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Re: [LutheransLookingEast] Orthodox Jurisdictions

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  • Benjamin Harju
    I think part of the answer you are looking for may well be tied together with whether or not you think you would ever aspire to the priesthood or monasticism.
    Message 1 of 7 , Dec 12, 2010
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      I think part of the answer you are looking for may well be tied together
      with whether or not you think you would ever aspire to the priesthood or
      monasticism. If to monasticism, then the Antiochian Archdiocese might not
      work for you, since we have no male monasteries. If to the priesthood, then
      spend some time learning how each jurisdiction handles its clergy. If
      neither at this point in your life, then focus mainly on the parishes around
      you first, learning what you can before committing to the catechumenate in
      any particular parish/jurisdiction.

      I am in the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America. Immediately after
      leaving the Lutheran ministry we started attending an Antiochian parish in
      Fort Wayne, IN. They are not always as rigid as the Russian tradition, but
      at the same time are influenced by their own ancient connections from the
      time of the Acts of the Apostles, as well as the practices of the Greeks and
      Russians. This can, at times, make them stand out unusually so from the
      Russians and Greeks. The parishes can be very Arabic or not so much. The
      Archdiocese has been very open to converts, and has taken steps not to give
      America too much ethnic Orthodoxy all at once. Sometimes this draws
      criticism, because some Orthodox fear their rich way of life is being
      diluted, and because some converts join to get the full "Eastern" tradition
      all at once. Despite criticism, the Antiochian Archdiocese is following the
      missionary spirit of the Fathers, who endeavored to keep whatever was
      redeemable from the culture into which they brought the Orthodox Catholic
      faith.

      My only suggestion to anyone looking into the Antiochian Orthodox
      Archdiocese of North America is that you take into account the Arab culture
      that saturates the Archdiocese. Speaking for myself, sometimes the
      Arabic-ness is refreshing and sometimes it is frustrating. Look at the
      congregation you would attend, but also look at how people in the Diocese
      and then the Archdiocese treat each other. No jurisdiction is immune from
      problems (as we have seen this past decade), so it helps to discern what
      kind of problems you think you can handle.

      In Christ,
      Benjamin Harju

      On Sun, Dec 12, 2010 at 1:10 PM, waynewhitmer <waywhit@...> wrote:

      >
      >
      > I just posted this on Monachos.net and would also like to hear the opinions
      > of my fellow Lutherans.
      >
      > I just read an article regarding Fr Peter Gilquist and it states:
      >
      > "Gilquest said he chose to join the Antiochan Orthodox Church because he
      > asked himself when the church in Antioch died, and realized it never did."
      >
      > What are the essential distinguishing characteristics of each Orthodox
      > jurisdiction? Is there a good article which addresses their origins and
      > differences? Were I to convert to Orthodoxy I would have 2 choices locally
      > and 1 choice within an hour away from my residence. 1. OCA 2. GOARCH and the
      > 3rd an hour away would be AOCANA.
      >
      > Does it really matter or is one more open to converts than others? I know
      > in the end I need to visit these parishes to understand however I'm
      > interested in your thoughts?
      >
      > Regards,
      >
      > Wayne Whitmer
      >
      >
      >


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Christopher Orr
      What are the essential distinguishing characteristics of each Orthodox jurisdiction? The most basic differences between each Orthodox jurisdiction in the US
      Message 2 of 7 , Dec 12, 2010
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        "What are the essential distinguishing characteristics of each Orthodox
        jurisdiction?"

        The most basic differences between each Orthodox jurisdiction in the US is
        their episcopates, what they are responsible for and how they are chosen.

        For instance, the Synod of the OCA is chosen locally by the Synod itself in
        cooperation with the clergy and laity of the diocese. The OCA is not a
        department of any state and receives no direct government support, it is
        also not closely allied with any particular ethnic group or country. Each
        bishop is a ruling bishop of a distinct diocese, just like the in the Old
        World.

