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Katavasia
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How and when did you undestand that Orthodoxy is for you?

Post by Katavasia » Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:12 pm

As Isaid in other topic, even in traditionnaly Orthodox countries like Russia or Greece, faith now is a matter of choice. Did you personnaly have to make a choice and what helped you to make it?

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Serafima
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Re: How and when did you undestand that Orthodoxy is for you?

Post by Serafima » Fri Aug 14, 2009 12:18 am

In my opinion each person has faith. Even atheists believe that there is no God. ;) To understand that Orthodoxy is the only true religion took me some time and effort. I was born in a family very indifferent to religion. Thanks to my grandma i was baptized when i turned 7. We celebrated Easter and Christmas though... I thought Church is only for old people who don't have anything better to do than go to there every Sunday. I didn't realize that Orthodoxy has a lot to offer... Trust me its not easy to live without God... :( I tried to find Him everywhere even in New Age philosophy :oops: I was desperate... I was lucky enough to meet this girl who later became my closest friend. She is believer. I asked her to take me to the Russian church.That happened 3 years ago. I still feel that i don't know anything, but i don't think anymore that church is for old people only. :D
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Liza
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Re: How and when did you undestand that Orthodoxy is for you?

Post by Liza » Tue Aug 18, 2009 5:10 pm

My family is very religious, but Protestant. Obviously here that is a “normal” religion, and Orthodoxy is kind of “strange” or “exotic”—people mostly do not even know about it. Growing up, we went to church every Sunday, and I learned about the Bible and about Protestant theology from my parents. As a child, I wasn’t very interested, but when I was a teenager, I became interested in theology and in learning about the history of the church. I didn’t know very much about it at all, since a lot of Protestants are not aware of most church history. I read books in my parents’ house, and that I could find at the library, and then later I found a little bit of information about Orthodoxy on the internet (that was in 1997-8, and you could already find something online, but it was very different than it is now!). I was very interested, and I started to go to an Orthodox church in my city—there are several here. After going to services for Holy Week and Pascha, I knew I would end up being Orthodox—I could tell that the truth was here.

And ever since, I have gone to church—sometimes it is harder than others, but I can’t live without it!

Serafima, do you mind if I ask you a couple of questions? I am curious, did you start going to church when you were already in the US? Is your husband also a believer?

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Serafima
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Re: How and when did you undestand that Orthodoxy is for you?

Post by Serafima » Wed Aug 19, 2009 11:29 pm

Liza, you can ask me any questions, my pleasure to answer them. I was going to church a little back home, especially before exams :wink: , to light candles and ask God for help. So. i kinda knew where the truth was, but it seemed to be very easy. and i thought that it doesn't matter which church to go to :fool: . And i had no idea about Services. And after all the years of governmental politics against church a lot of people (including my parents and me) thought that church is for not educated people who try to make our life harder. In US for a very long time i stayed all alone, all my family is back home. I was worried about them a lot, i felt very lonely. It was the darkest time of my life, i even started to have terrible nightmares. :cry: Than i met this girl, we worked together and became very close. She took me to the Russian Church. I started helping (volunteer) there and little by little that place became my second home. I met my husband there while i was washing the floor. :lol: . We went to church together every Sunday. Our Bishop gave him a blessing to study at the Seminary. So, this year he was accepted at the Jordanville Seminary. I don't know what is going to happen next, but now i can say how much my life had changed for the past 3 years. Thanks God for everything!
Liza, your story is very interesting and inspiring! What about your parents? What do they think about your changing a religion? I don't think it was easy for them to accept their daughter's changing a religion! You are very brave! :Rose:
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Liza
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Re: How and when did you undestand that Orthodoxy is for you?

Post by Liza » Thu Aug 20, 2009 5:53 am

Wow, Serafima, it sounds like things certainly did change a lot for you. That is wonderful that you got to know your friend and ended up finding the Church. I know some other people who went to church sometimes "to light candles" when they lived in Russia, and came here and then ended up going to church a lot more and learned about faith. And so nice that you also met your husband at church! (I wish something like that would happen for me, but so far it hasn't). Are you and your husband going to Jordanville this fall? I am thinking of visiting my friends in New Jersey sometime in the fall and was going to see if I could also go to Jordanville--I have never been there but I have heard it is really beautiful.

