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ROCOR Convert Parish in Appalachia

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IreneOlinyk

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I have been reading an article online about a study of ROCOR converts in the Appalachian Mountains.
Can  anyone identify the small ROCOR parish & monastery that is the focus of this study:

ROCOR convert community in the Appalachian Mountains that was home to approximately 150 Orthodox Christians divided between a parish and a men’s monastery. Predominately from evangelical protestant backgrounds, these converts, who found in Russian Orthodoxy a spiritual home, also found a politically conservative ideological haven in Vladimir Putin’s illiberal regime. War between Russia and the United States was often on the minds of converts, many of whom owned guns and talked about their potential positionality in the coming war. They highlighted Putin as a god-inspired leader, who not only would fight for moral values, but would also embody the ideas of monarchic governance that could perhaps save them from the devilish forms of Western secularism. Putin seemed to be an answer to believers’ prayers, for he has the potential to not only make Russia great again, but also make America, by extension, holy again... Given the tightly linked relationship between the Russian government and the Orthodox Church—at least in the minds of many converts I have spoken with—it seems that conversion is a political act through which believers not only take up the spirituality of the Orthodox faith, but also the ideological platforms that Putin’s party projects.
https://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/responses/american-conversions-to-russian-orthodoxy-amid-the-global-culture-wars

American Conversions to Russian Orthodoxy Amid the Global Culture Wars

By: Sarah Riccardi-Swartz
December 18, 2019

 

hecma925

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If I had to guess it would be Christ the Savior parish and Holy Cross Monastery in Wayne, West Virginia.
 

IreneOlinyk

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hecma925 said:
If I had to guess it would be Christ the Savior parish and Holy Cross Monastery in Wayne, West Virginia.
Thanks.  I will google the church.
 

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IreneOlinyk said:
hecma925 said:
If I had to guess it would be Christ the Savior parish and Holy Cross Monastery in Wayne, West Virginia.
Thanks.  I will google the church.
It's a good parish.  The article needs to be taken with a grain of rock salt.  A parish full of Putin lovers it is not.  Conservative, yes; it is WV after all.
 

rakovsky

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Given the tightly linked relationship between the Russian government and the Orthodox Church—at least in the minds of many converts I have spoken with—it seems [to the author of this article, S. Riccardi- Swartz?] that conversion is a political act through which believers not only take up the spirituality of the Orthodox faith, but also the ideological platforms that Putin’s party projects.

American Conversions to Russian Orthodoxy Amid the Global Culture Wars

By: Sarah Riccardi-Swartz
December 18, 2019
This is a pretty tricky paragraph, since it can be read either way. Based on how I know that Orthodoxy in the modern period works, and how American converts work, the paragraph looks misleading and thus very badly worded.

Unless we are talking about something like European Jews joining an official Christian Church (eg. the 19th century Church of England) largely for socio-political acceptance or to be part of the governing political system (eg. the British Commonwealth), believers are not converting to Orthodoxy because they see it (eg. Orthodoxy) as a tool of a particular government or political system.

Orthodoxy, including the MP, sees itself as a religious system, where converts can come from different political backgrounds and keep those beliefs, rather than becoming baptised into a political system. This applies of course to ROCOR. ROCOR in the 20th century was sympathetic to the Tsarist monarchy, but would not see conversion per se as an act of joining Monarchism.

One reason is that Orthodoxy, including in the Russian Tradition, is about religion much more than political identity if we are going to compare the modern Russian tradition with some other religious or Christian traditions or customary history. For example, there are Greeks who have said that they see themselves as Greek first, Orthodox second, but this is not how the Russian tradition or the Russian religious practice works.

Maybe in Ukraine you can have people who join the OCU because having a 100 percent independent-from-Russia Ukrainian Church is so important for them. But in the US experience, you are de facto practically not going to get people who jump all the way from Protestantism or Catholicism to the religious system of Orthodoxy because they want to be part of Putin's political sphere. I think that people like the article author who think in these terms don't really understand Orthodoxy.
 

rakovsky

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I have been reading an article online about a study of ROCOR converts in the Appalachian Mountains.
Can anyone identify the small ROCOR parish & monastery that is the focus of this study:



American Conversions to Russian Orthodoxy Amid the Global Culture Wars

By: Sarah Riccardi-Swartz
December 18, 2019
It seems to me the analogy of a politics-based polemical article misportraying the entire the Ukrainian Orthodox emigre community in a given region.
 
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The author of that article (Riccardi-Swartz) apparently wrote a book with the same subject. It is referenced towards the end of this different article: https://bostonreview.net/articles/the-u-s-christians-who-pray-for-putin/

A complete mish-mash of an article. Essentially, if you are an American convert to Orthodox Christianity, not only are you a Putin-lover, but also a racist! Who knew?
 

RaphaCam

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Mole!

