The World's #1 Russian, Ukrainian & Eastern European Discussion & Information Forum - RUA!

This Is the Premier Discussion Forum on the Net for Information and Discussion about Russia, Ukraine, Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union. Discuss Culture, Politics, Travelling, Language, International Relationships and More. Chat with Travellers, Locals, Residents and Expats. Ask and Answer Questions about Travel, Culture, Relationships, Applying for Visas, Translators, Interpreters, and More. Give Advice, Read Trip Reports, Share Experiences and Make Friends.

Author Topic: Her Orthodox faith--and your marriage  (Read 73021 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline mendeleyev

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12849
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Her Orthodox faith--and your marriage
« on: November 21, 2007, 01:55:41 AM »
Moderator Jooky has graciously allowed this topic to be split off so that it can have a life of it's own and cover more ground for our members in relation to how her Orthodox faith will impact your marriage.  Thanks Jooky!

We'll start with the question of how her faith may influence her view of sex upon her arrival to your country:


Think about the religion angle:  I'll wager that most engaged men have only a fleeting knowledge of her faith, how she practices it, and how it effects her view on life.  Unfortunately we often make the assumption that she is only religious by birth and since she doesn't go to church very often its no problem for either of us.  Dangerous, very dangerous assumption on our part.

Sometimes these ladies don't practice their faith until an important life milestone comes around....like marriage, birth of a child, death of a parent, etc.  Then suddenly that cultural upbringing kicks in and the head covering goes on, the miniskirt comes off, a long dress goes on, the prayer book and icons come out and the candles get lit.  Holy mother of incense, her new husband is standing there wondering what in heaven's name (literally) came over his wife.

Marriage is a big deal to any woman, but especially to a RW/UW.  I certainly do understand the psychology of a lady who might have "participated freely" during her guy's visits, but perhaps has consulted and confessed with her priest before coming here and hopes that her man will allow her the short period before marriage to enter the union as "pure" before God in the practice of her Orthodox faith. 

How many of us are willing to give her that short time if we discovered this was very important to her spiritually/emotionally?  If not, what will we do, throw her away and go get another one? 

I'm guessing that many who would respond with a "we'll communicate about it beforehand" have no idea when she last went to confession, the name of her family confessor, what the inside of her church looks like, and most importantly--what it would mean to her if advised by her family priest to "wait" until the wedding was performed.  So much for that good and close communication we're banking on. 

BTW, after confession, if it was sincere, she is under the understanding that she has a fresh start and can enter the union pure.  It's not so mindlessly American as "well we did it before so what does it matter to God now."  Maybe, in her heart in might just matter.  Ah, that is why she confessed (without telling us first) by the way. 

I won't write a long theological background but suffice it to say that in her Orthodox understanding confession involves two things:  Confessing a sin and then Sanctification.  Our Roman Catholic or Protestant upbringing is very different so it's hard to understand.  That Sanctification means a "continuing state of grace." In other words she promises God in her confesssion that she will continue to live purely in this short period until married.  After marriage the sexual act becomes Sanctified and she is free to enjoy it with you (except during fasting periods). 

A Roman Catholic or Protestant could sin over and over again as long as they confess over and over again.  Orthodoxy does not give her those easy options.  Sanctification means that she needs to change her actions after confessing.  BTW, she didn't confess to her priest ,so trying to convince her that the dude is only an old-fashioned old fart who doesn't understand modern realities is a waste of breath. 

Unlike the RC church, Orthodox confession is said directly to God.  The priest is there primarily as a witness on behalf of God and the congregation.  He has no authority to absolve or forgive sins.  He is there only as a witness to her sincere confession and to provide encouragement and assurance that if her confession was sincere, then God will provide the forgiveness.  He is also there to warn and discipline her against failure.  Her confession and promise to change was made directly to God.  The priest is only God's representative, he is not there "in the place of Christ" as in RC theology.

Many of our guys do not marry a lady so devout but some of us do.  However, look out because very often RW are religious "late bloomers" as they have a very strong tendency to become devout as they begin to have children.  Come to my RO church in Arizona.  Often the first time we meet a "new" RW is when she is pregnant.  She may have been in the US for a couple years and barely darkened a church door.  But get her PG and watch her change.

Speaking of sex, many ladies understand that sexual activity is to be curtailed during the two major fasting periods of the Orthodox year.  Ah, boys, that is 40 days before Easter and then again 40 days before Christmas.  80 days out of 365 before we count monthly menstrations and headaches. 

