Pagan to Orthodoxy

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Hello! This is my official introduction on this forum. I'd like to thank in advance anyone who helps me in this learning process. Im still learning and trying to see if Orthodoxy would make a fit for me. unfortunately my experience with orthodox churches is scarce. Ive seen a Greek Orthodox Cathedral (i think) and it was absolutely gorgeous. Also my former Arabic teacher was Coptic and he told me a lot about his faith. It was all very beautiful.

so, about my title. I, for the sake of labels, am pagan. I've lived a faith that works with nature and the seasons. and in my faith I feel "gods" call upon you and show you patronage. patron deities are important in a pagan life. but I went through a crisis of faith. Am I on the right path? I haven't done harm to anyone, more-so I've helped anyone I can. but I still got thoughts that makes me ask if I am going to a heaven or...somewhere else. So I'll try to tell my short story of how I came to reconsider Christianity and more-so become interested in orthodoxy.

I was raised RC. Explored various faiths and within the druid/wicca/pagan groups i felt a belonging. self empowerment. all good stuff. then my faith crisis happened. what caused it was a series of events that are hard to explain. it is a leap of faith but it is true and it is what got me to this point in my life. I was stationed in the military at Fort Lee. I had an encounter with another soldier that tried to turn me to God. but it wasn't the usual convert pitch he was given me. I honestly felt he was meant to talk to me, and I felt a true presence of God Himself. the soldier and I had a deep conversation about faith. He said God speaks to him and he talked about events in my life that he had no possible way of knowing. the conversation was never finished between him and I. About a year later, I was passing through a small town in Vermont. I stopped at a barber shop and a woman there approached me and asked if I had given anymore thought on God's offer and that He was eager to hear my response. My conversation picked back up with this stranger as if she had been right there for the origional conversation. again the topic never was finished. several months later while in Boston, Mass, a third person sat down next to me outside and resumed this conversation. They all claimed they were sent by God to talk to me about my journey back into His love. Back home a fourth person, whom I had just met at the time, slipped into an odd trance-like state. and resumed this epic of a conversation. At this point I had fully given in. convinced God himself had used this girl as a direct line to me. I have felt the presence of God every day since. almost like he speaks to me. not with words. it is very hard to describe. but I do feel I have a strong connection with him.

Needless to say, following this new path before me and following what I believe are His signs, has led me here. And I have a deep interest in learning anything and everything I can. I honestly feel that the best way to learn about a faith is to talk and listen to a believer. Im hoping this forum will help guid and lead me to my path.

Again, thank you for reading. I understand for some it might be hard to "buy in" to what I wrote. but i told what my experience was, and am eager to learn and have new ones. I also hope I haven't offended anyone by anything I have said. Im not sure if people are interested in discussing anything I wrote, but I am free and willing to answer any questions, because I know I will have my own questions  :laugh:       
 

Symeon77

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Welcome, dear to Christ Thaddeus!

I do not doubt at all that God Himself has called you to His Holy Church through the process that you describe, and I believe that I can relate to an extent, as I was raised an unchurched agnostic and came to Orthodoxy through some rather circuitous means myself.

I am sure I speak for many on this forum when I say: please consider me a willing confidant, and ask away! The fact that you express an eagerness to ask for guidance and to listen is itself a sign of God's grace. May he continue to guide you.

In the early days of my inquiry I found the greatest help, of course, came through contacting an Orthodox priest and beginning to faithfully attend Sunday liturgies, above the other modes of inquiry I was pursuing on my own. So that is a course I am sure most will recommend when you feel ready to do so.

You list your location as New England. It is a great blessing that within the Boston metropolis of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, there will be, God willing, a monastery founded here soon by a priest-monk from the monastery of Simonopetra on the Holy Mount Athos- a man of great prayer- which we pray will be a blessing to all in our neck of the woods.

Again, welcome, and don't be afraid to ask anything. You will be in my prayers.-

Symeon


Thaddeus_Prenderghast said:
Hello! This is my official introduction on this forum. I'd like to thank in advance anyone who helps me in this learning process. Im still learning and trying to see if Orthodoxy would make a fit for me. unfortunately my experience with orthodox churches is scarce. Ive seen a Greek Orthodox Cathedral (i think) and it was absolutely gorgeous. Also my former Arabic teacher was Coptic and he told me a lot about his faith. It was all very beautiful.

so, about my title. I, for the sake of labels, am pagan. I've lived a faith that works with nature and the seasons. and in my faith I feel "gods" call upon you and show you patronage. patron deities are important in a pagan life. but I went through a crisis of faith. Am I on the right path? I haven't done harm to anyone, more-so I've helped anyone I can. but I still got thoughts that makes me ask if I am going to a heaven or...somewhere else. So I'll try to tell my short story of how I came to reconsider Christianity and more-so become interested in orthodoxy.

