Author Topic: My First ever visit to an Orthodox Church  (Read 22241 times)

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Offline MarianCatholic

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My First ever visit to an Orthodox Church
« on: November 05, 2014, 07:40:54 PM »
Tonight I attended my first ever Orthodox Vesper, yey:p
I have studied some of the theological differences between the RCC and the Orthodox Church and I have to say that roughly I'm closer to the Orthodox Church than the RCC so adopting to the Orthodox prayer routines and other spiritual habits should be easy enough and I believe it will be.

However at the liturgy I felt so much like I had landed on a planet in another galaxy far far away.
I was even crossing myself the wrong way and the language which the Vesper where held in was church slovenic so I didn't understand anything...

And the pain developing in my feet wow, VERY unpleasant is actually an understatement to be honest.
As I stood their with the pain screaming at me from my feet I started to feel like people starred at me (of course they didn't, but the paranoia of being in a setting where you are unfamiliar,you know?)

I have to admit that the thought of leaving crossed my mind several times during my 1 h 30 mins visit.

I guess what was the hardest part for me tonight was the intimacy in the church.
The priest held a book over the head of the parishioners and prayed for them, since it was like 10 people attending I actually couldn't avoid it not that it wasn't beautiful don't get me wrong.

I'm used to huge church buildings when I attend mass so this triggered some anxiety I have to admit.
I am actually quite introverted so it was challenging for me tonight indeed.

Anyway, I'm planning to hold of any further participation until they offer an Divine Liturgy in Norwegian so at least I understand what's being said. They do once a month.

Please feel free to comment in this thread and give me any advice if you have any
Christ is Risen, Alleluia!

Offline Maria

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Re: My First ever visit to an Orthodox Church
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2014, 07:54:13 PM »
Welcome to Orthodoxy.

My prayers.
The memory of God should be treasured in our hearts like the precious pearl mentioned in the Holy Gospel. Our life's goal should be to nurture and contemplate God always within, and never let it depart, for this steadfastness will drive demons away from us. - Paraphrased from St. Philotheus of Sinai
Writings from the Philokalia: On Prayer of the Heart,
Translated from the Russian by E. Kadloubovksy and G.E.H. Palmer, Faber and Faber, London, Boston, 1992 printing.

Offline Bob2

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Re: My First ever visit to an Orthodox Church
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2014, 08:06:26 PM »
I find Vespers and Matins, which has more variable content to be more difficult in a language you don't understand than Divine Liturgy, which has less variable content. Try to get a book with the text of the Divine Liturgy in your native language, our parish has books with side by side transliterated Slavonic and English, we used them a lot when we began, but now I feel I could attend a Divine Liturgy in any language and know what was going on, you could look up the Gospel and Epistle readings beforehand if you got a calendar. That said I'm definitely a fan services in native language of the land they are served in.

Offline Maria

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Re: My First ever visit to an Orthodox Church
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2014, 08:46:35 PM »
I find Vespers and Matins, which has more variable content to be more difficult in a language you don't understand than Divine Liturgy, which has less variable content. Try to get a book with the text of the Divine Liturgy in your native language, our parish has books with side by side transliterated Slavonic and English, we used them a lot when we began, but now I feel I could attend a Divine Liturgy in any language and know what was going on, you could look up the Gospel and Epistle readings beforehand if you got a calendar. That said I'm definitely a fan services in native language of the land they are served in.

I love hearing the Divine Liturgy in Greek, Spanish, Church Slavonic, and in Arabic.
The movements are the same. The chant is heavenly and draws us into Heaven.
The memory of God should be treasured in our hearts like the precious pearl mentioned in the Holy Gospel. Our life's goal should be to nurture and contemplate God always within, and never let it depart, for this steadfastness will drive demons away from us. - Paraphrased from St. Philotheus of Sinai
Writings from the Philokalia: On Prayer of the Heart,
Translated from the Russian by E. Kadloubovksy and G.E.H. Palmer, Faber and Faber, London, Boston, 1992 printing.

Offline Georgii

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Re: My First ever visit to an Orthodox Church
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2014, 08:30:32 AM »
That's quite true about the Divine Liturgy being easier to follow because of the unchanging content.