Sarah Riccardi-Swartz is an Orthodox anthropologist who has written extensively about her studies of the ROCOR (Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia) community in and near the Holy Cross Monastery in West Virginia. She has been identified in academic forums as being a member of ROCOR, but if she has ever written about how she came to convert to the Orthodox Faith, I have not seen it, and she is at least currently not affiliated with ROCOR. Her observations are entirely improbable -- and I speak as someone who is a ROCOR convert, and after having been in ROCOR for most of my life at this point. [...]

I have not seen Sarah allude to any scientific surveys that she has conducted to find out what the typical views and demographics of ROCOR converts are. Apparently, she is basing her comments on her limited observations in one community, and supplementing this with anecdotal evidence from conversations she has had. This hardly seems like the basis a real scholar would use to make these kinds of sweeping comments. [...]

What seems to be behind all of this nonsense is sort of the left-wing version of Q-Anon conspiracy theories. We had many on the left spend four years asserting the Russia had taken over the United States in 2016, and that Donald Trump was Putin's puppet. Evidently Sarah either has bought into such conspiracy theories, or she is at least willing to feed them with her work, and doing so has certainly garnered her a lot more attention than she otherwise would likely have gotten. [...]

I would ask Sarah to define what she means by "homophobic" and "transphobic," but I would also ask her why she thinks those "phobias" are bad, why she feels the need to stoke Russophobia, and whether she thinks that this is any way a Christian ought to treat those she claims to share the same faith with. Stoking Russophobia has real-life consequences for those who either are ethnically Russian, or who belong to the Russian Orthodox Church, and if people like Sarah continue to stoke it, it is not hard to imagine lives being lost as a result.

 

Alveus Lacuna

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Not a mole. Nice lady in person, for however some of you think she comes off in this article. She used to go to my parish and got married in it many moons ago.
 

RaphaCam

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Not a mole. Nice lady in person, for however some of you think she comes off in this article. She used to go to my parish and got married in it many moons ago.
Thanks, my comment was not nice.
 
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Not a mole. Nice lady in person, for however some of you think she comes off in this article. She used to go to my parish and got married in it many moons ago.
Not a mole. Nice lady in person, for however some of you think she comes off in this article. She used to go to my parish and got married in it many moons ago.
Nice people can be insufferable writers.
 

Katechon

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Not a mole. Nice lady in person, for however some of you think she comes off in this article. She used to go to my parish and got married in it many moons ago.
I don't know what of the things you said disproves the observable facts.
 

Claudius

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Not a mole.
I'm not sure what "mole" means to you, but pretending to join a ROCOR parish in Appalachia in order to write a hit piece against them is a pretty textbook definition.
 

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Yeah, a mole... Sometimes I forget about how American Orthodox Christian jurisdictions have these terrible beefs with each other, so one can be doing the real thing in one church and spy on the other. Brazil is more traditional: people tend to hate each other inside their own respective jurisdictions first.
 

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Essentially, if you are an American convert to Orthodox Christianity, not only are you a Putin-lover, but also a racist!
You know, guys, frankly... There's clearly no causation, but I think correlation is there. This forum is an illustration.
People are rarely deep theologians. There are two things that tend to motivate us to be Orthodox in a non-Orthodox land. Either you are connected to the ethnic community. Or you are expressing certain opposition to what can be called "the West". Sometimes it is just ex-Protestants retaining aversion towards Rome. But currently the leader of the outwardly-Christian, conservative ideology hostile to the West is Vladimir Putin. So, a parish in WV full of converts, who actively chose a Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (not the Greeks or Antiochians, or anti-MP shards of ROCOR)? I would not pass the judgement, but would be wary. I make no apologies for this; I have friends and family under Russian bombs right now and have zero goodwill for pretty much anything that chooses to identify as "Russian".
 

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You know, guys, frankly... There's clearly no causation, but I think correlation is there. This forum is an illustration.
People are rarely deep theologians. There are two things that tend to motivate us to be Orthodox in a non-Orthodox land. Either you are connected to the ethnic community. Or you are expressing certain opposition to what can be called "the West". Sometimes it is just ex-Protestants retaining aversion towards Rome. But currently the leader of the outwardly-Christian, conservative ideology hostile to the West is Vladimir Putin. So, a parish in WV full of converts, who actively chose a Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (not the Greeks or Antiochians, or anti-MP shards of ROCOR)? I would not pass the judgement, but would be wary. I make no apologies for this; I have friends and family under Russian bombs right now and have zero goodwill for pretty much anything that chooses to identify as "Russian".
Your tenure on this forum has been exclusively about your hatred for Russia, with a large timeframe of inactivity between the debates around the Poroshenko Tomos of 2019 and the mess that is currently happening. Same goes for the recent user "Glyphwright". I guess the CIA is setting up their own moles in this forum?
 

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Your tenure on this forum has been exclusively about your hatred for Russia, with a large timeframe of inactivity between the debates around the Poroshenko Tomos of 2019 and the mess that is currently happening. Same goes for the recent user "Glyphwright". I guess the CIA is setting up their own moles in this forum?
They might. It's a new Cold War. *IF* someone stands up to any possible influence of the so called "Russian Federation", it's a good thing, not a bad thing. Think about it.

