Introductions from 2004 and earliernew members
Posted 29 January 2004 - 09:31 AM
Welcome to the Discussion Community. It is good to have you here. As you have been 'lurking' for some time, you will be aware of the general course and flow of things. We shall look forward to your posts in future.
Posted 16 April 2003 - 06:46 AM
I have recently joined this site and have read the postings with great interest, particularly Father Averky's.
I suppose deep down I know the answer to the question I am going to ask, but nevertheless it would be helpful to me to ask it.
I am a Catholic (though my upbringing is Anglican).
I am married with seven (yes seven) children.
On the surface I work as a sort of journalist and do the sort of things associated with family.
I am very blessed to have them and love children.
Inside myself I have an enormous passionate interest in monastic spirituality, an interest (if that is not to denigrate it) that I have explored for years in various ways - short retreats, visits to the Carthusians and so on (this in time that does not conflict with family duties to which I am equally committed).
I have of course read widely in what one might describe as mystical writings.
Now I adore Carthusian spirituality and much Catholic writing but the writings that truly set me aflame are those of the Orthodox tradition - the Philokalia, Saint Silouan, the Desert Fathers, St Serafim...you know the ones.
And as for Orthodox churches...
I feel very strongly drawn to Orthodoxy...mentioning the issue gets me so excited I have to get up and pace about.
However, there are two problems.I enquired as the whereabouts of the nearest Orthodox church and it is in Lewes. I have been a few times (the wonderful Sergei Hackel is priest) and I also used to go to the Free Orthodox church at Brookwood (also wonderful).
However Lewes is a good half and hour from my home in Worthing; the logistics of doing this are difficult and it takes me away from my family.
Secondly through my own doing really my family all attend the Catholic church on Sunday. And are involved enthusiastically in this and that.
And of course I am there too, and family unity is important to us.
But I cannot get away from the nagging sense that I am in the wrong place.
If one feels a profound need to become Orthodox should one strike out and do so regardless of the logistics as it were?
Is it a duty to follow the truth regardless of social boxings in?
Or am I being narcissistic and more concerned about myself than the family context?
Or could God perhaps grant it to be Orthodox in my heart and forgive my actual liturgical practice?
Should I stop receiving Communion in the Catholic church?
This troubles me.
I would sincerely appreciate some advice.I am sure there must be some doctrinal position. Again I can guess what the answer is, but are there some other positions on this? Some, er iddiorhythmic approach...?
The other thing that truly bothered me was (like many of you) I have a great interest in Mount Athos and was most disturbed to read a book in which it said the monks had a horror of Catholics.
The postings have impressed me with their integrity and illumination.
I shall take your advice or comment seriously (if anyone cares to..!
Prayerful good wishes to you all.
Posted 16 April 2003 - 07:01 AM
i would say that logistics and convenience are often at the heart of schisms. Orthodoxy and the demands it places very rarely coiincide with the logistics and the demands placed by life, especially modern life. But if its truth you thirst for, and truth you wish to live by, then all the rationalisations of the world will only serve to confuse you further. i know i often try and rationalise why i forgot to fast, not attend church, or fall into sin. none of these rationalisations are in the least bit consoling. because i know in my heart there is nothing greater and more fulfilling than living God's truth. let your heart lead you to Orthodoxy, as it is doing, and i'm sure God will give you ample support.
Posted 16 April 2003 - 09:27 AM
While I do not quite understand what Adonis means when he says "logistics and convenience are often at the heart of schisms," the rest of hs answer is very good, not only for its brevity, something I cannot do, but because he tells you a great deal in a few sentences. Read his reply several times, for you will find it very helpful.
when I was 16 years old, I had my first contact with Orthodoxy. I was a pious Roman Catholic, coming from an old Spanish family which had given many prelates to the church. I was also very "ecumenical" in my youth, and it was in this manner that I attended Divine Liturgy at our local Greek Orthodox parish. When listening to the chanting, I remembered the words of St. Vladimir's emissaries to Constantinople, "We did not know whether we were in heaven or on earth..."
