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Switch to Forum Live View My experience with the Greek Orthodox Church.....
10 years ago  ::  May 18, 2008 - 9:03PM #1
Jen1079
Posts: 1
It saddens me to tell you that I have found the Greek Orthodox Church to be filled with wonderful traditions but completely void of the holy spirit.  In my church, it is only during Easter and Christmas that most members bother attending service at all.  I leave service with nothing.  I long for the priest to open up the bible and read the word of God!   I have really tried very hard to be moved and to feel in the presence of God when practicing this religion.......but it is a very rare experience for me.
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10 years ago  ::  May 18, 2008 - 11:42PM #2
Kerygma
Posts: 798
[QUOTE=Jen1079;508657]It saddens me to tell you that I have found the Greek Orthodox Church to be filled with wonderful traditions but completely void of the holy spirit.  In my church, it is only during Easter and Christmas that most members bother attending service at all.  I leave service with nothing.  I long for the priest to open up the bible and read the word of God!   I have really tried very hard to be moved and to feel in the presence of God when practicing this religion.......but it is a very rare experience for me.[/QUOTE]

Hmmm... Well, first off, you surely have the bible opened at every service. At the Liturgy you have both the Gospel and the Epistle read and this changes on a weekly basis. So immediately I can see that you are mistaken about this very important aspect of the services. It makes me suspect that there may be "other" things going on here that are not apparent to you as you write this. For example, while I would possibly (I only say possibly) agree with you that you may not feel the presence of God in your church, I would certainly caution you about painting the entire Orthodox Church with such broad brush strokes for the simple reason that you have not experienced ALL of the Orthodox Church. What do you say when I tell you (and I'm sure others will join in) that I DO  feel the presence of the Holy Spirit at our Orthodox services and in the services of many other Orthodox churches in which I have communed? It suggests that perhaps the problem lies with either you or with the dynamics of what is happening at your particular parish. Perhaps it would be advisable to do a few things:

- call your priest and make an appointment to sit down and talk about these things. Instead of making an accusation, why not make a plea for help and understanding?

- pray for your priest and for your parish.

- go to church in spite of these feelings. Do you believe that God hides Himself from those who diligently seek Him?

- if all else fails, go to another Orthodox church.

But whatever you do, remember that the Church is the Body of Christ and the gates of Hell will not prevail against Her. She has outlived all her pall bearers over two millennium and will continue to do so until our Lord returns. We cannot sit in judgment upon the Church, Jeni. It is she who sits in judgment upon us.

I wish you well but I must say I feel very sorry for you at this point. My wife and I will pray for you. I truly believe that there are some "other things" going on here that you have not shared fully with us.
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10 years ago  ::  May 19, 2008 - 10:15AM #3
KatherineOrthodixie
Posts: 3,689
If by the "word of God" you mean the Bible, I'm confused - is the Epistle and Gospel not read in your parish church?

Or are you perhaps looking for a Bible study?
“The Law of the Church is to give oneself to what is given not to seek one’s own.” Fr. Alexander Schmemann
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10 years ago  ::  May 19, 2008 - 2:58PM #4
WitnessNJ
Posts: 144
Jen1079,
   
  I don’t know you or your parish because you did not say much, but since you posted I assume you want responses.   My response is also,  ‘talk to your priest’, and ‘pray to the Holy Spirit’.  The way I see it is the Holy Spirit is everywhere present and fills all things.   If one can not find the Holy Spirit at an Orthodox Church, the person is either distracted, or there is an obstacle.   
   
  Are services at you parish celebrated in a language that you understand?  If not, try to find a parish that does. I ask this because you posted, Greek Orthodox Church, are the services in Greek?
   
  As for the bible, almost all of the liturgy is taken from scripture. Listen to the hymns, they are either Psalms, or biblical descriptions. 
   
  Another obstacle could be expectations, you say,  “I have really tried very hard to be moved and to feel in the presence of God”, relax, don’t get in God’s way with preconceived ideas of a relationship with God.  This is another reason to talk to a priest (or other spiritual person).     
   
  Don’t worry about the Christmas and Easter folks, be glad that they can make it even just then. Pray for them, and try to see the image of God in them.
   
  Try to visit other Orthodox parishes,  see if the void (obstacles and distractions) is your parish or if the Church in general.  Not all  parishes are the same.
   
  Andy
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10 years ago  ::  May 23, 2008 - 2:40PM #5
tman
Posts: 4
First of all the reason we go to Church is to Worship our creator.  It is not a place for us to "feel" something.  If you are moved by the Holy Spirit then that is a bonus!  The Holy Spirit is alive and well within His Church.  The Holy Scriptures are read aloud at every service.

Don't be too harsh to judge others who only attend on C&E.  They may be at a place where they need prayers from those who are consistently practicing the faith.  Jesus Christ died for us while we were yet sinners.  The life of a Christian is a journey.  St. Paul teaches us that it is truly a "marathon" which must be completed.

