90% of Americans with Greek Roots No Longer in Communion with Greek Orthodox Church


An article published on the official website of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America paints an alarming picture for the future of the Church in America. According to statistics cited by the story penned by Peter S Kehayes, 60% of Greek Orthodox families of the last generation and 90% of Americans with Greek roots are no longer in communion with the Church.

The article affirms that the issue lies with the large number of mixed marriages that take place in the Greek American community. According to statistics, the intermarriage rate is between 75% and 85%.

Kehayes goes as far as saying that the Greek Orthodox Church in America will be nearly extinct, unless the church acts quickly. “As each population passes into successive generations, growing numbers of families move further from their origins, with the probability that our beloved Greek Orthodox Church in America will become moribund in the very near future.”

The complete text of the article, entitled “An Important Challenge for Greek Orthodox Christianity” is below.


In open pluralistic societies, intermarriages tend to become the rule, not the exception as growing majorities intermarry with the result that the Greek Orthodox Church is at a critical juncture in deciding how best to address the challenge that touches the heart of so many families and at the same time is so critical to the religious community’s well being and growth. Among Greek Americans, the intermarriage rate is between 75 and 85%; with a projected attrition of adherents of greater than 60% over the next generation.

America’s unique place in history has been as a haven for many people of the world, a place where they could begin again to rebuild their lives and where they might practice their faith in peace in an ambience of tolerance, in a place of hope and rebirth, free from injustices and prejudices of the past. The Constitution guarantees their freedom.

Changes have occurred in the cultural make up of Greek Americans since young men first arrived in America in the late 19th century to escape the chaos of their homelands and seek their fortunes. Over the next 100 years they came, limited only by quotas and war. Among them were the dispossessed, joining millions of immigrants from Europe looking for a new start. Those who came liked what they found and the vast majority remained to build a new life. They continued to come through most of the 20th century. By the second generation, an estimated 75% of Greek Americans were culturally and religiously intermarrying and melding with others in the American melting pot.

The first Greek Orthodox Church was founded in New Orleans, almost 150 years ago, but in the main, communities began to appear in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, in an era encompassing the largest immigrations. By 1922, over 200 Greek Orthodox Churches had been built. Descendants of these immigrants are in their fourth or fifth generations and are several million in number with the vast majority beyond the second generation. However our Church in striving to preserve its cultural heritage continues to project itself as an ethnic religion and most people today view it as such with the result that Greek Orthodoxy has been decimated by attrition and faces a grave survival and identity crisis.

In a startling find, statistics disclose over 60% of Greek Orthodox families of the last generation and 90% of Americans with Greek roots are no longer in communion with the Church. It is a concern shared by learned religious leaders who understand the need for a compassionate outreach towards intermarried families with sensitivity to differences among intermarried couples and the problems they face as a family. In the transition, as each population passes into successive generations, growing numbers of families move further from their origins, with the probability that our beloved Greek Orthodox Church in America will become moribund in the very near future.

In our society today, religious affiliation of young families may be less about theology than of love, sensitivity and acceptance leading to a conversion of the heart. In America, where the Orthodox marriage constitutes a minority of marriages among people of Greek descent there is a critical and immediate need for a broad religious outreach; to make room for interfaith families who are typically our children’s families.

The family must be encouraged to facilitate their worshiping as one family. Christianity left the confines of Judaism with a nudge from St Paul taking a giant step in extending Christianity’s outreach to all nations. In an act that can strengthen our Church and assure its future, the link must be created that transcends the stumbling blocks that have distanced growing numbers of families.

Since 1922, with continuing immigration and with families spreading across America, over 300 churches were added; yet as the Greek American population has grown into the millions, the number of religiously observant communicants has dropped significantly. Although the Greek American population has grown extensively through immigrations and post war baby boomer periods, there are fewer active Greek Orthodox today, than in 1922: while the overall American population has tripled.

Statistical analyses of reported data by the Archdiocese suggests the majority of marriages in a generation involving Greek Americans occur in jurisdictions other than our Church, and of those within its jurisdiction, interfaith marriages exceed Orthodox marriages by almost two to one. In an observation by the Archdiocesan office of religious outreach, Greek American intermarriage estimates were as high as 85 – 90%.

Indeed, religious attrition has drawn the attention of religious leaders of all faiths. Certainly the high intermarriage trend has affected many institutional religions in a nation that increasingly embraces all religions and in the process has become more secular.

On the national level, a survey of 54,461 adults in a Trinity College study, the Program of Public Values found 30% of all married couples did not have a religious wedding and 27% did not want a religious funeral. The study found mainline Protestant populations; Methodists, Episcopalians and Lutherans, declined over the past seven years, by 25%, reflecting the wide range of concerns among Christians of all denominations.

In looking at other culturally based religions in America, the Roman Catholic Church with a population comprised of several nationalities, has also had interfaith marriages and lost communicants for a variety of reasons, however, with many Hispanics immigrating to America over the past fifty years attrition was masked, much as large immigrations in the 20th century obscured religious attrition in the Greek Orthodox Church.

The Catholic Church’s early missionary expansion in the Western Hemisphere has evolved into large Catholic populations and Catholicism remains a predominant religion in the Americas. Smithsonian experts project that by 2050; the Hispanic population can be expected to double, from 14% to 29%, and from 42 million to 119 million as the over- all population continues to grow. Thus, even as the pre-existing core Catholic population is decreasing, Hispanic population growth can be expected to add millions of Catholic families in the coming decades with continuing growth in America.

The Asian population is also projected to grow from 5% to 9%, from 15 to 37 million people, together with continuing growth of the national population in a change that can be expected to impact religious diversity in America. Conversely, the Greek Orthodox population continuing in the current trend and without supporting immigration to bolster its numbers is expected to lose over half of its religious constituency over this period.

In another study, Jewish rabbis reported over 50% intermarriages among Conservative Jews, with only one of three families remaining Jewish an effect they feel could reduce Conservative Judaism from its present estimated 5 millions to insignificance within two generations. The Trinity report disclosed the number of Jews who described themselves as religiously observant has dropped from 4 million in 1990 to 2.7 million in 2008; in a common concern, both the Jewish religious and Greek Orthodox presence are expected to decrease substantially if current trends are not addressed.

In comparing the two religions, intermarriages within the Greek Orthodox Church on a large scale began at an earlier time. They are further along the attrition rate curve; their situation in the immediate future is more critical.

What should be clearly manifest is that the Greek Orthodox Church in America must look hard at how accessible our religion is to evolving young families. If it is to continue its sacred ministry in America, it must find a way to encompass the old and the new. If our faith hopes to have a presence in the future in America, it must be sensitive to the contemporary world. The span between past and future is too great. It is a challenge facing caring clergy and laity alike.

*America has no national church and no council of elders that can adjudicate the perplexing moral questions that face us. The founding fathers in refusing to establish a central authority of moral judgment ensured that the problems of the people must be addressed by the culture itself, a precept drawn from the notion that the power of the state draws not only from the consent of the people, but from a government of the people grounded in Christian moral tradition.

Sources: Trinity College report 2010/Hartford Study 2000, CUNY Report 2005; Archdiocese Yearbook, 2005, Understanding the Greek Orthodox Church, Rev Dr. Constantelos. Star Ledger: Diamant report on rabbinic studies. Smithsonian magazine: Experts project changing populations, 2010. Orthodoxy in a Brave New World.



  1. Michelle Koukios Mavres on

    Well said!

    This is perhaps the most eloquent addressing of the issue that I have ever read. I completely concur, and in fact, have been telling anyone who will listen this same thing for years. As the child of a Roman Catholic and a Greek Orthodox Christian, I began my early life as a practicing Catholic attending church with my mother. I felt completely included at her church. Conversely, when my mother chose to convert to Orthodoxy, I dealt with a cold reception at the Greek Orthodox Church. Questions like "Do you speak Greek? Why don't you speak Greek? and What is your name in Greek?" I heard almost weekly. Instead of feeling included, and despite my father's status as cradle Orthodox, I felt like an outcast in my "own" church for the bulk of my life.

    When I addressed even the issue of the use of Greek instead of English in services, I was generally told by church members and even some priests, that we are the one, true church and that those who came here from Greece should not have to learn the service in English to accommodate. As a result, when friends I knew were looking for a church to attend, I would never have considered extending an invitation to attend mine. Why would I want anyone to face what I had as a "convert." And "convert" is the term that I have heard used continuously in the churches I have attended. I assure you, the term was not said in a spirit of love and inclusion. "Convert" means "not one of us" in the Greek Orthodox Church.

    Unless and until we as a church embrace St. Paul's mission to reach MORE people with our faith and make it as accessible as possible, completely autonomous and separate from the Greek culture, the Greek Orthodox Church in America will be extinct.

    It is likely too late to save the Greek Orthodox Church, but bringing awareness to the issue is a good start.

  2. This just confirms what my late father, Rev. Paul Economides, predicted. He once told me that our Greek roots will only be preserved through out faith and we needed to engage our youth by introducing progressive ideas and the English language in our services. I remember his sermons as early as the late 1950’s when he would deliver the same sermon twice. The first week would be in Greek and the following in English. He understood the needs of his people and was a servant leader that could relate to a King and to the man from the village. They both loved and respected him. He was a forward thinking leader. Graduate of Athens University School of Theology, Harvard University, and for a brief period attended Halki. Also, a classmate of the late Archbishop Iakovos. He was one of the 7 students that were recruited in the early 1930’s to attend Halki from the United States. The first Greek-Americans to become priests and serve in North America. The story is very interesting because they only remained at Halik for a short time and requested to be admitted to the School of Theology in Athens. The late Patriarch Athenagoras once told one of the 7 (who was my uncle) that if it not been for these “forward thinking” students decision to transfer to Athens, he would not have started Holy Cross in 1937, which at that time was located in Pomfret, Connecticut. Our traditions and beautiful services are important, but we need to address the needs of our future generations. This is a pressing issue that must be addressed an aggressive manner. We do not need to dispose of our roots with the Old World, but find ways to strengthen them and at the same time bring all of our flock into the 21st Century. To accomplish this goal will require a dynamic and forward thinking leader. Let us pray that one will emerge.

  3. Sandra Efstathiou on

    Not surprised with all the Monasteries chasing people away and XENI not welcome most places. Heck, even Greeks aren't welcome in parishes they haven't grown up in….goes to show you! Also, run by a bunch of men who don't realize that women of our century don't appreciate being treated to "listen and not speak". That's my analysis and I'm sticking to it…very sad but true.

  4. Vickie Frangos Zangwill on

    The closest church to us is over an hour and a half away. I am in communion with my faith and church in my heart. I think if there were more churches (smaller) more of us would attend and participate

  5. It’s hard being a Greek must be born a Greek and follow in the Greek Orthodox faith of Christ!!! Our Church is to be able to have your family very close respect your Parents and others and no Wars Like today they killing half million orthodox have been killed in Syria because they are orthodox christian !!!!Orthodoxy was only religion and after split and became the catholic church, with disagreements our fathers!!!Our education and our culture all countries marching up to it.Without Greek language no countries can have Dictionary!!!!

    ((Education is second Sun for humans!!! PLATON 428 BC 347 BC))

    • The problem with greek orthodox or russian orthodox and every middle eastern Christian is that they cannot seperat nationality and faith in God. What boastful pride to say ” we are the first church” Sorry to say but god or jesus doesnt not care if your greek jew or any other people. People of all eastern churchs swallow your pride and stop making your church time a racial social event. I live among many greeks and this seems to be the case. The main reason why us Christian s are divided is because of race or nationality in heaven all nations tribes and tounges wil bow before christ and praise him . But at this point most eastern churches are in judgement withe the current islamic incursion in the middle east and greece with isis and refugees.

  6. I am first generation. My parents came to the US just before I was born. My wife is first generation as well. My children both (elementary school age) speak Greek fluently. (We only speak Greek at home) Many Greeks that meet them think that my kids are from Greece. They are usually shocked to hear that they are 2nd generation Greeks. My kids were baptised in the church but we really do not attend. I consider my family “as Greek as they come” I am of the opposite mindset of many of the comments. I have the belief that the church has become too Americanized. At my wedding and the baptism of my children, I insisted on Greek only. I had to really emphasize this to the objecting priest. I have been to churches where the priest could barely speak Greek. One of the many differences between Orthodoxy and Catholicism is that Catholics would hold mass in Latin whereas the Orthodox church would use the language of that particular congregation. (The argument was, we perform mass and other church business in the language which the congregation can understand) If we revert to English, then we are not really “Greek” Orthodox. Why not call ourselves American Orthodox Church. Along with that…..
    I have become quite disgusted with pretty much every church I’ve been involved with. The politics and pettiness are chief amongst my concerns. (along with the aforementioned tendency to use English for every church matter)
    I’ve seen priests run out of churches because of the most mundane issues. I’ve seen churches where the biggest donors really called all of the shots and the priest was held hostage by them. The cliques that each church has are similar to high school. The fashion show that is Sunday mass. (where some people will wear fur coats to impress others even in the middle of summer) It is a shame really.

    • Well said Ntivos,,,,The Church has become more Americanized with more if not all American in the Liturgy..our most Beautiful Byzantine Liturgies changed to translated because people in Church can not pick up a book and read what is being chanted in Greek…..We Greeks have to conform to the Non-Greeks coming in and using the excuse that they cannot come to Church because they cannot understand it…soooooo, to get more people the Archdiocese changes everything to meet their expectations while Greeks and Greek Americans born into Orthodoxy have to change for those converting into Orthodoxy…I too had to mention to the priest where I live to have the baptisms in Greek and only Greek, he fulfilled my wish and complimented me after for my asking…..I too am from immigrant parents, my kids second generation and speak Greek and prefer to go to the Monastary where it is all Greek for them so they can hear the true Liturgy….I haven’t stopped going to Church, I have picked one Greek Orthodox one that fits for me and my family.

      • Petoula, the Bible tells us that “and this Good News of the Kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all nations.” (Matt 24:14) and also, “After this I saw, and look a great crowd, which no man was able to number, and of all the nations and tribes and peoples and tongues.” (Revelation 7:9) You will notice that God’s word is to be preached worldwide to all of God’s creation, people united in Christianity, no in Greek Culture, or any culture, but God’s word.

    • George Meintassis on

      Na ageiasei to stoma sou file! Edo ston kathedriko sti NYC pou einai i arciepiskopi olis tis amerikis o papas den kserei leksi

  7. I have allways said GREEKS ARE NOT ORTHADOX THEY ARE CATHOLICS .IT IS US THE MACEDONIAS THAT ARE ORTHADOX .. You mudt have sern tge Bibblical film of the first Christian of MACEDONIA *LIDIJA * AND THE THESALONIANS ( SOLUNCANITE ) . The city is called SOLUN / Salonika /Thesaloniki named after King SOLUNA of MACEDON …. ..