Oops, we aren't finished yet.  Orthodox Sunday technically starts at nightfall on Saturday night and a devout person may also wish to fast before communion.  So add another 52 Saturday nights while you're calculator is still melting and your smoke alarm is screaming in the background.

Notice I said "many" and am not trying to paint with an overly large brush here.  Are you certain, really sure, that your lady is not included among that "many?"  How do you know? 

Before I just wrote it on this post did you even know about this possibility?  Can you articulate her views on the fasts? 

BTW, the largest migration of practicing members, among almost any faith, are adults who were not practicing during their 20's.  So if your lady is not devout now, you stand a better than excellent chance of seeing her become more devout as the 30s and 40s set in.  Fortunately for your marriage, statistics say that you also will desire to adopt a faith practice as you grow older so perhaps you can grow together.  It might not be so bad after all.

Sometimes I hear that myth that Russia was not really Orthodox during the 76 years of Soviet rule.  Oh really?  Here are some stats you might find interesting:

- At the height of communism, only 14% of the Russian people possessed official party membership.  The 76 year average was closer to 7%.
- It was common for many "athiests" to have their children baptized and to attend holiday services, "just in case."
- Most party members, who took an oath against religion, attended services at least once each year.
- Even with so many churches being destroyed, the remaining were well attended during every Soviet leader's time in power, including the reign of the Seminarian-turned-agnostic Josef Stalin.

We sometimes hear, and sometimes some ladies tell us that Orthodoxy has no meaningful impact on life in Russia.  Of course it's irrelevant.  That's why it's the official protected state religion.  That's why the Patriarch is guarded by the Russian FSB.  That's why the government spends millions to rebuild old churches and to build new ones.  That's why churches are full on Sundays and holy days....including being full of young ladies....maybe just like your fiance?

That's why the government officially participates in those two fasts I mentioned earlier!  You can go on the Internet and learn the changes made to the official Russian White House and Kremlim cafeterias during the fasting periods....because Orthodoxy has no impact on modern Russia.  Sure, that explains why the giving up of meat/dairy/eggs/oil/alcohol, etc, are important enough that the entire national school systems and regional government office cafes and cafeterias in Russia, Belarussia and Ukraine (including now in good ole modern 2007) adjust their menus for those two major fasts. 

So much for the false notion that "most Russians don't participate."  When you go to the supermarket and many of your favourite foods are missing...you'll participate just like the rest if only out of necessity.

And RW are very superstitious.  Many who don't believe, observe the fast anyway.  Why?  Superstitions abound about why they should.  Let me get this straight:  I'm asking a lady who sincerely believes it's bad luck to shake hands over a doorway to rationally explain why she is a non-practicing believer...but fasts anyway?  Okay........

When is the Russian fast by the way? 

I can guarantee that even most non-practicing Russian ladies will know when it starts because its so widely practiced across Russia and Ukraine that soon the supermarkets and kiosks will adjust their inventory items accordingly. 

To enhance communication with your lady, your assignment should you choose to accept it, is this:

1)  Find out the dates the Russian Orthodox Nativity fast begins and ends.  (These dates will be different from the American Orthodox dates.)

2)  One of these two major fasts will spend a week eating pancakes/cheese before the fast begins.  Did you know if it is the Christmas or Easter fast?  Do you know why she will do this?

3)  Can you come up with a list of things, food and otherwise, a Russian household will commonly give up during the Nativity fast?

4)  Can you articulate a spiritual reason for the Orthodox fasts?

5)  Here is a question I guarantee she'll have an immediate answer off the top of her head without thinking:  Ask if she typically gains weight or if she loses weight during a fast?  (The old body index of how she reacts to carbs versus proteins.)  She'll have an immediate answer for you--guaranteed.  Her answer will also reveal wheither or not she typically observes the fasts.

Remember this is not only religious, it also a prominent part of her national culture. 

Some Muslim and Jewish households simulate a fast on dates close to the Orthodox.  After coming up with thorough answers, pick up the phone and get to know your lady in a new and deeper way than most guys who've done this venture have ever dreamed about.  She'll be impressed....and you will know each other even better.

Offline Rasputin

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 5628
  • Country: ca
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 10-20
Re: Her Orthodox faith--and your marriage
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2007, 07:54:00 AM »
Moderator Jooky has graciously allowed this topic to be split off so that it can have a life of it's own and cover more ground for our members in relation to how her Orthodox faith will impact your marriage.  Thanks Jooky!

We'll start with the question of how her faith may influence her view of sex upon her arrival to your country:

Think about the religion angle:  I'll wager that most engaged men have only a fleeting knowledge of her faith, how she practices it, and how it effects her view on life.  Unfortunately we often make the assumption that she is only religious by birth and since she doesn't go to church very often its no problem for either of us.  Dangerous, very dangerous assumption on our part.

