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Orthodox Reality in America


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A presentation by Alexei Krindatch to the Antiochian Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America, Thursday, June 7, 2012.

Published in: Health & Medicine, Spiritual
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Orthodox Reality in America

  1. 1. Alexei Krindatch ( Reality in America
  2. 2. Statistic matters… 2010 National Census of Orthodox Christian Churches in the United StatesEach US 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?
  3. 3. Combined, for all US Orthodox Churches: The answer to the first question is 1,060,700 That is, 1,060,700 persons in the USA participate in Orthodox church life or are at least known to the local parishes. This includes: 817,500 Eastern Orthodox Christians + 243,200 Oriental Orthodox Christians The answer to the second question is 300,600 That is, 300,600 persons are praying in all American Orthodox parishes on a typical Sunday. This includes: 214,200 Eastern Orthodox Christians + 86,400 Oriental Orthodox Christians
  4. 4. For the Antiochian Christian Archdiocese: The answer to the first question is 75,000 That is: total membership of AOCA in US is 75,000 The answer to the second question is 27,300 That is: 27,300 persons are praying in all AOCA parishes in USA on a typical Sunday The ratio between second (27,300) and first (75,000) figures is 37% That is: 37% of all AOCA parishioners participate in church life regularly For Diocese of Wichita only: total membership is 10,600 persons and average Sunday attendance is 4,600 persons: that is 43% (above AOCA average)
  5. 5. Membership in US Orthodox Churches:total number of adherents (including children and occasional participants) GOA 476,000 OCA 84,600 Antiochian Archdiocese 75,000 Serbian Orthodox Church 68,000 ROCOR 27,000Ukrainian Orthodox Church 23,000Patriarchal Parishes of ROC 12,400 Romanian Archdiocese 11,200 Carpatho-Russian Diocese 10,500 Palestinian Vicariate 6,800 Bulgarian Diocese 2,600Georgian Orthodox Parishes 900Albanian Orthodox Diocese 700
  6. 6. Various US Orthodox Churches are different in the strength of church commitment of their members Of total adherents, % persons attending regularlyAll Eastern Orthodox Churches 26% Carpatho-Russian Diocese 47% Bulgarian Diocese 46% Orthodox Church in America 40% Antiochian Archdiocese 37% Georgian Orthodox parishes 35% Rus.Orth.Ch. Outside Russia 32% Ukrainian Orthodox Church 31% Albanian Orthodox Diocese 26% Greek Orthodox Archdiocese 23% Serbian Orthodox Church 22% Romanian Archdiocese 20% Patriarchal Parishes of ROC 16% Palestinian Vicariate 12%
  7. 7. Compared to general US population, the members of Orthodox Churches are much more concentrated in certain geographic areas. 45% of them live in five states New York (14% of all Orthodox adherents), California (10%), Illinois (8%), Pennsylvania (7%), Massachusetts (6%)But only 29% of US population live in these five statesGeography of AOCA membership is somewhat different. 46% of AOCA adherents live in five states:California (14%), Pennsylvania (9%), Massachusetts (8%)Michigan (8%), Texas (7%).
  8. 8. Members of Orthodox Churches are “urban” people: 77% of them are in Metropolitan areas of 1,000,000+ compared to only 54% among US general population % of Church members living in Metropolitan areas of more than 1,000,000 populationAll Orthodox Churches together 77% Romanian Archdiocese 94% Patriarchal parishes of ROC 91% Ukrainian Orthodox Church 89% Serbian Orthodox 86% ROCOR 83% GOA 78% Bulgarian diocese 76% Antiochian Archdiocese 69% Orthodox Church in America 59% Carpatho-Russian Diocese 43%
  9. 9. US nationwide: + 15% growth in number ofOrthodox parishes during 2000-2010 (AOCA: +19%)
  10. 10. How “ethnic” are various Orthodox Churches in USA?2011 four-questions survey administered in all US Orthodox parishes % of English used as language of liturgy? % of English used as language of sermon? % of English used by the church choir? Do you agree with the statement “Our parish has strong ethnic culture and identity that we are trying to preserve?” (“agree strongly,” “rather agree,” “neutral,” “rather disagree,” “strongly disagree”)
