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Æthelthryth the Texan

CC- Thinking of trying Orthodox Church. Advice appreciated.

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I know there is an Orthodox social group, but it didn't seem active and I could only see recent activity- none of the archives so if that exists, will someone point me that way? 

We are sort of adrift church wise at the moment. I have no bones to pick with any of our churches. We just haven't found a happy fit. Our previous church was Lutheran. We liked most things about it, except it is an older church and they don't offer much for younger congregants (the fact that 40 puts us as young tells you something). There weren't good opportunities for us or the kids to be well involved and that is something I want. It's just far enough away too that it would be hard to try and launch something ourselves. 

We have tried a local Evangelical church that many of our friends attend for the last few months. I've mentioned it in another thread. As @Bluegoat so well described it it's a very extroverted church. I am not comfortable there at all. I like the scripture teaching, but not really anything else. Plenty of involvement opportunity though. Almost too much. I would like to make it fit, but I don't think it's ever going to.  I really miss liturgy. And I miss tradition. It meets in a school and I miss the ambiance of a Church and all of the ritual around it. I grew up initially Episcopalian, but was confirmed into Lutheran church as I ended up attending Lutheran schools by that age. Either way, I'm used to really traditional services. 

So we are back to looking. I feel like Goldilocks. I have always been intrigued with Orthodox churches.  I have found two within decent distance to us. One is Coptic and one is Greek Orthodox. I am considering trying one or both, but I have no experience and am not sure what to expect. I also am not 100% clear on the differences between the two as far as beliefs. I have read up on as much as I can for both churches and the info they provide online. But I'm wondering if I should just go by myself the first time? Or just dh and I? Or bring everyone? I like the smaller congregation size they offer. I am not comfortable with thousands of people in a service and that's a thing there for so many churches. I don't need a band. I also don't want to join a Church whose larger body is in the middle of a potential schism over future direction. I want my kids to grow up knowing about Church Fathers not just though our homeschool, but through our Church. I want them to see ritual and liturgy and all of that. Catholicism isn't on the table for many reasons. But I feel like Orthodox might be well worth trying. We almost did a few years ago, but then we talked ourselves into the Lutheran church because it was the known commodity, so to speak. 

Any Orthodox boardies that can offer any insight? 

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Hey there,

I can talk with you about this, here and/or in PMs.  I'm in a bit of a frenzy at the moment getting a lot of urgent (maybe not as important!) jobs done, but if you will be patient with me, we can at least start the conversation.  If you would be willing to send me a PM with your location, I can also do some research.

You will find that things like friendliness and welcoming vary from parish to parish--that is part of the reason I want to do some research on parishes near you, so I can make better recommendations re: whether you go alone at first, or whether there might be another parish that you are not aware of (that happens) if these are ethnically focused places.  The Coptics are separate from the canonical Orthodox Churches at this time, but there is hope that there will be reconciliation in my lifetime, which to tell the truth, isn't that long, in the scheme of things...and I'm in my 60s.  :0)  The differences occurred in the time of the Chalcedonian Ecumenical Council, but the thing that is being worked out now is whether it was more a misunderstanding of vocabulary than dogma.  So we shall see.  Reading between the lines of your post, I know you are aware of some issues that *might* be coming up with the Greeks, but that is in abeyance at the moment, and we are all praying for unity.  

In the meantime, and as I lurch into another urgent job for the moment, may I ask whether you have done any reading about the Orthodox Church, and if so, what?  That will help me know what I can say that is useful and not just repetitive.  Also, this is a fine place to start:  http://frederica.com/12-things/. Hold onto these things loosely, as there are differences among parishes, but it is a good high-level overview.  

:::runs away for now:::

 

 

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12 minutes ago, Patty Joanna said:

Hey there,

I can talk with you about this, here and/or in PMs.  I'm in a bit of a frenzy at the moment getting a lot of urgent (maybe not as important!) jobs done, but if you will be patient with me, we can at least start the conversation.  If you would be willing to send me a PM with your location, I can also do some research.

You will find that things like friendliness and welcoming vary from parish to parish--that is part of the reason I want to do some research on parishes near you, so I can make better recommendations re: whether you go alone at first, or whether there might be another parish that you are not aware of (that happens) if these are ethnically focused places.  The Coptics are separate from the canonical Orthodox Churches at this time, but there is hope that there will be reconciliation in my lifetime, which to tell the truth, isn't that long, in the scheme of things...and I'm in my 60s.  :0)  The differences occurred in the time of the Chalcedonian Ecumenical Council, but the thing that is being worked out now is whether it was more a misunderstanding of vocabulary than dogma.  So we shall see.  Reading between the lines of your post, I know you are aware of some issues that *might* be coming up with the Greeks, but that is in abeyance at the moment, and we are all praying for unity.  

In the meantime, and as I lurch into another urgent job for the moment, may I ask whether you have done any reading about the Orthodox Church, and if so, what?  That will help me know what I can say that is useful and not just repetitive.  Also, this is a fine place to start:  http://frederica.com/12-things/. Hold onto these things loosely, as there are differences among parishes, but it is a good high-level overview.  

:::runs away for now:::

 

 

 

Wish we could have a 3-way PM - or if you guys keep it here, I will be reading along. Many of the things the "Texan" (not going to try to spell that other name from memory 😋) said in her OP apply to me as well but I fear dh will not be on board with liturgy as I think it will smack of too "Catholic" for him but I am interested to at least read and learn...and one never knows what opportunities will arise.

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27 minutes ago, Liz CA said:

 

Wish we could have a 3-way PM - or if you guys keep it here, I will be reading along. Many of the things the "Texan" (not going to try to spell that other name from memory 😋) said in her OP apply to me as well but I fear dh will not be on board with liturgy as I think it will smack of too "Catholic" for him but I am interested to at least read and learn...and one never knows what opportunities will arise.

We totally can do that with PM. I'll set it up and add some info. About to head out to dinner with the fam but will be back later. 

