Thursday, December 3, 2015

What are some problems with the Eastern Christian faith community you frequent? survey results

Hard to find confession times.

drive home sometimes can take up to 3 hours.

fasting rules

Parts of the liturgy are not done in the vulgar and I do not know how to read Cyrillic text!


It is very small and in danger of closing. We don't have our own priest.

Deacon preaches a bit fast, but other than that just the usual problems. Not enough families, not enough young people.

Geographic seperateness due to closings of parishes more proximate; still focused on ethnicity at times; many are Latinized

They don't walk their own faith path. They don't know their liturgy, they're lazy.

very Romanized!!!!!!!!!

Though my ethnicity is similar, most of the congregation are new immigrants. I have yet to talk to the priests about my desired reception to Orthodoxy.

lack of organization

All the parishes are aging and dying.

Too few children; not enough young families

not enough attend

We need to work on growing if we want to survive long term.

They are bit too ethnic and not overly welcoming to newcomers.

older priest in poor health, limited liturgical services not active community life

They are a little bit introverted. I only know and speak with a handful of the parishioners even though we have been attending that church for 6 years. And not enough community activity.

Lack of participation

It is very new, 14 months old. We do not have a priest as yet, and that limits what we can do.

A lot , a lot , of different cultures and ethnicities everyone wanting their own tradition observed and not just the traditions of the Maronite Church. Which is actually good because it exposes people to the other traditions and cultures.

pastor attempting to build a hybrid liturgical outlook, that is de-emphasis on Byzantine tradition; lack of clear financial accounting

Language barrier...priest is Ukrainian and is a bit hard to understand some time. Also, and this may sound weird, but sometimes a parishioner or two maybe a little "too religious" and can scare newer folks away....

Some people are territorial about their role in the community. This can make people feel unwelcome when they want to contribute.

They are not really a Community

There aren't enough parishioners! A couple of ladies also loudly pray the Rosary before Divine Liturgy

The Orthodox church nearest me (1.5-2+ hours away) is not very welcoming, and they only cater to Russians. We (Asians) may attend, but little is done to welcome us.

Latinizations, people stuck in small t traditions, aging population, liberal Catholics, people leaving the church.

The familial environment can be so intimate to the point of comfort, which may drive a complacency, when it comes to growth. This was brought into the discussion, when the Pew Research Study came out, during the summer.

Clericalism, minimalism in externals, being satisfied with mediocrity.

Small community, not enough extra things to be involved in. No education programs.

Need teenage / young adult group

The parish is still small, so it is difficult to have a large number of groups and ministries (Men's Group, Women's Group, Pro-Life/Social Justice Group, etc.). The parish covers a very large area (the next-closest Byzantine Catholic parish is 4 hours away), so drives can be long, which makes it more difficult to have additional events. Despite the welcomeness to visitors, the parish still does little to pro-actively evangelize.

Irregularity of liturgy makes it hard to attract people.

I think we don't always make it easy for new people to come into the community.


People argue about the use of English vs. the native tongue Getting to know prople on a more than purely superficial level is sometimes hard

Mostly older congregation (few men, as well), our 6 children are literally half the children in the parish.

It is too far away.

Priest shortage and the community size is too small.

It's small and fragile. It depends on one priest and a few families to keep it going. Looks of people pass through or visit rather than stay.

Lack of leadership, stagnation.

Lack of evangelization; less feeling of community for those who are not Arabic; most non-Arabic members are "refugees" from Roman Catholicism, even us converts, in a way

Non-ethnics can feel isolated.

Not enough growth in new parishioners not enough kids to have an effective 'next generation' to learn and appreciate the beauty of the Eastern Church.

Insider-outsider No evangelization No services (religious ed, etc.)

Less than perfect communications among members (no newsletter, web site out of date)

We are a commuter parish, so there is little "parish life" outside of Sundays. Religious education for the kids is sporadic, and the kids are grouped in wide age ranges. Our priest works a full-time job, in addition to his parish duties. We love him, but it is clear that he, his family and the parish all suffer from the reality that he must have a second job.

Set in their ways. Not a lot of young families w/children.

Not being in full Communion.

Dwindling enrollment. Loss of our Slavic heritage. Not enough parishoner envolvement. They must think that Father waves a magic wand & the money appears so the bills can get paid. People are resistant to try new things. In the past if people didn't like the priest they moved to a Latin Rite church instead of staying & fighting for their Church.

