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Author Topic: My love is converting and I need advice  (Read 3014 times) Average Rating: 0
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guentx
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« on: March 28, 2006, 05:53:49 PM »

I am not an Orthodox Christian.  In fact, I left Christianity long ago for reasons that are too long and beside the point for my question.  The love of my life, however, has found a home in the OCA.  I am very happy and supportive of this.  However, we have now hit a landmine in our relationship because I am not orthodox.  He feels that I must be orthodox in order for us to continue our plans for marraige.  We are very much in love and this is really hard for the both of us.

I am happy to convert in order to have an orthodox wedding and give up my idea of a perfect joining, as is important to him, however it seems that me Just Converting isn't going to be enough.  Not only does he insist that his new faith requires a Spritiual partner that is equal in his faith, but it seems that he may be looking into joining the priesthood, which would leave me emphatically out of his future plans.  I would never have the spiritual means to be a proper Priests Wife.  Eventhough this decision of his is far away, we can't marry unless I have made a decision to be devout enough to be a priests wife just in case he goes with it.  

I am, of course, completely distraught at the thought of losing him.  I would very much like to support him in whatever he does and be there to back him up, but I have never been a zealous or devout person even when I Was a Christian.  He is rather devout and will expect me to be as devout as he is.  I also can't help but feeling that it's not fair for me to have to give up Everything I believe in when he won't sacrifice Anything.  I'm not asking him to give up his faith, I'm just asking him to immerse himself in the church in some other way than the priesthood and to make me his wife as we had planned.

We are in the process of making an appointment with his parish priest, but until that meeting time comes, I would love it if I could get some advice from you all since some of you may have either gone through something like this or seen it before.  I'm at a loss and my world is turned upside down.  

Guen
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« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2006, 06:07:15 PM »

1) Welcome and God Bless

2) If his priest (your bf's) is worth his salt, he wouldn't let you convert unless you were sincere.

3) If your bf wants to eventually be a priest, he should be open and upfront about this with you and HE should know that it would be a must for you to be Orthodox as well - and sincere about it!  And this is at a minimum...being a priest would involve a joint decision.  It would sound irresponsible of his Bishop to ordain him unless you were 100% behind his decision...even IF his Bishop feels that he is being called to the priesthood.

4) Good luck.
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« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2006, 06:33:00 PM »

He knows very well about #3.  This is why I've been told that he won't marry me unless I convert.  I have basically been given an ultimatum in sweet flowery words.  he says he isn't making me do it, but we should part ways if I won't so we don't waste any more of our years.  We've been together for more than 3 years now and have been speaking of marraige for quite some time.  Before he found the church, even.  And now that he's found the church, I'm not suited to be his wife.  And he's not even been crismated yet.  

Guen
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« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2006, 06:50:22 PM »

Guentx,

I don't mean this in a rude or critical way, but if your bf isn't Orthodox yet, and is thinking about the priesthood, I think it may be a case of "convert zeal."  To be fair, there are occasions where converts are called by God immediately, but that has to be a special gift.   I'm sure you have both heard this before, but you've got to live in the Church to fully experience it.  Just something to think about.
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« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2006, 06:55:40 PM »

I totally agree with Elisha that you should not convert to Orthodoxy unless you felt called to it. To convert

I disagree with your bf saying to convert or hit the road, it doesn't seem like the kind of example to show someone in the hopes that they'd convert.  Undecided

If I was dating someone and they put me in that situation, I'd bid them farewell and move on.
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« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2006, 07:28:51 PM »

Dang!  My reply got eaten!

Suzannes, thank you for voicing what I was thinking and afraid to say.  I have expressed my concernes that this is going Way too fast and he says that he intends on waiting at least a year before making the decision, but since the thought is here now, then he wants me to be in on it and start thinking about my decisions now.  Your thoughts are exactly why *I Insisted* that we make an appointment with his priest to discuss this as soo as possible.  No word, yet on the date of that meeting, but a message has been left with the parish office.

Arystarcus, if it was any other guy I'd leave him in a second for an ultimatum like that.  But this one is special.  He quite literally hit me over the head like a ton of bricks and I always swore I would never be married or let anybody get me this crazy.  I found love, though I guess.  He is also quite distraught about the whole thing and so that's why I'm just so dumbstruck as to why he would even think of planning for a life that would leave me on the curb.