Let's pray that the Holy Spirit fills your Church service and by the grace of God that the prodigal sons and daughters return to their Heavenly Father.

Christ is Risen!
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9 years ago  ::  Jul 05, 2008 - 3:03AM #6
Anjali78
Posts: 11
It's too bad that's how the culture is among the people attending there (by culture I don't mean Greek, but just that people don't seem to be very passionate about attending), but that shouldn't change the fact that the holy spirit is indeed there - He has to be in order for the bread and wine to change, right?  Even if other factors there seem to distract away from this knowledge, maybe focusing on it will lead you to feel more satisfied and appreciative?  Also, as for readint eh Bible, isn't the whole liturgy words taken out of the Bible itself?  Just listening to the liturgy is listening to the Word...

As for wishing for a more enthusiastic church body, maybe there are other Orthodox churches you can visit locally?
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9 years ago  ::  Jul 11, 2008 - 5:06AM #7
Incognitus
Posts: 593
[QUOTE=Jen1079;508657]It saddens me to tell you that I have found the Greek Orthodox Church to be filled with wonderful traditions but completely void of the holy spirit.  In my church, it is only during Easter and Christmas that most members bother attending service at all.  I leave service with nothing.  I long for the priest to open up the bible and read the word of God!   I have really tried very hard to be moved and to feel in the presence of God when practicing this religion.......but it is a very rare experience for me.[/QUOTE]

Excuse me but if the Orthodox Church was void of the Holy Spirit, we would not have a 2,000 year track record of producing countless thousands of saints who overcame human nature, and millions of martyr saints. When you think of the Holy Spirit you redefine it into protestant or evangelical EMOTIONALISM. When Orthodox use the term Holy Spirit, we mean purity  of heart and death to the world.

Orthodoxy is about sacrifice and death to self and the world. If you are looking for emotionalism then you will be happy in a self-centered religion like evangelicalism.

I would encourage you to read the lives of the saints, and you will see the Holy Spirit. We get out of it what we put into it.
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9 years ago  ::  Jul 11, 2008 - 11:53AM #8
Kerygma
Posts: 798
Whoa. Let's not be too hard on Jen. After all... you get far more with honey than a stick. Jen voiced her opinion and she's entitled to it. Granted, we all evidently disagree with her views on the Holy Spirit and the Orthodox Church, nevertheless, we don't need to express indignation with her. Apparently Jen has had issues within her local church. I wish she would return and elaborate so that we might help her. I suspect she is angry/confused/lonely and in her frustration she posted here. Reading books is all well and good (hey, I'm a reader too) BUT reading books is NOT the answer to every problem and I strongly suggest that this is NOT one of those times that reading a "good book" will help to resolve Jen's issues. Instead, it seems to me that she needs to discuss her feelings with her priest, with her friends and family and hopefully with us or some other interested Orthodox Christians. And by interested I mean folks who are not going to bully her nor condemn or judge her. Not saying that you did this but your opening salvo came across as somewhat harsh (i.e. Excuse me....!) and really, it was uncalled for in my opinion.
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9 years ago  ::  Jul 11, 2008 - 11:53AM #9
Kerygma
Posts: 798
Whoa. Let's not be too hard on Jen. After all... you get far more with honey than a stick. Jen voiced her opinion and she's entitled to it. Granted, we all evidently disagree with her views on the Holy Spirit and the Orthodox Church, nevertheless, we don't need to express indignation with her. Apparently Jen has had issues within her local church. I wish she would return and elaborate so that we might help her. I suspect she is angry/confused/lonely and in her frustration she posted here. Reading books is all well and good (hey, I'm a reader too) BUT reading books is NOT the answer to every problem and I strongly suggest that this is NOT one of those times that reading a "good book" will help to resolve Jen's issues. Instead, it seems to me that she needs to discuss her feelings with her priest, with her friends and family and hopefully with us or some other interested Orthodox Christians. And by interested I mean folks who are not going to bully her nor condemn or judge her. Not saying that you did this but your opening salvo came across as somewhat harsh (i.e. Excuse me....!) and really, it was uncalled for in my opinion.
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9 years ago  ::  Jul 11, 2008 - 4:31PM #10
Incognitus
Posts: 593
I was an evangelical for twenty-two years, so I know how they think. They think the Holy Spirit is measured by how emotional a person gets or if they are always "happy." Their whole system is about worldly happiness and blessings. They know nothing about the Holy Spirit, nothing about spiritual warfare and the struggles that this entails, and nothing about death to the world, flesh and devil [the detachment process].Evangelicals are always smiling and "happy" because they have not yet engaged in the life of self-crucifiction. They live only for themselves.

I have been on both sides: evangelical , and Orthodox. And I can say with utmost certainty and authority, there is no comparison between the two. Evangelicalism / protestantism and it's various thousands of subsets, is a spiritual farce. They do not know God, they do not know the Holy Spirit, and they are making Christianity look bad in the eyes of the world.
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