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veramdoctrinam
Starting Member

3 Posts

Posted - 01/27/2012 :  23:42:33  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hello everyone,

My name is Josh and I am new to this forum and to Orthodoxy. Thanks for taking the time to read my post. If you do not mind I would like to give a quick background of myself so there is full disclosure and you all will know where I am coming from.

I am 32 years old, married with 2 kids. I was raised Southern Baptist and my dad to this day is a Southern Baptist minister. Has been since I was very little. About a year ago I became curious about the Orthodox way from studying about the early Christian fathers. In doing so I felt a drawing to the church. The closest one to me is about 40 minutes away so I decided to attend one Sunday.

I'm sure the converts on this forum could imagine what state my mind was in after witnessing my first Divine Liturgy. It was awesome and confusing at the same time. I would watch what the priests were doing then I would have a quick ADD moment and was scanning around at all of the icons and painted biblical scenes on the walls. I look up into the huge dome and see Jesus Christ and the disciples around him. Then all of a sudden here comes the incense. My mind was in overload but in a good way trying to process everything I was seeing.

Fast forward to present day. I have been attending Matins and Divine Liturgy regularly on Sundays for a few months now and try to make it to Vespers on some of the weekdays. (it's tough because it's 40 minutes away and I sometimes do not get off work in time) The Father of the church has been very kind and giving of himself to me and to my family. I sat and spoke with him a few times and asked many questions.

I will try and shorten things up..

They are having an Inquirers Class on Jan. 30th and will have one every Monday for 12 weeks covering different aspects of Orthodoxy. I know that I have only just introduced myself to you all but would you mind helping me in trying to understand Orthodoxy with a few questions? I will be asking the same questions to the priest when I go to these classes and wanted to make sure I am asking the right questions in a way that will make sense for both me and the priest I will be asking the questions to. I can assure you I am genuine in what I am asking and quite humble in knowing that I truly know nothing.

1. When did the practice of the Eucharist, as it is practiced today, start and what sources of information are present to show this?

2. What evidence do we have of how the Virgin Mary was regarded by Jesus Christ's disciples and the earliest of the Christian fathers?

3. To the Orthodox Church, what role does God's grace play in our salvation?

4. How do we know, while we are here on earth, that we will be worthy to enter the Kingdom of God upon our death?

These are only a few of the questions I will be asking. If anyone has any different way I should ask these questions or would like to take a stab at them I would really appreciate any feedback you all have for me. Thank you very much for your time. I hope to be a frequent visitor and God bless you all.

Edited by - veramdoctrinam on 01/27/2012 23:44:02

macacic
Administrator

USA
2431 Posts

Posted - 01/30/2012 :  13:04:39  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Welcome to our forum, veramdoctrinam. Given the precise nature of your questions, I was hoping that one of our clergyman posters would respond.
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veramdoctrinam
Starting Member

3 Posts

Posted - 01/30/2012 :  14:04:42  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the welcome macacic. I actually go to the Inquirer's Class today so I will share with everyone the answers I get. I would still appreciate anyone's opinion on this that has time to chime in. Thanks again for the welcome.
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macacic
Administrator

USA
2431 Posts

Posted - 01/30/2012 :  14:54:42  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ok, if you're willing to treat my answers as opinions and not as authoritative answers, I'll give it a shot.

The Didache is the first reference that exists to the Eucharist.

I don't remember which of the Church Fathers makes the first references to Mary so I'll pass on that for now.

Regarding God's Grace, as I understand it, without it there would be no salvation.

