A letter to a new convert by Mother Thekla, Abbess of Orthodox Monastery of the Assumpion in North Yorkshire, England

http://greatbritainofmyheart.wordpress.com

GREAT BRITAIN OF MY HEART

unnamed-1.jpg

 

A letter to a new convert by Mother Thekla,

Abbess of  Orthodox Monastery of the Assumpion

in North Yorkshire, England

Source:

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com

Mother Thekla’s Letter To A New Convert

JOURNEY TO ORTHODOXY

Mother Thekla, who died on Aug. 7, 2011 at aged 93, was the last surviving nun to have occupied the enclosed Orthodox Monastery of the Assumption in North Yorkshire, but became better known to the wider world as the spiritual muse of the composer Sir John Tavener. Mother Thekla wrote the following letter in 2009, when she was 91 years old. You can read more about her here.

╰⊰¸¸.•¨*

Dear “John”,

I understand that you are on the way to becoming Orthodox. I know nothing about you, beyond the fact that you are English.

Before we go any further, there is one point I should make clear. I have not been told why you are about to convert, but I assure you there is no point whatsoever if it is for negative reasons. You will find as much “wrong” (if not more) in Orthodoxy as in the Anglican or Roman Churches.

So – the first point is, are you prepared to face lies, hypocrisy, evil and all the rest, just as much in Orthodoxy as in any other religion or denomination?

Are you expecting a kind of earthly paradise with plenty of incense and the right kind of music?

Do you expect to go straight to heaven if you cross yourself slowly, pompously and in the correct form from the right side?

Have you a cookery book with all the authentic Russian recipes for Easter festivities?

Are you an expert in kissing three times on every possible or improper occasion?

Can you prostrate elegantly without dropping a variety of stationery out of your pockets?

OR…..

Have you read the Gospels?

Have you faced Christ crucified? In the spirit have you attended the Last Supper – the meaning of Holy Communion?

AND….

Are you prepared, in all humility, to understand that you will never, in this life, know beyond Faith; that Faith means accepting the Truth without proof. Faith and knowledge are the ultimate contradiction –and the ultimate absorption into each other.

Living Orthodoxy is based on paradox, which is carried on into worship – private or public.

We know because we believe and we believe because we know.

Above all, are you prepared to accept all things as from God?

If we are meant, always, to be “happy”, why the Crucifixion? Are you prepared, whatever happens, to believe that somewhere, somehow, it must make sense? That does not mean passive endurance, but it means constant vigilance, listening, for what is demanded; and above all, Love.

Poor, old, sick, to our last breath, we can love. Not sentimental nonsense so often confused with love, but the love of sacrifice – inner crucifixion of greed, envy, pride.

And never confuse love with sentimentality.

And never confuse worship with affectation.

Be humble – love, even when it is difficult. Not sentimental so called love – And do not treat church worship as a theatrical performance!

I hope that some of this makes sense,

With my best wishes,
Mother Thekla
(sometime Abbess of the Monastery of the Assumption, Normanby)

The Journey to Antioch – My Discoveries in the Orthodox Church – Clifton D. Healy, USA

http://usaofmyheart.wordpress.com

USA OF MY HEART

The Journey to Antioch

My Discoveries in the Orthodox Church

by Clifton D. Healy

Source:

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com

JOURNEY TO ORTHODOXY

Introduction

In two previous essays (“Starting from Cane Ridge” and “The Road to Canterbury”), I described these two early periods of my faith journey in largely chronological order. For these two periods of my life there have been relatively clear and distinct time markers. I grew up in and trained for ministry among the Restoration Movement churches. Toward the end of that training, while still at college, I began to investigate the Anglican tradition. And though for a time these two faith traditions overlapped, still the pathways are fairly clear.

The road markers for my journey to Antioch, my inquiry into the Orthodox Church, however, are much more muddled, scattered here and there along previous roadways, seen now as portents of things to come, but known then as only so much new experience, as simple signposts which I was then unable to read. The relating of my investigations into Orthodoxy, then, runs scattershot at first through the stages of my experience in the Stone-Campbell/Restoration Movement churches just prior to becoming acquainted with Anglicanism, then through my initial searching in the Anglican tradition, and finally to the culmination of my experience in that tradition as I turned away from the Episcopal Church to finally look with focused attention at the Orthodox Church.

My experience of Orthodoxy can therefore be roughly charted along five time markers: the years prior to the summer of 2000, the months from June 2000 to January 2002, from June 2002 to September 2003 (the “gap” from January to June 2002 will be addressed in due course), from September 2003 to the Sunday of Orthodoxy and our entry into the Cathecumenate, the Catechumenate from the Sunday of Orthodoxy to Pentecost, and our entry into the Church on Pentecost.

