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Author Topic: Wanting to become Orthodox  (Read 6450 times) Average Rating: 0
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michellepotter
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« on: November 22, 2005, 12:55:41 AM »

And I know nothing about it!  As usual, God is leading me around by the nose and only He knows where we're going!  Smiley

A while back my husband was posting on a large Christian message board, and he would often complain to me about the fighting and bickering among Christians.  It struck us both as so sad.  A passage came to mind:

[bible]1 Corinthians 1:11-13[/bible]

I suggested to my husband that perhaps the quarreling among us was a result of some following the Pope, others Calvin or Luther, and even our "un-denominational" brotherhood following Stone and Campbell.  It was the first time this had occurred to me.  Later while studying the history of our church, and farther back, he suggested to me that he felt the Orthodox Church was the "original" Christian Church (as opposed to the RC).  Finally, we are on the verge of possibly moving to a new state.  As I looked for a new church home, my husband asked me to look at Orthodox Churches.  He is also interested in visiting an Orthodox Church here in Houston before we move.

I was raised as a Christmas and Easter Catholic before spending my youth as an atheist.  My husband grew up in Lakewood Church.  We now consider ourselves to be fairly conservative "fundamentalist" types.  We homeschool, have a large family, believe in husbands as the head of household, etc.

My question is, how can we expect Orthodoxy to be different from what we are used to?  It is clear that this is where God wants us to be, so clearly the faith and doctrines of the Orthodox Church must be correct.  I'd just like to find out what He's getting us in to!  Smiley
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« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2005, 01:03:50 AM »

nice, glad to see someone used my bible script haha

welcome!
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Beavis
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« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2005, 01:13:49 AM »


My question is, how can we expect Orthodoxy to be different from what we are used to?ÂÂ  It is clear that this is where God wants us to be, so clearly the faith and doctrines of the Orthodox Church must be correct.ÂÂ  I'd just like to find out what He's getting us in to!ÂÂ  Smiley

Sadly....a brief perusal through these boards will show that bickering exists among us too (and I am more guilty than anyone else).  But I think it's important to understand that the Church stays one and victorious even among all such vicissitudes.  I am not going to tell you which way to go.  I can *understand* how one's perusal through history can lead one to the conclusion that the RC Church has been the true Church (though I might disagree with that).  The important thing is to study yourself and, with the help of God through prayer, to be convinced yourself which Church is the *true* Church.  But remember that the Sacraments are the bulwark of Truth.  It is precisely the Sacraments which unite us.  Errors on the part of the Church do not invalidate this.  And always remember that there is a difference between factionism and fighting within the Church....and simply rending apart the Church and creating a schism.

Also....you may want to check out any Oriental Orthodox Churches (i.e. Coptic, Syrian, Armenian, Ethiopian, Eritrean, Indian) if these suit you better.  I'm not sure how *academic* you are, but there are differences in Christology between them and the Eastern Orthodox.  Perhaps a study of the relevant history would be in order, before you make a final decision.  But in the end, let God lead the way.

God bless you and may Our Holy and Sinless Mother lead you to Truth.
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« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2005, 01:27:49 AM »

I'm sorry, maybe I was unclear?  My husband has studied the Church history, and he has decided that Eastern Orthodox is the right way to go.  Greek, to be specific.  I couldn't really expound on his reasons, but I trust him wholeheartedly, and I am convinced that God is leading our family through him.

It's happened in the past in our family that we have studied the Scriptures and prayed about an issue and received an answer that we didn't quite understand.  We follow the Lord's leading anyway, and usually understanding is granted.  (I don't mean to say that we follow emotion or gut feeling blindly, but that God has led us to answers in Scripture and through the advice of Godly leaders.)  Of course we realize the room for error here, and that is one big reason we feel we need to "return" to the Orthodox Church.  Too many times it seems that a difference of interpretation has led to a schism in the Church, and that has led to zero accountability in doctrine.  If one man believes and teaches heresy, he can just start his own church and spread the bad theology to others.