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32 minutes ago, Liz CA said:

 

Wish we could have a 3-way PM - or if you guys keep it here, I will be reading along. Many of the things the "Texan" (not going to try to spell that other name from memory 😋) said in her OP apply to me as well but I fear dh will not be on board with liturgy as I think it will smack of too "Catholic" for him but I am interested to at least read and learn...and one never knows what opportunities will arise.

I'd love to keep this on the boards, as other Orthodox who have better ways of saying things can chime in.  I really miss the social board for this...

If we go to PM, I have no problem including as many as can be included.  Mostly, when I go to PM, it is not because the topic is secretive, but often, people don't want to reveal location and so on, and sometimes, I can set someone up with a first-time-stand-with-me person at the parish, or at least send an email to the priest to make the connection.

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39 minutes ago, Liz CA said:

 

Wish we could have a 3-way PM - or if you guys keep it here, I will be reading along. Many of the things the "Texan" (not going to try to spell that other name from memory 😋) said in her OP apply to me as well but I fear dh will not be on board with liturgy as I think it will smack of too "Catholic" for him but I am interested to at least read and learn...and one never knows what opportunities will arise.

If you want a couple of book recommendations, I can give you that...

As for the "ambience" of the liturgy, "too or not enough this or that"--I can tell you a couple of things that I say to almost everyone who is interested in attending an Orthodox service

First, I can pretty much guarantee that no matter your background, the Orthodox Sunday morning service (Divine Liturgy) will likely be somewhere on the spectrum of "pretty close to home" to "whaaaaaa just happened?"  If you expect to find yourself on the latter end of this spectrum, my advice to you is to plan to attend at least three times.  The first time, you just observe and don't worry one bit about participating in anything you don't want to.  If anyone there judges you for not participating, they are doing it wrong. Ask someone if there is a service book if that helps you, or just watch and don't worry about the service books at all.  The second and third times, you will find your way a little better; while you will have not the smallest idea of what is really going on (like me, after almost 12 years), at least you won't be in shock.  

The second thing is that many, if not most, parishes have some sort of coffee hour after the service.  We have been fasting since midnight (or longer) to receive the Eucharist, and so we break our fast together.  This CAN be a really good time to talk to people.  You might consider adding that to your time planning.

Third, I think the easiest first service to attend is evening vespers.  Most parishes serve Vespers on Saturday evening.  It is mostly psalms and prayers, and it is a very peaceful time.  I went to vespers for at least 6 months before I went to my first Divine Liturgy.  It has the added benefit of not interfering with the Sunday morning you now have with your family, which is a nice way to explore, and over time, perhaps, to segue.  

Finally (for now), if you want a recommendation of a good book to read that talks about what the Orthodox Church believes, but also how it plays out in daily life, I can recommend Frederica Mathewes-Green's book, Welcome to the Orthodox Church. Her writing is accessible, and she addresses dogma and history and how Orthodoxy looks in real life.  It's not just for Sunday morning.  :0)  I just re-read it for the third time.  

I hope this gives you something to work with...

-Patty Joanna

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Most parishes serve Vespers on Saturday evening.  It is mostly psalms and prayers, and it is a very peaceful time.  I went to vespers for at least 6 months before I went to my first Divine Liturgy. 

This sounds divine to me. Evidently I am in need of some peace. I think I will look for the book you recommended. I am still finishing the article by Frederica Matthewes-Green that you linked previously.

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8 hours ago, Patty Joanna said:

Reading between the lines of your post, I know you are aware of some issues that *might* be coming up with the Greeks, but that is in abeyance at the moment, and we are all praying for unity.  

Could you please elaborate on what "...might be coming up with the Greeks", as you mentioned?  

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Can I ask why you don't want to return to the Episcopal church? Just curious. As someone that grew up Episcopal, had first communion in an Presbyterian church, was married in a Methodist church, had her first child baptized in a Congregational church, returned and was confirmed in the Episcopal church, flirted with Orthodox parishes, converted to Roman Catholic, then ended up back in the Episcopal church, had two children baptized in the Episcopal Church, then another child baptized in the R.Catholic church, one have first communion in the Catholic church, and now am back to an Episcopal church for the time being, I appreciate stories of spiritual journey. My theology lies between Orthodox and Catholic, mostly, but culturally my family is Episcopal on both sides, and for various reasons it is the best place for my kids right now. But I can hold those theological beliefs and still it comfortably in the Episcopal tent, as it were. 

Edited by Ktgrok
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oh, as for your husband, the Episcopal have an  "instructed eucharist"  or whatever it's called, where they explain the WHY of each part of the liturgy as they go through it. finding it in person is hard, but I bet you could find one on youtube. I wonder if your husband would be more open to a liturgical church if he understood the biblical basis for many parts of the liturgy, and the hows and whys rather than it just seemingly like rote ritual? 

https://www.dohio.org/EpiscopalDioceseOfOhio/media/EpiscopalDioceseOfOhioMedia/Our Diocese/Resources/Documents/Instructed-20Eucharist-1.pdf

This video might help 

 

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9 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

Can I ask why you don't want to return to the Episcopal church? Just curious. As someone that grew up Episcopal, had first communion in an Presbyterian church, was married in a Methodist church, had her first child baptized in a Congregational church, returned and was confirmed in the Episcopal church, flirted with Orthodox parishes, converted to Roman Catholic, then ended up back in the Episcopal church, had two children baptized in the Episcopal Church, then another child baptized in the R.Catholic church, one have first communion in the Catholic church, and now am back to an Episcopal church for the time being, I appreciate stories of spiritual journey. My theology lies between Orthodox and Catholic, mostly, but culturally my family is Episcopal on both sides, and for various reasons it is the best place for my kids right now. But I can hold those theological beliefs and still it comfortably in the Episcopal tent, as it were. 

Basically,  it’s that I don’t want to deal with a church who is on the never ending verge of a split for the last 20 years. That’s a stressful concept to me. I’ve read and heard it termed as their own Reformation. Lots of changes over the time since I left and  I do not feel their house is in order, so to speak, so it’s simply not a place I’m comfortable with anymore. 

