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Re: [LutheransLookingEast] Finding the "right" Orthodox parish

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  • randall hay
    The transition to Orthodoxy is very great....I was first vaguely Methodist, then Anglican, the Lutheran, then Orthodox, and becoming Orthodox was an
    Message 1 of 12 , Feb 21, 2009
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      The transition to Orthodoxy is very great....I was first vaguely Methodist, then Anglican, the Lutheran, then Orthodox, and becoming Orthodox was an incalculably greater transition than the others put together.

      It's unfortunate the OCA priest said that about Western Rite. I would suggest visiting different parishes. Because Orthodoxy is not a papal church with a central international authority, it comes down through various nationalities. There's a big difference, when you stop and think about it, from having one pope and having seven patriarchs. We simply do not have a heirarch we look to for spiritual guidance, ethos, different rules, writings and example; we have the saints and fathers and the body of Christ over the ages.

      Orthodoxy does have sinners (which is a good thing for me)....sometimes people get it in their head that because we're the original unchanged church we should do everything perfectly and basically be sinless. However, that's not what we see in the NT churches, by any means, and not even what we need.

      Some parishes are ethnic in a distorted way. Most aren't. I think if you spend some time visiting a path will become plain. The Eastern liturgy and prayer services are so deep they grow in you in an interior way; at some point you realize they are a heavenly treasure. Western RIte is wonderful, too; in fact it was begun in America by an Orthodox saint, St. Tikhon.

      Prayers for your journey,

      Subdeacon Randy






      ________________________________
      From: Dave W. <dkwiech@...>
      To: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Saturday, February 21, 2009 10:53:31 AM
      Subject: [LutheransLookingEast] Finding the "right" Orthodox parish


      I'm an LCMS Lutheran seriously looking into Orthodoxy and have gone to
      many Vespers and occasional Divine Liturgy services at an OCA church
      in my area. The reason I selected that particular church was the fact
      that they stated a large percentage of members were converts, which I
      thought might ease the transition. My wife has come with me from time
      to time, but is very overwhelmed by the Eastern "foreignness" of the
      worship. I was thinking that perhaps a Western Rite Orthodox parish
      might be an easier transition for her, since my Lutheran and her Roman
      Catholic upbringings are more similar to that. Trouble is, the priest
      at the OCA parish I'd been visiting told me that Western Rite isn't
      "quite Orthodox" and that the "real Church" is only in the East. That
      brought to mind a point that has always troubled me about the Orthodox
      Church: that there tends to be a nationalist bent at times, or that I
      can't belong because I'm not Greek, Russian, Serbian, etc. I spent 2
      years in Russia and visited Divine Liturgy often, Easter Vigil, etc,
      and was profoundly moved, but here in the US I am not accepted into
      the Russian parishes, since I'm not Russian, despite being rather
      proficient in the language, even Slavonic. How do I find the best path
      that will also be easier for my wife to accept? Worshiping separately
      from her is not my preference.

      Sorry about the long post, and thanks for the help.

      Dave




      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • byza7@aol.com
      +Glory to Jesus Christ ! +His Glory be Forever ! Hello Dave, Maybe I am not the perfect person to respond to your direct question but I will try to be
      Message 2 of 12 , Feb 21, 2009
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        +Glory to Jesus Christ ! +His Glory be Forever !

        Hello Dave,

        Maybe I am not the perfect person to respond to your direct question but I
        will try to be direct as possible.

        My immediate response would be to visit ALL the Orthodox churches in your
        geographical area or maybe go beyond that area.

        I am what they call a "cradle" Orthodox Christian but of the 2nd generation
        .born in America variety.

        As a life long Orthodox, we have moved many times during our life due to
        business reasons and some of the stereo types various Orthodox churches
        sometimes really don't match.

        Over the decades, we have visited and belonged to such jurisdictions as
        OCA, Antiochian, Carpatho-Russian and Greek.

        All my life, I have heard that a certain jurisdiction is so ethnic that one
        would be not as welcome to that church because my wife and I were not of that
        ethnic background. In almost all cases, that advise was true but in one
        particular church in a city that ended up not being the case for us. So we
        joined that church and I became a church school teacher of high school seniors
        and my wife was at home belonging to a church ladies group.

        Bottom line, experience each church individually. My experience has been
        that if you tell a Orthodox priest that each parish has it's own personality,
        than I assure you that most of them will take issue with you. But as a lay
        person, the do have parish personalities. So find the one parish that best
        matches the people who welcome you. Of course that doesn't mean that
        Orthodoxy doctrine is to vary but I am addressing the subject of a more personal
        nature of the church community.

        My wife was a cradle roman catholic, and at first she felt a "difference"
        when she first came to Orthodoxy but over the years she can see that the
        Orthodox foundation didn't change for the people. Interesting to note that after
        many yrs being away from the roman catholic church, she was shocked to see
        how many changes they have made in her absence.

        We live in the suburbs of a very large city. We moved here 18 yrs ago
        with almost all of the four existing Orthodox churches more toward the city.
        Now, there are seventeen Orthodox churches. So after driving many years to
        the city for Liturgy, I kept getting of wonder why no English speaking
        Divine Liturgy wasn't in my high growth area. So I got tired of wondering why
        the jurisdictions didn't do it so I investigated on what it would take to
        start a mission church instead.

        Guess what? I became the founding father of a Orthodox Christian mission
        Church. Last year, three acres of prime property were purchased and now we
        are struggling to get enough money to have a church built this year. When I
        approached various jurisdictions, I asked each one of them the same
        question to see if those jurisdictions would best match our mission challenge.
        Years later, I would have to say that match has worked.

        But Dave, its NOT about me ! I personally think its about what the Holy
        Spirit brings us to. Each and every one of us on a individual basis.

        The last ten yrs has seen an explosion of people finally seeking out their
        true Christian roots. People like you and your wife that chose to study the
        roots of Apostolic doctrine and feel at home with Christ's church.

        One last point, when you visit each of the existing Orthodox churches than
        do it multiple times. I would say a minimum of three Divine Liturgies.

