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Offline seekeroftruth777

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Hardest obstacles for Converts?
« on: July 17, 2015, 12:13:22 AM »
Ok so since I'm a inquirer myself I want to ask those who converted either to E.O. or O.O. what was your hardest Obstacles as a convert. It may sound silly but for me other than issues I brought up on here before the big Obstacles for me are Kissing the Priest hand I mean I don't want to sound mean or rude but I always considered kissing any part of a guy as gay and also learning that it doesn't matter if your late to Liturgy. At first I was scared if I was late then what was going to happen since I'm late but I realized the Priest doesn't care or chastise you like you did something evil in Western Churches plus lots of people are coming in during the whole Liturgy. I want to hear from the rest of you ladies and gentlemen what was your obstacles?

Offline Sam G

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Re: Hardest obstacles for Converts?
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2015, 02:10:54 AM »
Ok so since I'm a inquirer myself I want to ask those who converted either to E.O. or O.O. what was your hardest Obstacles as a convert. It may sound silly but for me other than issues I brought up on here before the big Obstacles for me are Kissing the Priest hand I mean I don't want to sound mean or rude but I always considered kissing any part of a guy as gay and also learning that it doesn't matter if your late to Liturgy. At first I was scared if I was late then what was going to happen since I'm late but I realized the Priest doesn't care or chastise you like you did something evil in Western Churches plus lots of people are coming in during the whole Liturgy. I want to hear from the rest of you ladies and gentlemen what was your obstacles?

The biggest obstacle for me was coming to know Orthodoxy as Orthodoxy knew itself.  When I was beginning to enquire, I was basically looking for a form of Catholicism that made historical sense.  This became an unintended stumbling block that I was (fortunately) able to identify and remove. 
"Vanity of vanities, said Ecclesiastes vanity of vanities, and all is vanity."

Offline Vanhyo

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Re: Hardest obstacles for Converts?
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2015, 06:14:15 AM »
When i read the bible and became faithful i thought i was orthodox christian although i had near zero knowledge if what christianity is

As you can imagine i did try to fill some knowledge in, but you know, when you look for more christian knowledge and have no clue whatsoever, there is a very big chance that you might find protestants, in short i quickly absorbed alot of protestant ideas, i didn't make any difference between catholics, orthodox or protestants, it was all the same to me, so quickly absorbed many of the ideas i could find on the net.

Logically i started to consider icons idolatry, therefor to identify myself as more of a protestant...

The problem was that something was lacking in my faith, i felt like something isn't complete and is not correct, plus the fear that i might be one of the to whom Christ says "depart from me i never knew you"

In my hunt for the truth i started to realize the importance of the Apostolic Succession, the importance of the Eucharist and sacraments of the Church and the fact that it is indeed important to which church one belongs.

So i came to a point where i had to make a choice, between iconoclasm, chilism vs Apostolic succession, The Eucharist and the sacraments of the Church. I quickly realized that that icons and chilism would be the least of my problems if i do not accept the apostles and their successors or if i do not partake of the sacraments of the Church. Giving another rerun & double check to my understanding of these matters i rejected chilism and iconoclasm, therefor there were no longer any obstacles for me.

Now i was facing 3 churches who made the claim to be the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church - the RC, OO and EO.

OO seemed to be rather small and not catholic, also i took into consideration the repudiation of the armenians by the holy fire as well as the miracle of st Euphemia and some others.

RC couldn't be the Church because the fruits seemed to rotten to me, something felt is wrong.... i did take some miracles into consideration as well as the miracle of the Holy Fire.

And finally i did some math, OO and EO did split 1500 years ago, therefore:

OO plus Chalcedon should equal EO
EO minus Chalcedon should equal OO
We find this equation to be correct

Logically if my math is correct OO+EO should equal dogmatically RC 1500 years ago, but if today's OO+EO<RC+X then X are the innovations of Rome.

Clearly since OO isn't catholic and RC has innovations, and both were repudiated by miracles , the only logical choice for me was Eastern Orthodox, good for me, i live in a Orthodox Country and i was baptized as a child in such Church.

So everything aligned good for me

















« Last Edit: July 17, 2015, 06:26:22 AM by Vanhyo »

Offline Ainnir

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Re: Hardest obstacles for Converts?
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2015, 07:54:26 AM »
Seeker, are you asking about challenges within the catechism process?  Or personal challenges in reorienting oneself to the Orthodox mindset?  I can't answer the first as I'm still milling around outside the door, so to speak.

The biggest personal challenge for me is being perceived as flat out leaving the Christian faith by my family and friends (most of them).  To deepen one relationship, it appears that I'll have to give up many others (or so it seems right now).  That doesn't faze some people, but it is a particular weakness for me. 

As far as contemplating the many practices within the church, I also think kissing the priest's hand (really I think you're aiming for his ring, but I could be wrong...ETA: I was--I've been informed that priests don't wear rings :D) is a bit off-putting...and kissing in general because of our hyper-repressed American culture.  The role of the saints is another I want to know more about and would need to look at a long time to understand.

None of these are impossible obstacles, however.  Just challenges.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2015, 08:15:33 AM by Ainnir »
Is any of the above Orthodox?  I have no clue, so there's that.

Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Hardest obstacles for Converts?
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2015, 08:45:08 AM »
I think the hardest thing for me to accept was the prominent role that the Virgin Mary plays within the Church. It was just so foreign to me coming from an environment that somewhat disparaged Mary in an attempt to prevent "Catholic thinking".  I had to set aside my struggles with that for a few years until I matured enough to revisit the issue and recognize the importance that she plays in our salvation.
God bless!

Offline seekeroftruth777

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Re: Hardest obstacles for Converts?
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2015, 12:44:30 PM »
I think another thing for me for a while durinv my researching phase is Orthodoxy doesn't pretend to know everything only god does. For example we know where the church is we don't know where it is, Orthodox don't pretend to know about the exact details about whatever unbaptizied babies are saved, etc. In western churches both protestant & catholic it like they leave no room for mystery at all. For example they think they know what happens to unbaptizied babies, they think they know who is and isn't part of the church according to them, when christ is returning, who is the antichrist, etc. However I learn to leave a lot for mystery and if I have a issue to consult the priest. I hope you all understand what I mean in this post.

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Re: Hardest obstacles for Converts?
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2015, 12:47:43 PM »
The honor given to the Theotokos and kissing priests' hands was the most difficult for this former protestant.

Offline seekeroftruth777

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Re: Hardest obstacles for Converts?
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2015, 01:26:20 PM »
The honor given to the Theotokos and kissing priests' hands was the most difficult for this former protestant.

I'm glad to hear I'm not alone about kissing the priest hand. At first I would never let my lips make 100% contact now I gotten the hang of it ;D

Offline scamandrius

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Re: Hardest obstacles for Converts?
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2015, 02:45:01 PM »
Ok so since I'm a inquirer myself I want to ask those who converted either to E.O. or O.O. what was your hardest Obstacles as a convert. It may sound silly but for me other than issues I brought up on here before the big Obstacles for me are Kissing the Priest hand I mean I don't want to sound mean or rude but I always considered kissing any part of a guy as gay and also learning that it doesn't matter if your late to Liturgy. At first I was scared if I was late then what was going to happen since I'm late but I realized the Priest doesn't care or chastise you like you did something evil in Western Churches plus lots of people are coming in during the whole Liturgy. I want to hear from the rest of you ladies and gentlemen what was your obstacles?


The biggest obstacle for me was coming to know Orthodoxy as Orthodoxy knew itself.
  When I was beginning to enquire, I was basically looking for a form of Catholicism that made historical sense.  This became an unintended stumbling block that I was (fortunately) able to identify and remove.

I agree wholeheartedly.  In many ways, I'm still struggling with this.  It's easy to ascent to the beliefs and practices because they are historic and unbroken, but what does it mean to actually live an Orthodox live as it is defined by Orthodoxy and not by someone who has read a lot about it and fashions himself to be an expert.  I did a lot of the same thing, trying to justify my Lutheranism while coming into Orthodoxy.  I still cannot do it, because Lutheranism and Orthodoxy are on two different levels that they see eye to eye very infrequently. I'm sure that this will be my struggle until the day I die.
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Offline seekeroftruth777

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Re: Hardest obstacles for Converts?
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2015, 02:51:08 PM »
Ok so since I'm a inquirer myself I want to ask those who converted either to E.O. or O.O. what was your hardest Obstacles as a convert. It may sound silly but for me other than issues I brought up on here before the big Obstacles for me are Kissing the Priest hand I mean I don't want to sound mean or rude but I always considered kissing any part of a guy as gay and also learning that it doesn't matter if your late to Liturgy. At first I was scared if I was late then what was going to happen since I'm late but I realized the Priest doesn't care or chastise you like you did something evil in Western Churches plus lots of people are coming in during the whole Liturgy. I want to hear from the rest of you ladies and gentlemen what was your obstacles?


The biggest obstacle for me was coming to know Orthodoxy as Orthodoxy knew itself.
  When I was beginning to enquire, I was basically looking for a form of Catholicism that made historical sense.  This became an unintended stumbling block that I was (fortunately) able to identify and remove.

I agree wholeheartedly.  In many ways, I'm still struggling with this.  It's easy to ascent to the beliefs and practices because they are historic and unbroken, but what does it mean to actually live an Orthodox live as it is defined by Orthodoxy and not by someone who has read a lot about it and fashions himself to be an expert.  I did a lot of the same thing, trying to justify my Lutheranism while coming into Orthodoxy.  I still cannot do it, because Lutheranism and Orthodoxy are on two different levels that they see eye to eye very infrequently. I'm sure that this will be my struggle until the day I die.

Fascinating I came from a very lapsed Lutheran family, IDK what happened but after the early 80's my grandma just stop going we don't talk about I only want good times visiting her no upsetting her. I got a question you say Lutheranism and Orthodoxy are on two different levels then how come it seems those from a Lutheran background seem to converting in pretty decent numbers?