    • I failed to see any relation of your response to the issue at hand. Except for a personal desire on just inflame others with your rather provincial views and ideas that are not exactly truthful, or even right. Unless you have some wrong ideas on the meaning of the words “Orthodox” “Orthodoxy” and Catholic.

    • You are not Macedonians you are SLAV BARBARIANS who think they are related to MAKEDONIA . So please stop the nonsense Propaganda

  8. Rosemary Kromidas Hendrix on

    I am a 2nd generation Greek descendant, who grew up in the GOC, speaking, writing learning Greek as my 2nd language. I married a Greek also 2nd generation. In our time, there were few interfaith marriages, so there was no need (they thought) to have Liturgy in the English language. This set a precedent, I think for what we have today. Of my 4 children, none married someone who is Greek, none speak Greek, none are in communion with the Orthodox church. Even now, we see new GOCs built in the Byzantine style. In my opinion, the Hierarchs continue to ignore the real problems of the church, continue to ignore the needs of interfaith marriages and families, so they drift away. Or we might as well say, the run away. Also in my opinion, we suffer from arrogance which projects as “better than you”. This is a shame that may never be corrected in my lifetime. Thank you for your postings.

  9. Basile . If theyvdont read the bible how would most know about No but more from the greeks here in Sydney .. For non profit organisations I wsd SHOCKED ti findvout thst the grerk church owns a very large number of biz in our Kings Cross area from night clubs and brothels .. This is fact and nothing to do with thr common greek speakers but the so called holy men in the church …

  10. Very discusted in the greek church and no wonder they are so wealthy compared to other Orthadox churches of the Macedonians, Serbians, Russians , Moldavians, Ukranians, Bulgarians Egyptians Assyrians ect ect

  11. Basili . Iou endingvif your surname telks me you are of a Turkic background and not a pure greek but more like a Pontian. ? What ATHENS DID TO YOU PEOPLE BACK IN THE 1920s . Changed people surnames , convinced roma gypsies / Turks that there ancestorys were greek but the TURKS CONVERTED THEM TO IISLAM THEN THE SANE HAPOENED IN REVERES .. IF NIT BY FORCE .. HoW CAN A VLACH, ROM, MACEDONIAN OR ALBANIAN BE GREEK ????? Greece is a fake country never was and never should have been . Greece is born 1820 so what was it calked befire this date ??? Definatly not Macedonia ! No name as it was never a country even in ancient times ! Typical government stuff hey ??? All created and based on lies by passed powers ….GREECE THE LAND THAT NEVER WAS UNTILL 1820 🙂

    • As a person from FYROM, a land of wanna-be Bulgarians, because you a more Bulgar than anything else, you are from an invented land of Tito. Not only did Tito have a written language made-up for you, but a place that was considered a region, not a country. So please, no lectures from people like you.

    • You fool! There is more Greek blood among the Turks than any other tribe among the Greeks. Even the awful Mohamad the Conqueror had more Greek blood in his veins than Turkish because of all the Greek wives of the Sultans. All the Turkish blood had been diluted out of your ruling classes. Turkey was only Islam and nothing more so without Islam it is nothing. Pontiac Greeks are as Greek if not more than any other. But actually the ethnic purity nonsense did not exist until the 19th century. It is pretty simple to see how an illiterate barbarian like you can completely ignore thousands of years of history and the fact that brute force can extinguish civilizations gives neither brute force nor the barbarians that administer any moral value and dignity in this life or the next.

  12. Dont get me wrong I hate no people as peasants but the people in government creating there pasy ascwe move on in time ….how many nanes can one country have . Greece has 4
    …… do you Athenian greeks know them ??

  13. The experience the women who comment mention is unfortunate but as a non-Greek speaking convert while it’s more the exception than the norm to see someone like me they, after coming to grips with the reality that I can be Greek Orthodox and not ethnically Greek are very welcoming. After being in my community for several years I met a Greek girl whose mother is an immigrant and we recently married. Certainly the article makes no mention of convert populations. When people start to understand that the descriptor “Greek Orthodox” is a term comprising two words that don’t stand on their own independently (after all, are all Roman Catholics Italians from Rome?) then things may change. If parents aren’t doing their job to communicate the importance of church and who one marries then what the article describes is an inevitability. Nonetheless, there are many who take the church seriously and know that indeed it is not merely an ethnic preservation society. Perhaps less ethnic Greeks are as attached to the GOA but others like myself are coming to this Faith.

  14. Georgia Constantin on

    Sorry about your experience Michelle but you must have attended a church whose parishioners did not want to truly integrate or assimilate as they may have felt safer and more at ease among their "own". It was tough for the older immigrants who faced abuse and discrimination and by holding on to orthodoxy being the one, true Christian religion it made them feel better about themselves. By the way, in California the services are performed in both Greek and English for many decades and in some churches most of the service is in English. The only Greek cultural event is the yearly festival which is done more for income purposes than anything else plus the Greek folk dance classes where young people enjoy getting together. The churches in California are more inclusive as the decades go by.

  15. Georgia Constantin on

    Basile Diakogeorgiou They must play them in a mental asylum for the illiterate with scripts written by revisionist history aficionados. Basile don't pay attention to his rants. Jesus forgave even the fools.


  17. Slavae Aceski…..you need to read more GREECE THE LAND THAT NEVER WAS UNTIL 1820..such a joke……..our history speaks for it self if you read that far back you shall learn….as far as religion goes it is common knowledge that all religions branch of the orthodox religion…….one example is getting the holy light at Easter only a GREEK ORTHODOX is able to get the light…..no other religion of nationality….. I agree with Georgia…we are able to forgive your rants

    • Also your church has idolatry and the making of images of things made in heaven and on earth. Your churches and othern eastern branches are made of gold an precious things and boast yourself above all others. The greek church has failed in proclaiming the gosbels to all nationd in our day because its an exclusive club for greeks only and shows its true inten t. Only a social clu for specific ethnicity. I pray and ask all people of eastern branches to change your ways follow God and stop following the traditions of men and let us all be one in christ. For there isnt greek orthodox in heaven or copti or Syrian but one church .

    • You fool the first Christian were jews and wer hebraic in all there ways and ritusls. Greeks follow th traditions of men and only serve eachother. Jesus said youll know them by there fruits and yes see the fruits o your eastern churches. Full of pride and boastful natures, selfish. Your God is not the creator and lord of israel but your Greek culture and nation i your God. I pray you all change your ways theres no greek orthodox in heaven but will become one.God has sent islam to judge you eastern churches and you still dont learn.

  18. Χριστιανός Ὀρθόδοξος εἶναι…

    Χριστιανός Ὀρθόδοξος εἶναι ὅποιος κηρύττει Θεό τόν Πατέρα, Θεό τόν Υἱό καί Θεό τό Ἅγιο Πνεῦμα καί πιστεύει στήν ἐνσάρκωση καί τήν Ἀνάσταση τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.

    Χριστιανός Ὀρθόδοξος εἶναι ὅποιος δέχεται τό λόγο καί τή διδασκαλία τοῦ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ὅπως αὐτή περιγράφεται μέσα στό Εὐαγγέλιο καί δέχεται τίς διδασκαλίες τῶν Πατέρων τῆς Ἐκκλησίας μας καί τά δόγματά της ὅπως αὐτά ἔχουν διατυπωθεῖ ἀπό τίς Οἰκουμενικές Συνόδους.

    Χριστιανός Ὀρθόδοξος εἶναι ὅποιος σέβεται τήν Ἱερά Παράδοση τῆς μίας, ἁγίας, καθολικῆς καί ἀποστολικῆς Ἐκκλησίας.

    Χριστιανός Ὀρθόδοξος εἶναι ὅποιος εἶναι βαπτισμένος στό ὄνομα τῆς ὁμοουσίου καί ἀδιαιρέτου Τριάδος καί δέν ἀφήνει τό βάπτισμα πού ἔλαβε ἀνενεργό ἀλλά τό ἐνεργοποιεῖ στή ζωή του καθώς ὡριμάζει.

    Χριστιανός Ὀρθόδοξος εἶναι ὅποιος κατηχεῖται, μελετάει συνεχῶς τό Εὐαγγέλιο, διδάσκεται τό λόγο τοῦ Χριστοῦ, ἑρμηνεύει ὀρθά τίς ἁγίες Γραφές καί βρίσκεται μέχρι τό τέλος τῆς ζωῆς του σέ διαρκή μαθητεία.

    Χριστιανός Ὀρθόδοξος εἶναι ὅποιος προσέρχεται τακτικά μέ σεβασμό, πίστη ἀγάπη καί πνευματική προετοιμασία στό θεῖο ποτήριο καί δέν κοινωνάει “γιά τό καλό” καί ἐθιμοτυπικά δυό–τρεῖς φορές τό χρόνο.

    Χριστιανός Ὀρθόδοξος εἶναι ὅποιος μετέχει συστηματικά στά μυστήρια τῆς Ἐκκλησίας καί ἔχει πνευματικό καί διακριτικό καθοδηγητή στή δύσκολη πορεία τοῦ βίου του.

    Χριστιανός Ὀρθόδοξος εἶναι ὅποιος ἔχει ἐνεργή διακονία στό χῶρο τῆς ἐνορίας του καί δέν περιμένει τά πάντα ἀπό τούς κληρικούς.

    Χριστιανός Ὀρθόδοξος εἶναι ὅποιος ἀλλοιώνει τόν ἑαυτό του καί ἔγινε δοχεῖο τῆς θείας χάριτος καί μέ τήν ἀγάπη του καί τό παράδειγμά του ἐπηρεάζει καί τούς ἀνθρώπους τοῦ περιβάλλοντός του.

    Χριστιανός Ὀρθόδοξος εἶναι ὅποιος ὡς πραγματικό νόημα στή ζωή του ἔχει νά συναντήσει τόν Χριστό καί τή Βασιλεία Του καί δέν ψάχνει νά βρεῖ νόημα στά ἀνθρώπινα καί φθαρτά διότι ξέρει ὅτι ἀργά ἤ γρήγορα θά τόν ἀπογοητεύσουν.

    Χριστιανός Ὀρθόδοξος εἶναι ὅποιος δέν βυθίζεται σέ δεισιδαιμονίες καί προλήψεις, ἀλλά προσπαθεῖ μελετώντας καί καθοδηγούμενος νά βρεῖ τήν ἀλήθεια.

    Χριστιανός Ὀρθόδοξος εἶναι ὅποιος δέν χρησιμοποιεῖ τήν Ὀρθοδοξία ὡς ἰδεολογία γιά νά κηρύττει θρησκευτικό φανατισμό καί νά αὐτοδικαιώνεται.

    Χριστιανός Ὀρθόδοξος εἶναι ὅποιος ἀπορρίπτει ὁποιαδήποτε μορφή βίας (λεκτική ἤ σωματική), φανατισμοῦ, φωνασκίας καί ἀκρότητας.

    Χριστιανός Ὀρθόδοξος εἶναι ὅποιος δέν θέλει νά βάλει στή θέση του ὅποιον διαφωνεῖ μέ τίς ἀπόψεις του κατακεραυνώνοντάς τον μέ ἀφορισμούς καί ἀναθέματα.

    Χριστιανός Ὀρθόδοξος εἶναι ὅποιος δέν βυθίζεται σέ θεωρίες συνωμοσίας καί δέν βλέπει παντοῦ καί πάντα ἐχθρούς πού ἐπιβουλεύονται τήν Ὀρθοδοξία του θεωρώντας τόν ἑαυτό του ἀναμάρτητο καί αὐτόκλητο σωτήρα τῆς Ἐκκλησίας.

    Χριστιανός Ὀρθόδοξος εἶναι ὅποιος παίρνει τόν ἑαυτό του στά σοβαρά καί ἀναλαμβάνει τίς εὐθύνες του ἀναγνωρίζοντας ὅτι ὁ μεγαλύτερος ἐχθρός του εἶναι τό εἴδωλο πού ἀντικρίζει στόν καθρέπτη του.

    Χριστιανός Ὀρθόδοξος εἶναι ὅποιος μέ ἀγάπη καί τρυφερότητα ἀγκαλιάζει τόν κάθε παραστρατημένο ἄνθρωπο καί προσεύχεται γιά τή μεταστροφή του.

    Χριστιανός Ὀρθόδοξος εἶναι ὅποιος δείχνει μακροθυμία, ἔλεος καί μεγαλοψυχία στά σφάλματα τοῦ συνανθρώπου του.

    Χριστιανός Ὀρθόδοξος εἶναι ὅποιος μέ πνεῦμα ἀγάπης καί ἠρεμίας ἀπαντάει καί νουθετεῖ χωρίς νά περιμένει τό ἴδιο πνεῦμα καί ἀπό τόν ἄλλο.

    Χριστιανός Ὀρθόδοξος εἶναι ὅποιος δίνει ἐλπίδα, χαμογελάει, βοηθάει χωρίς νά ζητάει, εἶναι αἰσιόδοξος, παρηγορεῖ τόν καταφρονημένο, ἀκούει τόν συνάνθρωπο, κατανοεῖ τίς ἀνάγκες του, ἔχει ἕνα καλό λόγο γιά ὅλους.

    Χριστιανός Ὀρθόδοξος εἶναι ὅποιος ἔχει ἡσυχία καί ψυχική γαλήνη καί δέν ἐπηρεάζεται ἀπό τίς ἐφήμερες κραυγές τοῦ κόσμου τούτου.

    Χριστιανός Ὀρθόδοξος εἶναι ὅποιος δέν ἐξουθενώνει τόν ἄλλο μέ τό πρόσχημα τῆς ἀρετῆς, τῆς νηστείας καί τῆς ἐγκράτειας.

    Χριστιανός Ὀρθόδοξος εἶναι ὅποιος ἀποφεύγει νά τρέχει στά δικαστήρια μέχρι νά ἐξουθενώσει τούς ἀντιδίκους του, ἀλλά μέ πνεῦμα συγχώρεσης καί ὁμόνοιας προσπαθεῖ νά εἰρηνεύσει τίς διαταραγμένες σχέσεις του.

    Χριστιανός Ὀρθόδοξος εἶναι ὅποιος πεινᾶ καί διψᾶ γιά τήν ἀλήθεια καί τή δικαιοσύνη τοῦ Θεοῦ καί νοιώθει τόν ἑαυτό του φτωχό μπροστά Του.

    Χριστιανός Ὀρθόδοξος εἶναι ὅποιος πάντοτε χαίρεται, πάντα εὐχαριστεῖ, πάντοτε δοξολογεῖ.

    Χριστιανός Ὀρθόδοξος εἶναι ὅποιος ἔχει φτιάξει στήν ψυχή του ἕναν μυστικό κῆπο προσευχῆς.