        All good things in life take "time" and with Orthodoxy "time" is unchanged
        like Christ. The same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

        Hang in there and remain steadfast

        DAVID NOVAK
        St. Elizabeth Orthodox Church
        Woodstock, Georgia (the Holy Tradition belt)





        In a message dated 2/21/2009 10:53:56 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,
        dkwiech@... writes:




        I'm an LCMS Lutheran seriously looking into Orthodoxy and have gone to
        many Vespers and occasional Divine Liturgy services at an OCA church
        in my area. The reason I selected that particular church was the fact
        that they stated a large percentage of members were converts, which I
        thought might ease the transition. My wife has come with me from time
        to time, but is very overwhelmed by the Eastern "foreignness" of the
        worship. I was thinking that perhaps a Western Rite Orthodox parish
        might be an easier transition for her, since my Lutheran and her Roman
        Catholic upbringings are more similar to that. Trouble is, the priest
        at the OCA parish I'd been visiting told me that Western Rite isn't
        "quite Orthodox" and that the "real Church" is only in the East. That
        brought to mind a point that has always troubled me about the Orthodox
        Church: that there tends to be a nationalist bent at times, or that I
        can't belong because I'm not Greek, Russian, Serbian, etc. I spent 2
        years in Russia and visited Divine Liturgy often, Easter Vigil, etc,
        and was profoundly moved, but here in the US I am not accepted into
        the Russian parishes, since I'm not Russian, despite being rather
        proficient in the language, even Slavonic. How do I find the best path
        that will also be easier for my wife to accept? Worshiping separately
        from her is not my preference.

        Sorry about the long post, and thanks for the help.

        Dave





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        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • BPeter Brandt-Sorheim
          Dave,   As a former LC-MS pastor now Orthodox and currently attending a western rite Orthodox mission, I can understand the concern of the OCA presbyter. 
        Message 3 of 12 , Feb 21, 2009
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          Dave,
           
          As a former LC-MS pastor now Orthodox and currently attending a western rite Orthodox mission, I can understand the concern of the OCA presbyter.  Sober discussion of the wester rite / eastern rite issues deserves on-going attention in the larger Orthodox community.
           
          Nevertheless, as the western rite has been approved by a variety of Orthodox jurisdictions / hierarchs [new calendar and old calendar, in communion with Constantinople or Moscow or neither] we may conclude that it is an legitimate option to be considered. 
           
          Think of the words of St John of San Francisco to the effect that the west was orthodox for a thousand years using its western rites. 
           
          There are western rite communities in the Antiochian community [new calendar], ROCOR/MP [old calendar] and the Milan Synod [Old Calendarist].  Pray!  Listen to your heart.  Educate your mind.  Let them be in gear together as you move forward.  Best wishes in the Lord Jesus,

          Reader Peter Brandt-Sørheim
          St Brendan the Navigator Western Rite Orthodox Mission
          Honeoye Falls, NY 

          --- On Sat, 2/21/09, Dave W. <dkwiech@...> wrote:

          From: Dave W. <dkwiech@...>
          Subject: [LutheransLookingEast] Finding the "right" Orthodox parish
          To: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com
          Date: Saturday, February 21, 2009, 10:53 AM






          I'm an LCMS Lutheran seriously looking into Orthodoxy and have gone to
          many Vespers and occasional Divine Liturgy services at an OCA church
          in my area. The reason I selected that particular church was the fact
          that they stated a large percentage of members were converts, which I
          thought might ease the transition. My wife has come with me from time
          to time, but is very overwhelmed by the Eastern "foreignness" of the
          worship. I was thinking that perhaps a Western Rite Orthodox parish
          might be an easier transition for her, since my Lutheran and her Roman
          Catholic upbringings are more similar to that. Trouble is, the priest
          at the OCA parish I'd been visiting told me that Western Rite isn't
          "quite Orthodox" and that the "real Church" is only in the East. That
          brought to mind a point that has always troubled me about the Orthodox
          Church: that there tends to be a nationalist bent at times, or that I
          can't belong because I'm not Greek, Russian, Serbian, etc. I spent 2
          years in Russia and visited Divine Liturgy often, Easter Vigil, etc,
          and was profoundly moved, but here in the US I am not accepted into
          the Russian parishes, since I'm not Russian, despite being rather
          proficient in the language, even Slavonic. How do I find the best path
          that will also be easier for my wife to accept? Worshiping separately
          from her is not my preference.

          Sorry about the long post, and thanks for the help.

          Dave



















          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Christopher Orr
          ...Western Rite isn t quite Orthodox and that the real Church is only in the East. That brought to mind a point that has always troubled me about the
          Message 4 of 12 , Feb 21, 2009
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            "...Western Rite isn't "quite Orthodox" and that the "real Church" is only
            in the East. That brought to mind a point that has always troubled me
            about the Orthodox Church: that there tends to be a nationalist bent at
            times, or that I can't belong because I'm not Greek, Russian, Serbian, etc."


            I think there are two separate issues here, which it is important to tease
            out.

            First, nationalism is not the same as being culturally Orthodox, even in an
            American context. I don't think any of us would expect a new immigrant to
            immediately 'become American' and turn their back on their language and
            tradition. Our own families struggled with this same thing - how to retain
            their _______ heritage in multicultural America, do we pass on the language,
            religion and tradition, if so, how and which ones? These are not easy
            questions, regardless of culture. Many people see the Church as part of
            their heritage, their birthright, and it is a part of their cultural
            history. This is not a bad thing. In fact, many people return to the
            church as adults and find things there they never even knew existed as
            nominal Orthodox or as children/adolescents. Kyriacos Markides's recent
            books on Cyprus and 'Father Maximos' show this.

            That being said, nationalism is a problem in Orthodoxy. I define this
            negative aspect more as 'ethnicism' than nationalism. It becomes negative
            when the church is no longer serving the needs of newer immigrants, but in
            becoming the repository and standard-bearer of culture, language, etc. to
            the detriment of the church's true mission, which has no ethnicity. The
            vision is lost that each parish is meant to be The Orthodox Church for all
            peoples in that region, city, neighborhood - and not just to be the Church
            for those of _________ heritage. This may be appropriate when dealing with
            mass immigrations (like Eastern Europeans after the fall of Communism) or in
            rather homogeneous ethnic Orthodox communities (as Astoria, Queens was not
            so long ago). As times goes by, however, their has been a temptation to
            fossilize each community in the past - which could be the 70s, the 50s, or
            the way their community (not necessarily the church alone) was back home;
            this often includes language and other cultural affairs.

