PDA

View Full Version : The Eastern Orthodox Faith



LoneRider
06-03-2013, 01:06 AM
I'm currently working on a fanfiction that involves an original character I've who is a veteran of the armed forces of the former USSR. I'd asked earlier about life in the Soviet Union in the 1980s (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=271184) and I became curious about the Eastern Orthodox faith.

Being Roman Catholic myself I recall that the Eastern Orthodox faith is a further offshoot from the Greek Orthodox faith and is the predominant form of Christianity in Eastern Europe.

My main question is what are the differences in Eastern Orthodox celebrations of the Mass (I've heard a lot of incense is traditionally used) and how different are its traditional prayers from the Roman Catholic ones?

blacbird
06-03-2013, 01:18 AM
Google "Eastern Orthodox Christianity" and you'll get pretty much everything you need on numerous info sites. I just did, and it's way too voluminous to summarize.

caw

GeorgeK
06-03-2013, 01:28 AM
I

My main question is what are the differences in Eastern Orthodox celebrations of the Mass (I've heard a lot of incense is traditionally used) and how different are its traditional prayers from the Roman Catholic ones?More singing

RichardGarfinkle
06-03-2013, 01:38 AM
The Eastern Orthodox Liturgy is, from what I understand, told more as a story than the Catholic mass. Here's a site with a batch of Greek Orthodox documents in English.
http://www.goarch.org/chapel/liturgical_texts

Here's some Russian Orthodox.
http://www.stjrussianorthodox.com/worship.htm

Here's a YouTube link to a full service done in Pennsylvania. I haven't watched it in full (it's almost 2 hours).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fd6eC54FCJc

LoneRider
06-03-2013, 03:30 AM
Thanks RichardGarfinkle for the liturgical texts. Seeing how my character is Russian I found the Russian Orthodox link to be quite enlightening.

Given how my main character lived almost all of his life and part of his adult life in the Soviet Union before its collapse assume he would have had little exposure if any to the Russian Orthodox faith. But when he leaves the now defunct state after its collapse he would likely encounter this part of his heritage from an expatriate community.

I've already figured he saw the St. Michael's Cathedral of Sochi (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Michael%27s_Cathedral,_Sochi)(his hometown) throughout his life (I'm writing he saw this church every day walking to his school) during its decades of long neglect by the Soviet Union and that slice of home comes back when he wanders into a Russian Orthodox church in a foreign city far from home.

blacbird
06-03-2013, 04:47 AM
I'm currently working on a fanfiction that involves an original character I've who is a veteran of the armed forces of the former USSR. I'd asked earlier about life in the Soviet Union in the 1980s (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=271184) and I became curious about the Eastern Orthodox faith.

As an addendum to my previous post, and an even better suggestion:

Attend an Eastern Orthodox Service.

caw

Chekurtab
06-04-2013, 04:59 AM
I'm currently working on a fanfiction that involves an original character I've who is a veteran of the armed forces of the former USSR. I'd asked earlier about life in the Soviet Union in the 1980s (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=271184) and I became curious about the Eastern Orthodox faith.

Being Roman Catholic myself I recall that the Eastern Orthodox faith is a further offshoot from the Greek Orthodox faith and is the predominant form of Christianity in Eastern Europe.

My main question is what are the differences in Eastern Orthodox celebrations of the Mass (I've heard a lot of incense is traditionally used) and how different are its traditional prayers from the Roman Catholic ones?
As I understand your MC lives in the 80s. Just a word of caution:
During the 80s USSR was run by Communist Party. The official religion was atheism. It would be highly unlikely for a veteran to attend a mass in a church.

Fade
06-04-2013, 05:11 AM
I'm a semi (now agnostic, but growing up I went to lots of services with my dad and his family) Greek orthodox christian, so off the top of my head I'll just say what I remember.

