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AndreaW Offline OP
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Hi. I wasn't sure where I should post this, so I apologize if it is in the wrong place. I also apologize if I get some terminology wrong as I am still learning.

My husband and I would like to visit a Byzantine church in a week or two. It would be Saint George Byzantine Catholic Church in Olympia, WA. Is anyone familiar with this church that could let us know what we could expect for a first visit?

Thank you very much!

Andrea

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Go to www.byzantines.net [byzantines.net] they have a little video there of the Divine Liturgy that should much like what you will experience.

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Andrea,

How familiar with the Byzantine Church are you? What faith tradition are you coming from?

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If you've never been to an Eastern church before, try not to be intimidated by what you see. It's very beautiful and totally different from Roman Catholic or Protestant churches. Just soak it all up and pray alot..You'll love it..

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I have to agree with Etnick's comments. Also do not be afraid to ask questions, but do not try to have the entire culture and praxis explained all at once. Simple questions, will give you precise answers, and lead to even more questions that will help you learn and grow in your faith and experience.

In IC XC,
Father Anthony+


Everyone baptized into Christ should pass progressively through all the stages of Christ's own life, for in baptism he receives the power so to progress, and through the commandments he can discover and learn how to accomplish such progression. - Saint Gregory of Sinai
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gtJC!

Hello Andrea,

St. George's is really a nice parish.� Smallish in size, but HUGE in HEART!!!

I've been there between 6 - 10 times.� Yes, Very reverent, slower cadance on the singing than my home parish.� There is a coffee social after Divine Liturgy.� Please go to the Shrine to Our Lady off in the grass area and spend some time out there.

There might be 4 nuns in black habits standing/sitting in the front pew on the right during Divine Liturgy.

Yes, kind of difficult to find, winding long stretches, got lost in a neighborhood OY, google earth AND take a map too.� It's a gravel parking lot - so don't wear high heels, lots of standing. Kind of unassuming from the road, careful to not pass it up.

I don't know which Fr. is there at this time, I know that one of the priests was very ill.� Fr. Lee? not sure if he is the married converted Anglican priest or the ill priest.� please excuse.� The deacon is pretty cool - nice family - (he pays people to say that...hehee...no... HAHAHAHAAA).� Whuut???? wink



toodles & God bless, sUSAn


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AndreaW Offline OP
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Thank you for the responses and the link to the video.

We are Latin-rite (is that the correct term?) Catholics and have never been to a Byzantine church. I do have a tendancy to ask lots of questions, so I will try to tone that down and observe instead.

Is there any information on etiquette when attending for the first time? Anything we should do or not do? (Thank you Susan for the tip about the high heels).

Andrea


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If you go forward to Receieve Communion please don't hold your hands out:)

We Receive from a spoon - so how it was explained to me a looooong time ago [ by Sharon Mech I believe :)] is -- approach the Chalice , remember how little nestlings are fed by their parents - ie head tilted back and mouth wide open smile and the Priest will administer the Holy Gifts.Try to remember not to close your mouth on the Spoon smile

But just remember that there is nothing under the sun that is new to a priest - he has seen it all before .

Just go and enjoy it - and remember we want to hear how you felt about it - when you have managed to get your breath back smile

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Andrea,

Ask your questions here! You'll find lots of answers. Latin Rite is a correct term. RC is the typical shorthand on the boards.

Here are some things that took me by surprise on our first visits (notice that is plural--we kept noticing things for weeks and months even):

-How many times people made the sign of the cross. Rule of thumb: if you hear, "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit," then you see people cross themselves (plus other times, too). I had been "warned" about it, but it just didn't register until I saw it.

-The bells. We kept hearing bells while the priest was preparing and were wondering where they were coming from. It sounded like Santa's sleigh! We now know they were on the censor which the priest was using during the Rite of Preparation (Proskomedia). There's a really neat symbolism to the number of bells, too. 3 groups of four--four being for the evangelists, three for the Trinity. 12 for the apostles. 1 silent bell for Judas. I think that I am remembering correctly. It goes something like that.

-The lector standing in the middle of the church. We knew to expect the chanting, but not to expect it to come from behind us. smile Not all churches do this.

-The one spoken prayer (before communion)--after everything being sung, this one spoken prayer seemed so very odd! It threw me off!

-The warm and welcoming attitude. We were concerned that we would stick out like sore thumbs. I don't know if we did or not because no one ever said a thing to indicate we had. They were very welcoming and hospitable.

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AndreaW Offline OP
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Thank you so much for the tips and helping us to understand what to expect. We have decided that we are going to go this Sunday, so I am getting excited, but also nervous! I definitely am afraid of sticking out or looking silly, (but I usually worry a lot for nothing).

I most definitely will share our experience.

Thank you! Andrea

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Andrea - you can't stick out any more than I did at my first DL - one new face among 9 other folk - and I was the only one who did not speak Ukrainian - and I still don't.

Just don't worry about trying to follow in a book - just watch and you will find you understand what is going on - enjoy it

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P.S. I recommend sitting between 1/3-1/2 of the way from the front. Closer and you don't see what the people are doing. Further and you can't see what the priest is doing.

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Well, we went to Saint George's yesterday. And I don't even know if I can put into words what I felt. It was wonderful! The service was joyful, full of life. I lost track of time, it was heavenly and I didn't want it to end.

As soon as we sat down a very friendly woman came over to us and asked if we had ever been to an Eastern Liturgy. When we said no, she sat down with us and helped us through the book. She was such a blessing! And we went to the coffee hour afterwords and everyone was so welcoming and warm, introducing us around, explaining things to us and making sure we ate. The deacon even helped us pick out reading material to take home.

There weren't very many cars in the parking lot when we arrived, it's a small church, but we were amazed that the church was bursting with children!! One couple with 14, others with 8, 7, etc. We've always been regarded a little oddly b/c we are having our 4th. (You know that polite..."oh...um, congrats?" )But it was so wonderful seeing all those kids!

The church is beautiful with all it's icons. It really had a different "feel" than statues do. They felt real-like I was truly in the presence of the saints during the service. And such reverence!

I could just go on and on; I feel like I'm still processing the experience. Even my husband, who really didn't think he'd be interested walked out saying how wonderful it was. We are definitely going again next Sunday.

Thank you all for your tips and letting us know what to expect. I was a little nervous, but stepping into the church it all seemed to melt away. Thank you!

Andrea

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I'm glad it went well - and that you are looking forward to your next visit smile

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Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory to Him Forever!


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