I think it was hard for my parents at the time, when I became Orthodox. At first they thought it was just a phase, that I was interested because it was new and exotic, and once I saw what it was like, I would think it was an interesting thing to learn about, but not want to join. Then when they saw I was serious about it, they were not happy, because it meant we would not be able to go to church as a family. I think they weren't as upset as Orthodox parents would be if their children became Protestants, because they don't think of their church as the One Church, the way we see the Orthodox Church, but rather think that all Christians make up the church, so they were at least happy I still wanted to be Christian--just didn't see why I had to actually go and join this strange church! But they also disagree with a lot of Orthodox teaching, so they were kind of worried about that. At first I tried to argue and discuss about religion, but then after awhile we stopped arguing about things we didn't agree on. Now they are completely used to it, and it doesn't cause any problems. Sometimes I wish I could talk about spiritual things more with my family (we are very close otherwise) but there are a lot of big differences between Orthodoxy and Protestantism, so it's complicated.

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Serafima
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Re: How and when did you undestand that Orthodoxy is for you?

Post by Serafima » Fri Aug 21, 2009 12:17 am

Liza,
Jordanville is beautiful. First time we went there together when we were just friend. We were lucky to meet Metropolitan Laurus and even spoke with him a little. Aleksey has to go there twice a year to take the exams. So, it looks like his is going to go there in December. Kind of scary for me since it always snows a lot there during the winter time. :%) If you will go there in Fall, keep in mind that it is very cold, especially during the nights. Please, take warm clothes with you. :Rose:

You should pray for your parents. :Rose: Our Lord is merciful. And may be one the miracle will happen and they will understand that the Orthodoxy is the only one truthful way to praise the Lord.
Χριστος Aνεστη!

Liza
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Re: How and when did you undestand that Orthodoxy is for you?

Post by Liza » Fri Aug 21, 2009 4:59 am

Oh so your husband is doing the distance program--that makes sense! That is so wonderful you were able to meet Metropolitan Laurus--I never met him but I wish I had. I will keep it in mind to bring warm clothes if I visit. If I come I will be staying with my friends in New Jersey most of the time--I don't know if it will work out to go all the way to Jordanville.

I always pray for them, of course. It's hard for me to imagine that they would end up becoming Orthodox, but probably I should have more faith!

(I hope some other people share their stories also! I think it would be very interesting to read!)

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Mrs. Sunflower
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Re: How and when did you undestand that Orthodoxy is for you?

Post by Mrs. Sunflower » Mon Aug 24, 2009 12:45 am

As for me, I took the Sacrament of Baptism when I was 20. And directly after that day I consciously became an active member of the Orthodox Church: I became a parishioner of the Temple and started my Confession and Communion...
------------------
So, some of my memories... :roll:

My family was nice, friendly, but secular. We didn't ever talk about God. When being a child I often met one old lady - she was said to "go to church''... She was seemed to me to smell like something terrible ... grave, I thought...
While she was neat and not old, as I now understand. :pardon:
This is from childhood.
In my adolescence and youth I was thinking about the meaning of life and inclined to the idea: God exists... And nothing more. :sorry:
Studying at the institute, I fell in love like the young girl of 19 years is able - truly, fully and ... lamblike. He was a nice boy - lieutenant, finished the cadet school. Greetings, chattering like "how are you" - and no more; but each of these meetings was like lightning for me.
After graduating, he went to the border zone and became an officer on a military boat.

At that time, one girl - my coeval and long friend - was a neophyte. She saw me still unbaptized and was constantly convincing me to take the Sacrament of Baptism.
So, I baptized. :pardon:
Two days later I knew that the fuel on my lieutenant's boat has exploded, and he was right near... He has guessed to jump overboard, but still have got about 30% burned body, and he was in intensive care.

...I've never prayed so...

I was surprised that the priest who baptized me, deeply participated in this trouble. He even became a little pale when I told him about that unhappiness. I remember he missed a little the beginning of Sunday evening vigil worship - he immediately began prayer. We prayed together - the priest and I - in a small, almost empty church ...

It was a miracle - the guy survived...

Much later, the priest asked me about him. I answered: he's all right, but we don't see each other.
«You received that you requested», said the priest.
Really, I have not asked more than the boy remained alive...

After the explosion I've not seen the boy any more.
Long time later my falling in love with him was difficulty over. But since that time I've changed. I was commotioned: God is too close to man...
I began to treat seriously to the duties of the Christian. A pupil came to school - be so kind and obey a school order. So is in the Church.
...I therefore shocked my relatives, but it is another story ...

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Serafima
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Re: How and when did you undestand that Orthodoxy is for you?

Post by Serafima » Mon Aug 24, 2009 1:12 am

Mrs. Sunflower, your story is so fascinating! :Rose:
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Matusya
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Re: How and when did you undestand that Orthodoxy is for you?

Post by Matusya » Mon Aug 24, 2009 11:36 am

Read and weep, so extraordinary! God's ways are inscrutable! How did your life go from here?
Thank God for all and for ever!

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