            I have found that I only feel foreign and excluded when in a community of
            Orthodox worshiping in a language other than English - but only when i know
            most everyone there understands English and doesn't understand _________. I
            also don't feel excluded when smatterings of other languages are used
            throughout the service - especially the Litanies as there are so many and
            they are repeated so often - as a sort of tip of the hat to the various
            ethnicities that may be present. (My parish in NYC worships primarily in
            English, with smatterings of Slavonic [for Russians, Ukrainians and Serbs],
            Georgian, Romanian and Greek.)

            Second, the Western Rite has had a checkered history in Orthodoxy over the
            past 150 years or so. Many Western Rite parishes and communities have
            hopped around, left communion with the other churches, been disciplined and
            left of their own accord, etc. As Gabriel of the Going Along blog once
            wrote, 'We know what an Orthodox Greek, Russian and Romanian looks like, we
            don't yet really know what a 'successful' American Orthodox looks like
            yet'. Time will tell; the proof will be in the pudding. The Western Rite
            is still sort of like that for many Orthodox - they are wary of it due to
            the theology underpinning its use, the fact that it is associated with
            heterodox theology (lex orandi est lex credendi calls its use into
            question), it checkered history ('by its fruit you shall know it') and the
            fact that most of the local Churches do not accept it. That being said, it
            has been supported by a number of local Orthodox churches (Moscow [before
            the Revolution and after], ROCOR, Antioch] and by esteemed saints (Sts.
            Tikhon of Moscow and John of SF). What the priest you mentioned likely
            'means' is that the fullness of Orthodoxy is definitely and 'safely',
            'provenly' to be found in the Church and rites of the East and would be the
            'safest' course of action. One can argue with the position both for and
            against the Western Rite, but no one on either side questions the 'validity'
            or 'canonicity' of the Western Rite. There were many Eastern and Western
            Rites in times past, but a move towards unification of practice has been
            underway for centuries and centuries - in fact, many Eastern practices were
            adopted by the West (the Kyrie [Greek] is but an obvious example). These
            past Christians did not feel the need to remove themselves from the Church
            for the sake of their Rite.

            Finally, foreigness of Rite should always be referred back to the experience
            of past conversions. Should the Greco-Roman world never have converted to
            Christianity because it was 'too Jewish' and they were Greeks and Romans?
            Should the Russians have never accepted Orthodoxy because it was too Greek,
            or the Celts and Germans Christianity because it was too Roman? There is a
            universality in the particularity of each traditional, living Rite. The
            question is whether it is the Church, not whether it's the prettiest or the
            most aesthetically pleasing. Fr. Roman Braga served Liturgy with water and
            moldy bread on his own chest when the Communists buried him alive to die, so
            he thought. This was every bit as much the Divine Liturgy as the most
            magnificent Liturgy served in Hagia Sophia in the first century - but it was
            ugly and terrible, aesthetically. It is a temptation for Americans to think
            of inquiring into the Church as if it were akin to shopping. The Church
            isn't here primarily to serve what we think we need or prefer, but to raise
            us from the dead and save us, to sanctify the world in prayer and worship:
            it's work. I don't like a lot of things about hospitals, but when I break
            my leg that's where I go; when I'm dying, I don't care how uncomfortable I
            am, just that they save me.

            The Lord bless your inquiry, and that of your wife.

            Christopher





            On Sat, Feb 21, 2009 at 10:53 AM, Dave W. <dkwiech@...> wrote:

            > I'm an LCMS Lutheran seriously looking into Orthodoxy and have gone to
            > many Vespers and occasional Divine Liturgy services at an OCA church
            > in my area. The reason I selected that particular church was the fact
            > that they stated a large percentage of members were converts, which I
            > thought might ease the transition. My wife has come with me from time
            > to time, but is very overwhelmed by the Eastern "foreignness" of the
            > worship. I was thinking that perhaps a Western Rite Orthodox parish
            > might be an easier transition for her, since my Lutheran and her Roman
            > Catholic upbringings are more similar to that. Trouble is, the priest
            > at the OCA parish I'd been visiting told me that Western Rite isn't
            > "quite Orthodox" and that the "real Church" is only in the East. That
            > brought to mind a point that has always troubled me about the Orthodox
            > Church: that there tends to be a nationalist bent at times, or that I
            > can't belong because I'm not Greek, Russian, Serbian, etc. I spent 2
            > years in Russia and visited Divine Liturgy often, Easter Vigil, etc,
            > and was profoundly moved, but here in the US I am not accepted into
            > the Russian parishes, since I'm not Russian, despite being rather
            > proficient in the language, even Slavonic. How do I find the best path
            > that will also be easier for my wife to accept? Worshiping separately
            > from her is not my preference.
            >
            > Sorry about the long post, and thanks for the help.
            >
            > Dave
            >
            >
            >


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Dave W.
            Thank you all for your kind words and advice. We will certainly take it all to heart in our ongoing journey. Dave ... western rite Orthodox mission, I can
            Message 5 of 12 , Feb 21, 2009
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              Thank you all for your kind words and advice. We will certainly take
              it all to heart in our ongoing journey.

