How an Icon Brought a Calvinist to Orthodoxy – Robert K. Arakaki, Hawaii, USA

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FAITHBOOK – ORTHODOXY

How an Icon Brought a Calvinist to Orthodoxy

By Robert K. Arakaki, Hawaii, USA

A Journey to Orthodoxy

It was my first week at seminary. Walking down the hallway of the main dorm, I saw an icon of Christ on a student’s door. I thought:

“An icon in an evangelical seminary?! What’s going on here?”

Even more amazing was the fact that Jim’s background was the Assemblies of God, a Pentecostal denomination. When I left Hawaii in 1990 to study at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, I went with the purpose of preparing to become an evangelical seminary professor in a liberal United Church of Christ seminary. The UCC is one of the most liberal denominations, and I wanted to help bring the denomination back to its biblical roots. The last thing I expected was that I would become Orthodox.

Called by an Icon

After my first semester, I flew back to Hawaii for the winter break. While there, I was invited to a Bible study at Ss. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church. At the Bible study I kept looking across the table to the icons that were for sale. My eyes kept going back to this one particular icon of Christ holding the Bible in His hand. For the next several days I could not get that icon out of my mind.

I went back and bought the icon. When I bought it, I wasn’t thinking of Continue reading “How an Icon Brought a Calvinist to Orthodoxy – Robert K. Arakaki, Hawaii, USA”

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Orthodoxy on the Hawaiian Islands

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HEAVEN ON EARTH – ORTHODOXY

Orthodoxy on the Hawaiian Islands

Source:

http://orthochristian.com

http://orthochristian.com/54426.html

ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY

Orthodox churches can be found in all corners of the globe—even in far-flung Hawaii. This tropical paradise in the Pacific Ocean consisting of eight large islands and many more small ones is named after its largest island. It has a population is over one million, 60 percent of whom are Christian, including Orthodox Christian. Rector of the St. Juvenaly Orthodox Mission, Fr. John Schroedel, tells us about Orthodox life on the U.S.’s fiftieth state.

* * *

—Fr. John, please tell us about the history of Orthodox Christianity on the Hawaiian islands.

—Right now we have three churches and three priests. This one, the St. Juvenaly Mission on the big island of Hawaii, has only mission status. I have been here since December 4, 2007—not very long. This mission was formally started in 2004. There was a priest here, Fr. Sergius, who served for 18 months. After he left, there was no priest here for another 18 months, but the core community held on very stubbornly and kept meeting, having reader’s services and trying to obtain a priest. God bless them for their faith! When I came I could really feel that faith. They were hungry for Orthodoxy. Many of them had never regularly attended an Orthodox church before, so they wanted to gain experience and deepen their knowledge of Orthodoxy. As a young priest it is wonderful to be appreciated—just because you are a priest. They were eager to make up for their lack of experience, and worked hard to learn more. This was a great joy for me.

The other two Orthodox churches are located in Honolulu. One of them, a large Greek church dedicated to Sts. Constantine and Helen, is known as the Cathedral church of the Pacific. It is the oldest continuing church in the islands. There has been a Russian community here for a long time which has waxed and waned. The Greek parish community has been here since the 1950’s, and their current church building was consecrated in 1988. The current priest of that church, Fr. John Kuehnle, has been there for less than a Continue reading “Orthodoxy on the Hawaiian Islands”

Jamey Bennett, Hawaii, USA: Liturgy, Sacraments, & All That Jazz – Ten Reasons I Joined the Orthodox Church

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ORTHODOX HEART SITES

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Jamey Bennett & Fr. John Schroedel

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Liturgy, Sacraments, & All That Jazz:

Ten Reasons I Joined the Orthodox Church

by

Jamey Bennett, Hawaii, USA

Source:

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/2013/09/liturgy-sacraments-all-that-jazz-ten-reasons-i-joined-the-orthodox-church/

JOURNEY TO ORTHODOXY

I am asked fairly regularly to share my conversion story. I haven’t really written out my journey into the Orthodox Church in a full narrative. I hinted at some things related to my Mormon heritage here, but even that doesn’t quite tell the story. Honestly, I’m not sure I am interesting enough to put my story down on paper, so for now, we’ll settle for some glimpses into the journey. I leave this unedited and unvarnished.