We found another Lutheran Church last night that is highly liturgical we are going to try today I think. I had made an assumption that it was contemporary (with the band and little liturgy) based off of someone’s comments but we looked it up last night and it’s all hymns and liturgy which might be a good fit. Another lesson on assumptions for me! Dh, having been evangelical his whole life, is struggling with the Orthodoxy jump. He thinks this will be a better middle ground. So we will try and see. 

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So do you not know about the Orthodox Church's current schism woes or are you not counting Eastern Orthodoxy as a whole as the church's "larger body"? 

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3 minutes ago, Danae said:

So do you not know about the Orthodox Church's current schism woes or are you not counting Eastern Orthodoxy as a whole as the church's "larger body"? 

I do- I made mention  of it on the OP, but I am less familiar with the overall structure of it which is why I am asking questions and not jumping. 

Edited by Æthelthryth the Texan

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We left the Lutheran church for similar reasons -- just not enough to keep our children engaged.  But I loved a lot of things about it.  It was hard to pull away, and also, we're in a small town that doesn't offer much.  The two non-denominational churches here eliminated a lot of the traditions that I always felt added to my faith -- for example:  the advent season, Holy Week, vespers..  I was raised in a Lutheran church and my dh is from a Catholic background, so between the two of us, we grew to love a lot of those sacred traditions.  

We did eventually find a pretty unique non-denominational church that we love (not in our immediate town, but we go there when we can), but I still miss those sacred traditions.  In recent years, I've come to think that a lot of things about the Orthodox church sound very appealing.  (Not just because of the traditions.  I like a lot of their theology too -- or at least, what I know of it!)  I think our current non-denominational church embraces some of that (the pastor actually has an Orthodox background).

(So, no advice really...  just letting you know that I understand!)

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9 hours ago, Iron Jenny Flint said:

Could you please elaborate on what "...might be coming up with the Greeks", as you mentioned?  

It has to do with one patriarch taking action in a region which is under another patriarch’s jurisdiction.  The action has not been taken yet, but a couple of jurisdictions have taken a stand of breaking communion with the encroaching patriarch’s, and most of the rest have written string letters to that patriarch begging him not to take action.  It is complex and it took me two napkins to draw the picture for some Orthodox a couple of weeks ago.  If I sound cryptic, I don’t mean to.   It’s complex.  Some of it is politically (as in earthly politics)-related.

A dumb but simple analogy would be this: The State of Nevada has a big convention coming in so to get more hotel rooms, they unilaterally annex Los Angeles.   

It’s not a split of dogma or faith, technically, but it breaks conciliarity,  which is the Orthodox ecclesial model.  

 

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4 hours ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

Basically,  it’s that I don’t want to deal with a church who is on the never ending verge of a split for the last 20 years. That’s a stressful concept to me. I’ve read and heard it termed as their own Reformation. Lots of changes over the time since I left and  I do not feel their house is in order, so to speak, so it’s simply not a place I’m comfortable with anymore. 

We found another Lutheran Church last night that is highly liturgical we are going to try today I think. I had made an assumption that it was contemporary (with the band and little liturgy) based off of someone’s comments but we looked it up last night and it’s all hymns and liturgy which might be a good fit. Another lesson on assumptions for me! Dh, having been evangelical his whole life, is struggling with the Orthodoxy jump. He thinks this will be a better middle ground. So we will try and see. 

Ah, I get that. In fact, it was a reason I stopped attending the Episcopal church at one point, or rather it was one of the reasons. For what it's worth, it seems to have blown over a bit, or at least isn't such a panic as it was back several years when "the sky is falling" was the cry from every corner. 

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Well. We went to the most liturgical Lutheran service I’ve ever experienced in my life this morning at the Church dh found that I had overlooked before.  Dd and dh were both pretty much on the page of Patty Joanna’s quote upthread of “wait, whaaaaat just happened here?!” It was 1.5 hours and had as much standing, sitting,  and kneeling as any Catholic Church I’ve ever attended. So now I’m feeling like I’ve been secretly going to more contemporary Lutheran churches all these years without a clue. I guess they were traditional. We’re going to go back next Sunday and on this Wednesday as well to give us all a chance to get our bearings. It was smaller than our last Lutheran Church, but that’s not bad. Everyone definitely knew we were visitors and were nice and welcoming. Definitely is an introvert church which I love. That’s about all we could tell from one visit. Oh and it’s simply one of the most beautiful Lutheran churches I’ve ever been in. Very good for contemplation. All of us agreed on that. The younger two did fine. Everyone was glad there was no band! 🙂 

Dh looked at some of the Orthodox Church info with me last night. He’s struggling. The icons put him over the edge I think. I still want to learn more though. And I still would do that visit with you Patty Joanna. It’s just something I would think is awesome to experience even if we didn’t make the switch. 

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2 hours ago, Ktgrok said:

Ah, I get that. In fact, it was a reason I stopped attending the Episcopal church at one point, or rather it was one of the reasons. For what it's worth, it seems to have blown over a bit, or at least isn't such a panic as it was back several years when "the sky is falling" was the cry from every corner. 

I think you and I have had a fair amount of similarities on Church paths. I came within weeks of converting to Catholicism in my 20’s! Then I went through my divorce and that pretty much derailed that. 

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We briefly looked at Orthodoxy but it is a two round trip to the nearest one, so being involved was out.

I was raised United Methodist with some Episcopal here and there depending on where we lived, and DH Free Methodist which is heavily evangelical and non liturgical. He was never super happy FM. We have been to a variety of churches in our married life, and the one that we fit in the best was Missouri Synod Lutheran. However, we don't live in that area anymore so it isn't an option for us and the only Lutheran MS near here is pretty much a dying congregation with a volunteer, retire pastor, and no ministries. We are doing well at the moment in a nice, liturgical United Methodist Church with lots of ministry opportunities and programs. Our kids are grown though so we didn't have to make the decision based on having young children. I can honestly say that the church we attend now would not have been a good fit when our children were littles.