Offline LenInSebastopol

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Re: Hardest obstacles for Converts?
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2015, 02:56:13 PM »
For me it was pride being the biggest. Still is.
As for kissing this or that, or realizing who is Real and Worthy.....all the same....Pride is the bugger.
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Offline scamandrius

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Re: Hardest obstacles for Converts?
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2015, 03:01:30 PM »
Ok so since I'm a inquirer myself I want to ask those who converted either to E.O. or O.O. what was your hardest Obstacles as a convert. It may sound silly but for me other than issues I brought up on here before the big Obstacles for me are Kissing the Priest hand I mean I don't want to sound mean or rude but I always considered kissing any part of a guy as gay and also learning that it doesn't matter if your late to Liturgy. At first I was scared if I was late then what was going to happen since I'm late but I realized the Priest doesn't care or chastise you like you did something evil in Western Churches plus lots of people are coming in during the whole Liturgy. I want to hear from the rest of you ladies and gentlemen what was your obstacles?


The biggest obstacle for me was coming to know Orthodoxy as Orthodoxy knew itself.
  When I was beginning to enquire, I was basically looking for a form of Catholicism that made historical sense.  This became an unintended stumbling block that I was (fortunately) able to identify and remove.

I agree wholeheartedly.  In many ways, I'm still struggling with this.  It's easy to ascent to the beliefs and practices because they are historic and unbroken, but what does it mean to actually live an Orthodox live as it is defined by Orthodoxy and not by someone who has read a lot about it and fashions himself to be an expert.  I did a lot of the same thing, trying to justify my Lutheranism while coming into Orthodoxy.  I still cannot do it, because Lutheranism and Orthodoxy are on two different levels that they see eye to eye very infrequently. I'm sure that this will be my struggle until the day I die.

Fascinating I came from a very lapsed Lutheran family, IDK what happened but after the early 80's my grandma just stop going we don't talk about I only want good times visiting her no upsetting her. I got a question you say Lutheranism and Orthodoxy are on two different levels then how come it seems those from a Lutheran background seem to converting in pretty decent numbers?

Historical Lutheranism in its encounter with Orthodoxy is problematic, but I was referring more to how Lutheranism is practiced and taught today as opposed to its golden age in the 1600s and early 1700s.  the Lutheranism of today would be unrecognizable by people like Gerhardt or even Bach.  I think a lot of Lutherans who know their history realize that.  And a lot of them are running away from something rather than running towards something.  And much of that was true with me. I knew I wanted out of Lutheranism, but did not know that Orthodoxy would be where I would end up. 
« Last Edit: July 17, 2015, 03:03:28 PM by scamandrius »
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Re: Hardest obstacles for Converts?
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2015, 03:39:45 PM »
Ok so since I'm a inquirer myself I want to ask those who converted either to E.O. or O.O. what was your hardest Obstacles as a convert. It may sound silly but for me other than issues I brought up on here before the big Obstacles for me are Kissing the Priest hand I mean I don't want to sound mean or rude but I always considered kissing any part of a guy as gay and also learning that it doesn't matter if your late to Liturgy. At first I was scared if I was late then what was going to happen since I'm late but I realized the Priest doesn't care or chastise you like you did something evil in Western Churches plus lots of people are coming in during the whole Liturgy. I want to hear from the rest of you ladies and gentlemen what was your obstacles?

Our parish doesn't do a lot of hand-kissing. (I mean, it's done, but it doesn't seem mandatory.) We're beginning to change that a little though. I admit, it feels awkward. I also admit I haven't done this yet.  :-\
I love the fact that people come in throughout the beginning of the liturgy. It makes it seem more like a family gathering than a staged performance. (I still don't like being late, but I'm not freaked out if we are.)

The hardest parts for me to accept were the veneration of icons, the role of the Theotokos, and calling the priest, "Father".

I do venerate icons in church and at home, and I love it. I still sometimes have pangs of worry that I'm breaking the 2nd commandment though. I'm just accepting on faith that veneration of icons is correct. Everything else about Holy Orthodoxy makes absolute sense, and it all comes as a package, so I really have no choice here but to believe.

When I first encountered the prayers to the Theotokos in the Liturgy (and other places) it really rubbed me the wrong way. This is due to 40 years of Romaphobia, I'm sure. As I understand more and more, I've come to see the essential part Mary plays in our Christology, and that Orthodoxy doesn't fall into the trap of cultish devotion to Mary as the RCC seems to do.

While I have no problem using "Father" as a title, I tend to avoid calling our priest just "Father" without his name after it. It seems odd to me, when talking to my wife, to say, "Father told me that there's a bible study starting next month." I'm much more comfortable with, "Father Anthony told me . . ." I think this will break in with use.


Something that never bothered me was Infant baptism, but I've found that it really bothers our (Protestant) parents. My wife and I have 2 kids, and they will be getting baptized as we enter the church. When my Mother-in-Law found out, she almost went ballistic. My dad is having trouble with it too. I can't figure this out. Most Protestants look at baptism as an outward sign of an inward commitment. For them, and infant baptism should be nothing more than an empty ceremony. Why they're objecting to it, I really can't understand (and I have tried).
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Offline dhinuus

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Re: Hardest obstacles for Converts?
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2015, 03:55:56 PM »
OO seemed to be rather small and not catholic,

Clearly since OO isn't catholic

Since you made the claim twice in your post that OO is not Catholic; I have to ask why?  Catholic means "universal" or "broad based".  I will say on any day OO is more broad based and universal than the EO.  EO for the most part has only one ethnicity in it... which is white guys (Greeks and Slavs) that too primarily and a very few Arabs. EO has absolutely very few if, any liturgical diversity. Any liturgical rite that is not Byzantine has been suppressed.

