Church The Orthodox Church

MeymoonMan

Sparrow
Orthodox
what an Orthodox service is like

It's like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdyGJUinKGE

You will be expected to abstain from participating Orthodox communion until you are Baptised or Chrismated in the Orthodox church. You will be expected to stand for most or all of the service. Some orthodox churches don't have seats at all, so your mileage may vary. This is a custom of ours, because we believe that worship and communion with Christ, as well as our relationship with Him more broadly, is a laborious task not to be taken sitting down. I don't recall anything else for you to be forewarned about. Whatever parish you attend, it's likely that you'll participate in the liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom. In ancient church history, we had many more regional liturgies, but unfortunately most are lost to time.

EDIT: Here's another. This is at Father Josiah Trenham's parish in Riverside, California. He's an excellent speaker. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdX-NLIDSC8
 

MeymoonMan

Sparrow
Orthodox
blacknwhitespade said:
How have you guys who converted to the Orthodox church in your adulthood faired socially in the church? It seems almost inaccessible. Protestant-to-Orthodox convert Frank Schaeffer acknowledged the social isolation, lack of fellowship, etc, particularly if you're a new convert, in his Dancing Alone book. They seem almost like ethnic clubs moreso than houses of worship: Serbian Orthodox church, Russian Orthodox, Greek festivals, etc. How do you "break in" if you're not Serbian/Greek/Russian/Assyrian and didn't grow up in the church?

The Greeks around me are insular in a way, but also very inviting. If there's anything hindering my assimilation into the community, it's me reclining from the social aspect as is typical of me. I am a Protestant→Orthodox convert and I'm not Greek or any traditionally Orthodox ethnicity. My ancestry is halfway in the caucasus (broadly) and halfway in ol' Erin's Isle. Maybe the Greeks are open with me because I'm plausibly Greek in appearance, but I doubt that's it. I've attended for almost a year. I don't know how long you've been at it, but if you began attending recently, it's probably a matter of time. The more newcomers at any given parish, the more difficult it is to assimilate, especially if the number of parishioners exceeds the Dunbar limit. Orthodox parishes are families, and parishioners want to be able to have some degree of social relationship with every other parishioner, and this becomes impossible when newcomers flow in as they have in recent years. Hopefully, this will lead to new churches being erected.
 
I've taken an interest in Orthodoxy. Roman Catholicism seems to be too "fire and brimstone" and domineering for me. Anglicanism is just run by England's upper class. I don't see how it can be credible with a monarch and priviledged twerps from places like Eton school as its heads. The previous Archibishop of Canterbury was brainless in some ways too.

I do like Russian Orthodoxy being true to its roots. And not bowing to the diseases like homosexualism etc.

The sad part is that I've dated Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic girls.
Early on I thought "this should be good, they think about right and wrong, right?" WRONG.
All too often I've felt that being "religious" is ultimately a public relations exercise and insincerity from them.

You'd hope/think some of the best people you meet are pretty religious. But in my experience, it was amongst the worst people.

Regardless of that, I will continue to look at Orthodoxy while I'm in the West. And if I move out East.
 

stugatz

Pelican
I attended a Melkite Catholic service for Good Friday. As far as I know, the Melkite were Orthodox Christians that later became joined with Rome.

I have nothing to say about the service that Gooz Boos didn't already cover. Lots of standing, lots of long-winded chanting, and the service was an hour and forty-five minutes long. There was a funeral procession for Christ, too, that was pretty wild. (The neighborhood the cathederal is in has over the years turned into a black neighborhood. The stares were pretty funny and I had to try very hard to laugh.)

Incense everywhere. The priest had a long beard and would have probably been mistaken for a Muslim in the wrong context - the Melkites originate in Syria, after all.
 
I have a related question for the Christians here. There are multiple Orthodox churches where I live. But they seem to all be associated with a particular ethnicity; e.g. Russian, Ukrainian, Greek. I'm very clearly not of Eastern European descent and don't speak any of those languages.