    Χριστιανός Ὀρθόδοξος εἶναι ὅποιος βλέπει τούς συνανθρώπους του ὡς εἰκόνες Χριστοῦ…

  19. Gregory Uhrin on

    Maybe it's time to join together with the other Orthodox jurisdictions in America and establish the True Church here. Just sayin'

  20. Christian Orthodoxy is …
    Christian Orthodox is which preaches God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit and believe in the Incarnation and the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    Christian Orthodoxy is that receives speech and teachings of Jesus Christ as described in the Gospel means and accepts the teachings of the Church Fathers and our doctrines as formulated by the Ecumenical Councils.
    Christian Orthodoxy is which respects the traditions of the Holy One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
    Orthodoxy is a Christian who is baptized in the name of consubstantial and indivisible Trinity and leaves the baptism received inactive but activatable life as they mature.
    Orthodox Christian preaching is which, continually studying the gospel, teach the word of Christ, correctly interpret the Holy Scriptures and is until the end of his life in constant apprenticeship.
    Orthodoxy is a Christian who attends regularly with respect, love and faith spiritual preparation in the divine communion chalice and not “for good” and Etiquette two-three times a year.
    Christian Orthodoxy is who participate regularly in the sacraments of the Church and has spiritual and distinctive leader in the difficult path of his life.
    Orthodoxy is a Christian who has active ministry in the area of ​​the parish do not expect everything from clergymen.
    Christian Orthodoxy is that alter himself and became a vessel of divine grace and with his love and his example influenced the people of the environment.
    Christian Orthodoxy is which as the real meaning in life has to encounter Christ and His kingdom and not looking to find meaning in human and corruptible because he knows that sooner or later let him down.
    Orthodoxy is a Christian who does not wallow in superstitions and prejudices, but try studying and driven to find the truth.
    Christian Orthodoxy is not using Orthodoxy as an ideology for preaching religious fanaticism and to were self.
    Christian Orthodoxy is that we reject any form of violence (verbal or physical), fanaticism, extremism and shout.
    Orthodoxy is a Christian who does not want to put in place who disagree with his views skewering him with excommunication and anathema.
    Orthodoxy is a Christian who does not wallow in conspiracy theories and not see everything and always enemies who conspire against Orthodoxy of considering himself sinless and unsolicited savior of the Church.
    Christian Orthodoxy is who takes himself seriously and fulfill the responsibilities of recognizing that the greatest enemy is the idol facing the mirror.
    Orthodox Christian who is affectionate and hugging each astray people and praying for his conversion.
    Christian Orthodoxy is showing forbearance, mercy and magnanimity the mistakes of the fellow man.
    Christian Orthodoxy is anyone with a spirit of love and tranquility answers and admonish without waiting for the same effect from the other.
    Christian Orthodoxy is giving hope, smiles, helps without asking, is optimistic, comforting THE despised, heard the fellow man, we understand the needs of, has a good reason for everyone.
    Orthodoxy is a Christian who has a quiet and tranquility and not affected by ephemeral cries of this world.
    Orthodoxy is a Christian who does not overwhelm the other under the guise of virtue, fasting and abstinence.
    Christian Orthodoxy is that avoid running to the courts until they burn the defendants, but in a spirit of forgiveness and Omonia trying to pacification THE disturbed relationships.
    Christian Orthodox is which hunger and thirst for truth and justice of God and feels himself poor before Him.
    Orthodoxy is a Christian who is always happy, always pleasant, always thanksgiving.
    Orthodoxy is a Christian who has make his soul a secret garden prayer.
    Orthodoxy is a Christian who sees his fellows as a picture of Christ …

  21. Take what Michelle said and multiply 20x, if you are a convert of no Greek descent, and visit a parish like that. At best, you become invisible after they have vetted your heritage. This experience is more common than generous souls would like to believe.

  22. Michelle, I belong to a parish that has long used English in our services. We have a large number of converts and we are a very welcoming community for new comers. Along with new members coming to us from other denominations, we have other nationalities of Orthodox in addition to our original Greek parishioners. We are far and away the largest Greek Orthodox community in our city, which includes several. In years past, some of the other parishes would refer to us as the American church. I agree with you that those attitudes need to change. We as church need to be more inclusive and need to confront these problems head on. The problems of language, attitude and creating a welcoming environment need to be addressed. Thank you for relating your experiences, they are important comments for everyone to hear.

  23. I am not sure mixed marriages have anything to do with Greek Orthodox Church abandonment. Church leaders should look into offering more flexibility, set aside politics and money and continue to offer the most important message which has been clearly lacking. LOVE

  24. Rosemary Kromidas Hendrix on

    Spiros, Very well said! Μπραυο σου! Καλο το ειπες!

  25. Niki Koullias on

    Here in Campbell, Ohio we are proud to he Greek and we are proud to be Greek Orthodox Christians. We do whatever we can to hold on to our beautiful traditions. Our liturgies are MOSTLY in Greek and our children go to Greek dance and also Greek school. In Friday nights during lent our young ladies volunteer to sing ASPILE … In GREEK. They begin at 12. We have Greek Independance Day Programs and parades thru our city… And the parades were started by a woman who married one of our Campbell boys and converted. Our whole life centers around Archangel Michael Greek Orthodox Church! We have a HUGE amount of people coming in and out of Kalymnos everyday and there are some here in our little community from Symi and Crete. We teach our children the beauty of Greece. We have a strong Kalymniko Society that is also our Greek coffeehouse. Our kids are told marry Greek and if they don’t then we urge them to convert their spouses. And they are welcomed here. It is a priveledge to be Greek Orthodox! If you drive through our little Campbell Eastertime you will hear live lambs and spits preparing and a fireworks and bombs at our Anastasi service. You will see children out singing Kalanta for Lazaro this Saturday…all in Greek!

  26. The "real" problem is multifaceted. Nearly every major Church tradition (not just Orthodox) is deal with this same problem. The under forty crowds aren't leaving their Churches because it isn't Greek enough, or is "too Greek." But the fact that we, as Orthodox, are even talking about whether or not our Church is "too ethnic" or "not ethnic enough" puts us at such a huge handicap that I wouldn't b surprised if Orthodoxy ceases to exist in America within a generation. Sure, there will always be a few ethnic enclaves, but folks — THAT is NOT the Church. The problems and issues are so multifaceted that the hierarchy (of most Christian traditions, not just us) want to make it something very simple. This is what the higher ups don't get. It cannot be boiled down to one thing. But then, it kind of does. Just take a look at the posts here, where a few people have specifically said WHY they've left EOy — and the reactions were, "you must have attended a bad Church." NO! That's the problem. NO ONE is listening to the very people the Church claims it wants to keep. If someone says they left because of some particular issue, or ten issues, that can't be it. it must be something EASY to fix, like getting a better priest. Or finding a better Church. Finding a Church that does all English or refuses to do English, or finding a Church that is open to converts or that isn't open to converts. People are TELLING YOU, telling US, what is wrong and we, the Church, are NOT listening. And it's not about the problems we THINK exist. It's not because priests wear cassocks, it's not because we have Byzantine music (which BTW, most Greek parishes don't even have — most of what we do ISN'T Byzantine music, it's butchery of a venerable tradition). It's not switching to more western this or that — the OCA tried that and look at the collapse they've endured. No, we want something that has an EASY answer. Do this, don't do that. Fix this, don't fix that. These are are only side issues. The heart of the problem is that the Church doesn't truly want to deal with what troubles young people — my self included. It doesn't want to listen. It wants to sweep the real problems under the rug, refuse to listen what it is those who've left are telling us, and hope it's an easy fix. It isn't going to be easy. Because the first step will require the Church to listen it its flock. That's not something Orthodoxy has historically been very good at.

  27. Niki Koullias on

    Here in Campbell, Ohio we are proud to he Greek and we are proud to be Greek Orthodox Christians. We do whatever we can to hold on to our beautiful traditions. Our liturgies are MOSTLY in Greek and our children go to Greek dance and also Greek school. In Friday nights during lent our young ladies volunteer to sing ASPILE and Kai Thos Imin… In GREEK. They begin at 12. We have Greek Independance Day Programs and parades thru our city… And the parades were started by a woman who married one of our Campbell boys and converted. Our whole life centers around Archangel Michael Greek Orthodox Church! We have a HUGE amount of people coming in and out of Kalymnos everyday and there are some here in our little community from Symi and Crete. We teach our children the beauty of Greece. We have a strong Kalymniko Society that is also our Greek coffeehouse. Our kids are told marry Greek and if they don’t then we urge them to convert their spouses. And they are welcomed here. It is a priveledge to be Greek Orthodox! If you drive through our little Campbell Eastertime you will hear live lambs and spits preparing and a fireworks and bombs at our Anastasi service. You will see children out singing Kalanta for Lazaro this Saturday…all in Greek!

  28. Any approach to this issue which continues to emphasize "Greek" more than "Orthodox Christian" is bound to fail. Orthodox Christianity did not start in Greece and is certainly not limited to the Greeks. The ethnic churches are dying precisely because too many people place their ethnicity before their faith. I am a convert to Orthodox Christianity but my ancestry is not foreign to Orthodox Christianity because one of my ancestors is St Vladimir of Russia. However, because I don't presently fall into one of the ethnic categories which cradle Orthodox will accept, my place in any ethnic parish is marginalized. The future of Orthodox Christianity depends on the ethnic modifiers being dropped and us becoming once again simply "Orthodox Christians."

    • Amen! As a 20 plus year convert, I don’t believe mixed marriages are what’s causing a decline in Greek Church attendance (although my parish which is half converts is booming!).
      If Church is reduced to a remembered culture, you may as well go to a Greek restaurant!
      Orthodoxy isn’t Greek! It is an encounter with the Holy Trinity and the Saints. It isn’t easy!

      Why on earth services are still in all Greek amazes me. What a horrible sin in my opinion, to make Church services completely unintelligible by second generation and beyond Greek Americans (let alone other Orthodox or those seeking salvation!!!). What a disgrace!

      My Greek Orthodox Church has Russians, Romanians, Georgians, Chinese, Greek-Mexican, German, African American, Scots, etc. We say the Lord’s Prayer in 8 languages. On St. Andrews Day we bless the Scottish plaid Tartans. (What I’m saying here is that we embrace all the cultures and have services in English!)

      This is how to save the Greek Church in America. Keep Greek tradition but don’t make an idol of it and realize God is first…
      Hospitality to others in love matters…
      This isn’t Greece so have English in Church!

  29. I married outside of my Greek Orthodox faith because no Greek wanted to marry when I was ready. God sent me a wonderful Slovak (Roman Catholic) man and we have chosen to baptize our children Greek Orthodox and raise them in both churches. Equal parts Greek Orthodox equal parts Catholic. I do not expect my husband to convert nor does he expect me to. Our children enjoy attending both churches and learning all they can about Mommy & Daddy's church. I don't think interfaith marriage is to blame as much as people's willingness to let their personal traditions go lax. Though my husband isn't Greek, he celebrates and respects my heritage and traditions, customs and holidays as I do with his. We have found a very happy medium that does not alienate anyone's roots…

  30. Jennifer Petyk on

    I once knew a Jewish man who married a Catholic woman. They raised their children like you are, with both faiths. Those kids celebrated EVERY holiday!! Personally, I think that is very cool! My grandmother was Ukrainian who married an Italian man. They were married in the RC church and raised their kids as such. The only taste of the Byzantine rite that I had was at the dear woman's funeral.

  31. Sadly, my mother has issue with the way we've decided to raise our children. Outwardly she accepts it but when no one is around she makes comments about the kid's understanding of communion only being taken at my church or certain rites and rituals, etc… It's sad because we feel our children will benefit from seeing both sides of Christianity from fairly similar standpoints… And, they love it for reasons you stated, Jennifer… All holidays are celebrated here… Lol… Bonus!

  32. George Kilantonis on

    Dude your name even has Slav in it. It his historical fact that Slavs didn't settle in the region until hundreds of year after Alexander's kingdom of Macedon. You are not Macedonian! You're a Slav! Embrace your own heritage, stop trying to steal others. And learn some basic history. Greece was a collection of independent city states, and yes they did think of themselves as all Greek and call themselves Greeks. The Olympics were for all Greeks and only for Greeks and Macedonian kings participated, alongside Athenians, Spartans, Corinthians, and Greeks from all over Greece.

  33. I am Greek on my father's side and converted to Orthodoxy as an adult. I love my church and sing in the choir. I don't "look" Greek; most of the people at church are very nice to me (and in general). There are times when I feel a slight hesitancy on the part of people, but this is rare. One thing I will say — I am sorry about other people's not-so-good experiences with people in their parish but I do NOT want to see the Greek Orthodox Church go the way of the Catholic Church which is in bad shape right now, popular Pope notwithstanding. The changes brought about after Vatican II have widened the gap between the Catholics and the Orthodox not because of the use of the vernacular in the liturgy, but because of the drastic alterations in the Mass and the assumption of clerical functions by the laity. This was a colossal, terrible mistake, and it doesn't look as if things will change. The hope of communion between the two Churches has become, I think, dim. But, please, don't try to change the Greek Orthodox Church;' be kind to people, encourage the learning of Greek and the use of a bi-lingual liturgy book. Thank you.

  34. Mixed Marriages are not the issue I think adaptation to conform to society and to change the church is. I remember growing up You couldn’t eat meat Saturday and then take communion on Sunday but now there are droves of people taking communion as long as you fast Wednesday and Fridays all year. I just can’t do it. that’s not how my mom raised me. I don’t think that is preparing yourself for communion. Also I see a part of the service where we say glory and open our hands and look up to glorify Jesus. I don’t remember this growing up and seems very Americanized to me . I find it hard to do anything but my cross and bow during Liturgy. Anyone know the appropriate practice for fasting, anyone else think Communion is not taken as serious.

  35. Henrietta Landis Cook on

    It is too long and the kids do not Speke Greek. Just memorials and churching at 30 minutes to the liturgy! And they do not have anything to do with worshiping god!

  36. Rose Manolakas Crouse on

    I am first generation Greek Canadian and I married a non-Greek. But, with that being said, we were married by a Orthodox Priest and all my children were baptized by an Orthodox Priest. My disdain started, how "WE" were treated by the Greek Orthodox Church prior to my marriage and my first child's baptism….by the Greek Orthodox Church. It was all about the money for them; the more the merrier. I was gobsmacked! WE were treated so unfairly and so poorly by the so called Christians of the Greek Orthodox Church. We were married by a Romanian Orthodox Priest, in a Ukrainian Catholic Orthodox Church. My other children were baptized by Ukrainian Orthodox Priests, from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. I go to a Ukrainian Orthodox Sunday service; when I do not work or a Catholic service. I am so disgusted, on how it is all about the mighty dollar, and to "whom" you belong to, in the Greek Orthodox Church. Yes, I have had better and much blessed experiences in a Greek Orthodox Church……somewhere in Greece, on a small, untouched island! I am a Christian and I love my roots and my heritage……but, when a Greek Orthodox Priest denies communion to my children; because there was a major accident on the way to our church; which takes about 2 hours to get there from my home, and tells my father it will "cost" for us to get communion! Tsk, tsk, your judgement will come! WE all need to see the "whole" picture, as to why no one goes to church. There are many reasons as to why our younger community of Greeks have lost touch with our church.

