Friday, February 2, 2018

What a difference 100 years makes. . .

Despite the fears of those who think that the number of Lutherans swimming the Bosporus is swelling the ranks of Orthodoxy, the actual picture is not so good.  One hundred years later, Orthodoxy remains an almost exclusively European and Russian church body with the Sub-Saharan African area being the only bright spot.  On the other hand, the numbers of Roman Catholics and Protestants has swelled outside of Europe and provided a back drop against the secularization of Europe and the fading light of Christianity there.

Fully 100M of the 260M Orthodox live in Russia.  What this means is that they identify as Orthodox, may have icons in their homes, but what it does not translate into is church attendance.  Only about 6% of the Orthodox in Russia go to church weekly (in Ukraine 12 percent, in Romania 21 percent).  On the other hand, in Ethiopia, weekly church attendance is at 78 percent of their members.

Orthodoxy may be attractive to some in North America, but it has not broken out of the captivity to Europe and Russia the way that Roman Catholics and Protestants have broadened their foundation.  Something to consider. . .

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

If not for the fixation on the Theotokos....

Chris Jones said...

If not for the fixation on the Theotokos....

What an odd comment. What does Orthodox devotion to the Mother of God have to do with their demographic fortunes in various parts of the world? Do you think that the Orthodox Church would be more widespread in the world if only they did not venerate her?

I cannot help but wonder what would come after the ellipsis in your comment.

Carl Vehse said...

This information comes from the PRC's November 8, 2017, article, Orthodox Christianity in the 21st Century," as well as the Complete Report on Orthodox Christianity in the 21st Century.

Anonymous said...

Chris, actually it was a compliment. I enjoy listening to Fr. Nikodimos Kabarnos sing and am fascinated with the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom chanted in English by the Mount Lebanon Choir of Byzantine Music. Liturgical Lutherans might be even more tempted to “swim the Bosporus” were it not for that practice which I am sure you are aware makes us nervous when all our adoration should rightly be directed to Jesus, true man and true God.
Terirem!

Anonymous said...

I could be tempted were it not for their ethnocentricity. They are so strongly Greek, Serbian, Russian, etc., and I always feel slightly uncomfortable in their company.

Perhaps this is unfair, since most of the rest of us are also ethnocentric as well. I am an Anglican, and I feel most comfortable among people coming from the UK. Most Lutherans identify as German or Scandinavian, and seem most comfortable with others from those countries. In the long run, I'm not sure that there is anything wrong with this; I think God intended us to stay with our own ethnic groups. The rub comes when our groups deviate from correct theology while Orthodoxy holds true.

Fr.D+

Anonymous said...

Fr.D+, Not sure about God intending for us to stay with our own ethnic group. I'm Irish/Italian. My wife is Lebanese. And we've been quite happy together for 29 years. My wife introduced me to Orthodoxy while I was LCMS. We now are members at a continuing Anglican church. I think quite highly of the Orthodox Church and could possibly become Orthodox. It's my wife who would have problems returning to the church of her youth. Like you, she complained it was very ethnocentric and basically a social club for Lebanese and Syrian folks from Christian backgrounds. By the way, would you be willing to share what continuing Anglican church you're affiliated with?

James

John J. Flanagan said...

There is nothing wrong with being ethnocentric. The most important thing is to be born again and belong to a faithful church.

Chris said...

What do the demographics merit consideration of, Fr.? That Orthodoxy is somehow incapable of making inroads into other areas and thus not the true faith? If that's what you want considered, Fr., that's the most tenuous conclusion to be drawn.