The fourth one is the one that gives me problems. On the one hand, I always think it would be boastful to state that I am worthy of God's Kingdom but, on the other hand, I have Jesus Christ telling me that I can enter the Kingdom of God through him. I just have to keep reminding myself that His words outweigh my own doubts.
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veramdoctrinam
Starting Member

3 Posts

Posted - 01/30/2012 :  15:26:34  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm with you on the fourth one. I at one time had the once saved, always saved mentality. I realized recently that if that were the case it kind of throws Free Will out the window unless I am looking at it wrong. It seems more to me now that our salvation is more of a path to be followed rather than starting a journey and getting to the finish line before you even begin the journey. I am still very new to orthodoxy. I hope I am making sense. :) Thanks for sharing with me macacic.
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A.V.M
Starting Member

Georgia
2 Posts

Posted - 02/19/2013 :  10:44:13  Show Profile  Visit A.V.M's Homepage  Send A.V.M a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
HELLO!
I am Georgian orthodox believer and study at theological seminary in Tbilisi . I am olso one of the moderator of Georgian orthodox forum- www.church.ge , which established 7 years ago . when I searched orthodox forums in internet I understood about yours and decided to became membership . I am very glad and hope , that our relationship will be pleasent and usefully .


Edited by - A.V.M on 02/23/2013 17:00:25
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Aristokles
Senior Member

USA
1120 Posts

Posted - 02/23/2013 :  15:09:44  Show Profile  Send Aristokles a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
Welcome to the forum, A.V.M.

I wish that the rest of your post was readable.
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Dionisia
Starting Member

14 Posts

Posted - 03/20/2013 :  11:42:15  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Will share my background in this topic as I hope veramdoctrinam will come back and share the priest's answers. This will age me, but here goes.

Born Roman Catholic, baptized/first Holy Communion(1968) but not confirmed. My parents and subsequently my brother and sister left the church and God behind. As an adult I went back to the RC(1978) only to be very disappointed and disillusioned because it had changed (Vat II). So I have been wandering the protestant venues ever since. Tried a non-denominational, a few traditional & conservative churches thinking they would be a safe place but realizing they are all attempts at 'reforming' the RC. Then a friend (really several friends) on similar journeys talked about Eastern Orthodoxy. One had converted, another was visiting and one about to be received.

Where I am today. For the past year we(my husband, daughter and me) have attended 4 different parishes, one is almost 4 hours away so that one is clearly out of the question. My friends always suggest asking the priest. Well, two of the parishes have duo-career priests who leave shortly after the DL the other is busy with baptisms or other church business on Sunday that we are left to just mingle with people who have no idea why an American Christian would want to know about 'their' church. I have driven an hour to attend an Orthopraxsis class only to learn it was cancelled. I have driven an hour to buy a service book and/or prayer book only to learn the bookstore cabinet was locked and left with nothing. Literally sat in my car and wept in frustration on both occasions. I got the books online. So I turned online to find answers or guidance but what I found were pseudo-Christians that have me questioning my faith. Was I baptized as an infant? I do have a certificate that proves it. In fact, I was baptized again as an adult so I was fully aware of that one. Have I ever received Christ's body and blood in communion? I have always thought of it as such (RC upbringing). Am I a Christian, even? Dont tell me to ask my priest. He is too busy. Should we try yet another parish? Would there be someone else besides a busy priest in a bigger parish (the big Greek one?) that would guide inquirers?

Fizzling away faster than before, yet hanging onto God and my Bible.



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macacic
Administrator

USA
2431 Posts

Posted - 03/20/2013 :  13:47:56  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Welcome to our forum, Dionisia.

I'm very sorry to hear about the difficulties that you've been encountering with the parishes in your area. I'm going to include a link to a parish locator just in case you haven't seen it before and just to verify if there are any other options for you: http://orthodoxyinamerica.org/

Finding the right parish with a welcoming congregation and a priest is a blessing that can be elusive, unfortunately. I was very fortunate for us to have found the two that we did.

We can try to be as helpful as possible via our forum. Let us know how we can help you.

May God bless your journey.
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parascheva1014
Moderator

USA
1412 Posts

Posted - 05/30/2013 :  09:31:42  Show Profile  Visit parascheva1014's Homepage  Send parascheva1014 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
Dionisia, I am aware of several priests who will councel people by telephone if they are living in a place where there is no suitable parish within a close distance. It might be that you initially need someone like this. You spiritual father does not have to be the same person as you parish priest/father confessor. It could be another priest and there have been others to this forum who have had similar problems getting a spiritual father. I can help you. It's the reason I set up this forum in the first place.
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