Becoming Orthodox – Jim Forest, USA & the Netherlands

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Becoming Orthodox

by

Jim Forest, USA & the Netherlands

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Jim & Nancy Forest

Becoming Orthodox

JIM & NANCY FOREST

I am sometimes asked how the son of atheist parents ended up not only a Christian but a member of the Orthodox Church.

In fact it wasn’t so big a leap as it sounds. For starters my parents weren’t people for whom atheism was a religion unto itself. Their atheism seemed to mainly to do with being on the Left. Their real interest was in the down-and-out — people who were being treated like beasts, underpaid or jobless, trapped in slums, without health care, etc. When I was growing up, they were both Communists. It was part of Marxist dogma that there was no god. For them it was not so much a question of agreeing with that tenet of Marxism as not disagreeing. In fact both of them had been shaped and inspired by their religious roots. Mother was a Methodist Communist, my father a Catholic Communist. Mother’s parents, both devout Methodists, raised their children to take Christianity seriously, and with an eye to its social implications. Dad, a fervent Catholic in his youth, had once looked forward to becoming a priest.

I was born in November 1941 in the Vatican of Mormonism, Salt Lake City, Utah. At the time my Father was working as regional organizer for the Communist Party and my Mother was a social worker. When I asked about Mormons later in life, Mother spoke with respect of the ways Mormons helped each other when anyone was out of work or facing other troubles. However, she tended to judge religion by how attentive its members were not just to each other but to the woes of the world. On that score, the Mormons didn’t impress her.

During the several years that followed, I have only splinters of memory. There is a photo of me when I was about a year old, standing upright while my mother, wearing a beret and smoking a cigarette, is sitting on a park bench in a Chicago park. Later we lived in Denver, where my brother, Richard, was born in 1943. Dad was in the Army part of the Second World War, stationed in Hawaii. In 1944 Dad fell in love with a Communist Party co-worker and filed for divorce. During the next decade, he was an occasional visitor whose home was far away. Remarkably, divorce didn’t seem to embitter Mother. I cannot recall her ever speaking ill of Dad.

Following the divorce, my mother, brother and I moved to Red Bank, New Jersey. This was the town where Mother had grown up in. While her parents by then had both died, her sister and brother-in-law were living there. It took some good will and squeezing, but we lived with them until we had a house of Continue reading “Becoming Orthodox – Jim Forest, USA & the Netherlands”

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Reason #1: the ever-changing church – Why I have converted to the Eastern Orthodox Church

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COMING HOME – ORTHODOXY

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Reason #1: the ever-changing church

Why I have converted to the Eastern Orthodox Church

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Reason #1: the ever-changing church

JOURNEY TO ORTHODOXY

This series of articles are from the “Becoming Orthodox” blog.

This is the first in a series of posts highlighting reasons why I have converted to the Orthodox Church. They are listed in no particular order. Some are big, important reasons; others may be small, wonderful but non-essential reasons. I hope they offer food for thought.

A few months ago I read an article in Christianity Today that highlighted a Christian movement in Mexico. It’s been awhile since I read the article and I can no longer recall the particulars, but one line really stood out: “How will the church in Mexico continue to change?” asked the columnist.

If the church is the pillar of truth (1 Timothy 3:15), then it should be unchanged since the day that it was founded by Jesus. Yet in any particular church group (save one) you will find numerous changes. Roman Catholics have a pretty long history, but they change the rules all the time. Protestantism is no different, being that it was borne out of a desire for change; a desire that certainly continues to this day when we have thousands of different denominations.

I’m disturbed by all of these changes. Truth doesn’t change. Neither should the Church.

 

Deep Roots In Fresh Soil – Orthodox Christianity Comes To Erie, Colorado, USA

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Deep Roots In Fresh Soil

Orthodox Christianity comes to Erie, Colorado, USA

250-member St. Luke grew from tiny Lafayette church established nearly two decades ago

By John Aguilar

Source:

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Deep Roots In Fresh Soil

JOURNEY TO ORTHODOXY

The building is brand-new, the land never before scraped, but the site in Erie where St. Luke Orthodox Christian Church now sits has roots going back nearly two millennia.