  11. 11. Although usage of English in the church varies,most of jurisdictions became “English-speaking” US average % of English used as language of liturgy in the Orthodox parishesAll Orthodox Churches together 73% Carpatho-Russian Diocese 96% Antiochian Archdiocese 94% Orthodox Church in America 85% Patriarchal parishes of ROC 77% Bulgarian Diocese 68% GOA 66% Ukrainian Orthodox Church 52% ROCOR 49% Serbian Orthodox Church 47% Romanian Archdiocese 25%
  12. 12. But: Dominance of English language in Orthodox Church life in the USA does not mean that local Orthodox parishes abandon their “ethnic” identity and cultureIn fact, relative majority of US Orthodox parishes can still be described as ethnically-basedDo you agree or disagree with the statement“Our parish has strong ethnic culture and identity that we are trying to preserve?”49% of US Orthodox parishes “agreed”35% of US Orthodox parishes “disagreed”16% of US Orthodox parishes were “unsure / neutral”
  13. 13. Strength of ethnic identity in Orthodox parishes varies greatly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction "Our parish has a strong ethnic culture that we are trying to preserve." % parishes "strongly agree" % parishes "rather agree"All Orthodox Churches combined 24% 25% Antiochian Archdiocese 8% 9% Orthodox Church in America 14% 11% Carpatho-Russian Archdiocese 11% 20% Patriarchal Parishes of ROC 16% 19% Bulgarian Diocese 47% 10% Ukrainian Orthodox Church 40% 21% GOA 20% 42% ROCOR 35% 28% Serbian Orthodox Parishes 57% 27% Romanian Archdiocese 64% 23%
  14. 14. Compared to AOCA nationwide, the parishes in Diocese of Wichita are even less “ethnic” % of parishes agreing with statement "Our parish has strong ethnic heritage that we are trying to preserve" average % of English used as language of liturgy average % of English used as language of sermon 17% All parishes in Antiochian 94% Archdiocese 97% 8%Parishes in Diocese 97% of Wichita 99%
  15. 15. Two important findings from 2007 “OrthodoxChurch Today” study: the US national survey of parishioners in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and Orthodox Church in America Finding 1. What are most urgent issues in the Church life from the perspective of lay members of Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (GOA) and Orthodox Church in America (OCA)?
  16. 16. % of parishioners saying that the following subjectsare “VERY IMPORTANT” to be discussed in Church GOA OCAIssue of youth and young adults leaving Orthodox Church 84% 77%Relationship between mainstream American culture andtraditions and requirements of the Orthodox Church 63% 54%Issue of interfaith and inter-Christian marriages 52% 27%Representation of the local parish at decision making on thediocesan and national level 46% 44%Issue of “ethnic” versus “American” parishes 45% 40%Relationship between American Orthodox Churches andMother Churches in the Old World 39% 31%Recruiting priests from converts to Orthodoxy 32% 25%Sharing ministry with laity 32% 22%Lack of clear professional standards for priests 28% 23%Process of selecting bishops 25% 34%
  17. 17. Finding 2. Some “unfortunate” Orthodox reality:Survey data tell us that about half of OCA and GOA parishioners think that :- regular Church attendance- obeying the priest- observing Great Lentare non-significant for being a “good Orthodox”
  18. 18. Please, indicate if you think a person can be a good OrthodoxChristian without performing these actions% of GOA and OCA members saying that he/she still can be agood Orthodox Christian without doing the following OCA GOAWithout going to church every Sunday 55% 67%Without obeying the priest 49% 56%Without observing Lent and fasting on certain days 45% 56%Without donating time and money to help the poor 24% 31%Without donating time and money to help parish 24% 30%Without believing that in Eucharist, the bread andwine become the body and blood of Jesus 3% 4%Without believing that Jesus rose from the dead 1% 3%
  19. 19. I guess it is enough for today?But come tomorrow for workshop: we’ll talk various – interesting - aspects of Orthodox local parish life in USA… Now is time for announcing right answers to our quiz about Antiochian Archdiocese…
  20. 20.  US state with biggest number of AOCA parishes is California: there are 29 Antiochian parishes in CA US state with biggest number of AOCA members is California: 10,100 of AOCA adherents live in CA US county with biggest number of AOCA parishes is Los Angeles county, CA: 6 Antiochian parishes US county with biggest number of AOCA members is Cook county, IL: 4,170 AOCA adherents are in Cook county, IL US county with highest % of AOCA members in