Anyway, I'm rambling.  I'm really just wanting to know... what is it like to be Orthodox?  What are the services like?  Sunday school or Bible study?  What little things should I know to help ease the transition?  What are the presbyters called -- Father?  How is communion done?  Are services called Mass or something else, and are they generally done in English in the US?  Do women cover their heads in the service?  Are women allowed to teach Bible studies with men for students?  Things like that.
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michellepotter
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« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2005, 01:30:35 AM »

nice, glad to see someone used my bible script haha

welcome!

I like your script.  I wrote something similar for my blog, though all it does is link to the requested verse on BibleGateway.  Wink
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« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2005, 01:32:06 AM »

Someone just told me that Orthodox Christians go by a saints name in church? 
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« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2005, 01:45:33 AM »

I'm sorry, maybe I was unclear?ÂÂ  My husband has studied the Church history, and he has decided that Eastern Orthodox is the right way to go.ÂÂ  Greek, to be specific.ÂÂ  I couldn't really expound on his reasons, but I trust him wholeheartedly, and I am convinced that God is leading our family through him.

OK....sorry.  Didn't realize you already made the decision.  I'm kind of curious as to why he chose Greek Orthodox over the others, as Russian, Antiochian, Romanian, Greek, etc. are all in Communion with each other and hold the same theology.  But, of course, that's none of my business.

Anyway, I'm rambling.ÂÂ  I'm really just wanting to know... what is it like to be Orthodox?

Fun! Grin

What are the services like?

Very ornate.  Very beautiful.  Very reverent....well, most of the time Tongue

Sunday school or Bible study?

There's usually Sunday School.  Although if it's a really small parish, they might not.  Adult Sunday School seems like a rarity, however, unless there are a lot of potential catechumenates.  Bible Studies are usually organized privately by Parish members.  It's not often that a parish itself will organize a Bible Study.

What little things should I know to help ease the transition?

Learning the Greek alphabet, perhaps.  Cross yourself upon entering a Divine Liturgy (which is simply a Church service) and upon hearing the words "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit".  It goes from head to right shoulder to Solar Plexus to left shoulder.....with your thumb, index finger, and middle finger connecting at the tips, leaving the other two fingers against the palm.  If it's your first time at any Parish, better be on the safe side and wear a veil.  This dress-code varies from Parish to Parish, though generally more conservative in the "Slavic" dioceses (i.e. Russian, Romanian, Serbian, etc.).

What are the presbyters called -- Father?

Yes.

How is communion done?

Communion is served at every Divine Liturgy.  Only those who are baptized and chrismated into the Eastern Orthodox Church may receive it.  The Holy Elements are dispensed from the vessels by a spoon, with both the Holy Blood and the Holy Body at the same time.

Are services called Mass or something else, and are they generally done in English in the US?

It's called the Divine Liturgy.  The readings/chantings prior to this are referred to as Matins.  Most Parishes in the U.S. are done in English, although it might contain about 1/4 Greek, Slavonic, or Arabic depending on the diocese (this is only a rough outline).




ÂÂ  
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« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2005, 01:47:00 AM »

Someone just told me that Orthodox Christians go by a saints name in church?ÂÂ  

Yes.  Saint's names are usually given to infants/catechumenates at baptism.  Unless, of course, you already have a Saint's name.
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« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2005, 02:09:45 AM »

Welcome!
I am still a catechumen, so I will do my best to answer your questions...hopefully someone more knowledgeable will come along and help you. ÂÂ

Quote
Greek, to be specific
Just in case you didn't know, the Orthodox church is divided into national churches, which have the same faith and sacraments and are in communion with each other.  There is no difference between Greek, Russian, Antiochian, etc. in terms of faith and sacraments.