        By comparison, all other Orthodox jurisdictions have enormous 'involvement'
        either locally or overseas from one or more governments. The Turkish and
        Greek governments, for instance, are heavily involved with the activities of
        the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The Russian Church works towards Russian
        governmental goals, as well, as recently revealed by WikiLeaks. the
        Russian, Greek and EP churches receive money from their states. The Church
        of Antioch has close ties with the government of Syria - mainly because the
        government is not as radically Muslim as others in the region (the Bashirs
        are members of a 'heretical' Muslim sect).

        The local bishops have wider or narrower mandates. For instance, it seems
        clear now that all Antiochian bishops apart from the Metropolitan are simply
        assistant/auxiliary bishops to the Metropolitan. The OCA has its own
        self-contained Synod and consecrates its own chrism, even. ROCOR has
        bishops and dioceses outside of the US and the bishop of its Eastern US
        diocese is also the leader of all ROCOR and locum tenens of their Australian
        diocese.

        This is all rather 'inside baseball' kinds of information. At the end of
        the day, it's really about your local parish, the clergy and people there.

        Each jurisdictions has clergy and people with a wide variety of backgrounds:
        recent American converts, convert families going back a few generations,
        immigrants right off the boat speaking no English, fourth and fifth
        generation immigrant families, blue and white collar, open to visitors, not
        open, highly intellectual clergy and people to far less so. Add to this
        differences in temperament, cliques, family dynamics, differences from the
        Old World and the New, as well as geography and each parish can be quite
        different. One can speak in generalities, but there are too many exceptions
        to make that worth all that much. What a given inquirer or convert 'needs'
        and prefers can also be dramatically different. Some prefer very ethnic
        communities and worship in foreign languages, the strictest typikon and
        fasting rules, others may need/prefer to ease themselves into Orthodox and
        want something that feels more like what they are familiar with (since so
        much is so different already).

        (I was baptized in an OCA parish, but am now a more frequent communicant at
        a GOA parish - though I still visit my old parish for weekday feasts and
        Pascha. People tend to prefer Slavic or Greek/Antiochian, ethnic or
        American or somewhere between, strict or less strict. I prefer Slavic,
        almost all English but with a diversity of ethnicities, and strict. The
        reasons these different flavors exist is due to Orthodoxy being a very large
        thing with a complex sociology and history, in this country and abroad,
        though with not enough time for a common mode to have developed here - there
        are many new immigrants (of all kinds) with their own needs as well as brand
        new converts (of all kinds) with their own needs, as well as older parishes
        with their own distinct identities.)

        The best thing to do is to visit your two local options and see how each
        priest and parish feels. Sometimes you may respond quite well to a certain
        priest, but not his parish. Sometimes both will speak to you. Give it some
        time, too. No need to make a decision immediately, though a stable rhythm
        of church life should begin to take form after awhile. Take advice from
        whichever priest you feel most comfortable with, be open with him about any
        concerns you have about Orthodox, a given parish, your family's needs, etc.
        There's very little you will be able to bring up that they haven't heard
        before.

        If you have further questions, ask.



        On Sun, Dec 12, 2010 at 1:10 PM, waynewhitmer <waywhit@...> wrote:

        >
        >
        > I just posted this on Monachos.net and would also like to hear the opinions
        > of my fellow Lutherans.
        >
        > I just read an article regarding Fr Peter Gilquist and it states:
        >
        > "Gilquest said he chose to join the Antiochan Orthodox Church because he
        > asked himself when the church in Antioch died, and realized it never did."
        >
        > What are the essential distinguishing characteristics of each Orthodox
        > jurisdiction? Is there a good article which addresses their origins and
        > differences? Were I to convert to Orthodoxy I would have 2 choices locally
        > and 1 choice within an hour away from my residence. 1. OCA 2. GOARCH and the
        > 3rd an hour away would be AOCANA.
        >
        > Does it really matter or is one more open to converts than others? I know
        > in the end I need to visit these parishes to understand however I'm
        > interested in your thoughts?
        >
        > Regards,
        >
        > Wayne Whitmer
        >
        >
        >


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • randall hay
        Some of the things people are saying aren t really paralleling what I have experienced. For instance, I go to a church that is Russian in style/ethos/music,
        Message 3 of 7 , Dec 12, 2010
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          Some of the things people are saying aren't really paralleling what I have
          experienced. For instance, I go to a church that is "Russian" in
          style/ethos/music, but is under the Patriarch of Bulgaria. Much of the OCA has
          been influenced by "Russian" practices, but of course it is not under Moscow.