I was raised RC. Explored various faiths and within the druid/wicca/pagan groups i felt a belonging. self empowerment. all good stuff. then my faith crisis happened. what caused it was a series of events that are hard to explain. it is a leap of faith but it is true and it is what got me to this point in my life. I was stationed in the military at Fort Lee. I had an encounter with another soldier that tried to turn me to God. but it wasn't the usual convert pitch he was given me. I honestly felt he was meant to talk to me, and I felt a true presence of God Himself. the soldier and I had a deep conversation about faith. He said God speaks to him and he talked about events in my life that he had no possible way of knowing. the conversation was never finished between him and I. About a year later, I was passing through a small town in Vermont. I stopped at a barber shop and a woman there approached me and asked if I had given anymore thought on God's offer and that He was eager to hear my response. My conversation picked back up with this stranger as if she had been right there for the origional conversation. again the topic never was finished. several months later while in Boston, Mass, a third person sat down next to me outside and resumed this conversation. They all claimed they were sent by God to talk to me about my journey back into His love. Back home a fourth person, whom I had just met at the time, slipped into an odd trance-like state. and resumed this epic of a conversation. At this point I had fully given in. convinced God himself had used this girl as a direct line to me. I have felt the presence of God every day since. almost like he speaks to me. not with words. it is very hard to describe. but I do feel I have a strong connection with him.

Needless to say, following this new path before me and following what I believe are His signs, has led me here. And I have a deep interest in learning anything and everything I can. I honestly feel that the best way to learn about a faith is to talk and listen to a believer. Im hoping this forum will help guid and lead me to my path.

Again, thank you for reading. I understand for some it might be hard to "buy in" to what I wrote. but i told what my experience was, and am eager to learn and have new ones. I also hope I haven't offended anyone by anything I have said. Im not sure if people are interested in discussing anything I wrote, but I am free and willing to answer any questions, because I know I will have my own questions  :laugh:       
 

Arachne

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Welcome! :)

I've been hanging out with pagans for many years (blame it on my fascination with world religions), so I get what you're saying, only too well. You've been thwapped, my friend. ;) Stick around with us and ask away; we don't have all the answers, but we love to share and support.
 

trevor72694

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It sounds as though you've been bit by the bug. ;)

Orthodox Christianity is an amazingly rich and ancient tradition.  I pray that your soul will be happy with us in the Church! 

You've already discovered some of the best resources (the Bible, and OCnet,) but I encourage you to converse with a priest.  You'll love it, they're all so nice!
 

Subdeacon Bob.C

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(Quote from Symeon:)
Welcome, dear to Christ Thaddeus!

You list your location as New England. It is a great blessing that within the Boston metropolis of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, there will be, God willing, a monastery founded here soon by a priest-monk from the monastery of Simonopetra on the Holy Mount Athos- a man of great prayer- which we pray will be a blessing to all in our neck of the woods.
Again, welcome, and don't be afraid to ask anything. You will be in my prayers.-
Symeon

(End quote)

Thaddeus: Welcome aboard! Inquiring into Orthodoxy is a wonderful and enlightening journey. May your  path be filled with encouragement from everyone on this site!

Symeon:  you mention a monastery in the Boston Archdiocese-do you have more info on that?  I hadn't seen any reference on the GOARCH site.  Being in the Antiochian jurisdiction, I have little access to monastics (!!) and look forward to having someone from the Holy Mountain in the neighborhood!  Thanks for the info.
 

Alpo

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trevor72694 said:
You've already discovered some of the best resources (the Bible, and OCnet,)
No. No! Noooooooooooooo!!!!!!11 Please tell me you didn't say that.
 

NicholasMyra

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Thaddeus_Prenderghast said:
I've lived a faith that works with nature and the seasons.
Our faith also utilizes the rhythm of the seasons. We do so out of freedom in our desire to hallow all of creation through Christ, and not out of a sense of bondage to the seasons and elemental forces.

You will see this throughout the year as flora, vestments, and celebrations, etc. change and work with the seasons.
 

Apples

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Alpo said:
trevor72694 said:
You've already discovered some of the best resources (the Bible, and OCnet,)
No. No! Noooooooooooooo!!!!!!11 Please tell me you didn't say that.
+1
 

Velsigne

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Hi Thaddeus,

Nice introduction and very nice to meet you.   

I read your comments over on another part of the forum, and I can understand what you are talking about. 

Orthodoxy is a complete paradigm shift from your previous spiritual endeavors, though you may find some things easier to understand and accept with your background than someone with a lot of Protestant baggage. 

