...are the ones that make the biggest difference


Pray tell, what is a "hoosier"?

So we've successfully made it to Fort Wayne and unloaded the van. We've dropped the price on the house $2000 in hopes it will move things along and I got registered for school this morning. Which was an interesting experience. The school is a community college, formerly a "state college" - a distinction that is lost on me, I must say - and offers a pretty wide range of classes, from nursing (which I am pursuing) to business & accounting and a healthy host of industrial programs. I think after having gone to a 4 year school, I have utterly taken for granted the fact that most folks don't go to college and many really aren't cut out for higher education at all. I had to sit through a 30 minute advising orientation and from the near baby-talk level of instruction coming from the front of the room, I had some doubts about my choice of schools. Thankfully, though, my wife was told the nursing program is actually quite competitive while interviewing for an admissions position at another (and apparently rival) school. That school apparently gets a lot of the dropouts from my school - I felt marginally better.

I am hoping to get past this transitional period rather quickly and move into blogging about some actual, real-life stuff; like our first try at an Orthodox church here. I emailed the priests from the 2 churches we're considering - St Nicholas - OCA and St John Chrysostom - Antiochian. I was hoping to try the Antiochian church first, but the email got sent back to me as undeliverable. I tried another address on the site, but haven't heard anything back yet. The priest from the other church, though, immediately sent me a rather lengthy reply answering all of my questions and providing lots of information. Plus, while lost in the freakish thunderstorm we got yesterday, I drove right by St Nick's and it is very close to my school and to my in-law's house (where we're staying for the time being), so St Nick's it is. We still may head over to St John's at some point, though.

The wife and I got into a conversation on the drive out about the way Orthodox views people not yet accepted into the church and it was something I really wan't sure about. How would the Orthodox church view those who had converted, ie, repented, turned to Christ and declared their desire to join the church, but who die while still catechumens? Assume they've come from a pagan/irreligious background and were never baptized - are they in heaven/hell/limbo? And what about those who were baptized but not chrismated - what would their status be?


Doug said...

Congrats on your move! It sounds like a pretty exciting time for you and your wife. I'm excited for you.

I'm not sure I'm the best person to answer your question about how the Orthodox Church views inquirers and catechumens, but I'll give it a shot and perhaps someone else can correct me if I'm wrong. First, I would suggest that the Orthodox aren't too into the idea of deciding -in legal manner- when exactly and under what conditions one is "saved." Take, for instance, St Isaac the Syrian, who is greatly venerated and loved by the Orthodox, but who himself was not a part of the Orthodox Church, but was a part of the Nestorian (or Monophysite, I can't recall which) church of Mesopotamia. Even so, he is certainly considered an Orthodox saint, though he was never in communion with the canonical Church, as the Orthodox understand it.

The issue of a person's salvation is really known only to God, whether one is within or without the Orthodox Church. That said, when you are "enrolled" as a catechumen (which involves the priest praying over you in the presence of the congregation at the Liturgy) you are considered to "belong" to the Church in the same way that an as-yet unbaptized or un-chrismated infant of an Orthodox faithful is already considered to "belong" to the Church.

I hope that helps. If Karl's still surfing around out here, perhaps he can chime in. You might also, of course, email your priestly contact at St Nicholas' or drop a note to Fr Joseph Hunneycutt over at the OrthoDixie blog (www.orthodixie.blogspot.com).

Karl Thienes said...

Hi Nathan,

Nice template change, btw!

Doug pretty much nailed it. The only thing I might add is that it was common in the early church (when catechumenates were typically 3 years in length) to consider the unbaptised catechumens who were martyred as "baptized in blood"....and thus firmly members of the Church.

An analogy: Christmation is like getting married, being enrolled as a catechumen is like getting betrothed, working toward the catechumenate as an inquirer is like seriously dating: all are paths on the right road. God knows the desires of our heart.

So, the "who's in/who's out" distinction is a bit fuzzier than it first appears. Heck, even St. Ambrose was made a bishop when he was still a catechumen!

rev-ed said...

Welcome to the area, Nathan! I'm just across the Ohio state line from you. Hope you get settled well.

FYI, nobody really knows what a hoosier is, but everybody has their own explanation. Just nod and say, "Oh, that's what it is!" and everybody will leave you alone... ;)

basil said...

I can't remember when or why this came up, but in a conversation with a priest about this, it was revealed that catechumens who die are given Orthodox funerals.

Nathan said...

Thanks for the info, guys. I was pretty sure Orthodoxy didn't draw hard and fast lines on this, but I knew my wife would need some clarification.