Monday, December 07, 2009

Our Holy Baptism, Chrismation, And Marriage

On Sunday, November 29th, 2009, my wife, our two youngest daughters, and I were baptized for the remission sins, and were chrismated, into the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Seven months after leaving World Orthodoxy, we entered the gates of the Church through the Genuine Orthodox Church of America (GOC) under the pastorate of His Eminence Metropolitan Pavlos of the Cathedral of Saint Markella in Astoria, New York. Having been under the careful catechism of GOC priest, Father Anastasios Hudson, who pastors GOC missions in Raleigh and Greenville, North Carolina, we traveled to His parish in obedience to Holy Spirit and the Church, for the blessed weekend. We were baptized Nathan, Xanthia, Seraphima, and Chloe' after the blessed saints of the same name. We will forever ask those saints to pray for us as we continue in the theosis of our souls.

Immediately following our Holy Baptisms and Chrismation, Xanthia and I submitted to the sacrament of Holy Marriage. To know that our union of 29 years is, finally, sacramentally blessed, is a fulfillment that a few words cannot describe. Our newly-baptized daughters were asked to participate in the sacrament by chanting a portion of the liturgy scriptures. We spent a few precious hours with the faithful members of the two missions, and ate a wonderful meal. We were treated with sincere hospitality and love by our new brothers and sisters, who were the epitome of servanthood.

Even before our hair was dry from our Holy Baptisms, I told Xanthia that, rather than feeling a sense of having arrived, I felt a sense of readiness to fulfill the great commission of our Lord Jesus to,  "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creatures, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you."  Living in the Nashville, Tennessee area, we know that there are thousands of souls who are not part of His Church and, "How will they hear without a preacher?" The Exaposteilarion from our first Reader's Service (since our Holy Baptism) speaks directly of this mission,

"Let us gather with the Disciples on the mount in Galilee to behold Christ in faith, saying, I have received the power of those on high and those below. And Let us learn how to baptize all the nations in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and how He is present with His initiates to the end of the world as He promised."

There is now a Mission Station of the Genuine Orthodox Church of America in Tennessee, by virtue of the fact that there is at least one baptized family in the Nashville area. My family and I will continue to worship the One God through a Reader's Service and will travel to North Carolina and other GOC parishes as often as we can. Father Anastasios will also come to visit the Nashville area as often as possible. We will also welcome all who inquire about the GOC with the loving embrace that is characteristic of this blessed communion-in-Christ.


  1. Anonymous3:17 PM

    Glory be to God! I, too, am a part of the True Orthodox Church living in your area, having formerly served as an Antiochian Priest.
    I look forward to meeting you soon.

    Joseph Bragg, Smyrna, TN

  2. Anonymous5:15 PM

    You should read Blessed Fr. Seraphim Rose's works. Be careful about the "renovationism from the right" that he warns about, which tends to reign in the multiple Old Calendarist movements.
    Why don't you visit one of Elder Ephraim of Philotheou's monasteries here in the U.S.???
    I think you would find what you're looking for there, without having to get involved in the very fragmented world of the Old Calenarist movements.

  3. Anonymous7:57 AM

    If Nathan had gone with Fr Ephraim, he could find himself receiving communion from the same priest that he left if that priest chose to go to the monastery and serve. Fr Ephraim commemorates a heretic bishop and himself serves on the New Calendar, which is condemned.

    Fr Seraphim (Rose) may have written some good things, but is not an Orthodox authority on matters ecclesiastical. Of course, if one reads the Orthodox Word and Russia's Catacomb Saints, he will see that Fr Seraphim did support Old Calendarists, just not certain ones.

    There are some divisions in the Old Calendar "movement" but it's nowhere near what you hear about from our detractors online.

    Nathan did his research and found what he was looking for--the Truth.

  4. Anonymous11:11 AM

    I have read Fr Seraphim's writings. It is clear that he wavered in his later years and was not true to his earlier convictions. Both he and Elder Ephraim seem to ignore the teachings of Scripture, the Fathers and the canons, all of which tell us to flee from heresy and have no communion with it. As to the fragmented world of the Old Calendarists, I have found more unity of faith and spirit there, even without official organizational unity, than I found in World Orthodoxy with a facade of unity that masks divergent beliefs and practices that are often not Orthodox.

    Joseph Bragg

  5. "I think you would find what you're looking for..."

    Anon, though I am grateful for your desire to assist me in my journey, I have already found what I am looking for; thus, my baptism photo.

    The Old Calendarists are hardly a "movement". It is the New Calendarists who moved.

    If the Old C's are fragmented, it is in ecclesiastical matters, whereas, the New C's are fragmented in their adherence to the doctrines and canons of the Faith of our Fathers. I know with whom I would rather be in communion. How about you?

  6. Debbie Espen7:15 PM

    You all look so happy in your photo! And I am happy for you, having found what you were looking for. It doesn't matter that you are a minority - what matters is that it feels right to you. I commend you for being a purist and doing such thorough research.

  7. God bless you all and welcome to the Orthodox Church. Remain strong in the Faith and do not let issues not related to your spiritual lives distract you from the true aim of the Orthodox Church; the salvation of our souls which begins with defeating our passions.

  8. Father Savvas, Father Bless, Thank you for your words of exhortation. My family and I pray for you by name every day and have since learning of the GOC. Please pray for us. I look forward to meeting you in person in the future.

  9. Glory to God! I am part of the GOC and live in upstate NY. Father Thomas Marretta is my priest. I have just found your blog and read of your journey and baptism with much joy. May God strengthen you all ...and Father Anastasios also, as he ministers to so you struggle. I am trusting that you will have a profitable fast and a glorious Pascha!
    In Christ,
    Martha Ray
    Binghamton, NY

  10. Glory to God! I have read with joy of your baptism. I, too, am a convert to the GOC (from protestantism) and live in upstate NY. My priest is Father Thomas Marretta. May God continue to pour out His mercy on your family as you continue on the path of Truth. May you have a profitable fast and a glorious Pascha.
    Martha Ray
    Binghamton, NY

  11. Martha! My sister! God bless you. I am thankful for your prayers. Take time to go to our new mission website Father Anastasios is coming to Tennessee in April. Pray for a wonderful meeting and for many to come to the faith.
    I will look forward to meeting you when I come to NY in the future.


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