On the contrary; OO has Ethiopian and Eritrean  Africans, Coptic - Egyptians, Syriac's , Armenians and Indians.  Also we have a very diverse liturgical rite while still all of them holding on the the same Orthodox faith of the three councils and still retaining the mia-physite Christology as taught by St. Cyril. 

So why would you say OO is not broad-based or universal (aka not Catholic) ?
« Last Edit: July 17, 2015, 03:56:27 PM by dhinuus »
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Offline wynd

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Re: Hardest obstacles for Converts?
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2015, 04:22:14 PM »
Ok so since I'm a inquirer myself I want to ask those who converted either to E.O. or O.O. what was your hardest Obstacles as a convert. It may sound silly but for me other than issues I brought up on here before the big Obstacles for me are Kissing the Priest hand I mean I don't want to sound mean or rude but I always considered kissing any part of a guy as gay and also learning that it doesn't matter if your late to Liturgy. At first I was scared if I was late then what was going to happen since I'm late but I realized the Priest doesn't care or chastise you like you did something evil in Western Churches plus lots of people are coming in during the whole Liturgy. I want to hear from the rest of you ladies and gentlemen what was your obstacles?

As a former Catholic, the lack of a pope was my biggest obstacle.

Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Hardest obstacles for Converts?
« Reply #15 on: July 17, 2015, 04:23:24 PM »
OO seemed to be rather small and not catholic,

Clearly since OO isn't catholic

Since you made the claim twice in your post that OO is not Catholic; I have to ask why?  Catholic means "universal" or "broad based".  I will say on any day OO is more broad based and universal than the EO.  EO for the most part has only one ethnicity in it... which is white guys (Greeks and Slavs) that too primarily and a very few Arabs. EO has absolutely very few if, any liturgical diversity. Any liturgical rite that is not Byzantine has been suppressed.

On the contrary; OO has Ethiopian and Eritrean  Africans, Coptic - Egyptians, Syriac's , Armenians and Indians.  Also we have a very diverse liturgical rite while still all of them holding on the the same Orthodox faith of the three councils and still retaining the mia-physite Christology as taught by St. Cyril. 

So why would you say OO is not broad-based or universal (aka not Catholic) ?
So your saying that EO have the white people and OO have the brown people?  ;)
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Offline Vanhyo

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Re: Hardest obstacles for Converts?
« Reply #16 on: July 17, 2015, 04:41:58 PM »
So why would you say OO is not broad-based or universal (aka not Catholic) ?
I heard clergy of OO themselves admit they split from the Catholic Church over Chalcedon but even if they wouldn't admit it i thought its obvious.

Offline LenInSebastopol

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Re: Hardest obstacles for Converts?
« Reply #17 on: July 17, 2015, 05:54:14 PM »
As a former Catholic, the lack of a pope was my biggest obstacle.

I can relate, but you reminded me that my POV is now my Bishop is the "pope" or final authority which is a really short chain of command!  :o
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Re: Hardest obstacles for Converts?
« Reply #18 on: July 17, 2015, 06:08:33 PM »
So why would you say OO is not broad-based or universal (aka not Catholic) ?
I heard clergy of OO themselves admit they split from the Catholic Church over Chalcedon but even if they wouldn't admit it i thought its obvious.

LOL, they probably mean Rome and Constantinople as "Roman Catholic".  Of course we would split from that.  You guys came around a few centuries later on that matter as well.   
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Offline Minnesotan

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Re: Hardest obstacles for Converts?
« Reply #19 on: July 17, 2015, 06:13:59 PM »
So why would you say OO is not broad-based or universal (aka not Catholic) ?
I heard clergy of OO themselves admit they split from the Catholic Church over Chalcedon but even if they wouldn't admit it i thought its obvious.

Well, I'm sure there've been EO (including the clergy) who have said the same thing, even if just out of ignorance. One of Cardinal Newman's colleagues visited Russia during the 1800s and said that was the impression he got from the Russian clergy (he thought they were denying that the Orthodox Church is Catholic, and saying it is only Eastern and that the term Catholic no longer had any meaning), which is one reason why Newman said he picked Rome over Mosconstantinople.
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Offline JoeS2

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Re: Hardest obstacles for Converts?
« Reply #20 on: July 19, 2015, 01:22:05 AM »
Ok so since I'm a inquirer myself I want to ask those who converted either to E.O. or O.O. what was your hardest Obstacles as a convert. It may sound silly but for me other than issues I brought up on here before the big Obstacles for me are Kissing the Priest hand I mean I don't want to sound mean or rude but I always considered kissing any part of a guy as gay and also learning that it doesn't matter if your late to Liturgy. At first I was scared if I was late then what was going to happen since I'm late but I realized the Priest doesn't care or chastise you like you did something evil in Western Churches plus lots of people are coming in during the whole Liturgy. I want to hear from the rest of you ladies and gentlemen what was your obstacles?

