I found this article on Pravoslavie.ru. I was intrigued by this paragraph:
I'm just wondering, why the Ancient Patriarchate are so less interested regard the local population. Why you need 10 years to be accepted by the church? Why we do not do missionary work much intense among the native populations. Unfortunately it is not the only case when the locals who wants to become orthodoxs, are ignored by the priests, especially in Latin America
Greetings, Victor V.,
Your comment opens up a real kettle of worms for me!
Our ethnically American group was introduced to the Orthodox church through the St. Herman of Alaska brotherhood of Platina, CA. in 1986. We received a loving and welcoming introduction to the Church through them.
When my family's circumstances forced us to join a local ethnically oriented parish we began a trial by fire.
I must say that it crystalized a real love for the Church Triumphant in me!
I found my true fellowship with the saints of the church through hagiography.
I, also, learned that the most important questions to ask oneself about whether to stay in a church community are:
Can I worship God here? Do I find the Lord present in communion in this church?
If the answer to those questions is "yes" then there is no reason to leave it regardless of whether you are accepted by the majority of the congregation or not!
I have been embraced by some loving individuals in my parish over the last 18 years. However it has been made painfully clear to me throughout the years, that, in many parishioner's eyes, I will never be a true member of my parish because I am not of their ethnic origin.
My youngest son was raised from birth in this parish and TO THIS DAY feels treated like an outsider by many church members.
Our family has spent a great deal of time over the years visiting monasteries and developing relationships in those settings.
This has helped us.
I have found my father confessor in a fellow convert who serves at a parish to which I do not belong!
Many of my fellow converts have had excrutiatingly painful experiences in ethnically oriented churches. I know of one family who left Orthodoxy all together because of the prejudice they experienced over a period of TEN YEARS as members of an ethnic parish.
Well, this post may appear to reflect a real antipathy for my parish but the reverse is true. I have learned to continue to love where I am not loved. I have, also, found many close friends within my parish.
It is the chief miracle of my life that the Lord has led me to the Orthodox church.
I consider it an absolute honour and privilege to be a member of the True Church.
I guess I just needed to express this! I have never put these thoughts down in writing before.
If anyone happens to read this, thanks for listening!
A grateful American convert