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I've been gone most of the weekend and just seeing this.  I agree that trying vespers first is a great start.  I also find that when it comes to the EO church there's always something that catches people up.  Whether it's the icons or close communion or infant baptism.  I'm not sure if this is true in the Catholic church, but I have found it pretty consistently true in Orthodox.  Usually one person is "let's go!" and the other person is "wait, what about...?"  

We were Lutheran's (LCMS) just before becoming Orthodox.  I learned a lot about sacramental churches from them.  

I'm happy to PM with people about the EO faith too... but I also like having an open discussion.  Whatever is most comfortable for people. 

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8 hours ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

Basically,  it’s that I don’t want to deal with a church who is on the never ending verge of a split for the last 20 years. That’s a stressful concept to me. I’ve read and heard it termed as their own Reformation. Lots of changes over the time since I left and  I do not feel their house is in order, so to speak, so it’s simply not a place I’m comfortable with anymore. 

We found another Lutheran Church last night that is highly liturgical we are going to try today I think. I had made an assumption that it was contemporary (with the band and little liturgy) based off of someone’s comments but we looked it up last night and it’s all hymns and liturgy which might be a good fit. Another lesson on assumptions for me! Dh, having been evangelical his whole life, is struggling with the Orthodoxy jump. He thinks this will be a better middle ground. So we will try and see. 

The Episcopal church really isn't on the verge of a split right now.  There was a crisis back in 2002, but it's pretty stable right now.  The Methodists are currently on the verge of splitting.  

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I'm Episcopalian, but my goddaughter, who was baptized in the Episcopal church, converted to Orthodoxy, and my kids went to Catholic schools and did religious education at the Catholic church because that's where Catechesis of the Good Shepherd was in our town (and it's the best religious education program anywhere).  

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5 minutes ago, Terabith said:

The Episcopal church really isn't on the verge of a split right now.  There was a crisis back in 2002, but it's pretty stable right now.  The Methodists are currently on the verge of splitting.  

Yes, there is a mess afoot. I think what the majority will vote for is the "gentle go" IF there is a split which is a proposal to allow church congregations to exercise their own consciences on LGBTQ issues and if they do not feel they can be entirely inclusive, can exit the denomination with their assets intact and no angst or venom coming from the leadership. I THINK that is what will happen. But I can't say for sure.

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23 hours ago, Liz CA said:

 

Wish we could have a 3-way PM - or if you guys keep it here, I will be reading along. Many of the things the "Texan" (not going to try to spell that other name from memory 😋) said in her OP apply to me as well but I fear dh will not be on board with liturgy as I think it will smack of too "Catholic" for him but I am interested to at least read and learn...and one never knows what opportunities will arise.

You can have multiple people on a PM... I think it's up to 5 names?? 

I have a friend who was also concerned his spouse would not be on board.  He read and thought about it for many years... when he finally decided to approach his wife she basically said, "What took you so long!?"  They both had been waiting for the other, without speaking about their desire.  So, you never know until you talk about it.

But, I came alone.  My dh wasn't on board but he was fine with me going because I got to the point where I couldn't not be Orthodox without spiritually dying.   The kids ended up coming with me (youngest was 3.5 at the time).   He did finally join me after about 9yrs.  Everyone has their own timeline.  Not everyone does it the same way.  Some people would be scandalized by my saying that I didn't go to the same church as my dh... but I didn't want to push or cajole him.  I knew I probably would have been impatient if I had to wait for him.   It worked for us.  

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I am ethnically Eastern European and was extremely close to my immigrant grandmother.  My heart is orthodox, but I married a hardcore Baptist.  Even though he now wants nothing to do with church, orthodoxy is way outside his comfort zone.  I work Saturdays and Sundays, so vespers and Sunday services aren’t possible and the local church has nothing during the week.

I have met several times with the local priest, but I felt more like he was trying to fast track me into chrismation and bring my kids to church, and EO services would be a disaster for my children with sensory integration disorder.  I do plan to convert formally down the road when I have a different job and the kids are older.  Also, the only church is an hour drive and I simply don’t have the energy.

Right now, when I can attend, I’ve found a decent episcopal church down the street from me. They’re far more liberal than I am, but I appreciate the liturgy.

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21 minutes ago, PrincessMommy said:

You can have multiple people on a PM... I think it's up to 5 names?? 

I have a friend who was also concerned his spouse would not be on board.  He read and thought about it for many years... when he finally decided to approach his wife she basically said, "What took you so long!?"  They both had been waiting for the other, without speaking about their desire.  So, you never know until you talk about it.

But, I came alone.  My dh wasn't on board but he was fine with me going because I got to the point where I couldn't not be Orthodox without spiritually dying.   The kids ended up coming with me (youngest was 3.5 at the time).   He did finally join me after about 9yrs.  Everyone has their own timeline.  Not everyone does it the same way.  Some people would be scandalized by my saying that I didn't go to the same church as my dh... but I didn't want to push or cajole him.  I knew I probably would have been impatient if I had to wait for him.   It worked for us.  

That was pretty much us.  Except I was ahead in time.  I think of it like I am the circling vulture, and he is the hawk.  It took me awhile to figure it out, but once I did, he saw what I saw and was there in a dive-bomb minute.  :0)

 

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I'm so glad you liked it! Lutheran definitely sounds like the middle ground, and as you probably know they are in full communion with the Episcopal church (wait...that assumes you went to an ELCA parish, not one of the other more conservative synods). 

I told the priest at the Episcopal church I'm attending right now that what I appreciate most is that he talks about theology during his sermon, rather than preaching about a moral lesson. There is such a big difference, and I CRAVE the deep thinking about theological topics, rather than the moralizing stuff. I already KNOW the morality stuff, that's the simple stuff we learn in Sunday school as kids. Give me the deep stuff, please! And have some chant and some bells and such to round it out 🙂 Incense is a big bonus. 

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35 minutes ago, Medicmom2.0 said:

I am ethnically Eastern European and was extremely close to my immigrant grandmother.  My heart is orthodox, but I married a hardcore Baptist.  Even though he now wants nothing to do with church, orthodoxy is way outside his comfort zone.  I work Saturdays and Sundays, so vespers and Sunday services aren’t possible and the local church has nothing during the week.

