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So a diabetic Methodist and his wife walk into an Orthodox forum...

Discussion in 'The Ancient Way - Eastern Orthodox' started by Sothron, Nov 29, 2006.

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  1. Khaleas

    Khaleas Also known as Jenn the Finn :)

    Eastern Orthodox
    I wanted to make one more addition:

    Sometimes I find I don't 'get' the sermon on Sunday, but later in the week it pops into my head and there is this: Ahhhhaaaa...
    Same goes for confession (at least with my priest).

    In regards to western Christian music. I never listened much to it, but sometimes I miss organ music and I do listen to 'western' Christmas music (older style).
  2. eoe

    eoe Guest

    Welcome to TAW:wave:
    Your Spiritual Father will guide you in things like this and you will be fine. The most difficult part is not putting yourself first ie: I think that I should give up X because I really like it. Your SF might request that you do something entirely different. Don't approch this with a "I will do this because I think ...." That is egotism thinly veiled and is part of what you will go to war against.;)
    Simply put. Talk to your SF. Tell him everything and follow his instructions.
    There is only one baptism. Chrismation is a seperate sacrament but it is typically given right after baptism. This question is 100% dependant upon your parish priest / SF / Bishop. They will make the decision. Not something to worry about at all.
    In some parishes yes. In most, no. Again - this is specific to your parish.

    Depends. Many Greek parishes will have pews and will sit at intervals throughout the service. The more "Russian" flavored the church is the more they will stand and the less likely they are to have pews. IF you need to sit, you will be able to sit. You will be fine.

    We do not ship the kids off. Our Sunday School is called Catechism and it is before the Divine Liturgy and typically happens during the Orthros or Matins service. Your kids will be right there with you during the main service.

    The main service is the Divine Liturgy. At my parish it starts at 10:15 and runs until 12:-12:30. It is the most beautiful and reverent thing you are likely to experience this side of heaven.
    IF you were only going to show up for one service, this would be it. If you want a little more to chew on you can go to the preceeding Orthros service and listen to the Psalms, the morning prayers and supplications and a Gospel reading. I find that if I attend Orthros the Divine Liturgy becomes much more alive and I get alot more out of it.
    The Main part of the service is for the most part the same each week. The sound will change each day on a cycle of 8 tones so it does not get boring. In addition to that there is a yearly cycle of both Epistle and Gospel readings and themes that come into play during the liturgy to keep things a little different each time. You will not get bored with the Liturgy.

    As far as the cycle goes:
    What comes first here? The evening then the morning right?
    Vespers is our Sundown service. It is not held in all parishes on a nightly basis. If your parish does have nightly vespers, be grateful. Most will only have the service on the eve of a big feastday.
    Vespers begins a cycle of the "hours". Every 3 hours there is a similar service with the next at 9:00 being Compline. These are the nightime prayers. Next is Orthros then first hour, thrid sixth and ninth hour and then Vespers again.

    You will likely never see the first, third, sixth, ninth or midnight offices unless you do them yourself as a reader's service. No real need to pay too much attention to them at this point. In other words - accept that these things exist and don't worry about them.

    This will vary from parish to parish and priest to priest but in general there will be a "Homily" (what we call a sermon) given most likely on the topic of that day's Gospel reading. It might be 10 minutes long or it may be 45 minutes. Do not plan things with a hard and fast time after the Liturgy because it might be over in an hour and 15 min and it might take 3 hours. This is your time with God and you should be able to kinda go with the flow.
    My parish is very conservative Greek Orthodox. We use more Greek in the Orthros than in the Liturgy. The Gospel, Epistle, Troparion, creed and Lord's prayer are all said(chanted...) in both Greek and English. The Homily is always in English only. All the Greek that you would ever need to know you could learn in a short time and about 80% of it you can learn right now:
    Kyrie Eleison - Lord have mercy
    Thoxa Patri kai Yio kai Ayio Pnevmati - Glory to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Dogs up a tree...)
    kai neen kai ayi kai ees toos aionas ton aionon amin - now and ever and unto agaes of ages amin.

    Got it? Those are repeated over and over and if you can catch onto that you will pick up the rest in no time. For me it really adds a depth to the service that you can not find elsewhere.

