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Orthodox seeker with a question

Discussion in 'The Ancient Way - Eastern Orthodox' started by rturner76, May 16, 2019.

  1. rturner76

    rturner76 Senior Veteran Staff Member Red Team - Moderator Supporter

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    Hi, I am currently Roman Catholic As I have been learning the past few years, I am finding out that my philosophy is closer to Orthodox. I have now come to the point where I am ready to attend a Mass and see what it's like.

    What I am running into is the Churches are all divided along ethnic lines and the "Orthodox Church of the USA" I guess is not in communion with the rest of the Churches. Most the the Parishes in my area are Russian and Ukrainian. There are a few Eritrean, Greek, and think a Syrian and a couple others.

    I don't know who would be welcoming, where I would feel comfortable, or how to decide where to go. Do I just start trying different places until I find one based on proximity to my home? Are there certain ethnic groups that are more open and more closed off?
     
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  2. archer75

    archer75 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The OCA, the Orthodox Church in America, is indeed in communion with all the other local churches. Do you have an OCA parish there?
     
  3. All4Christ

    All4Christ ✙ The Handmaid of God Laura ✙ Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    As Archer said, the Orthodox Church in America definitely is in communion with the rest of the canonical Orthodox churches. I’m a member of an OCA parish - and find it to be a great option.
     
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  4. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    the OCA and the Antiochian Archdiocese tend to be the most American.
     
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  5. -Sasha-

    -Sasha- Handmaid of God

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    The OCA has been the most American in my experience, but I haven't yet been to a Church that wasn't welcoming!
     
  6. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Servant of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    What they said. :)

    It's worth trying other parishes unless you have already found a great fit. I attend a Greek parish which has many Greeks, but many other ethnicities. How the people are in regards to their culture can vary. I've also visited OCA parishes that were full of Russians. You can't always go by the name on the sign. :)
     
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  7. All4Christ

    All4Christ ✙ The Handmaid of God Laura ✙ Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    It’s also worth checking out the language used by the parish. At minimum, it will be good to have a bilingual parish. I prefer a fully English parish myself. Some that have two languages are primarily English, and some are less English.

    As others said, it is good to visit multiple ones, including non-OCA and non-Antiochian, but you also can get a feel from researching the websites. Many converts don’t have any problems with languages. Personally, I had an easier time learning Orthodoxy with English (instead of another language being the primary language or having significant level of a foreign language). The same goes for OCA and Antiochian churches, though having a significant amount of a foreign language in the OCA is rare in my experience.
     
  8. FenderTL5

    FenderTL5 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have nothing to add to what has already been posted... other than, Welcome!
     
  9. Pavel Mosko

    Pavel Mosko Arch-Dude of the Apostolic Supporter

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    Among the Oriental Orthodox the Coptic Church is the way to go! (I say this because you mentioned Syrians and Eritreans)
     
  10. E.C.

    E.C. Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to TAW!

    If the parish can be found here: Directory of Orthodox Christian Parishes
    Than it is canonical. To put it in Roman terms, they're valid and licit.

    I'm an ex-Catholic myself. Don't be afraid of the ethnic part of the parish name. The only difference between Russian and Arab parishes are the same differences as Italian and Irish Catholic parishes: food and people's names. Beyond that, it is the same Liturgy (or mass), same theology, and same Faith.
     
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  11. Mary of Bethany

    Mary of Bethany Only one thing is needful. Supporter

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  12. YCGP

    YCGP Active Member

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    Try a Greek! Hellas!
     
  13. gurneyhalleck1

    gurneyhalleck1 sinner profoundly blessed by God

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    Gurney’s gonna be the true maverick here—-go Serbian or go home!

    Drops microphone and walks off stage like George Jefferson
     
  14. Andrei D

    Andrei D Active Member

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    To be quite frank, assuming that you are English native speaker, my screening checklist would be ONLY the following:
    1. Parish is under [the omophorion of] a canonical bishop (Directory of Bishops of the Assembly)
    2. Priest speaks fluent English and a significant portion of services are in English

    However, your concern is justified. I actually agree with most of the replies here, but I also think it is important to know that your impression is not incorrect either. The truth is that there are parishes that definitely serve the needs of very specific ethno-cultural communities. As a matter of fact this is NOT a bad thing in itself - these communities typically have histories of oppression and many complex historical issues that make it necessary for them to preserve a sliver of their identity in their local church.

    All of them are worth exploring, simply because there are all sorts of differences in chanting, minor Liturgical elements, customs associated with feasts, and most importantly food that are quite beautiful and interesting. However, I can see how, for a seeker, these can be distracting and even off putting. Moreover, there are parishes that are so ethnic that it may be not useful for you to even try integrate there. I would exemplify with my own parish that is probably far "too Romanian" to be useful to an English speaking seeker.
     
  15. Moses Medina

    Moses Medina St. Moses the Ethiopian

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    You will fimd however, that the Liturgy of St. Chrysostem goes unchanged regardless of the different chanting styles and minute differes. I dont have anything to add besides adding that tod bit.
     
  16. SeekingServant

    SeekingServant Orthodox Christian

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    Please also do not discount the Western Rite of the Orthodox Church. Both the Eastern and Western Rites are beautiful and I love them both, but there is a Western Rite and if there is a parish in your area, I would advise adding one of those to your list of churches to visit. The ancient Church had many Liturgies. God Bless and welcome home!
     
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  17. rturner76

    rturner76 Senior Veteran Staff Member Red Team - Moderator Supporter

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    This, well all of these posts are being very very helpful! There are many English speaking Ethnic Parishes where I live. I will go ahead and disclose that I am searching the Twin Cities metro area, Minnesota. I am a bit overwhelmed by the vast number of choices.

    One thing that I like is the autonomy that churches have. At the same time, I have to face my feelings about the Pope Leaving his stewardship, is not intellectually difficult but, it a "feeling" I hold on to about the ideal of a "Church Father."

    I believe that a holy man from the right Orthodox Parish can fill that leadership role that I look to. So I am willing to try many Parishes and even ask people for suggestions locally. Just haven't picked the very first one nor the day to go so I will start with that before I ponder which one to join. So I will get on there and pick one before Sunday God willing.
     
  18. archer75

    archer75 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Have fun!
     
  19. rturner76

    rturner76 Senior Veteran Staff Member Red Team - Moderator Supporter

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    This is good to know. Thank you. Are the Eastern and Oriental Churches in communion? I know of both and socially, I have more Ethiopian friends probably than any other Church.

    Thank you for this, I had no idea that Western Rite existed. Kind of like when I found out about the Eastern Catholic Church. Is Western Orthodoxy Greek or Latin? Eastern Catholicism is pretty much Orthodoxy with a Pope I was told.
     
  20. Anhelyna

    Anhelyna Handmaid of God Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    Eastern Catholicism goes from one end of the spectrum to the other :)

    I suspect I was at the very 'Orthodox' end - I had been used to going between the Ukrainian Church [Catholic] and the Russian Church [ Orthodox] for many years. It might be as well if I explain a bit - my Ukrainian Church was just over 50 miles away and frequently did not have Feast Day Liturgies if they were on a weekday - the Russian Church was about 5 miles away and frequently did have Feast Day Liturgies during the week

    My move was actually a very gentle one -I was very very lucky .
     
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