I have met several times with the local priest, but I felt more like he was trying to fast track me into chrismation and bring my kids to church, and EO services would be a disaster for my children with sensory integration disorder.  I do plan to convert formally down the road when I have a different job and the kids are older.  Also, the only church is an hour drive and I simply don’t have the energy.

Right now, when I can attend, I’ve found a decent episcopal church down the street from me. They’re far more liberal than I am, but I appreciate the liturgy.

I'm sorry about that.  There are some priests like this.  My hope is that they are few and far between, but I personally know one priest locally who is like that.  it was a huge turn off for my husband, who was already not too interested.  Not my priest though, so it was easily side-stepped.    My priest is the opposite of pushy - almost to the point of that being frustrating in its own way.  LOL.  

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3 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

I'm so glad you liked it! Lutheran definitely sounds like the middle ground, and as you probably know they are in full communion with the Episcopal church (wait...that assumes you went to an ELCA parish, not one of the other more conservative synods). 

I told the priest at the Episcopal church I'm attending right now that what I appreciate most is that he talks about theology during his sermon, rather than preaching about a moral lesson. There is such a big difference, and I CRAVE the deep thinking about theological topics, rather than the moralizing stuff. I already KNOW the morality stuff, that's the simple stuff we learn in Sunday school as kids. Give me the deep stuff, please! And have some chant and some bells and such to round it out 🙂 Incense is a big bonus. 

It's not ELCA- everything I've ever attended is Missouri Synod. We're old school. 🙂

So are you leaving your Catholic Church you think for good, or just taking a breather? (If you don't mind me asking.) 

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9 hours ago, Ktgrok said:

Can I ask why you don't want to return to the Episcopal church? Just curious. As someone that grew up Episcopal, had first communion in an Presbyterian church, was married in a Methodist church, had her first child baptized in a Congregational church, returned and was confirmed in the Episcopal church, flirted with Orthodox parishes, converted to Roman Catholic, then ended up back in the Episcopal church, had two children baptized in the Episcopal Church, then another child baptized in the R.Catholic church, one have first communion in the Catholic church, and now am back to an Episcopal church for the time being, I appreciate stories of spiritual journey. My theology lies between Orthodox and Catholic, mostly, but culturally my family is Episcopal on both sides, and for various reasons it is the best place for my kids right now. But I can hold those theological beliefs and still it comfortably in the Episcopal tent, as it were. 

Somehow I missed your return to the Episcopal church..   I don't want to side-track this thread though.  I wandered many years too -  although never Episcopal or Catholic - before becoming Orthodox.  I also enjoy reading about people spiritual journeys. 

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49 minutes ago, PrincessMommy said:

Somehow I missed your return to the Episcopal church..   I don't want to side-track this thread though.  I wandered many years too -  although never Episcopal or Catholic - before becoming Orthodox.  I also enjoy reading about people spiritual journeys. 

Don't worry about sidetracking! Meandering is fine with me. 🙂 I like to hear other people's journeys as well. It makes me feel like less of a flake. 

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1 hour ago, PrincessMommy said:

Somehow I missed your return to the Episcopal church..   I don't want to side-track this thread though.  I wandered many years too -  although never Episcopal or Catholic - before becoming Orthodox.  I also enjoy reading about people spiritual journeys. 

Yeah, it's new. 

I was having a lot of trust issues in the wake of the most recent sexual abuse issues. Not because of the abuse years ago, but because of the cover ups continuing even now. And a REAL probably with the utter lack of transparency, even up to no explanation being given when the recent vote of the USCCB was canceled. Maybe it was pushed off to do something better, but given that they gave no actual full explanation, how am I to know that? Trust? That's gone. 

And that lack of trust was leading to anger which was keeping me away from Mass, and from God. Also, faith formation classes were changed this year, and now they are doing a family program that has adult required meetings with no childcare offered, at a time when my husband is at work. Um, we are Catholic, we have a lot of kids, how do you expect us to handle this?? 

In desperation I again looked at the Episcopal churches in the area. I didn't want to go back to the one I'd attended before, it was too tiny with nothing for the kids. And the other two I knew of, one skewed VERY wealthy with most of the kids going to the school at the church and the other was all people over 65. But it seemed there was another parish I didn't know about, that isn't too far away, and is, for lack of a better description, more hipster than yuppie. They have amazing sermons that cover real theology, are welcoming to everyone, the sunday school is awesome and my kids BEGGED to go back after their first week. Oh, and they serve fair trade coffee at the coffee hour, lol. So, my kids love it, my husband visited for the Advent Family night (which was AMAZING) and spontaneously offered to come next Sunday (and he's happy he can take communion there), and I'm finding the teaching to really inspire me, which wasn't happening at my parish. Also, I am more a social justice type of Catholic if you know what I mean, and disagree with some of the current doctrines. I can do that as a Catholic, and feel secure in it, but I realized my kids are not adults, and are still learning, and it is probably best they are somewhere where our family beliefs and those they learn at church don't conflict. I am still attending the mom's group at the Catholic Church, and was upfront with them about attending the Episcopal church and still encouraged to remain in the group.I still read Catholic theology, and may return at some point. But for now, we are where we need to be. 

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3 hours ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

Well. We went to the most liturgical Lutheran service I’ve ever experienced in my life this morning at the Church dh found that I had overlooked before.  Dd and dh were both pretty much on the page of Patty Joanna’s quote upthread of “wait, whaaaaat just happened here?!” It was 1.5 hours and had as much standing, sitting,  and kneeling as any Catholic Church I’ve ever attended. So now I’m feeling like I’ve been secretly going to more contemporary Lutheran churches all these years without a clue. I guess they were traditional. We’re going to go back next Sunday and on this Wednesday as well to give us all a chance to get our bearings. It was smaller than our last Lutheran Church, but that’s not bad. Everyone definitely knew we were visitors and were nice and welcoming. Definitely is an introvert church which I love. That’s about all we could tell from one visit. Oh and it’s simply one of the most beautiful Lutheran churches I’ve ever been in. Very good for contemplation. All of us agreed on that. The younger two did fine. Everyone was glad there was no band! 🙂 

Dh looked at some of the Orthodox Church info with me last night. He’s struggling. The icons put him over the edge I think. I still want to learn more though. And I still would do that visit with you Patty Joanna. It’s just something I would think is awesome to experience even if we didn’t make the switch. 