Guen
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« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2006, 08:50:36 PM »

Hi Guentx ... I hope that you're able to see the priest soon and have a proper and sensible discussion and will be able to work things out. ÂÂ
« Last Edit: March 29, 2006, 01:09:39 AM by QuoVadis » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2006, 08:57:15 PM »

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
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« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2006, 09:04:07 PM »

I would have to agree with the crowd here; coming from a priest's family, and hoping to have one in the future,
a) you shouldn't be "forced" to convert, and as was said earlier, a priest shouldn't chrismate you if you're only doing it to get through the wedding for your hubby;

b) it sounds like he's serious about his conversion, as for the priesthood, maybe this will cool off in the near future - it is very common for men who find Orthodoxy to get the urge to be ordained immediately, I interact with many here at school, and for some it is justified, and others not;

c) if he is serious about loving you and serious about the priesthood, then he must know that a priest will not be ordained without the consent of his wife - in the GOA, the wife's consent is part of the process, and the process will end if she says no - if one wants, I can explain the reasons later;

d) if you (at some point) did become Orthodox, as a Priest's wife, you wouldn't need to appear to be the most devout person in the world, and wouldn't need to be the most active in the parish; there are perfectly good PWs out their who raise their families or work and aren't "on the front lines" in the parish; the thing that may be a hangup is if he really wants you to be as devout as he is for a personal reason, and then I'd say that he is asking you to make a fundamental change in yourself - something that really should be discussed in great depth before even considering marriage.

In all, I wish you a peaceful resolution to this ordeal - regardless of the outcome.  I hope God blesses you however he sees fit.
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« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2006, 09:33:14 PM »

 I have expressed my concernes that this is going Way too fast and he says that he intends on waiting at least a year before making the decision,

One thing he should realize is tha the "decision" is not *his*.  A bishop will decide if he should ever be ordained.  

I'm not EO, but I have seen a good bit of what Suzannes referred to as "Convert Zeal" and this could be the case here.  I've also read of cases of men going from one jurisdiction to another looking for ordination.

I'm sorry you're having this happen.

Ebor

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« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2006, 10:22:08 PM »

I am not an Orthodox Christian.  In fact, I left Christianity long ago for reasons that are too long and beside the point for my question.

If you have left Christianity, then your marriage to an Orthodox person at this time, especially to a serious one, whether a priest or not, would be a grave disservice to both of you, IMO.

I'm assuming - perhaps wrongly - that your leaving of Christianity was not just because of a church or a doctrine or a church leader or certain people, but because you in fact did and still do reject Jesus Christ as being the Son of God and the necessary savior of each person, including yourself, and worthy to be served and worshiped as God. If this is true, and there is in fact no way in your heart, will or mind short of a sovereign act of God that you want to or will become a Christian, Orthodox or not, then if your spouse's zeal for the church is also a zeal for Christ, the separation between you two is far deeper than the externals of becoming or not becoming Orthodox.

If you still believe in prayer, I'd recommend that you pray, pray hard, and pray seriously - for God's will in this situation.

May God guide you and give you peace in this.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2006, 11:59:48 PM by KATHXOUMENOC » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2006, 11:57:32 AM »

First I want to thank you all for being so understanding and nice to me here eventhough I am not a part of your church.  It is really appreciated.

Second, we talked some more last night and got some things out on the table that it seems he's just worried about a mixed marraige.  But then this morning he sent me another message that conflicted with our conversation last night.  So I think the whole point here is that he is undoubtedly very confused.  He wants very much to marry me, but he wants to keep the door open to becoming a priest.  So the bottom line is that we both agree that we are in serious need of the talk with the priest, unfortunately there's only one priest in the very busy parish and we have yet to hear back from him on getting an appointment.  My boyfriend has stated that he has already discussed his desire for marraige with the priest and they were discussing that we should schedule counselling sessions.  I was not aware of any of this until last night.

Cleveland, thank you very much for your insight on being a priests wife.  That gives me much calm in this storm.  It gives me hope that if I did find that my heart aches for orthodoxy, then I would not hinder him if I can't be very devout.

KATHXOUMENOC, I can understand your concern very much and I appreciate your suggestion that I pray.  I no longer consider myself a Christian because I have never been able to tack down my personal beliefs to a Christian denomination/faith, etc.  I was raised Church of Christ.  I can assure you that I pray to God when things get really, really rough and I have nowhere else to turn.  I think most of my problem is that I hate being lied to and I feel that most organized Christianity has lied to me or was based on an erroneous idea and not what Christianity should be.  If any version of Christianity were to ever appeal to me it would be orthodoxy or anglicanism.  This is why it's not hard for me to support my boyfriend in his journey into the Orthodox church.  I do, however, have ideas that I believe orthodoxy may have issue with and they do spring from paganism.  I was never a "practicing pagan" because of the same reasons I couldn't find a Christian home.  I've just always been very different.  I hope this eases your mind or gives you a little more insight.  

Guen  

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« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2006, 11:59:51 AM »


Honestly, I think you should consider moving on. I think both of you have made it pretty clear what you want. I also think he is jumping the gun with wanting to be a priest and he hasn't even converted yet.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2006, 12:04:44 PM by PhosZoe » Logged
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« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2006, 12:24:41 PM »

Guen,

 ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚ I'm going to chime in, but ever so quickly.  I'm on board with the rest of the crew, but just would really like to emphasize that Orthodoxy is a way of life.  Being "coaxed", "pressured", "forced" into Orthodox, make you Orthodox in name only, which is not really Orthodox.

 ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚ I am cradle Orthodox, married to an Orthodox women.  This was something which was important to me, prior to being married, but by NO means would I have ever pressured my partner to being Orthodox or more Orthodox.

 ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  For me, it was a part of the courting process.  That is to say, when two people seek union, they must do so based upon some common set of beliefs.  For some, that is the love of sport, politics, art, music etc...  To your boyfriend, faith will certainly be a big part of his future and what makes him tick.  The bottom line is that you might be growing in opposite directions, which probably means you should not be together.

 ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚ Marriage is not always easy, and if you have this widening gulf between you, you probably won't be happy.

 ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚ However, there is another side of me which wonders how or why you know that Christianity is not for you, when you've never really experienced the Orthodox Church.

 ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  I think most Orthodox Christians take pride in the fact that we are unique and different than any other "Christian" Church.  We have 2000 years of Apostolic succession, we are rich with Tradition and our Liturgy is like heaven on earth.  Orthodoxy is the Truth.  Maybe you should try life in the Church, before making any conclusions.

Good luck and God bless.
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« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2006, 12:36:02 PM »

re. "he wants to be a priest"

Whoah, hold up.  First, though I could be very wrong, this sounds like convert zeal, especially when one is seriously talking about this even before they've been Baptized/Chrismated.  Too many sincere (but over eager) young men consider the Priesthood an extension of piety; that it will somehow make them a better Christian.  It may...or it may spell out their damnation.  Having come to know what the life of a Priest is like if he wants to be a good one, I don't understand how anyone could see it as being delightful.  It's an incredible sacrifice, an ongoing one in fact, and only has sweetness and reward in the sense that being a martyr does - the satisfaction of doing God's will by serving even the servants.  This is why I sympathize even with "crummy Priests", and I have nothing but admiration for good, solid (even if obviously imperfect) Priests.  It's not something to be entered into lightly.  This is precisely why so many well known Saints resisted ordination - in a few cases (like those of St.Gregory the Great and St.Augustine) they were literally chased after and carried to the Church by those eager to have them as their shepherds.

re. your relationship

IMHO. the big concern isn't the "wanting to be a Priest" stuff (hopefully that will die down if it's only motivated by overzealousness, especially if his confessor and the Bishop have good heads on their shoulders), but the reality that the two of you have such different beliefs.  While I don't want to spook you, I can tell you firsthand that mixed marriages are very difficult.  It's one thing to be in such a situation when both partners are non-Orthodox when they marry but later one spouse converts (though St.Paul tolerated divorce in those cases); it's quite another thing to choose this knowingly at the outset.  You sound kind of like my wife - vaguely Christian-ish in her values and spiritual aspirations, but by no means a "Christian" in any doctrinal or religious sense...she also believes in some "new-age" type stuff and has vague, sometimes superstitious beliefs.  But like so many, she ultimatly is not committed to any one thing.  I can tell you from my own experience and from what I've seen of other folks in similar situations, such relationships can have a lot of problems.  The only time they don't it seems, is when neither spouse really cares about their "differing creeds" (basically, their membership in "x" church or religion is nominal.)

Ultimatly you and your significant other are going to have to work this out. ÂÂ While I would not encourage you to convert simply as some formality, perhaps, just perhaps, this might be an implicit invitation for you: an invitation to examine what you believe, and what you don't, and why. ÂÂ Maybe even to consider asking your bf about his beliefs, or better yet, pick up a few good, accessable books by the Saints on spiritual matters (I'm sure your bf could ask his Priest about this.) ÂÂ  Personally, I'd recommend something like the "Little Russian Philokalia" series, esp. the volume on St.Seraphim of Sarov. ÂÂ It's not at all academic or overly abstract; in fact it's very warm and down to earth. ÂÂ In the end what you choose to do is a matter of conscience, of course.

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« Reply #15 on: March 29, 2006, 12:44:15 PM »

KATHXOUMENOC, I can understand your concern very much and I appreciate your suggestion that I pray.  I no longer consider myself a Christian because I have never been able to tack down my personal beliefs to a Christian denomination/faith, etc.  I was raised Church of Christ.  I can assure you that I pray to God when things get really, really rough and I have nowhere else to turn.  I think most of my problem is that I hate being lied to and I feel that most organized Christianity has lied to me or was based on an erroneous idea and not what Christianity should be.  If any version of Christianity were to ever appeal to me it would be orthodoxy or anglicanism.

The reason my name is KATHXOUMENOC is because after nearly 30 years of the ups and downs and fads and follies and aberrations and even spiritual abuse we've experienced in mostly non-denominational Protestant Charismatic and Evangelical Christianity, we (my wife and I), too, began wondering WHAT IS CHRISTIANITY? And our questions have led us to become inquirers and maybe soon (or eventually) catechumens of the Orthodox Church.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2006, 12:46:13 PM by KATHXOUMENOC » Logged

KYPIOCIHCOYCXPICTOC
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« Reply #16 on: March 29, 2006, 01:05:01 PM »

Ok, I'm going to chime in now as canonist, cynic, and pragmatist.

First as a Canonist:

Marry the guy before he's Chrismated...then you dont have to convert and there are no canonical issues whatsoever.