I entered the Roman Catholic seminary right at the time when the old Latin Mass and all the conservative aspects of that church were being abandoned, replaced by services in the local language, "Guitar Masses, "Brown Bag Masses, "Clown Masses, and so on.
My second year in seminary, my pastor asked me to take care of an icon he had received as a gift from one Cardinal Cousa. It was really by God's providence that this happened to me. It turned out to be a beautiful 19th Century Icon of Christ with a silver cover. I found it to be very beautiful, and went to my local library to see if I could find any recordings of Russian Church Music. This was in Portland, Oregon in 1964, when almost no one had even heard about the Orthodox Church.
Every evening I would light a vigil candle before the icon, listen to the beautiful music and pray. I came to realize that the person who had painted the icon, and the composer of such other-worldly music had a sense of God that I as a Roman Catholic could not find in my own church. I had never thought of being anything else but Catholic until the turmoil brought on by Vatican II. As the Summer ended, I returned the icon to Monsignor, returned to seminary, and prayed. I soon realized that I felt compelled to become Orthodox. God had reached out to me, and I could not deny what He had shown to me. Almost twenty five years later, I was in Seattle for a conference, and Fr. Alexey Young and I went together to see the "Space Needle," a local site. We ran into a young couple who began to ask us many questions about Orthodoxy. As we were parting company, Fr. Alexey said to the young people,"Remember, that now that you have been shown by God the Orthodox Church, you must seriously look into it, for He has opened unto you the path to Salvation, and if you do not, He will ask you on the day of Judegement why, when He sent His priests to show you the path, you did not enter!" sobering words indeed!
I finally left the Roman Catholic Church. I moved to San Francisco, and one sunday I happened upon the cathedral "Joy of All who Sorrow," wherein are kept the precious incorrupt relics of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco, the Wonderworker. After spending many months helping the Brotherhood of St. Herman of Alaska working on "The Orthodox Word," I was baptized, and Fr. Herman and Fr. Seraphim Rose, who were layman at the time, sang at that service. Vladika John had beeen dead but a year when I became Orthodox, so I was blessed to be Orthodox during the years of Blessed Metropolitan Philaret, whom I had the joy of meeting and serving many, many times.
Kit, follow your heart, and do not be afraid. I feel very strongly that God has called you, and do not lose heart, but pray fervently to God to show you the Way.. When I became Orthodox, both my mother and grandmother disowned and disinherited me. Later, by a great miracle, my Mother was to become Orthoodox, and on the very eve of my ordination to the Holy Priesthood! that is another wondrous tale.
To become an Orthodox Christian in the midst of a Cathlolic family will be difficult, but if you do, pray with all your heart, and God willing, you may bring your entire family to the Church. Continue to pray, move slowly and with caution, but if you do determine to become Orthodox, speak to a priest and follow his instructions as to how you should quietly leave the Catholic church. You do not want to cause an uproar, either at home or in your Catholic parish, but must make a firm move when and if you decide that that is what you want to do. If I am not wrong, "Kit" might be from the name Katherine. At any rate, read her life and pray to her, for she is a great champion of Orthodoxy, giving upo her life for her Saviour at the hands of her own father, a pagan.
God help you, and if you wish, please feel free to contact me personally. Go to an Orthodox Church on Pascha if you can. for many years my mother lived hundred of miles from the closest Orthodox church, but she maintained her spiritual life with God as her help, and even learned about the Jesus Prayer on her own, reciting it over 3000 times a day, and herself told me how she only had a rosary to say it on - when I started to tell her about it! I remember Archimandrite Alexis Pobjoy very well, for we got to know each other many years ago, when he was a young monk in Boston, MA, and I was a novice here at Holy Trinity.