    Our hymns are amazing and varied. They do not sound like Amazing grace or river of life - they are more sacred sounding. It is very different but it is deeper. I almost always have some hymn going through my head. For an example of a Greek Hymn click the little speaker near my name to hear Agni Parthene. Amazing.
    I sang in a travelling methodist youth choir in my teens and I now chant and sing in the choir at my GOArch parish. I now actually have a strong preference for Byzantine music. You will just have to "taste and see".

    Of course it confuses you. It confused me too. I was a Methodist with a fundamentalist bent myself. When the whole Beth Stroud thing happened I freaked and would never go back to the Methodist Church. I am now forever grateful to Beth because she helped lead me to Orthodoxy....
    At any rate... how are they listening.....
    I don't know. They might be sitting in the very same room you are. They might be informed by Angels. They might be on some quantum plane of reality where things are simply known.
    Questions like this are not answerable. They are a mystery. What we do know is that Saintly intercession is real and produces results. It works. I don't know HOW it works, I just know it does. IF you experience it firsthand you will know.
    As far as ANY practices - do not worry about them one bit. Don't go in your first time and think tat you have to kiss this or cross yourself at that or anything. Ignore all of it. Just focus on what it happening up front.

    No. Also - it is just one faith. It is not a group of faiths - just one.

    We do no keep up with what others are doing. If you are not crossing yourself or chanting or whatever, don't expect people to notice. They are focused on God - not you.
    The downside ot this is, when you are a visitor and don't know anyone - the people are focused on God - not you.
    Do not expect anyone to even speak with you before coffee hour. Orthros is preperation for the liturgy. The Liturgy is preperation for Holy Communion. The people will likely be focused to the point of exlusion. I saw this as very very cold initially. I attended my parish for weeks and no one ever spoke to me. I wondered what what going on... Then I went to the coffee hour. Big difference there. The service is over and people can socialize.
    1 - fill out a visitor card and place it in the candle basket (you will see what I mean)
    2 - Go to the coffee hour.

    General tips:

    Do not expect "Brother Charles" to run up to you and attach himself to your hip like he would in a protestant service. Do not take this as coldness. Take it as a chance to check things out before you have a salesman come and follow you around.

    If possible, attend the Orthros service before the liturgy. You will see the whole thing. The congregation grow and swell to a peak. You will hear the chanting and the wonderful Psalms and prayers. etc.... Many reasons to go to Orthros...

    Do not even touch the service book. Leave it alone for the first few weeks. You only get one "first time". Do not ruin it by sticking your nose in a book and missing everything. Accept that you are not going to know what is happening and just go with it. You will enjoy it far more if you take this advice.

    Do not worry that the YiaYia (grandma) next to you is crossing herself 3x or that the man next to her is bowing or doing backflips. Don't worry that you do not know what to do. Accept that people will be doing "stuff" and do not pay attention to it. IF you do it will take your attention off of God and you will miss soomething.

    Sit right up front. 1st or second pew is the best place for new people. IF you have small kids - look for an area that might have coloring books near the back for an easy escape if one cries.

    People do wander in and out. This is ok.

    No one will be on time. This is also ok. This does not mean that you should come late either. Get there on time or 10 min early if you are just going ot the Liturgy.

    Most importantly - just go.
  3. eoe

    eoe Guest

    Ah.. Mission parishes will likely have more English. Do not expect a huge choir but you might be nicely surprised.

    It is not always just 10 minues. It might be far longer or it might not happen at all. The sermon is a small part of the service. As far as edification - you will see. Put the questoin out of your mind for now.

    As faras bible study etc goes - this is a mission. It is going to be small and will likely have visiting priests. Do not expect a fully grown mature church.

    I would very much advise you to also consider making the trip to macon or to another parish at some time to see what a larger parish is like - you can see where this mission is headed.
  4. Paisley

    Paisley Faith without works is dead. James 2:17

    Eastern Orthodox
    The entire service is connected straight to the Bible. How can one not be edified in that? :) We have a weekly Bible study too, but that is something I cannot attend (as of yet) because it is out of town. Anyway, I am part of a Catechism class, and that is very helpful.
  5. silouanathonite

    silouanathonite Regular Member

    Eastern Orthodox
    Coming into Orthodoxy is like stepping into another world. In actually, when the Divine Liturgy begins, you are stepping into another world outside of space time. The question is how do we get edified without the sermon? This is hard to explain if you have not been to any of the services, but I will give it a try. When you come to an Orthodox service, you will find out what we believe. You will always hear what we believe about Christ, what we believe about his death, what we believe about his resurrection, what we believe about the Father, Son, & Holy Spirit. The service is God centered and nothing else. The sermon is a part of that process. The hymns that are sung will tell you what we believe. Also, over 50% of the Divine Liturgy are direct quotes from Scripture. Bishop Kallistos Ware in the book "The Orthodox Church" states, "whole text of each service is shot through with Biblical language, and it has been calculated that the Liturgy contains 98 quotations from the Old Testament and 114 from the New", and this is not including the Epistles & Gospel readings. The services themselves are edifying. There is not one service in the Church where scripture is not sung or read (correct me if I am wrong guys).