Quote
What are the services like?
Entire books have been written on this topic, lol, so I'll be brief. Really though, what is best is to come and see!  It is difficult to describe the beauty, reverence, and the intense presence of God that is the Orthodox Church.  On a Sunday morning, we have the Divine Liturgy, which is our communion service.  It is about 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on the parish and jurisidiction. Orthodox services are heavily liturgical, and we stand for almost the entire thing and most parishes do not have pews.  We also, with the exception of a few parishes in the US which have organs, do not use any musical instruments in worship.  Almost the entire service is sung or chanted, and lots of incense is used.  There's SO MUCH more that could be said...really you should go and see though, that's the best way! It will be confusing at first, but it you get used to it. This article by Frederica Matthews-Green might help:  http://www.saintspiridon.org/firstvisit.html

Quote
 What are the presbyters called -- Father?
Yes, priests are called "Father".

Quote
How is communion done?
Since we believe that communion is the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, Orthodox do not take communion lightly.  To receive communion, one must be a baptized/chrismated Orthodox christian(so I cannot yet receive, being a catechumen...), and you must prepare yourself with sacramental confession and fasting from all food from midnight Saturday until you have communion on Sunday.  As for how it is administered, Orthodox cross their arms over their chest and receive communion standing.  Communion is only given by the priest, and it is from a chalice in which the body and blood have been combined(and we use leavened bread, not wafers).  The body and blood are dropped into the person's mouth with the spoon. ÂÂ

Quote
Are services called Mass or something else, and are they generally done in English in the US?
The communion service is called Divine Liturgy, and on most Sundays we use the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom, though during Lent and on certain feast days we use the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great.  Evening services are called "Vespers", and morning services which often precede Divine Liturgy(especially in the Greek and Antiochian traditions) are called "Matins" or "Orthros".  Oftentimes in Vespers and Matins are combined into one service that is done on Saturday nights called "Vigil".  Most churches use mostly English nowadays, though you will find many parishes that use varying amounts of other languages. It depends on the parish.  Though since you live in the West like me, English services are the norm, I would say. ÂÂ


Quote
Do women cover their heads in the service?
It depends on the jurisidiction and the parish.  For example,  in ROCOR, Serbian Orthodox, Ukranian Orthodox, and Russian Orthodox Patriarchal parishes, most women will have their heads covered.  In the OCA, it really depends on the parish, and it varies from none to almost all.  At my OCA church, probably about 1/3 of women cover their heads.  Greek Orthodox rarely cover their hair.  Though of course it is always allowed for women to cover their hair if they so desire, even if the practice is not common in a particular parish.

Quote
Are women allowed to teach Bible studies with men for students?
I think so. I don't really know though actually.  At my parish the priest leads Bible study.

Quote
Someone just told me that Orthodox Christians go by a saints name in church? ÂÂ
When receiving communion and other sacraments, yes, you are reffered to by your saint name. Though if you were raised Orthodox, this is normally the same as your real name and many converts choose a saint who has the same name as them, though  not always.  But people would not call you by your saint name in a social context if it is not your real name.

Good luck on your journey, I will pray for you.  If you have any other questions feel free to ask. ÂÂ
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« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2005, 12:40:54 PM »

Dear Michelle,

you might find some enlightening material on Thomas Ross Valentine's site:

http://www.geocities.com/trvalentine/

Ross is a dear friend of mine who had a very interesting journey to Orthodoxy along with his large, conservative, homeschooled family. I am sure you could point out some similarities. Smiley

Please be sure to check the conversion stories page of the site:

http://www.geocities.com/trvalentine/orthodox/conversions.html

Here you will find a very detailed account of the journey towards the Orthodox Church of the Valentine family.

I too am keeping you in my prayers,

in Christ,

hieromonk Ambrose
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« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2005, 01:03:26 PM »

... what is it like to be Orthodox?

Well, it all depends on the parish. Unike the RCC which underwent drastic changes in the 60's when the 2nd Vatican council was summoned, our church never went through that so the vast majority of our churches will be quite traditional: chanting or choir, incense, icons...there are some "modern" style churches. For example the altar might be shaped modern or the iconography might seem a little modern but nothing so drastic like the text of the services being changed or "stripping of the altars" as happened wth RCC modernization.