Sometimes these ladies don't practice their faith until an important life milestone comes around....like marriage, birth of a child, death of a parent, etc.  Then suddenly that cultural upbringing kicks in and the head covering goes on, the miniskirt comes off, a long dress goes on, the prayer book and icons come out and the candles get lit.  Holy mother of incense, her new husband is standing there wondering what in heaven's name (literally) came over his wife.

Many of our guys do not marry a lady so devout but some of us do.  However, look out because very often RW are religious "late bloomers" as they have a very strong tendency to become devout as they begin to have children.  Come to my RO church in Arizona.  Often the first time we meet a "new" RW is when she is pregnant.  She may have been in the US for a couple years and barely darkened a church door.  But get her PG and watch her change.

Notice I said "many" and am not trying to paint with an overly large brush here.  Are you certain, really sure, that your lady is not included among that "many?"  How do you know? 

Before I just wrote it on this post did you even know about this possibility?  Can you articulate her views on the fasts? 

BTW, the largest migration of practicing members, among almost any faith, are adults who were not practicing during their 20's.  So if your lady is not devout now, you stand a better than excellent chance of seeing her become more devout as the 30s and 40s set in.  Fortunately for your marriage, statistics say that you also will desire to adopt a faith practice as you grow older so perhaps you can grow together.  It might not be so bad after all.

Sometimes I hear that myth that Russia was not really Orthodox during the 76 years of Soviet rule.  Oh really?  Here are some stats you might find interesting:

- At the height of communism, only 14% of the Russian people possessed official party membership.  The 76 year average was closer to 7%.
- It was common for many "athiests" to have their children baptized and to attend holiday services, "just in case."
- Most party members, who took an oath against religion, attended services at least once each year.
- Even with so many churches being destroyed, the remaining were well attended during every Soviet leader's time in power, including the reign of the Seminarian-turned-agnostic Josef Stalin.

We sometimes hear, and sometimes some ladies tell us that Orthodoxy has no meaningful impact on life in Russia.  Of course it's irrelevant.  That's why it's the official protected state religion.  That's why the Patriarch is guarded by the Russian FSB.  That's why the government spends millions to rebuild old churches and to build new ones.  That's why churches are full on Sundays and holy days....including being full of young ladies....maybe just like your fiance?

That's why the government officially participates in those two fasts I mentioned earlier!  You can go on the Internet and learn the changes made to the official Russian White House and Kremlim cafeterias during the fasting periods....because Orthodoxy has no impact on modern Russia.  Sure, that explains why the giving up of meat/dairy/eggs/oil/alcohol, etc, are important enough that the entire national school systems and regional government office cafes and cafeterias in Russia, Belarussia and Ukraine (including now in good ole modern 2007) adjust their menus for those two major fasts. 

So much for the false notion that "most Russians don't participate."  When you go to the supermarket and many of your favourite foods are missing...you'll participate just like the rest if only out of necessity.

And RW are very superstitious.  Many who don't believe, observe the fast anyway.  Why?  Superstitions abound about why they should.  Let me get this straight:  I'm asking a lady who sincerely believes it's bad luck to shake hands over a doorway to rationally explain why she is a non-practicing believer...but fasts anyway?  Okay........

When is the Russian fast by the way? 

I can guarantee that even most non-practicing Russian ladies will know when it starts because its so widely practiced across Russia and Ukraine that soon the supermarkets and kiosks will adjust their inventory items accordingly. 

Remember this is not only religious, it also a prominent part of her national culture. 

Where should I start? You have covered a lot of material and I agree with you on some points, and I am much less convinced on others.

I agree that before marriage, a man should know as much as possible about his future wife, including her religious beliefs. I agree that a man should try to know as much as possible about his wife's culture, including her religion.

However, in reading your post, I find that you may be exaggerating the impact of Russian Orthodox on the lives of most Russian women. I am not saying that there is no impact, but you seem to be implying that at some point in your marriage your wife will change completely and she will adopt the behaviors that I would associate with a Russian Orthodox nun. You write: "Then suddenly that cultural upbringing kicks in and the head covering goes on, the miniskirt comes off, a long dress goes on, the prayer book and icons come out and the candles get lit." What exactly do you mean by this? Are you saying that at some point a woman will abandon miniskirts all together and will spend her days in a long dress praying before the icons? Or are you saying that when she does go to church, she will put on a dress because it is expected of a woman? If you are saying the first is correct, than I would have to disagree. I have yet to see any woman who would change that radically as a result of her suddenly becoming devout. I know a handful of devout Russian Orthodox women in Canada and Russia (out of the many dozens of Russian Orthodox but not devout Russian Orthodox that I know and knew), and none of the devout Russian Orthodox women that I know come anywhere close to the level of religious intensity you have implied.