Some things you just have to be patient and wait for the understanding to come, and of course, as you know, to pray for answers.  They just come, sometimes with random people like you explain in your introduction.

Since you have had so many spiritual experiences, you will be amazed with Orthodoxy if you decide to actually start the process of becoming Orthodox.  You may be more sensitive to things occurring around you, as a result, it may be easier for you to understand on a spiritual level what is taking place.

Symeon, with his wonderful welcome, gave you very good advice, to just find a church if possible, and keep showing up.  Even if you don't understand what is going on for a long time, just keep asking God to help you.  The first one you go to may not be the best one for you.  If you can be patient with that, it will be better.

And if you decide at some point to become Orthodox, my personal advice, having experience with the occult as well, is to be baptized into the faith full on Orthodox style, not chrismated as they may want to do because of your Roman Catholic background.

I have a question for you:

What is symbol on your page?  Is that like a mason symbol? 
 
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First off, Wow. I honestly didn't know how my post would be received. Thank you all for an extremely warm welcome. and I truly mean that from the bottom of my heart. I've read so many posts already, and am so excited to learn and share with everyone here. I promise that Im going to be very attentive and trust me, I will let people know if I have questions. Im just really excited. I am taking orthodoxy very serious. so again, thank all of you  :laugh:

Irini said:
I have a question for you:

What is symbol on your page?  Is that like a mason symbol? 
It is a Freemason symbol. I've been a master mason for a couple years. Its given me a chance to help and contribute to my community, and better myself as a friend, brother, and future husband and father. Its a wonderful organization. the symbol itself represents a couple things. the G represents God being always in our hearts, the square is to square our actions in a way that we would like to be judged and the compass is to keep us on the path to wisdom. well, as you can tell i have a little pride in it haha.  :p
 

LBK

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Jason.Wike said:
Yup. If you're serious about becoming Orthodox, you'll soon have to drop the masonic membership.
 

simplygermain

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LOL! That was longer than I thought before someone mentioned it.

Thaddeus, please know that if you truly seek truth, the hardest lesson (and I presume you know this already) is in leaving behind what we think we know, ego, desire, personal discoveries: everything. If you seek to love God and know God above all else, He will bless you. In this, I have faith. So while you may hear challenging things, please just take them in stride and cultivate first a life of prayer, asking God to reveal Himself to you. See a priest, maybe two or three! They will help you better than we can.

As far as being a Mason, what our brother LBK says is true. But shouldn't God challenge everything we think we know? I know I had my fair share when I first converted.

 

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NicholasMyra said:
Poor St. Paul spent all that time training the Christians in rhetoric and "speaking to your audience", and we still haven't learned?

Good Lord...
I agree that this could have come out in a better way.
 

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Most of us who come to Orthodoxy from other backgrounds do so because we sense that there must be something more than what our former experiences, traditions, philosophies, religions, etc. were able to provide.  At some point, a person has questions and wants to know the truth.  To begin seeking the truth is to recognize that you have not yet found truth, that something is lacking, etc.  To seek the truth honestly and sincerely, one must be ready to question the beliefs they currently hold, what these beliefs are based on, etc.  Those of use who have approached Orthodoxy in seeking the truth, have questioned Orthodox teaching while allowing ourselves to be questioned by the same teachings.  If one has the courage to do this, they will find what they are seeking. 

I encourage the original poster to be patient and to sincerely seek the truth.  Some do not have enough courage to seek the truth, and at the first insinuation that one's current beliefs are not completely true, they become offended and head for the hills.  As has already been stated here, not only is Orthodoxy incompatible with Masonry, but the Orthodox Church has condemned Masonry and forbidden involvement in it.  You can take this information and choose to abandon all interest in Orthodoxy at this point, or you can try to find out why the Orthodox Church holds this position.  You can research the roots of Masonry, read accounts of those who have left Masonry after realizing its nature and goals, read about the history of the Orthodox Church and why Masonry and Orthodoxy are incompatible.  You can study the fruits of Masonry and the fruits of Orthodoxy, and then make up your mind where you want to end your days, in the Church of God or in the Masonic Lodge.  The choice is yours alone to make, but the consequences are great. 
 

Alpo

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Ansgar said:
NicholasMyra said:
Poor St. Paul spent all that time training the Christians in rhetoric and "speaking to your audience", and we still haven't learned?

Good Lord...
I agree that this could have come out in a better way.
+1. Welcome to the forum, Thaddeus. I hope you feel yourself in our grumpy little company. We aren't all that as it first might seem. We are even worse. ;)
 

Tommelomsky

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+2 welcome to the forum.

I just add to what others say: the masonry is a part you have to let go, if you want to become orthodox.
Coming from a orthodox catechumen (I know how that sounds..but still..).
 
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