 What are the services like? ÂÂ Sunday school or Bible study? ÂÂ

Services @ first can tend to seem rather long and "unabridged". Sunday school will take place either during the first part of the sunday liturgy (service) or immediately after the children take communion.

Bible study is on a weekly or monthly basis usually and it can be a priest who runs it, in my church's case, it's his wife....in the Greek church, the priest's wife is called "presvytera" reminiscent of the english presbyter. She is NOT a priestess of any sort. She is the priest's wife only but she does carry the symbolic role and duties associated with the church. A seminarian or theologian could also lead it.


What little things should I know to help ease the transition? ÂÂ

The sign of the cross is done frequently. In most Orthodox churches, it is done: forehead, stomach, RIGHT shoulder fist, then LEFT shoulder...in contrast to Western practice which goes from left to right. None is more correct over the other. They both carry symbolic meanings. However if you do end up becoming Orthodox, and you are in an Eastern Orthodox church, it is best to stick with going from right to left so people don't have misconceptions that you are not orthodox.

Also, Orthodox often show reverence to holy things by kissing. We kiss the priest's hand out of respect. We kiss the icons (images, paintings) of holy people and of Christ. We don't worship the images. Rather we show respect to those who followed Christ diligently and we worship Christ himself who is portrayed in the image.

there are 3 types of bows in the Eastern Orthodox church:

1. a metania (met-an-ee-ya): is a bow which is done "qucikly" in a sense. You bend down touch the floor with your hand and then straighten up and do the sign of the cross. there is also a full body metania which you get down on your hands and knees, do the sign of the cross, and get up straight away. This bow is NEVER done on Sundays as Sunday is the Lord's Day of Ressurection.

2. A 'simple' bow: is almost like a nod of the head. When the priest says "Peave be with you all" you may do the sign of the cross and/or do a simple bow. It's mostly with your head and neck rather than with your waist. It's also done whenever the priest passes you by in the service with a blessing such as during processions.

3. another bow is done in church right during and after the consecration. You may bow profoundly here with your head near the floor or even just a simple bow to the ground. You don't get right up. You stay bowing until the priest finishes the consecration or until the chant "We praise you" is fnished.


How is communion done?

Communion isexactly as what others have stated. I might add that we do not kneel during communion as most people go to church on Sundays which is the day of the week we remember the Ressurection of Christ as mentioned prior.


 Are services called Mass? or something else, and are they generally done in English in the US? ÂÂ

Eastern Orthodox services are called Divine liturgy. Liturgy literally means "the work of the people" as it is the people who do the praying. Most churches use a fair amount of english. If the majority of the people are converts, then it will be mostly or entirely english. The language depends on the fabric of the congregation.

Do women cover their heads in the service? ÂÂ

Women can cover their heads if they want. You will find some more conservative parishes which demand women to cover their hair to enter the church area or to even take communion. this is not the usual however. You will also see that women are obliged to wear veils, long dresses, and long sleeved shirts in many monasteries. Also, in greek churches (and I believe in some Russian parishes too), there is somewhat of a stigma when it comes to women wearing pants in church. o play it safe, for your first visit, you might want to wear a dress. Again, it all depends on the parish.

If you feel more comfortable in a Western church setting (.ie traditional pre-Vatican II style Mass) but one that uses English rathern than only Latin, there is the Western Rite which is group of fully canonical Orthodox churches which use the Western Rite of the Mass, prayers, devotions, etc. A western Rite can also partake fully in any Eastern Orthodox church life.