              Dave


              --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com, BPeter Brandt-Sorheim
              <donpedrogordo@...> wrote:
              >
              >  
              > Dave,
              >  
              > As a former LC-MS pastor now Orthodox and currently attending a
              western rite Orthodox mission, I can understand the concern of the OCA
              presbyter.  Sober discussion of the wester rite / eastern rite
              issues deserves on-going attention in the larger Orthodox community.
              >  
              > Nevertheless, as the western rite has been approved by a variety of
              Orthodox jurisdictions / hierarchs [new calendar and old calendar, in
              communion with Constantinople or Moscow or neither] we may conclude
              that it is an legitimate option to be considered. 
              >  
              > Think of the words of St John of San Francisco to the effect that
              the west was orthodox for a thousand years using its western rites. 
              >  
              > There are western rite communities in the Antiochian community [new
              calendar], ROCOR/MP [old calendar] and the Milan Synod [Old
              Calendarist].  Pray!  Listen to your heart.  Educate your mind.  Let
              them be in gear together as you move forward.  Best wishes in the Lord
              Jesus,
              >
              > Reader Peter Brandt-Sørheim
              > St Brendan the Navigator Western Rite Orthodox Mission
              > Honeoye Falls, NY 
              >
              > --- On Sat, 2/21/09, Dave W. <dkwiech@...> wrote:
              >
              > From: Dave W. <dkwiech@...>
              > Subject: [LutheransLookingEast] Finding the "right" Orthodox parish
              > To: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com
              > Date: Saturday, February 21, 2009, 10:53 AM
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > I'm an LCMS Lutheran seriously looking into Orthodoxy and have gone to
              > many Vespers and occasional Divine Liturgy services at an OCA church
              > in my area. The reason I selected that particular church was the fact
              > that they stated a large percentage of members were converts, which I
              > thought might ease the transition. My wife has come with me from time
              > to time, but is very overwhelmed by the Eastern "foreignness" of the
              > worship. I was thinking that perhaps a Western Rite Orthodox parish
              > might be an easier transition for her, since my Lutheran and her Roman
              > Catholic upbringings are more similar to that. Trouble is, the priest
              > at the OCA parish I'd been visiting told me that Western Rite isn't
              > "quite Orthodox" and that the "real Church" is only in the East. That
              > brought to mind a point that has always troubled me about the Orthodox
              > Church: that there tends to be a nationalist bent at times, or that I
              > can't belong because I'm not Greek, Russian, Serbian, etc. I spent 2
              > years in Russia and visited Divine Liturgy often, Easter Vigil, etc,
              > and was profoundly moved, but here in the US I am not accepted into
              > the Russian parishes, since I'm not Russian, despite being rather
              > proficient in the language, even Slavonic. How do I find the best path
              > that will also be easier for my wife to accept? Worshiping separately
              > from her is not my preference.
              >
              > Sorry about the long post, and thanks for the help.
              >
              > Dave
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
            • Dave W.
              What the priest you mentioned likely means is that the fullness of Orthodoxy is definitely and safely , provenly to be found in the Church and rites of
              Message 6 of 12 , Feb 23, 2009
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                "What the priest you mentioned likely 'means' is that the fullness of
                Orthodoxy is definitely and 'safely','provenly' to be found in the
                Church and rites of the East and would be the'safest' course of action."

                I understand your point, and better understand now what the OCA priest
                was telling me. Sometimes it's hard for me to "hear" when I think I'm
                listening.

                At any rate, I did want to follow up on this topic about finding the
                right parish. My wife and I visited a Western Orthodox (Antiochian)
                church yesterday and were SO impressed. It was a bit of a drive, but
                the priest was wonderful, kind, and understanding, and took 1.5 hours
                of time to speak with us. He has a good solid understanding of the
                Catholic (wife)/Lutheran (me) backgrounds we come from and could view
                things from our perspective. Funny thing is, the church was originally
                built by LCMS Lutherans! HA! Granted the style is more along the lines
                of Catholic/Anglican with icons and incense, but we both felt very
                comfortable. We'll be going back as soon as possible. He also invited
                us to the pan-Orthodox Great-Lenten celebration at the big Greek
                Orthodox cathedral downtown on March 8th. I'm looking forward to it!

