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Author Topic: Hmm. Greek, or Antiochian for a new guy?  (Read 5200 times) Average Rating: 0
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Gabriel
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« on: May 16, 2006, 11:55:05 PM »

Howdy folks.

This is my first post, so bear with me here.

I've been browsing and perusing world religions for years.  I haven't found any religion that "calls to me" so to speak. 

However.

Upon recent intake of literature and contact with a few Orthodox folks, I think I may have found a "home" in Orthodoxy.  I do not want to just jump in and become one tomorrow. 

I'd like to stick my toe in the water to see if it's alright before I jump in.

So, the next logical step would be for me to find an Orthodox church to attend (that is, if I get the okay from the resident presbyter).

There are none in my immediate area.  There are two within 65 miles from me, though, which isn't too bad of a drive.

So, should I go with:

Greek?  http://www.holytrinitynashville.org

or

Antiochian?  http://www.saint-ignatius.org/

I'm leaning towards the Greek one, but I thought I'd ask since you folks are way more knowledgable than I am in this particular subject.

Thanks for your time.

Gabe
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« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2006, 12:20:26 AM »

Assuming that both parishes are totally Orthodox in faith and worship, I would just advise you to attend services at both parishes and see where you feel most at home.

I'm sorry I can't give you more of an answer.  I'm just kinda tired after a day's work, and my brain isn't working all that well right now.

A thread where you might get a lot of information (in many respects more than you may want  Wink): http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=8406.0
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« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2006, 12:44:26 AM »

I attend an Antiochian Church and know that Father Stephen Rogers, the parish's pastor,  is well thought of by many.  He comes out of an Evangelical Christian background and writes material directed at new converts.  I have heard him speak and he is a good preacher as well as liturgist. It may be the right fit for a new convert. You may get some of his books and pamphlets thru Conciliar Press.

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« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2006, 02:57:52 AM »

Assuming that both parishes are totally Orthodox in faith and worship, I would just advise you to attend services at both parishes and see where you feel most at home.


Ditto.
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« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2006, 04:07:40 AM »

They both look great. Try 'em both out a couple of times. Let the priests know that you're coming and they may be able to answer whatever questions you might have after the service.
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« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2006, 04:41:39 AM »

I would attend the Antiochian Church. They are probably much more capable with dealing with the needs of an American convert than a Greek Church which more times than not is still in a mode of serving the greater Greek community in which it is located.
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Gabriel
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« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2006, 06:16:16 AM »

Hmm.  That's just it.

I've never thought of Nashville as having a "greater Greek community."

Maybe I've never noticed.   Grin
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« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2006, 04:49:43 PM »

Gabriel wrote:

"I've been browsing and perusing world religions for years.ÂÂ  I haven't found any religion that "calls to me" so to speak."

Gabriel, one thing that I've noticed that makes Orthodox Christianity different from some western Protestant strains of Christendom is that Orthodoxy should be lived - it is not just a religion of books, or of the "head" but also of the "heart." In other words, one can read books by all sorts of eastern theologians, but never gain an in-depth understanding of eastern Christianity unless one attempts to live that faith.

I think if there is one trait that is similar across all "eastern" religions it is that they can only truly be understood as a way of life (I'm classifying Eastern Christianity here as "eastern" as well, in order to differentiate it from the rationalist western mind-set that many of us have grown up with. I realize that some may disagree with this classification). I've talked to Buddhists (the real, Asian variety) and Muslims who have said the same thing about their religions - that one can read all the books you want, but cannot truly understand their religion without living it day-to-day.