Have you been baptized in the Trinitarian Formula (In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit)? If so, you can still get married to him after he's Chrismated, even without converting. The Metropolia (OCA) allows marriage between Orthodox Christians and non-Orthodox Christians that have, at some point in their lives, been baptized using the Trinitarian formula. Basically, if you were to convert and be received by Chrismation (as opposed to baptism), then you can marry without converting.

Finally, while you would technically have to convert for him to be ordained, if you're willing to convert for the sake of marriage this shouldn't be an issue. You dont have to be religious or pious, you just have to sign your name giving your permission for the ordination.

Now as a cynic and pragmatist...

The guy's just overly zealous about the Church, don't worry he'll get over it, just keep him away from the traditionalists; reality is going to hit him one way or another. Also, the bishop will probably make him wait at least two years before sending him to Seminary, no matter how bad your boyfriend wants to be a priest. pPrhaps you could do your best to introduce him to the politics of the Orthodox Church in America and that of the Metropolia (OCA), make him see the reality of the Church and not just the ideal...if you do that, in two years time he might not even want to be a priest (which is a job more akin to counselor and administrator (with a very small amount of acting and singing thrown in) than spiritual leader)...lol.

Finally, while I can't speak about the Metropolia (OCA), I know that in the GOA, the overwhelming majority of marriages are mixed, though I can't remember the exact statistics I do believe it is well over 3/4ths. Accordingly, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese has set up a website for this very issues, may I suggest you take a look at http://interfaith.goarch.org/



It's one thing to be in such a situation when both partners are non-Orthodox when they marry but later one spouse converts (though St.Paul tolerated divorce in those cases)

Quick clarification, St. Paul only tolerates divorce in those cases IF the non-Christian spouse initiates it.
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« Reply #17 on: March 29, 2006, 01:09:14 PM »

First as a Canonist:

Marry the guy before he's Chrismated...then you dont have to convert and there are no canonical issues whatsoever.

Have you been baptized in the Trinitarian Formula (In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit)? If so, you can still get married to him after he's Chrismated, even without converting. The Metropolia (OCA) allows marriage between Orthodox Christians and non-Orthodox Christians that have, at some point in their lives, been baptized using the Trinitarian formula. Basically, if you were to convert and be received by Chrismation (as opposed to baptism), then you can marry without converting.

Finally, while you would technically have to convert for him to be ordained, if you're willing to convert for the sake of marriage this shouldn't be an issue. You dont have to be religious or pious, you just have to sign your name giving your permission for the ordination.
GiC,
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BTW, are you married, GiC?
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« Reply #18 on: March 29, 2006, 01:18:27 PM »

Finally, while I can't speak about the Metropolia (OCA), I know that in the GOA, the overwhelming majority of marriages are mixed, though I can't remember the exact statistics I do believe it is well over 3/4ths. Accordingly, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese has set up a website for this very issues, may I suggest you take a look at http://interfaith.goarch.org/

I love this - you say it as if it is some "normal" or "ideal" situation.

I'm not sure ANY of your posts have been pragmatic.  I only saw cynicism in your post, while I read pragmatism in everyone elses.
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« Reply #19 on: March 29, 2006, 01:22:28 PM »

GiC,
If I showed this to my wife, she hit you with a wet sock (okay it sounds better in Serbian).  Grin Grin Grin

And this criticism of my legal assessment of the situation comming from a lawyer...and a defence lawyer at that...hmmm. I'm sure you've gotten evidence thrown out of court on account of improper procedure or other technicalities before Wink

It was a strictly legalistic interpretation of current rules and regulations...I did qualify that fact by saying 'as a Canonist.'

Quote
BTW, are you married, GiC?

No, but I am a convert and have many friends who are converts...so while I cannot speak for the potential difficulties or lack there of in their marriage (nor did I pretend to), I can offer some insight about the guy in question...a quick personal confession on this account, I was once somewhat like the guy in question when I first came to Orthodoxy, but now I have learned the proper order of things, and I can enter the Church (around the time of the the reading of the Gospel) look around at those converts and zealots in the front row who have been there since the beginning of Orthros, hold my head up high, and say proudly, 'Thank you God that you have not made me like them.' Grin Grin Grin

(before anyone gets too upset, it's hyperbole and sarcasm, I actually have a parish assignment, and have to get there in time to chant Orthros...and I tend not to make it to week day or saturday liturgies here at Holy Cross)
« Last Edit: March 29, 2006, 01:26:21 PM by greekischristian » Logged

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« Reply #20 on: March 29, 2006, 01:24:37 PM »

I love this - you say it as if it is some "normal" or "ideal" situation.

I'm not sure ANY of your posts have been pragmatic.  I only saw cynicism in your post, while I read pragmatism in everyone elses.

Reading through what I wrote, I dont believe I actually said either. With that said, it's certainly not 'ideal,' but considering the ratio of mixed to non-mixed marriages, I would say that it is 'normal.' In the Church in America today it is the non-mixed marriage, not the mixed marriage, that, for better or worse, is the exception to the rule.