Coming from a 50+ years in the Roman Church the move to Holy Orthodoxy was not as difficult as one would imagine.  My concern was with how much the RCC changed post VatII and all the innovations that was taking place and continues to take place to this day.   I converted back in 2000 and never looked back, no doubts and have been happy every since.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2015, 01:22:38 AM by JoeS2 »

Offline JoeS2

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Re: Hardest obstacles for Converts?
« Reply #21 on: July 19, 2015, 01:25:44 AM »
So why would you say OO is not broad-based or universal (aka not Catholic) ?
I heard clergy of OO themselves admit they split from the Catholic Church over Chalcedon but even if they wouldn't admit it i thought its obvious.

LOL, they probably mean Rome and Constantinople as "Roman Catholic".  Of course we would split from that.  You guys came around a few centuries later on that matter as well.   

Now this is just me but, the remaining Roman Catholics were the ones still under Roman Constantinople.  The Franks took control of the papacy after the so-called fall of Rome in the 5th century.  But again it just me thinking out loud...  So, in my mind, you had two churches: The Francish church of the West and the Roman Catholic church of the East.

Offline wynd

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Re: Hardest obstacles for Converts?
« Reply #22 on: July 22, 2015, 05:49:50 PM »
I can relate, but you reminded me that my POV is now my Bishop is the "pope" or final authority which is a really short chain of command!  :o

True that!

Funny story. Once I was talking to my parish priest (OCA) one time about the OCA possibly going under another patriarchate in a hypothetical future "American unity" scenario. Among other things, he said since I've only ever been a part of OCA parishes, I didn't know what it was like to be under a foreign patriarch. I said something like "Actually, Father, I was under the bishop of Rome for 22 years!"

Offline pasadi97

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Re: Hardest obstacles for Converts?
« Reply #23 on: July 22, 2015, 09:46:27 PM »
On the Pentecost Holy Spirit descended over the heads of Apostles.

Imagine Holy Spirit over the head of orthodox priests I don't know the term, maybe sanctifying the clothes and the priest so we don't kiss only the priest's hand we kiss the clothes of the priest too. We touch the clothes of the priest too to get some holiness of the Holy Spirit.

Remember the cloak of Elijah departed waters.

Should I remark that Protestants don't have priests they have pastors that is laical men in the sense that I don't know if Holy Spirit is over the head of the pastors.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2015, 09:51:28 PM by pasadi97 »
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Re: Hardest obstacles for Converts?
« Reply #24 on: August 05, 2015, 01:26:42 AM »
Hardest obstacle for me was not necessarily the religious aspects, but the social aspect. Let's face it: there is virtually nothing American about Orthodoxy. Having to pretty much abandon my own culture--the endless American BBQs, the holiday traditions, heck, even the pan-Christian ecumenism of "visit my Church!/I'll visit yours/let's pray together!"--was difficult, along with just how estranged I became from my peers due to us not being able to relate to each other. The fasts, the calendar, etc.--it takes its toll. Catholics are (somewhat) more understanding but still don't fully get it. Ironically I got along better with Muslims and atheists in high school than I did with other Christians. I mean, just consider the fact alone that if I ever get married, my family is probably going to be enraged at the fact that none of them can be the best-man or hold any of the other traditional roles in a wedding since they are not Orthodox. That and pretty much every girl they recommend to me is out of the question for not being Orthodox since I simply won't marry a Protestant.

Offline Fabio Leite

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Re: Hardest obstacles for Converts?
« Reply #25 on: August 05, 2015, 02:40:38 PM »
The very first thing I heard from an Orthodox priest (a convert nothing less) when I went their to enquire was: "Don't. Remain Catholic, it makes no difference".

Just after much personal insistance I was then sent to an Orthodox parish with a great priest, but where spiritual life revolved around the devotion to a post-schism Roman saint.

The vast majority of the material to read about Orthodoxy here is written by Roman Catholics, at best Melkites or Greek-Catholic Ukrainians, therefore it's "orthodoxy" as understood by Rome, which is, more or less, a set of separated well-intended and beautiful illegitimate churches who would do so much better if they just accepted to be yet another odd rite sui generis pet church.

Plus local culture is keen of syncretism and global modern culture loves personal supermarket faith, picking and choosing elements to put in one own's cart.

Becoming Orthodox was a long and hard path discerning what it was not and then coming to terms with the fact that to most people it was the precise opposite, knowing it first for what it is, having less clarity about what it is not.
Many Energies, 3 Persons, 2 Natures, 1 God, 1 Church, 1 Baptism, and 1 Cup. The Son begotten only from the Father, the Spirit proceeding only from the Father, Each glorifying the Other. The Son sends the Spirit, the Spirit Reveals the Son, the Father is seen in the Son. The Spirit spoke through the Prophets and Fathers and does so even today.

Offline littlepilgrim64

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Re: Hardest obstacles for Converts?
« Reply #26 on: August 19, 2015, 09:41:16 AM »
I am still struggling to a certain degree with Panagia's role and honoring her, the connection between Christ's Incarnation and veneration of icons, and a few other things as well.