I was received into the Orthodox Church at Pascha (Easter) of 2009. This doesn’t come as a shock to most who know me, but definitely has ruffled some feathers of a few people I love and respect. I want to set out ten (of many) reasons I became Orthodox. (In what follows, I assume a basic understanding of Christianity and Protestantism.)

1.Liturgy, Sacraments, and All That Jazz

I have personally been on a liturgical-sacramental trajectory for a long time. I fell in love with the Sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist (Lord’s Supper) years ago, as well as a liturgical approach to prayer. As a Presbyterian, I began using prayer ropes, praying the hours, and even included an icon in my private devotions. This led me out of Presbyterianism and into five wonderful years as an Anglican, and I acquired the conviction that whatever church I was to join in the future needed to be under the oversight of a bishop in Apostolic Succession.1

Somewhere along the way I encountered Orthodoxy. Every chance I got while travelling, I would visit Orthodox churches. It didn’t matter if I was in a Greek, Russian, Ukrainian, or American Orthodox church, I felt comfortable and at Continue reading “Jamey Bennett, Hawaii, USA: Liturgy, Sacraments, & All That Jazz – Ten Reasons I Joined the Orthodox Church”

The Path of Kyriaki-Fevronia Ka’akau, Hawaii, USA – by Kyriaki-Fevronia Ka’akau

http://washingtonofmyheart.wordpress.com

WASHINGTON OF MY HEART

The Path of Kyriaki-Fevronia Ka’akau

by

Kyriaki-Fevronia Ka’akau

Source:

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/2010/07/the-path-of-kyriaki-fevronia-ka’akau/

JOURNEY TO ORTHODOXY

If someone told me four years ago that I would become Orthodox I would have suggested psychological testing! Before moving to Washington in 1996, I was a Protestant for 26 years, hopping from one church to another. There was always something missing but I couldn’t identify it. My marriage of 16 years failed so I decided to “take a break” from anything church related, move to Washington with my son and start over.

After being there for nearly a year, I quit one security job and was hired for another company. My new boss, Pete, was a big bear of a man with a wonderful sense of humor and the ability to speak the language of his ancestry which I had always wanted to learn—Greek!

To a background in Hawaiian, Hebrew, Latin, French, and American Sign Language I wanted to add Greek, especially since the New Testament was written in it. When Pete suggested I call one of the Greek Orthodox churches in Tacoma I had no idea what to look for. I “let my fingers do the walking” and arbitrarily chose St. Nicholas.

I know that the Holy Spirit led me to choose that parish. I inquired about Greek lessons and the woman took my name and phone number. A few days later Despina Kipelidis called me. That was the beginning of my adventure!

During my Greek lessons, we would talk about spiritual things and she would answer my questions about Orthodoxy with as much zeal as I had as Protestant. She loaned me books like St. Seraphim of Sarov, Mother Macarius, etc. Being the “good Christian” that I was, I checked everything against scripture. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t getting into something strange or something that went contrary to what I knew scripture taught.

I could find nothing wrong but it took a while to get used to certain theological issues such as the rightful position of the Holy Mother, and the transformation of the break and wine into the Body and Blood of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ. Once I started attending services— first at St. Nicholas and then at Holy Resurrection (OCA)—1 began finding what had been missing in all the other churches I attended—WORSHIP and REVERENCE.

I was relieved in what I found in Orthodoxy. There was no “show” or a need to “entertain” to attract new believers. I found meaning in everything that was done in the Liturgy and at home. It was comforting. I had come home.

The traditions in Orthodoxy are passed down from the Apostles themselves and there is the desire for more spiritual discipline. There is a right way and a wrong way to worship, dress, pray, fast, etc.

And I found people who wanted to do it right. I had been covering my head for 19 years and for the first time I wasn’t the only (outside a messianic congregation)! There is consistency. There is a cycle. But make no mistake about one thing; there is just as much, if not more, emotion. These traditions are in no way dead or boring! I discovered in Orthodoxy that which so many other Christians have forgotten. After several months of being a Catechumen I was baptized. My Godmother is Fevronia Prodomidou from Kavala, Greece.

I chose the name Kyriaki, after my Greek teacher’s aunt so I actually have TWO names; Kyriaki-Fevronia.

I have been Orthodox for a little over a year now and thought it would be wonderful if my family, especially my son, became Orthodox, it’s God’s job to enlighten them the same way He enlightened me. I’m just in awe of the way He blessed me and helped me find my way home!