Concerning my statement that I was being pragmatic, that was in reference to the person in particular...in a few years he'll get over himself, that's pragmatic.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2006, 01:25:24 PM by greekischristian » Logged

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« Reply #21 on: March 29, 2006, 02:11:58 PM »

Ok, I'm going to chime in now as canonist, cynic, and pragmatist.

First as a Canonist:

Marry the guy before he's Chrismated...then you dont have to convert and there are no canonical issues whatsoever.

Have you been baptized in the Trinitarian Formula (In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit)? If so, you can still get married to him after he's Chrismated, even without converting. The Metropolia (OCA) allows marriage between Orthodox Christians and non-Orthodox Christians that have, at some point in their lives, been baptized using the Trinitarian formula. Basically, if you were to convert and be received by Chrismation (as opposed to baptism), then you can marry without converting.

Why? Why would they allow or even want an Orthodox Christian to marry a non-Orthodox Christian whose only criteria to be "kosher" is that they have "been baptized using the Trinitarian formula"? If outward form is all they're after, then why shouldn't I just stay Protestant? At least in the Prot churches I've been in, the ministers won't marry a couple who are not equally committed to the faith. Sure, the couple can always find someone else to marry them, but at least the church leadership in these churches won't water down the faith or their convictions to accomodate the not-Christ-centered desires of such couples or their families.
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« Reply #22 on: March 29, 2006, 03:12:39 PM »

And this criticism of my legal assessment of the situation comming from a lawyer...and a defence lawyer at that...hmmm. I'm sure you've gotten evidence thrown out of court on account of improper procedure or other technicalities before Wink
Defence lawyer??? Says who?  Civil litigator (both sides).  My firm has a contract with the NYPD, so I defend individually name Cops in civil cases, accused to being bad boys and I do plenty of plaintiff's work.  Remember, I'm one of those Godless trial lawyers!!!  Shocked Shocked Grin

Quote
It was a strictly legalistic interpretation of current rules and regulations...I did qualify that fact by saying 'as a Canonist.'
I know brother, I was just busting your chops.

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No, but I am a convert and have many friends who are converts
I can almost guarantee that being married is more difficult than being a convert! (just don't tell my wife).  Wink


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before anyone gets too upset, it's hyperbole and sarcasm
I certainly wasn't.  Just having some fun.
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« Reply #23 on: March 29, 2006, 03:49:18 PM »

Oh wow, lots of things to answer.

Firstly, SouthSerb99, You are totally right.  There is nothing that tells me right now that I won't want to become an orthodox.  I have read The way of the Pilgrim and I'm reading a history book on Orthodoxy now.  and my boyfriend and I often get into great discussions about spirituality and his beliefs and what he's learning and such.  I've also attended church with him on several occasions and aside from my feet and back killing me from standing, it was quite beautiful.  I'm not totally adverse to converting, but I know I'm not ready to make the step now and I can't honestly promise him that I will ever because I just don't know that. ÂÂ

Augustine, I am totally open to this being a "fate-like" invitation for me to join the Orthodox church.  I believe very strongly in fate and what path we choose, etc. I just want to be able to take my own time and not be told I can't have the man that I've been planning marraige with for 2 years.  ya know?

KATHXOUMENOC, I'm almost there with ya.  I just have to do more searching and reading and satisfy my own burning questions before i can decide.

Greekischristian, too late Chrismation is this weekend.  And I told him that too.  Also, I have to check on the baptism part.  I was about 13 when I was baptized in the Church of Christ and I simply don't remember.  I've been meaning to ask my dad since he baptized me and is now a preacher at a CofC church so he will remember.  I want to say yes, though as C of C is similar to 7th Day Adventism in their "old school puritan beliefs" and my boyfriend was originally baptized 7DA and it was done Trinitarian.  he's not being re-baptized before his chrismation.
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« Reply #24 on: March 29, 2006, 05:58:56 PM »

Greekischristian, too late Chrismation is this weekend.  And I told him that too.  Also, I have to check on the baptism part.  I was about 13 when I was baptized in the Church of Christ and I simply don't remember.  I've been meaning to ask my dad since he baptized me and is now a preacher at a CofC church so he will remember.  I want to say yes, though as C of C is similar to 7th Day Adventism in their "old school puritan beliefs" and my boyfriend was originally baptized 7DA and it was done Trinitarian.  he's not being re-baptized before his chrismation.

Wow, in the GOA, those from the 7th Day Adventists are usually rebaptized because it's officially regarded as a non-Christial cult (along with the salvation army, jehovah's witnesses, and mormons)...however, Church of Christ baptisms are accepted. I doubt that any canonical issues would arise if you were to be married without converting.


Why? Why would they allow or even want an Orthodox Christian to marry a non-Orthodox Christian whose only criteria to be "kosher" is that they have "been baptized using the Trinitarian formula"? If outward form is all they're after, then why shouldn't I just stay Protestant? At least in the Prot churches I've been in, the ministers won't marry a couple who are not equally committed to the faith. Sure, the couple can always find someone else to marry them, but at least the church leadership in these churches won't water down the faith or their convictions to accomodate the not-Christ-centered desires of such couples or their families.

