An ex-Calvinist outsider strongly drawn to Palamism

News about traditional Orthodox monastics and how these monks and nuns are living out their vocations in monasteries and convents.

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Gregorik
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An ex-Calvinist outsider strongly drawn to Palamism

Postby Gregorik » Sat 23 August 2014 10:47 am

Dear all,
this is my first post here. Maria was kind enough to send me a private message on OC.net when I posted something regarding my deep interest in Palamism and becoming a monk. She said that I'll have better luck over here at ECafe. And indeed, the Monasticism board here seems great.
The other day I began to start a correspondence with Fr. Enoch which is already edifying.

I won't copy+paste my post on OC.net, but I'll paraphrase some of it here. My particular questions for you:

- I'm a 38 yr-old Hungarian male with a strong Calvinist past, having worked as a curator at my church. I was baptized in 2003. As of 2014, I'm still quite new to Eastern Orthodoxy. Yet for about 2 years, I feel the strongest draw to practice hesychasm in a skete setting; in turn I feel an aversion to most secular or even 'Calvinist' things now, including forming bonds with secular people. I'm becoming less and less worldly, and this is not something I can help -- but I won't go into my spiritual and emotional struggles at this time. I find it hard to discern between the psychological and spiritual content of this overwhelming feeling of being called; but it surely disrupts my day job (film business) and my family life at this point. Obviously I need to avoid prelest. What can I do?

- Should I now seek out local monasteries for possible week-long stays, or are there any steps I'm supposed to take before? I don't speak Greek, Russian or Serbian, which may be a problem.

- I'm based in Budapest, Hungary. Do you recommend any particular monasteries in the area (including Slovakia, Serbia etc.) that I should visit for a stay?

- Should I even consider sketes at this point, or should I approach cenobitic communities? I'm much more attracted to the skete setting for some reason, but as a complete novice that may not be an option.

Thank you,
in Christ,
Andras (from Budapest)

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Maria
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Re: An ex-Calvinist outsider strongly drawn to Palamism

Postby Maria » Sat 23 August 2014 6:41 pm

Welcome to E Cafe, Andras.

Since this is Saturday, a day in which we prepare with Great Vespers or the All-Night Vigil for the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, there may not be many immediate responses.

Know that I will pray for you in your quest for God and theosis.
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner.

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Priest Antonios
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Re: An ex-Calvinist outsider strongly drawn to Palamism

Postby Priest Antonios » Sat 23 August 2014 7:22 pm

Andras,

Welcome to e-cafe. It sounds like you're on the right path - speaking with an actual monastic about your potential calling. You are in our prayers.

-Dcn Antonios

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Maria
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Re: An ex-Calvinist outsider strongly drawn to Palamism

Postby Maria » Tue 26 August 2014 3:07 am

Here are some pictures of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church:

https://plus.google.com/photos/+Bulgari ... 8542153793 (shared from NFTU)
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner.

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Barbara
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Re: An ex-Calvinist outsider strongly drawn to Palamism

Postby Barbara » Wed 27 August 2014 3:20 am

Greetings, Gregorik !

There is a little time before the Vigil for the Feast of Dormition tomorrow, so I checked in here and found your
intriguing post.

You could post your entire post here, if you feel like it. I would like to hear the entire story, in fact.
Some people don't like details. But I like to hear every one to gain a complete picture of the situation.

Otherwise, is your username the same over there ? I could go there and look.

I STRONGLY support you in your wish to avoid seculars. The mindset of such people makes it impossible to
even have a decent worldly conversation, let alone one about deeper subjects.

So do not waver in your resolute march toward the Spiritual Life.

As for monasteries, what about a visit to Pochaev ? Or maybe there's too much political turmoil there, I am not sure.
Not for seeking to live the monastic life. But to see a holy place relating to the Mother of God, and a grand historic institution. Though it is under the wrong jurisdiction these days, of course.
I fear if you go to a Serbian monastery you will have a BAD impression. Just saying the truth.
The only one I would recommend is our STOC monastery under Bishop Akakije. But they may not be equipped to
handle pilgrims from other countries. That's why I thought of Pochaev. There are places for pilgrims to stay, and you don't have to feel that anyone is watching your reactions or expecting you to live up to certain standards. You are new, so you will make mistakes. Sometimes babushkas YELL [no other word for it !] when one is unwittingly doing something wrong.

I believe having some general experience will be of benefit in seeking a monastery or better yet a skete to join.
It's wonderful that you even KNOW about this concept, coming from such a vastly different background !
Congratulations, therefore !

Warm regards.

PS - I just loved Budapest, beautiful city !

Gregorik
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Re: An ex-Calvinist outsider strongly drawn to Palamism

Postby Gregorik » Fri 29 August 2014 6:53 pm

Thank you Barbara, Maria, and Antonios.

Barbara wrote:I STRONGLY support you in your wish to avoid seculars. The mindset of such people makes it impossible toeven have a decent worldly conversation, let alone one about deeper subjects.


This is a huge concern for me nowadays. What is the solution regarding the Orthodox stance towards "unwitting" seculars? I actually feel it's a degree of prelest not wanting to mingle with them.

Barbara wrote:I fear if you go to a Serbian monastery you will have a BAD impression. Just saying the truth.


I've never been to one yet, please elaborate.

Thank you for mentioning Pochaev and the other monastery; they are new to me as well. I definitely won't travel to Ukraine though these months as it's an escalating warzone.

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Re: An ex-Calvinist outsider strongly drawn to Palamism

Postby Barbara » Mon 1 September 2014 2:23 am

Are you still there, Gregorik ?
Sorry for the delay replying. There was the Feast Day celebration and now it's a "holiday weekend" in the U.S.

Well I have never visited any modern Serbian monasteries myself. So I apologize but I said my immediate reaction.
I don't think any of the Serbian Patriarchate ones would be appropriate or interesting for you.

You need either something very spectacular or some very authentic one such as Serbian True Orthodox Church's
Novo Stjenik. I don't know if you are ready for that, yet, because it may not be set up for other Europeans.
I imagine everyone speaks Serbian there. But, there is Vladimir Moss living over there, so if you can find out
if he and his family are still there, then he could explain A LOT to you. He is very knowledgeable.
Anyway, Novo Stjenik is a brave, admirable effort which should draw applause from any religious person.
They have carved out a strong stance against the evils of the day. Many other monasteries have compromised to
either stay afloat or go with the flow.

Now, are you saying that you believe it to be prelest to want to NOT associate with seculars ?
Well that's why we all like monasteries. Whether we are participating or not, we certainly support the effort of the
monastics to avoid all worldly stuff. For example, sometimes one does not have a mirror, in order to avoid vanity or
preoccupation with one's appearance.

So do you want to clarify what you meant ?

Best Regards --


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