Orthodoxy’s Sad Decline in America

We rarely undertake studies on questions related to our community. Perhaps we avoid them for economic or other reasons that have to do with accountability.

Thus, we are grateful to the well known Pew Research Center for conducting a study on the future of religion, which naturally includes our own: Orthodox Christianity.

The results are devastating. They show a religion in an advance stage of crisis that should concern us all very deeply, especially the leaders of the Church.

Among the findings we read that the percentage of the Orthodox Christian population in the country is in steep decline.

In fact, “Orthodox Christians have one of the lowest rates of retention across Christian and non-Christian denominations. Only 53% of adults who were raised in the Orthodox Church still identify themselves as Orthodox Christians. Compare that to Hindus (80%), Jewish (75%), Mormon (64%) and Catholic (59%).”
Essentially, Pew discovered that nearly half of all Orthodox Christians leave the religion once they become adults.

Moreover, according to other sources, the Greek Orthodox paid membership nationwide has fallen dramatically in the past five years some say by as much as of 38%.

These findings are in total contradiction with the rosy picture painted by the leadership of our church. This misleading picture constitutes a bad service to our faith and community, because valuable time is wasted in taking action to reverse the course.

Yet this is exactly what is needed: we must wake up and face reality. Church officials must understand that the lack of strong leadership, the scandals that have come to light over the past couple of decades that turn off especially our youth, the lack of paying attention to the basics of our religion, that is its spirituality, the imbalance in the power bases between clergy and laity at the local level, the oft-lack of transparency, and the void of formulation and presentation of a vision for the future, are all eating at the heart of our community and our church.

Let these highly disturbing findings act as a wakeup call. Let there be a dialogue between our clergy and laity people as to what is need. Let us bring in experts to advise us. But above, all let’s do something.

This status quo is not pretty, it is not worthy of us, and it is not sustainable.


  1. All these so-called scientific findings should be taken with a grain of salt. Orthodox Christians are a very tiny minority of all religions. The pew research surveyed a few thousand people at most. The percentage of Orthodox Christians in that mix, must have been miniscule. You can’t draw conclusions from such findings. Our archdiocese publishes statistics every year.
    They are a very reliable indicator of our archdiocese’s health.
    Having said, there’s no mistake that people are becoming more secular in America. That’s bound to have an effect on our church also.

    1. I also checked the numbers provided for each Christian denomination. It looks like 182 people were identified as Orthodox.
      The margin of error was +- 9.2%. How many were of the Greek Orthodox church, is not specified. But, lets suppose that there were 100 Greek Orthodox. I don’t have a background in statistics, but, it doesn’t take an expert to conclude that those numbers can not be representative of the whole. Also, we must consider that, most people are annoyed by these surveys and if they are like me, they would hang up after telling them not to call again, or never answer the phone, when an unknown number is displayed.
      Again, I emphasize that the secularism of America has an effect on the Greek Orthodox. Its just this survey that doesn’t make any sense. If we want to get an accurate picture, we would be closer to the truth, if people with Greek surnames were queried.
      Sorry, but your attempt to pose as an expert has proven hollow and without merit

    2. There’s two additional facts that I would like to add that the pew survey didn’t take into consideration and Diamataris , knowing our communities intimately, also did not consider, before declaring an emergency
      The converts that are joining our church are a big and growing proportion. Mostly through marriage, but, a not insignificant number because there are aspects of Greek orthodoxy that they feel answers their spiritual yearnings.
      I our church, in Ocean N.J. both Sunday school directors, (one of them being my wife) are former Baptists. I also like to add that converts are more serious about Orthodoxy than us, that were born into it. Just from personal experience, my daughter’s WASP husband only attends our church, as is my son’s fiance. My son’s fiance sings in our choir and, even though she doesn’t know Greek, knows most of the hymns by heart. I would venture to estimate that at least 30% of our congregation is non-Greek
      Another factor that keeps our people in the church, that’s an advantage over other, non-Greek orthodox churches, is the connection between Greek culture and the church. Many youth are attracted to Greek folk dancing, or the youth group and it gives them an extra incentive to participate and hopefully instill the love of our traditions in them. I can see that from my children and my nieces. There teens to 20 somethings and have the church in their hearts, because of all the cultural offerings.
      I am convinced that the numbers of the PEW research are not representative of what’s going on in our communities

  2. The previous writer must live in a large city, where enough Greeks show up for church services/activities. However, the smaller Parishes are dying out! Sunday attendance at some of them is one tenth of what used to be 25 years ago. The Archdiocese statistics are misleading. Outside of the metropolitan areas, there is hardly any Orthodox presence!