There are also a number of Catholic and Protestant options near me.

I have heretofore not been religious and neither is my family but have recently begun delving into the Bible on my own and am interested in perhaps converting/joining/whatever the correct terminology is. From what I've learned about the differences between the various denominations, the various Orthodox Churches seem on paper to be the best fit. But can I go there if I'm clearly not of the specified ethnicity?

Not sure if this a silly question but as yet I've never been to a Church outside of weddings.

EDIT: I see there was some discussion of the same concern above.
 

stugatz

Pelican
Can someone explain to me the branches of Orthodox Christianity, if there are any? So far, here's what I understand about the three major branches, someone correct me if I've forgotten anything:

Catholicism has Western Rite (Rome) and the formerly-Orthodox Eastern Rite (Maronites, Melkites, Copts, etc. etc.). I suppose, in a way, you could sort of count the Old Catholics that broke off after disagreeing with papal infallibility, but they're not in communion with Rome and a very large percentage look like they've cucked out and gone leftist. I don't know where you'd put those guys, they seem to be neither Catholic nor Protestant. (There are also the multiple orders within Catholicism - Knights Templar, Jesuits, Dominicans, Franciscans - but that's not for the average churchgoer.)

Protestantism is confusing and has thousands of denominations of wildly varying degrees of conservatism, but they're all either Anglican, Lutheran, or Calvinist. (Then there are the weird non-trinity churches like the Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses which are sort of in their own category.)

Other than being divided by national origin/ethnicity, are there any major schools of thought or branches in the Orthodox faith?
 

MeymoonMan

Sparrow
Orthodox
stugatz: No, not really. No doctrinal differences as far as I can tell. I know Russians have different customs than Greeks, particularly during communion.
 

stugatz

Pelican
Recently, as I wrote earlier, I wanted to experience conservative Catholicism, so I attended a cathedral that gives Latin Masses only. I'm floored by how young the congregation is on average, and the quality of the women there. Will keep going back for now, and there is a young adult group that is solid so far.

(There is only one Eastern Rite church I know of in my metro. I went for Good Friday and back this Sunday a second time, but it looks like the number of regular attendees is less than fifty. I enjoyed the conversations I had afterward over church coffee...but that is a pathetic number and I doubt I'll be going back much. I love the priest, it's a shame.)

Pope Francis has always freaked me out. "There are many paths to God and all are equal" horrifies me, and I will run away from the church screaming if he starts ordaining female deacons and priests - the church had already crossed a line with altar girls in the more liberal churches. (Didn't a North Carolina church just rebel and ordain a female "priest"? I don't think Francis is stupid enough to embrace it, but what I really want to see is an immediate excommunication and a threat directed to anyone attending the church.)

There are quite a few Orthodox churches in the area. I don't like the idea of going "religion shopping", but I'll probably attend a service or two at the four or so cathedrals in this metro. What I've seen on this thread so far I absolutely love.
 

Kid Twist

Hummingbird
There are no real "branches" of Orthodox christianity, given that it is the only particular church that can claim apostolic succession and never changing its doctrine or practice. To make things overwhelming simplistic, I never understood why the seekers or even honest people had a hard time with this one, especially those that are disciplined (I guess there aren't that many) like us: when studying christianity, it pretty much comes down to RC or EO as clearly the source of true ancient christianity. When you consider what Vatican I and II did, which were just symptoms of the political aspect of the top-down RC paradigm, and the theology of each as well as the origin of each, it was always breathtakingly obvious to me what the original church is/was. But I digress, lol

The only real "branch" would be the so-called Oriental Orthodox churches (syriac, coptic, armenian, ethiopian, malankaran syrian, etc) which are non-Chalcedonian (4th ecumenical council) churches. They are SO similar in faith and practice it is hard to even distinguish between us and them at all, but technically we are not in communion. Still, many ethiopians and copts have come to the churches I've attended over the years and we all pretty much insist that we don't disagree on christology, it was more a language issue of understanding the natures of Christ. Still, they have never admitted that they erroneously rejected the 4th council, and usually as time goes by, if it isn't healed early, too many identity and other issues arise. As such, we'll likely keep going along as is. I consider them among the closest brethren and essentially, though not technically, equal. But that is a private opinion of mine. I think most hold it.
 

