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...

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

"Any fears were placed at the foot of the cross": clergy wives survey results, hopes & fears beginning ministry

Before your husband was ordained or entered seminary, what was your greatest hope? (more than one choice was possible)

man as spiritual head of household- 40.00%

graces for marriage- 40.00%

participation in church ministry- 33.33%

leading church ministry as a woman- 0.00%

raising children in the Church- 66.67%

being surrounded by believers- 40.00%

other hopes:
growing in my faith and helping others do the same

I did not know then.

For my husband to fulfill his vocation in obedience to God's call.

a marriage praised by God

(all) were important factors to me in finding a husband

personal growth in faith life

Before your husband was ordained or entered seminary, what was your greatest fear?

financial hardship- 33.33%

time management/balance- 46.67%

spiritual attack- 33.33%

lack of support from lay people or bishop- 26.67%

marital or parenting difficulties scandalizing Church- 26.67%

contempt for married clergy- 6%

other fears:
not being good enough

I had no fears.

dry spiritual life, failed marriage

Please elaborate on your hopes and fears before your husband was ordained or entered seminary

--- Never in my life did I expect to marry a priest-to-be. I still feel like I have no idea what is to come... And I still fear that I won't be good enough (can't cantor, can't sing, can't teach catechesis, can't evangelize, can't please the world...)

--- I generally don't think of the future much. I didn't then either. My parents however were terribly afraid that after they invested so much time and money in my education, I would end up in a remote village in the mountains. I live in Romania, you see, and there aren't that many parishes available. My husband was given a nice parish in the city and a job at university. 10 years later, the parish in the remote village doesn't seem such a bad alternative, comparing to crazy, overwhelming life in a city.

--- Any fears were placed at the foot of the cross. We haven't been plagued with fears, but difficulties and spiritual attack have been evident.

--- With regard to hopes, all I really wanted was for my husband to respond to a pretty clear calling and to find fulfillment in doing what he was meant to do. Also, and this is going to sound awful, but I did hope he would get paid decently (didn't happen, we have since had to move for my job and it should eventually in our new area. In terms of fears, when he was ordained I was working full time, we had a 2 year old and was pregnant with our 2nd, so obviously I was afraid we would never have time as a family, that people would judge us on our son's rambunctious behavior at liturgy, and that it would be a huge stress on all of us. Since my husband was already the local bishop's secretary/writer/gopher I also had concerns about him being taken advantage of. I am also pretty introverted and a non Greek-speaking convert in the Greek Orthodox Church, and was afraid I would be a terrible presvytera because of that.

--- I have seen pastors and wives give and give.

--- I have seen what congregations (and bad bishops) can do to a priest and his family, and I was most terrified by that kind of betrayal.

--- Financial hardship and him juggling family and church life. Both are real challenges.

--- He was in seminary when we started dating and we were married when he was ordained. i honestly didn't know what I was doing for most of it but I did hope finances would improve.

a lot of my energies were devoted to our family -- 8 children at time of his ordination, + 3 more since -- and we homeschool. Not a lot left for hopes & fears ;-)

--- I would say that before he was ordained deacon, I was very idealistic about it. I felt "honored" that my husband would be in a leadership position. I didn't have a lot of fears except that my own personal past would be somehow more public and scrutinized, possibly causing him scandal or embarrassment. I thought that it would be fun to minister together and teach others.

--- I had/have feast of dying and living my husband alone with the kids. I worry about pleasing God. I'm afraid of being open to life and having more kids than my mental health can handle...but no way to control the number of kids I have

--- I felt like we wouldn't measure up to the holiness we needed
Thank you for your responses! More survey results tomorrow!