  3. Denial of decline is the denial of the truth of why the Greek church is dying in America.
    The evidence is overwhelming of the systemic corruption, abuses and authoritarian mindset of the church hierarchy and that there is a monastic cult inside of this church in America.
    As this church dies a slow, ugly and painful death some attempts by the corrupt hierarchy to stop its dying state will be attempted.
    Mark my words, all attempts will fail. The attempts will fail because corruption is not the solution to a corruption problem. In any solution attempted you will see contradictions that will offset the attempt to stop the church failure. On the surface some of the solutions will look and sound good, but when you get down below that surface you can see just how flawed the attempts are.
    As the Greek church self destructs in America more and more will come about out why it is dying and those in denial will see just how wrong they are about the state of this church in America and why and how it all went wrong.
    The cult monasteries of Ephraim believe they are the solution to the state of the Greek church in America. If the Greek church embraces them as the solution and/or any corrupt hierarchy solution they will find out the hard way that cultism and corruption are the problem and not the solution.
    The top down centralized dictatorial authority structure and the closed system of the Greek church that sees itself exclusively right and superior cannot provide a solution to the problem that the structure and system of what this church really is. It is a systemically corrupt dictatorial theocracy that renders those under its authority powerless to stop the corruption and cultism. When all power resides at the top no power to hold transparent and accountable is in the laity hands. The laity is nothing more than manipulated pawns in such a structure and system of theocratic authoritarian power and control. You are made expendable to the power and control of the theocratic dictatorship of the hierarchy to prop its power and control up.
    This is a hierarchy centered church and not a people of God centered church. This is a hierarchy power and control centered church and not a people of God in control church. This is a corruption and cultism centered church and not a holy and Jesus centered church.
    This church idolizes its hierarchy and the church itself. It also idolizes its ethnicity. God is not in authority in an idolatrous Greek Orthodox church sinful and unrepentant hierarchical man is. The structure and system of this church and its hierarchy are not God. If you see them as God and worship them as God all will go corrupt and you will be made powerless without the power of God to stop the corruption. Idolatry is powerless and because the object of the idolatry holds all of the power. Think for yourself and think it through without the indoctrinated idolatry thinking for you. The degree of your denial is the degree of though reform mind control the systemic corruption has over you. Now deny that.
    Denial of the problem is cult stop think that only thinks as it is told to think. Only think as you have been indoctrinated by the systemic corruption to think. Don’t think outside of that or those with power and control over you will lose that power and control over you and that is the last thing they want. So deny the truth of the dying dead state of this church so the systemically corrupt theocracy can control your thinking about it. See the church and its hierarchy as the hierarchy tells you to see them and all thoughts of why it is dying will just go away. Conform your thinking to the corruption and cultism and you will not see them. The more you deny them the more power and control you give them and therefore the more power and control they have to destroy the Greek church.
    What is taking place is that the consequences of this authoritarian structure and closed system have caught up to this church. The Greek church is turned into a cult in Christianity. Idolatry is the basis of a cult. Deny the idolatry and watch this church become more and more corrupt and cultic, watch it disintegrate right before your very denying eyes.
    Greek Orthodox apologists of denial are as much of the problem as the hierarchy and monasteries in the USA.
    Greek Orthodox apologists of church and hierarchy idolatry are as much of the problem as the hierarchy and elder in the USA.
    Idolatry replaces God and without God no solution will be coming to the dying state of the GOA. Who you look to for solution will determine the success of the solution. When you look to corruption and cultism for solution more corruption and cultism come as the solution. What comes if God is the solution?
    Each failed solution will point directly to the source cause in the solution that caused it to fail. The source cause will be a common denominator among all of the failed solutions.
