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Switch to Forum Live View The Orthodox Church of America?
6 years ago  ::  Jun 29, 2008 - 3:02AM #1
Theo
Posts: 4,687
My local church, an affiliate of the International Charismatic Episcopal Church, appears to be disbanding. If things take place as my priest expects, our Parish will close within a month.  He informed me yesterday of his recent decision to resign from our denomination and join the local Orthodox Parish.

I am uncertain as yet if I will be following him and his family to the Orthodox Church... I plan on visiting the Church with him, but am pretty vague on how things will go. I think I am largely in line with Orthodox doctrine, I am just very uncertain about how I will fit into the larger picture. You see, I was planning on seeking ordination within the next few years, and just can not see myself as an Orthodox Priest singing the Liturgy, nor do I have a clear understanding of the possible academic requirements that might be expected of me… another trip to Seminary is simply out of the question for me at this stage in my life. 

I was told that there is a movement within the Orthodox Churches in America, (Greek, Russian, and Syrian) to come together and form the Orthodox Church of America – is this true and does any one know anything about this?

~ Theophilus
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 30, 2008 - 1:11PM #2
WitnessNJ
Posts: 144

Theo wrote:

I was told that there is a movement within the Orthodox Churches in America, (Greek, Russian, and Syrian) to come together and form the Orthodox Church of America – is this true and does any one know anything about this?

  Theophilus,
   
  The Orthodox Churches in America are coming closer together, but  I do not think that you can call it a movement.  I just think it is coming out of the natural course of events that brought Orthodoxy here. 
   
  I think this because historically, Orthodox Christianity in North America started as the result of the Russian missionaries in Alaska. As this missionary work spread down to San Francisco, it met up with already Orthodox Christian people who came from Central Europe, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.   At first the Russian missionary church was able to take care of all Orthodox Christians, it changed from a missionary diocese to multi-ethnic North American diocese that  spread eventually to  New   York.
   
  All this could have become the Orthodox Church of America, but 1917 Bolshevik Revolution ended the Russia Empire that supported the multi-ethnic diocese in America.  With the collapse of a unified church administration here in America, nationalist passions spread among the parishes of the American diocese.  Even the Russian-American community divided itself.  And at this same time, waves of  immigration from Orthodox lands,  bringing their Orthodox Clergy and Church with them, led to more division.
   
  One of the chief points of Orthodoxy is that it is one Church, one belief.  No matter how divided the administration got, if one looked at the Churches, they were the same Church.  There is already a Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas. It was established to make the ties of unity of the one Church, stronger and more visible.
   
  Here is a website link http://www.scoba.us

  I think that this will someday lead to one Orthodox Church of America.  The other thing that will lead to one Church is that the people themselves will not see the point of ethnic based churches, just Christ based.
   
  Andy

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6 years ago  ::  Jul 30, 2008 - 5:09AM #3
Theo
Posts: 4,687
Things are more clear now… my church is not disbanding. Instead, the bishop has written encouraging our members to hang in there, while he does his best to find us another priest.

My priest has resigned, and his last service with us will be the last weekend of August. He and his family are on vacation now, but when they return they will be joining the local Orthodox Church, where he will be ordained a priest, after serving as a deacon and taking several classes.

We have another priest in our parish, an army Chaplin, who will administer the sacraments when his duties on base allow. Another member of the Church and I will say a Deacon’s Mass on the Sundays the Chaplin is not available.

I am still interested in taking the classes on the first 7 Ecumenical Councils being offered by the local Orthodox Church, but I do not think I will be converting to Orthodoxy any time soon. I admit to being conflicted about this… my intellect leans pretty strongly toward the Orthodox, but my emotions side with the members of my church. And my flat feet object to standing on a cement floor for over and hour and a half long mass on Sundays – some chairs or pews would go along way towards making people like myself more welcome. 

And then there’s my 30 years of living as an Evangelical Pentecostal Christian – I feel that I would be turning my back on my entire adult life by converting to Orthodoxy. Changing Churches is not a big deal – changing religions is – and that is what converting to Orthodoxy amounts to in my opinion.

This is a big deal to me because years ago, back in 1975, my brother tried to win me over to the LDS Church. And at the time, with me being entirely ignorant of what to believe, I took offense at my brother because I was already a Christian, Jesus Christ was already my Lord and Savior, I was already saved, born again, filled with the Holy Spirit – what more could the Mormon Church offer me?

There is much in the Orthodox Church that I liked, when I visited there a few weekends ago… but were I to visit the local Baptist Church, they would not ask me to convert – the Orthodox Church does.

~ Theophilus
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6 years ago  ::  Aug 01, 2008 - 7:25PM #4
Basil1951
Posts: 204
Theo,

If you don't want to convert -- then don't, but keep attending, even if only occasionally.  I know there are many, many people who attend Orthodox liturgies but are not Orthodox. 

If you want to experience what sets Orthodoxy apart from Roman Catholicism or any flavor of Protestantism, next year attend the Orthodox Holy Week Services, the week before Pascha.  If you can make it attend at least one service every day from Lazarus Saturday (the day before Palm Sunday) through the Resurrection service and the Paschal vespers on during the day of Pascha.

Keep your mind open, ask questions, and seek answers -- that is what will lead you on your spiritual journey.  Do not let your faith stagnate.

Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us both.

Basil
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6 years ago  ::  Aug 01, 2008 - 7:25PM #5
Basil1951
Posts: 204
Theo,

If you don't want to convert -- then don't, but keep attending, even if only occasionally.  I know there are many, many people who attend Orthodox liturgies but are not Orthodox. 

If you want to experience what sets Orthodoxy apart from Roman Catholicism or any flavor of Protestantism, next year attend the Orthodox Holy Week Services, the week before Pascha.  If you can make it attend at least one service every day from Lazarus Saturday (the day before Palm Sunday) through the Resurrection service and the Paschal vespers on during the day of Pascha.

Keep your mind open, ask questions, and seek answers -- that is what will lead you on your spiritual journey.  Do not let your faith stagnate.

Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us both.

Basil
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