For more info on the Western Rite, check out:

http://www.westernorthodox.com/

The following article was written by a popular  priest's wife (Frederica M. Green) who is also a renouned writer and speaker. She converted with her husband and they are now in the Antiochian church. She presents some extra info you might find interesting on Orthodox worship:

http://www.frederica.com/orthodox/o12th-mrb.html
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« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2005, 01:17:52 PM »

Michelle,
Check out this site to find a parish in your area.  There are several in the greater Houston area.  I suggest visiting several to get different points of view and to find where you feel comfortable (although I would hope that every parish would be welcoming).  http://www.orthodoxyinamerica.org/
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« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2005, 05:58:01 PM »

ÂÂ It goes from head to right shoulder to Solar Plexus to left shoulder.....with your thumb, index finger, and middle finger connecting at the tips, leaving the other two fingers against the palm. ÂÂ  

....sorry....I had it wrong.  It's forehead to Solar Plexus to right shoulder to left shoulder.   Embarrassed
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« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2005, 12:59:24 AM »

Communion is only given by the priest, and it is from a chalice in which the body and blood have been combined(and we use leavened bread, not wafers).

Insofar as I know, the Eucharist can also be administered by a deacon.

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« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2005, 09:12:15 AM »

Insofar as I know, the Eucharist can also be administered by a deacon. 

It is one of the specific liturgical jobs of the Deacon to administer communion, whether in the Liturgy itself, or outside of the Liturgy to those who are sick and unable to come on Sunday.
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« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2005, 02:11:52 PM »

Thank you for all of the information!  I'm going to check out all of the links.  I'm very excited -- I love when He teaches me something new.  Smiley
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« Reply #16 on: November 24, 2005, 10:07:24 PM »

Insofar as I know, the Eucharist can also be administered by a deacon.



Typica with communion
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« Reply #17 on: November 25, 2005, 01:05:04 AM »

Christ is Among Us!
   
   Hello, Michelle- I saw your post about becoming Orthodox and, if you have not yet found a parish to visit may I suggest the St. Jonah of Manchuriah parish. I am a Reader in the St. Nicholas parish of the same jurisdiction and have heard many good things about the priest there. Their website is: http://pages.prodigy.net/frjohnwhiteford/  May God bless you on your journey to the fulness of the Apostolic Faith!

In Christ,
Rd. David
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« Reply #18 on: November 25, 2005, 01:21:42 PM »

I fully second Reader David's proposal!

I have also heard many good things FROM the priest there, Father John, with whom I have corresponded quite a bit over the last two millennia... Wink

A good choice indeed... a parish where you will feel the universality of the Orthodox faith (where else in the Deep South can you find a Chinese Orthodox matushka? Cheesy ), and a place where Christian Orthodox cathechesis is treated with great care.

hieromonk Ambrose
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« Reply #19 on: November 25, 2005, 03:05:41 PM »

hieromonk Ambrose

Are you really a hieromonk? If so, since when do monks use the internet?  Huh
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« Reply #20 on: November 25, 2005, 07:07:15 PM »

Are you really a hieromonk? If so, since when do monks use the internet?ÂÂ  Huh
Hmmmmm... a Jedi Master indeed you are? Wink

In fact, I am both a priest-monk and a parish rector. No kidding... you may just have a look at the parish website (it's in my profile, and in the funny blue button under my picture). There are some of us whose identity is quite public, so there is really no need to hide behind a pseudonym.

I cannot speak for many other monks, but I have an Internet connection since at least 1996, and there are Orthodox monks who for various reasons (building of parish sites, university studies, contacts with newsgroups and associations, cathechesis) work VERY close to the cyberworld. There are even Orthodox BISHOPS who have contributed this way: the most outstanding and productive of them, to my knowledge, is His Grace Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald), Head of the Diocese of the West of The Orthodox Church in America.
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« Reply #21 on: November 26, 2005, 03:04:34 AM »

Hmmmmm... a Jedi Master indeed you are? Wink

Indeed. I have taken Jedi tests, and I am a Light Side Jedi Master, a weaponsmaster (i.e. more prone to use lightsaber than the Force) and my personality most closly matches Master Yoda. Is amazing what you can dig up on the net Cheesy

I never knew monks used computers lol...
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« Reply #22 on: November 26, 2005, 09:44:03 AM »

Heiromonk Ambrose,

WOW your parish is in Italia!!! that is so cool, i want more than anything to hear the Divine Liturgy in Italian one day...what's it like to serve in Italy, where most of the churches are Roman Catholic?