Is it possible that your perception is biased? You write: "Come to my RO church in Arizona." Is your perception of Russian Women colored by the fact that you are likely to see them in Church? It  goes without saying that the behavior of women in a church will be quite different from the behavior of the same women in their daily lives. Also, how much time have you spent in Russia? You write: "So much for the false notion that "most Russians don't participate."  When you go to the supermarket and many of your favourite foods are missing...you'll participate just like the rest if only out of necessity." Is this based on personal experience in Russia?

You also conflate private religious beliefs with politics and nationalism. You are right, the Russian state has found religion and is recycling older religious themes and at some point may begin claiming that Moscow is the third Rome. However, is the new state fervor really trickling down to the population? Is it even trickling up to the politicians? This is an entirely separate debate. I am a bit skeptical. The state and the Russian Orthodox Church are certainly using each other to promote themselves, but I do not know whether it has had a radical change in the religious practice of most people.

Also, you bring in both religion and superstitious beliefs. In my experience, Russians (men and women) have a number of beliefs. You are right about it being inappropriate to shake hands before you have entered the house, also you can't give someone a gift over the door sill, you can't whistle inside a house (fortunately for me I can't whistle), and dozens of other little rules and quirks. However, if a man is tolerant and respectful, these new "rules" are quite minor and won't really have much of an impact of your future life with your wife. All I did was simply learn the new "rules." Nothing very drastic was required.

You mention the fast. I agree that some Russian women will follow the Russian Orthodox fast, but again few women will follow it strictly. Many might know that it starts, but will simply notice it in passing and continue eating and living as they have always done.

My wife is Russian Orthodox. In the past, she did go occasionally to a Russian Orthodox Church. She even went to a Russian Orthodox Church to light some votive candles and ask God to help her find a husband. She met me shortly afterwards. We do have icons in our house and will baptize any future children in the Russian Orthodox Church. However, my wife is not all that interested in actually attending a church service: she prefers sleeping in on a Sunday. She never follows the the fast (Lent) and does not put on a long dress to pray in front of icons. Simply put, she is pretty much like most Russian women that I have known, both with children and without children.

Simply put, I agree with you on many points, but I question the level of religiosity that you imply in your post. I simply have not seen it in the Russian community in Canada and in Russia.


"Seems I live in Russia Rasputin visited" - Millaa
"So do I" - Molly35ru

Offline mendeleyev

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12849
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Re: Her Orthodox faith--and your marriage
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2007, 11:28:10 AM »
Rasputin, I agree with you on certain points also.  Our contact with Russians varies from Russian Club events in both Arizona and Chicago area, and in Russia.  We actively maintain homes in both countries because of my wife's business and spend a lot of time in Russia also.  In the NYC area is where I notice the most non-practcing Christian Russians, or of Jewish lineage.

My city of Phoenix is home to a large number of both Russian and Uzbek Jews who have very active cultural and faith communities.  As a journalist I'm fortunate to be invited to many of their cultural events as well as weddings, etc.  There is definitely a resurgence of faith in the Russian Jewish community as well both here and in Russia.

In Russia a religious revival of sorts is going on.  Not in the same way we think of "revival" in old southern USA, but a reinterest in Christianity.  Most churches, no matter which city, are full.  The number of younger demographics re-entering the church in Russia has drawn the attention of religious observers and several prominent western religion magazines for instance. 

I firmly, yes very firmly, believe that many western men have little training of the depths of influence that religion and nationalism brings upon their lady.  I meet guys who smugly think they know everything about their RW only to be blindsided at some point.  It is commonly referred to by Russians as "Holy Mother Russia."  That is not by accident.

And you are equally correct about the "Third Rome" idea.  It's just around the corner.  Patriarch Alexi effectively leads almost 75% of the world's Orthodox believers.  Meanwhile the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is hemmed in by Turkish law, has little ability to travel outside his country, and the government of Turkey stipulates that all future Patriarchs must be citizens of Turkey.  With less than 100,000 Orthodox in Turkey, this Turkish law is a time bomb waiting to fizzle out.  Moscow already uses "Third Rome" terminology quite freely.  It's coming.