I left, the church was gravitating with rose colored glasses to try and act like an Orthodox church and discount being Catholic with the excuses of "latinizations" which is nonsense.

Not enough celebration of the full Byzantine liturgical traditions (i.e. no matins or vespers)

Growth and as with a small community, trying to meet so many parishioner's needs.

Sometimes many strong personalities clash and there can be some infighting that I wish wasn't there. Tight-knit community also means that there can be gossip at times. Lack of things for young adults. There is ECF and a youth group that is not active right now but has new leaders trying to get it going. But once the kids hit 18, there really is nothing that encourages them to stay involved.

Dwindled community--will we be around in ten years? Lack of youth programming.

They don't know their faith very well.

Church attendance down dramatically over last 25 years. Not many young families or children attend. Liturgy is only 50% in English. Almost all who attend speak English (but for some it is their second language).

We are really small, and most of the parishioners are not of the culture of our church origin, so some of the language and prayer is lost.

That it does not have a good book situation.

People being people. Some disagreements with the way things are done, the way things are, some negativity.

In our city, in particular, the congregations are quickly dying. We have children, but in the many area Byzantine parishes we have visited, there are often no other families with children. No ECF, no activity other than fundraisers. There is a sense of apathy here and I fear it may not be long before the Byzantine Church in this area is no more.

Not very big of a parish.

Lack of young people in the parish. Although there are some children and teenagers, there are almost no adults age 20-35. It would be nice to have some peers. (Tho I love spending time with the older folks and hearing their stories). There are also few opportunists to get involved because I work. For example, the ladies organization generally has there activities during the day (most members are retired) and bible study is also help in mid-afternoon.

Lack of leadership, lack of organization, lack of communication, poor financial management, lack of spiritual growth, focus on the needs of priest versus growing the parish, everyone waits for someone else to do things

Our home parish (Byz Cath) lacks community involvement, does not possess a missionary spirit, and does not desire to "share the Gospel" with others, which has gradually pushed us toward Orthodoxy as an alternative to our Byzantine parish. Because our family was not Roman Catholic prior to entering the church, we have very little - if anything - in common with the majority of Romans that attend our parish. Additionally, two-thirds of our parish attendees are "Roman refugees", that is - Roman Catholics who are disillusioned with their own liturgies but primarily desire to fulfill their Sunday obligation without becoming fully-committed parishioners.

Ethnic ideas: the older parishioners treat it like the Ukrainian club at prayer

people are too ethnic

resistance to change unwillingness to try new things

We experienced a drop in numbers this year due to death and families moving away. In a small community, that has a big impact. It makes those that are left responsible for much more, but it also makes us a tight-knit family.

The priest is wanting to retire, Bishop refuses to grant the retirement, therefore the priest just "puts in the minimum" and there is no Sunday school, socials, liturgy is often shortened in parts, many traditions are ignored.. It's sad, there has been much interest in newcomers that are just turned off and never return.

Because there's no permanent Eastern community here, we can only meet once a month, and if for some reason our priest can't get there, there's no liturgy that month.

very small group, and the church where we celebrate the Divine Liturgy is being sold, and no longer has a parish of it's own.

None of my family understand, difficult to follow alone at home.

Many parish members very insular, not open to assimilating Church into American society/English language; lackadaisical attitudes yielding lack of participation; very small parish, weekly deficits almost $1K

that those born into the Melkite Church do not always know exactly what our traditions are.

Poor education/catechism.

not entirely sure if they are Catholic or Orthodox..crisis of self-identification

The primary ethnicity is too inward-looking. They welcome visitors somewhat, but they are indifferent to evangelism. My perception is that culture comes before Christ sometimes. Right up to the bishop. The name of the sui iuris church of my parish scares people away. Potential converts assume it's an ethnic ghetto, or feel weird identifying with a church where the sui iuris church name is a different ethnicity. (As if all Romans were Italian. Pfft.) The local Maronites don't have this problem, they make converts. But I bet they would if they were "Lebanese Catholic."

Evangelization, to few liturgies at convenient times, and a lack of anything like an organized RCIA.
Too few people and not growing

Ethnicity takes priority over the Faith.

