Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Rochester Greek Festival

June 4th, 2011, Promulgated by b a

Today my wife and I went to the Rochester Greek Festival which included a tour of their church and a 40-minute presentation on the Orthodox Faith, which covered icons, architecture, music, and theology.  We both found it quite interesting and thanks to Bernie’s posts and my one visit to St. Josaphat’s I wasn’t totally ignorant.  Fr. Anthony Cook was very welcoming, very knowledgeable, and very respectful.  If you have some time tomorrow, I’d recommend checking it out.  A few things struck me about Fr. Anthony:

  • He seemed very passionate about his faith and the traditions of the Orthodox Church (ie authentic Christian tradition and not superstition).  In my experience as a Catholic it seems that many times people try to associate traditionalism with superstition.  I think this is a false connection.  Fr. Anthony (and I assume most Orthodox Christians) understand this as well.
  • He was extremely welcoming without belittling his belief system or the traditions of his Church.  He didn’t try to shove anything under the rug.  When asked questions he would respond with, “This is what we believe and why we believe it.  This is how I understand Catholic belief, but please correct me if I misrepresent you.”
  • He seemed deeply concerned about the spiritual welfare of his people.  He seemed like a good Christian leader.

In a nutshell, this man showed more respect for the Catholic faith than the vast majority of Catholic leaders in this diocese do.  While I’m slowly learning more about the Orthodox Faith (or as JP2 put it – the other lung), I realize that there is so much more to learn.




One Response to “Rochester Greek Festival”

  1. I went to the Greek Festival another year and was given a tour of their church. I too, was struck by their warm welcome and the sincerity of their practice. Ie. The Bookstore and staff is more than willing and helpful to locate an icon of a particular saint for you if you are having difficulty locating it elsewhere or in stock at their Bookstore at The Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Spirit on South Ave. I have met and talked to staff and parishioners at The Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation on East Avenue and The Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Spirit on South Avenue.

    I would approximate 4 years ago I went to St. Nicholas the Wonderworker Church on Spencerport Road in Gates for the Feast of St. Nicholas. It was my first time in an Orthodox Church. St. Nicholas is a Melkite Church. I was somewhat apprehensive because I thought I would be the only Roman Catholic there and I was not familiar with their liturgy. I was struck by the reverence and orthodoxy of their liturgy. Their entire liturgy is chanted. Incense was used with their Communion Rite. Their incensor has bells on it so bells ring when the incensor is swung and the smoke of the incense is directed at the Eucharist or the Congregation. The gateway toward their altar is a wall on either side of beautiful icons (much golden imagery). I was inspired by the litany of which the congregation chanted. There was a lot of “Lord have mercy” in response to petition. One element of Orthodox Churches I have found is emphasis on how we will stand before the Lord in judgment and what state we will be in, in the moment of our death. There was Blessed Bread after Holy Communion to make sure all of the particles of the Eucharist went down. The icons are representative of those holy and sainted individuals who now reside in the glory of God in Heaven. The nostrils are narrow, depicting that they do not have to breathe in Heaven.I was surprised to see someone from the Roman Catholic Diocese there who I knew. After mass, Fr. Ken was very personable and cordial with everyone who attended. (He also has a great sense of humor). It turned out that almost everyone who had attended was Roman Catholic. There were only a few people of the Melkite Rite who had attended. I certainly was surprised!

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