In Christ,
Donna Mary
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« Reply #23 on: November 26, 2005, 03:46:59 PM »

Heiromonk Ambrose,

WOW your parish is in Italia!!! that is so cool, i want more than anything to hear the Divine Liturgy in Italian one day...what's it like to serve in Italy, where most of the churches are Roman Catholic?

In Christ,
Donna Mary
Dear Donna Mary,

thank for your kind words. Smiley

What's it like to serve in Italy...? Well, quite normal, if you can avoid losing yourself in a world of phantasies about dream-Orthodoxy and if you stoop to give a hand to the spiritual growth of the real Orthodox people living around... I'm sure that the very same advice will be useful to all people, in all places. It might help also Michelle and her family not to idealize the Church too much, and to try to live in the actual Orthodox Church at their best.

As for the Liturgy in Italian, you may find it somewhere on the Net: in our parish website, there is a .PDF format Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom in Italian, Slavonic and Romanian. You may open it by clicking here:
http://www.ortodossia.org/sanmassimo/testi/2-preghiera/pdf-diretti/Divina%20Liturgia%20di%20San%20Giovanni%20Crisostomo.pdf
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« Reply #24 on: November 26, 2005, 09:50:09 PM »

thanks for the link and the good advice! it's great to have you around here Smiley

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« Reply #25 on: November 27, 2005, 12:55:08 AM »

Gratias tibi ago, Pater (sorry don't know Itallian, but do know some Latin Cheesy)

I found that PDF very helpful since I'm taking Romanian and Russian next semester so it is nice to have some Church related material to practice with. 
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« Reply #26 on: November 27, 2005, 02:02:02 PM »

Dilecte frater Silvane,

you may find other liturgical services in this three-language format in the same page (Vigil, daily Vespers, Hours, and a Panykhida service).

Please don't rely too much on the Slavonic texts if you are taking modern Russian (it's still helpful... but much as reading Chaucer would help somebody who is taking a primer in contemporary English!)

My poor prayers are with you in your studies.

in Christ,

hieromonk Ambrose
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« Reply #27 on: November 27, 2005, 04:12:53 PM »

but do know some Latin Cheesy

Wonderful! How well do you know Latin? Can you speak it conversationally?
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« Reply #28 on: November 27, 2005, 04:43:47 PM »

Are you really a hieromonk? If so, since when do monks use the internet?  Huh

Have you never heard of Fr Sava of the Decani monastery in Kosovo?

The interview with Fr. Sava

"Fr. Sava, the priest-monk and a deputy abbot of Visoki Decani Monastery is a unique figure among Kosovo Serbs. Many agree that this young, educated man from Hercegovina in the course of last seven years has done more for the interests of the Serbian people than all political leaders in the last half century. Beside everyday monastery duties, Fr. Sava is engaged in humanitarian work, takes care of monastery guests among which the most frequent are journalists. But the most evident field of his activity is the Internet. The Web Site of the Raska and Prizren Orthodox Diocese is one of the most valuable sources of information on Kosovo both for domestic and foreign visitors."

John
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« Reply #29 on: November 27, 2005, 05:50:14 PM »

Have you never heard of Fr Sava of the Decani monastery in Kosovo?

The interview with Fr. Sava

"Fr. Sava, the priest-monk and a deputy abbot of Visoki Decani Monastery is a unique figure among Kosovo Serbs. Many agree that this young, educated man from Hercegovina in the course of last seven years has done more for the interests of the Serbian people than all political leaders in the last half century. Beside everyday monastery duties, Fr. Sava is engaged in humanitarian work, takes care of monastery guests among which the most frequent are journalists. But the most evident field of his activity is the Internet. The Web Site of the Raska and Prizren Orthodox Diocese is one of the most valuable sources of information on Kosovo both for domestic and foreign visitors."