Most of us live a considerable distance from the church, so weekday services are difficult, as is outreach to the local community. No choir practice, and people in the choir who don't know their parts and make up their own harmony, so the music sounds pretty bad.

Small size (relative to other communities), limited resources, people spread over whole metropolitan area.

Priest inaccessible

Monday, November 30, 2015

What are the best things about the Eastern Christian community you frequent?- survey results

It is an awesome experience for my children to learn the traditions and beauty of the liturgy and the Byzantine Rite. My wife is learning as well as she is a Roman convert.
The priest is amazing and a good friend of ours. We have other good friends who attend as well. We enjoy all the singing as well as the harmonies that we and some other attendants sing.
the apparent depth of faith
Liturgical Worship, Friendly parish.
Small, welcoming, great pastor, great opportunities for learning about the faith and helping others
the closeness
Pray like they mean it.
Supportive pastor. Preaching. Chant, of course.
The Joy. My senses being fooled into not knowing if I'm in Heaven or on earth.
Small and familiar
They care for sick visitors.
We have a great worship space (basement), good priest, and small group of people who care about each other.
Strong sense of community, strong belief, observance of the Tradition, open and welcoming to all.
Hospitality, lack of zealots
"Unabridged" Divine Liturgy. Excellent sermons. Very dedicated priest and family. Small but dedicated group of volunteers who serve parish. Potluck social every Sunday after Liturgy.
I love the traditions of the byzantine church, especially the singing.
That we have a great priest, and location. We have activities and fellowship.
The liturgies, including the Presanctified during lent. It's a small parish, so you get to know more people, have more sense of community.
Right now, we are searching for a community. We are looking for a real home; a place with true believers who desire to grow in their faith and serve God with a pure heart. The congregation we have been worshipping with has an excellent cantor and therefore the congregational singing is uplifting....a plus. The sermons are educational and challenge us to be better Christians.
Traditions, Under Rome yet operates on own, beautiful Divine Liturgy, Devotions
The people. It is encouraging to spend time with others who have similar beliefs and ideals. Everyone was also kind, welcoming and helpful to me as a newcomer.
Welcoming atmosphere
I attend services at both a Byzantine Catholic parish (where we are members) and a neighboring Eastern Orthodox parish (ACROD) where we are friends with the priest and his wife. We have a special bond and relationship with our parish priest; he is particularly close with our family.
close knit
Godly Priest, outstanding choir
The welcoming attitude of all in the congregation.
We are so small that we really know each other. Sometimes, we are like a family with a whole bunch of crazy in-laws, but we genuinely care about each other. We notice when someone is missing and somebody checks in with missing members if it is for more than 2-3 weeks. Because it is harder and less convenient to be a member of and Eastern Catholic parish, the members are all highly committed and actively seeking to follow Christ, rather than coming to church out of a sense of social obligation or tradition.
Open, Inviting, Warm, and Hospitable. We also really enjoy having a close relationship with our priest.
The community is very small, but very welcoming, unlike other Eastern Christian communities in the West that I have visited. Also, the Divine Liturgy at this community is mostly in English.
The people that are involved in keeping our parish going are a great group. They work hard & put their heart & soul into everything they do.
Liturgical cycle; our priest and matushka.
I have no idea.
The Divine Liturgy and the supportive community.
Smallness, Divine Liturgy and other worship services that are not abridged. The sense of community the parish and parishioners have.
Strong sense of parish family, and commitment to and love of God, the Faith, and the parish. Used to have a very dynamic pastor until he moved to a new parish because of other duties. Parish in a tough spot because waiting for our new pastor to return after medical needs were addressed, but those who were the heart of the parish before still are.
Close knit community, liturgical solemnity.
I'm not part of the parish on a social level but just attending Divine Liturgy.
Sense of community.
smaller, more comfortable, love the chanting. you could say it is my blood.
The small, tight knit community.
Love their church.
A deep sense of spirituality, reverence, and love.
The care shown to the liturgy and the orthodoxy of the preaching.
focus on discipleship, focus on our brokenness and not just on 1 or 2 moral issues. Good preaching.
Sadly, none.   
Divine LIturgy
The liturgy contains the Church's theology.
Strong sense of community, we do a good job at singing the Liturgy beautifully, welcoming to newcomers
It's a very tight community, and many of my local school friends are Greek.
The Traditional Liturgy.
Reverence of worship
Liturgies services and bible studies
Community, history, spirituality
The Liturgy, Vespers and Matins are all celebrated. They are not abbreviated and do not have the politically correct gender neutral language of the Byzantine Catholic Church. Choir is excellent. Mostly English. Bits in Slavonic.
small and friendly
Great food! Devout families. A nice religious ed program.
Community feeling
Lots of young people. I do not think there is anyone over age 50, and about 2/3rds are youth. We struggle, but we have each other   
Non-judgemental, everyone’s welcomed ,they can "come as they are "
the people who are very welcoming
Sense of community, smaller than Roman parish and everyone is very nice, welcoming, and friendly. The absolute best thing, though, is definitely the Divine Liturgy... I just don't get that sense of Sacred/mysticism/closeness to God in the other Rites.
Acceptance of my unruly children. Hands down. Welcoming community. Support from the seminary. Community involvement in liturgy and social events.
It is genuine; I have friends there; the liturgy is beautiful, fervent, and well done; the priest loves God and the people
The community in my original country is very welcoming AND maintains the ancient traditions and customs.
Theosis and love for the Communion of the Holy Spirit.
Familial Environment; the people are there for their Faith, having to travel great distances to get to church, when contrasted against the fact the likely live much closer to a run-of-the-mill Roman Catholic parish. There's a next man up mentality I got to participate in, since involving myself in the three years I've spent in the Byzantine communities.
Sincerity, love for beauty in religious practice, awareness of what we are and what we are called to be (though we still struggle with that).
The community life. Availability of the services. Keeping of traditions.
Like a family
The reverent liturgies, the strong community, and the welcomeness to outsiders.
Small and close knit
It's a family. We feel welcome and a string part of the community. It's wonderful to worship together with people we love.
We currently attend two different churches, each an hour from our home. We are new to the area.
It is the one true faith! Handed down unadulterated from the time of the early church!
Reverent Liturgy & excellent preaching.
Holy communion and the priest.
Liturgy and people in the Church.
Intimacy and friendliness. Lots of large families like ours. Good preaching grounded in Fathers. The Faith is clearly taken seriously but people aren't uptight. Children are welcome. There is joy and peace. Christ is among us.
Long term family-like community.
Respect for the liturgy; beautiful sanctuary
The parish has regularly scheduled Vespers, Matins and Divine Liturgy for all Sundays and Feast Days, and the services are celebrated in full.

