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

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 of 12 , Feb 21, 2009
        • 0 Attachment
          "...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 4 of 12 , Feb 21, 2009
          • 0 Attachment
            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 5 of 12 , Feb 23, 2009
            • 0 Attachment
              "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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 of 12 , Feb 26, 2009
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                      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 10 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
                        >
                        >
                        >


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