So, I think it matters less which Orthodox church you go to than whether you go. If you attend either regularly, you may find that your wanderings come to an end. I hope that they do! Smiley

Last, let me ask you to forgive me if I sound like I'm pontificating here, for I am often a poor example of an Orthodox Christian. It's just that I, too, had myÂÂ  "browsing and perusing" phase, during which time I explored many religions before I decided to stick with Jesus Christ and attempt to live out Orthodoxy, which I had been reading about for 12 years or so. I don't think that my "browsing and perusing" phase was time wasted, but in the end, all I discovered was several different paths which were not appropriate for me.
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« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2006, 08:57:50 PM »

No need to forgive.  That's a healthy attitude.  I'm just trying to take it kinda slow so I don't get caught up in something that doesn't resonate with me later.
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« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2006, 09:06:52 PM »

 Well, at the risk of defying the 'common knowledge' on this site that the GOA does not like to evangelize (ahem... Nacho), I have to say the following:

Actually, Gabriel, there are two GOA parishes in Nashville; the other one is:

 St. John Chrysostom Greek Orthodox Mission
1807 Grand Avenue
Nashville, TN 37212
Rev. Fr. Parthenios Turner - Presiding Priest
Phone: 615.340.0098
Fax: 615.340.0048
parthenios.turner@gmail.com

(from www.goarch.org)

This was a mission started under the Bulgarians, I believe, that eventually recently petitioned to enter the GOA. My understanding is that the parish is a group of converts typical to the make up of a 'from scratch' mission parish.

It may provide you with another option if you choose to go there...
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« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2006, 10:24:04 PM »

Gabriel,
Visit all three then.

As a side note, regarding singing (chanting/choral/whatever), the following is a statement I made to Nacho in a PM and his response [Nacho, asking forgiveness in advance if you have a problem] just to help prepare you:

Me:
"Don't knock those that don't sing and 'sit back on the sidelines'.  The purpose of the choir/chanters is to be the voice of the congregation [additional post hoc comment by me.  It is part of the DUTY of the singer/chanter to even refrain from their own pietistical acts like crossing oneself or bowing if it interferes with their singing.  It is a sacrifice they make using their musical gift to help others pray].  Not everyone can sing and it is presumptuous to even try if you have no clue of the tone/melody and hymn.  Many of those "on the sidelines" are letting the choir do their job and doing their best to pray - as their supposed to."

Nacho:
"Interesting point of view....never thought of it that way. I guess coming from a protestant background I expected everyone to sing along with the choir. I guess if people are silently praying then that would make sense why at some Orthodox churches the choir does all the chanting. I always felt guilty if I didn't participate in the liturgy and chant along with the choir. It's nice to know there are different ways to participate in the liturgy."

Another note - I'm definitely NOT discouraging ANYONE from trying to sing along with the psalti or choir.  Just trying to make a point for those that can't sing or feel that they must sing that not singing is definitely NOT not participating.  Liturgy = work of the people.  The "work of the people" can't happen if the people aren't there.
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« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2006, 11:50:19 PM »

May God bless you in your search, that you find an Orthodox home for yourself!

I'd probably visit all three, but not just once each.  Try the repeat visit, for often its the 2nd or 3rd time in the parish that you see people as they are, and not the faces they put on for newbies.  If you're lucky, it's the same face; if not, then maybe the other parishes are better!
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« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2006, 10:50:40 PM »

My gut reaction would be to tell you to go Greek.  But after experiencing both at several different parishes, I would say try out a few different ones & pick the one that makes you feel that you are in the presence of God.  May God grant you many blessings.

P
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« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2006, 08:08:37 AM »

Welcome to the site! Smiley

I'm glad that you feel 'home' in the Orthodox faith. Don't forget to pray, as i am praying for you. 

Personally, i'd advise you to visit both parishes so you can have two experiences. Perhaps you can even talk to the Priest? that may help you decide.