a cousin peg doll exchange...

It starts with this...will they be done by Theophany/Epiphany- or maybe Candlemas? 

(click on the above graphic and buy anything from amazon...I will make a wee bit of $- merci!)

Friday, November 20, 2015

Why do you attend Eastern Christian religious services? survey results

Why do you attend Eastern Christian religious services?

Habit-- 18.75% of respondents
cultural/family/work obligation-- 15.00%
good feeling-- 37.50%
learning new things-- 33.75%
oasis from a busy week-- 31.25%
love for God-- 92.50%
love for community-- 53.75%
family time-- 22.5% (more than 1 response possible)
- My husband loves the Eastern churches. If we had one nearby that we could attend on a regular basis, he would seriously consider becoming Eastern Catholic (he's now Roman).
- We all attend Divine Liturgy together to learn more about the Eastern church.
- we love the Divine Liturgy
- Sense of eternity
- I need it!
- Truth
- Fell in love with the Divine Liturgy 16 years ago. Can't imagine life without it.
- When I first went, it felt like home.
- All of the above! It is my heritage, but it is also the perfect way For me to fulfill my obligation to worship God and recharge my soul, so to speak.
- Reverence of the Divine Liturgy
- The Byzantine church that I attend combines many of the things I love about the Roman rite and most of the things I loved about the protestant church I grew up in, and has little to none of the annoyances that distract me. In short, it is the best fit for me.
- Liturgical integrity
- Theology prayed in the liturgical services.
- love Divine Liturgy!!!
- It is my faith.
- We are transfers, so we chose this.
- only available churches near where I live/work
- more traditional liturgy
- Oasis from the Novus Ordo Roman rite when Traditional Latin Mass not available.
eastern spirituality
- Ascesis of bringing my children to church
- because it is MY Church canonically
- Ancient & true!
- Theosis
- Being a Byzantine Christian is who I am and liturgical worship is "what we do."
- Drawn to theology and liturgy
- We feel as if we found a rich spiritual treasure & a new spiritual home when we discovered the Divine Liturgy 10 years ago.
- desire