Offline Manny

  • Moderator
  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 18213
  • Country: gb
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Re: Her Orthodox faith--and your marriage
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2007, 06:25:14 PM »
Quote from: mendeleyev
Sometimes these ladies don't practice their faith until an important life milestone comes around....like marriage, birth of a child, death of a parent, etc.  Then suddenly that cultural upbringing kicks in and the head covering goes on, the miniskirt comes off, a long dress goes on, the prayer book and icons come out and the candles get lit.  Holy mother of incense, her new husband is standing there wondering what in heaven's name (literally) came over his wife.

Marriage is a big deal to any woman, but especially to a RW/UW. 

When I was first writing to my wife and she told me she was Orthodox, I asked her if she was practicing; a frequent attendee. She said "no, very seldom."

She was here not very long and Christmas was upon us, she asked if there were any Russian churches here, I found one, we went, and she liked it. Yes she covered her head and did the "hail Mary's" and all that too. She did this prior in Moscow at the little church opposite St Basil's and again at the Cathedral in Estonia later.

Before she came to England to be married she sought the advice of her priest in her home town on the concept of a "Church of England" Anglican wedding, he told her the Anglican church were quite well affiliated with the Orthodox church so she was happy. In England there are many rules about the admission of a non resident of the parish into the church, as we wanted to marry in an adjacent parish to my own, we needed permission and blessing from the local priest there. It was not automatic.

So we had to have a meeting at his house one night to be "interviewed." - I said to her "be nice, pleasant and friendly as this guy can say no" - what did she do? Sat him down and grilled him about Orthodoxy and Anglican faiths, scripture, meanings of the bible, differences between the religions, minutiae of the service he "hoped to perform" (I had my head in my hands by now) All about the concept of "obey" in our marriage vows, (I sent her a translated version of the wedding vows a few weeks before to see of they differed and for approval by Parents) Then she started to challenge him on certain items in the service, she changed a few in line with Orthodoxy (not the Obey one though but you would never know it now) - Then she hit him with the biggie.............

"My parents will be here from Russia" she said - "OK" said the hapless priest, - "My Mother will do a reading in Russian", - "OK" he said. - "We have guests from Russia also" - "OK" he said, - "and I have a few friends here who are Russian", "OK" he said, -  "so you will do a welcome for them in Russian language"  :scared0005:

He agreed!  :laugh:

So then she wrote what he would say, taught it to me, I taught it to him, we met 3 times while he practised with my transliteration, she chastised him with the word "raseeeeee" as he didn't have a long enough "eeee"  :-\

I gave him telephone tutorials as to how the letter "ж" was like "zh" or the "s" in "pleasure" etc, the poor guy was browbeaten.

But on the day he delivered quite a long welcome speech in Russian to applause!  :bow:

Since then we have been to the Orthodox church many times, and the one in Estonia, and a few weeks ago I was baptised Orthodox, and in a few months my son will be too.  :o

But contrary to Mendeleyev above, she has never lost the miniskirts thank god.  :bow:





Read a trip report from North Korea >>here<<

"He wants to build a wall to keep the Mexicans out. He reckons that's a great idea. The Chinese built a wall centuries ago - there ain't many Mexicans over there." ~ Kevin Bloody Wilson

Offline Rasputin

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 5628
  • Country: ca
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 10-20
Re: Her Orthodox faith--and your marriage
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2007, 06:43:51 PM »
I chose the much simpler route: converted to Orthodoxy before the marriage and married in a Russian Orthodox Church in Canada. Beautiful ceremony. Everybody was happy.
"Seems I live in Russia Rasputin visited" - Millaa
"So do I" - Molly35ru

Offline mendeleyev

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12849
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Re: Her Orthodox faith--and your marriage
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2007, 09:05:18 PM »
Rasputin, that is a great story!  I enjoyed getting to know your situation a little better and hope you will write more about your experiences....very cool.

Congrats on your baptism.

Sincerely,
Mendeleyev

Offline Manny

  • Moderator
  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 18213
  • Country: gb
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Re: Her Orthodox faith--and your marriage
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2007, 08:21:28 AM »
Hey that was me!  :laugh:
Read a trip report from North Korea >>here<<

"He wants to build a wall to keep the Mexicans out. He reckons that's a great idea. The Chinese built a wall centuries ago - there ain't many Mexicans over there." ~ Kevin Bloody Wilson

Offline mendeleyev

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12849
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Re: Her Orthodox faith--and your marriage
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2007, 09:16:27 AM »
Hey Manchester, you are right.  Well, as someone who is over 50 obviously old age is getting to me.  I'll put my thick reading glasses back on and go back to feeding the squirrels.  :happy0023:

Manny, it's truly nice to see so many of us here who are Orthodox.  Not to the exclusion of other fine gentlemen, but it brings a more heightened understanding to how these ladies grew up and to their overall world views.

