Alexei Krindatch ([email protected])
Ten Facts about US Eastern Orthodox Churches from
the FACT study
FACT Survey of US Eastern Orthodox Churches
 US total: about 1,900 Eastern Orthodox parishes
(congregations) with 817,000 adherents. They belong to 15
national Orthodox Church bodies (“denominations”)
 45% of all adherents of US Eastern Orthodox Churches live
in 5 states: NY (14%), CA (10%), IL (8%), PA (6.5%), MA (6%
 Three major Orthodox Church bodies participated in FACT
survey: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (GOA),
Orthodox Church in America (OCA), Antiochian Orthodox
Christian Archdiocese (AOCA)
 GOA, OCA and AOCA account for 70% of all US Orthodox
parishes and for 80% of all US Orthodox Church adherents
 FACT surveys were sent to all GOA, OCA, AOCA parishes
370 parishes completed questionnaires – 30% return rate
Fact 1 Orthodox parishes are much more “urban” than
Roman Catholic parishes and Protestant congregations
“How would you describe the location of your church
building?”
13%
Eastern
Orthodox
Churches
Roman Catholic
Church
Rural area or village or town
under 10,000
41%
53%
40%
18%
Town or city 10,000-50,000
8%
6%
8%
Oldline
Protestant
Churches
Evangelical
Protestant
Churches
38%
Downtown or old residential
area in city over 50,000
23%
15%
22%
26%
Suburbs around city over
000,05
12%
13%
16%
Fact 2 Other than English languages are still much
more present in Eastern Orthodox than in Roman
Catholic and Protestant Churches
% congregations which hold worship services in other
than English language or have bilingual services
Eastern Orthodox Churches
46%
Roman Catholic Church
Oldline Protestant denominations
Evangelical Protestant denominations
25%
5%
8%
Fact 3 Compared to Protestant congregations
and Roman Catholic parishes, demography of
Eastern Orthodox parishes is different:
 Members of Orthodox churches are better educated (% of
persons with college degree)
 Members of Orthodox churches spend longer time
commuting to their churches
 Eastern Orthodox parishes are less “female” than Roman
Catholic parishes or Protestant congregations
 There are fewer senior (65+) members among Orthodox
parishioners than among Roman Catholics or Oldline
Protestants
 Surprisingly high % of converts from other religions
“Of your total regular participants estimate the
percent who are…” (median %)
Category of members
Senior adults, age 65 and
older
Female
College graduates
Living within 15 minutes
of parish’s church
building
Live-long members of
denomination
East. Rom. Oldln. Evng.
Orth. Cath. Prot. Prot.
20
25
34
17
55
60
60
60
60
40
40
25
40
83
85
60
70
80
50
40
Fact 4 Theologically Orthodox Christians are much
more conservative than Roman Catholics or Oldline
Protestants
“How would you describe theological outlook of the majority
of your regularly participating adults?”
Conservative (somewhat or very)
Moderate
Liberal (somewhat or very)
Eastern Orthodox
70%
Roman Catholics
50%
Oldline Protestants
47%
Evangelical Protestants
26%
41%
34%
74%
4%
9%
17%
21% 5%
Fact 5 Being theologically conservative,
Eastern Orthodox parishes are
“technologically” – at least - as advanced as
their Western Christian counterparts.
“Which of the following technologies does your
congregation use on a regular basis?” (%)
91%
91%
E-mail
Eastern
Orthodox
Churches
Roman
Catholic
Church
Mainline
Protestant
Churches
Evangelical
Protestant
Churches
91%
90%
87%
76%
Website
Blogs
69%
69%
7%
4%
9%
14%
31%
22%
Facebook
35%
45%
8%
Podcasts
3%
7%
14%
Fact 6 The Eastern Orthodox Christians do not
communicate much with religiously “others:”
the level of ecumenical involvement of Eastern
Orthodox parishes is significantly lower than
among Roman Catholic parishes or Protestant
congregations
“During past 12 months, has your parish / congregation
been involved in any of the following ecumenical or
interfaith activities?”
% reporting "No"
Eastern
Orthodox
Churches
Roman
Catholic
Church
Mainline
Protestant
Churches
Evangelical
Protestant
Churches
Worship services
72%
47%
23%
45%
59%
,Joint celebrations, fairs
cultural events
47%
35%
48%
66%
Educational or fellowship
activities
53%
35%
48%
41%
Community service activities
26%
20%
38%
Fact 7 Reportedly, worship in Eastern Orthodox
parishes is more “powerful” than in Roman
Catholic and Protestant churches
% of parishes / congregations reporting that following
describe their week-end worship service “very well”
70%
Eastern
Orthodox
Churches
Roman
Catholic
Church
Mainline
Protestant
Churches
Worship is reverent
28%
24%
27%
43%
Worship is joyful
31%
31%
39%
42%
Worship is inspirational
Evangelical
Protestant
Churches
Worship is thought provoking
22%
26%
33%
39%
22%
29%
37%
Fact 8 In their worship services Eastern Orthodox
parishes sing a lot, but they don’t use musical
instruments or “video effects”
% of parishes / congregations reporting that following is
“often” or “always” a part of their regular worship services
90%
Eastern
Orthodox
Churches
Roman
Catholic
Church
Mainline
Protestant
Churches
Evangelical
Protestant
Churches
78%
Choir
66%
42%
29%
74%
Organ
71%
50%
Drums, percussion
instruments
1%
17%
22%
49%
0%
25%
20%
Electric guitar, bass
40%
1%
Visual projection
6%
30%
55%
Fact 9 Financial health of Orthodox Parishes is worse
compared to Catholic parishes and Protestant
Congregations
“How would you describe current (2010) financial health of
your parish / congregation?”
% of parishes / congregations reporting:
In difficulty
100%
24%
20%
23%
40%
40%
40%
37%
16%
80%
Tight, but
we manage
Good or
excellent
60%
45%
40%
40%
20%
31%
44%
0%
Eastern
Orthodox
parishes
Roman
Catholic
parishes
Mainline
Evangelical
Protestant
Protestant
congregationscongregations
Fact 10 Good news to conclude: Eastern Orthodox
parishes grow in attendance more rapidly than
Evangelical Protestant congregations
Change (%) in median average attendance: 20052010
Eastern
Orthodox
Churches
Roman
Catholic
Church
Mainline
Protestant
Churches
Evangelical
Protestant
Churches
-30%
-20%
-10%
0%
10%
20%
18%
-2%
-1%
12%
30%
New Source of Information on US Orthodox
Churches (available on Amazon.com)
Look for more information on Orthodox Church
life in US at:
www.orthodoxreality.org
or write me to [email protected]
Now is time for difficult questions:
please, ask!
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Ten Facts about US Eastern Orthodox Churches from the …