    What you will find within Orthodox is a completeness. A complete picture of everything that God has to offer. An example I heard is this. While some faiths of Christianity will focus on his death on the cross as the moment that salvation was brought into the world and we were saved from sin, we don't take that approach. Salvation was brought into the world by the incarnation, Christ life, his death on the cross (to show that we do not miss this), his resurrection, ascension, and the sending of the Holy Spirit. This is complete in the same way the edification is not just in the sermon, but the participation in the life of the Church. We're not at the services to hear a sermon, and then judge our experience based on the sermon. We're there to worship one true God & recieve him fully and completely. We are there to be in communion with Him. We are there to be transformed. Whatever we get from that experience is depends on how much we give, and not whether or not the sermon was good or the singing was bad, or the priest fumbled through the service. We've give of ourselves because of our love for God, and if we give with love and humility, he accepts the worst and gives the best. I hope that helps. Fellow TAW-ers, correct me if I said anything wrong.
  6. silouanathonite

    silouanathonite Regular Member

    Eastern Orthodox
    As Far as Bible Study, my Church has one every Monday, but it is midday and I can't attend. We also have a catechism class on Sundays after Divine Liturgy. There are many Churches in the area where I am in that offers Bible Study &/or study on the faith. I attend a Wednesday book study class held by one of the parishes in our area. We are not doing Elder Sophrony's "We Shall See Him As He Is". Also, if you are available, and can't make any of classes a church has to offer, check the availability of the priest and ask him some questions. My experience with Orthodoxy is that you are never alone. In fact, the Church teaches that it is impossible to be saved alone, we as human beings need each other. From my experience, I have always found someone willing to give a helping hand with my struggle, and that simple because it's okay to struggle and we all go through it.
  7. Sothron

    Sothron Humble Orthodox Christian

    Eastern Orthodox
    I am hoping the local priest will return my calls. I left a message on the church's answering machine and I'm eagerly looking forward to talking to him.

    By what should I address him? Reverend? Father? Reverend Father?

    And again I really appreciate the responses. One of the things I have always hated as a Protestant is the almost complete denial of ceremonry, mystery and tradition and I am looking forward to attending my first service.
  8. nikolayalexandroff

    nikolayalexandroff Senior Member

    Eastern Orthodox
    God bless! Our former Archbishop Ambrosiy (now resigned because of age and bad health) suffered from diabetes too for years. It has not prevented him to be a monk and execute his duties. Illness is not an obstacle for your salvation. Orthodox people generally are not iron-legged cyborgs.
  9. Nickolai

    Nickolai Eastern Orthodox Priest

    United States
    Eastern Orthodox
    It shouldn't be that difficult to fast completely and be a diabetic. In Lenten periods though, if one is diabetic, one has to watch what they are eating a lot more carefully, since the Lenten diet does have a lot of carbs in it. But a spiritual Father would direct you in that matter specifically.

    Depends on the original form, and on the Bishop. Some Bishops require all converts to be baptized (which I agree with). Some allow the baptism of another faith to be completed by chrismation alone. Every case is different.

    Most parishes don't. I know a few Russian background and Antiochian parishes that do this.

    One should stand as much as they are able. But the liturgical police aren't gonna throw you in jail for sitting down during a service.

    Well, in the Orthodox Church we have a daily cycle of services. Other than Vespers, Matins, and 3rd/6th hour you won't see the others done outside of a monastery unless you do them yourself.

    1. Vespers - The first service of the day, done at sundown.
    2. Compline - Done before sleep
    3. Nocturns - A service done in the middle of the night to remind us that we must always be ready for the second coming, and not to be "found sleeping"
    4. Matins - The service that starts the general day (this is also IMO the greatest service of the Church outside of Liturgy.)
    5. 1st, 3rd, 6th, and 9th hours - the different times of prayer during the day (taken from Jewish worship)

    In general, we don't include Divine Liturgy in the list, because it's a different kind of service all together. It's outside of time.