Standing becomes a lot easier with practice. If it's at all like the churches I've been in, you might notice how people more-or-less subtlely shift their weight from side to side or from toes to heels and back, even though some instructions on "how to behave in church" will tell you not to do that.:P

Continued best wishes.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2014, 08:32:35 AM by Georgii »
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Offline NanaDeborah

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Re: My First ever visit to an Orthodox Church
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2014, 09:04:32 AM »
Quote
Quote
I guess what was the hardest part for me tonight was the intimacy in the church.
The priest held a book over the head of the parishioners and prayed for them, since it was like 10 people attending I actually couldn't avoid it not that it wasn't beautiful don't get me wrong.

I am quite introverted too so when I saw the priest covering the heads of parishioners during confession I think I felt that same kind of anxiety.  I don't know about you, but I think what is happening to me is that I am being confronted with my fears and given a chance to work through them.  The thought of that intimate kind of confession is terrifying yet irresistible.  I have only known the inadequate forms of Protestant communion, yet now find myself aching inside to partake of the Eucharist here.  I was quite nervous the first visit, but now I look forward to it so much.  I have actually been in this weepy mode since yesterday, wanting so much to be inside, not just knocking on the door waiting to be admitted. 

Just pray and give it time.  Go to the Divine Liturgy in your language. If this is where you are supposed to be, I believe you will begin to know deep inside.  May the Lord bless you on your journey!
Thy Bridal Chamber, I see adorned, O my Savior, and have no wedding garment that I may enter.  Enlighten the vesture of my soul, O Giver of Light, and save me.

Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: My First ever visit to an Orthodox Church
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2014, 09:33:29 AM »
I like Divine Liturgy better than Vespers, but I imagine attending any service in a language that you cannot understand would be rather difficult. I know some people like it, but I would find it difficult to concentrate and follow along as well.  Lord, have mercy.  :-\
God bless!

Offline Paisius

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Re: My First ever visit to an Orthodox Church
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2014, 11:42:07 AM »
I find Vespers and Matins, which has more variable content to be more difficult in a language you don't understand than Divine Liturgy, which has less variable content. Try to get a book with the text of the Divine Liturgy in your native language, our parish has books with side by side transliterated Slavonic and English, we used them a lot when we began, but now I feel I could attend a Divine Liturgy in any language and know what was going on, you could look up the Gospel and Epistle readings beforehand if you got a calendar. That said I'm definitely a fan services in native language of the land they are served in.

I love hearing the Divine Liturgy in Greek, Spanish, Church Slavonic, and in Arabic.
The movements are the same. The chant is heavenly and draws us into Heaven.



Once you have been going to the services for years they could be done in Martian and you'd still understand what was happening. But if you've never been at all I'm sure a foreign language makes it that much more overwhelming.

Offline mabsoota

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Re: My First ever visit to an Orthodox Church
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2014, 02:10:02 PM »
did you have a chance to say 'hello' to anyone? did they speak norwegian?
that would be a start.
they may have assumed you were a russian speaker as north europeans look similar (to me anyway!)

may God guide you and give you peace in your searching.

Offline Alpo

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Re: My First ever visit to an Orthodox Church
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2014, 02:59:46 PM »
they may have assumed you were a russian speaker as north europeans look similar

Not really. Some Russians probably with European ancestry look pretty much like Finns/Estonians but not like, say, Norwegians.
I just need to find out how to say it in Slavonic!

Offline KostaC

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Re: My First ever visit to an Orthodox Church
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2014, 03:12:01 PM »
they may have assumed you were a russian speaker as north europeans look similar

Not really. Some Russians probably with European ancestry look pretty much like Finns/Estonians but not like, say, Norwegians.

