No churches in my country
Posted 18 July 2011 - 07:20 PM
What is one to do if there are no Orthodox Churches in their country?
I live on an island, and there is one Ethiopian Orthodox Church here, but no others.
If there is no representative in a country, then there are no clergy there, then there are no "valid" sacraments there. Of course, the grace and mercy of our God is available anywhere, but in light of the Tradition: What is a person to do if they have a desire to become Orthodox and there are no representatives of Orthodoxy in the country.
I don't think I have a desire [at the moment] to take on Orthodoxy as it is, but I am wondering what happens in this situation. I've sent an email to the Metropolitan who oversees Latin America and the Caribbean [Metropolis of Mexico, Central America, Colombia and Venezuela, and the Caribbean Islands, under Constantinople] if they have any intention of beginning a Mission in my country, but I haven't gotten a response.
I have been an "inquirer" of Eastern Orthodoxy for, maybe 6 months, on my own (which is all that I can do here).
Posted 18 July 2011 - 08:25 PM
It is best to keep in contact with a priest which is what she did and to learn more about the faith through emails or such.
Starting a missionary in your case might be small such as starting with you and some other interested parties like what is taking place in Malaysia.
There are plenty of resources online where you can catechise yourself until the time is right to be baptised into the faith.
Posted 18 July 2011 - 10:07 PM
Posted 19 July 2011 - 01:48 PM
I've read 'The Orthodox Church', and 'The Orthodox Way' by Kallistos Ware, also 'Becoming Orthodox' by Peter Gilquest. Not to mention countless articles and forum threads.
I also have listened to hundreds of podcasts from Ancient Faith Radio including: Intersection of East and West, Speaking the Truth in Love, Search the Scriptures and Our Life in Christ as well as some others. I watch lots of videos, interviews, documentaries. I say this just to let you know that I have studied somewhat and thought about these things quite a lot.
I've been using the Agpeya the past few weeks, not every day, usually in the evening with Vespers, sometimes I take a few moments at work to go somewhere private and pray. I've been working out how to put my faith into practice, of course I'm not sure about practising a few things - I have a few of the Evangelical hangups. I created a little prayer corner in the house. No icons yet but a framed Lord's Prayer at least I am OK with that for now.
I ordered myself an Orthodox Prayer Book (the little red book) which should be here in a couple weeks. I use the Jesus Prayer in moments during the day (not aiming for 'praying without ceasing' because I think that's taking what Paul said too literally, akin to me saying "never stop studying" or "never stop practicing".)
Somebody told me (one of the people from Our Life in Christ) that I need to experience the faith incarnationally, and not just intellectually. I'm beginning to understand that a bit now.
Evangelicalism is either too emotion driven, or too intellectually driven. A balance of the two would be better.
I'm not completely sure that the Church is infallible in it's council decisions, I don't see how that could be possible... and also becoming Orthodox would also mean the adoption of customs and cultures (Greek for example) that are foreign to my own culture, and I don't think that Greek is more holy.
I still have some hangups and I don't think it is necessary to accept everything, some things are simply opinion and are not all that important in the grand scheme of things. I don't think that I need to try to believe or do something in order to fit in to the mould. But I constantly pray that God would direct my steps and not allow me to be deceived. I wouldn't mind getting in touch with a Priest but I'd want it to be natural and not just because I just want to ask questions and get answers.
I discovered the existence of the Eastern Orthodox Church over the past year, when looking at the Hebrew roots of Christianity, I came across the Oral Tradition of the Jews, the Talmud, the writings of their Fathers etc. Through that, I discovered that Christianity also had "Fathers" and through those, I realized we also had somewhat of an Oral Tradition... and thus I came across Orthodoxy. Since then, of course, I've noticed it mentioned all over the place. I never remember hearing "Eastern Orthodox" or even "Orthodox" in a Christian context, but not I hear it all the time.
Posted 19 July 2011 - 03:53 PM
As a convert myself, some 36 years ago, I am right with you on that "infallibility" thing, I don't consider it a "valid" (another word I take issue with) component of Orthodox theology although I readily admit that there are recognized Orthodox authorities that would take issue with my view (and some others that do support it, so there!). My point is that the Ecumenical Councils don't have to be infallibile, they just have to be RIGHT. That is why the first act of any later council was to validate the findings of the previous council. There have been councils, in fact, that were WRONG and declared so by the Church (the so-called "robber councils"). So the problem becomes if the councils are NOT infallible, then how do we know they are right? I contend that we use the same scriptural method that the Apostles used: "... it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us ..." We use the tests of time and consciliarity and for the Church those councils deemd "ecumenical" have passed those tests.