  37. It is usually to late to keep them Orthodox after they leave the nest. See a good article on this subject. Fr. Aris Metrakos "The Real Mixed Marriage Problem" – Marrying someone who is not Orthodox threatens only the faith of the faithless." http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles6/MetrakosMarriage.php

    Orthodox parents must practice Orthodoxy if they want their children too. That means regular attendance at Liturgies, special services, fasting, home prayers, etc.

  38. The best solution I've heard yet! I grew up in the Upper Ohio Valley outside Pittsburgh. Withing a 45 minute radius one comes upon four Greek churches, one Serbian, seven Russian. All of them gasping for life. Yet even if they were to consolidate to three or four that doesn't address the challenge of evangelizing and bringing others into the Faith.

  39. Pingback: 90% of Americans with Greek Roots No Longer in Communion with Greek Church — Fr. John Peck

  40. First off, a lutheran marrying a catholic or a protestant or a methodist is not an interfaith marriage. A christian marrying a christian is a same faith marriage. A christian marrying a muslim or a wicken etc. is an interfaith marriage. The basic fact that everything is over stressed on genealogy makes this a bigoted racist article. I think the authors heart was trying to get in the right direction but was unable to see that any faith based on ethnicity will fail or at the very least will have no true life in it. Without life in the message it is just another pious group of people that share the same ethnic background. The moment you start looking at numbers and statistics to find the reason for falling attendance you have forgotten the message of the love of christ for the sinner. Its as simple as that. Man and organized religion are what get in the way of a personnel relationship with christ.

  41. Rosemary Kromidas Hendrix on

    Henrietta, are you speaking of the Orthodox Liturgy as being too long? It is as it was from 33 AD. Everything done in the Liturgy has profound meaning right from the Bible, including the vestments the Priests don for Liturgy. if you read English, the pews are holding Liturgy books with translations. if you can’t see those, then Greek school for adults is offered. The Liturgy is a worship service which is no longer passive, it can be active if you choose. if not, the Methodist church is down the street! If I read your name correctly, you seem to have chosen Orthodoxy as your preferred way to pray to God. if that is so, why are you having a problem with the way Liturgy is done?

    • Niki Koullias on

      Are you at an Orthodox Christian liturgy?? Because I’m trying to figure out which parts do not worship God??

  42. As long as the kids adore the Godparents (I am shameless)… Oh, and the parents should understand that it is the job of the Godparents to share religion (as well as life lessons), and those lessons from certain Godparents will be geared toward the teachings of Orthodoxy because that is what the Godparents follow and know well, then all is "rite" in the world. (get it, religious humour). Seriously, though, the boys will eventually learn the differences and will figure it out when the time is right for them. The more they are taught about Christianity, the better off they will be in the long term. But, there is a part of me that fully understands and agrees with your mother, too. Don't be mad about that.

  43. Konstantinos on

    Ever since I was a youngster I was inspired by the truth, which our Ancient Holy Apostolic Faith endures and teaches. I am a Greek born and rised in America. I speak, read and write fluent in Greek. As well, I know much of the culture and history of Greece. Even of my parents history and Island Crete. I’ve always engaged myself in learning more about the Holy Faith. I’m self-taught in Holy ByzantineIconography, since I was thirteen of age. Also, I enjoy chanting Byzantium Hyms too!

    Anyway, my point is, I believe the “problem” doesn’t lye within mix marriages, nor of anything close to that at all. Maybe, it can be found within the many parishes and parishers, Preist, Church Leaders, or even worldly things. We Orthodox in America — most of us Greeks, don’t teach with the heart sometimes. We are prideful and act as we know it all!

    We must teach the youth, out of love what it truly means to be Orthodox, an Greek Orthodox Christian. Not push them away!

    I’m engaged to a beautiful Filipina, who was raised here in American as well, as a Roman Catholic. She became baptized in the Original Faith of Orthodoxy and received the name, Anastasia.

    We both attend Church services in a Greek Orthodox Church Parish.

    We just have to inspire the youth, and teach them. Not “tell them” what to do or not. But, teach them all how to love their faith and culture. — inspired and teach and leed!

  44. Kathleen Broulidakis Kenepp on

    Just as everything else, those who come from different faiths/beliefs aren’t happy with their own churches/religions, so we have MORE new articles about how the GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH is cold, mean…whatever fits the end of their sentences. Stay in their own churches/find yet, another church for themselves and quit condemning ours. How dare they…and they get away with it with all of these “sympathy mongers” who go along with them.They were not as fortunate to find a Loving and Forever beauty in Life as our churches have taught us from our cradles. We cannot “inspire” our youth. That has to come from within themselves with their own relationship with God. Inspiration to “do” comes from within. We cannot live life FOR them. If they cannot grasp what is already plentiful in front of them, then they need to do some “inner working” of themselves. What MORE do you present to someone who already has it all? It’s up to THEM…THEMSELVES TO DO for their own lives. People are too busy getting into other people’s lives and business that they don’t mind their own, or want to. Grow up, People! Either you want to be there, or you don’t. The Greeks weren’t built with the “Well,Gee,I don’t know if I can do that” attitude. We were given a Beautiful “inspiration of God’s Love” into a “I can and I WANT to be a part of this” attitude.

  45. Venetia Moreno on

    I find the families of mixed marriages are more likely to attend services regularly. This issue should really be addressed.

  46. Being Orthodox is not for sissies. It is a real commitment. The service is not for entertainment. Nevertheless, it is the Historic Church started by Christ and we are told to break it up is heretical.
    Orthodoxy is a walk toward Christ, not overnight salvation. This is the purpose of life, to walk towards Christ and to try to get very close to him.

    To Michelle, I am a convert and I know just how you feel, but that is not as important as being Orthodox. Sorry to be so blunt but these feelings of isolation and not being entertained are secondary. But believe me, I know just how you feel. I used to say, God surely you dont really want me going to the Orthodox Church. These people dont even speak English at their coffee hour.
    But soon I understood we were not to break up the Church and now it is my home. Say the Jesus prayer and it will help.

  47. Pingback: The Side of American Orthodoxy that Orthodox are Loath to Admit | Red River Orthodox

  48. Daniel Harrison on

    Thats part of the problem. Taking children and raising them away from the Orthodox Church or in two churches, which is wrong simce Orthodoxy is the true faith and the RCC is in schism and heresy.

  49. Christos Giannes on

    interesting article with some relevant fast. what is not discussed is any solutions and or comparisons to existing faiths and how they grow their congregation.

  50. Joannikia Dean on

    Jennifer Petyk : I understand feeling comfortable in a community and enjoying holidays , celebrations at a social level. . I do not understand this as church. I understand this as place. I understand church as a process of growth in uniting to Christ and sees this life as a process of growth in Christ. The meaning behind the holiday and the grace of the holiday in uniting to Christ I understand as church. holidays and celebrations – nice-but partaking of the body and blood of Christ and thru confession of sins and partaking of joining Christ in order to become different people seems to be the focus of the church of Christ.. This I see requires struggle and work, having little to do with cultural roots and although there is a sweetness there- this doesn't strike me as the main event. I don't understand Christs church as preserving Greek or Russian, etc. roots. I have never heard Christ preaching the veneration of culture. I hear He preached about a God pleasing life.

  51. The problem with the decline is not intermarriage, nor is it the use of English in the services. It is that most Greeks that attend the Orthodox Church know precious little about their faith (let’s be honest, many Greek speakers don’t understand the Greek in the services). If the Church is merely a Greek Kiwanis club, which is largely how it operates in many locations, then yes, the loss of the Greek culture means the loss of the Church.

    If, on the other hand, the Church is based on the faith of the Apostles, and is treated as such; if it is taught to the faithful such that they understand its demands and the eternal rewards, if the faith is proclaimed to all that do not believe, then it will never die. It cannot.

  52. Rosemary Kromidas Hendrix on

    Intermarriages can be interfaith, intercultural, interracial. Simply stated for purposes of this discussion, it is a marriage wherein a couple who come from either a different faith, culture, race from their spouse and have problems with well meaning in-laws or when children are born and the question of raising them in some way different from one of the spouses. Aris Metrakos himself was raised as a Baptist, of a Greek father and non-/greek Mother. He married a non-Greek,Orthodox woman. Whether or not she was Orthodox before he was is moot. They had different backgrounds and family influences. FYI: Fr. Charles Joanides, M.Div.,PhD, MMFT, is the only researcher in this area. He is the author of When You Intermarry, Ministering to Intermarried Couples, Attending to Your Marriage, The Journey of Marriage. Metrakos is not the expert. Fr. Joanides is the expert. http://www.interfaith.goarch.org. By the way, we are Fr. Joanides’ editors for 15 years.

  53. Isn’t one of the major problems the fact that we are simply not, not, not teaching the Scriptures?

    NOBODY, including OURSELVES, even has the faintest clue what the Bible is about. Oh, a few of us can tell you what this or that father thought about this or that passage, but when it comes to actually grasping the STORY as a whole, or the argument of, say, Romans as a whole— we can’t do it. I’ve been Orthodox for 40 years and I’ve never met one single Orthodox who could do it!

    So of course we’re all about tiropita and spanakopita and piroshki and borshcht. Or (more recently) monasteries and elders and miracles and prayer ropes, icons and “beautiful rites”.

    But Christianity itself?— what’s that??!

  54. Patti Prassinos on

    Great article! The church needs to conduct services in English so that the children of mixed families can actually take something away from the experience. Woman need to have more opportunity in the church in leadership roles to show young girls that the time of make domination in the GOC has come to an end! Also, chlture classes for various ages teaching all about heritage, hospitality, and history would add to a more rich experience. Accepting marriage to Jews etc in the church would help as well.

  55. Irene Tunanidas on

    I applaud Michelle Koukios Mavres for having the courage to take a stand on the Greek Orthodox issue. When I was growing up, my parents and whole family were always involved with the Greek Orthodox Church. However…I felt like an "outcast" because no one would sit close to me or try to have me participate in church activities due to my deafness. As a college graduate (Master's Level), I thought this would help members of the Greek Orthodox faith recognize my status and include me in sdocial activities No, it didn't help. I started a newsletter project, THE GREEK DEAF COMMUNICATOR in 1991 and, to my surprise, 70% of deaf respondents of Greek origin wrote to say they
    left the Greek church due to unfriendliness and stigmatization. This was a good learning experience for me.

  56. Pingback: 90% of Americans with Greek Roots No Longer in Communion with Greek Orthodox Church

  57. Jess Brodnax on

    I was invited to become Greek orthodox by Bishop Ezekiel when I was a young Anglican acolyte in Chicago.I worked for him one summer. I told him that I could not speak Greek. He told to join GOYA and I would become Greek. I became Orthodox fifty years later but it was in a Russian Orthodox ? OCA parish. I took him at his word that I should be Orthodox. For many years I attended Saint Andrew’s GO Church on Saturdays and my Russian parish on Sundays and holy days…

  58. My name is Father Charles Joanides, Ph.D., LMFT. I have directed the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese’s ministry to intermarried couples and their families for the last fifteen years. For more information related to this work, consider reviewing the content on the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Web site: http://www.interfaith.goarch.org. What follows is a response to the Peter Kehayes article, which I approved and posted on this Web site: An Important Challenge for Greek Orthodox Christianity.
    First of all, I know the author of this article. He is a dedicated churchman. He is a dedicated churchman who has tirelessly served the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese (GOA) for decades. He loves his faith tradition and desires that its life-saving, healing message be protected and shared. Several years ago, he sent me the article in question. After reviewing it, I had some questions about the statistics he cites that have captured considerable attention on the web. Nonetheless, I liked the spirit of the document and determined to post it because I believed it had heuristic value, and I hoped it would facilitate further conversation and interest in a topic that is near and dear to the hearts of many Orthodox around this nation. In retrospect, if my decision to post it unsettled anyone, I sincerely apologize. It was not my intention to disturb anyone but to simply facilitate needed conversation about a topic that I firmly believe necessitates considerably more attention. What follows are my efforts to briefly address the statistics embedded within this article and to provide some personal commentary and constructive suggestions.
    One statement in the article that appears to have grabbed people’s attention follows: “…statistics disclose over 60% of Greek Orthodox families of the last generation and 90% of Americans with Greek roots are no longer in communion with the Church.” I cannot confirm nor disconfirm these figures because I personally have not seen research that validates these claims. However, here is what I can state.
    Like many other faith groups, anecdotal information suggests that church participation among Greek Orthodox Christians who are members of Generations X and Y is in decline. For example, according to statistics kept by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese’s Department of Registry, the numbers of marriages over the last 17 years has continued to steadily decline. In 1996, 3855 marriages were conducted in the GOA. By 2012 the numbers drop to 2621 marriages. In addition, during my own attempts to understand how intermarriage affects religious and spiritual growth, I determined to conduct several four-generation case studies. These cases studies involved between 75 – 150 participants. In each case study, the results were very similar: over four generations, the retention rates in these families ranged from 40 – 50%. Further, in 2006 the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese conducted a SWOT Analysis that included over 300 clergy and lay leaders. This study produced a range of useful information. For the purposes of this article, the following two observations emerged: Under the category “Opportunities,” respondents ranked outreach to intermarried couples and their families as the number-one opportunity. Under the category “Weaknesses,” respondents indicated the GOA was not doing enough to address this challenge. Other studies before and after this work essentially make similar claims that is, the intermarriage challenge is a real challenge that has the capacity to affect the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese at all levels.
    As a result, in some ways, I am pleased that this issue has captured some attention on the web. Like the author of the article that has promoted this response, I also believe this issue is of salient concern and is interrelated with the GOA’s future well-being. I would also maintain that arguments over numbers are not constructive and only serve to distract from the real issue: that attrition rates among members of Generations X and Y are sufficiently high to make anyone who is interested in the GOA’s future well-being pause and take note of them.
    I want to also take this opportunity to educate those of you who are not familiar with the GOA’s response to these and other interrelated challenges. A quick perusal of the resources on the following web sites will reveal that some excellent work has been done to address this challenge:
    Interfaith Marriage Web site http://www.interfaith.goarch.org, the Family Care web site http://www.familycare@goarch.org, and the Department of Stewardship, outreach & Evangelism http://www.Stewarship,goarch.org and http://www.Outreach.goarch.org .
    Beyond the information and resources provided on these sites, it should be noted that new outreach resources focused on reaching the distantly connected are being developed and will be available in the near future. These resources are designed to be user friendly and help our local parishes reconnect with the distantly connected.
    However, as good as these programs are, and as compelling as the concerns are that have promoted this article, I believe that we must be willing to embrace some needed adjustments. For example, to the extent that we embrace the realities that we are facing in the Church today, discern the message of our Lord’s ministry, reach out to the distantly connected and not be lulled into a business as usual approach and are willing to make the needed changes, our parishes and Archdiocese will not only survive; it will thrive. In the words of St. John Chrysostom, one of our church’s great saints: “So don’t tell me it is impossible for you as a Christian to influence others, when it is the opposite that is impossible…It is impossible for a Christian’s light to lie concealed – so brilliant a lamp cannot be hidden.”
    We are a resilient people who believe in the impossible. Let us pick up the plow and not look back so much that we are ultimately blinded to reality. Let’s proceed with faith guiding our footsteps. With God’s help and the blessings of our leaders–we–can help turn things around.