Your people really got around. I had no idea that Patriarch Nikon was half Volga Finnic until Russian History class last week, or that there were Finns as far east as the Volga even today.
«Μὴ μεριμνᾶτε λοιπὸν διὰ τὴν αὔριον, διὀτι ἡ αὐριανὴ ἡμέρα θὰ φροντίσῃ διὰ τὰ δικά της πράγματα. Φθάνει ἡ στεναχώρια τῆς ἡμέρας». Κατά Ματθαίον 6:34

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Offline Alpo

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Re: My First ever visit to an Orthodox Church
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2014, 03:25:55 PM »
they may have assumed you were a russian speaker as north europeans look similar

Not really. Some Russians probably with European ancestry look pretty much like Finns/Estonians but not like, say, Norwegians.

Your people really got around. I had no idea that Patriarch Nikon was half Volga Finnic until Russian History class last week, or that there were Finns people speaking Finno-Ugric languages as far east as the Volga even today.

Fixed.  :police: That idea died out almost a century ago.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heimosodat

Our languages might be related but I don't think we are otherwise anyhow similar  remarkably similar.  Might have been back in the days but not anymore since like a few centuries. It's interesting though. Not going to sport Putinism or Holy Russia but lately  I've been starting to identify as an Eastern European. I should visit the Russian Karelia at some point.

« Last Edit: November 06, 2014, 03:31:40 PM by Alpo »
I just need to find out how to say it in Slavonic!

Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: My First ever visit to an Orthodox Church
« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2014, 03:56:42 PM »
they may have assumed you were a russian speaker as north europeans look similar

Not really. Some Russians probably with European ancestry look pretty much like Finns/Estonians but not like, say, Norwegians.

Your people really got around. I had no idea that Patriarch Nikon was half Volga Finnic until Russian History class last week, or that there were Finns people speaking Finno-Ugric languages as far east as the Volga even today.

Fixed.  :police: That idea died out almost a century ago.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heimosodat

Our languages might be related but I don't think we are otherwise anyhow similar  remarkably similar.  Might have been back in the days but not anymore since like a few centuries. It's interesting though. Not going to sport Putinism or Holy Russia but lately  I've been starting to identify as an Eastern European. I should visit the Russian Karelia at some point.



Blah blah blah white people blah blah blah.  :P
I think you can say ~ In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and post with charitable and prayerful intentions.

Offline Alpo

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Re: My First ever visit to an Orthodox Church
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2014, 04:12:53 PM »
LOL.

Reminds me of why this thing with Whiteness is silly. Please come to Europe. We are all White but we still hate each other. :-*
« Last Edit: November 06, 2014, 04:13:46 PM by Alpo »
I just need to find out how to say it in Slavonic!

Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: My First ever visit to an Orthodox Church
« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2014, 04:46:07 PM »
LOL.

Reminds me of why this thing with Whiteness is silly. Please come to Europe. We are all White but we still hate each other. :-*

I'd love for you to take me around and introduce me as your brown friend from the Far West. 
I think you can say ~ In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and post with charitable and prayerful intentions.

Offline Georgii

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Re: My First ever visit to an Orthodox Church
« Reply #15 on: November 06, 2014, 04:48:44 PM »
Dear MarianCatholic,

Although there has been some good advice in this thread, except for Maria no-one seems to have congratulated you properly on attending your first Orthodox service.

So, congratulations!

In the various instructions and traditions on "how to behave in church", some in books and some online, another thing that almost always appears is that people should not watch how other people pray, and should even look away to avoid temptation. So if anyone does happen to be watching you (which, as you say, is probably not the case), then they are far more in the wrong than you.

For you as a newcomer, however, I would say do watch and imitate as you can....

I think it would also be important to talk with someone, anyone in church who speaks Norwegian, difficult though that may be for you.

Jurisdictional issues are tricky, but my very cursory searches seem to have found two different Orthodox churches in Oslo -- both Russian, in fact. Please anyone correct me if I am wrong about that. Chances are that one of them is larger / less uncomfortably intimate than the other, if that would help you.


« Last Edit: November 06, 2014, 04:51:46 PM by Georgii »
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Offline Alpo

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Re: My First ever visit to an Orthodox Church
« Reply #16 on: November 06, 2014, 04:56:48 PM »
LOL.

Reminds me of why this thing with Whiteness is silly. Please come to Europe. We are all White but we still hate each other. :-*

I'd love for you to take me around and introduce me as your brown friend from the Far West. 