Great, if your protestant Church was so wonderful, why not go back there? Personally, I'm happy with the current posistions of the Greek Archdiocese and believe, along with many of our theologians and clergy, that, if anything, the restrictions should be relaxed even more to allow marriage with certain non-Christians.
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« Reply #25 on: March 29, 2006, 07:39:06 PM »

Personally, I'm happy with the current posistions of the Greek Archdiocese and believe, along with many of our theologians and clergy, that, if anything, the restrictions should be relaxed even more to allow marriage with certain non-Christians.

If the majority of marriages in the GOA, as you stated, are already mixed, the regulations need to be tightened, not relaxed. Also, what exactly is the benefit of marrying a non-Orthodox, or even a non-Christian, if I may ask?
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« Reply #26 on: March 29, 2006, 09:42:34 PM »

Great, if your protestant Church was so wonderful, why not go back there? Personally, I'm happy with the current posistions of the Greek Archdiocese and believe, along with many of our theologians and clergy, that, if anything, the restrictions should be relaxed even more to allow marriage with certain non-Christians.

I'm not saying it's so wonderful, but in light of your comments, it sounds like it's more faithful to what it believes.
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« Reply #27 on: March 29, 2006, 10:14:59 PM »

If the majority of marriages in the GOA, as you stated, are already mixed, the regulations need to be tightened, not relaxed. Also, what exactly is the benefit of marrying a non-Orthodox, or even a non-Christian, if I may ask?

The posistion that the Greek Archdiocese (as well as the Russian Metropolia) has taken is that mixed marriages present the greatest evangelical opportunity that exists for the Church. Indeed, I believe that a Majority of the Converts to the Greek Church come through Marriage and I would not be surprised if this statistic held true for most jurisdictions...that the unbelieving spouse may be sanctified by the believing spouse.

Just 15 years ago, or so, mixed-marriages were viewed as a threat to be eliminated...now that they are viewed as an opportunity programmes are being set up to exploit this opportunity and some are suggesting that the Church could benifit by expanding the scope of these marriages. Let's face it, the vast majority of Orthodox are not going to not marry someone they fall in love with just because the Church says no, past experience teaches us that they'll just leave the Church and be married elsewhere; our forcing them out of the Church and then heaping excommunications upon them, which can only be revoked by a divorce, is ultimately doing nothing but driving people away from the Church, it is NOT doing what it was intended to do and keeping people in the Church, that's simply a reality of our culture and society.
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« Reply #28 on: March 29, 2006, 10:17:48 PM »

I'm not saying it's so wonderful, but in light of your comments, it sounds like it's more faithful to what it believes.

The Church believes it is here to serve the Christian Faithful and help bring them closer to God, in our modern context excommunicating people for non-doctrinal/ecclesiastical issues does not accomplish this goal. I hate to break the news to you, but an official prohibition against marrying non-Orthodox will only stop mixed-marriages by forcing people out of the Church, it would only prevent a VERY small minority of such marriages.
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« Reply #29 on: March 29, 2006, 10:29:53 PM »

The posistion that the Greek Archdiocese (as well as the Russian Metropolia) has taken is that mixed marriages present the greatest evangelical opportunity that exists for the Church. Indeed, I believe that a Majority of the Converts to the Greek Church come through Marriage and I would not be surprised if this statistic held true for most jurisdictions...that the unbelieving spouse may be sanctified by the believing spouse.

Just 15 years ago, or so, mixed-marriages were viewed as a threat to be eliminated...now that they are viewed as an opportunity programmes are being set up to exploit this opportunity and some are suggesting that the Church could benifit by expanding the scope of these marriages. Let's face it, the vast majority of Orthodox are not going to not marry someone they fall in love with just because the Church says no, past experience teaches us that they'll just leave the Church and be married elsewhere; our forcing them out of the Church and then heaping excommunications upon them, which can only be revoked by a divorce, is ultimately doing nothing but driving people away from the Church, it is NOT doing what it was intended to do and keeping people in the Church, that's simply a reality of our culture and society.

Mixed marriages do indeed present opportunity for evangelism, however, that is far from saying that we should all go find some non-Orthodox and get wed.

In regards to excommunicating them, what else should we do? We don't say "even though he murdered 10 people, we're not going to do anything, because that might actually deprive him of the sacraments until he repents! We wouldn't want that, would we!?" Seriously, though, if they are going to put a human being above God and live in the sin of idolatry, they most definately do not need to be partaking of anything.
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« Reply #30 on: March 29, 2006, 10:56:25 PM »

Mixed marriages do indeed present opportunity for evangelism, however, that is far from saying that we should all go find some non-Orthodox and get wed.

It is a long ways from saying that, but what it is saying is that mixed marriages are something to embrace rather than something to fear.

Quote
In regards to excommunicating them, what else should we do? We don't say "even though he murdered 10 people, we're not going to do anything, because that might actually deprive him of the sacraments until he repents! We wouldn't want that, would we!?" Seriously, though, if they are going to put a human being above God and live in the sin of idolatry, they most definately do not need to be partaking of anything.