stugatz

Pelican
I have to say just in general - when I began reading up on Christianity while abroad, I was astounded by how culturally rich it is, even within the Catholic Church. As much as I want to crap on the lefties for thinking Islam, Judaism and Hinduism/Buddhism/Shintoism/Daoism/whatever are so neato and multicultural and cool, Christians in America have done nothing to make their church services engaging on a genuine level and it isn't much of a wonder so many fall away after high school.

I grew up with the boringass "sign of peace" Vatican II mass, the congregants often listened to Christian rock and actually thought it was good music. There was not much of a difference between the Catholic masses and the Protestant services I occasionally went to growing up - they were so similar, my mother signed me up for Protestant vacation bible school and it took me about a week to notice they weren't Catholic.

(I went on a mission trip to Central America at the end of the seventh grade, and almost everyone who went along were social rejects who I'd have been embarrassed to be seen with outside of the church - EVERY conversation was about God, ALL music played was Christian. I understand that appealing to people outside of the church is stupid to have as a main priority, but these guys had it as their absolute last priority, and quite a few didn't even seem to notice that singing spontaneous hymns in, say, an airport terminal made everyone stare at us like we were the Flanders family. Who would want to convert to this?)

Orthodox masses are very old-fashioned, it seems, and they speak for themselves. The only thing keeping me out is that (as said a page or so ago) they tend to be ethnic clubs. There's a Greek cathedral and a Serbian cathedral in my area, and if I were to cross over, I'd likely have to make a commitment to learn the language. (Given how much I love traveling, and ESPECIALLY considering how much I love Eastern European women, that wouldn't necessarily be bad thing - but that's a hell of a workload, and I'd have to get serious quick.)

Since my life is already complex enough right now, and there are still conservative bits and pieces of Roman Catholicism left, I'll stay right where I am for now - but I certainly notice that over half of Catholics are lefties, and this commie pope is probably going to do at least one or two big things before he dies. He's 80 and has a decade or so. I'm not looking forward to it.
 

prt

Chicken
All the religions are no different than mythologies.
Men don't need a religion, women do, so it will keep them from cheating and teach them some family values.
Can the orthodox church provide that? There are some English speaking churches for those who interested or learn Russian.
I also consider the LDS church for that purpose.
 

lonewolf1968

Kingfisher
prt said:
All the religions are no different than mythologies.
Men don't need a religion, women do, so it will keep them from cheating and teach them some family values.
Can the orthodox church provide that? There are some English speaking churches for those who interested or learn Russian.
I also consider the LDS church for that purpose.

You are partially right, but men DO NEED spirituality at least. And in first place it's been men who have written nearly all religious and spiritual books. Actually we strive for enlightmen and truth more than women do.
 

MeymoonMan

Sparrow
Orthodox
Lonewolf is right. To further that point, men are creatures of action. We build, we cause, we act with the intention of changing our selves, families, communities, and societies in a particular way. If we are making such changes based on a profoundly false notion about the nature of reality, our changes will ultimately be self-destructive. If we are making such changes based on a true understanding of reality, our changes will be ultimately constructive. This is why it is important for us men to settle important questions concerning religion, theology, metaphysics, ethics, and philosophy as a whole. Religion is not about comfort. It is not a mere means of controlling temperament. It involves the nature of being and of meaning and goes even far beyond that. To express such indifference is blatant shirking and is also kind of feminine.
 

Kid Twist

Hummingbird
Some of the above poster(s) suggest that "only women" need the truth. That's bereft of any logical thinking or foundation. And on this forum, it's an embarrassment in position, and logic.
 
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