John


I have never heard of him before. I'm kind of cut off from news and whatever. I guess I was using an ancient stereotype that monks don't really use electricity, but I guess it will be more and more common as our society moves more towards technological dependence.
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« Reply #30 on: November 27, 2005, 07:42:20 PM »

If we take a close look at the history of Orthodox monasticism, we will easily see that, alongside with the hardest ascetical efforts of the few who feel called to solitary life, the monastic communities have generally used the most advanced forms of technology available at their time, be they water mills, printing presses... or the Internet.

Have you never heard of Fr Sava of the Decani monastery in Kosovo?
Thank you, John, for mentioning Father Sava: he knows me quite well, as I have been corresponding with him for quite a while, and I have also visited him in Decani. He is our best contemporary model of a "cyber-monk".
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« Reply #31 on: November 27, 2005, 10:03:41 PM »

If we take a close look at the history of Orthodox monasticism, we will easily see that, alongside with the hardest ascetical efforts of the few who feel called to solitary life, the monastic communities have generally used the most advanced forms of technology available at their time, be they water mills, printing presses... or the Internet.

:cough: Monks in space! :cough: Monks in space! :cough:  Cheesy (Sorry if I offended anyone)

You wouldn't happen to use visual chat, would you? Now that I know about "cyber-monks," it really would be helpful to have a resident monk. Look me up if that sounds like something you could do...  Smiley
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« Reply #32 on: November 28, 2005, 02:32:29 AM »

:cough: Monks in space! :cough: Monks in space! :cough:ÂÂ  Cheesy (Sorry if I offended anyone)

You wouldn't happen to use visual chat, would you? Now that I know about "cyber-monks," it really would be helpful to have a resident monk. Look me up if that sounds like something you could do...ÂÂ  Smiley
This is a thing that I would not have the time to do - however much it would be interesting to keep in closer touch with young and enthusiastic Orthodox and would-be Orthodox friends from other planets (eerrr... countries). So, regrettably, I have to decline lessons in lightsaber (...eerrr, visual chat) use, and choose to rely more on the Force (eerrr... prayer).
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« Reply #33 on: November 28, 2005, 03:08:38 AM »

This is a thing that I would not have the time to do - however much it would be interesting to keep in closer touch with young and enthusiastic Orthodox and would-be Orthodox friends from other planets (eerrr... countries). So, regrettably, I have to decline lessons in lightsaber (...eerrr, visual chat) use, and choose to rely more on the Force (eerrr... prayer).

That is completely understandable Smiley Good luck with your duties Smiley
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« Reply #34 on: November 28, 2005, 06:50:24 PM »


What little things should I know to help ease the transition? ÂÂ

The sign of the cross is done frequently. In most Orthodox churches, it is done: forehead, stomach, RIGHT shoulder fist, then LEFT shoulder...in contrast to Western practice which goes from left to right. None is more correct over the other. They both carry symbolic meanings. However if you do end up becoming Orthodox, and you are in an Eastern Orthodox church, it is best to stick with going from right to left so people don't have misconceptions that you are not orthodox.


Timos,

I would have to disagree that it isn't important the direction you cross yourself.  Right to left is the way Orthodox have been taught, and it is a part of Holy Tradition. 
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« Reply #35 on: November 29, 2005, 08:42:00 PM »

Nick, I'm not saying that the manner in which the sign of the Cross is done is not important. But some Orthodox..perhaps Western Orthodox(?) do the cross from left to right and also Oriental Orthodox do the cross from left to right but with the fingers positioned the same way. I've heard that the western way has the symbolic meaning of Christ carrying us over from the darkness, the "goats", the left to the right where the "sheep" are in the light of Christ. The Eastern way is that Christ comes from being far away from us and then into our hearts, very close to us...in us rather. At least thats what I understand. Correct me if I am wrong.
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« Reply #36 on: November 30, 2005, 09:20:22 AM »