Although I know the main reason to go to church is to worship our Lord, not for socialization, still I am coming out of an environment where I lived to go to church and be at church as much as possible (Sunday morning/evening, Women's Bible Studies, Mid-week service and/or study, retreats, etc.).  The Protestant church I'm coming out of is very active and there is a lot of fellowship during the week, and it's a tight knit community. There are also outreach activities to the local community.  Most everyone lives within a 7-10 mile radius of church.  By contrast, my Orthodox church (unless it is a special time in the Church Calendar like Dormition fast with extra services) has liturgy on Sunday and only certain times of the year a midweek Bible study, and that's it. Fellowship is basically at coffee hour, during Bible study when it's in session or over social media with people I know.  There are a few people who actually live in my town that the church is in, but the majority commute 30 to 40 minutes or more to get to church. I'm finding myself feeling more isolated during the week as compared to when I used to be more involved in the Protestant church. This is something that I am needing to adjust to.

Offline seekeroftruth777

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Re: Hardest obstacles for Converts?
« Reply #27 on: August 19, 2015, 10:00:48 AM »
I'm starting to realize as time goes on it can get harder not easier Orthodoxy not just church it a way of life.

Offline hecma925

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Re: Hardest obstacles for Converts?
« Reply #28 on: August 20, 2015, 01:00:35 AM »
My hardest obstacle has been to be at peace knowing my immediate and extended family think I'm some sort of heretic going to hell.  I'm in a better place now.
Happy shall he be, that shall take and dash thy little ones against the rock. Alleluia.

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Offline MalpanaGiwargis

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Re: Hardest obstacles for Converts?
« Reply #29 on: August 20, 2015, 09:48:59 AM »
The biggest obstacle for me is the fear of introducing problems in my family life. My children are all pretty young, and my wife doesn't seem terribly open to Orthodoxy. The "cultural displacement" is also a factor, smaller to me than it would be to my wife. After our first visit to the local Greek parish, my wife was mostly struck by how "not Greek" she felt. I also think as a cradle Catholic, she has built up the "Church lasts 60 to 75 minutes, tops," and so the Liturgy seemed to drag on and on. Our kids have developed a similar internal clock, so they were getting pretty antsy, which made the minutes really drag on.

Aside from struggling to keep fasts (my own weakness), I don't have any doctrinal issues or issues relating to praxis. Veneration of saints, icons, kissing a priest's hand, etc. - none of that is a problem.
Woe is me, that I have read the commandments,
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and have been instructed in Your glories,
   and yet I have become occupied in shameful things!

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Offline Matthew Herman

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Re: Hardest obstacles for Converts?
« Reply #30 on: August 21, 2015, 04:24:18 PM »
I'm starting to realize as time goes on it can get harder not easier Orthodoxy not just church it a way of life.

I have found the same to be true.

In Christ,
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Offline biro

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Re: Hardest obstacles for Converts?
« Reply #31 on: August 21, 2015, 04:38:04 PM »
I'm starting to realize as time goes on it can get harder not easier Orthodoxy not just church it a way of life.

Yes.
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Re: Hardest obstacles for Converts?
« Reply #32 on: August 21, 2015, 04:46:22 PM »
The biggest obstacle for me is the fear of introducing problems in my family life. My children are all pretty young, and my wife doesn't seem terribly open to Orthodoxy. The "cultural displacement" is also a factor, smaller to me than it would be to my wife. After our first visit to the local Greek parish, my wife was mostly struck by how "not Greek" she felt. I also think as a cradle Catholic, she has built up the "Church lasts 60 to 75 minutes, tops," and so the Liturgy seemed to drag on and on. Our kids have developed a similar internal clock, so they were getting pretty antsy, which made the minutes really drag on.

Aside from struggling to keep fasts (my own weakness), I don't have any doctrinal issues or issues relating to praxis. Veneration of saints, icons, kissing a priest's hand, etc. - none of that is a problem.

I find that intermittent fasting helps me keep the fast better on Wednesdays and Fridays.
IOW, I try to fast from midnight on liquids until 3 PM or even longer until 8 pm.
I only drink water, unsweetened tea, diluted organic apple juice with a little apple cider vinegar, or I drink lemon water.

Then when and if I have a light supper in the evening, I do not have the urge to splurge and break the fast.

p.s. Always check with your spiritual father. Mine has approved of intermittent fasting as long as I remain in good health. However, if I should become ill, he told me to knock it off.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2015, 04:51:47 PM by Maria »
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.

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Re: Hardest obstacles for Converts?
« Reply #33 on: August 21, 2015, 05:26:39 PM »
One thing I've struggled with--though this has been all along and not just in the early times--is that we aren't free to just throw out opinions we don't agree with or understand. This is not to say that everything written by Council X or Father Y is infallible, only that we cannot flippantly brush things aside or ignore them just because we disagree. With the type of Christian I was before, I could stick to only the Bible if that's what I wanted to do, and even then I had great autonomy and little oversight in interpreting and applying verses as I liked. For someone like that, becoming a part of Orthodoxy (and some other groups) requires verses like Heb. 13:17; Prov. 22:28; 2 Thes. 2:15; etc. to be taken in a much more serious and restrictive way. The idea, of course, is that it's restrictive for the better--along the lines of Chesterton's fences that keep people from tumbling off cliffs.