I'm LCMS Lutheran, and there is more of a focus on the church fathers now than there was when I was growing up.

The pastors always learned about them, but it didn't always make into the pews that much.

Not trying to talk you in or out of anything, but I have a few books to recommend that you might enjoy.

"Concordia" from Concordia Publishing House is the readers' edition of the Lutheran Confessions.  This is the founding document of the Lutheran church, and the most readable translation I have seen (original was in Latin and German, and until this version the English ones were very formal and difficult.)  I am sure you're already familiar with the Creeds and the Small Catechism.  I suggest reading the Augsburg Confession and the Large Catechism next.

 

Here are excerpts from an historian contemporary with Jesus and Paul (Josephus), selected and translated by Paul Maier.

https://www.amazon.com/Josephus-Essential-Works-Flavius/dp/082543260X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1543797098&sr=1-1&keywords=paul+maier+books

Ditto for Eusibius.  

Eusebius-Church-History/dp/0825433282/ref=pd_sim_14_1?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=0825433282&pd_rd_r=cf218a61-f692-11e8-ac52-7be55c7652c3&pd_rd_w=BrFGW&pd_rd_wg=PeQHK&pf_rd_i=desktop-dp-sims&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_p=18bb0b78-4200-49b9-ac91-f141d61a1780&pf_rd_r=PF4505PNASQWTX3C7Q31&pf_rd_s=desktop-dp-sims&pf_rd_t=40701&psc=1&refRID=PF4505PNASQWTX3C7Q31

It has become pretty common for LCMS Lutherans to use the 'Treasury of Daily Prayer' for their devotions.  This includes writing from church father in addition to Bible readings, prayers, and hymn suggestions.  

https://www.amazon.com/Treasury-Daily-Prayer-Concordia-Publishing/dp/0758615140/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1543797345&sr=1-1&keywords=treasury+of+daily+prayer

 

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Hello!  I too have had a busy few days and haven't been here very much.  We (family of nine) started our conversion to the Orthodox Church ten years ago last month.  We went to church with Patty Joanna on Christmas Eve 10 years ago this Christmas and were baptized nine years ago this January.  We converted from charismatic/non-denominational type churches. 

Your husband sounds like mine at the time!  I wonder if it could help your husband to know that he's not alone in getting caught up with various aspects of Orthodoxy.  When my husband asked for one book to read (because I'd been reading for several weeks), I handed him Becoming Orthodox by Fr. Peter Gillquist. I actually would make a different selection today, but that one both addressed the why of Orthodoxy but also mentioned a couple of priests who serve near us so there was that tie, too.  Anyway, when he got the book, he turned almost immediately to the sections on the Theotokos (Mary) and icons.  Both were completely foreign to our long-established protestant life of faith. 

And then I also thought of an article your husband might enjoy.  It is also by Frederica Mathews-Green, an author mentioned above.  It's called Men and Church and is about why men quite often absolutely love Orthodoxy and its liturgy.  Eastern Orthodox is not an easy road, but it's a genuine path to Christ through His church, and the path is a healing path. 

The saints, icons, the Theotokos -- all these things were concerning things to us as we began our journey.  And they are all things we are so thankful for today.  You mentioned icons, I believe, in regard to your concerns (or maybe a concern of your husband's?). The thing that got me when it came to icons was when it was explained to me that they testify to the incarnation of Christ.  Because Christ became man, he could be depicted as a man can be depicted; because he can be depicted, because he became man, the church gave us icons.  When we venerate an icon, we not only honor the saint, but we say "I believe Christ became incarnate of a Virgin." 

May your journey continue to draw you closer to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one in essence and undivided.   

 

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6 minutes ago, milovany said:

Hello!  I too have had a busy few days and haven't been here very much.  We (family of nine) started our conversion to the Orthodox Church ten years ago last month.  We went to church with Patty Joanna on Christmas Eve 10 years ago this Christmas and were baptized nine years ago this January.  We converted from charismatic/non-denominational type churches. 

Your husband sounds like mine at the time!  I wonder if it could help your husband to know that he's not alone in getting caught up with various aspects of Orthodoxy.  When my husband asked for one book to read (because I'd been reading for several weeks), I handed him Becoming Orthodox by Fr. Peter Gillquist. I actually would make a different selection today, but that one both addressed the why of Orthodoxy but also mentioned a couple of priests who serve near us so there was that tie, too.  Anyway, when he got the book, he turned almost immediately to the sections on the Theotokos (Mary) and icons.  Both were completely foreign to our long-established protestant life of faith. 

And then I also thought of an article your husband might enjoy.  It is also by Frederica Mathews-Green, an author mentioned above.  It's called Men and Church and is about why men quite often absolutely love Orthodoxy and its liturgy.  Eastern Orthodox is not an easy road, but it's a genuine path to Christ through His church, and the path is a healing path. 

The saints, icons, the Theotokos -- all these things were concerning things to us as we began our journey.  And they are all things we are so thankful for today.  You mentioned icons, I believe, in regard to your concerns (or maybe a concern of your husband's?). The thing that got me when it came to icons was when it was explained to me that they testify to the incarnation of Christ.  Because Christ became man, he could be depicted as a man can be depicted; because he can be depicted, because he became man, the church gave us icons.  When we venerate an icon, we not only honor the saint, but we say "I believe Christ became incarnate of a Virgin." 

May your journey continue to draw you closer to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one in essence and undivided.   

 

Happy Church Anniversary! I bet Christmas Eve was an amazing first experience. 

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1 minute ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

Happy Church Anniversary! I bet Christmas Eve was an amazing first experience. 