I am not Greek. I have no strong desire to be Greek, or Russian, or Syrian, or Romanian. By accident of geography I find myself in a Carpatho-Russian parish but we are a very eclectic mix of peoples, a veritable UN of ethnicities, but we are all merely Americans with a lot of different accents. But think about this; being a CHRISTIAN is indeed a "foreign" culture, foreign to the fallen secularized world that is. Think of those first Christian Greeks coming from paganism who had to learn Judaic customs which is the root of all our worship before it became hellenized, or slavified or "westernized". CHANGE is what we are all about; change through repentance and rebirth--metanoia. We don't have to become Greek but you will find it helpful to learn a few Greek words, and perhaps some Slavic ones too along the way. These words that provide a "shorthand" to encapsulate some rather complex concepts that take a long time to explain in other languages. It is a technical spiritual vocabulary that you are no doubt already discovering.
Herman the very fallible Pooh
Posted 19 July 2011 - 10:26 PM
I would just like to confirm Herman's comments. I too am a convert to Orthodoxy-in my case 13 years ago-and I worship in a Russian Parish for the simple reason that at the time I got involed with Orthodox believers it was the only English speaking Parish in the area. I am still English and my spoken Russian is minimal. The Parish I attend has not only Russian members but also English, Ukranian, Bulgarian and German ones too
Orthodoxy is well able to express itself in terms of various cultures-Finland has a thriving Orthodox Church for instance, but is (or can be) almost Narnia like in it's winter!! When I worked there, I didnt see the sun rise over the horizon once!! Equally Greece has a thriving Orthodox Church but snow is a lot rarer there. My point is that Orthodoxy is well able to express itself in your own culture and there is no need for you to worry about taking on the ethnic identity of another nation.
Posted 20 July 2011 - 12:07 AM
Thomas - It's okay I figured it was to me
There seems to be quite a lot of converts from Protestantism to EO. Why do you think that is?
While we can hark about EO being the One True Church and people are just returning to the Ancient Faith....
I think it has more to do with the fact that the tides they are a-changing..
I don't know if it's simply a trend for Evangelicals to be adopting "Ancient Practices" that are found in EO, but it seems like there is a shift towards that..
People may be 'bored' (not really the right word) of the shallowness or consumerism of Evangelicalism.. Maybe people want some a bit more fixed (but still dynamic at the same time)
I don't know.
I don't know if I want to go to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church that is here.. I may try it out, but remember that I've never even been to a Catholic Mass, all I've ever known is "Non-Denominational" Evangelicalism. I don't want to be unnecessarily uncomfortable all at once hahah
How would I go about starting a conversation a priest that would actually WANT to talk with and direct me..
Posted 20 July 2011 - 01:56 AM
I remember the first Orthodox service I went to ( I come from an evangelical background also) It was a Saturday Vespers service. I could hardly understand the chanting, even though it was in English. It was strange that everyone stood through the whole service, but the atmosphere of prayer was heavenly and when I attended service at our Baptist church the next morning it was jarring. After my first Lent and Pascha I knew I was hooked for life. :-)
Posted 20 July 2011 - 05:00 PM
I don't want to intrude on your privacy, but what island has an Ethiopian Orthodox Church but no other Orthodox church?!
Ah, it just came to me. Might it be Jamaica.
Okay, I don't know much about the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Jamaica, but I'm sure the liturgy is mostly in English, and that most of its congregation is made up of converts! It should be welcoming.
Posted 20 July 2011 - 05:35 PM
Yeah when I started reading about it I found myself agreeing more with many of the Orthodox viewpoints or interpretations rather than the Evangelical interpretations.
I've never been to a Divine Liturgy, but I plan to visit the Ethiopian Orthodox Church here sometime soon. I have watched a live Liturgy at a Coptic Orthodox churces livestream website hahah. Not going to be the same, obviously.
I actually just found the website for the Ethiopian Orthodox for the Caribbean, there are a few around the Caribbean. I live in Barbados.
Posted 06 September 2011 - 07:12 AM
Equally Greece has a thriving Orthodox Church but snow is a lot rarer there.
Paul, we have lots and lots of snow up here in West Macedonia, Greece. And ice. And freezing winds. One of my fantasies is to have lemon, orange, and grapefruit trees growing in my garden as the lucky people do in southern Greece - where, even though there is quite a lot of snow in winter some years, the weather is still mild (compared to our severe winters).
Adam, how wonderful that you feel such a need to be Orthodox. I can only repeat what the other posters have advised you to do. Pray and get in touch with an Orthodox priest who will be able to help you. I am Greek, you are from Barbados, it doesn't make one bit of difference. You are not expected to become anyone other than who you are. You are certainly not expected to adopt the customs and traditions of Greece or any other country. If, in the future, you do decide to learn the Greek language, you will be astounded at the beauty of the Orthodox liturgy in that language.
What is expected is a desire to achieve oneness with God, to follow Christ's instructions, to live your life with a pure heart. The Internet is full of wonderful sources that you can use to achieve your goals. Use them.
Go slow and trust in the Lord. Nothing is achieved in a day. Be gentle with yourself. Trust in the Lord because He knows just what you need. My prayers are with you.
Posted 06 September 2011 - 11:10 AM
All I would like to say, is as close as the Ethiopian church is to Orthodoxy it is not Orthodox it is Coptic. So although the service is worth looking at due to it being similar and it is a step in the right direction for someone who is not Orthodox, it is not the Holy Orthodox Church.
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