Oh, and remember: Religion doesn't make a calling to us, we make a calling to it.  Tongue
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« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2006, 09:14:31 AM »

I would encourage you to visit all three parishes as well. I converted to the Orthodox faith 10 years ago and it's certainly taken root with me. I am very very satisfied and content with it. I think its good to experience the diversity of Orthodoxy here in America. I would add this word of caution: please do NOT be afraid of the the so-called "ethnic" parishes. Actually, we are all 'ethnics' of one variety or another.ÂÂ  Its OK if you don't understand every word of the liturgy. Orthodoxy doesn't obsess about such nit picky things. Its OK if people don't have a Western sense of order and time and come into Liturgy late. Deal with it. Accept it. Please don't complain about it. Don't get into pews versus no pews arguments. Don't get into calendar arguments. Just come into church and worship the Most Holy Trinity in the beauty of holiness. Open your mind to the beauty of foreign languages, whether they be Greek, Slavonic, Arabic, Romanian or something else. Think outside the Western box. Think beyond four part Western harmony!ÂÂ  Buy some CDs and listen to the Divine Liturgy in all sorts of different languages. Pretty soon, you will be able to tell where you are in the Liturgy, no matter what language it's in. And realize that in the Orthodox Church change is very very slow, an almost glacial pace. You won't find the new and trendy among us. Hope this helps.
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« Reply #15 on: July 01, 2006, 02:45:05 PM »

Howdy folks.

This is my first post, so bear with me here.

I've been browsing and perusing world religions for years.  I haven't found any religion that "calls to me" so to speak. 

However.

Upon recent intake of literature and contact with a few Orthodox folks, I think I may have found a "home" in Orthodoxy.  I do not want to just jump in and become one tomorrow. 

I'd like to stick my toe in the water to see if it's alright before I jump in.

So, the next logical step would be for me to find an Orthodox church to attend (that is, if I get the okay from the resident presbyter).

There are none in my immediate area.  There are two within 65 miles from me, though, which isn't too bad of a drive.

So, should I go with:

Greek?  http://www.holytrinitynashville.org

or

Antiochian?  http://www.saint-ignatius.org/

I'm leaning towards the Greek one, but I thought I'd ask since you folks are way more knowledgable than I am in this particular subject.

Thanks for your time.

Gabe

My gut tells me to say Antiochian, if only because the Greek parishes I attended while searching went out of their way to make me unwanted when they found out I wasn't Greek. However, all parishes are different. Attend all you can get to, and go where you are the most welcome and comfortable. And God bless you!

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« Reply #16 on: July 01, 2006, 09:38:03 PM »

Dear Gabriel,

It doesnt matter if you fo to a greek or a russian or the (Greek Orthodox) Antioch Orthodox church. All these belong to to the leader of the orthodox (and all christian churches of course) Jesus Christ himself.

I am sorry if  "americanorthodox" felt unwanted, and that is not want the Orthodox church (Christianity) represents. As i said above the churches do not belong to the priests or the greeks, americans, russian, swedes or whatever, but they belong to all of us. Christ and the apostles build it for all of us

But it is important to understand that although orthodoxy has been in europe since the first days of christianity, in the catholic and protestant dominated america it was brought by the first few immigrants from east and south east of europe. So the parishes where built to serve the immigrants as both religion and social centers. But years later, as the numbers of non-ethnic orthodox has been rising
a lot of parishes (especially in big cities) have become less ethnic-centered and very open to everyone. Here in London (UK), almost half the people at our local greek-orthodox church are non-greeks.

A long while ago i visited a monastery at mount-Athos (an area in greece which is full of monasteries and is one of the "lungs" of Christianity). When i was there, although i was greek as most priests and monks, i felt soooo alone and a littlebit unwanted, even though i realised later that that wasnt true. During a service i simply spoke silently inside me, to Jesus, and asked him why do feel so alone and unwanted, who will want to talk to about life, about GOD, to maybe answer some questions of mine. After the service, as the monks were talking to each other or to other visitors, as i started to make a move towards my room, suddenly a monk, appraoched me out of nowhere,  and i am telling you, the chat we had was e-xce-llent. Now i visit that place every year as thousands of other people do. i hope all of you will have the chance to visit, it is a fantastic experience. And there are many monks that are american, british, latin american ex-catholics or from other religion converts to orthodoxy.

