Skip to comments.More Protestants Find a Home in the Orthodox Antioch Church
Posted on 10/07/2009 6:33:33 AM PDT by Nikas777
More Protestants Find a Home in the Orthodox Antioch Church
By SAMUEL G. FREEDMAN
Published: October 2, 2009
LINTHICUM HEIGHTS, Md. Cal Oren was threading his way through the Santa Cruz Mountains of California early one evening in 1993, driving his wife, brother and three tired children back from a day of hiking amid the redwoods. As their car neared the town of Ben Lomond, Mr. Oren said, his brother pointed to a church on the roadside and said: Ive been inside this. Its really neat.
So Mr. Oren pulled to a stop, and as the children stayed in the car, the grown-ups gingerly padded into the sanctuary of Saints Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church. A lifelong Presbyterian, Mr. Oren knew virtually nothing about the Antiochians or, for that matter, Orthodox Christianity in general. He had always associated Ben Lomond with hippies, geodesic domes and marijuana fields.
As he entered, a vespers service was under way. Maybe two dozen worshipers stood, chanting psalms and hymns. Incense filled the dark air. Icons of apostles and saints hung on the walls. The ancientness and austerity stood at a time-warp remove from the evangelical circles in which Mr. Oren traveled, so modern, extroverted and assertively relevant.
This was a Christianity I had never encountered before, said Mr. Oren, 55, a marketing consultant in commercial construction. I was frozen in my tracks. I felt like I was in the actual presence of God, almost as if I was in heaven. And Im not the kind of person who gets all woo-hoo.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
“Maybe I’m skewed being Italian...to me it seems Greek Orthodox would be the natural choice.”
When Gilquist and the “Evangelical Orthodox” came knocking on the door of the GOA insisting on a mass welcome into the GOA while retaining their forms and orders (all of which they had made up so far as the GOA was concerned, they were shown the door. +Met. Philip accepted them with some conditions which pretty much resolved the problems the GOA had with them. It is fair to say that the mass conversion has been a mixed blessing. One good result, I suppose, is that most American inquirers walking into an Antiochian Church today in America, except perhaps for here in the NE, will find parishes which are predominantly convert. As such they might feel more comfortable initially, but Orthodoxy is not a way of life for spiritual sissies nor is it “comfortable”. It is definitely not something which will accommodate American sensibilities or sensitivities. If an inquirer stays around and becomes Orthodox, the ethnic part,ironically, becomes an added attraction, or so I am told.
“...do the Ethiopians etc. have any difficulty adapting to the Byzantine liturgy?”
Not that I have ever seen. Their Divine Liturgies, as you probably know, are chanted in classical Ge’ez, a beautiful liturgical language. The liturgies themselves are almost identical to our Divine Liturgies so there’s not much to get used to. The women always dress in beautiful white for the liturgy and they take their shoes off in the narthex before entering the nave. On big feasts, the men also dress in white with almost royal looking robes. There’s no question that what they wear is the best they own. They take their Faith very, very seriously and we Greeks know we are blessed to have them as examples to us.
Speaking personally as an enrolled Orthodox Catechumen in a convert Antiochian parish (to be Chrismated in December...Lord, have mercy), I can tell you from my own experience of the EOC folks...
Those that I know have left behind (boy was THAT an awful choice of words) and will repudiate the “Ortho-stant” of “ProtesDox” approach of those in the old inner circle of the EOC leadership.
Kolo is right, you can’t do it both ways. Personally, I wouldn’t want to - I couldn’t go back to Protestant worship now AT ALL.
I’ve been told an HILARIOUS story about Bp. BASIL, the Bishop of the Antiochian Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America...
Before the elevation the other Diocesan Bishops in the AOANA, there were only two Auxiliary Bishops... +Antoun and +Basil.
+Basil was celebrating Liturgy at a new convert parish in VIcksburg, MS. And there was a woman playing an organ during Communion. +Basil turned to his assistant, a Subdeacon whose name I shan’t give on this forum. The Bishop said, “Please go tell that woman to stop playing the organ.”
The Subdeacon (a former Marine) went up over to the organ and said, “His Grace said to stop playing that organ...RIGHT NOW.” She apparently couldn’t get her hands off the keys fast enough.
Quitely, but audibly, Bp. Basil said, “This is NOT a Baptist church.”
“If an inquirer stays around and becomes Orthodox, the ethnic part,ironically, becomes an added attraction, or so I am told.”
I am eating felafel for lunch as I type this. Not to mention the fact that, growing up, my parents were friends with a Lebanese family...and my mom still has their family recipe for kibbee.
I LOVE Mediterranean food...
So would the Antiochian church be one of the 33,000 or so Orthodox "denominations"? :)
“So would the Antiochian church be one of the 33,000 or so Orthodox “denominations”? :) “
:) Hey FK! How’ve you been keeping, my friend? (You know Orthodoxy is “pre-denominational”!)
The Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch, also known as Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, the Eastern Orthodox Church of Antioch and All the East, Antiochian Orthodox Church, and the Orthodox Church of Antioch, is one of the five churches that composed the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church before the East-West Schism. It is an autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Church, and the successor to the Christian community founded in Antioch by the Apostles St. Peter and St. Paul.
Thanks. I was thinking of earlier conversations with my friend Kolo, and trying to remember whether the NYT’s use of the word “denomination” was proper here in Orthodoxy. (I have some memory of Latins referring to internal “denominations”, but wasn’t sure.) In any event, if an article is about a faith, I suppose we shouldn’t expect much from the NYT. :)
I posted an article about another Antiochian church in California where the used the term “mass” in the article - the church’s official website on the other hand uses “liturgy” so I assumed it was the reporter’s “translation” error.
Yep. I too am a convert from protestant evangelicalism. Happy to call Antioch home now for three years, but who’s counting.
Ethnic attraction? Not really, but more like having a pentecostal experience every time I attend services when I hear portions of the liturgy in Greek, Russian, Arabic, etc...
I didn’t search out Antioch. It was simply the only one in my area. I was already prepared to feel out of place, but surprised to find that half the parish were converts from Rome and her wayward children like myself. It’s good to be home in the Church.
Though many Orthodox parishes are very tightly bound to an ethnic identity, I can see this taking off for a while among some Evangelicals
Notice, that was Vespers. It doesn’t say what day of the week. If it was any day other than Saturday and not the vigil of a major feast, an attendance of 12 would be a good turn out even at a big urban church in a traditionally Orthodox country. In the early 90’s, I’m fairly sure the parish in Ben Lomond served Vespers and Orthros (Matins for you Westerners), and maybe even Liturgy, daily. A typical Sunday Liturgy at Ben Lomond during that time period would have had, I’d guess, between 100 and 200 Orthodox faithful.
We have Vespers on Wednesdays, although we sometimes sing Akathist in its stead on Wednesdays if there is a particularly moving story surrounding the Saint whose nameday it is.
Weds night Vespers we usually have 20-25 people there. Or course, we have a Weds night dinner as well...
Note to self - listen in the AM
The Antiochians are among the most liberal Orthodox.
Go with one of the True Orthodox churches - non-ecumenist, non-liberal.
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