                Dave


                --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com, Christopher Orr
                <xcjorr@...> wrote:
                >
                > "...Western Rite isn't "quite Orthodox" and that the "real Church"
                is only
                > in the East. That brought to mind a point that has always troubled me
                > about the Orthodox Church: that there tends to be a nationalist bent at
                > times, or that I can't belong because I'm not Greek, Russian,
                Serbian, etc."
                >
                >
                > I think there are two separate issues here, which it is important to
                tease
                > out.
                >
                > First, nationalism is not the same as being culturally Orthodox,
                even in an
                > American context. I don't think any of us would expect a new
                immigrant to
                > immediately 'become American' and turn their back on their language and
                > tradition. Our own families struggled with this same thing - how to
                retain
                > their _______ heritage in multicultural America, do we pass on the
                language,
                > religion and tradition, if so, how and which ones? These are not easy
                > questions, regardless of culture. Many people see the Church as part of
                > their heritage, their birthright, and it is a part of their cultural
                > history. This is not a bad thing. In fact, many people return to the
                > church as adults and find things there they never even knew existed as
                > nominal Orthodox or as children/adolescents. Kyriacos Markides's recent
                > books on Cyprus and 'Father Maximos' show this.
                >
                > That being said, nationalism is a problem in Orthodoxy. I define this
                > negative aspect more as 'ethnicism' than nationalism. It becomes
                negative
                > when the church is no longer serving the needs of newer immigrants,
                but in
                > becoming the repository and standard-bearer of culture, language,
                etc. to
                > the detriment of the church's true mission, which has no ethnicity. The
                > vision is lost that each parish is meant to be The Orthodox Church
                for all
                > peoples in that region, city, neighborhood - and not just to be the
                Church
                > for those of _________ heritage. This may be appropriate when
                dealing with
                > mass immigrations (like Eastern Europeans after the fall of
                Communism) or in
                > rather homogeneous ethnic Orthodox communities (as Astoria, Queens
                was not
                > so long ago). As times goes by, however, their has been a temptation to
                > fossilize each community in the past - which could be the 70s, the
                50s, or
                > the way their community (not necessarily the church alone) was back
                home;
                > this often includes language and other cultural affairs.
                >
                > I have found that I only feel foreign and excluded when in a
                community of
                > Orthodox worshiping in a language other than English - but only when
                i know
                > most everyone there understands English and doesn't understand
                _________. I
                > also don't feel excluded when smatterings of other languages are used
                > throughout the service - especially the Litanies as there are so
                many and
                > they are repeated so often - as a sort of tip of the hat to the various
                > ethnicities that may be present. (My parish in NYC worships
                primarily in
                > English, with smatterings of Slavonic [for Russians, Ukrainians and
                Serbs],
                > Georgian, Romanian and Greek.)
                >
                > Second, the Western Rite has had a checkered history in Orthodoxy
                over the
                > past 150 years or so. Many Western Rite parishes and communities have
                > hopped around, left communion with the other churches, been
                disciplined and
                > left of their own accord, etc. As Gabriel of the Going Along blog once
                > wrote, 'We know what an Orthodox Greek, Russian and Romanian looks
                like, we
                > don't yet really know what a 'successful' American Orthodox looks like
                > yet'. Time will tell; the proof will be in the pudding. The
                Western Rite
                > is still sort of like that for many Orthodox - they are wary of it
                due to
                > the theology underpinning its use, the fact that it is associated with
                > heterodox theology (lex orandi est lex credendi calls its use into
                > question), it checkered history ('by its fruit you shall know it')
                and the
                > fact that most of the local Churches do not accept it. That being
                said, it
                > has been supported by a number of local Orthodox churches (Moscow
                [before
                > the Revolution and after], ROCOR, Antioch] and by esteemed saints (Sts.
                > Tikhon of Moscow and John of SF). What the priest you mentioned likely
                > 'means' is that the fullness of Orthodoxy is definitely and 'safely',
                > 'provenly' to be found in the Church and rites of the East and would
                be the
                > 'safest' course of action. One can argue with the position both for and
                > against the Western Rite, but no one on either side questions the
                'validity'
                > or 'canonicity' of the Western Rite. There were many Eastern and
                Western
                > Rites in times past, but a move towards unification of practice has been
                > underway for centuries and centuries - in fact, many Eastern
                practices were
                > adopted by the West (the Kyrie [Greek] is but an obvious example).
                These
                > past Christians did not feel the need to remove themselves from the
                Church
                > for the sake of their Rite.
                >
                > Finally, foreigness of Rite should always be referred back to the
                experience
                > of past conversions. Should the Greco-Roman world never have
                converted to
                > Christianity because it was 'too Jewish' and they were Greeks and
                Romans?
                > Should the Russians have never accepted Orthodoxy because it was too
                Greek,
                > or the Celts and Germans Christianity because it was too Roman?
                There is a
                > universality in the particularity of each traditional, living Rite. The
                > question is whether it is the Church, not whether it's the prettiest
                or the
                > most aesthetically pleasing. Fr. Roman Braga served Liturgy with
                water and
                > moldy bread on his own chest when the Communists buried him alive to
                die, so
                > he thought. This was every bit as much the Divine Liturgy as the most
                > magnificent Liturgy served in Hagia Sophia in the first century -
                but it was
                > ugly and terrible, aesthetically. It is a temptation for Americans
                to think
                > of inquiring into the Church as if it were akin to shopping. The Church
                > isn't here primarily to serve what we think we need or prefer, but
                to raise
                > us from the dead and save us, to sanctify the world in prayer and
                worship:
                > it's work. I don't like a lot of things about hospitals, but when I
                break
                > my leg that's where I go; when I'm dying, I don't care how
                uncomfortable I
                > am, just that they save me.
                >
                > The Lord bless your inquiry, and that of your wife.
                >
                > Christopher
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > On Sat, Feb 21, 2009 at 10:53 AM, Dave W. <dkwiech@...> wrote:
                >
                > > I'm an LCMS Lutheran seriously looking into Orthodoxy and have
                gone to
                > > many Vespers and occasional Divine Liturgy services at an OCA church
                > > in my area. The reason I selected that particular church was the fact
                > > that they stated a large percentage of members were converts, which I
                > > thought might ease the transition. My wife has come with me from time
                > > to time, but is very overwhelmed by the Eastern "foreignness" of the
                > > worship. I was thinking that perhaps a Western Rite Orthodox parish
                > > might be an easier transition for her, since my Lutheran and her Roman
                > > Catholic upbringings are more similar to that. Trouble is, the priest
                > > at the OCA parish I'd been visiting told me that Western Rite isn't
                > > "quite Orthodox" and that the "real Church" is only in the East. That
                > > brought to mind a point that has always troubled me about the Orthodox
                > > Church: that there tends to be a nationalist bent at times, or that I
                > > can't belong because I'm not Greek, Russian, Serbian, etc. I spent 2
                > > years in Russia and visited Divine Liturgy often, Easter Vigil, etc,
                > > and was profoundly moved, but here in the US I am not accepted into
                > > the Russian parishes, since I'm not Russian, despite being rather
                > > proficient in the language, even Slavonic. How do I find the best path
                > > that will also be easier for my wife to accept? Worshiping separately
                > > from her is not my preference.
                > >
                > > Sorry about the long post, and thanks for the help.
                > >
                > > Dave
                > >
                > >
                > >
                >
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
              • Christopher Orr
                That s great. I meant to write again and make sure you understand that there is nothing wrong with a Western Rite parish, I was just giving the argument for
                Message 7 of 12 , Feb 24, 2009
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                  That's great. I meant to write again and make sure you understand that
                  there is nothing 'wrong' with a Western Rite parish, I was just giving the
                  argument for Eastern Rite - which is often heard. For instance, Fr. John
                  Fenton is a WR priest in Detroit, a former LCMS pastor, the #2 man in the
                  Antiochian WR Vicariate and good man. I have no real experience with the
                  western rite; the eastern rite was just as 'foreign' to me as would be an
                  old time Tridentine or Book of Common prayer Mass.

                  The Lord bless your journies.