Thursday, November 19, 2015

'Eastern Catholic & Orthodox laity & visitors' survey results- more demographics

How often do you attend Eastern Christian (Catholic or Orthodox) religious services?
Never-- 2.38% 
once or twice a year-- 7.14% 
once or twice a month-- 10.71% 
once a week-- 52.38% 
twice a week-- 15.48% 
more than twice a week-- 11.90%
Also Great Fast, Holy Week, Philip's Fast and feast days.
Or more if Holy Days
It's been several years.
and Feast Days
Always at least once a week, sometimes more often, especially with Holy Days and special services at times.
Once a week when I am at home, when at college, attend a Roman Catholic church because there is no Eastern Catholic church
Our local Greek Orthodox church has a wonderful Good Friday service
During Lent it may be twice a week. At other times of the year it may be only for feats of Our Lord, Our Lady, and St. John the Baptist.
Vespers and Liturgy each week, additional services when available, but we don't have daily services
Sometimes more
Would attendore frequently but my parish only has Sunday Liturgy
about 6-8 times a year
I no longer live in a Christian country, so I only attend when travelling abroad.
Only available every other week
How far must you drive (one-way) to the Eastern Christian place of worship you frequent?
less than 15 minutes-- 29.27% 
15- 29 minutes-- 26.83% 
30- 44 minutes-- 28.05% 
45- 60 minutes-- 15.85% 
Why this church? 
-Priest in charge of the mission is a friend and seminary classmate of my husband.
-closest option
-Feels like our spiritual home.
-Most liturgical Lutheran church in …. area
-closest to home (and I really like it)
-Only Eastern Catholic church in the area
-I'm a cantor there
-English used
-Long Story
-It is my home parish I was raised in
-It is Russian Greek Catholic and has remained true to its Orthodox roots.
-This was my grandmother's baptismal parish, so when we moved to this area we chose to go there rather than the parish closest to us.
-why not? after all it is like going home for me.
-Cathedral. Local church too Latinized.
-closest one where English is predominant language of Liturgy. GF attends Romanian Cathedral also so I go with her a lot.
-the priest is awesome
-I have close friends who are Greek Orthodox and their current church is the one I was married in--the Archdiocese of Boston closed it and sold it to the Greek church as part of the reorg in 2005.
-Five Byzantine and three Ukrainian within 30 mins.
-Russian liturgy, community
-Good Liturgy, Great People
-It is the closest Byzantine church to us, it is near both my and my husband’s families, and we were married there.
-It is our local Ukrainian Catholic Church
-The only one in the Country
I-t is the closest Byzantine Catholic Church; I have friends there; I love the liturgy
-I must travel ~1.5-2+ hours by ferry, train, and taxi/bus to reach the only Orthodox church in my city.
-I am related to a Byzantine priest.
-We found a home and our children are thriving. We feel called East. Great Vespers and Divine Liturgy are regularly offered.
-Closest Eastern catholic church
-closest Byzantine Catholic church is 5hr drive