          ---And I think what Wikileaks says about the Patriarchate of Moscow is a whole
          topic that would take some research and fair discussion, and would have no
          relevance to somebody deciding what parish to go to...esp since only a handful
          of parishes in the US are under Moscow.


          I think we all tend to form our own views on the topic of the differing
          jurisdictions, and it would be best to just visit the different parishes and see
          what fits best, see which feels right for you. We are not like RC in this sense,
          where you are expected to go to the nearest church. We recognize that
          different people fit in better at different places. It's the same with people
          interested in becoming monastics; they visit different monasteries as sees
          what's the best fit.


          I have found that how visitors/converts are greeted isn't a function of the
          archdiocese, but the particular parish. (The same as in Lutheranism, in other
          words.)


          Just remember that all Orthodox are still sinners, just like we were in the
          NT...and I think you will be staggered by the grace you experience (and also by
          the demons' attacks)...

          Prayers,

          R.















          ________________________________
          From: waynewhitmer <waywhit@...>
          To: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Sun, December 12, 2010 1:10:40 PM
          Subject: [LutheransLookingEast] Orthodox Jurisdictions


          I just posted this on Monachos.net and would also like to hear the opinions of
          my fellow Lutherans.


          I just read an article regarding Fr Peter Gilquist and it states:

          "Gilquest said he chose to join the Antiochan Orthodox Church because he asked
          himself when the church in Antioch died, and realized it never did."

          What are the essential distinguishing characteristics of each Orthodox
          jurisdiction? Is there a good article which addresses their origins and
          differences? Were I to convert to Orthodoxy I would have 2 choices locally and 1
          choice within an hour away from my residence. 1. OCA 2. GOARCH and the 3rd an
          hour away would be AOCANA.


          Does it really matter or is one more open to converts than others? I know in the
          end I need to visit these parishes to understand however I'm interested in your
          thoughts?

          Regards,

          Wayne Whitmer




          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Christopher Orr
          I agree with Randy. Most of the things I mentioned are not really pertinent to an inquirer, catechumen or new convert. I took the question too much in the
          Message 4 of 7 , Dec 13, 2010
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            I agree with Randy. Most of the things I mentioned are not really pertinent
            to an inquirer, catechumen or new convert. I took the question too much in
            the abstract, academically. Each parish is a microcosm of the church and
            should be investigated on its own terms. It's a blessing to have a choice
            in your area (I have even more being in NYC), though that ability to choose
            causes its own problems.

            I will second the comparison with monastics. Any novice I have known has
            visited a number of monasteries to find one that 'fits'. The monastic
            brotherhood is getting to know the potential novice, too. It's much the
            same way with finding the right parish home. Good thing all things work
            together for the good of them who love God. I find we all have available to
            us exactly what we need.

            Christopher


            On Sun, Dec 12, 2010 at 8:52 PM, randall hay <stortford@...>wrote:

            >
            >
            > Some of the things people are saying aren't really paralleling what I have
            > experienced. For instance, I go to a church that is "Russian" in
            > style/ethos/music, but is under the Patriarch of Bulgaria. Much of the OCA
            > has
            > been influenced by "Russian" practices, but of course it is not under
            > Moscow.
            >
            > ---And I think what Wikileaks says about the Patriarchate of Moscow is a
            > whole
            > topic that would take some research and fair discussion, and would have no
            > relevance to somebody deciding what parish to go to...esp since only a
            > handful
            > of parishes in the US are under Moscow.
            >
            > I think we all tend to form our own views on the topic of the differing
            > jurisdictions, and it would be best to just visit the different parishes
            > and see
            > what fits best, see which feels right for you. We are not like RC in this
            > sense,
            > where you are expected to go to the nearest church. We recognize that
            > different people fit in better at different places. It's the same with
            > people
            > interested in becoming monastics; they visit different monasteries as sees
            > what's the best fit.
            >
            > I have found that how visitors/converts are greeted isn't a function of the
            >
            > archdiocese, but the particular parish. (The same as in Lutheranism, in
            > other
            > words.)
            >
            > Just remember that all Orthodox are still sinners, just like we were in the
            >
            > NT...and I think you will be staggered by the grace you experience (and
            > also by
            > the demons' attacks)...
            >
            > Prayers,
            >
            > R.
            >
            > ________________________________
            > From: waynewhitmer <waywhit@... <waywhit%40gmail.com>>
            > To: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com<LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>
            > Sent: Sun, December 12, 2010 1:10:40 PM
            > Subject: [LutheransLookingEast] Orthodox Jurisdictions
            >
            >
            > I just posted this on Monachos.net and would also like to hear the opinions
            > of
            > my fellow Lutherans.
            >
            > I just read an article regarding Fr Peter Gilquist and it states:
            >
            > "Gilquest said he chose to join the Antiochan Orthodox Church because he
            > asked
            > himself when the church in Antioch died, and realized it never did."
            >
            > What are the essential distinguishing characteristics of each Orthodox
            > jurisdiction? Is there a good article which addresses their origins and
            > differences? Were I to convert to Orthodoxy I would have 2 choices locally
            > and 1
            > choice within an hour away from my residence. 1. OCA 2. GOARCH and the 3rd
            > an
            > hour away would be AOCANA.
            >
            > Does it really matter or is one more open to converts than others? I know
            > in the
            > end I need to visit these parishes to understand however I'm interested in
            > your
            > thoughts?
            >
            > Regards,
            >
            > Wayne Whitmer
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
            >
            >


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • E
            ... Music styles are different. Greek and Antiochians will use Byzantine chant. OCA is more Russian (polyphonic), although Antiochians use lots of Russian
            Message 5 of 7 , Dec 13, 2010
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              --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com, "waynewhitmer" <waywhit@...> wrote:
              >
              > I just posted this on Monachos.net and would also like to hear the opinions of my fellow Lutherans.
              >
              > I just read an article regarding Fr Peter Gilquist and it states:
              >
              > "Gilquest said he chose to join the Antiochan Orthodox Church because he asked himself when the church in Antioch died, and realized it never did."
              >
              > What are the essential distinguishing characteristics of each Orthodox jurisdiction? Is there a good article which addresses their origins and differences? Were I to convert to Orthodoxy I would have 2 choices locally and 1 choice within an hour away from my residence. 1. OCA 2. GOARCH and the 3rd an hour away would be AOCANA.
              >
              > Does it really matter or is one more open to converts than others? I know in the end I need to visit these parishes to understand however I'm interested in your thoughts?
              >
              > Regards,
              >
              > Wayne Whitmer
              >

              Music styles are different. Greek and Antiochians will use Byzantine chant. OCA is more Russian (polyphonic), although Antiochians use lots of Russian choral music too. My Antiochian parish mixes both Russian choral and Byzantine chant. Food is different too. Yummy baklava and falafels.

              At my old Lutheran parish, majority were of German descent, services were changed over from German to English after WWII I'm told. Now, at my Orthodox parish there is more ethnic diversity, (Syrian, Palestinian, Russian, Greek, Romanian, Bulgarian, Serbian, the USA), but we all sign the +cross the same way!