1.Encounters with Orthodoxy prior to June 2000

As has been told elsewhere, by the summer of 2000 I had looked outside my own heritage churches to find that longed-for connection to the historic Church and had made my way to Anglicanism in the belief that I had found it there.

But the search had antecedents that predated my Anglican investigations. The first event in which I can recall this longing began to manifest itself with the purchase, in January 1987 between semesters of my freshman at Ozark Christian College, at the college bookstore of the Lightfoot and Harmer Greek and English single volume edition of The Apostolic Fathers. Here was my first attempt to find out what the early Church taught and believed. A seed had been planted as I spent the next semester reading through the Apostolic Fathers. I had no real understanding of what I was reading, but it both satisfied and intensified my longing for a connection to the New Testament Church.

The next event occurred about four years later. In the spring of 1991, just prior to my graduation from college, I prepared for a conditional baptism. I was seeking some certainty and authenticity about my baptism at age seven, especially in light of the fact that my life as an adolescent was godless and Continue reading “The Journey to Antioch – My Discoveries in the Orthodox Church – Clifton D. Healy, USA”

The Lure of the Mystical Path – Alice Tallmadge, Oregon, USA

http://usaofmyheart.wordpress.com

USA OF MY HEART

The Lure of the Mystical Path

By

Alice Tallmadge, Correspondent

Originally published in The Oregonian, Sunday, April 9, 2000

From Ashland to Portland, the Orthodox tradition is drawing Oregonians to its ancient depths

Source:

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com

The Lure of the Mystical Path

JOURNEY TO ORTHODOXY

EUGENE — The Saturday night buzz is revving outside the doors of St. Eugene Orthodox Church in the Whiteaker neighborhood. Motors race. Doors slam. Nearby taverns begin to fill with eager revelers. But inside the walls of the humble, dome-topped church, an otherworldly peace reigns. Pungent incense hangs in the air. Gold-flecked icons, lit by flickering tapers, line the dark red walls. Women, their long hair covered with scarves, stand on one side of the small nave, men on the other.

They take turns filling the room with plaintive, old-world chants. Other worshippers stand quietly, hands to their sides, heads bowed.

“This is how we worship, to stay concentrated in prayer,” said St. Eugene member Sarah Cowie.

“We believe that, during the service, God pours himself out. If you get quiet enough in your mind, you can feel, palpably, his presence.”

The 70 or so members of St. Eugene aren’t immigrants from Russia, Eastern Europe or Greece. They are Eugene-area residents, most of them converts from Protestant sects, who have found solace and sustenance in a tradition that dates back 2,000 years to the early Christian church. Cowie and other St. Eugene members are among the growing numbers of Oregonians who are converting to Orthodoxy.

For years, St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Portland, established in 1895, was Continue reading “The Lure of the Mystical Path – Alice Tallmadge, Oregon, USA”

My journey into the True Church – Timothy Copple, Texas, USA

http://havefaithorthodoxy.wordpress.com

HAVE FAITH – ORTHODOXY

My journey into the True Church

by Timothy Copple

Source:

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com

My Journey Into The True Church

JOURNEY TO ORTHODOXY

Each story I’ve heard of how people have come into the Orthodox Church has been different. Sometimes there are some general similarities, but each one has specific issues, specific circumstances and specific problems that they deal with. While I recognize that my own circumstances are not, and in some cases should not be, how others come into Orthodoxy, I do feel there were some key elements that moved me in this direction. Most inquirers/converts to Orthodoxy will deal with these key elements at some point.

So allow me to tell you a little of my own journey.

I was born and raised in Texas. We moved a lot, so over my growing up years I’ve lived in several different cities around south-central Texas. The city that I did a majority of my growing up, mostly during my teen years, was Austin, TX. So I tend to think of that as “home”. Ironically, it was in moving back to Austin after having lived in other places for around 16 years that I became Orthodox.

As I was growing up, my Father, Dalton Copple, was a part-time Baptist preacher while he worked for the local electric company around the Uvalde area. Some of my earliest memories as a kid are from those days. I recall a couple of questions I had back then, which I addressed to my Mom, Alice Fay Kiker.

One time I recall, as we were getting dressed for church, asking Mom why we had to go to church. As many people know, kids are often not really excited about going to church. You want to move, you want to play, you want to do anything but sit in a pew and listen for over an hour to people saying words and singing music. For me, however, that was not the full motivation behind my question. It was those blasted black leather shoes.

We were pretty poor people, but of course being the pastor’s family, the kids had to have decent looking shoes for church. Only problem was that our feet were constantly growing and Mom knew that we would hardly get a pair broke in before we would need a new pair. So, like any Mom aware that she had to Continue reading “My journey into the True Church – Timothy Copple, Texas, USA”

The Search for Orthodoxy – Fr. Seraphim Rose, USA

http://textsorthodoxy.wordpress.com

TEXTS – ORTHODOXY

The Search for Orthodoxy

Fr. Seraphim Rose, USA

A talk given at the 1981 St. Herman Summer Pilgrimage, at the St. Herman of Alaska Monastery, Platina, California. The text has been taken from Fr. Seraphim’s handwritten notes. The section titles have been added by the editors, based on Fr. Seraphim’s section divisions.