A vivid, larger than life-size image of the Virgin Mary, accompanied by a young Jesus, stretches her arms out above the altar. The Messiah — surrounded by painted prophets — gazes down from the dome inside the church’s temple, which is adorned with Byzantine arches and columns.

There’s no organ here — all music is chanted or sung a cappella. There are no statues — warm-hued iconography is the rule.

Standing inside St. Luke evokes a different time, a different era.

”It’s the one that was established by the Lord and the apostles,” said the Rev. David Mustian, pastor at St. Luke. ”When people look at the Orthodox Church, it feels new to them, but when they start digging, they see it has old Continue reading “Deep Roots In Fresh Soil – Orthodox Christianity Comes To Erie, Colorado, USA”

The Gift of Orthodoxy – Elizabeth Huestis, USA & Australia

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CONVERSIONS TO ORTHODOXY

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The Gift of Orthodoxy

by Elizabeth Huestis, USA & Australia

Source:

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com

The Gift of Orthodoxy

JOURNEY TO ORTHODOXY

St. Paul speaks of being “an Apostle out of due time” in the sense that he did not know Jesus first-hand, and did not travel around with Jesus the way that the other Apostles did. Yet God chose him particularly to have a special and useful place in the Church. In the same way, converts are not natural inheritors of Orthodoxy in the same way as are those people born in traditionally Orthodox countries and cultures. But God takes us from all sorts of places, adopting us in a special way, making us a part of His Church in a way that we would have no natural inherited right to. (Someone born Greek or Serbian or Russian would normally inherit Orthodoxy.)

Because God has chosen to give us Orthodoxy outside of normal means, perhaps we tend to cherish it more and also to feel the obligation to share it with those who do not have the gift and also to help those who have inherited it to understand and appreciate it better. This becomes more true when in retrospect it is possible to see that our becoming Orthodox was not just a Continue reading “The Gift of Orthodoxy – Elizabeth Huestis, USA & Australia”

Ancient Faith Radio: Saint John Maximovitch of Shanghai & San Francisco (+1966) – July 2

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Ancient Faith Radio:

Saint John Maximovitch of Shanghai & San Francisco (+1966)

July 2

This brightly-shining Saint of our own day was born in Russia in 1896. In 1921 his family fled the Russian Revolution to Serbia, where he became a monk and was ordained a priest. From the time of his entry into monastic life he adopted a severely ascetical way of life: for the rest of his life he never slept in a bed, sleeping only briefly in a chair or prostrated before the icons. He ate one meal a day, in the evening. Teaching seminarians in Serbia, he instructed them each day to devote six hours to divine services, six hours to prayer (not including the divine services!), six hours to good works, and six hours to rest (these six hours obviously included eating and bathing as well as sleeping). Whether his seminarians followed his counsels we do not know, but he himself not only followed but exceeded them.

In 1934 he was made Bishop of Shanghai (in the Russian Church Abroad), where he served not only the Russian émigré community but a number of native Chinese Orthodox; from time to time he served the Divine Liturgy in Chinese. When the Communists took power in China, he laboured tirelessly to evacuate his flock to safety, first to the Philippines, then to various western countries including the United States. He served as Bishop in Paris and Brussels, then, in 1962 was made Archbishop of San Francisco. Throughout his life as monk and hierarch he was revered (and sometimes condemned) for his ascetical labours and unceasing intercessions. During his life and ever since, numerous miraculous healings of all manner of afflictions have been accomplished through his prayers.

Once, in Shanghai, a caretaker, investigating strange noises in the cathedral after midnight, discovered Bishop John standing in the belltower, looking down on the city and praying for the people. Years later, when he visited Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, New York, the priest responsible for hosting him found the saint walking through the halls of the monastery, standing outside the door of each room and praying for the monk or seminarian sleeping within. When the Archbishop had prayed outside each room, he returned to the beginning of his circuit and began praying again; and so he spent the entire night

Even as Archbishop, he lived in near-absolute poverty. His appearance was striking: His cassock was made of blue Chinese “peasant cloth,” crudely decorated with crosses stitched by orphans who had been in his care in Shanghai. His Bishop’s “miter” was often a cloth cap to which he had glued paper icons. Even in the United States, even while serving the Divine Liturgy (which he did every day), he went barefoot in all seasons. (Eventually, after he was hospitalized with an infected foot, his Metropolitan ordered him to wear shoes; thereafter, he wore sandals). Needless to say, he was an embarrassment to those who like their bishops to make a more worldly appearance, but among his various flocks throughout the world, there were always those who recognized him as a Saint in his own lifetime.