Offline windchimes

  • Member
  • Posts: 315
  • Gender: Male
Re: Her Orthodox faith--and your marriage
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2007, 02:41:09 PM »
what it would mean to her if advised by her family priest to "wait" until the wedding was performed.  So much for that good and close communication we're banking on. 

BTW, after confession, if it was sincere, she is under the understanding that she has a fresh start and can enter the union pure.  It's not so mindlessly American as "well we did it before so what does it matter to God now."  Maybe, in her heart in might just matter.  Ah, that is why she confessed (without telling us first) by the way. 

I won't write a long theological background but suffice it to say that in her Orthodox understanding confession involves two things:  Confessing a sin and then Sanctification.  Our Roman Catholic or Protestant upbringing is very different so it's hard to understand.  That Sanctification means a "continuing state of grace." In other words she promises God in her confesssion that she will continue to live purely in this short period until married.  After marriage the sexual act becomes Sanctified and she is free to enjoy it with you (except during fasting periods). 

A Roman Catholic or Protestant could sin over and over again as long as they confess over and over again. 

 :whistle:

Not the protestant beliefs that were taught in my Methodist church and which I grew up with. Admitedly, it was a more conservative congregation. I don't think that one can paint Protestants with a broad brush.  I mean, how do you really define Protestants? Is a Lutheran service and congregation the same as one of those Evangelical Mega-Churches?
There seems to be an effort out there in the Russian Orthodox church to paint themselves as more strict, true, faithful, etc... I am not hostile to them, but at the same time, "I am not buying it"...

Offline mendeleyev

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12849
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Re: Her Orthodox faith--and your marriage
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2007, 11:45:10 AM »
Windchimes, thanks for your post and I concede your point about painting with too broad a brush.  I enjoy reading your posts.

There is a lot of variety within Protestantism and one could correctly point out that services and practices vary widely from protestant group to group.

From a theological perspective however, the whole of Protestantism
 is defined by the Augustinian concept of "Justification by faith alone, apart from works of the law."  Prominently featured in the 16th century writings of Martin Luther and also John and Charles Wesley, founders of the Methodist Church, the Justification by faith theory relies heavily upon the concept of "conditional sanctification" which is what I referenced.

Methodist and Lutheran theologians call their understanding of this "Arminianism," which is the idea of soteriological thought in Protestant Christian theology best articulated by the Dutch theologian Jacobus Hermanszoon. 

Differences do abound however and while a key part of the Reformation and it's "justification by faith alone" idea, the Presbyterian and Reformed Churches seperate view of Sanctification (as expressed in the popular Calvinistic concepts of the Swiss theologian John Calvin and Scottish John Knox) are very different from the understanding of Sanctification as shared by the founders of the Methodist and Lutheran churches.

Such finer points are difficult to articulate briefly on such a forum and for that I also apologize.

Offline ECR844

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 7142
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Searching for the word I will become
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: Resident
Re: Her Orthodox faith--and your marriage
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2007, 02:16:50 PM »
"Mendeleyev, and Everyone,"

   So do those of you who subscribe to "orthodoxy," among us have any tips or suggestions to make things easier if we are contemplating having a church ceremony in a Russian Orthodox Church? Are there things we can do here to help things go abit smoother when we get 'in country'?

Offline mendeleyev

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12849
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Re: Her Orthodox faith--and your marriage
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2007, 02:39:07 PM »
There are two good threads on this subject which will probably answer most of your questions...and if not we'll try to assist you, my friend!

If you are not Orthodox the most important thing is to meet with her priest to see if he will allow the ceremony.  It is helpful if you can answer some basic questions about your Christian baptism, your current church involvement, and a summary of your understanding of the faith.  It's no guarantee but good luck!

If he gives permission, most priests like to do some sort of pre-marriage counseling and you might speak to him about how to accomplish that in a very short time frame.

Here is my section on Orthodox wedding as contained in the ZAGS Weddings thread within this same section, this particular topic begins near the bottom of this page and continues forward:
http://ruadventures.com/index.php?topic=1725.30


Also Manchester hosted a very good thread on the same subject.  It is here:  http://ruadventures.com/index.php?topic=1889.0

Offline ECR844

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 7142
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Searching for the word I will become
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: Resident
Re: Her Orthodox faith--and your marriage
« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2007, 02:54:23 PM »
"Mendeleyev,"

  Thanks for the links. I have actually read those threads but, they didn't really cover the things which maybe invovlved if the WM has suffered from "religeous apathy" or is a 'lapsed christian' . So I was curious if this was going to add additional problem to 'the mix', or if there was anythign one mayable to do stateside to help move things along rather than hedge on a 'maybe' or a regection from the RU church...