  59. Eleni Yiannatji on

    There is a decline in church attendance and membership throughout the world and United States. We live in a very secular society. Even those churches that have made modern changes have not made more people attend and become members of churches. The only way that could happen is by force and that would defeat the purpose.

    The church is supposed to change us; we're not supposed to change "the church." The church is not an edifice. It's a spiritual bond in human beings who adhere to the beliefs established by people inspired by the Holy Spirit. We can't solve the problems by making our church more like this or that. The world is supposed to be changed for the better by the church. It's only by individuals receiving it into their hearts and souls that will make it better AND help it to continue. It will never disappear.

    • Niki Koullias on

      Love your way of thinking Eleni. You don’t like the Greek Orthodox Church that’s been around for thousands of years? Ok… They are going to change for us?? Who are we Obviously they lasted this long and they will last forever. It makes me sad when I hear that it’s too long or what’s the fasting all about or why tradition or why the Greek…that’s the beauty of it. Don’t like it? Then obviously you aren’t getting it. So go to the English speaking church down the street that is 45 minutes long.

      • Rosemary Kromidas Hendrix on

        Bravo, Nikki! Well said! Who are we to even have the arrogance to change a church which is the basis of all Christian churches. Just waking into an Orthodox church has changed the lives of many converts. There is a ‘feeling” that fills the hearts and souls of non Orthodox persons, resulting in a thirst for Orthodoxy. Many years ago, I brought a dear friend of mine to choir practice with me. We and been out shopping, were running late, so she came with me. She was an accomplished singer, non orthodox. When we entered the church, quiet as it was, she went directly to the Icons, kissed them reverently, looked at them at began to weep quietly. I didn’t know what was going on with her, so I asked and she replied “I am home”. She did not convert, but she asked me for icons for her home and a vigil lamp which she used until she died shortly after of cancer. In her heart she was Orthodox. She didn’t try to change anything, she accepted what was. By the way, she did join our choir for practice and did beautifully! Her nickname was Honey, so I renamed her Mellisa.

        • great stories, but if that’s so true, then why are people staying away in droves?

          the fact is, the numbers really are declining.

          let’s not kid ourselves about the amazing ability of our church to magically interest people in becoming greeks. Especially when few people in it actually know what the scriptures are about!

  60. I am one of the 60% that this article is talking about. More accurately, I’m sitting on the fence and don’t know if I’ll be able to continue with Orthodoxy or move onto something else. More than likely, my time with the Orthodox church has come to a close. I want to be a member of something. Preferably Orthodoxy. But as things stand now, I feel like I’m slowly being forced out. I’d like to share my thoughts as to why I feel that the church is driving me away.

    First, the ethnic club. I am of Greek descent (3rd or 4th generation depending on which grandparent you count from), but I am not Greek. I don’t speak Greek. I’ve never been to Greece. I can’t do traditional dances. No offense to the Greeks – but I’m not interested in these things. I’m an American. I respect my Greek ancestry, but I have zero interest in becoming Greek (or any other ethnicity).

    My parents lived in an area where the nearest Orthodox church was two hours away so I didn’t have exposure to the Church from an early age. I have always wanted to have some involvement in my faith. I was able to attend a very nice inter-ethnic parish regularly for a few years when I was studying in a different area of the country. No ethnicity made up more than 25% of the parish, the liturgy was in English, and people were forced to use English to communicate with each other. I felt like I was a part of the community.

    Where I live now, the parishes are very strictly ethnic. They claim to be open because they have a token Syrian or a Chinese lady who converted for her husband, but the reality is that they’re exclusionary to most people who aren’t from the old country. When I go to a church and everything is in Greek, I feel like a tourist, not a parishioner. I can’t understand a word that is being said. I feel like I should be taking photos, not worshiping. Even when the liturgy is in English, there is still a strong ethnic bias. When I go to the coffee hour and everyone is speaking Greek, I feel left out. I’m stuck just standing in the corner and eating doughnuts. I’m giving up 25% of my weekend for this?

    Second, I don’t care how strapped for cash the church is. Community comes first, not money. When I go to a church, I want to feel accepted as a member of the community. I want to know that I have friends there who are interested in me beyond the obligatory 5 minutes of small talk. Instead, within a month’s time I invariably get a sales pitch. Give us money for this or that. Sign up to help with the festival. I want to feel that I’m a member of the community _first_ and not just a pair of hands or an ATM. I want to help, but I don’t want to feel like I’m being used. Priests and parish counsels need to understand that jumping on the new guy and begging for money and help isn’t a good way to keep people around. If you want someone to stay then take a genuine interest in that person, especially if they are in a new place without friends and family support. Friendship is reciprocated with friendship.

    Third, there is nothing for young professionals. I look around the church and I see lots of kids, lots of old people, and a not insignificant number of young families. But what about those people who have graduated college but haven’t gotten married and started a family? They are few and far between. The church has GOYA for the young and Philoptocos for the old ladies. But there is nothing for my peer group. I moved to where I live now for work. I don’t have friends or family around. I would love to meet people through church, but there are no mechanisms to do that.

    Fourth, intolerance for inter-faith or inter-religious marriages. I understand the stated theological reasons for this, but in America where most of the population is anything other than Orthodox, this is a crushing restriction. The reality is that I will probably marry a non-Christian. If she is aligned with me on every value other than religion, then religion will get dropped. I do not think it’s right to demand conversion from my future wife in order to get married. And I think it’s utterly insane to limit my dating pool to only Orthodox women, especially when Orthodox individuals are such a small fraction of the population. I do not want to be a lifelong bachelor.

    I would like my kids to be baptized Orthodox. I really appreciate the Church because it was there at a time in my life when I needed it. I would like the Church to be there for my kids in the future when/if they ever need it. But I’m not even sure if the church would allow this if I marry outside of Orthodoxy. Or worse yet, if I marry a non-Christian. This is a shame, because I think that religion can provide a lot that the secular world can’t. I’m also open to raising my kids in two faiths. But again, the church will probably frown on this.

    Fifth, please stop talking about who is a heretic. I’ve heard way too many Orthodox individuals speaking ill of other faiths. Those people aren’t following the true faith. Those people are heretics. Who cares? What matters is whether they are good people or not. The validity of your faith is reflected in how you act as a person. Real Christians should be focused on doing good in the world, not lowering themselves to petty insults.

  61. Alexandra Zouncourides-Lull on

    From what I can deduce, you happen to attend a church that is both ethnically Greek, as well as faithfully Greek Orthodox. There are many Orthodox communities in the US, I’m sure you can find one that is not so heavily ethnic. Just as Georgia Constantin explains above, her community is inclusive and so are hundreds of others across the US.

    Why are you asked, "Do you speak Greek?" To me, this is quite normal since you are a Greek. If you speak Greek, then someone will continue the conversation in Greek with you. If not, then one questions why not since you are of Greek decent. It is your heritage and one would think that you would be interested in learning about your heritage since you are a link in your father’s chain. It’s just a simple question; no offense should be taken.

    The reason someone asks what is your name in Greek is because Michelle is not a Greek name. If they know your Greek name, you can expect someone will tell you "Xronia Polla" on your name day. Name days in Greece are bigger than a birthday, so knowing your Greek name makes it easier to understand.

    As for the use of only English in the Greek Orthodox church, we have to look back on the history of the church. The Greeks were occupied by the Ottoman Empire for 400 years. During that time, only Turkish was permitted in schools and for government issues. Thanks to the Greek Orthodox priests who held "secret schools", the Greek Language (reading and writing) was preserved. That's why you will notice Greek Schools are held at the church. Most churches do both English and Greek. In fact, the Divine Liturgy books in the US are written in both languages. My kids follow along in English as I point to where we are in the liturgy when spoken in Greek. Maybe your dad could do the same to help you too.

    If you converted to Judaism, you would be required to learn some Hebrew. So what’s the difference here? I’m not sure speaking Greek is completely the issue here. Belonging to a community is both give and take. The issue of belonging to a community is deeper than just knowing Greek. You have to give to receive.

    So, now to get to the real point (ask yourself this question, don’t answer here): Did you volunteer or join any of the organizations in your church to participate in the community? “Outcast” is a severe term which I find difficult to believe.

    Here are my suggestions (take them with a grain of salt):
    If you’re only looking to find a friend in coffee hour, then consider serving coffee and volunteer in Philoptochos, or join the YAL. If you are looking to fill your soul with faith, then stop worrying about which Greek old lady you didn’t connect with. Instead, consider joining the choir and participate in the liturgy. The GOC is a beautiful church and this is what we must preserve. If you’re only in it for the social aspect, there are other “Hellenic” clubs that you could join. The church and faith have nothing to do with this.

    We don’t need to reach MORE people and have nominal Orthodox to fill our churches. We need people of faith to keep our churches alive, people who understand Orthodoxy and what it takes to be an Orthodox Christian (fasting, prayer, works of faith, etc.). Otherwise, we are just diluting the church to accommodate the numbers. The problem in our church is lack of understanding Orthodoxy, not knowing how to speak Greek.

    Overall, I agree with George Economides’ post below on preserving the church and educating the youth on what it is that makes our church so wonderful. I think your church could do a better job of bringing you up to date on these aspects. I also think that rather than trying to customize the GOC to your satisfaction, figure out why you converted, attend a bible study to learn more about the faith and consider picking up some Greek to connect with your community. Everyone knows several words in Spanish (Hola, como estas, etc..) so why not learn the same in Greek, especially since you are Greek too?

    Last but not least, coming from the inside, I didn't marry a Greek so my kids are mixed. I send my kids to Greek School not only to preserve the language and culture, but so that my children will be able to communicate with their cousins and family in Greece. It's more for practical purposes but also to be part of a community. When my children become adults, it will be up to them to decide which path to take. I can only lay the foundations down for them and hope they will not only find the beauty in the GOC, but also in the community that built that church. You may want to reflect during this Lenten period what draws you to the church and what will keep you there. From what I read in your post, I personally don’t think the Greek language is the deal breaker.

    Kali Anastasi and Kalo Pascha.

  62. Georgia Constantin on

    Alexandra Zouncourides-Lull your commentary and observations are the best. You wrote lucidly and logically. Καλή Ανάσταση. Καλό Πάσχα.

  63. Georgia Constantin on

    Irene Tunanidas I am truly sorry about your experience but as you must have discovered many people do not know how to communicate with the deaf in terms of connecting with them on a deeper level and it has more to do with how they feel about their inability to express themselves to you than your inability to hear. The truth is this behavior is not indicative only of how the Greek Orthodox Church, its priests and parishioners act or react, but also in other places of worship and in the general public. My experience in GO churches that I have attended in Greece and the USA is not that deaf people and others with inabilities are stigmatized but that parishioners feel at a loss as to how to act if they haven't experienced anything similar in their own family. The stigma and judgement I've observed is towards women who have children without being married or their attire is too revealing. Your own experiences can not be negated of course and they must have been very painful but at the same time in terms of achievements you have accomplished a lot more than many hearing people have. The pain that was caused happened at a very young age and those are the pains that remain deeply seated in us, make us feel angry and resentful but if Jesus forgave the fools then we should forgive the fools in our own lives as sometimes they truly don't know what they are doing. I often try to remind myself of that. Have a wonderful Easter. You are amazing.

  64. Unfortunately I have to mirror many of the comments already posted. I am half Greek and grew up with an agnostic Greek father who did not take us to church. We also didn’t live in a city with a large Greek community, so most if not all of my ‘Greek experience’ took place in Greece during childhood visits, not as part of a Greek-American community.

    I lived in Athens after high school for one year (my dad had moved back by then, too). Then, back in the states for university, I moved to a city that did have a large Greek community, and I wanted to get involved. A few kind souls accepted me, largely because we worked at the same restaurant, but beyond that I encountered a kind of exclusivity that was extremely off-putting. At any church or Greek related events, I was always made to defend my ‘Greekness’. My one dear friend – I love him to this day – also annoyingly made a point of always introducing me with both my first and last name; this was because I didn’t look Greek and didn’t speak Greek, so he always felt the need to include my last name so people knew I was Greek. Still, it was rarely enough for most of them.

    I gave up on the church and community during college. I spent most of my adult life afterwards in London and perhaps didn’t feel the need to seek out a Greek community there, as I was closer to my family in Greece and visited frequently.

    Fast forward to today. My husband and I moved to Los Angeles nearly three years ago. With no real ‘center’ for Greek life here, I started taking Greek classes at the largest Greek church in town. The church is impressive and has recently opened a new ‘community center’. However, I’ve encountered the same exclusive attitude that I did in my late teens, nearly 15 years ago. My husband and I attended church functions and were never welcomed by anyone, though someone must have noticed we were ‘new’ to the community. After anastasi (Easter service) last year, the outside of the church resembled a Hollywood networking session more than anything else.

    Not only that, I’ve been dismayed by the lack of vision from church leaders. With a large, new community center there’s a grand opportunity to create a bustling center for Greek life and culture in LA. The community center remains cold and empty more often than it should, however. Sadly, even my Greek classes were cancelled after we didn’t have enough students register for a second year. It’s hard to believe that there are only three of us in the second largest city in the US that want to learn Greek!

    I am mature enough now to know that I should never feel inferior because I’m “only half” or because my Greek isn’t as perfect as others. So while I’m no longer intimidated by the exclusivity of the Greek Orthodox community as I was when I was 19, I find myself questioning why I would even want to try to work my way in… when I haven’t encountered a warm smile, not to mention embrace, yet.

  65. Alexcia Regoukos Poulidis on

    Unfortunately the wrong forum for your political babble, Macedonians are Greek (Hellenes). Refer to yourself as a Slav and do not bastardize my Hellenic legacy. No film that you are referring to will change history! As much as I can understand your desire to be a Macedonian, there is proof positive that our DNA differs, your are born a Hellene! So as hard as you may try, and argue as you will……you are a Slav!!!

    To be Orthodox or Catholic has nothing to do with our heritage!

    • Oh! I get it! The foregoing comments are *supposed* to be a demonstration of the sort of thing that keeps people away from the “Greek Church” and makes most of the kids flee it as soon as they’re old enough to figure out that Christianity (whatever *that* is, which is never actually taught in the church)— isn’t “Greek”, or “Macedonian”, or “Russian”, or “Serbian”, or whatever— that it has *nothing* to do with these battles.