              No, it doesn't really matter what jurisdiction. I'd say, first, decide if you want to pursue Orthodoxy. If yes, let nothing deter you. Focus on worship at the Divine Liturgy and/or Vespers. The services alone are more than sufficient. The rest will fall into place.
            • Rosemarie Lieffring
              I d like to affirm these wise words from Orthogrammy. Everything eventually falls into place. In my area I opted to attend the local Greek parish only 10
              Message 6 of 7 , Dec 14, 2010
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                I'd like to affirm these wise words from Orthogrammy. Everything eventually
                falls into place.

                In my area I opted to attend the local Greek parish only 10 minutes from our
                home, rather than the OCA parish over an hour from my home. Now I preferred
                the OCA parish for a few reasons...everything is done in English and I
                prefer Russian polyphonic music as opposed to the Byzantine Chant.
                Additionally I was drawn to the piety of the folks at the OCA parish and it
                is loaded with converts. But I also knew I would want to be active in my
                parish and be able to attend as many services as possible (having spent a
                half a lifetime without Orthodoxy, I figured I have a lot of lost time to
                make up attending the services!) And the Greek parish, being the only
                Orthodox Church in a college town tends to be a little less Greek drawing
                all kinds of Orthodox attend there, Russian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Serbian,
                you name it so they use more English than some--which for me was very
                important.

                Nonetheless, it is still Greek and that becomes more obvious especially when
                attending events at the Cathedral or with other parishes like the St. John
                Chrysostom Oratorical festivals or even holding our own Greek festival. At
                first I struggled with the Greek thing. There isn't one iota of Greek in
                me. But over time, as Orthogrammy points out, everything has fallen into
                place and I am quite at home being a non-Greek in our Greek parish.

                So do what makes sense for you. As my priest says "soak up the services."
                Expect that there will be cultural differences. Open your mind and heart to
                them. You'll learn to appreciate them over time. And they will learn to
                appreciate what you bring to the parish...especially if you bring Bavarian
                Brezen to the covered dish luncheons! ;) -----R


                On Tue, Dec 14, 2010 at 12:31 AM, E <orthogrammy@...> wrote:

                >
                >
                >
                >
                > --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com<LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>,
                > "waynewhitmer" <waywhit@...> wrote:
                > >
                > > I just posted this on Monachos.net and would also like to hear the
                > opinions of my fellow Lutherans.
                > >
                > > I just read an article regarding Fr Peter Gilquist and it states:
                > >
                > > "Gilquest said he chose to join the Antiochan Orthodox Church because he
                > asked himself when the church in Antioch died, and realized it never did."
                > >
                > > What are the essential distinguishing characteristics of each Orthodox
                > jurisdiction? Is there a good article which addresses their origins and
                > differences? Were I to convert to Orthodoxy I would have 2 choices locally
                > and 1 choice within an hour away from my residence. 1. OCA 2. GOARCH and the
                > 3rd an hour away would be AOCANA.
                > >
                > > Does it really matter or is one more open to converts than others? I know
                > in the end I need to visit these parishes to understand however I'm
                > interested in your thoughts?
                > >
                > > Regards,
                > >
                > > Wayne Whitmer
                > >
                >
                > Music styles are different. Greek and Antiochians will use Byzantine chant.
                > OCA is more Russian (polyphonic), although Antiochians use lots of Russian
                > choral music too. My Antiochian parish mixes both Russian choral and
                > Byzantine chant. Food is different too. Yummy baklava and falafels.
                >
                > At my old Lutheran parish, majority were of German descent, services were
                > changed over from German to English after WWII I'm told. Now, at my Orthodox
                > parish there is more ethnic diversity, (Syrian, Palestinian, Russian, Greek,
                > Romanian, Bulgarian, Serbian, the USA), but we all sign the +cross the same
                > way!
                >
                > No, it doesn't really matter what jurisdiction. I'd say, first, decide if
                > you want to pursue Orthodoxy. If yes, let nothing deter you. Focus on
                > worship at the Divine Liturgy and/or Vespers. The services alone are more
                > than sufficient. The rest will fall into place.
                >
                >
                >


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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