Offline ECR844

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 7142
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Searching for the word I will become
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: Resident
Re: Her Orthodox faith--and your marriage
« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2007, 07:36:36 PM »
I am also curious as to what purpose and if there is a major significance to some of the priests doing their mass in slavonic only?

Offline Rasputin

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 5628
  • Country: ca
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 10-20
Re: Her Orthodox faith--and your marriage
« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2007, 07:43:56 PM »
If you are not Orthodox the most important thing is to meet with her priest to see if he will allow the ceremony. 

Getting married in Canada in a Russian Orthodox Church was easier than trying to do in Russia. My mother-in-law asked a priest if we could get married in Russia, but was turned away. In Canada, the Russian Orthodox Church has an ageing congregation and is much more open about accepting outsiders.
"Seems I live in Russia Rasputin visited" - Millaa
"So do I" - Molly35ru

Offline windchimes

  • Member
  • Posts: 315
  • Gender: Male
Re: Her Orthodox faith--and your marriage
« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2007, 03:47:38 AM »
Windchimes, thanks for your post and I concede your point about painting with too broad a brush.  I enjoy reading your posts.

There is a lot of variety within Protestantism and one could correctly point out that services and practices vary widely from protestant group to group.

From a theological perspective however, the whole of Protestantism
 is defined by the Augustinian concept of "Justification by faith alone, apart from works of the law."  Prominently featured in the 16th century writings of Martin Luther and also John and Charles Wesley, founders of the Methodist Church, the Justification by faith theory relies heavily upon the concept of "conditional sanctification" which is what I referenced.

Methodist and Lutheran theologians call their understanding of this "Arminianism," which is the idea of soteriological thought in Protestant Christian theology best articulated by the Dutch theologian Jacobus Hermanszoon. 

Differences do abound however and while a key part of the Reformation and it's "justification by faith alone" idea, the Presbyterian and Reformed Churches seperate view of Sanctification (as expressed in the popular Calvinistic concepts of the Swiss theologian John Calvin and Scottish John Knox) are very different from the understanding of Sanctification as shared by the founders of the Methodist and Lutheran churches.

Such finer points are difficult to articulate briefly on such a forum and for that I also apologize.

Absolutely true.  That is an interesting divide within Protestantism that most protestants are not aware of.  In retrospect, I was really responding to the Priest of the Russian Orthodox church which I attend, and some of the members (and I like them all) more than I was responding to you.  About two years ago, there was a string of sermons which seemed to be based on hostility to all the other churches in town.   There was also subtle pressure to convert.  Eventually he began to lay off.
  He is a really good man and I respect his beliefs. In fact, I have more in common with their beliefs than I don't.  I was just annoyed by comments by a couple of the members during after-church Sunday school lessons .... the members who had never set foot inside of a Protestant church.  In the end, there are many old fashioned types like my who do not think that salvation is cheap.

Offline mendeleyev

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12849
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Re: Her Orthodox faith--and your marriage
« Reply #16 on: December 01, 2007, 11:59:37 AM »
Wind, maybe he needs to be reminded that we are all in Christ as believers.  On one hand I can understand his view of Orthodoxy as the first church and the continuing church.  But it is not the only church.  While that is sad because of the disunity, it is reality.

I'm glad he's toned it down a bit. 

Offline MBS01

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1025
  • Country: ca
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Ukraine
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Re: Her Orthodox faith--and your marriage
« Reply #17 on: December 01, 2007, 03:57:21 PM »
Getting married in Canada in a Russian Orthodox Church was easier than trying to do in Russia. My mother-in-law asked a priest if we could get married in Russia, but was turned away. In Canada, the Russian Orthodox Church has an ageing congregation and is much more open about accepting outsiders.

I think this depends on the circumstances. For us it was straight forward to arrange to have the Wedding in Ukraine.  But then my in-laws are all directly involved in the Orthodox Church there to begin with.  So they were able to arrange this for us once my wife obtained permission from the Bishop for her to marry.  So I think it really depends on one's ability to arrange for an Orthodox Wedding be it in the FSU or your country.  As you can see those that have done so have managed to do it either in the FSU or the west depending on our individual situtations.

