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Alexei Krindatch (Akrindatch@aol.com) Orthodox Reality in America St.Nicholas Cathedral, Tarpon Springs. FL St.Tikhon Monastery (est. 1903), South Canaan, PA St.Gregory Theologian Church, Tampa, FL Panagia Vlahernon Monastery, Ocala, FL Sources of information:

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Alexei Krindatch (Akrindatch@aol.com)

Orthodox Reality in America

St.Nicholas Cathedral, Tarpon Springs. FL

St.Tikhon Monastery (est. 1903), South Canaan, PA

St.Gregory Theologian Church, Tampa, FL

Panagia Vlahernon Monastery, Ocala, FL

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Sources of information:
  • 2010 Census of US Orthodox Christian Churches
  • 2010 “Faith Communities Today” study (national survey of congregations in various US Christian Churches)
  • 2008 “Orthodox Church Today” (national survey of laity in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and the Orthodox Church in America)
  • 2007 “Evolving Visions of the Orthodox Priesthood in America” study (national survey of parish clergy in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and Orthodox Church in America)
  • 2009 US Religious Landscape Survey (Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life)
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48% of all US Orthodox Church members live in just five states: California (14.5% of all American Orthodox Church members), New York (13.5%), Illinois (7.2%), New Jersey (6.9%) and Massachusetts (5.9%);
  • Proportion of adherents of the various Orthodox Christian Churches in the total US population is small: just 0.34%.
  • In certain states, however, this proportion is significantly higher. These states are: Alaska (1.93%), Massachusetts (0.93%), New Jersey (0.83%), New York (0.72%) and Rhode Island (0.72%).
since 1980s several new developments in american orthodox christian churches
Since 1980s, several new developments in American Orthodox Christian Churches:
  • Geographic redistribution: dynamic growth in South (esp. Florida) and in West (esp. California)
  • Fast growth of Oriental Orthodox Churches (1970 - 2 Coptic parishes in USA, 2010 - 172)
  • Fast growing presence of converts (former Roman Catholics and Protestants) among both Orthodox clergy and laity
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A significant number of converts (born and raised non-Orthodox) among members of “Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America” and “Orthodox Church in America”

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The “strength” of the ethnic heritage and identity in US Orthodox Churches can be difficult to “measure” unambiguously:
  • In Greek Orthodox Archdiocese (GOA), only 14% parishioners and 28% clergy were born outside USA
  • But Greek is still first “mother” language (spoken at home as a child) for 45% GOA clergy and 42% GOA parishioners
  • 70% of GOA clergy agree with statement that their parishes remain “essentially Hellenic in its heritage and culture”
  • 54% of GOA clergy agree with statement that “Our parish wants to be racially and culturally diverse
2010 faith communities today fact survey of orthodox parishes in usa
2010 “Faith Communities Today” (FACT) Survey of Orthodox Parishes in USA

“Of your total regular participants age 18 and older, estimate the percent who are:”

(average % for US Orthodox parishes nationwide)

  • Female – 54%
  • College graduates – 53%
  • New to this parish in the past 5 years – 23%
  • “Cradle Orthodox” (e.g. persons born into

Orthodox Church) – 61%

  • Living within 15 minutes of your parish’s

Church building – 46%

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2010 FACT Survey of Orthodox parishes in USA Do you agree with following statements about your parish?
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2010 FACT Survey of Orthodox parishes in USA How much do the following describe your parish’s major weekend worship service?
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2010 FACT Survey of Orthodox parishes in USA How much does your parish emphasize the following personal and family religious practices?
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2010 FACT Survey of Orthodox Parishes in USA“Overall, to what extent are your parish’s active participants involved in recruiting new members?

How are visitors contacted

after they attend your parish’s

worship services or other

activities?

By e-mail – 67%

By phone – 58%

Send materials about parish

to our visitors – 57%

Personal visits – 32%

We rarely contact our

visitors – 23%

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2010 FACT Survey of Orthodox Parishes in USAImpact of Financial Recession on Church Finances: “How would you describe your parish’s financial health today and five years ago?

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What are most urgent issues in the Church life from the perspective of members of Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (GOA) and Orthodox Church in America (OCA)?

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The good message:Members of US Orthodox Churches have a strong religious identity and Church preference% who agreed with following statements

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The bad message:strong Orthodox identity does NOT mean that “people in the pews” view their religious obligations the way they are expected by the Church

  • The survey data tell us that regular Church attendance, obeying the priest and observing Great Lent are seen by majority of parishioners as non-significant for being a “good Orthodox”
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Please, indicate if you think a person can be a good Orthodox Christian without performing these actions% of GOA and OCA members saying that he/she still can be a good Orthodox Christian without doing the following

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Generally, Orthodox Christians DO NOT favor the idea of ordination of women% of those who would support women in following roles
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Orthodox men and women have similarly negative opinions on ordination of women% of male and female respondents who would support women in following roles

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Vast majority of American Orthodox Christians prefer to be in the “homogenous” like-minded parishes What type of parish do you prefer?
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But not all Orthodox laity are equally “Orthodox” in their personal “micro-theologies”When you think about your theological position and approach to church life, which word best describes you?

orthodox christians are deeply divided among themselves on subject of evolution versus creationism
Orthodox Christians are deeply divided among themselves on subject of evolution versus creationism.
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Orthodox Christians are also divided among themselves on teaching of evolution versus creationism in the schools.
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An overwhelming majority of AmericanOrthodox Christians DO NOT support secularity of education in the public schools.
2010 national census of us orthodox christian churches
2010 National Census of US Orthodox Christian Churches

Each local Orthodox parish was asked two questions:

  • How many individual persons in total are associated with the life of your parish: including adults and children, regular and occasional attendees, paid stewards and persons who do not contribute financially?
  • Approximately, how many persons – including adults and children – attend Liturgy in your parish on a typical Sunday?
combined for all us orthodox churches
Combined, for all US Orthodox Churches:
  • The answer to the first question is 1,043,000 That is, 1,043,000 persons in the USA participate in Orthodox church life or are at least known to the local parishes
  • The answer to the second question is 294,000That is, 294,000 persons are praying in all American Orthodox parishes on a typical Sunday
  • The ratio between second (294,000) and first (1,043,000) figures is 28%

That is, 28% of the Orthodox Church adherents participate in church life on a regular weekly basis

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And How “Different” Are We? Some Interesting Facts about American Orthodox Christians Versus US Roman Catholics and Protestants

Source: 2009 US Religious Landscape Survey

by Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life

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Which is not surprising,becauseAmerican Orthodox Christians also have higher education level than Roman Catholics and Protestants
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American Orthodox Christians are more “liberal” in their political preferences than Roman Catholics or Protestants
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In their attitudes towards abortion, 62% of American Orthodox Christians are “pro choice” and only 30% “pro life”
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Vast majority of American Orthodox Christians are quite flexible in interpreting official Church teachings
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Compared to Roman Catholics and Protestants, Orthodox Christians in the US are LESS likely to see God as a person and MORE likely as an impersonal force

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Orthodox Christians DO NOT practice their faith in a particularly strong manner: they attend Church less frequently than Roman Catholics or Evangelical Christians

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When you’re back home, look for more information on Orthodox Church life in US at:

www.orthodoxreality.org

www.orthodoxhistory.org

www.aoiusa.org

www.ocl.org

or write me to Akrindatch@aol.com

Now is time for difficult questions: please, ask!