There's a word for the kind of 'church' you want to create, it's called a Cult. Canons prohibiting intermarriage may work quite well when 90%+ of your society is Christian, would only to create a cult-like atmosphere in our modern context. Ultimately doing nothing but damage to the Church. Of what use is theology to a church without faithful?
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« Reply #31 on: March 29, 2006, 11:19:52 PM »

It is a long ways from saying that, but what it is saying is that mixed marriages are something to embrace rather than something to fear.

There's a word for the kind of 'church' you want to create, it's called a Cult. Canons prohibiting intermarriage may work quite well when 90%+ of your society is Christian, would only to create a cult-like atmosphere in our modern context. Ultimately doing nothing but damage to the Church. Of what use is theology to a church without faithful?

And that is ture. But as you said, it's a long way from telling people to go get into the situation.

Should the standards change just because society changed? Why do you think the Council in Acts said not to eat meat sacrificed to idols, when the Church could have simply said, "Hey. Everybody does it. We're not a cult so let's not say anything about them!" And this is much the same thing that you're proposing. I understand that you don't want the Church to shrink, and that is a noble concern. However, the Church is not going to shrivel up and cease to exist, it just isn't going to happen. We are not called to change our standards to fill the nave, rather, we are called to teach the same Faith we always have. If someone is not comfortable with this Faith, then they can always reject it and God will still deal fairly with them; it's in His hands. However, there is simply no reason to modify core values of the Church just to please men; it's nothing but selling out the faith to the dominant society. This goes beyond little "t" tradition and touches on the very Icon of Christ and the Church. Let us not marr that.
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« Reply #32 on: March 29, 2006, 11:20:17 PM »

The Church believes it is here to serve the Christian Faithful and help bring them closer to God, in our modern context excommunicating people for non-doctrinal/ecclesiastical issues does not accomplish this goal. I hate to break the news to you, but an official prohibition against marrying non-Orthodox will only stop mixed-marriages by forcing people out of the Church, it would only prevent a VERY small minority of such marriages.

Gee, Paul says not to be equally yoked with unbelievers, but the Church leaders think that would cost too many people so let's not lift that standard up. Is that what you're saying?

To me, it's not a numbers thing; it's a commitment thing. Jesus was satisfied with a measly 12 (well, okay, 11) faithful men, and bet the Kingdom of God on their commitment. What if He had made the gate wide and the way broad just so He wouldn't force people to walk away from following Him? What if He had run after the people who were offended by His words in John 6 and said, "Hey, I was only kidding!! I wasn't REALLY talking about eating My flesh and drinking My blood. Come on back, guys!"? What if He had said, "If a man wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me ... unless, of course, that sounds too tough. In which case, do what you want, and I'll catch up with you later."?

If what you have described is the real spiritual temperature and attitude of the leadership of the Orthodox Church, then my interest in it will drop precipitously. If the church that claims to be the One True Church that has preserved the teachings of Christ and the Apostles unchanged for 1500+ years is doing so in word only, then something is seriously wrong, and it's presenting a false front to many inquirers.

There's a word for the kind of 'church' you want to create, it's called a Cult. Canons prohibiting intermarriage may work quite well when 90%+ of your society is Christian, would only to create a cult-like atmosphere in our modern context. Ultimately doing nothing but damage to the Church. Of what use is theology to a church without faithful?

Well, Biblical and historic Christianity IS a cult. If you read the early baptismal rites and practices of the church for its first several centuries, it is a mystical brotherhood (and sisterhood) holding forth and preserving the mysteries of faith for those who will be initiated into them. It mystically unites humans with the Godhead via initiations and ceremonies. It has its holy books and incantations. It has (or used to have) its activities that were for "members only" (though now I understand that in some Orthodox Churches, catechumens are not required or asked to "depart").

Remember, the church had its greatest growth when it was persecuted and illegal and its membership had rigorous requirements and demands. If the church that claims to be the heir of the Apostles and the guardian of the Apostolic Traditions and teachings no longer (for fear of losing members, or not keeping or drawing them) holds out to its members the teachings of the Apostles, then what's the point? If it's not offering THE ETERNAL LIFE OF GOD that is at enmity with the world and with the flesh, with all that entails and all that demands - then what's the point? If modern-day Orthodoxy is largely accomodationism, then why bother? The Holy Spirit won't be there, if that's the attitude.
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« Reply #33 on: March 30, 2006, 02:10:18 AM »

The posistion that the Greek Archdiocese (as well as the Russian Metropolia) has taken is that mixed marriages present the greatest evangelical opportunity that exists for the Church. Indeed, I believe that a Majority of the Converts to the Greek Church come through Marriage and I would not be surprised if this statistic held true for most jurisdictions...that the unbelieving spouse may be sanctified by the believing spouse.