I could to introduce you to my brown friend from Central Finland. He's an interesting personification of clash of civilization. Finnish is his native language (probably alongside with English) but as his father is an American and he himself has lived some time in the US he talks and acts like an American even when his talking in Finnish. I can imagine you two having an interesting conversations.
I just need to find out how to say it in Slavonic!

Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: My First ever visit to an Orthodox Church
« Reply #17 on: November 06, 2014, 06:33:26 PM »
LOL.

Reminds me of why this thing with Whiteness is silly. Please come to Europe. We are all White but we still hate each other. :-*

I'd love for you to take me around and introduce me as your brown friend from the Far West. 

I could to introduce you to my brown friend from Central Finland. He's an interesting personification of clash of civilization. Finnish is his native language (probably alongside with English) but as his father is an American and he himself has lived some time in the US he talks and acts like an American even when his talking in Finnish. I can imagine you two having an interesting conversations.

Now to find a financial sponsor for my pilgrimage!! 
I think you can say ~ In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and post with charitable and prayerful intentions.

Offline homedad76

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Re: My First ever visit to an Orthodox Church
« Reply #18 on: November 06, 2014, 07:38:26 PM »
While I quickly felt comfortable in my church I had a similar moment every time Archbishop Melchizidek (OCA Pittsburgh) would attend.  He is such a looming figure, especially when in all black, that he seemed almost unapproachable.  Add that to the fact that as a Catholic you almost never see the Bishop and it just was overwhelming. It wasn't until after I converted that I even felt remotely okay not slipping out the door as soon as the service ended.
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Offline jayjay

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Re: My First ever visit to an Orthodox Church
« Reply #19 on: December 01, 2014, 12:16:47 PM »
Hi - a little of my story. I was raised Protestant, even got half way through a Masters degree at a Seminary in the US (I'm from Australia and got a scholarship). My first service was at St Sophia in Ukraine ( hope I spelled it right) in 1990. I was in awe. My next time was in 2004 at St Nicholas ROCOR church in Adelaide, South Australia, for the midnight service at Easter. What struck me the most was the expression of joy and happiness on the face of the priest (Father Deduhin) (hope I spelled it right). I left gob smacked that for the first time in my life, I saw someone who expressed the real joy of Easter.

I bought lots of books on Orthodoxy to learn more - I had a hard time getting my Protestant views around the teachings of Orthodoxy.

At the end of the day, I found Orthodoxy to be the right path to follow - though I haven't been accepted into the Church yet - the nearest priest is over an 8 hr drive from where I live, but there are things I can do on a daily basis - pray, read the Bile, try to let my light shine, etc etc.

My first 2 visits will stay with me forever whilst on this earth - they meant so much, and drew me closer to God.

Anyway, that's my 2 bobs worth!
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Offline mabsoota

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Re: My First ever visit to an Orthodox Church
« Reply #20 on: December 01, 2014, 04:30:48 PM »
wow, i looked up your location in your profile and can see that you are very far from all the churches that have websites!
may God guide you.
maybe God wants you to be the first member in a church in your area, if you think this may be you,
ask around the churches from the adelaide or melbourne areas to see if anyone is planning a mission in your area.

or start a new topic here in the convert issues forum, maybe someone here can help you.
the nearest i found for you is geelong and adelaide, which would be many hours of driving.
thanks for sharing your story.

Offline mabsoota

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Re: My First ever visit to an Orthodox Church
« Reply #21 on: December 01, 2014, 04:40:20 PM »
ps:
this seems to be the closest, if it is still running (if website is up to date):
http://directory.stinnocentpress.com/viewparish.cgi?Uid=172&lang=en

it is near murray bridge, which is 'only' about 260 miles away.

Offline jayjay

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Re: My First ever visit to an Orthodox Church
« Reply #22 on: December 04, 2014, 09:19:02 AM »
Hi and thanks for the checks on nearby churches- I need to update my profile as I have recently moved to Port Lincoln. I believe the nearest Orthodox church is about 4-5 hrs away, but I have met a few Greek people here, and they fly in an Orthodox priest a few times a year. We will definitely be having discussions about getting the church started again.
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