Whoever said more incense: yes. that incense was so strong it made me sick. There was tons of incense.

the liturgies are generally like, 1 and a half hours to two hours, which may be longer than catholic ones? I've only once been to a catholic service

You can't take communion if you've been recently divorced until the priest says its okay, and you're supposed to fast before church on sunday so you don't have any food in your stomach before communion

You get little pieces of bread immediately after communion called andeetheron (i've only heard it, so that's phonetic) in the greek orthodox church; I don't know if they're called something else in the russian church. You're supposed to hold your hand underneath your mouth when you chew to catch the crumbs, so that you don't spill it on the floor. I don't know if that's because it's holy, or because they don't want to have to sweep the floor.

the priests wear purple on easter.

Girls can't be priests, decons, or alter boys. Yes, the church is sexist. They use "patriarchal" like its a good thing, for crying out loud.

That's all I can recall off the top of my head now, and if you need any specific questions, send me a PM, and I'd be happy to answer whatever I can remember

LoneRider
06-04-2013, 05:11 AM
As I understand your MC lives in the 80s. Just a word of caution:
During the 80s USSR was run by Communist Party. The official religion was atheism. It would be highly unlikely for a veteran to attend a mass in a church.

He lived and carried out his military service in the 1980s and his 'religious encounter' takes place in the 1990s after the fall of communism.

He had already immigrated to the US by the time he had this 'religious experience' and far from home he had a vague memory from a simpler time of a church spire of a long closed church he walked by every day going to school as a lad.

Siri Kirpal
06-04-2013, 06:38 AM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

I've never attended an Orthodox service, but I've listened to its music. I understand that unlike the Catholic Church, they don't allow the use of instruments; it's all singing.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

frimble3
06-04-2013, 08:57 AM
He lived and carried out his military service in the 1980s and his 'religious encounter' takes place in the 1990s after the fall of communism.

He had already immigrated to the US by the time he had this 'religious experience' and far from home he had a vague memory from a simpler time of a church spire of a long closed church he walked by every day going to school as a lad.
Seconding Blacbird's suggestion. If you can find a nearby Eastern Orthodox church, you'd be experiencing what your character experiences: attracted by the familiar appearance of the building, you're finally finding out what goes on inside.

King Neptune
06-04-2013, 04:59 PM
I was brought up in the Roman Church, so I have little direct experience with the Orthodox, but I guy I knew in college became a Greek Orthodox priest, and, rather oddly, the Orthodox church has become more popular in the last few decades, especially outside its traditional homelands. You might want to visit a church, espcially Russian Orthodox, if you can find one in your area. There are ninor differences in doctrine and liturgy from country to country, but all of the Eastern Orthodox churches have the same basics, whether it be Russian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Greek, or whatever.

Mariana
06-04-2013, 07:10 PM
Hi to everyone! I'm a Greek Orthodox and our religion is the same with the Russian with slight differences. I suggest you to read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Christians_in_the_Soviet_Union

and about the Mass that you are asking you should read this one:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Orthodox_Church#The_Holy_Mysteries_.28Sacr aments.29

The Holy Mysteries are the MOST important ritual for us and the Russians, especially Baptism, Holy Communion and Repentance!!!
When you become an Orthodox through Baptism (for once in your life) the most important rituals are the Holy Communion and the Repentance. We usually receive Communion one time in a year, (the Holy Saturday: on of the most important days of our religion) but the most religious receive more times (read: http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith7072 )
Concerning Repentance, the Religion says that: "every time you commit sins you have to repent of them". So, the most religious are doing that all the time, the others once a year or rarely. I thing that when you are going to marry you have to repent for your sins before but I'm not sure.
Other important dates are the spiritual preparation for Easter (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter#Eastern_Christianity )with the most important the Holy Week (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_Week#Eastern_Orthodoxy ). It's a great same for an Orthodox not to go to church in Great and Holy Saturday and venerate the Epitaphios.
Apart from all that if you are a religious man you also have to go to the church every Sunday morning.

I hope that I helped you with all this information, if you have any other question ask me :)

LoneRider
06-14-2013, 04:14 AM
Thanks for the links, Mariana.