'Eastern Catholic & Orthodox laity & visitors' survey results- some demographics

In which church were you baptized?
Catholic, Roman-rite 42% of respondents
Catholic, Byzantine-rite-- 36% 
Catholic, Eastern-rite other than Byzantine-- 1% 
Orthodox-- 3% 
non-liturgical Christian (such as Baptist, non-denominational)-- 8% 
liturgical Christian (such as Lutheran, Episcopalian)(non-Catholic or Orthodox)-- 11% 
non-Christian 0.00% 
no religion 0%
---As an infant I was baptized in the Orthodox Church. When I was 11 or 12 my parents joined the Byzantine Catholic Church & I was rebaptized [hmm- this should not have happened] & reconfirmed.
---baptized in a Protestant church, became Byzantine Rite Catholic at age 17
---Baptised again in Roman Catholic church because the baptismal records from Episcopal church could not be found (after I became Catholic).
Which Eastern Catholic or Orthodox church do you worship in the most frequently?
Byzantine Catholic- same jurisdiction as my confirmation/chrismation/canonical status-- 28.92% 
Byzantine Catholic- different jurisdiction as my confirmation/ chrismation/canonical status -- 33.73% 
Byzantine Catholic regular visitor-- 7.23% 
Other Eastern Catholic (specify in comments)-- 8.43% 
Orthodox- same jurisdiction as my confirmation/ chrismation/canonical status -- 10.84% 
Orthodox- different jurisdiction as my confirmation/ chrismation/canonical status -- 3.61% 
Orthodox regular visitor-- 7.23%
---Not sure which to check as none match our situation. My husband and I were both raised RC but started attending a Byzantine Rite Catholic Church shortly after we were married. Ten years later we canonically transferred to that Church. [I should have specified ‘attend same jurisdiction as confirmation/canonical status or something like that- I am going to change it!]
--- I was not confirmed, I was crismated 
--- I guess Byz Cath but different from confirmation jurisdiction is right. We transferred Rites several years ago, so we only occasionally attend Roman Catholic Mass anymore. We are officially Byzantine, and attend a parish of our official jurisdiction as well...but since my spouse and I were confirmed RC, it's actually a different Rite altogether.
--- Ruthenian and Romanian
--- Latin rite Catholic canonically, attempting to transfer to Melkites, attend Russian Catholic Church
--- I belong to an Orthodox parish but I was confirmed at birth when baptized in a Byzantine Catholic Church.
--- Became Orthodox, via Chrismation. My pastor said there was no re-do of sacraments.
--- I am Roman Catholic but I am a regular visitor to your great blog. I do attend Byzantine Catholic Divine Liturgy very infrequently because it is so far away.
--- Canonically Latins but planning to request Change of Ritual Church. All of our children think of themselves as Byzantines.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Eastern Catholic, Orthodox lay believers, & visitors- take this survey!

Create your own user feedback survey 

"this world first felt unusual to me, but now it feels natural and how it's supposed to be": the beautiful & the difficult after ordination for clergy wives

After your husband was ordained or entered seminary, how was your life positively impacted? (more than 1 response possible)
 strengthening of marriage- 37.50%
interaction with parishioners- 31.25%
positive impact for children- 12.50%
ministry gives life deep meaning- 43.75%
knowledge that I am doing important work- 68.75%
my spiritual life is deeper- 37.50%
-I finally found a spiritual director for myself
-fear is less overwhelming.

After your husband was ordained or entered seminary, how was your life negatively impacted?
 marital or parenting difficulties- 43.75%
separation or divorce- 0.00%
health/stress problems- 43.75%
financial hardships- 37.50%
crisis or loss of faith- 12.50%
Isolation- 68.75%
-Less family time
-other spiritual attacks
-lack of support from the Bishop; no support for ordained clergy from other ordained clergy in terms of advice or direction
-After his ordination, I realized that I could never truly have close friendships at church again. I am now "the deacon's wife" and parishioners view me differently. The ones that I am close to, I still have to be guarded that I don't share something I wasn't supposed to or cause scandal by gossiping (I know you shouldn't anyways, but the burden is greater!)
-stress in seminary was so bad I ended up in the hospital with stress related illness. I feel like a single parent.