Following his repose in 1966, a steady stream of healings and other miracles was accomplished through his intercessions, and in 1996 he was glorified as a Saint of the Church. His incorrupt and wonder-working relics can be venerated at his cathedral in San Francisco. At St John’s funeral, the eulogist told his mourners (and all of us): because Archbishop John was able to live the spirituality of the Orthodox Church so fully, even in modern, western, urban society, we are without excuse

Footnote: An acquaintance of Monk John once met him on a train in Serbia. When asked his destination, Monk John replied, “I’m going to straighten out a mistake. I’ve gotten a letter meant for some other John whom they intend to make a bishop.” The same person met him again on his return journey and asked if he had been able to resolve his problem. John answered, “The mistake is much worse than I thought: they did make me a bishop.”

(From Ancient Faith Radio)

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SIMPLY ORTHODOX

Video: Orthodox Church Plants Seeds in Moses Lake, Washington, USA

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Orthodox Church Plants Seeds in Moses Lake,

Washington, USA

The Mane Man – An Interview with Troy Polamalu of Pittsburg Steelers Team, Samoa & USA – Journey to Orthodoxy

An Interview with Troy Polamalu

The Mane Man

By

Gina Mazza

Pittsburgh Magazine, August 2009

Source:

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/2010/08/24/wild-interview-with-troy-polamalu/

JOURNEY TO ORTHODOXY

Football is a given: How was this year’s Super Bowl experience versus XL? Tomlin versus Cowher? Goals for the coming season?

Fatherhood is new in Polamalu’s life since the birth of his son, Paisios, named after a beloved contemporary Greek Orthodox monastic, Elder Paisios, on Oct. 31, 2008. Has daddy-dom been life-changing? Will he encourage his son to play professional sports? How’s that
beautiful new mom doing?

And last but not least: Faith. In order to properly meet Polamalu where he lives, this is the requisite, the grounding force that gives meaning to everything he does, every play he makes. Polamalu’s evident gratitude to the one who made him is marbled throughout our talk – from his training regime to his travels to Mount Athos, a monastic site in Greece, a place he calls “heaven on earth.”

While he has a reputation for being one of the NFL’s fiercest players, Polamalu would prefer “Tasmanian angel” over “Tasmanian devil” because his ball game is about glorifying God. “Football is part of my life but not life itself,” he says. “Football doesn’t define me. It’s what I do [and] how I carry out my faith.”

Whether shooting a Coke Zero commercial or running up the sand hills on Manhattan Beach to train – which he’s probably off to do after this interview – Polamalu, 27, is refreshingly modest and introspective, choosing his words as precisely as he picks his spots on the gridiron. He’s intense when the Continue reading “The Mane Man – An Interview with Troy Polamalu of Pittsburg Steelers Team, Samoa & USA – Journey to Orthodoxy”

My Journey Through Lutheranism and Calvary Chapel to Orthodoxy – Patrick Keenan, North Dakota, USA

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My Journey Through Lutheranism and Calvary Chapel to Orthodoxy

by Patrick Keenan, North Dakota, USA

Source:

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/2017/03/my-journey-through-lutheranism-calvary-chapel-orthodoxy/

JOURNEY TO ORTHODOXY

My parents brought me to Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church for Baptism as an infant. Somehow, someway a grace entered my life that has resided as long as I can remember. The quest as to who He is and how I should know him has been a lifelong pursuit.

