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Re: [LutheransLookingEast] Orthodox Jurisdictions

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  • Christopher Orr
    What are the essential distinguishing characteristics of each Orthodox jurisdiction? The most basic differences between each Orthodox jurisdiction in the US
    Message 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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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