurisdiction [for example, Greek, Russian, Syrian (Antiochian] or maybe will have exprerienced several different jurisdictions through your visits and will start your Orthodox journey with first hand knowledge of what you find here: a cross section of Orthodox in North America (and other parts of the globe - see pins unde board news on the hme page]
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« Reply #29 on: May 12, 2005, 08:02:08 PM »

Quote from: Zographou
Sir Sundae, keep searching, praying, and reading.  Have you ever read anything by Bl Fr Seraphim Rose of Platina?  Seek out his writings.  He was a VERY holy man.

This I will certainly try to do! And no, I have not read anything by Seraphim Rose before... I have, though, heard or read his name on a couple of websites. Do you know where I can read his works?

Thanks,

Chuck
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« Reply #30 on: May 12, 2005, 08:32:18 PM »

Quote from: Brother Aiden
Sir Sundae
visit an Orthodox Church or two or three. Talk to the priest at each one. There is wisdom in many counselors. Eventually you will sense that one of the parishes is where you are supposed to be. The additional benefit is that you will have learned from several priests, maybe seen a couple different parishes within a jurisdiction [for example, Greek, Russian, Syrian (Antiochian] or maybe will have exprerienced several different jurisdictions through your visits and will start your Orthodox journey with first hand knowledge of what you find here: a cross section of Orthodox in North America (and other parts of the globe - see pins unde board news on the hme page]

Thanks for the suggestions! Currently I'm exchanging emails with a couple of priests; they are helping answer some of my questions, but I haven't attended a service yet. However, it is my intent to do just that this summer: visit as many churches as I can.

Thanks for the help,

Chuck
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Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain:

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« Reply #31 on: May 13, 2005, 06:02:15 AM »

Sir Sundae,

Although, you could go to Saint Herman of Alaska Press (http://www.sainthermanpress.com/) to purchase any books, I would suggest two places to start on the web and read his writings:

1. http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/  The Orthodox Christian Information Center contains LOTS of good reading.  Peruse it a bit, and you will see what I mean.  In the search box, type in "Seraphim Rose" and see what you get!

2. http://users.sisqtel.net/williams/  The Blessed Seraphim Hermitage website contains copious amounts of articles, pictures, and whatever else about his life.

Sir Sundae, I am a Spiritual Grandson of Blessed Fr Seraphim Rose, and I cannot tell you the impression he has made on my life!  He was born in the 1930's and died in 1982.  He searched for the truth, and found that it resided in Holy Orthodoxy.

If I can help you out, PLEASE let me know!

Peace,

Seraphim (zographou)
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