It was quite useful all this information. I imagine that never having been baptized in the Orthodox faith, but deciding to do so when he immigrates to the US after the fall of the Soviet Union, my MC has a lot to learn.

What's the process like in preparation for Baptism for an adult?

Mariana
06-14-2013, 08:30 PM
In this site https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Orthodoxy#Baptism explains all the procedure of the orthodox baptism.

As long as the baptism in adults, I'm sure that you would think that this post is quite ridiculous as an answer but it will help you in some way. Watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWD2ZcfujoE

it's a scene from a movie where an American guy wants to marry a greek orthodox girl and have to be baptized first. The baptism takes place in a church and the lady in red (who puts oil on his body) is his godmother.

I'll try to find more information about the ceremony. You can also read this: http://www.orthodoxconvert.info/Q-A.php?c=Piety-About%20Being%20a%20Godparent

http://www.orthodoxchristian.info/pages/Baptism.htm

Mariana
06-14-2013, 10:10 PM
Well, that's a link which describes the preparations of baptism
http://www.goholytrinity.org/fsAdultBaptism.html
(when it says "Sponsor" it means the "Godparent")

It is recommended to wait a year before being baptized, to experience the church year and to be sure that you're ready to commit to the Orthodox faith.

And here it is a more informative video for the ceremony:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFz-b6K4EQ8

DavidZahir
06-18-2013, 08:52 PM
In general the Orthodox Churches broke away from the Western/Roman Catholic (or vice versa) over a variety of cultural and theological differences--including the filioque and the primacy of Rome. It came to a head when the Bishop of Rome tried to excommunicate the Patriarch of Constantinople--which the other churches regarded as absurd. The Pope, in their view, had no such jurisdiction.

In general, the Orthodox focus more on the act of worship than on what we see as the legalisms of the Catholic Church. We tend to view Catholics and Protestants as pretty much the same in that regard. But yeah, I strongly recommend attending Orthodox Services, especially Russian Orthodox given your subject matter. There's a lovely one here in LA that I attend for pascha (Easter), called Holy Trinity.

Komnena
06-21-2013, 01:57 AM
I'd also suggest reading a book titled the Orthodox Church. Author's last name is Ware. First name will be listed as Kallistos or Timothy. And I would most definitely attend a church service. Some churches offer classes about the Greek church. I'd try to meet with the priest too. Your character would probably spend at least a year studying about the faith.

Dryad
06-21-2013, 03:41 AM
In my experience, practitioners are often irritated by the adjective "Orthodox" if it could be construed as lessening the value of an event. For instance, if I were to say, "Orthodox Christmas is tomorrow," I've been gently corrected with, "Christmas is tomorrow." I've heard this from multiple people.

Cactus Land
07-29-2013, 01:23 PM
Hi,

Being a Roman Catholic who was married in the Russian Church, I can tell you what jumpled out at me. First, no sitting, you stand the whole time, the choir is above you and the singing, at least in this church, was first rate, I believe they sing in Old Slavonic, which, as far as I understand, is an older Russian, something like our Latin compared to modern Italian. Second, there was no sermon, and people make the sign of the cross, always three times, and in the opposite directon that we do, with middle finger, index finger and thumb together... of course their weddings and baptisms are fabolous, much richer theatrically then ours.. any way, some things that occurred to me

Cactus Land
07-29-2013, 01:24 PM
Hi,

Being a Roman Catholic who was married in the Russian Church, I can tell you what jumpled out at me. First, no sitting, you stand the whole time, the choir is above you and the singing, at least in this church, was first rate, I believe they sing in Old Slavonic, which, as far as I understand, is an older Russian, something like our Latin compared to modern Italian. Second, there was no sermon, and people make the sign of the cross, always three times, and in the opposite directon that we do, with middle finger, index finger and thumb together... of course their weddings and baptisms are fabolous, much richer theatrically then ours.. any way, some things that occurred to me