      But if I’m wrong, and you’re actually serious about all that Greek-Macedonian nonsense, here’s something to think about: “Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not from this world. If My kingdom were from this world, then my servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Judeans; but as it is, my kingdom is not from here’.” (In case you have trouble with the English, that’s “ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς· ἡ βασιλεία ἡ ἐμὴ οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου τούτου· εἰ ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου τούτου ἦν ἡ βασιλεία ἡ ἐμή, οἱ ὑπηρέται οἱ ἐμοὶ ἠγωνίζοντο [ἂν] ἵνα μὴ παραδοθῶ τοῖς Ἰουδαίοις· νῦν δὲ ἡ βασιλεία ἡ ἐμὴ οὐκ ἔστιν ἐντεῦθεν” in the original). Jn 18.36.

      You might reflect on that, over the next couple of days, since it’s going to come up in church anyway. It’s sorta the point, isn’t it?

  66. Georgia Constantin on

    Alexcia Regoukos Poulidis people like him, the fake "Macedonians" will never accept the reality of their non-Hellenic, non Philip the Great, non Alexander the Great history. They have the need to feel that their ancestors come from somewhere greater than the reality so they claim someone else's history and heritage as their own so they revise history. Pathetic. Pity the fools.

  67. Georgia Constantin on

    Stavae Aceski here's what your own former president Kiro Gligorov said on February 28, 1992: ""We are Slavs who came to this area in the sixth century … we are not descendants of the ancient Macedonians."
    Quote from FYROM'S President Mr. Kiro Gligorov.
    (from the Foreign Information Service Daily Report, Eastern Europe,
    February 26, 1992, p. 35. ) but if you want to keep on dreaming about a fairy tell then keep on dreaming as it remains a fairy tale and not the truth.

  68. Alexcia Regoukos Poulidis on

    Unfortunately the wrong forum for your political babble, Macedonians are Greek (Hellenes). Refer to yourself as a Slav and do not bastardize my Hellenic legacy. No film that you are referring to will change history! As much as I can understand your desire to be a Macedonian, there is proof positive that our DNA differs, your are born a Hellene! So as hard as you may try, and argue as you will……you are a Slav!!!

    To be Orthodox or Catholic has nothing to do with our heritage!

  69. Alexcia Regoukos Poulidis on

    John Burnett – With all due respect; religion has nothing to do with my post. My history and heritage is who I am, it is my DNA, my existence.

    If you want to know why people are pulling away from church, it has nothing to do with anyone defending their honor nor their history. It has to do with the narrow minded individuals, the gangsters that treat our church as a privately held business. The people who do not preach love but instead give sermons on Sunday on how they do not want to hear clanking from change in the fourth offering basket to be passed around the church! The people driving around in their Mercedes Benz as their fellow parishioners do not have a meal on their table to eat.

    I have been raised in a Greek Orthodox school and am blessed with knowledge of my ancestry. I have the ability to defend what I hold dear to me with or without judgement. Our heritage came before religion, it is what makes us different from others. To be a Hellene is an honor that only few are privileged with.

    So for my heritage I will stand up! If that is offensive to you it can only because you do not know the burden of carrying such an important lineage on your shoulders. That is my obligation as a Hellene, and a second generation Greek American woman!

    • Alexcia, i saw that religion had nothing to do with your post; that was kinda my point, since the title of the article to which we’re all commenting is, “90% of Americans with Greek Roots No longer in Communion with Greek Orthodox Church”. It is interesting to trace the routes by which a discussion of the severe and unsustainable reduction of the church becomes a kind of nationalistic molotov-cocktail party.

      I am of course glad that you “know the burden of carrying such an important lineage on your shoulders”. But i continue to think i hear an awful lot more about Greece and Macedonia (and etc), and a lot less about Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, in what is actually quite often referred to as the “Greek” (etc) Church, which is not an entity known to any of the writers of Scripture.

      Again, It’s interesting to trace the manner in which a discussion of the church’s collapse becomes an occasion to “defend what I hold dear to me”, even though it has nothing to do with the church that’s collapsing!

      Someday the five or six of us who are left will have to face up to why that is, and what it means.

  70. Arthur Fakis on

    i would love to still be in the church with my family but our church turned its back on us.so being in our greek orthodox church with our brothers and sisters in Christ is not an option for us anymore..guess it doesnt matter cant really spare the gas and what we have wont make it much longer so i guess its just the way things go..but honestly never thought our church would turn its back on us..when i went to greek camp in greece i was always taught how the church is Gods home witch is our home..after almost 4 years it still hurts my heart but we are just one little family that cant give money to the church and are always hurting for money even for gas and van dieing so i see how the church might not care………..well to them sorry we are poor and got crappy van.

  71. Joy Kastanias on

    I am a non-Greek whose family (on both sides )has been in America so long that no one really knows our ethnic origins and who has no cultural traditions, other than those in America. I married a first generation Greek American. I chose to have our wedding in the Greek Orthodox Church because I grew up Protestant and knew that if we wanted to raise our future children in the Greek Orthodox Church, it would be easier to be married there. I am glad I made that choice. Fourteen years later, I converted and feel that I have entered a beautiful and pure religion. I am not put off by Greek in the service. At first I did feel lost, but let’s face it, being Christian in general is not easy. It’s not necessarily the language and culture that is driving people away. It’s the unwillingness to make difficult commitments because we are such a comfort-driven society. Committing to God is not easy. Learning about the Liturgy is not easy, even if it were solely in English. I personally feel that the culture and the language are an excuse people use to avoid making the tough commitment it takes to become Christian. Yes, some of the older Greeks could definitely work on warming up to new people in the Church, but truthfully, you will find politics and exclusion in many churches because we are human and have flaws. Christianity is suffering in America in general because we are a society of people now who choose the easy way out. I feel this is less about changing the Church to accommodate that laziness and more something that needs to be addressed in our society overall. I love the Greek Orthodox Church, and we are raising our child in it so she can get both the religion and the culture. I guess we are not part of the majority statistics.

  72. Of course a church with a national identity is doomed to die out as it is against the principals of Christianity to have “national churches”.

    Churches that are a mixture of Christianity with national traditions and nationalism such as “Greek Orthodox” “Armenian” or ‘Anglican’ are a mistake to begin with and a remnant of another era.

    I am a Greek in Greece and in my town there are Orthodox, Catholic churches, Evangelicals, Pentecostals, Jehova’s Witnesses, a Synagogue and a mosque. All completely Greek. I am a convert to Catholicism myself and i can assure you, in today’s Greece almost no one feels that Orthodoxy and Greek identity are necessarily connected,

  73. Lola J. Lee Beno on

    Irene Tunanidas – I came across your newsletter some time ago. I'm sending you a PM on FB. Also, I run a group "Deaf Orthodox Christian" on Facebook – you're more than welcome to join (and others, too!).

  74. Bryan J. Maloney on

    If the Archdiocese really is going to "go extinct" because of "mixed marriage", then it deserves to go extinct for having abandoned Orthodoxy and substituting a cult of ethnicity. Those who leave the Church because of "intermarriage" were never within the Church, and those who would only stay within the Church because of having married a Greek were also never within the Church.

  75. Bryan J. Maloney on

    Anna Cory, the first thing I am always asked when visiting a GOARCH parish: "Are you Greek?" It's not "Are you Orthodox?" or even "Are you Christian?" Those tiny details don't matter. I do happen to be Orthodox, but not a tiny bit Greek.

  76. Bryan J. Maloney on

    Except the "mixed" in this case isn't marriage to non-Orthodox, it's marriage to non-Greek. The Church doesn't matter. Only Greekness matters.

    • I am sorry you feel that the mere question of “are you Greek?” is so offensive. Greek people are curious and not diplomatic and matter of fact. Asking you if you are Greek means they want to know more about you and that is a conversation starter. The next question is: “if you are not Greek what are you? How did you come to the Church?” There is no judgment in that so don’t get defensive. In my experience as a Greek from Greece, Greek Americans are more accepting of non-Greeks than of their own kind. They go goo-goo-ga-ga over anybody non-Greek who wants to come to the Greek Orthodox Church or to the Greek community. They are often openly hostile to the “foreigner” or to the Greek who they assume has come to teach them (how they strayed from their tradition or how things have been modernized in their country of origin) even if the newcomer has no such intentions.

      And to end this nonsense about Nationalism as far as the title “Greek” goes, it historically refers to the LANGUAGE used in the church. The language cannot be altered because it is the ORIGINAL language of the gospels and it must be preserved in the living church, in fact it will because Christ promised as much. To want to alter the language altogether is pure and simple a DEVILRY.

      It never mattered to the conscientious Greek Orthodox, if a remnant alone would remain. Rivers of blood have been spilled to keep Greek Orthodoxy unsullied. If the name Greek and the Greek LANGUAGE bothers anyone then they ought to look inside themselves and to go to another place of worship. Having said that, the “community” is not always made up of conscientious Orthodox Christians.

      It is already corrupted by mainstream protestant ideas that are non-Orthodox (too much power is yielded by lay persons, Parish Council etc and they set the tone whether or not they are deeply faithful or educated in their faith or leading lives according to the teachings of the Church) as well as by “greek” people who have little understanding or ties to the religion and come to Church out of tradition.

      Cultivating either of these non-greek or greek tendencies by the priesthood for community/political reasons inside the Church is highly toxic and damaging in the long run. I disagree with the article and its concerns. It is not an article about the Church in the world, it is an article of the World about the Church. And is Fr. Kehayas not the one who has been embroiled in bringing down an Archbishop? What good can come from a man who has instigated trouble within the church in this manner?

      Here is an article of his that that does exactly the same in the web, stirring nothing but trouble of the kind Saint Paul asked us to abstain from and it comes from the same source. Appalling!

  77. I may sound bitter but this is how my heart feels after all these years as a so-called "greek".
    I want nothing to do with greeks anymore. All they teach eachother is pride and to worship their flag. You can mock our Lord Jesus all you want as long as you never speak ill of the motherland.

    I'd been saved by the Lord from a life of atheism and hatred and since going to a Greek Orthodox Church, I've had my heart broken over and over and over and over by the insistence on keeping a language that nobody understands and sacrificing their children's and grandchildren's spiritual life to honor a language while still asking where all the teens and young adults are.

    I stuck around as long as I could but I've had enough of this circus. I'll be going to an OCA parish and that Greek flag worshiping fiasco can become nothing more than a memory.

    Every Greek "church" that closes isn't a loss. You have to have something in order to lose it.

  78. Rebecca Avgoystatos on

    Good Afternoon all. I am second generation Greek living in Melbourne Australia. The Greek Churches in Melbourne are full of under 30 plus age group who’s first language is English then Greek. The liturgy is done in English and Greek. My daughter is five years old and is learning 3 languages and enjoys church for this reason. The younger children are exposed to different language the advantage they start to understand it more than anyone else. I understand both languages
    And believe its important to keep the Greek tradition. In Australia second third generation Greeks are proud! We have our Greek Orthodox Church full of young people who aren’t even Greek or speak Greek!

  79. Gail Anna Cardinal Kalish on

    I am only 1/2 Greek, but I am 100 percent Greek Orthodox. I have to say that I have experienced everything negative from one time or another, but, I love my Church, I love my rich heritage. The two are so entwined into each other. I will fight to the end for my religion & heritage!

    • Dear Gail, I love your comment, but please…. enough with the “only half”! I am half Greek but feel “Greeker” than many Greek Americans who are 100% Greek. I have had Greek people (not in Greece, but here in the US) learn that I am Greek and immediately they say “you don’t look Greek” (which is ridiculous because both of my Greek aunts have red hair and freckles, and they are 100% Greek!). Then they dig deeper and the minute they hear that only my father was Greek, they’re vindicated – “Oh, you’re only half”. I cannot stand that! Meanwhile, no one in Greece has ever met me and cared that I’m “only half” – nor does anyone ever get hung up on “you don’t look Greek”, perhaps because in Greece people realize that Greeks come in many different forms – not everyone has dark hair, olive skin and brown eyes.

      So, no more apologies for being “only half”. I am Greek! You are Greek!

      • The Orthodox Church is much bigger than those that are dying to know our ethnicity and heritage. Sometimes the question is not prejudicial but really just curiosity. I’ve found myself on both sides,explaining to Greeks how I can be Orthodox and not Greek, and defending the Greek Orthodox Church as originating from Greek speaking lands yet not nationalistically oriented (when telling someone at an OCA parish that I went to a GOA parish I was asked “are they Greek or Orthodox?” – as a convert I’ve come to realize the two words (Greek Orthodox) are inseparable. While I have no leadership position in the Church, I nonetheless would apologize to those who feel that they have not been met with warmth and open arms at the Church – this is not Orthodoxy. On the other hand, relationships are two way streets and we need to give people the benefit of the doubt and let them get to know us. I’m not saying these things are easy. In my 13+ years as Orthodox I’ve seen a lot but we can’t forget the church militant is made of people, prone to failings and sin. We can witness to the truth by being Orthodox, in both profession of faith and praxis (action). Fr. Florovsky (a non-Greek) stated in a lecture at Princeton University, “If Russians and Americans do not become Greeks, neither will they be saved, nor the world!” this he explained meant Greek Orthodox – Hellenized Christianity. This is the Hellenism of the Byzantine East. Not the Ancient, Pagan Greece that Westerners thought they were supporting as Greece sought independence from the Ottomans. Where we have failed is in imparting the “specialness” of our Faith to future generations. Telling our unchurched, unbaptized 4 year old to suddenly come to Church for grandma’s memorial and ask them to sit through 90 minutes is not a recipe for success (not discounting the Spirit’s ability to move people). If we’re not committed to our Church, or only on Sundays or special holidays, then neither will our children be. If we don’t really teach our children how to participate in the church and “make it their own” then it’s not wonder people will fall way. As has been pointed out a length, this is not a Greek problem but it’s a problem for all jurisdictions, denominations (if you prefer the term) etc. The Church offers us a lot, She is our Comfort and Our Protection, if we choose to accept it.

  80. John – we help them understand the services, we get them excited about music of church (I’ve always like the idea of the Apolytikion of the Parish as a ‘Parish Fight Song’), the sacraments, the Saints. We don’t merely turn Orthodoxy on when we step into the Church, but we leave the Church transfigured, with renewed strength and live that life in the world. Children are very perceptive, from very early on, and if parents are looked to as the role model, then children’s behaviors will take cues from them. While I’m not a parent, this seems clear to me from those I know who have maintained their faith as they’ve gotten older – as they’ve had families that are committed. I’m not saying this is easy, but this is ultimately the key, if the Church doesn’t penetrate into our lives, then it becomes relegated to something that’s only talked about, a spectator sport, perhaps a cultural thing (for some, yes, part of being Greek, or Arab, or Russian etc.).

  81. Pingback: The Pappas Post HIV/AIDS and the Greek Orthodox Church. A New Voice - The Pappas Post

  82. Charles John on

    Being that about 10% of the populAtion actually attends church in Greece, I find this to be a natural balance. Church is overrated, but Greek Pride is not! We need to find other ways to congregrate besides church. At the end of the day, it falls on the family to take an interest on the youth, and help guide them to right answers.