    And generally there shouldn't really be a Sunday school going on during any service. children should experience the services. And as they are still innocent, they can see more in the service than we can.

    On Sunday there is almost always a sermon. Language depends on the makeup of the parish. But the reality of the Orthodox Church is that the sermon is not the main teaching tool of the Church, the services are. If one attends a Vespers and a Matins before liturgy and really pays attention. the services themselves provide all one really needs to know about the Saint(s) or feast of the day. And in the end the point of the Liturgy is the Eucharist. The sermon is supplementary to the other stuff.

    Each service has both fixed and movable hymns specific for the day. Generally for the movable hymns, the music follows a system of 8 tones that cycle every 8 weeks. With each tone having it's own melody. But the fixed hymns usually stay the same. But what melody they are all around depends on the musical tradition of the parish. OCA and Russian parishes will use a heavily harmonized western sounding chant. And Greek and Antiochian parishes generally use a style called Byzantine chant, which is much older and can sometimes be somewhat strange to the western ear.

    Since we believe that Christ is all-knowing it stands to reason that all who are members of his body can hears our prayers (this is even sometimes the case with people still on earth who have reached a state of holiness)

    No, they are not infallible, and the Patriarch of Constantinople is merely first in honor.

    Hope that answered some of your questions.

    In Christ,
    Reader Nikolai
  10. DonVA

    DonVA Well-Known Member

    Eastern Orthodox
    Plus, the edification, as I think Xenia Rose was heading into earlier, comes not only from participation in The Eucharist, but through daily prayers, daily Gospel readings, regular confession (privately to God, and with a priest), fasting, and doing for the poor through charitable work or other forms of giving. It's more than just what you get on Sundays. In fact, Sunday services, for me, is simply the icing on the cake.

    There is a sweet humility that comes through Orthodoxy. I know I have been humbled since returning to the church (I was baptized Orthodox as an infant, but have learned more from my brothers and sisters at TAW than I learned as a little kid). I've got a pretty awesome priest working with me, too, so we're all growing in this faith together with priests looking after us every step of the way.

    OH, and if you'd like a longer sermon/homily, come to MY parish! Our priest usually takes his time (he's rarely done after ten minutes) and he's very, VERY good at not overstating his point.

    Having jumped in with that, Welcome to TAW! :wave: Obviously we're all glad to see you here, and wish you well on your journey! Please feel free to just hang out here with us. :groupray:
  11. Mary of Bethany

    Mary of Bethany Only one thing is needful. Supporter

    Eastern Orthodox
    Orthodox priests go by "Father (first name)". But he won't be offended if you get it wrong.

    Welcome to TAW!

  12. PrincessMommy

    PrincessMommy Member

    Eastern Orthodox

    In Orthodoxy "preaching" isn't nearly as emphasized. The reason why we meet on Sunday is not to hear a good sermon (although that is nice) it is to receive the Life giving Body and Blood of our Savior in the Eucharist. Priests are taught to be good teachers but more importantly to be a pastor or shepherd gently leading his flock.

    I am rarely edified by my priest's sermon. But I always come home satisfied, having heard the Word and received the Eucharist.
  13. ClementofRome

    ClementofRome Spelunking the most ancient caves of Xianity

    Eastern Orthodox
    In our mission (ACROD), the sermon is typically 20+ minutes long and Fr. John is a wonderful preacher and I am edified deeply by almost every word.

    By the way, I have been a lifelong Methodist (with Whitefield leanings rather than Wesley leanings) and am in process of converting to EO.
  14. eoe

    eoe Guest

    Also - I just wanted to add:

    Coming from a protestant background this might be hard to understand but...

    A sermon is not worship. Teaching is not worship. Sermons and teachings are self-centered. No matter what you are learning, that time it focused on making you better in some way. The focus is on the self in that time.
    There is a time for learning and there is a time for worship. The Divine Liturgy is a worship service. It is very much focused on God and NOT us.
    There really is no parallel to it in the protestant world really. I think you will be wonderfully surprised.
  15. MariaRegina

    MariaRegina Well-Known Member

    Eastern Orthodox
    In most of the Orthodox parishes I have attended or visited when traveling, the sermon is placed at the very end of the Divine Liturgy.