SO what i have learned and hope u understand is that YOU are not alone when you will go to greek or antiochian church orthodox.
If you feel alone or if you want to find answers, while you are at the church or at home simply just "talk" to Jesus. GOD listens to us and wether we believe or not we are his children. And a true loving father as GOD is, will always listen to us, and provide us with anything that benefits our souls.

“Ask and it shall be given to you, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you” (Math. 7:7)

And i hope that Orthodoxy and the Lord himself will provide you with the answers you are looking for. Orthodoxy is an exciting spiritual journey. And as i said, you are not alone. Jesus Christ will join you in this journey as your friend, your brother, your father, your GOD. He is always with you.

here are some links that i hope you enjoy visiting:

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/
http://sgpm.goarch.org/Monastery/index.php?p=38
http://www.orthodoxphotos.com/Orthodox_Elders/Greek/Fr._Porphyrios/index.shtml
http://www.holylight.gr/enmain.html
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« Reply #17 on: July 01, 2006, 10:10:32 PM »

My gut tells me to say Antiochian, if only because the Greek parishes I attended while searching went out of their way to make me unwanted when they found out I wasn't Greek. However, all parishes are different. Attend all you can get to, and go where you are the most welcome and comfortable. And God bless you!

This may be true for you, but I've always been far more comfortable in Greek Churches than Arabic or Russian ones. This is even true for the very Greek Churches I've been to; people there just want to know you will respect their culture, a few words of Greek and an honest effort to embrace their culture will go along ways. I've never been to very ethnic Russian or Arabic parishes, maybe if I went to one of those my experience would be better, but I've never been comfortable in an Americanized Arab or Russian Church.
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« Reply #18 on: July 01, 2006, 10:43:34 PM »

Quote
I'm leaning towards the Greek one, but I thought I'd ask since you folks are way more knowledgable than I am in this particular subject.
Ultimately you will know which is right for you. I was chrismated into Orthodoxy at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral in my home town of Richmond, Virginia. We have a very large Greek community here. It just so happened that I grew up one house down from the Cathedral, and had Greek friends. I was a Methodist of Anglo-Scottish-French background. As such, I was most warmly welcomed by the Greek Cathedral community - No ethnic issues. I could notÂÂ  have been treated more cordiallyÂÂ  Smiley. No disrespect to my Antiochian brothers and sisters, but I personally find the Greek liturgy to be especially beautiful. The main reason that I switched to an OCA/Russian parish was that the congregation was much smaller, and I like a small parish. The folks who told you to try both are absolutely right but..... the Greek Orthodox liturgy is absolutely magnificent......ÂÂ  Grin!!! I still visit fairly oftenÂÂ  Wink. May God bless you on your journey into Christ's Holy Orthodox Faith.
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« Reply #19 on: July 01, 2006, 11:02:22 PM »

Okay. Go to the Greek Orthodox Church. There, I said it!  Grin
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« Reply #20 on: July 02, 2006, 12:27:00 AM »

Quote
This is even true for the very Greek Churches I've been to; people there just want to know you will respect their culture, a few words of Greek and an honest effort to embrace their culture will go along ways.

While I am loathe to do so, I must admit that I do agree with GiC here.  In the perfect world all Orthodox Churches should be missionary minded and open, but in the real world we have to work with what is here.  Being polite, learning a little Greek and such can go a long way.   
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« Reply #21 on: July 03, 2006, 02:05:08 PM »

[quote author=Νεκτάριος link=topic=9066.msg126370#msg126370 date=1151814420]
While I am loathe to do so, I must admit that I do agree with GiC here.  In the perfect world all Orthodox Churches should be missionary minded and open, but in the real world we have to work with what is here.  Being polite, learning a little Greek and such can go a long way.   
[/quote]

It's an English speaking country. I won't patronize businesses with se habla espanol signs in the windows. Why would I patronize a parish of people who will not use the language of the nation that is their host, and they benefit from? It's an English speaking nation. If you're going to move here and take advantage, learn English.