It was for sure—it was an amazing snowstorm; ours was the only parish open in the whole city and half our congregation was Milovany’s family.   We were very impressed!    We3 were baptized exactly one year earlier, in 2007, and in 2008 my FIL died right before Christmas and we couldn’t get to his town because all the roads were closed due to this snowstorm.  

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8 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

Happy Church Anniversary! I bet Christmas Eve was an amazing first experience. 

 

As Patty Joanna tells it, our family made up half the congregation that night and because of a snow storm in the city, the other congregants were from other churches. Yes, it was beautiful, but were pretty overwhelmed, too!  Absolutely NO liturgical background whatsoever. I think it was a vigil plus Divine Liturgy, too (or some kind of longer-than-usual service) so it was all the more .... challenging.  Good challenging, but still, it was so foreign to us.  Now it's home.  

Note: I see that Patty responded while I was typing this.  I bet she mentioned snow.  😉 

Edited by milovany
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I took the longest time to warm up to an Orthodox Christmas Eve service.  It is NOTHING like any Western Christmas Eve service.  It's very beautiful, but it took me several years to realize it.  I think it wasn't until someone told me to think of it as the Paschal Midnight Service only with God Incarnate instead of Christ Risen.   I don't know what I would have thought if that had been my first Orthodox experience.  My hat is off to you Milovany for being so open to it. 

 

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1 hour ago, PrincessMommy said:

I took the longest time to warm up to an Orthodox Christmas Eve service.  It is NOTHING like any Western Christmas Eve service.  It's very beautiful, but it took me several years to realize it.  I think it wasn't until someone told me to think of it as the Paschal Midnight Service only with God Incarnate instead of Christ Risen.   I don't know what I would have thought if that had been my first Orthodox experience.  My hat is off to you Milovany for being so open to it. 

 

Well it surprised the tar out of me. 

I was on the phone with her, and my DH kept (annoyingly) hissing in my ear, “invite them to church!”   Idiotic.  NO ONE could get to church in this snow.   But I asked, and they came!!!!

And I got a new friend.  :0)

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3 hours ago, PrincessMommy said:

I don't know what I would have thought if that had been my first Orthodox experience.  My hat is off to you Milovany for being so open to it.

 

Patty Joanna would have to say what exactly the service was, I don't remember.  It wasn't a midnight service, though, I do know that. We do the midnight service in our parish now. That night, we'd driven from our home town about two hours away to have dinner with my family a little bit south from where Patty's church was, and so it was probably more like 7 or 8 PM that we got to her parish and I think the service was 2 or two and a half hours long.

I was as surprised as Patty Joanna and her dh that my husband said yes to going!  We were in our hometown during said phone call and were preparing to head to their area for dinner with my family.  Patty made the invite and thinking for sure he'd say no, I mentioned it to my husband and he said "Sure, let's do it" right away. It was still about almost three months before we attended another service in our home town, but from that point on, we were on the way. 

It's a big change.  Don't rush anyone.  I was always the one who would get antsy in a church after a few years and want to check out something else.  So when the same thing happened with the Orthodox church, my husband said he really wasn't interested.  He was investing time with the men in our then-current church and we did love the people there.  I just kept reading, maybe occasionally mentioning something, but I got to the point of praying, "Lord, I don't want at all to push dh; it has to be you nudging him."  Within a week he asked me for the book.  In the end, once we went to our second service late March of the following spring, he was running while I had a hesitation.  Over the course of 2-3 months, we came together again and were moving forward from then on. 

Don't rush.  The church will be there.  I obviously do think it's the best place for working out one's salvation, I think it's the ark that brings us home, but everyone has to come to that on their own -- if they do.  And there's no hurry.  And there's no judgment of anyone's else's journey.  I love that about Orthodoxy.  It's about our own walk with God, in conjunction with those at church, but we're not to watch and judge what others are doing. 

ETA - I want to add that somewhere in there, a bit of time before our visit to Patty's church, Princess Mommy had watched me on another homeschooling moms board start to show an interest in "Messianic Judaism," and she mentioned that maybe I'd be interested in Eastern Orthodoxy.  What I was probably talking about was the interest in a yearly cycle that celebrated the feasts.  Somehow, my husband and I both knew there had to be something to that, but other than Christmas and Easter, those were not things present in our church experience.  At the time Princess Mommy mentioned this, I wasn't interested at all in Orthodoxy,, but when our journey started in earnest, I remembered that comment and contacted her.  She and I also did quite a bit of emailing/messaging and I'm thankful for her input in our story, too. 

Edited by milovany
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52 minutes ago, Patty Joanna said:

Milovany— it was the Festal Vigil for Nativity. Vespers (or maybe Compline) andMatins smooshed together.  :0)

 

I thought there was communion at the end, so that throws me off. Was it litya and artoklasia? (Blessed bread?) And if it was a vigil, did you have Divine Liturgy the next morning? 

Edited by milovany

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Our family explored the Orthodox faith and attended Orthodox churches for a couple of years, becoming catechumans but we did not end up being chrismated (joining the Orthodox church).  There were a few reasons, but none of them were theological.  They were more 'earthly problems' that come from living in an imperfect, fallen world.  Unfortunately one was a really big earthly problem and the next Orthodox church was a fairly long distance away (hour and a half one way). 

At any rate, my time within Orthodoxy brought a deep love of liturgy I had never experienced before, despite being raised Roman Catholic.  The theology was the clearest version of Christianity that was ever explained to me.  For the rest of my life, if I have a theological question, I will always want to hear the Orthodox take on it.  My family has joined a small, beautiful, welcoming, traditional and liturgical church that is not THE Orthodox church, but I would say it is western orthodox with a small 'o'.  That is just how our story unfolded. 

I would say if you ever have a chance to go to a Russian style liturgy it is worth experiencing even if you do not join.  It is the most beautiful liturgy I have ever experienced.   As for the theology, it is lovely to study whatever faith you end up in.  I would recommend Timothy Ware's book The Orthodox Church for an overview if you like to read.  My husband was raised Baptist and we were evangelical.  He was NOT a reader.  What really helped us was to listen to podcasts on Ancient Faith Radio.  There is an excellent series called Our Life in Christ that takes things like liturgy, the role of Mary, icons, etc...   and really breaks them down and explains the Orthodox theology.