Many people really like this about Orthodoxy, as do I a lot of the time. But then the awesome-ness of it all fades and you live your life. And you come across things like: "be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect." And you think, well I'm certainly not there! But it's kind of an overarching, general idea. Then you get into specifics, like: "anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart," or "if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well." It's easy then to slip right back into old habits, interpreting the passages in the way that I most want--or at least in a way that I am ok with. I'm not saying that there aren't various understandings and applications of such passages, only that it's easy to be directed or motivated in an interpretation by the wrong things.

Or you come across a passage like this one in St. Maximos: "If there are some men you hate and some you neither love nor hate, and others you love strongly and others again you love but moderately, recognize from this inequality that you are far from perfect love. For perfect love presupposes that you love all men equally." Wow, ok, so with this, if I love my mom and am neutral about someone who was abusive when I was a kid, then I don't have perfect love? I can hate the sins, but I am supposed to love them as persons equally? That's quite a tall order. Whether we're able (and should try) to reach such a 'perfect love' is not really the point I'm trying to make here, nor is this about whether St. Maximos is correct, or if it needs to be interpreted in a different way. My point is just that I do not believe that I am free to dismiss the idea out of hand just because I find it challenging in an uncomfortable, anxiety-producing, and perhaps even sacrifice-requiring way.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2015, 05:28:37 PM by Justin Kissel »

Offline biro

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Re: Hardest obstacles for Converts?
« Reply #34 on: August 21, 2015, 05:43:10 PM »
Patience is a hard thing for me to learn.

Putting others before myself and smoothing out my darker moods is also difficult.

Again, problems which originate with me.
My only weakness is, well, never mind

And you'll sleep, but they'll find you

Come back my dream into my arms, into my arms

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Offline LenInSebastopol

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Re: Hardest obstacles for Converts?
« Reply #35 on: August 22, 2015, 11:36:25 AM »
One thing I've struggled with--though this has been all along and not just in the early times--is that we aren't free to just throw out opinions we don't agree with or understand. This is not to say that everything written by Council X or Father Y is infallible, only that we cannot flippantly brush things aside or ignore them just because we disagree. With the type of Christian I was before, I could stick to only the Bible if that's what I wanted to do, and even then I had great autonomy and little oversight in interpreting and applying verses as I liked. For someone like that, becoming a part of Orthodoxy (and some other groups) requires verses like Heb. 13:17; Prov. 22:28; 2 Thes. 2:15; etc. to be taken in a much more serious and restrictive way. The idea, of course, is that it's restrictive for the better--along the lines of Chesterton's fences that keep people from tumbling off cliffs.

Many people really like this about Orthodoxy, as do I a lot of the time. But then the awesome-ness of it all fades and you live your life. And you come across things like: "be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect." And you think, well I'm certainly not there! But it's kind of an overarching, general idea. Then you get into specifics, like: "anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart," or "if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well." It's easy then to slip right back into old habits, interpreting the passages in the way that I most want--or at least in a way that I am ok with. I'm not saying that there aren't various understandings and applications of such passages, only that it's easy to be directed or motivated in an interpretation by the wrong things.

Or you come across a passage like this one in St. Maximos: "If there are some men you hate and some you neither love nor hate, and others you love strongly and others again you love but moderately, recognize from this inequality that you are far from perfect love. For perfect love presupposes that you love all men equally." Wow, ok, so with this, if I love my mom and am neutral about someone who was abusive when I was a kid, then I don't have perfect love? I can hate the sins, but I am supposed to love them as persons equally? That's quite a tall order. Whether we're able (and should try) to reach such a 'perfect love' is not really the point I'm trying to make here, nor is this about whether St. Maximos is correct, or if it needs to be interpreted in a different way. My point is just that I do not believe that I am free to dismiss the idea out of hand just because I find it challenging in an uncomfortable, anxiety-producing, and perhaps even sacrifice-requiring way.

POTM.
I am certain many of us have the same struggles, however the 'freedom' lost may be the illusion of interpreting the what & how of what we read as others have struggled with the same human issues thus giving their take on such conditions. 'Learning' is what it sounds like to be the struggle which may also be considered in light of "repentance', in a liberal sense of that word. It is a struggle to think and rethink and when we hear a good maxim on the right life or how to change our ways twoards living properly.
I have to laugh at times, as I often tell my priest the reason I rebel or sin is that the Goodness from Him is TO good and I can't take it all in, so I choose my (selfish) way instead of His. He too laugh and tells me he knows why I sin.....and I think he may be at least most, if not all the time, right!   ;D
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Offline Maria

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Re: Hardest obstacles for Converts?
« Reply #36 on: August 22, 2015, 06:02:18 PM »
One thing I've struggled with--though this has been all along and not just in the early times--is that we aren't free to just throw out opinions we don't agree with or understand. This is not to say that everything written by Council X or Father Y is infallible, only that we cannot flippantly brush things aside or ignore them just because we disagree. With the type of Christian I was before, I could stick to only the Bible if that's what I wanted to do, and even then I had great autonomy and little oversight in interpreting and applying verses as I liked. For someone like that, becoming a part of Orthodoxy (and some other groups) requires verses like Heb. 13:17; Prov. 22:28; 2 Thes. 2:15; etc. to be taken in a much more serious and restrictive way. The idea, of course, is that it's restrictive for the better--along the lines of Chesterton's fences that keep people from tumbling off cliffs.