It was an evening in 1966. Our modest North Dakota apartment housed my Mother, Father and myself. Dad was at the family Drive-In. Mom and I decided to watch NBC’s Saturday Night at the Movies. It was a Rock Hudson Movie called ‘The Spiral Road’. Rock’s character was an Atheist Doctor in a south pacific Island who had fallen in love with a Christian nurse. She asked Rock why he didn’t believe in God, to which he replied something like:

‘because at one point I challenged God to show himself to me. I told God ‘If you are there- strike me down!’ He did nothing and that is why I do not believe.’

Well the next day, of course, was Sunday morning. Our Redeemer’s was a large Church with a huge wooden cross hanging on a rock wall behind the pulpit. As I recall, the Continue reading “My Journey Through Lutheranism and Calvary Chapel to Orthodoxy – Patrick Keenan, North Dakota, USA”

Hammi: The Norwegian Forest Cat – Our pets are gifts from God – Abbot Tryphon, WA, USA

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Hammi: The Norwegian Forest Cat

Our pets are gifts from God

Source:

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https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/morningoffering/2017/02/hammi-norwegian-forest-cat/

ANCIENT FAITH

MORNING OFFERING

Every evening I try to spend an hour or so in the library, sitting in front of the fire place. Our beloved Norwegian Forest Cat, Hammi, sleeps in the library/community room every night. Hammi is most happy when the entire monastic brotherhood is gathered together with him. He’s an important member of our community, loved by all of us, and is the only cat I know who has his own facebook fan page, started by a woman who’d met him on a pilgrimage to the monastery (if my memory be correct).

I first met Hammi, a large male cat, as I was walking between our old trailer house (now gone) and my cell, some seventeen years ago. We startled one another, but as I reached down with extended hand, he came to me. When I picked him up he began purring immediately, so I opened a can of salmon, and he never left. A month after his arrival we took him to a vet to be checked out. It was the veterinarian who suggested he’d most likely been dumped by someone from Seattle, as happens frequently when people want to dispose of a pet, and make sure the animal can’t find it’s way back home (impossible from an island).

I often tell people that Hammi domesticated me, since I’d not previously been a cat fancier, being allergic to cat dander. Little did I know at the beginning that Norwegian Forest Cats do not have dander. They have a very soft double fur coat, large paws, sweet facial features and a very loud purr box. They are known to be personable, liking to be around people. He greets everyone who comes to the monastery, escorting them up the steps from the parking lot. Everyone who’s ever met Hammi, falls in love. I’ve lost count of the number of people who’ve stated they don’t like cats, but want to get a Norwegian Forest Cat for themselves, once they’ve met him.

Intelligent breed that they are, Hammi has learned to let us know just what he wants, be it water, food, cuddling, sleep, whatever. He is a great companion to all of us, even going into the forest when one of us takes a walk on the Valaam Trail. He has a special game which he seems to enjoy with me, particularly. I’ll head out on the trail with Hammi running ahead. He’ll hide behind a large fern, and even though I know he’s waiting ahead, he always manages to scare me. I’ll then run ahead and hide behind a tree and jump out when he walks by. We play this game until the end of the trail!

At the ripe old age of twenty, Hammi is slowing down a bit, just as am I. We both suffer from arthritis and like to sit by the fire on a cold winter evening, with him cuddling in the lap of the old abbot. I’ve grown so attached to him that I can’t even begin to think of what life in the monastery will be like after he’s gone.

Animals teach us so much about life, and about unconditional love. I’ll never forget the day Hammi spotted our newly arrived Rhode Island Reds for the first time. I was sitting on the veranda of the trapeza with some guests. Hammi sat up when he spotted the hens, and started walking toward the Saint John Chapel. I followed him, as did our guests. When we were standing by the hens, Hammi crouched down, ready for the kill. All that was needed was for me to say, “No, Hammi, they are our friends”. He turned away and walked back to the veranda, leaving me and the guests alone with the chickens. He’s never bothered them since.

Although I’d grown up with dogs and cats, they’d not been in my life throughout my adulthood, until Hammi came around. I’m so very glad he did.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

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Washington, USA

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Parishes in Alabama, USA – Eastern Orthodox Church

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Parishes in Alabama, USA

Eastern Orthodox Church