    • it’s amazing. The article at the top of this thread is entitled, “90% of Americans with Greek Roots No Longer in Communion with Greek Orthodox Church”. One might have expected some discussion about what this means for the Church, and how it might be addressed. The problematic is whether any solution ought to address “Americans with Greek Roots” as such, or just “Americans”, or indeed just “people”.

      Yet the comments for the most part hardly for a moment come around to the question of helping people to remain in the faith; they keep coming back to why it’s important to preserve “our rich Greek heritage”. As one correspondent put it, “I’ll fight for what’s important!”, which is “our Greek culture”!

      So now you point out that only “about 10% of the populAtion actually attends church in Greece”, and you “find this to be a natural balance”. You conclude, “Church is overrated, but Greek Pride is not!”

      Those who drift away from the church in America are not going to be floating around in the safe harbor of an Orthodox culture, as they are in Greece. So within one generation, those 90% who are no longer in communion with the church have no connection with the church whatsoever. The Orthodox church is not the default choice where they would go on the odd impulse to go to church. And in fact if they did go, they would usually find it foreign and unintelligible. They have assimilated, or will have assimilated, to american culture. They are no longer Greeks, but Americans, one of whose parents may have a Greek surname. And this means that spiritually, they will have assimilated to its several religious options as well. Those “Greek heritage”, those “ethnic roots” matter less and less after Yiayia dies. If they engage in any spiritual endeavor, it’ll be Buddhism, or some christian megachurch, or…. something. Or they’ll be “spiritual but not religious”.

      As long as Orthodoxy in this country is synonymous with being Greek, Orthodoxy, as such, will be and is rapidly becoming a dead letter. But to a Greek, that’s really not so important, because “Church is overrated, but Greek Pride is not!”

      Greek pride is sheer idolatry. It’s killing the church, and the church will die because of it. Oh, of course the “Church” does not die, but it can die out from a place. And if “Church is overrated, but Greek Pride is not!”, it will surely do so, for God will put up with idolatry only so long.

      To a person whose only connection with Greece is that he is Orthodox, this is a sad prospect, but at the same time, a necessary and good one, that’s actually to be greeted with some sense of relief. Greeks just don’t get it, and i’m not sure they even can. Therefore, a cleansing is not only necessary, but it WILL take place, and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop it. The headline above announces the fact that this cleansing is already well under way. And what is the response? Not concern for the Church, but concern for Our Greek Heritage!

      So you say, “At the end of the day, it falls on the family to take an interest on the youth, and help guide them to right answers.” As if the family were everything that the Church is, as if families did not need to be part of something bigger. But not only will whatever Orthodoxy was left in the family dissipate, as people marry outside the faith, but even the Greek Heritage will dissipate as well. The church was the center of the Greek community, but do you think there will remain a Greek community in this country when there is no longer a church? And do you think families will be “Greek” when there is no longer a Greek community in which and to which this is important, especially when only one of the two parents (for whom “Church is overrated” anyway) had some grandparental background in Greece?

      From a Christian standpoint (the only one a non-Greek, Orthodox faithful is interested in), it’s good that the Greek community is dying out, because it’s a shackle on the Church, an impenetrable wall that outsiders can’t breach. That’s neither good nor bad; it’s just the nature of a strongly ethnic community in a “diaspora” situation, and particularly of a community that has never really been interested in welcoming outsiders into its bosom, not least for fear of being “diluted”.

      I’ve been a member of Greek parishes, and liked the people there, but I’m an outsider to them, to their Greek famlies and to their Greek culture, and always will be. I did flirt with grecophilia a bit, when i was young and when i was newly Orthodox. But it would always be a costume that i would put on, not really an identity as such. So in fact, despite the fantasy of many Greeks, from bishop on down, i have no interest in it. I’m an American, whose family has been here since 1630— and some were Native Americans who have been here almost since time began. So for me, ORTHODOXY IS NOT and CANNOT BE ABOUT BEING “GREEK”, and insofar as the Greek Orthodox Church and its members jointly and severally remain hung up on “Greek Pride”, the “GREEK” CHURCH IS DESTROYING ORTHODOXY!! Or— as I prefer to think of it more hopefully— it is dying, so that the precious seed it brought to these shores may sprout anew.

      But you can’t see that. You will continue to “fight for what’s important” to you. And the “Greek Church”, as an institution, really has no idea how to go about evangelizing its own people. It has never had to, as long as it could rely on its ethnic community for its momentum, and so it really doesn’t have a clue. But what the article is saying, and what people have begun to realize, is that its days are at their end.

      From now on, there will be no more “Greek Orthodoxy”. There will be “Orthodoxy”, and some Americans of Greek descent will be part of it.

      They are most welcome.

  83. So many falsehoods have been posted in the comments to this article because this is a false posting putting forth a false premise. Commenters are falsely commenting on an article that never fronted the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese’s page. The Greek Orthodox Church is alive and well and growing dynamically through maintaining its traditions AND through intermarriage. The “Greek traditions” in the name imply no nationalistic pride but the maintenance of worship in the original language of the Gospels (Greek) and the maintenance of the Judaic worship elements of the hellenized Jews who spoke Greek at the time of Christ. The Greek Orthodox Church recognizes no nationality as superior and is all inclusive. Below is the aforementioned, misquoted page of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. “No lie shall live in the ages” says the Bible and “the Truth shall set you free”. Rather than many flocking from the Orthodox Church, many come to it. It is for the truth preserved in the Greek language and the Greek Orthodox tradition that they will keep coming: http://www.goarch.org/archdiocese/departments/marriage/interfaith/guest-writers/for-us-and-the-church-we-love-the-time-is-now

    • Maria I usually don’t comment personally on posts because I don’t have the time to get entangled in arguments but when someone makes blatantly erroneous and outright misinformed comments, I have a responsibility to respond. First, you should click the link where the original article originated and you’ll be surprised to see that in fact the article “fronted the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese’s page.” Secondly, if you have issues with the findings or contents of the article, perhaps you should take them up with Mr. Kehayas who wrote the piece, or the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, which posted the original story on its website. Please don’t make your own false accusations about The Pappas Post published a “false post” with a “false premise.”

  84. Mr Pappas, the article is one of many in the Goarch website. It never “fronted” the Archdiocese’s website. I’ll grant you you never used the way “fronted” but your start is misleading as if this article holds a prominent place. Unless one follows you link, one may not even know this was ever part of the Goarch readings. So I find you must have a reason and agenda to give it such prominence.

    The complete article is linked on my first link. The portion you have presented -you are correct- I should have an issue with GOARCH for having printed it out of context.
    This, however, also does not allow you to pick on the content of even the posted article, as if the main point is that 90% of Americans of Greek roots drop their connection with the church. That is a indeed a falsehood, as the main point of the article that you are linking as well as the one from which it was extracted, is that the church has an opportunity in growth through intermarriage and that mathematically speaking the church should consider the complications of intermarriage and welcome its implications.

    The author is an engineer who likes to dabble in numbers. Unfortunately he does not provide sources to check said numbers -how did he keep track of the “90%” that has fallen off? He starts off with a USA News and World report for the general public and goes on to do some math (geometric progression) showing that interfaith marriage is better for the growth of the church than intermarriage, also going on to hand-waving assumptions that Greek families have few kids, that only old people go to church and blah, blah.

    My experience in the church has been quite different and I have traveled around the country. Yes, the author as an engineer may be missing the fact that it is not the numbers that measure the importance of a church but how true it remains “as a remnant” (a name for God’s elect in the Bible) to its spiritual life.

    Yes, I do have an issue with many of the things the author is reporting but because he puts forth practicalities that represent a “reformist” faction in the Church that is not concerned with spirituality, dislikes the Greeks that come from Greece, wishes to separate the Church from its roots and denies that at a grassroots level it is the Greeks from Greece that provide major support to the existence of the Greek Orthodox Church. This is why he picks a number 90% out of a hat without any source. His point is also: “it is meaningless to pay attention to the Greeks and the Greek identity, let’s do conversions through intermarriage.” However, the Church is wise and lets everyone speak their turn as it knows that if something is true it will last, if false it will perish. It allows this man to talk and exposes his opinion to the light. This is not the official position of the church nor was this an editorial or a feature, just an opinion column lost in the archives, not representing the official position of the church. In short: if you did not read it by the hand of the Patriarch or the Archbishop it is not official.

    Though you get many good comments on your posting, many of the comments start from a point of contest with the church based on the point you chose to pick, falsely, again as it is not the main point of the article, but a false premise. Whether you like the characterization or not this is what you are doing on my opinion.

    People with Greek ethnic roots lost away from the Church live not just in America. There are many more such Greeks living in Turkey as Muslim-Turks and Neoturks.

    A Greek without his church is a lost sheep and a lost sheep to his nationality as well. Both the Church, and the Greek nation will continue to fare as well as God wills, till the End of time, irrespective of sheep being lost. There is plenty more sheep to be found, as long as the spiritual identity of the Church remains untainted.

    • Like I said before… You clearly have a problem with the author, his findings and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, which published this piece on their official website. We took exact quotes from the story at hand and even offered a link back to the original story on the website that hosted it. As far as my “agenda”… Having served in the past on parish councils, Archdiocesan Council and numerous and repeated positions locally, on the Metropolis level and on the national level of the church and in various capacities, I would suggest you keep your accusations and innuendo to yourself. As far as your own experience with your church, I’m thrilled that you feel the way you do and am happy your experience with Greek Orthodoxy in America has been so wholesome and fulfilling. The reality, however, is that many people do not feel the way you do and their experiences have not been the same as yours. And they are free, on this website, to express themselves and their own personal experiences. God Bless America, right? As far as this being the “official position” of the church… Did the article state that? No. It didn’t. The article stated “An article published on the official website of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.” So… Instead of judging, accusing or attempting to paint me in a negative light with your misinformed comments– read the story, look at the links that we linked to, and take your complaints to the author and the website that hosted the author’s piece. And if you still don’t like that, then I suggest you do what every free American is free to do– and read your news on another website.

      • It is no wonder you did not catch the main point of the article, nor any of the commentary I have posted. Your title is misleading. That is not the main point of the article. I am not the one who is misinformed but you are spreading misinformation and of course I comment to point out that both myself and others should get news elsewhere. My point exactly. Have a nice day.

        • Indeed. Or you can start your own website and share your own news… I am having a great day– Thank you!

  85. As for your exact quotes, they are out of context. If you grew up in Greece your catechete might have told you: “The Bible indeed says “there is no God”. Verbatim. And if you take things out of context. In reality the Bible says: the foolish man said “there is no God”. That is what taking things out of context does to the intentioned meaning. Whether or not I agree with the intentioned meaning, you still took your title out of context and that is misinformation, not my commentary.

    • Keep commenting Maria– it adds to the website’s numbers… Really appreciate your feedback. Keep writing… It also elevates the position of the actual article that you seem to hate so much. Keep going… As for the quote– it’s a direct quote and statistic mentioned in the original article– nothing out of context. And I didn’t grow up in Greece, I grew up in the United States and certainly know what “out of context” means.

    • yes, and as GK Chesterton remarked, “Fairy tales do not give the child the idea of the evil or the ugly; that is in the child already, because it is in the world already. Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon. Exactly what the fairy tale does is this: it accustoms him for a series of clear pictures to the idea that these limitless terrors had a limit, that these shapeless enemies have enemies in the knights of God, that there is something in the universe more mystical than darkness, and stronger than strong fear.”

      We should take fairy tales very seriously.

  86. The Greek Orthodox church should take a long hard look at itself and its policies (do some autokritiki) before blaming external factors for its own many shortcomings. I will never forget that during the Dukakis campaign, the Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox church went to pray prior to one of Bush’s speeches. What message was he sending? Did he think long and hard before making this decision? Did he not think that most Greeks would turn against him and by extension the church which he represents. My list of grievances with the Greek Orthodox church is a very long one and I will not bore you with it. To sum up all these grievances, I will just say this: this church is always expecting something from the community but very seldom gives back to the community. Unfair deal, so people just move on….

  87. Atheist Maria on

    Amazing how these kinds of articles invite the echo chamber of devout church-goers, bloviating on why THEY think people have left, instead of actually listening to those that have.
    I am a first-generation Greek American. My parents both are Greek born and raised, came to America as adults. Like many Greeks, they were not particularly devout, but realized in America that one of the few social threads to their heritage was the GO church.

    The problem with this approach is not everyone is Christian or is interested in the GO traditions. Although I was GO baptized, I am an atheist and am simply not interested in attending church. Outside of cities with major Greek cultural concentrations – Toronto, Chicago, Boston, NYC… the GO church is pretty much the only place a person can go to feel any connection to their heritage.

    But therein lies the flaw – it becomes an all-or-nothing situation. If you are interested in the religion, you also have to be 100% Greek by some arbitrary community judgement, as often experienced by converts who find themselves ostracized for not being “Greek” enough. And for those of us born being Greek, we find that to remain tied to our culture, we have to pretend to be interested in a religion that holds no relevance for an increasing number of us.

    I can’t speak to the convert experience, but as someone who is Greek and not religious, I simply find there is no where in America that I can really go to reconnect with my heritage without getting a heaping dose of religiosity, and out of respect to those that do earnestly believe, I refuse to just “pretend” that I am still GO, even though I have been asked to simply go through the motions. And I know I am not alone in that.

  88. Atheist Maria – it’s unfortunate that you feel disconnected from God and that you only see your heritage as something ethnic and national. I guess the Church should be apologizing for being too religious for you despite it being the only place you’ll be able to connect with ‘Greeks like you’? I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. At the end of the day that’s your choice to make as we all have such free will. In this day and age, it seems you could set up group on Facebook or some other social media outlet for a non-religious Greek group, regardless of where you live. It’s unfortunate that your parents did not understand the importance of the Church in the lives of Greeks – as the body of Christ aside, but that it was upon the blood of the martyrs and not without the murder of Greek religious leaders that the freedom of all Greeks from the Turks was achieved. This is your heritage, whether you would believe so or not. That the Church is made up of people that all have their own individual failings is nothing new. That there are misperceptions by both non-Greeks converts and Greeks within the Orthodox church, is again, nothing new. What’s lost on many is that the fullness of Hellenism and what it means to be a Greek is within Orthodoxy and what it means to be Orthodox is inextricably woven with Hellenic ideals. Converts and ethnic Greeks have a lot to learn from one another, including the need for patience and openness. Nonetheless, these are excuses. The irony of your statement is that you don’t see your hellenic culture and its religious traditions as something for everyone, and that perhaps all people can be brought to the fullness of the truth. If on the other hand the occasional lamb on the souvla, rembetiko concert, ad nauseum discussions about how we all have the Cretans to thank for ensuring the Germans lost at Stalingrad is the extent of one’s Greek identity then it’s not a complete understanding, and a particularly insular view. How many Greeks do I see show up at Greek night, at the club, at the Glendis and not at liturgy? Are designer jeans, club music and having enough money to vacation in Greece every year the extent to which one’s Greek heritage is celebrated or is this heritage a treasure to be shared, in all of its aspects, and most importantly, man’s ability to become more than he is – Theosis – becoming like God?

