Friday, February 2, 2007

The Presentation

Well, it's now official – as of a few hours ago, I am an Orthodox catechumen! At tonight's Vesperal Liturgy for the Feast of the Presentation, I went forward after the Gospel (there was no homily tonight) with my fellow catechumens and our sponsors to stand before the icon of Christ for the Prayers of the Catechumens.

I chose this date primarily for a practical reason – it was the first Divine Liturgy at Holy Cross since I completed my final duties at St. Paul's. But I also think it was symbolically appropriate to make my official Orthodox debut on the day when Jesus made his first visit to the temple.

On Tuesday morning I attended the early Mass at St. Paul's to celebrate the Feast of King Charles the Martyr and to receive communion for the last time as an Anglican. Tomorrow night I will make my first visit to St. Paul's as a non-Anglican for the annual Candlemas service, featuring the Blessing of Candles, a procession, and an orchestral Mass setting by Mozart. It is actually the same feast that we celebrated tonight at Holy Cross. Since the Antiochians normally observe great feasts that fall on weekdays on the eve, I will be able to celebrate one of my favorite feasts a second time!


Trevor said...

Many years!

But here's a question. If you already knew you wanted to be Orthodox, why take communion as an Anglican? I'm not asking to be critical, BTW. It's an issue that I wrestle with myself. In my case, I reason that Evangelical communion (at least, on the Zwinglian remembrance model) is roughly comparable to the sharing of antidoron (blessed bread) in an Orthodox service. In fact, arguably it's something less, since there's not even any thought that the bread is blessed. (Back when I was responsible for preparing the stuff, I mused on the possibility of using chips and Coke.) I don't think it would be quite the same thing with Anglican communion, though.

Of course, you have the advantage of being able to make something of a clean break. I'll be going both ways for at least a while, since my wife is still Evangelical, and we're trying to stay engaged somehow as a family.

Anonymous said...

"But I also think it was symbolically appropriate to make my official Orthodox debut on the day when Jesus made his first visit to the temple.

Uh, this *is* a Big Kids' blog site -- open to the world and interpretation thereby. Always consider the possible implications of your wording! :) :)

take care, :)


Mari said...

I also think it was symbolically appropriate to make my official Orthodox debut on the day when Jesus made his first visit to the temple.

There is something wrong with this sentence, but I just can't put my finger on what it is. Roland please be a dear and clarify for us poor Anglicans this 1st day in the temple business.

Anonymous said...

To mari:

Well, we may certainly hope that he did *not* mean that he knew the clergy would marvel at his words! :)

take care,

editor by trade & compulsion :)

Roland said...

Trevor – Yes, it is different as an Anglican – and expecially as an Anglo-Catholic. The fact that St. Paul's offers Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament every Sunday leaves no room for doubt that we believe the consecrated bread and wine are really the Body and Blood of Christ.

I was committed to remaining at St. Paul's and fulfilling my commitments to the parish through the end of January, and remaining a communicant was part of that. If I had stopped receiving communion, then I should have stopped serving at the altar as well.

Roland said...

John and Mari - I have no idea what you're talking about.

Luke 2 would suggest that the first time Joseph and Mary brought Jesus into the Temple was 40 days after his birth - the occasion we celebrate every year on 2 February, which is 40 days after 25 December.

Sara S. said...

I just think it is wonderful for you to begin this journey down the Bosphorus. I know that this decision has not been easy and has been long in coming. You will be missed at St. Paul's, but I for one, am so happy that your path has been made clear to you. I remember my first day as an official catechumen in the RC church, and it was so exciting. So, yay for you!

Fatherstephen said...


I pray you Godspeed on your journey and a good catechumenate. I'll keep you in my prayers. Candlemas is a good day.

Militus Christi said...

Many years!

My wife, son, and I just became official catechumens this last Saturday before the celebration of Great Vespers at our church.

May God have mercy on us, cleanse us, and guide us!