I hope you find a church home. It was a really long journey for my family so I empathize.

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On 12/2/2018 at 12:34 PM, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

Well. We went to the most liturgical Lutheran service I’ve ever experienced in my life this morning at the Church dh found that I had overlooked before.  Dd and dh were both pretty much on the page of Patty Joanna’s quote upthread of “wait, whaaaaat just happened here?!” It was 1.5 hours and had as much standing, sitting,  and kneeling as any Catholic Church I’ve ever attended. So now I’m feeling like I’ve been secretly going to more contemporary Lutheran churches all these years without a clue. I guess they were traditional. We’re going to go back next Sunday and on this Wednesday as well to give us all a chance to get our bearings. It was smaller than our last Lutheran Church, but that’s not bad. Everyone definitely knew we were visitors and were nice and welcoming. Definitely is an introvert church which I love. That’s about all we could tell from one visit. Oh and it’s simply one of the most beautiful Lutheran churches I’ve ever been in. Very good for contemplation. All of us agreed on that. The younger two did fine. Everyone was glad there was no band! 🙂 

Dh looked at some of the Orthodox Church info with me last night. He’s struggling. The icons put him over the edge I think. I still want to learn more though. And I still would do that visit with you Patty Joanna. It’s just something I would think is awesome to experience even if we didn’t make the switch. 

 

Once I read on the page Patty Joanna linked that they "kiss icons" I knew it would not work for dh but I should keep an open mind because not all parishes are the same as far as I understand. I am going to have to search for a Lutheran Church like the one you just found. I am not sure dh will be able to get with the music. He loves the music (band) at the two churches we have been going back and forth but hymn singing would even be a stretch for him - at least traditional hymns since quite a few are "remade" in a different key and tempo in contemporary churches.

I stood way in back covering my ears because the band was so loud (should have been adjusted by the sound board people but evidently they think the louder the better) and I do miss the more traditional type of hymns.

Edited by Liz CA
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6 minutes ago, Liz CA said:

 

Once I read on the page Patty Joanna linked that they "kiss icons" I knew it would not work for dh but I should keep an open mind because not all parishes are the same as far as I understand. I am going to have to search for a Lutheran Church like the one you just found. I am not sure dh will be able to get with the music. He loves the music (band) at the two churches we have been going back and forth but hymn singing would even be a stretch for him - at least traditional hymns since quite a few are "remade" in a different key and tempo in contemporary churches.

I stood way in back covering my ears because the band was so loud (should have been adjusted by the sound board people but evidently they think the louder the better) and I do miss the more traditional type of hymns.

Several of the Lutheran churches near me do a mix of traditional hymns and contemporary songs. Heck, my Catholic parish does! And many do different music at different services if you check the websites. 

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On 12/2/2018 at 5:01 PM, milovany said:

Hello!  I too have had a busy few days and haven't been here very much.  We (family of nine) started our conversion to the Orthodox Church ten years ago last month.  We went to church with Patty Joanna on Christmas Eve 10 years ago this Christmas and were baptized nine years ago this January.  We converted from charismatic/non-denominational type churches. 

Your husband sounds like mine at the time!  I wonder if it could help your husband to know that he's not alone in getting caught up with various aspects of Orthodoxy.  When my husband asked for one book to read (because I'd been reading for several weeks), I handed him Becoming Orthodox by Fr. Peter Gillquist. I actually would make a different selection today, but that one both addressed the why of Orthodoxy but also mentioned a couple of priests who serve near us so there was that tie, too.  Anyway, when he got the book, he turned almost immediately to the sections on the Theotokos (Mary) and icons.  Both were completely foreign to our long-established protestant life of faith. 

And then I also thought of an article your husband might enjoy.  It is also by Frederica Mathews-Green, an author mentioned above.  It's called Men and Church and is about why men quite often absolutely love Orthodoxy and its liturgy.  Eastern Orthodox is not an easy road, but it's a genuine path to Christ through His church, and the path is a healing path. 

The saints, icons, the Theotokos -- all these things were concerning things to us as we began our journey.  And they are all things we are so thankful for today.  You mentioned icons, I believe, in regard to your concerns (or maybe a concern of your husband's?). The thing that got me when it came to icons was when it was explained to me that they testify to the incarnation of Christ.  Because Christ became man, he could be depicted as a man can be depicted; because he can be depicted, because he became man, the church gave us icons.  When we venerate an icon, we not only honor the saint, but we say "I believe Christ became incarnate of a Virgin." 

May your journey continue to draw you closer to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one in essence and undivided.   

 

 

Milovany, I believe you posted on this board when you went to visit for the first time. I remember a post by you when you were just considering the Orthodox Church. I believe you also mentioned (with pics) the official conversion. I cannot believe it's been 10 years!!

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It took me several months to kiss an icon.  I understood the theology, and I understood what everyone was doing, but it was still extremely uncomfortable for me at first.  Basically, I wanted to shake the icon's hand instead of kissing it, lol... it is definitely an Eastern vs Western thing.  I did however, grow to really love having the presence of all the icons surrounding me during worship and it is one of the things I now miss.  Interestingly, my southern Baptist raised husband took almost immediately to the icons and never really had an issue with it.  I was raised Catholic and it took me a lot longer to understand it all.  He responded much more intuitively to them and I was kind of stuck in my head.  

Edited by CaliforniaDreamin
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Liz CA - I know!  It's hard for me to believe it's been 10 years, too.  I remember sharing a bit about our journey here (probably annoyingly too much so, zealous convert and all).

As to those who commented on kissing icons: I was wary, too.  Do you know how I got okay with it?  It happened all of a sudden one day and it's not theological.  I was walking to work and dropped my cell phone, on which the home screen photo was my then 16 or so year old son.  I picked my phone up and, seeing the picture of my son, kissed the screen without even thinking.  If I can kiss a cell phone on which someone I love is depicted, I can certainly kiss an icon of Christ or a saint, whom I also love. 

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