    That way, those who are late can hear the sermon! LOL

    No, the reason why they place the sermon at the end is to have a sense of cohesiveness .... the Divine Liturgy flows from the Liturgy of the Word (the singing of the psalms, antiphons, Beatitudes, Holy God, Epistle, and Gospel) into the Liturgy of the Eucharist (Cherubic Hymn, Nicene Creed, Anaphora, Epiclesis, Communion and post-Communion prayers and hymns). The Liturgy of the Word prepares us for the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The Liturgy of the Eucharist is where true worship takes place.

    The sermon at the end kind of recaps what we have heard during the Divine Liturgy so that we can take home the pastoral message and put it into practice during the week.
  16. Spyridon

    Spyridon Member

    Eastern Orthodox

    In addition to the Greek parish there is an OCA mission in Columbus. St. John Chrysostom Mission meets in a hospital chapel there in Columbus.

    Fr. Peter Smith in Atlanta is the overseing priest of the mission. To contact him you can email him at [email protected] or call him at 770-923-7790.

    Another contact for the mission is [email protected].

    You may want to give the OCA mission a try in addition to the Greek parish. Their services are completely in English and they are very receptive of converts.

    Hope this helps,

    Steve J.
  17. Sothron

    Sothron Humble Orthodox Christian

    Eastern Orthodox
    Thank you so much for those links. Its been rather difficult to find actual person to person contact for an Orthodox faith, be it OCA or Greek, for my hometown. TBPH I was a little worried there would not be any but since Columbus is a major military town I assumed there would be at least one.
  18. Breaking Babylon

    Breaking Babylon Who is this King of glory? Supporter

    You asked how one could be edified by a 10 minute homily, well, this is the part where I'd say "Go and see." The priests homily is brief, but as Xenia said, the Holy Spirit is amazing in what He does through His priests.

    Picture Christ, when He banished the demons. What did He say? "Go." Short, direct, to the exact point. Remember what He told the man? "Go, and sin no more." Short and direct.

    "If you love Me, keep My commandments." "Let him pick up his cross, and follow Me." "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no man cometh to the Father but by Me."

    Get the point? ;)

    Father Mark's homily's have never been dry, have always been directly to the point, and have never left me without edification. I recall more than one occasion when He would get choked up or break down into tears during his homily's, and that really has a way of making you love Christ within him, and strive to go after his level of spiritual maturity.

    I could go on, but, you really have to "taste and see".
  19. Brushstroke

    Brushstroke Veteran

    First of all, welcome to TAW!

    Lol. There aren't really a lot of parishes in America. I mean, there are, but they're hard to find o_O. I figured I wouldn't find an Orthodox church around here in northwest Arkansas, right on the edge of the Bible belt, but I did! Here's a good website to find a church in your area. http://www.orthodoxyinamerica.com/sr2_0_0/locator.php?PHPSESSID=055b1b458ee299c1e79934826dd44d7f

    I wanted to answer some questions you may have, but it seems everyone has beat me to it. So...anymore questions? :p
  20. eoe

    eoe Guest

    HE would have to drive past St. John the Wonderworker and Fr Jacob in order to get to Fr. Peter tho. As much as I love Fr. Peter I would say that Fr. Jacob would be just as good and likely much more accessible.
    Father Jacob Myers, Rector and coordinator of the Web Page dedicated to St. John.
    363 Oakland Ave
    Atlanta, GA 30312
    404-577-6330 (Church phone number)
    e-mail: [email protected]

    When I call St. John's - Fr. Jacob answers the phone about 70% of the time and he does indeed return phone calls. I am going to go and see him tomorrow in fact.....

    You might also consider speaking with Fr. Panayiotis:
    (pan eye yo tis) At my home parish in Marietta (also called Holy Transfiguration). He is the director of Education for the Metropolis of Atlanta (South East US for GOA) a brilliant man and a wonderful Spiritual Father (even if a bit strict....)

    I still think that the GOA mission will use English quite alot. I really do not see that you will have a problem at all understanding what is happening. You will have some difficulty getting in touch with someone as there is no official priest assigned there but being a mission does have benefits too. There will likely be education offered there as they are in the "business" of gaining converts. They pretty much have to offer it.

    Do not be afraid of the Greeks. The OCA folks are great too but there is no reason at all to avoid a Greek parish.

    HERE is another good resource for the Atlanta area churches.
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