I've never heard this in any sort of official or even unofficial capacity.  I've been to many Orthodox weddings over the past 5 years or so and almost everyone involved both spouses being Orthodox....because the other converted BEFORE the wedding if they were previously non-Orthodox.
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« Reply #34 on: March 31, 2006, 07:31:11 PM »

Guen,
You've been handed a big loop-de-loop!  I empathize with your turmoil and putting myself in your shoes, I'd feel just as hurt and confused. You absolutely did the right thing asking to speak to his priest, and it sounds like both you and your intended are communicating pretty well despite the understandably strong emotions.  Be patient with the priest and keep trying to set up an appointment.  Priest shortages and "sacramental" duties often stretch Orthodox priests thin but I'm sure he'll want to meet with you.

Like others here I can't help but wonder if God is trying to speak through your beloved!  I would try to meet with the priest alone as well as with your fiance', so that you can talk not only about your future but about life with Christ and Orthodoxy as openly as possible.

I started dating my boyfriend before I was Orthodox, though I was a very devout Protestant.  It helped for me to write out my questions and objections to the Orthodox faith.  I sought insight into Orthodoxy from other sources besides my boyfriend so as to get the fullest "objective" picture possible.  I recommend the books of Frederica Matthewes-Green and Bishop Kallistos Ware in addition to your current reading.

Like you, I absolutely wanted to make an independent decision.  To me it was also important that I enter into Orthodoxy in a heartfelt way.  I echo what others have said- please don't "just convert."  It's not necessary to have all doubts cleared away, but enough that you can enter in sincerely and for the sake of your own soul as well as your relationship.  Others who've been in the church longer than me confirm this:  Following Christ in Orthodoxy is beautiful and rewarding, but a burden if you're trying to go through the motions.  That's not going to make for lasting happiness in a marriage.  Your fiance is right to be worried about a "mixed marriage."  Though I know of couples in this situation, they all report how difficult it is.  All that aside from the question of whether your fiance becomes a priest or not.

Please keep us updated!  -Gina

P.S., I'm sorry to say this, but please ignore Greekischristian's posts.  I've learned in only a short time on the forum that a good bit of what he posts is pure nonsense.  I could wish that other forum posters would ignore him too, as too many threads simply trail off into arguments over his more outrageous statements.
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« Reply #35 on: April 02, 2006, 01:36:20 AM »

I copy what the reasonable people have said here. Convert only with the intent of being Orthodox, not just to make someone happy, and beware of the convert zeal factor.

How often do people get DRAGGED to the altar of an Orthodox church for a mixed marriage? Every single concession is made to make people happy, we'll accept you no problems, one two three, etc. People are talked into it, cajoled, etc. This is not the right path to Orthodoxy, when people end up going to church just for Christmas and Easter, so they can make some old granny in their family happy. It reminds me of obryadoverie, a Russian term for the tendency to believe that the performance of rites alone are in themselves satisfying to God.

Someone here was upset at traditionalists, I think if anything the traditionalists make you think MORE carefully about your decision to become Orthodox, not to mention the priesthood. Granted I'm talking about canonical traditionalists, i.e. ROCOR, not the schismatic groups that you should steer clear from like the Suzdalites who will ordain anyone that says they hate the Moscow Patriarch for being a KGB agent and/or a liberal  Roll Eyes

At the same time, yes it is unquestionably an invitation from above to examine your own personal beliefs. As long as you understand that 1) your relationship with God is separate from your relationship to any other person, even though God leads us to Him through other people in various ways, and 2) your relationship with God is THE most important relationship ever - you should be able to think soberly.

Your boyfriend, on the other hand, shouldn't start even thinking about priesthood at all until he has been properly accepted into the Orthodox Church through crismation, which is a sacrament. He has a LONG WAY TO GO before being a priest. One must LIVE the Way as a FULL member the Church before one's mind and soul has the clarity to understand how deep of a mission priesthood is. He must understand what a life in the sacraments is all about by experiencing them firsthand. How can he know that he is capable of administering, say, confession, giving spiritual advice, when he himself has never been to an Orthodox confession yet, has never taken communion?

Perhaps he will be humbled when he enters the church, and learn that maybe his real calling is to help the clergy in his church. We often find our clergy lack a strong, supportive group of laity to help them keep up with their many tasks. There are so many things a lay person can do to help the church, and priests aren't given any special 'bonus' from God for being priests - if anything they have a bigger responsibility and are subject to great temptations. If he decides he wants to spread the good news, he can help out with the Sunday school, or help organize one if it doesn't exist.

It's not even an issue of time, more than an issue of real experience. There are very few cases like that of Apostle Paul, who turned from being a persecutor of Christians to an Apostle by an act of God's grace.

It's great you found someone in your life that you can selflessly love. My advice to you would be to stand your ground for your own spiritual benefit, saying that you cannot feel compelled to be Orthodox and that his attitude is creating a rift in your relationship and making it more difficult for you to come to Orthodoxy with an open heart. On the other end, in your love for this man show him patience. I'm seeing that he has feelings for you, otherwise he wouldn't be inviting you to join him on this path and would seek to find someone who already shares his views.

If you have the strength to pray, do it. This is a crucial turning point in your life, and if you already understand that there is someone great out there who cares for us and is involved in our lives, talk to Him. If you do that with a good, open heart, you really can't go wrong.
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