                  Christopher



                  On Mon, Feb 23, 2009 at 10:31 PM, Dave W. <dkwiech@...> wrote:

                  > "What the priest you mentioned likely 'means' is that the fullness of
                  > Orthodoxy is definitely and 'safely','provenly' to be found in the
                  > Church and rites of the East and would be the'safest' course of action."
                  >
                  > I understand your point, and better understand now what the OCA priest
                  > was telling me. Sometimes it's hard for me to "hear" when I think I'm
                  > listening.
                  >
                  > At any rate, I did want to follow up on this topic about finding the
                  > right parish. My wife and I visited a Western Orthodox (Antiochian)
                  > church yesterday and were SO impressed. It was a bit of a drive, but
                  > the priest was wonderful, kind, and understanding, and took 1.5 hours
                  > of time to speak with us. He has a good solid understanding of the
                  > Catholic (wife)/Lutheran (me) backgrounds we come from and could view
                  > things from our perspective. Funny thing is, the church was originally
                  > built by LCMS Lutherans! HA! Granted the style is more along the lines
                  > of Catholic/Anglican with icons and incense, but we both felt very
                  > comfortable. We'll be going back as soon as possible. He also invited
                  > us to the pan-Orthodox Great-Lenten celebration at the big Greek
                  > Orthodox cathedral downtown on March 8th. I'm looking forward to it!
                  >
                  > Dave
                  >
                  > --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com<LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>,
                  > Christopher Orr
                  >
                  > <xcjorr@...> wrote:
                  > >
                  > > "...Western Rite isn't "quite Orthodox" and that the "real Church"
                  > is only
                  > > in the East. That brought to mind a point that has always troubled me
                  > > about the Orthodox Church: that there tends to be a nationalist bent at
                  > > times, or that I can't belong because I'm not Greek, Russian,
                  > Serbian, etc."
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > I think there are two separate issues here, which it is important to
                  > tease
                  > > out.
                  > >
                  > > First, nationalism is not the same as being culturally Orthodox,
                  > even in an
                  > > American context. I don't think any of us would expect a new
                  > immigrant to
                  > > immediately 'become American' and turn their back on their language and
                  > > tradition. Our own families struggled with this same thing - how to
                  > retain
                  > > their _______ heritage in multicultural America, do we pass on the
                  > language,
                  > > religion and tradition, if so, how and which ones? These are not easy
                  > > questions, regardless of culture. Many people see the Church as part of
                  > > their heritage, their birthright, and it is a part of their cultural
                  > > history. This is not a bad thing. In fact, many people return to the
                  > > church as adults and find things there they never even knew existed as
                  > > nominal Orthodox or as children/adolescents. Kyriacos Markides's recent
                  > > books on Cyprus and 'Father Maximos' show this.
                  > >
                  > > That being said, nationalism is a problem in Orthodoxy. I define this
                  > > negative aspect more as 'ethnicism' than nationalism. It becomes
                  > negative
                  > > when the church is no longer serving the needs of newer immigrants,
                  > but in
                  > > becoming the repository and standard-bearer of culture, language,
                  > etc. to
                  > > the detriment of the church's true mission, which has no ethnicity. The
                  > > vision is lost that each parish is meant to be The Orthodox Church
                  > for all
                  > > peoples in that region, city, neighborhood - and not just to be the
                  > Church
                  > > for those of _________ heritage. This may be appropriate when
                  > dealing with
                  > > mass immigrations (like Eastern Europeans after the fall of
                  > Communism) or in
                  > > rather homogeneous ethnic Orthodox communities (as Astoria, Queens
                  > was not
                  > > so long ago). As times goes by, however, their has been a temptation to
                  > > fossilize each community in the past - which could be the 70s, the
                  > 50s, or
                  > > the way their community (not necessarily the church alone) was back
                  > home;
                  > > this often includes language and other cultural affairs.
                  > >
                  > > I have found that I only feel foreign and excluded when in a
                  > community of
                  > > Orthodox worshiping in a language other than English - but only when
                  > i know
                  > > most everyone there understands English and doesn't understand
                  > _________. I
                  > > also don't feel excluded when smatterings of other languages are used
                  > > throughout the service - especially the Litanies as there are so
                  > many and
                  > > they are repeated so often - as a sort of tip of the hat to the various
                  > > ethnicities that may be present. (My parish in NYC worships
                  > primarily in
                  > > English, with smatterings of Slavonic [for Russians, Ukrainians and
                  > Serbs],
                  > > Georgian, Romanian and Greek.)
                  > >
                  > > Second, the Western Rite has had a checkered history in Orthodoxy
                  > over the
                  > > past 150 years or so. Many Western Rite parishes and communities have
                  > > hopped around, left communion with the other churches, been
                  > disciplined and
                  > > left of their own accord, etc. As Gabriel of the Going Along blog once
                  > > wrote, 'We know what an Orthodox Greek, Russian and Romanian looks
                  > like, we
                  > > don't yet really know what a 'successful' American Orthodox looks like
                  > > yet'. Time will tell; the proof will be in the pudding. The
                  > Western Rite
                  > > is still sort of like that for many Orthodox - they are wary of it
                  > due to
                  > > the theology underpinning its use, the fact that it is associated with
                  > > heterodox theology (lex orandi est lex credendi calls its use into
                  > > question), it checkered history ('by its fruit you shall know it')
                  > and the
                  > > fact that most of the local Churches do not accept it. That being
                  > said, it
                  > > has been supported by a number of local Orthodox churches (Moscow
                  > [before
                  > > the Revolution and after], ROCOR, Antioch] and by esteemed saints (Sts.
                  > > Tikhon of Moscow and John of SF). What the priest you mentioned likely
                  > > 'means' is that the fullness of Orthodoxy is definitely and 'safely',
                  > > 'provenly' to be found in the Church and rites of the East and would
                  > be the
                  > > 'safest' course of action. One can argue with the position both for and
                  > > against the Western Rite, but no one on either side questions the
                  > 'validity'
                  > > or 'canonicity' of the Western Rite. There were many Eastern and
                  > Western
                  > > Rites in times past, but a move towards unification of practice has been
                  > > underway for centuries and centuries - in fact, many Eastern
                  > practices were
                  > > adopted by the West (the Kyrie [Greek] is but an obvious example).
                  > These
                  > > past Christians did not feel the need to remove themselves from the
                  > Church
                  > > for the sake of their Rite.
                  > >
                  > > Finally, foreigness of Rite should always be referred back to the
                  > experience
                  > > of past conversions. Should the Greco-Roman world never have
                  > converted to
                  > > Christianity because it was 'too Jewish' and they were Greeks and
                  > Romans?
                  > > Should the Russians have never accepted Orthodoxy because it was too
                  > Greek,
                  > > or the Celts and Germans Christianity because it was too Roman?
                  > There is a
                  > > universality in the particularity of each traditional, living Rite. The
                  > > question is whether it is the Church, not whether it's the prettiest
                  > or the
                  > > most aesthetically pleasing. Fr. Roman Braga served Liturgy with
                  > water and
                  > > moldy bread on his own chest when the Communists buried him alive to
                  > die, so
                  > > he thought. This was every bit as much the Divine Liturgy as the most
                  > > magnificent Liturgy served in Hagia Sophia in the first century -
                  > but it was
                  > > ugly and terrible, aesthetically. It is a temptation for Americans
                  > to think
                  > > of inquiring into the Church as if it were akin to shopping. The Church
                  > > isn't here primarily to serve what we think we need or prefer, but
                  > to raise
                  > > us from the dead and save us, to sanctify the world in prayer and
                  > worship:
                  > > it's work. I don't like a lot of things about hospitals, but when I
                  > break
                  > > my leg that's where I go; when I'm dying, I don't care how
                  > uncomfortable I
                  > > am, just that they save me.
                  > >
                  > > The Lord bless your inquiry, and that of your wife.
                  > >
                  > > Christopher
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > On Sat, Feb 21, 2009 at 10:53 AM, Dave W. <dkwiech@...> wrote:
                  > >
                  > > > I'm an LCMS Lutheran seriously looking into Orthodoxy and have
                  > gone to
                  > > > many Vespers and occasional Divine Liturgy services at an OCA church
                  > > > in my area. The reason I selected that particular church was the fact
                  > > > that they stated a large percentage of members were converts, which I
                  > > > thought might ease the transition. My wife has come with me from time
                  > > > to time, but is very overwhelmed by the Eastern "foreignness" of the
                  > > > worship. I was thinking that perhaps a Western Rite Orthodox parish
                  > > > might be an easier transition for her, since my Lutheran and her Roman
                  > > > Catholic upbringings are more similar to that. Trouble is, the priest
                  > > > at the OCA parish I'd been visiting told me that Western Rite isn't
                  > > > "quite Orthodox" and that the "real Church" is only in the East. That
                  > > > brought to mind a point that has always troubled me about the Orthodox
                  > > > Church: that there tends to be a nationalist bent at times, or that I
                  > > > can't belong because I'm not Greek, Russian, Serbian, etc. I spent 2
                  > > > years in Russia and visited Divine Liturgy often, Easter Vigil, etc,
                  > > > and was profoundly moved, but here in the US I am not accepted into
                  > > > the Russian parishes, since I'm not Russian, despite being rather
                  > > > proficient in the language, even Slavonic. How do I find the best path
                  > > > that will also be easier for my wife to accept? Worshiping separately
                  > > > from her is not my preference.
                  > > >
                  > > > Sorry about the long post, and thanks for the help.
                  > > >
                  > > > Dave
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  > >
                  >
                  >
                  >