I wasn't aware that Oriental Orthodox cross themselves from left to right. I just thought that it was always right to left.  Did that change after they split from the EO churches? 
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« Reply #37 on: November 30, 2005, 02:28:17 PM »

Nick: I think it's because traditionally the See of Alexandria has had strong ties with Rome.  There are many other parallels between the Coptic Church and the Roman Catholic Church, though most of them are very subtle.  I won't go in-depth into these as they would create an unnecessary tangent and as many of them are my own personal observations and hypotheses.
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« Reply #38 on: November 30, 2005, 11:23:52 PM »

Beavis, thats very true. For example the Coptic priest liturgical hat is very similar to a western bishop's. Also the manner in which incense is swung is somewhat similar. If Coptic chanting is done properly and at the proper speed it sounds somewhat like Gregorian chanting. In some Coptic churches of Egypt, there is a rood screen rather than an iconostasis with icons on them similar to what Catholic France had centuries ago.
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« Reply #39 on: January 10, 2006, 08:26:58 PM »

Anyway, I'm rambling.ÂÂ  I'm really just wanting to know... what is it like to be Orthodox?ÂÂ  What are the services like?ÂÂ  Sunday school or Bible study?ÂÂ  What little things should I know to help ease the transition?ÂÂ  What are the presbyters called -- Father?ÂÂ  How is communion done?ÂÂ  Are services called Mass or something else, and are they generally done in English in the US?ÂÂ  Do women cover their heads in the service?ÂÂ  Are women allowed to teach Bible studies with men for students?ÂÂ  Things like that.
Michelle, bless you in your searching and finding!  I'm a recent convert in the Coptic Orthodox Church.

I know just what you're asking, because I had the same sort of questions once I had come to a doctrinal "truce."  There is no substitute for active participation in a parish, but many of my questions got preliminary answers from the books of Frederica Matthewes-Green, At the Corner of East and Now and Facing East.  She writes about the day to day life of her parish, with lots of everyday sorts of nuts and bolts as well as doctrinal and historical perspective.
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« Reply #40 on: January 10, 2006, 08:30:18 PM »

But some Orthodox..perhaps Western Orthodox(?) do the cross from left to right and also Oriental Orthodox do the cross from left to right but with the fingers positioned the same way.
We are in the Coptic church, and cross ourselves from right to left.
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« Reply #41 on: January 10, 2006, 09:18:41 PM »

Quote
We are in the Coptic church, and cross ourselves from right to left.

 Huh I was at a Coptic church and they crossed themselves from left-to-right. It's interesting that your church does it the "Eastern Orthodox way".  Smiley
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« Reply #42 on: January 10, 2006, 09:34:45 PM »

Huh I was at a Coptic church and they crossed themselves from left-to-right. It's interesting that your church does it the "Eastern Orthodox way".ÂÂ  Smiley
Now I am not certain...  I started out learning "the Orthodox way" from the Antiochians.  I could have picked it up from them and never noticed the Copts were doing it differently!   Shocked  Leave it to the clueless convert.  Wink
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« Reply #43 on: January 10, 2006, 11:03:00 PM »

Finally, we are on the verge of possibly moving to a new state.  As I looked for a new church home, my husband asked me to look at Orthodox Churches.  He is also interested in visiting an Orthodox Church here in Houston before we move.

I was raised as a Christmas and Easter Catholic before spending my youth as an atheist.  My husband grew up in Lakewood Church.

New State? Well, if you find yourself moving closer to Dallas instead, I can give you some info.

Lakewood Church? John and now Joel Osteen? Quite a switch!
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« Reply #44 on: January 11, 2006, 01:19:24 AM »

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Now I am not certain...  I started out learning "the Orthodox way" from the Antiochians.  I could have picked it up from them...

Both ways are Orthodox ways!  Grin

Quote
and never noticed the Copts were doing it differently!    Shocked

Sometimes I lose focus during the liturgy because I am too busy paying attention to what others are doing - so bless you for not noticing!  Cheesy 

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