Incidentally, yeah, I came back to this board to see if Russia love fest is still going, and to maybe push back a little. There's actually a little more balance than it used to; I guess people are waking up to what modern Russia is.
 

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You know, guys, frankly... There's clearly no causation, but I think correlation is there. This forum is an illustration.
People are rarely deep theologians. There are two things that tend to motivate us to be Orthodox in a non-Orthodox land. Either you are connected to the ethnic community. Or you are expressing certain opposition to what can be called "the West". Sometimes it is just ex-Protestants retaining aversion towards Rome. But currently the leader of the outwardly-Christian, conservative ideology hostile to the West is Vladimir Putin. So, a parish in WV full of converts, who actively chose a Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (not the Greeks or Antiochians, or anti-MP shards of ROCOR)? I would not pass the judgement, but would be wary. I make no apologies for this; I have friends and family under Russian bombs right now and have zero goodwill for pretty much anything that chooses to identify as "Russian".
Of course you would say this living in one of the most secular countries of the world, where economic immigration policies tend to bring cosmopolitan minds that make you think the rest of the world is the same. Some of us were simply looking for Christ and found him in the Orthodox Church.

I don't know about Appalachia as nearly as I know about Canada, but from what I can recall it's a deeply religious region that's more worried with regional tensions with West Coast urban centres than with Russia (which has geopolitical implications). Let alone in Latin America and Subsaharan Africa, where not being Christian is weird and there are locals (some of them born in Orthodoxy) evangelising online.
 
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You know, guys, frankly... There's clearly no causation, but I think correlation is there. This forum is an illustration.
People are rarely deep theologians. There are two things that tend to motivate us to be Orthodox in a non-Orthodox land. Either you are connected to the ethnic community. Or you are expressing certain opposition to what can be called "the West". Sometimes it is just ex-Protestants retaining aversion towards Rome. But currently the leader of the outwardly-Christian, conservative ideology hostile to the West is Vladimir Putin. So, a parish in WV full of converts, who actively chose a Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (not the Greeks or Antiochians, or anti-MP shards of ROCOR)? I would not pass the judgement, but would be wary. I make no apologies for this; I have friends and family under Russian bombs right now and have zero goodwill for pretty much anything that chooses to identify as "Russian".
Most converts I know became Orthodox because they want Christ or to be married to another Orthodox Christian.
 

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Most converts I know became Orthodox because they want Christ or to be married to another Orthodox Christian.
We are talking about a group of converts who formed a specifically ROCOR parish. Seeking Christ, yes, but people choosing this specific path... how do I put it... tend to have ideological instincts Kremlin is very good at exploiting right now.
 

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We are talking about a group of converts who formed a specifically ROCOR parish. Seeking Christ, yes, but people choosing this specific path... how do I put it... tend to have ideological instincts Kremlin is very good at exploiting right now.
You talk as if seekers tend to live equidistantly from parishes with the same schedule and language. This is a parish adjacent to a monastery in the middle of nowhere. Political cultures inside jurisdictions mostly have to do with the accumulation of things whispered at coffee hour over the years.
 
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We are talking about a group of converts who formed a specifically ROCOR parish. Seeking Christ, yes, but people choosing this specific path... how do I put it... tend to have ideological instincts Kremlin is very good at exploiting right now.
The parish grew from its association with Holy Cross Monastery, which is ROCOR. I can tell you know nothing about it. Such people...how do I put it... tend to pull stuff out of their rear ends.
 

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The parish grew from its association with Holy Cross Monastery, which is ROCOR. I can tell you know nothing about it. Such people...how do I put it... tend to pull stuff out of their rear ends.
Granted, I have not heard about this parish before yesterday. My comments were more about "ROCOR" and "Russian" as a brand.
 

Alveus Lacuna

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I'm not sure what "mole" means to you, but pretending to join a ROCOR parish in Appalachia in order to write a hit piece against them is a pretty textbook definition.
I took the accusation to be that she was pretending to be Orthodox or something.
 
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I took the accusation to be that she was pretending to be Orthodox or something.
I know quite a few nice people that got married in the Orthodox Church. About half did it simply to marry their spouse, not that they were wanting to be part of the Body of Christ. Take from that what you will about their personal life with God.
 

Alveus Lacuna

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I know quite a few nice people that got married in the Orthodox Church. About half did it simply to marry their spouse, not that they were wanting to be part of the Body of Christ. Take from that what you will about their personal life with God.
Cool insinuation. I'll take what I will from that about your personal life with God.
 

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Many non Orthodox who married Orthodox spouses in church later converted. Elsewhere, I mentioned the man married to a Serbian American lady. After 52 years of marriage, he was converted! Even though his wife is at least two generations removed from Serbia, all their grandchildren are Orthodox!
 

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Thread locked pending moderator review. --Ainnir
 
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