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Fr John W Fenton
                  Dave, My various duties prevent me both from keeping up with the fast exchange of emails on this list, and from offering long answers. Rose pointed you to an
                  Message 8 of 12 , Feb 25, 2009
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                    Dave,

                    My various duties prevent me both from keeping up with the fast
                    exchange of emails on this list, and from offering long answers.

                    Rose pointed you to an essay I wrote when I was a Lutheran ("What
                    Options..."). There is also my statement of resignation in which I
                    detail, in a broad way, some of the doctrines and practices in
                    Lutheranism that I determined were contrary to the Faith of the
                    Church. Both of these items are located at
                    http://www.holyincarnation.org/inquirers.php. There are also other
                    items there that you might find helpful.

                    My journey to Orthodoxy germinated just before I went to seminary and
                    took nearly 25 years to come to full flower. Many questions, many
                    fears, many struggles, many prayers and not a few tears watered the
                    path, as well as a time when I had given up on Orthodoxy. What I've
                    written is peppered with these experiences.

                    Please feel free to email me offlist if you wish. Perhaps we can set
                    a time to speak by telephone, if you find that helpful.


                    Fr John W Fenton
                    Assistant to the Vicar General of the Western Rite Vicariate
                    Priest, Holy Incarnation Orthodox Church
                  • Fr John W Fenton
                    Dave, Let me add the following personal information: 1. My father is an LCMS pastor (retired) who left Catholicism at the age of 30 to become Lutheran because
                    Message 9 of 12 , Feb 25, 2009
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                      Dave,

                      Let me add the following personal information:

                      1. My father is an LCMS pastor (retired) who left Catholicism at the
                      age of 30 to become Lutheran because he was convinced of Luheran
                      doctrine after reading and studying the Book of Concord. Needless to
                      say, he was more than a little saddened that his son would reject
                      what he whole-heartedly accepted.

                      2. Lutheran pastors and teachers go back quite a way in my family
                      line (on my mother's said). East Prussian (Pomerania) and Saxon are
                      in my bloodlines, and there's a rumor that I'm a descendent of Johann
                      Sebastian Bach (whose music I dearly love).

                      3. My wife's roots in Lutheranism are even deeper and stronger. She
                      had much more to work through because, while not atheological, her
                      loves and loyalties run deep. Needless to say, her parents and
                      relatives still don't understand.

                      4. My wife and I are both the product of the Lutheran school system
                      (elementary, high school, college), and our children went to the
                      Lutheran schools my wife taught at. Our oldest was 19 when she was
                      chrismated (a few months before us), and the move was hard on one
                      child in particular.

                      Needless to say, on a personal level, becoming Orthodox was not easy.
                      Yet, in the end, we became Orthodox because we desired that they
                      attain the kingdom of heaven and not get lost in the shifting "winds
                      of doctrine" about which St Paul speaks.

                      Again, feel free to email me (frfenton@...)