Multiculturalism is nothing but destructive in the secular world. It is evil in the Church.


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« Reply #22 on: July 03, 2006, 02:32:53 PM »

It's an English speaking country. I won't patronize businesses with se habla espanol signs in the windows. Why would I patronize a parish of people who will not use the language of the nation that is their host, and they benefit from? It's an English speaking nation. If you're going to move here and take advantage, learn English.

Multiculturalism is nothing but destructive in the secular world. It is evil in the Church.




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« Reply #23 on: July 03, 2006, 04:04:18 PM »

Quote
It's an English speaking country. I won't patronize businesses with se habla espanol signs in the windows. Why would I patronize a parish of people who will not use the language of the nation that is their host, and they benefit from? It's an English speaking nation. If you're going to move here and take advantage, learn English.

Very few ethnic Orthodox in this country don't at least speak enough English to function in society.  In that a Church is a private organization, they have every right to use whatever language they see fit in their worship.  Religious and philosophical topics are often the most difficult subjects to master outside of one's native language; hence, that is why even immigrants who are fluent in English pray much more easily in their native language.  So a little bit of understanding goes a long way.  OTOH, I agree that English should be the primary language of the Orthodox Churches in America with evangelism as a top priority.  But, I don't think those should be achieved at the expense of the ethnic Greeks, Arabs, Slavs, etc. in our Churches. 

Quote
Multiculturalism is nothing but destructive in the secular world. It is evil in the Church.

Interestingly enough in Thessaloniki there are Serb and Russian Orthodox Churches that use Slavonic as their liturgical language.  It is also worth pointing out that the Holy Mountain is (theoretically) very multicultural.
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« Reply #24 on: July 03, 2006, 06:05:51 PM »

It's an English speaking country. I won't patronize businesses with se habla espanol signs in the windows. Why would I patronize a parish of people who will not use the language of the nation that is their host, and they benefit from? It's an English speaking nation. If you're going to move here and take advantage, learn English.

May I recommend the Episcopal Church? They do most their services in English, even when in non-English-Speaking Countries. However, even there I doubt you'll find people so radically isolationist as to be unwilling to do business with companies who are willing to speak to their customers in their native language, be it English or something else. And BTW, English is simply the majority langauge of the United States, we don't have an official language.

Quote
Multiculturalism is nothing but destructive in the secular world. It is evil in the Church.

Well in that case let's return the entire Church back to her Original Culture, the GREEK Culture, no more Slavonic, Arabic, English, etc....there must not be Cultural Diversity within the Church, we must rid Christendom of the evils of Slavic, Arabic, Western, etc. culture...there is no Salvation outside of Greek Language, Greek Culture, and Greek Customs.

(I guess that answers the question of what church you should attend...as we just learned from americanorthodox, multiculturalism is evil, so It's straight to hell with those of you who dont speak Greek and eat Greek food Wink )
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« Reply #25 on: July 03, 2006, 06:18:03 PM »

[quote author=Νεκτάριος link=topic=9066.msg126370#msg126370 date=1151814420]
While I am loathe to do so, I must admit that I do agree with GiC here.  In the perfect world all Orthodox Churches should be missionary minded and open, but in the real world we have to work with what is here.  Being polite, learning a little Greek and such can go a long way.  ÃƒÆ’‚Â
[/quote]

I would go further and say that this applies to others of many cultures while travelling (within your own country or not).  This helps dispel the notion of the "ugly American" while travelling.
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« Reply #26 on: July 03, 2006, 07:37:48 PM »

May I recommend the Episcopal Church? They do most their services in English, even when in non-English-Speaking Countries. However, even there I doubt you'll find people so radically isolationist as to be unwilling to do business with companies who are willing to speak to their customers in their native language, be it English or something else. And BTW, English is simply the majority langauge of the United States, we don't have an official language.