If you knew then what you know now, would you still marry a man who was also called to Church ministry?
 --- I am very glad he has been able to fulfill his call to church ministry and we have been financially blessed. I wish we had more time together as family and really miss family vacation time.
--- I would absolutely marry him again (and again!). I always say "I married the man, not the vocation/job". I am blessed to have a husband who sees his vocation as a priest-to-be as being equal to his vocation as a husband and father. :)
--- It will sound odd. Isolation and loneliness for me could be considered both positive and negative. I grew up in a warm, loving family. I was never alone, always surrounded by parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts. After I married my husband, due to the nature of his work, he was away all day. I was left alone with a young son and an overwhelmingly difficult job. I work for the university, but I don't teach that many hours a week. I spend most of my time doing research, reading and writing, so I can work from home. Loneliness got to my bones. At first, I was utterly miserable, but in time I understood it was a lesson from God. This is how He taught me about independence. I am a completely changed person now. I value the fact that I spend enough time alone - actually, not alone, but just myself and God - and by that - I stay away from all the negative things that permanent socializing brings to a person. I have time to read and think and pray. I live in a city and outside the walls of my little house it's madness. As for the positive impact... I have to say, the most important thing would be meeting people I look up to, people who are models of goodness, generosity and love. All the people I admire most come from the Church, so there must be something there. :-) I thank God and my husband for introducing me to this world that at first felt unusual to me, populated with people that seemed to come from a different era, but now it feels natural and how it's supposed to be.
--- Separation has been difficult. Loss of income has necessitated sale of home, subsequent downsizing, and second job to supplement income - all while husband is away at seminary. Also two grandchildren born while husband has been away.
--- Positives: - Seeing my husband's joy in serving the Church, celebrating the liturgy and other sacraments, it is so clear that he is where he was meant to be. This is the big one. - People have been incredibly kind and welcoming to us. We recently moved for my job, so he is currently a supply priest and helps out at the local parish when not needed elsewhere, and we have been welcomed with open arms. My kids get so much love :-) - The absolute best was when my husband baptized our daughter. Amazing. - We are Orthodox, so contempt for married clergy is not an issue. Negatives: - We have virtually no time as a family, I work a regular full time office job because I am still the main breadwinner, and before we moved my husband worked 7 days a week. It's not as bad since we moved, but once he has a parish it will be awful again. That said, I should be able to cut back on work once he has a parish assignment, so that will help. - It is incredibly hard to go to Church by myself with two very active kids - we only have one car so this compounds the problem since we either have to all go really early or I stay home. And forget Holy Week or other special services. - I worry that my kids will hate the Church because Papa is gone so much. - It's lonely and no one really gets it. - Seeing the hierarchy up close and personal can try your faith... I would absolutely still marry my husband despite his call to the priesthood. Not because I like being a Presvytera (I don't), but because he's worth it.
--- Yes, I have a good and wonderful life. I have been able to see and grow in different ways then I would have. GOD IS FAITHFUL ALL THE TIME. I have lived it.
--- I have some distance and experience now, and I know wholeheartedly that this was the right path for us. In the beginning, I suffered depression and God allowed me to be tested in various ways. Sometimes I still feel isolated. But I have an incredible husband who nurtures my emotional and psychological health and a merciful God who leads people into my life to support me. I am part of an incredible community, and I couldn't be more grateful for the miracles I get to witness.
--- Yes, I would do it again, but wish I'd been wiser in the beginning. :-)
--- I married my husband and would still marry him regardless of his vocation because I love him. We share the same values and goals, we complement eschewed other gifts. The church and world are a better place because of his ministry and of who he is.
--- I honestly don't know what I would do.
--- My husband was always interested in outside activities; his ministry has made it too easy for him to justify busy-ness that takes him away from family. Unfortunately, this often leaves me feeling abandoned & the children more or less ignored by him ... realistically, I think this may have happened eventually anyhow b/c of his personality / temperament. But who knows.
--- My husband is an amazing, holy and wise man. I have literally seen the grace received at his ordination transform him into an inspirational man of God. In the hard times, that gives me peace. I have also seen God pour out blessings on us after he was ordained. I know that this is God's plan for my husband and I continue to support him as he prepares for the priesthood. That being said, his calling is harder than I ever imagined. I feel alone and jealous at times of the attention the church and parishioners receive from him. I feel like he has "secrets" from me when he knows church business that I do not. (Though in truth, I know it's better for me not to know or be bothered with most of it!) Sometimes I really wish he could help me more with the kids on Sundays. And or parish is so small, I do get pulled into a lot of projects! All that being said, I would marry my husband again in a heartbeat.
--- I would still marry him. I would not have moved and gone to seminary while struggling with PPD. I would have asked the Bishop to wait another year. I am stronger in my faith and happier now that he is ordained and he is no longer a seminarian. I am still afraid of having more kids than I can handle and I feel like I'm a single parent a lot, especially at community events and at church. I have to go everywhere alone or he's too busy to help me parent. On the plus side I have had the chance to see God's blessings when we have encountered financial hardship and cheques arrive from the Knight of Columbus or from a parishioner...just in time to fix the truck or replace the worn out cassock. I trust more in God's plan for my life and the He will keep us safe.
--- Even though we both have made mistakes- I am 100% glad that this is our life!
Thank you, ladies, for answering the survey and opening your hearts! If you missed out, take the survey here and I will publish an update.  Dear readers, do you have a specific question for these clergy wives? I will be sending out interviews to a few wives, and I would love to add to the question list...