                      Fr Fenton



                      --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com, "Fr John W Fenton"
                      <frfenton@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Dave,
                      >
                      > My various duties prevent me both from keeping up with the fast
                      > exchange of emails on this list, and from offering long answers.
                      >
                      > Rose pointed you to an essay I wrote when I was a Lutheran ("What
                      > Options..."). There is also my statement of resignation in which I
                      > detail, in a broad way, some of the doctrines and practices in
                      > Lutheranism that I determined were contrary to the Faith of the
                      > Church. Both of these items are located at
                      > http://www.holyincarnation.org/inquirers.php. There are also other
                      > items there that you might find helpful.
                      >
                      > My journey to Orthodoxy germinated just before I went to seminary
                      and
                      > took nearly 25 years to come to full flower. Many questions, many
                      > fears, many struggles, many prayers and not a few tears watered the
                      > path, as well as a time when I had given up on Orthodoxy. What I've
                      > written is peppered with these experiences.
                      >
                      > Please feel free to email me offlist if you wish. Perhaps we can
                      set
                      > a time to speak by telephone, if you find that helpful.
                      >
                      >
                      > Fr John W Fenton
                      > Assistant to the Vicar General of the Western Rite Vicariate
                      > Priest, Holy Incarnation Orthodox Church
                      >
                    • Dave @¿@¬
                      Howdy Dave! For me it was an opening of doors kind of a thing... I came to the east from the east. I had what the Tibetan s called extraordinary
                      Message 10 of 12 , Feb 26, 2009
                      • 0 Attachment
                        Howdy Dave!

                        For me it was an "opening of doors" kind of a thing...
                        I "came to the east from the east."

                        I had what the Tibetan's called "extraordinary enlightenment"
                        i.e.; "out of sequence." I then started a 7 year search in order to
                        find out what had just happened to me.

                        My search took me through the philosophies of India, Tibet, China
                        and back to the Desert Fathers. During this search I came up with a
                        lot of non-English words in my vocabulary to explain some of the
                        very non-western discoveries that I had made for myself. The priest
                        at my parish had been a Roman Catholic, then became a Buddhist and
                        then became an Orthodox priest. We had the same working vocabulary
                        and I could say in a word what would take half an hour to explain to
                        anybody else.

                        That roundabout story is just to tell you that I chose my parish
                        because I found the right person to introduce me to Orthodoxy. It
                        happens to be a Greek Orthodox parish that broke away from an older
                        Greek parish in the community in an attempt to get more English into
                        the Liturgy for non-Greeks. There also happens to be an OCA church
                        right around the corner from me.

                        Who knows where I may be in a year, or ten?

                        Yet ANOTHER
                        Dave
                      • Rosemarie Lieffring
                        Dave, For me, had Western Rite been an option, there would have been no question I would have gone that route for the sake of my family but there aren t any
                        Message 11 of 12 , Feb 27, 2009
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                          Dave,

                          For me, had Western Rite been an option, there would have been no question I
                          would have gone that route for the sake of my family but there aren't any
                          Western Rite parishes even an hour or two away.

                          I think WR would have been easier for my husband and he might have
                          considered Orthodoxy (although he likes that "being of German descent in a
                          Lutheran church" thing he has going for him--talk about ethnic!--so I can't
                          say for certain he would have made the move....but I would have certainly
                          considered that first).

                          Now...some almost 4 years later I would find it difficult to give up the
                          Eastern expressions of Orthodoxy...although I still would do it if there was
                          a WR parish near by and it meant my husband would join me.

                          Being WR one still gets some exposure to Eastern things...for example, a
                          week from Sunday night there will most likely be a pan-Orthodox vespers
                          service in your area to celebrate the Sunday of Orthodoxy. If you were WR
                          you would attend that and it would most likely be done Eastern style. There
                          are other occasions throughout the year for these kinds of pan-Orthodox/
                          Eastern exposure, like clergy/laity conferences, so I suspect one would
                          start to get comfortable with Eastern ways after a while even if one were
                          WR.

                          In picking out an Eastern Orthodox church I tend to take a "bloom where you
                          are planted" approach. I would go to the nearest parish...unless that
                          parish is really there to specifically serve an ethnic population in the
                          area. Those parishes are needed, too, but it's best when English is one's
                          first language to go to a parish where English is mostly spoken. Of course
                          you may choose to do it differently. I wouldn't worry so much about being
                          accepted. I have found the Orthodox in general to be very hospitable and
                          loving and accepting even if some cradle ethnics don't quite understand why
                          in the world a German or Anglo would choose to attend a Greek or Russian or
                          Serbian parish. In the end, as you already know, it isn't about the style
                          of chanting (my preference is Russian though I go to a Greek parish) or the
                          building or the food at coffee hour or even how kind the priest
                          is...although I have to say from personal experience that having a
                          wonderful, kind, holy priest is a great blessing.

                          One last thing...do go to Forgiveness Vespers this Sunday evening if you
                          can. It is a beautiful service.-----R
                          On Sat, Feb 21, 2009 at 10:53 AM, Dave W. <dkwiech@...> wrote:

                          > I'm an LCMS Lutheran seriously looking into Orthodoxy and have gone to
                          > many Vespers and occasional Divine Liturgy services at an OCA church
                          > in my area. The reason I selected that particular church was the fact
                          > that they stated a large percentage of members were converts, which I
                          > thought might ease the transition. My wife has come with me from time
                          > to time, but is very overwhelmed by the Eastern "foreignness" of the
                          > worship. I was thinking that perhaps a Western Rite Orthodox parish
                          > might be an easier transition for her, since my Lutheran and her Roman
                          > Catholic upbringings are more similar to that. Trouble is, the priest
                          > at the OCA parish I'd been visiting told me that Western Rite isn't
                          > "quite Orthodox" and that the "real Church" is only in the East. That
                          > brought to mind a point that has always troubled me about the Orthodox
                          > Church: that there tends to be a nationalist bent at times, or that I
                          > can't belong because I'm not Greek, Russian, Serbian, etc. I spent 2
                          > years in Russia and visited Divine Liturgy often, Easter Vigil, etc,
                          > and was profoundly moved, but here in the US I am not accepted into
                          > the Russian parishes, since I'm not Russian, despite being rather
                          > proficient in the language, even Slavonic. How do I find the best path
                          > that will also be easier for my wife to accept? Worshiping separately
                          > from her is not my preference.
                          >
                          > Sorry about the long post, and thanks for the help.
                          >
                          > Dave
                          >
                          >
                          >


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