    The problem is idolatry that is a liar, thief and murderer. You believe the lie and once you believe it the lie steals you to murder you by the lie. Once the lie owns you it destroys you. Thus, the dying state of the GOA. Idolatry is a killer like Satan is a murderer. They share so much in common. It is obvious to me who controls the Greek church and it is not God. Once the evil one gains power and control he does not let go of it. He does all he can to make sure he cannot be removed and to make any problem other than him. Idolatry will blind you to his taking power and control. You will be like the frog in the kettle. By the time you figure it out, if you ever do, it is too late. Any solution the GO provide to their dying state will make sure the corrupt and the cultic remain in power and control. No solution provided by the hierarchy will point to them as the problem. Any appeal to stop the corruption and cultism will fall on deaf ears once the corruption and cultism are in full control.
    The only power you have in the Greek church is the power of your feet to walk out from under its corruption and cultism. You will not find freedom In Christ within it, you will only find BONDAGE. What is destroying the GOA will not bring freedom to you only bondage.
    All churches have problems but not all churches are systemically corrupt and idolize the corruption by enabling it through religious codependency that itself is idolatry. A toxic state of church is killing the Greek church. It is a toxic faith structure and system of corrupt and cultic rule power and control. Toxic faith is a faith in what destroys, the church destroys itself by what it places its faith in and it is not faith in God that destroys it. It is what you are placing your faith in and that is over God that is destroying the Greek Orthodox church. You are placing your faith in the corrupt and cultic men leading your church to destruction in America.
    Is systemic corruption toxic to a church? Will it render it unsafe and unhealthy? Will it deny abuses and protect those who abuse? Will it make you the problem for pointing out the problem?
    Unless you reform the structure and system of your church to bring real transparency and accountability to it and remove the corrupt and cultic leadership nothing changes and it all only grows worse and worse. Yes, just try and remove the patriarch of Astoria NY fame and see the response you get from him and those who enable his incompetent rule power and control. It is idolatry that does not deal with him and because idolatry is powerless to do anything about it. You let him get away with it and that is just one more symptom of the problem I am speaking too. Any moral outrage any GO might have is rendered powerless by your idolatry of the structure and system of authoritarian power and control. It is a deception to believe that immorality can bring about a moral solution.
    Your patriarch is immoral and all of you are powerless to stop his immorality by how I have explained how you are powerless here.
    When you believe you are God you make up your own morality rules and standards. You become situational in your morality and ethic’s to protect your power and control. You will place the corruption over God and then call yourself of God. You become relativistic when you leave the morality and ethical of God. You become corrupt and if you are the senior leader you systemically spread that corruption throughout the entire system of the church. You will surround yourself with men like yourself (bishops and metropolitan’s). When ever you are morally and ethically called to account you circle the wagons of self protection and either spin, deny or ignore them or attack the messenger. You can do that because you have been given the power of God over the church by those foolish enough to give it to you without the ability to hold you transparent and accountable with consequences. You will set up a double standard of morality and ethics and that will expose your hypocrisy. The perfect set up to be turned into a cult with a hierarchy of cult leaders.
    I like to call the Greek Archbishop in America the spin master. He is a powerless yes man enabler of corruption who was appointed to that position by a systemically corrupt church. He is one of the corrupt or he would not hold the position. When a church system goes systemically corrupt only the corrupt hold senior leadership positions. Only they can be trusted to protect the corrupt rule power and control. Rather organized crime like, you think? Or, is it more spiritually dead religious Greek Orthodox Sanhedrin like? You decide.
    The spiritually dead when in absolute power and control will absolutely bring about a dead state of church, a dying state of church.
    Christ is life and Satan is death. Which direction is the Greek church in America going, to life or death?
    I am not in authoritarian theocratic indoctrinated denial. Systemic theocratic totalitarianism corruption and cultism is not my God.

  4. Our Church’s preoccupation with ethnicity and the Greek language is self destructive. To be sure, a certain amount of Greek culture provides our communal glue, since we are a dispersed minority. However, priests who insist on delivering Greek language sermons, reading the Gospel in Greek, and requiring the Creed and Lords Prayer in Greek when 99% of the congregation understand English, are unnecessarily prolonging the Liturgy and discouraging attendance . These priests appear to be more interested in preserving a foreign language than in cultivating the Orthodox faith. God help us!

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