Offline mendeleyev

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12849
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Re: Her Orthodox faith--and your marriage
« Reply #18 on: December 03, 2007, 01:15:02 AM »
Quote
I am also curious as to what purpose and if there is a major significance to some of the priests doing their mass in slavonic only?


Church Slavonic was the original mother tongue to what is now Russian, to Ukrainian, to Belarussian, Bulgarian, etc.  Russian for example has been thru several major revisions in somewhat modern history.  In that sense, Slavonic is viewed as a "liturgical" language.  Orthodoxy is the same all over the world and a common liturgical language is part of the glue.  Even the priests are our church in Phoenix, although both are American, understand Slavonic.  But most of our service is in English.

Can Russians understand it?  I've yet to meet someone in Russia who cannot explain what was going on in the liturgy even if they didn't understand 100% Slavonic.

As you probaby have read elsewhere I sing in the church choir.  Well sing is perhaps too strong a word.  Perhaps warble, moan, gargle, howl, shriek...or something like that may be more accurate in describing my so-called talents for singing.

Nonetheless we do 4-5 songs per service in Slavonic and the rest in English.  Considering that almost the entire Orthodox service is sung by the choir and priest, that's not a very high percentage of an almost 2 hour service.

Offline mendeleyev

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12849
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Re: Her Orthodox faith--and your marriage
« Reply #19 on: December 07, 2007, 10:27:15 AM »
Here is an excellent website to do some research on Russian Orthodoxy:
http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/



Russian language version of the same site:
http://www.pravoslavie.ru/

Offline Rasputin

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 5628
  • Country: ca
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 10-20
Re: Her Orthodox faith--and your marriage
« Reply #20 on: December 07, 2007, 10:56:46 AM »
Orthodoxy is the same all over the world and a common liturgical language is part of the glue..

Keep in mind that there are different Orthodox faiths. The Greek Orthodox Church won't use Slavonic nor the Coptic Church nor the Ethiopian Orthodox Chuch, ...
"Seems I live in Russia Rasputin visited" - Millaa
"So do I" - Molly35ru

Offline Olga

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1381
  • Gender: Female
Re: Her Orthodox faith--and your marriage
« Reply #21 on: December 07, 2007, 06:53:24 PM »
The Evangelistary's were translated from Greek into Old Slavonic by two brothers Cyril  (827-8690 and Methodius (815-885) who were Christian missionaries in Old Slavonic Rus' and they were the originators of Slavonic alphabet ( Glagolitic alphabet , Cyrillic alphabet ) and Slavonic literary language.

Until that time the Russian Church used Greek for the most part or Latin. Now the Russian Church uses the Old Slavonic.

Cyril and Methodius










Offline Olga

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1381
  • Gender: Female
Re: Her Orthodox faith--and your marriage
« Reply #22 on: December 07, 2007, 07:06:29 PM »
Church Slavonic Script


Offline Olga

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1381
  • Gender: Female
Re: Her Orthodox faith--and your marriage
« Reply #23 on: December 07, 2007, 07:26:58 PM »
Old Church Slavonic (словѣньскъ)

http://www.omniglot.com/writing/ocslavonic.htm

Offline mendeleyev

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12849
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Re: Her Orthodox faith--and your marriage
« Reply #24 on: December 07, 2007, 10:58:36 PM »
Rasputin, yes there are various languages used, but the Orthodox Church is virtually the same in doctrine and in communion with each other around the world with a few exceptions.  The liturgy is the much the same whether in Greece or Russia or the USA or the UK for example.  However it's rare to meet a Bishop who doesn't know at least some Slavonic and Greek, no matter where he is in the world since those are the two theological and canonical languages of the worldwide church. 

The Coptic (Egyptian) church uses an earlier liturgy part of the year and the other part uses the 4th century service liturgy used in Slavic and Greek Orthodox Churches.  The Coptics also fast more days than any other Orthodox communion. 

Our church in Phoenix has a "sub" Ethiopian congregation which worships with us each Sunday.  Their elderly priest passed away a couple of years ago and there is not a large enough population for them to hire a full-time priest so the Bishops merged them into our church.  Every 6-8 weeks a visiting Ethiopian priest comes from Los Angeles for their service and you are right in that it's somewhat different in ritual although beliefs are the same.  Several of the Ethiopians sing in our choir now and it's nice to see more than the ordinary Slavic face in the choir.

My wife was born in Ethiopia but she and her mother returned to live in Russia at an early age so she enjoys an affinity with Ethiopians but in reality doesn't remember much of those years.  I just enjoy the bread they make during the fast.  It's light and thin like a brown pancake with little honeycomb type holes in it.  Very tasty!





 

 

Registration