I. INTRODUCTION
The number of people here today is a proof that there is a search for Orthodoxy today—those who don’t have it are looking for it, and those who do have it want to go deeper into it.

Our times, the second half of the twentieth century, are times of spiritual searching. Many are dissatisfied, whether with various forms of Christianity, with non-Christian religions, or with unbelief and atheism. Many hope against hope that there is more to life, more to spiritual reality, than they have found so far. More and more of these searchers are finding what they are looking for in the Orthodox Church:

1. African peoples of Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zaire, and other mission fields are finding Orthodoxy to be the “true old religion” as against the various sects and cults of modern Africa.

2. Young Orthodox Christians of Soviet Russia and other Communist lands are finding in Orthodoxy both fresh air and recontact with their historical past after sixty years of atheist tyranny and suffocation.

3. Young Orthodox idealists of Greece are rediscovering the monastic ideal in the midst of the dead worldliness of contemporary Greece and are flocking to the monasteries of Mount Athos.

4. Americans, both young and old, weary of the rootless and arbitrary teachings of contemporary Protestantism, are discovering the true and Continue reading “The Search for Orthodoxy – Fr. Seraphim Rose, USA”

Spørsmål og Svar av Fader Serafim Rose, California, USA (+1982) ╰⊰¸¸.•¨* Norwegian

http://orthodoxyofmyheart.blogspot.com

ORTHODOXY OF MY HEART

Spørsmål og Svar 

av Fader Serafim Rose, California, USA (+1982)

Spørsmål: Kunne du ha sagt litt om Helligånden i den ortodokse lære og, i den sammenheng, synet på ikke-ortodokse sakramenter – om Helligånden er til stede i dem?

Svar: Vår Herre Jesus Kristus sendte ned Helligånden på pinsedagen, 50 dager etter Hans oppstandelse, 10 dager etter Han selv fór opp til himmelen, for å bli hos Kirken helt til tidens ende. Historisk sett, var det én Kirke Han grunnla.

Det har hendt i disse tider at folk har henvendt seg til historie for å finne denne Kirken. Ta, for eksempel, historien om Kirken i Uganda. På 1920 tallet, studerte to unge seminarister fra Uganda ved en anglikansk presteskole og begynte å se at den lære de ble gitt der ikke var den samme lære de fant i kirkefedrene. De begynte derfor å tenke at romersk-katolisismen måtte være svaret – at dette måtte være den oldtidlige Kirke. I ”jakten på den sanne, oldtidskirken” (som de kalte den), dro de for å studere ved en romersk-katolsk presteskole og igjen så at den lære de mottok der var noe annet en de gamle kirkefedrenes. De begynte å si, ”Hvis sannheten kan endres slik, hvor er da Kristi sannhet?” Og da hørte de om den ortodokse tro og gikk gjennom all slags strev for å finne ut hvor den var. Først fant de noen som kalte seg selv ortodoks men som var en sjarlatan, og delte ut det han kalte sakramenter. Når en gresk lekmann fortalte dem at det var noe ”rart” ved ham, så de dette, omvendte seg, og startet søket på nytt. Den første ortodokse biskopen de traff var ikke en spesielt god biskop, og sa, ”Å, det er ikke noe å bry seg om. Alle religioner er like, dra tilbake til anglikanerne.” Men de lot ikke dette fraråde dem. Til slutt fant de en ortodoks biskop som lærte det han skulle, og de ble ortodokse. I dag sprer Kirken seg gjennom Afrika: gjennom Uganda, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, osv. Vi har til og med opptak av gudstjenestene deres, som er veldig imponerende. De har tatt bysantinsk, gresk, sang og, uten å prøve å endre den (de synger bare på deres egen måte, på deres eget språk), høres den veldig ærverdig ut, med en lokal afrikansk variant. De gjorde med bysantinsk sang det samme grekerne gjorde når de fikk den hebraiske.

Så disse afrikanerne søkte historien og fant ut at det er én Kirke som kommer ned til oss direkte fra Kristus og lærer det som ble holdt i oldtiden: den ortodokse Kirke. Fra et historisk perspektiv, kan du også se at de andre kirkene har gått bort fra dette: romersk-katolisismen først i det 11. århundre, når spørsmålet om pavens plass i Kirken endelig kom opp for alvor, og paven ikke godtok det ortodokse svaret, og tok hele vestkirken med seg.

