Originally posted 4/2/2013
By Kevin Allen
I became Eastern Orthodox because of ‘The Jesus Prayer’. Let me explain.
When I was sixteen and seventeen, I spent summers at a Hindu ashram on the majestic border of Canada and New York in what is called the Thousand Islands area. The ashram was and is dedicated to the famous Hindu saint Swami Vivekananda who introduced Vedic Indian spirituality to the West in the late 19th century, long before the famous gurus Maharishi Mahesh and Swami Bhaktivedanta of the Hare Krishnas. I spent two summers in the ‘60s serving my guru, reading, soaking in the natural beauty, and meditating. In the afternoons we met as a community for “Puja” where we worshipped the deity of this Hindu sect. Hinduism saved me from a meaningless life of materialism, and nihilism and opened the door to a life of the spirit. Continue reading Into Orthodoxy: From Krishna to Christ
I became Orthodox because I fell in love. Nobody can tell you why they fall in love. Nobody can make you fall in love. It just happens. In the mystery of Orthodoxy, I fell in love with a God who loves me, a sinner.
I came to God in a small holiness church. I was reared in the faith by wonderful people, people who taught me what it means to be a Christian. But I did not really love God. I thought I loved God in the way that a 12 year old girl thinks she loves a 12 year old boy. I was really afraid of God – afraid of hell – and tried to master my fears by mastering God. I studied the Bible, and later theology, to get God “right” and feel better about my own salvation. Continue reading Into Orthodoxy: Kyrie Eleison!
Originally posted 4/25/2013
By Holly Algood
I became Orthodox because my husband is a good man. Try as I might, I could not remove my husband from my religious calculus (and as a scientist, I tend to see most of life as an equation).
Twelve years ago I was a faithful, happy Catholic. I never missed Sunday mass. I sang hymns in my car. I went to confession more than once a year. I said the rosary while doing lab work. Then I met my future husband, a faithful, happy Orthodox Christian. I knew about that Eastern Rite Church. I thought, “we are not that different”. We saw our meeting as a blessing from God and we treated our relationship as a gift; a gift to help us reach salvation. Nearly 10 years ago, we married in the Orthodox Church with the blessing of the Catholic Church. I signed a document saying if we had children they would be raised Catholic. My Catholic priest attended the wedding and served us by giving a homily at the end of the Sacrament. We figured by the time we had children we would know which Church was best for our family. We wanted unity. Continue reading Into Orthodoxy: On Faith and Family
I became Orthodox because there was nowhere else to go.
Like many Southerners, I was raised going to church. I am grateful for the congregation of my childhood: a safe, friendly environment that instilled the importance of Scripture, prayer, and a relationship with God. But when growing pains led to a departure from there, I felt bewildered. I knew I wanted to stay in Christendom, and to do so in a community, but beyond that I was out of ideas. I had seen a variety of places, Protestant and Catholic, but still felt uncertain. So when my stepbrother and his wife invited me to go to an Antiochian Orthodox Divine Liturgy with them, I accepted. I just need somewhere to go, I thought; somewhere that isn’t nowhere. The place was pretty, chant-y, and smelled nice, not a bad place to sit and think things through. So I decided to go to Orthodox services while waiting for The Answer to my Church question: where else can I go? Continue reading Into Orthodoxy: Questions Answered