Well in that case let's return the entire Church back to her Original Culture, the GREEK Culture, no more Slavonic, Arabic, English, etc....there must not be Cultural Diversity within the Church, we must rid Christendom of the evils of Slavic, Arabic, Western, etc. culture...there is no Salvation outside of Greek Language, Greek Culture, and Greek Customs.

(I guess that answers the question of what church you should attend...as we just learned from americanorthodox, multiculturalism is evil, so It's straight to hell with those of you who dont speak Greek and eat Greek food Wink )

Lets indeed return the church to her Original Culture, lets let everyone learn Aramaic like Christ spoke. Lets go back before Greece since the Orthodox Church didn't originate in Greece. Thats just the BS that ___________________ Nationalists like you want the rest of us to go along with.

-Nick
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« Reply #27 on: July 03, 2006, 07:54:11 PM »

Thats just the BS that Greek Nationalists like you want the rest of us to go along with.

Well now - if you're going to use an ad hominem like that, at least use one that applies; he's not a Greek nationalist to say the least... now, if you said Southern Nationalist, you might be right.
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« Reply #28 on: July 03, 2006, 07:57:09 PM »

so now everyone can fill in the blanks.

-Nick
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« Reply #29 on: July 03, 2006, 10:52:45 PM »

Not sure what else needs be said...GiC is baiting folks (wein), folks are falling for it...um...

I guess, like Nek said, the Church needs to be majority English insofar as this is possible, since the (ideal) missionary tradition within the Church is one of using the comprehensible vernacular and making "old world" compromises as needed within the individual parish.

... Smiley...
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« Reply #30 on: July 04, 2006, 12:47:52 PM »

Perhaps one thing Gabriel could do -- and any of you Tennessee types -- is attend the upcoming GOA Clergy-Laity conference in Nashville from July 15 - 21, 2006. In so doing, one would gain a rather unique picture of certain aspects of the Archdiocese (good and bad). Check out the schedules, promotional literature, catechetical programs, etc. here:

http://www.clergylaity.org/
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« Reply #31 on: July 05, 2006, 12:26:22 AM »

May I courteously suggest that if GIC baits you like that you should just ignore him.
Thomas
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« Reply #32 on: July 06, 2006, 09:43:42 AM »

May I recommend the Episcopal Church? They do most their services in English, even when in non-English-Speaking Countries.

Actually, Anglicans are very big on translating worship into the languages of the people worshipping.   Grin 

Quote
Well in that case let's return the entire Church back to her Original Culture, the GREEK Culture, no more Slavonic, Arabic, English, etc....there must not be Cultural Diversity within the Church, we must rid Christendom of the evils of Slavic, Arabic, Western, etc. culture...there is no Salvation outside of Greek Language, Greek Culture, and Greek Customs.

(I guess that answers the question of what church you should attend...as we just learned from americanorthodox, multiculturalism is evil, so It's straight to hell with those of you who dont speak Greek and eat Greek food Wink )


 Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy


God made all of the different cultures and languages in this world.  He must think it's a good idea.

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« Reply #33 on: July 07, 2006, 09:08:30 AM »

Returning back to the initial question,ÂÂ  I have been in many parishes of the Orthodox Church since my conversion 19 years ago.ÂÂ  I have attended a Greek Orthodox Church and been happy there, moved to an area that was served only by ROCOR and was happy there, and then moved to an area where I attended an Antiochian Church and been happy there. Happiness with a Parish entails not involving oneself in the political mechinazations of a parish---enjoy the fellowship, be open to the ethnic blessings and traditions, and know that our purpose in life is to worship the One God in Trinity. Using this as my guide, I have been happy where ever God has called me. With eachÂÂ  parish, I have learned to take from it the good to stregnthen my testimony and to leave the junk behind.

May God bless you as you determine which parish will let you grow the most spiritually.

In Christ, Thomas
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« Reply #34 on: July 07, 2006, 11:41:48 AM »

Good post, Thomas. Couldn't have said it better myself. I've only gotten a cold shoulder in one not-to-be named local parish but that doesn't stop me from supporting them whenever I can.
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