Til denne dag, handler Helligånden i den ortodokse Kirke. I de fleste vestlige, protestantiske grupper, kalles det de har sjeldent for sakramenter, så du hadde kanskje ikke sett etter Helligåndens nåde i noe de heller ikke selv anser som sakramenter. Romersk-katolikker, så klart, og noen få andre grupper ser på seg selv som å ha sakramenter. Selv hadde jeg sagt at de sanne sakramenter, i den forstand at Kristus innstiftet dem, finnes kun i den ortodokse kirke: og de som bruker navnet på sakramenter, prøver å gjøre det beste de kan med dem – det er noe mellom sjelen og Gud, og det Gud ønsker å gjøre med den sjelen – det er Hans affære. Kanskje det er mer enn noe psykologisk; jeg vet ikke – det må Gud bestemme. Men hjelpemidlene Han innstiftet i Kirken har kommet ned til oss i dag i den ortodokse Kirke. Man kan faktisk se ved historisk undersøkelse at vi gjør det som ble gjort i oldtidskirken. Filip, for eksempel, tok den etiopiske hoffmannen ned til elven og døpte ham på akkurat samme måte som det vi gjør: tre neddykkelser i Treenighetens navn, Fader, Sønn og Hellig Ånd. Det er derfor ortodoksien er kjent for å være så ”gammeldags”: vi beholder de gammeldagse måtene som kom ned til oss fra Kristus, apostlene og Kirkens tidlige fedre.

Spørsmål: Kan du si noe om det ortodokse synet på ikke-kristne religioner?

Svar: Kristus kom for å opplyse menneskeligheten. Det er mange religioner utenfor Hans åpenbaring der tilhengerne er alvorlige – ikke bare djeveldyrkere – og der sjelen virkelig prøver å finne Gud. Jeg vil si at, før disse menneskene hører om Kristus, er disse religionene greie så langt de rekker, men de kan aldri føre deg til målet. Målet er det evige liv og himmelens rike, og Gud kom i kjødet for å åpne dette for oss. Derfor er kristendommen sann; du kan peke på de forskjellige sammenlignbare deler av sannheten i andre religioner, og de er ofte veldig dype, men de åpner ikke himmelen. Bare når Kristus kom til jorden og sa til røveren, ”Du vil være med Meg i Paradis,” ble himmelen åpnet for mennesker.

Spørsmål: Så har de som ikke har hørt om Kristus ingen tilgang til sannheten?

Svar: De som aldri har hørt om Kristus? – det må Gud bestemme. I det Gamle Testament hadde ingen hørt om Kristus heller, og så kom Kristus, og forkynte for dem i dødsriket. Også Hl. Johannes Døperen, som vi tror kom til dødsriket først, før Kristus, og forkynte at Kristus skulle komme dit for å frigjøre alle som ønsket å bli frigjort, som ønsket å tro på Ham. Så Gud kan åpne sannheten for dem som ikke hadde en sjanse til å høre: dvs. som ikke fornektet Evangeliet men ikke hørte det. Men så snart du mottar åpenbaringen, da har du mye større ansvar enn alle andre. Noen som mottar åpenbaringen om at Gud har kommet i kjød og deretter ikke lever i samsvar med den – det er mye verre for ham enn for noen hedensk prest eller slikt.

Oversatt fra Fr. Seraphim Rose, God’s Revelation to the Human Heart, Platina, CA: St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1997, s.39-42

Kilde:

http://www.norsk-ortodoks.com

http://www.norsk-ortodoks.com/2013/06/sprsmal-og-svar.html

DEN ORTODOKSE KATOLSKE KIRKE

How an Icon Brought a Calvinist to Orthodoxy – Robert K. Arakaki, Hawaii, USA

http://hawaiiofmyheart.wordpress.com

HAWAII OF MY HEART

How an Icon Brought a Calvinist to Orthodoxy

By Robert K. Arakaki, Hawaii, USA

A Journey to Orthodoxy

It was my first week at seminary. Walking down the hallway of the main dorm, I saw an icon of Christ on a student’s door. I thought:

“An icon in an evangelical seminary?! What’s going on here?”

Even more amazing was the fact that Jim’s background was the Assemblies of God, a Pentecostal denomination. When I left Hawaii in 1990 to study at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, I went with the purpose of preparing to become an evangelical seminary professor in a liberal United Church of Christ seminary. The UCC is one of the most liberal denominations, and I wanted to help bring the denomination back to its biblical roots. The last thing I expected was that I would become Orthodox.

Called by an Icon

After my first semester, I flew back to Hawaii for the winter break. While there, I was invited to a Bible study at Ss. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church. At the Bible study I kept looking across the table to the icons that were for sale. My eyes kept going back to this one particular icon of Christ holding the Bible in His hand. For the next several days I could not get that icon out of my mind.

I went back and bought the icon. When I bought it, I wasn’t thinking of Continue reading “How an Icon Brought a Calvinist to Orthodoxy – Robert K. Arakaki, Hawaii, USA”