Many people really like this about Orthodoxy, as do I a lot of the time. But then the awesome-ness of it all fades and you live your life. And you come across things like: "be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect." And you think, well I'm certainly not there! But it's kind of an overarching, general idea. Then you get into specifics, like: "anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart," or "if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well." It's easy then to slip right back into old habits, interpreting the passages in the way that I most want--or at least in a way that I am ok with. I'm not saying that there aren't various understandings and applications of such passages, only that it's easy to be directed or motivated in an interpretation by the wrong things.

Or you come across a passage like this one in St. Maximos: "If there are some men you hate and some you neither love nor hate, and others you love strongly and others again you love but moderately, recognize from this inequality that you are far from perfect love. For perfect love presupposes that you love all men equally." Wow, ok, so with this, if I love my mom and am neutral about someone who was abusive when I was a kid, then I don't have perfect love? I can hate the sins, but I am supposed to love them as persons equally? That's quite a tall order. Whether we're able (and should try) to reach such a 'perfect love' is not really the point I'm trying to make here, nor is this about whether St. Maximos is correct, or if it needs to be interpreted in a different way. My point is just that I do not believe that I am free to dismiss the idea out of hand just because I find it challenging in an uncomfortable, anxiety-producing, and perhaps even sacrifice-requiring way.

POM
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 justanotherme

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Re: Hardest obstacles for Converts?
« Reply #37 on: August 22, 2015, 07:31:33 PM »
Good question. Mostly time and family trouble, at the moment. But speaking about aspects not related to one isolated situation: fear of being perceived as a fraud. I want to venerate the icons, but I usually just try to slip up to the balcony without being noticed. Kissing icons isn't natural to me, and though I want to do what's expected. I fear I'll cause offense by doing things incorrectly. Also, it has been great to notice that people are very friendly, one person even coming up to try to help us figure things out--another convert--my crippling social anxiety is really making that awkward. I feel terrible and can't imagine what it's like on the other side of the equation for the genuinely nice people trying to help out. Fear of looking like a strange American transplant that isn't "serious" about faith or somehow offending everyone with my/my family's presence... maybe that's an odd thing to say, but I'm very scared of those things. There is so much there in Church and I feel so completely inadequate spiritually and otherwise. Sometimes I wish I could just go, but be invisible.


Offline justanotherme

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Re: Hardest obstacles for Converts?
« Reply #38 on: August 22, 2015, 07:38:16 PM »
Ok so since I'm a inquirer myself I want to ask those who converted either to E.O. or O.O. what was your hardest Obstacles as a convert. It may sound silly but for me other than issues I brought up on here before the big Obstacles for me are Kissing the Priest hand I mean I don't want to sound mean or rude but I always considered kissing any part of a guy as gay and also learning that it doesn't matter if your late to Liturgy. At first I was scared if I was late then what was going to happen since I'm late but I realized the Priest doesn't care or chastise you like you did something evil in Western Churches plus lots of people are coming in during the whole Liturgy. I want to hear from the rest of you ladies and gentlemen what was your obstacles?


The biggest obstacle for me was coming to know Orthodoxy as Orthodoxy knew itself.
  When I was beginning to enquire, I was basically looking for a form of Catholicism that made historical sense.  This became an unintended stumbling block that I was (fortunately) able to identify and remove.

I agree wholeheartedly.  In many ways, I'm still struggling with this.  It's easy to ascent to the beliefs and practices because they are historic and unbroken, but what does it mean to actually live an Orthodox live as it is defined by Orthodoxy and not by someone who has read a lot about it and fashions himself to be an expert.  I did a lot of the same thing, trying to justify my Lutheranism while coming into Orthodoxy.  I still cannot do it, because Lutheranism and Orthodoxy are on two different levels that they see eye to eye very infrequently. I'm sure that this will be my struggle until the day I die.

Fascinating I came from a very lapsed Lutheran family, IDK what happened but after the early 80's my grandma just stop going we don't talk about I only want good times visiting her no upsetting her. I got a question you say Lutheranism and Orthodoxy are on two different levels then how come it seems those from a Lutheran background seem to converting in pretty decent numbers?

Historical Lutheranism in its encounter with Orthodoxy is problematic, but I was referring more to how Lutheranism is practiced and taught today as opposed to its golden age in the 1600s and early 1700s.  the Lutheranism of today would be unrecognizable by people like Gerhardt or even Bach.  I think a lot of Lutherans who know their history realize that.  And a lot of them are running away from something rather than running towards something.  And much of that was true with me. I knew I wanted out of Lutheranism, but did not know that Orthodoxy would be where I would end up.

I was raised Lutheran, too. Can't speak for everyone, of course, but I had to agree with the "running towards something". There's been no shaking that "something is missing". My family also was spotty in attending the Lutheran Church when during my formative years--giving it up altogether after many bounces between different congregations and from ECLA to Missouri Synod and back again. I was raised with a definite message that God was important from one side of the family, with my father's side completely indifferent, leaning most toward atheism. So, it's been very confusing. The solution to this seemingly insoluble problem, at least to my mind, was to see out the historical Church. To find the place with the most solid and lasting foundation.