I converted to Eastern Orthodoxy from the Evangelical world in 1992. While I was a Protestant, I earned a Fuller Seminary M.Div. I have attended Roman Catholic services only a few times, once in Harbin, China (where I was teaching English and where I attended Orthodox liturgy) and a midnight mass in Shenyang, China on Christmas Eve. The old folks there knew the Latin! The younger people holding candles in back probably did not. The sermon was in Mandarin.

There are a lot of Christians that deeply desire a serious approach to worship in church and serious recounting of the Christian faith. There are also a lot of people that enjoy what I call "let the good times roll" way of doing things when they are with others on Sunday morning. I talked with some seminary students in Medan, Indonesia about this when I was there on a short-term mission in 2019. They are very worried about the influence of the promoters of the Prosperity Gospel (which I think is a heresy) who encourage excitement along with the idea that God wants us to be well-off. That's a subject for another comment some other time. You don't have to be Catholic or Orthodox to want seriousness and order.

Anyway, there are people that are drawn to Eastern Orthodoxy because it doesn't change to fit the times. Change in the Orthodox world (note the capital "O") comes very slowly. The services are translated into the language of the listeners as soon as possible. Immigrants to the U.S. and elsewhere have brought their faith with them and they continue to have Russian, Greek, Arabic and other languages but there are services in English, Spanish, French and so on. If you go to the Alexander Nevsky Orthodox Cathedral in Paris, you'll hear Church Slavonic in the nave but French in the crypt underneath. Protestant immigrants of Asian background have had their services in Cantonese, Korean and so on but then started having services in English for the younger people - otherwise, they might lose them. I think it's interesting that there are Catholics that regard the English services as uninspiring and want their liturgy in a language that they do not speak.

So we can see how faith and practice are both important. There is a two-part Simpsons episode called "Warrin' Priests" (19th and 20th episodes of the 31st season) that I recommend. An "up-beat" young minister comes to the church that the Simpsons attend and becomes very popular. Reverend Lovejoy wonders why this young minister left his previous church. In the second part of this episode, he and Mrs. Lovejoy visit the previous church. If you have the Disney Channel, you can watch both parts. The scene when they visit the previous church is priceless.

These days in America and elsewhere, millions of people that say they love Jesus believe that they can decide for themselves how to do church. We Orthodox don't look at it that way. We do what has been handed down to us, just like what St. Paul told people to do.

The Catholics that want the traditional Latin mass recognize that they are missing something in the post-Vatican II world. Their only (apparent) choice is to go back to what there was before. That choice (the Latin mass) resulted from a fear of the vernacular and a desire to have unity in the Western Church. The Protestants didn't accept the need for one language for everyone, just as they didn't accept the need for one theology, hence the great variety of statements of faith today. We Orthodox recite the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed (without the filioque addition) every liturgy and at other times. in whatever language is appropriate. I've heard it in Slavonic, English, Indonesian and French. If you go to Orthodox churches in Japan, Korea, Africa and elsewhere, you'll hear it in the language of the local people. That's how it should be. There's a church in Israel where it is in Hebrew.

Thank you for this podcast.

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As a non-Catholic who grew up learning Latin in High School, I always loved attending Latin Catholic Church Services. And I get comments from friends who are of that faith that they feel as if the use of Latin creates in them more of a sense of "Holliness," or a "God Presence." But the problem with this development in the Catholic seems, in my estimation (and I could be wrong),to be two fold: First, a bureaucratic dictatorial movement away from the image of the Pope as being God's representitive to His church, leading to a descension to "commonality" of the high church; and, Second, a joining with an already threatening secular world's descent into commonality, grading behavior on a curve and abandonment of all moral standards. Most devout Catholics seem to want their church to hold fast to civilized high standards of behavior, and their Pope to remain responsible for directly commanding His will to the rest of the church, rather than decentralizing control to Bishops. I look forward to others with more information posting on this subject.

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