God will not peremit you to be "neither fish nor foul," being Orthodox in "your heart," while continuing to practise as a Roman Catholic publicly: in time, living such a deception would cause a real spiritual disaster, not only for you, but for your family as well. Be one or the other, and be so in truth and in Love.
At one point in it history, there was a violent attempt to forcibly convert monks on Mt. Athos to Catholicism A number of soldiers surrounded the Monastery of Zographou, and the monks refused to open the gates and be converted, so they were burned alive. Another sad chapter in people killing one another in the name of God!
God bless you - I am sure that Adonis and all the members of this community will be praying for you, as will I.
With love in Christ,
Guest_Ronald J. Brotzman
Posted 18 April 2003 - 08:34 PM
Posted 21 April 2003 - 06:06 PM
I suspect it's all in the timing, the conversion I mean. You might already know that Carthusian spriituality is, according to Georges Florovsky the closest thing to Orthodox monastic spirituality the western church has to offer; you might already have read Unseen Warfareedited and revised by Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain and Theophan the Recluse, respectively; or even have read the work by the Counter Reformationis RC priest Lorenzo Scupoli The Spiritual Combat and teh Path to Paradise of which the former is a revision. I would think that studying the two works in conjunction would be valuable for comparison of strengths to weaknesses in the Roman Catholic statement of the case. I know Scupoli's work has been translated into English because it was cited in a work by the Episcopal priest Morton Kelsey.
You might also be interested in Fr. Basil Pennington's O Holy Mountain, the journal of his rather extended retreat on Athos.
You really want to know if you should out and out convert, and travel all that way to your nearest Orthodox parich, I know. I would pray about the timing. Perhaps the rest of the family is likewise being drawn beyond their current affiliation, knowingly or as yet unknowingly. Ask God to sensitize you to their yearning (or rather His yearning for them )-- it will surely show sooner or later.
ITMT, perhaps the Lord is doing more work in your local area in this direction. Perhaps your experience is harbinger to a greater thing that God is doing than you can yet see.
Blessings as you proceed in (and toward) the light of Christ.
Posted 29 July 2003 - 05:01 PM
Just signed up and thought I'd introduce myself:
A Roman Catholic with a keen interest in Patristic Theology and Christian metaphysics, I took the liberty of joining this forum as we share the Fathers (at least) in common.
I have my own website - www.theveil.net - which although is subtitled 'Contemplating the Christian Tradition' probably expresses a Roman bias, whilst in no way antagonistic to the Orthodox Tradition. (There's enough ill in the world.)
Currently reading 'Comic Liturgy' - von Balthasar's work on Maximus Confessor, whom I hope will become the reference point for my theological and metaphysical speculations in the future.
Not quite sure if he's one of 'yours' or one of 'ours'! I would rather say he would wish for nothing more than the unity and harmony of the Church.
And may the Peace of Christ be with us all,
Posted 02 December 2004 - 07:15 PM
Posted 06 September 2004 - 12:33 PM
Posted 06 September 2004 - 04:59 PM
I don't really know how many Eastern Catholics are here. While I am not aware of any, I am sure there are some here. There are also Oriental Orthodox present here. All, of course, are welcome here, but it is primarily a place to express Eastern Orthodox points of view.
Hope you find it well here!
Posted 19 December 2003 - 03:29 AM
Posted 19 December 2003 - 07:31 AM
Welcome to the beautiful and sometimes confusing world of Christianity. On this forum, which is made up mainly of Orthodox Christians as well as some very kind and sympathetic non-Orthodox, you will see a variety of opinions and experiences. We will not always agree, but we all have in common a goal, and that goal is to come to know God, and to love Him and our neighbor.
May God help you, and may you find True Faith. May I suggest that you pick up a copy of the New Testament-something like the New International Version might be easier for you to follow, and begin to read it. I am sure you know how to pray, so whenever you begin to read, say a little prayer and ask God to help you to set out on the path of salvation. I am sure I can speak for the members of our forum that we will be praying for you. From my heart, Welcome, Jared!
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