  89. Eva Williams on

    This is very true for most older Greek churches in America, the one I was born and raised in was even like this for me being that I am half Greek, my dad even converted to the church and that still wasn't enough for a lot of people. The kids I grew up with were the meanest about it when I was in Greek school and Sunday School. What I have seen in the last few years is a lot more understanding because there are so many Greeks marrying non-Greeks. I find it ironic, but I do think in some places it is getting better but that all depends on the people and the Priests. My parents left the one church we grew up in and started attending the new Greek church in our city and they have so many kinds of families there, Arabic, Greek, Turkish, Russian, interracial, and they are very welcomed there. I am currently living in Auckland New Zealand and the church I attended at Easter was so welcoming. I think it is hard to lump all the churches into one.

  90. Kyriakos A. Haridis on

    Of all statements in this page, this is the one I related with, the most. But the real problem is the fact, that we are loosing our ties with the religion and the connection with our church environment as it used to be. Secondly, not all priests are the ideal persons for the job.
    Priesthood is not a profession but a "leitourgima". Something that my limited English cannot define completely.
    Is not only the almost theatrical sermon, but the behavior for 24/7. Yes, I have seen real priests, but also some mimicking a priest. I have also heard the bishop or metropolitan giving a homily that made me wonder if love is really what Christ's message was about, or got lost down the centuries.
    So, the fish starts smelling from the head as grand mother used to say. The head of our church, the priest or maybe the ones above him as well, have to realize that there is a need for attitude and behavior readjustment.

  91. Ashley Nevins on

    Three reasons why the Greek Orthodox are dying in America:

    1. Ethnic and theological exclusiveness combined (We are Gods only true Christians in Gods only true GREEK Orthodox church).

    2. Top down authoritarian structure and system of rule (Old world church/state mentality of rule, of foreign rule)

    3. Anti western, rational and modernity mindset.

    The first two result in creating a church culture that is exclusive, closed, isolated and subjective. It is self centered. The last one makes what is exclusive, closed, isolated and subjective highly self protective with a anti mindset towards where it has established itself. Coming here in as an exclusive ethnic ghetto did not help that one bit.

    America is open system, inclusive, pluralistic and freedom of religion. Orthodoxy is anti these things and the opposite of these things. Oil does not mix with water.

    Jesus in the Gospels came to us living relationship in personal relationship with God. He came to us bottom up, open system, inclusive, pluralistic and other centered. There was freedom of choice between Him and dead tradition institutionalized religion.

    Christ came to us evangelical and protesting. He did not come to us compliant and conforming to authoritarian systemic corruption that was unrepentant in its corporate bondage. He did not come to us as the Orthodox came to us in America. They came to us as the omission of the Great Commission. In other words, they came here as the omission of Jesus. Their ethnic culture and dead religion are their priority over evangelism and protest. Their identity is their ethnicity and religion and not the living Christ. Those things are on its lips and not the salvation of Jesus Christ alone. They like telling people that they are the Orthodox! Orthodox! Orthodox! But, they don’t share much about Christ our only salvation. Being right in their religion traditions trumps being evangelistic for Christ.

    I do not see where in the Gospels Christ came to us a merger of Christ and the dictatorship state as one. What I see is the Sanhedrin and Roman state could not have another God beside them. What I see is that their Orthodox structure and system of dictatorial rule power and control cannot have another God beside its exclusive self in its exclusive claim. To the Romans only they could be the King in rule. The Sanhedrin and Romans UNITED were quite the team. I would say Christ came to as the opposite of that kind of unity, you think? I believe He INTENTIONALLY came as the opposite of that as unity with God. He did it on purpose. They expected Him to show up differently than He did, right? He came as humility in sacrificing service and not as authoritarian self centered and self protective pride in rule power and control. Is the GOA of today authoritarian self centered and self protective in its rule power and control? Are you getting a lesson in how to compare a dead religion church to the living Christ in the Gospels?

    This exclusiveness has led the GOA to a self idolatrous viewpoint of itself. It has replaced the authority and power of God with itself and the church has gone systemically corrupt and powerless because of that. God has taken His hands of this church and left it to own powerless devices to operate itself by. In reality the Orthodox forced the living God out and replaced Him with dead tradition institutionalized religion that operates in its own authoritarian power and control. It rules in power over and not by humility in service come under. It pushes down and does not come under and raise up. It push down molds and does not bottom up raise up transform. It has been pushed down into it grave while the Christianity around it operates resurrected from the grave. Telling is the difference.

    Gods only true Christians in Gods only true church in America have an exclusivity problem that their exclusivity will never solve. They have replaced the authority and power of God with their exclusive selves and it all has gone systemically corrupt and dying.

    The only solution is corporate repentance of sin that breaks the systemic corporate bondage. However, the senior leadership of the GOA is unrepentant of their sin and so they will not be leading the GOA through any corporate repentance or bondage breaking process.

    The line between the exclusive claim and turning your church into God is thin and easily crossed. It has been crossed.

    The GOA has turned itself into a Christian cult. A Google of the words ‘Christian cult church criterion’ will reveal this. There are Christian objective, rational and modern criterion to compare against to determine this state of church. There is also Jesus in the Gospels in His comparison to those who opposed Him. He confronted what we today would call a dead religion cult that had a exclusive perspective of itself. It had turned itself into God and only listened to its exclusive idolatrous self as God. That is why it would not listen to God Jesus and repent.

    When a church exclusively believes it is Gods only true Christians, Gods only true rulers and Gods only true church that is the set up for self idolatry that will turn a church into a cult when it is combined with a exclusive top down authoritarian structure of rule power and control. It is easy for such exclusiveness to turn itself into God and God does not have to repent. The GOA will not be repenting returning to God.

    The GOA is over in America. It can be over and continue to exist. Those Christ confronted in the Gospels continued to exist. Christ simply paradigm shifted left them behind to die in their exclusive we alone are right dead religion paradigm. They were physically alive but spiritually dead. The living dead. The church of the living dead is the GOA. It is a cult.

    GO how systemically corrupt, abusive, authoritarian, unrepentant, powerless and dying does it all have to become before you admit that the GOA has turned itself into a Christian cult church?

    No resurrect the GOA from the dead strategy is going to work without the hierarchy leading the church through a process of corporate repentance and systemic bondage breaking. The hierarchy has to be repentant to lead the church into repentance, restoration and revival. They have to have integrity in transparency and accountability and they must face consequences for leading the GOA into a corrupt, irrelevant, cultic, abusive, immature, incompetent and dying state. If the church uses unrepentant systemic corrupt senior leaders to try to reverse its dying course that will fail by their unrepentant sin.

    This is the simple process of how God deals with a unrepentant church and leadership:

    Unrepentance to Gods discipline to Gods judgement to Gods condemnation to church death.

    The GOA is experiencing the last stage. It is in a state of church death. Jesus came as the truth that sets us free and not as the lie that puts us in bondage that leads to church death (John 8:31-59)

    Jesus rules by life. Who then is the god that rules over church death? Is it the unseen by the religion dead idol god of John 8:42-44? How did their orthodox tradition react to hearing Christ tell them this about themselves?

    Yes, Greek Orthodox keep handing your God given power over to the idol you right believe in and right worship and watch it use that power to destroy your church with. That idol is powerless and so it has to steal your power to prop itself up with to deceive you into believing it was God in authority that appointed these corrupt and unrepentant men in authority over you. God your church told you that they are and you believe that lie of unrepentant corruption. The are leading you right over the irrelevancy oblivion cliff never to repent return to God. You are powerless to stop them for handing your power over to them. No here one is saying this is what happened.

    Jesus backed His protesting words up with evangelizing action that put Him at risk. Jesus was both protestant and evangelical in the Gospels. They then took up stones to kill the evangelical protesting Jesus. The dead religion church has killed Jesus in its midst. Now it cannot in its own powerlessness without the power of the Holy Spirit resurrect itself from the dead.

    If the Greek Orthodox acted with the authority of Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit they could see their church resurrected from the dead, but, alas, they are powerless unrepentant to do that. Its just safer to talk on a forum and moan, whine and complain than it is to take action for Christ that puts you at real risk. Talk is cheap and action is expensive. You get the church you pay the Christ price for, take the Christ risk for and make the Christ sacrifice for. GO, with that in mind what do you really have as a church in the reality of the real world? Is what you have what you exclusively believe who and what you claim to be?

    Unrepentance is powerless.

    Repentance is powerful.

    Which one is the GOA in its dead religion church cult state?

    Yes, I know, it is impossible that Gods only true Christians in Gods only true church could turn their church into a Christian cult. It is too exclusive Gods only right and true to do that to itself. By its exclusive claim it alone is Gods objective spiritual standard that determines the God correctness of Christians and churches outside of it and so it cannot be a cult. If it was a cult it could not be Gods exclusive comparison. It could not be who and what it exclusively claims to be.

    This corrupt, irrelevant, cultic and dying church wants Christians not of it to covert to it to become what it is in the real world. It believes those not of it are deceived heretic’s practicing apostasy with highly suspect salvation, if they have salvation at all. Greek Orthodox salvation that cannot stop the GOA from imploding is the comparison and not Christ alone or Gods Word. The only way to correctly interpret the Gospels and NT is through the Greek Hellenic and it is obvious how that exclusive interpretation has turned out for them in their exclusive church.

    Those Jesus confronted also exclusively believed they were Gods only right worship, right belief, right theology, right structure and system of rule, right fathers, right traditions and right salvation. They believed Jesus Christ God was wrong in comparison to them. They had replaced God with themselves as God and so they only listened to their exclusive selves as God and they went corrupt without God for that. They could not repent to the one true God to return to Him for making themselves the God that must be repented too. They were Gods only comparison in their exclusive orthodox minds and then God showed up and compared them and exposed them for who and what they really were in the real world outside of their deceived unreal world that had a delusional viewpoint of itself.

    Someone outside of you wrote this to you. I am someone who live in the reality of the real world. I have been accused of being a evangelical who protests. Its my church DNA and spiritual gift showing through. I am not afraid of the GOA or what it might do to me in my protest that does not just talk, but instead takes action that backs its talk up. I am not a powerless religious codependent who has handed his God given power over to a systemically corrupt and unrepentant cultic religious dictatorship. I do not by enabling hold the cloaks of those who murder Christ and His church. I call them for who and what they really are, liars who lie to steal power to prop their lie of power up and so they can then murder the church with that power handed over to them. I don’t chit chat around the reality of that taking place. I don’t mince words about liars, thieves and murderers in rule over a church and those who allow them to rule over them. I can see the true ruler behind the scenes and ruling over this dead religion church pulling all the puppet pawn strings driving it to its church death. What he rules over does not repent and because he is beyond the repentance return to God point. He EXCLUSIVELY wants to be exclusive God. He can appear with the outer veneer of the good of God but under the surface he is rotten to his lying core and will rot a church that turns itself OVER to him to a lying rotten core end. He is the ultimate cult leader who turns the church into a cult subtly without notice over time and then it is too late.

    When a church by self idolatry turns itself into God it abandons God and turns itself over to Satan. It goes systemically corrupt, powerless and cultic when it does. It will not repent return to God for believing it is God. It does not have to state out loud that it is God. It only has to operate like it is God to state that it is God.

    The GOA has a far more serious problem than its implosion. Its far more serious problem is the truth of why it is imploding. All of you are talking about the symptoms that point to the cause of the GOA implosion. I point directly to the cause. If you avoid the cause and believe the symptoms are the cause you will never bring solution to the cause, but you will go in powerless circles with yourselves trying to resurrect your church from its unrepentant and dead religion state.

    The Archdiocene Council Congress taking place this week is just an attempt of the GO leadership to resurrect the church from the dead. Mark my words. All of my predictions of the GOA come true. All of them. Any strategy will fail within 5 years of its implementation. The real threats to any such strategy will be denied and they will destroy any strategy.

    There are three OBVIOUS threats to any GOA growth and relevancy development strategy. Does anyone in the GOA know what they are?

    +Gerasimos says one of the threats is the moral failure of other churches. Is the EP and his appointed GOA hierarchy moral?

    That is just one insight into why any strategy will fail. I have several more, but I will leave it Gods only true Christians in Gods only true church to figure out by their exclusive Gods only true truth what they are. They will have to compare their church and its rulers to Christ and the NT with humility. The exclusive who believe they are Gods only true Christians in Gods only true church do not have that kind of humility required to see themselves for who and what they really are by such a comparison. In their exclusivity they are beyond such a comparison.

    Those Jesus confronted by their exclusiveness also believed they were beyond comparison. They hated being compared. Their attitude towards Jesus was, How dare you! Who do you think you are to compare us!?! You are the one who is wrong in comparison to us!

    Jesus in the Gospels is a clear warning to Christians to not to turn their churches into what He confronted or there will be serious consequences. The church that believes it is God does not listen to God. It really only listens to itself as God and so it suffers serious consequences for that idolatry.

    Yes, I know the ARCHONS of the Greek Orthodox Church disagree. I will not be winning any Archon of the church award at one of those posh NYC hotel self glorifying banquets. Why, just a few years back the Archbishop stated that the GOA is the finest Christianity that there is and that the GOA had grown by a million in the previous ten years. All clapped in agreement. Future forward just a few years and is that what the GOA is now saying about its imploding state? He lied. He lied to steal power to prop his lie of power up. The hierarchy tells lies and no one holds them transparent and accountable with consequences that would remove their corruption. Instead all are gathered at the congress with the hope that these corrupt men can lead the GOA out of its imploding demographic state. They led it into this state and now they are going to lead it out and that makes perfect sane and rational sense to those at the congress. They don’t have a delusional perspective of themselves, the hierarchy or the church, right? Why if they were delusional that would mean that the church is unstable at risk of coming apart due to the instability the delusion creates. Best to put on the best unity by corruption face and ignore the reality of what is causing the GOA to die a slow, ugly and painful church death.

    A Christian cult church has the outer image of a real church, but behind the pretty window dressing it really operates like what? Conduct the comparison to answer the question. Think for yourself without the church culture of corruption indoctrination thinking for you. Know you have been ingrained into and generationally transmitted into this culture of church corruption when you do the comparison. The GOC came to America in this systemically corrupt state and it has never corporately repented or spiritually bondage broke away from this state. As a result of being indoctrinated by this totalitarian, exclusive, closed, isolated and subjective church system you are at great risk of MISSING what such a comparison will tell you in truth about the state of the GOA.

    If you haven’t missed it then why is the GOA in this unrepentant, corrupt, incompetent, immature, cultic and dying state? What, you rely on the hierarchy to tell you what the state of the church is and why it is in this state? You then expect them to lead the church out of this state? What have you compared them too to know they are spiritually mature and competent enough to do that? Oh, I see, by their exclusiveness as Gods only true rulers in Gods only exclusively true church they are the leadership competency and spiritually mature standard all church leaders outside of them are measured against to determine their spiritual maturity and competency before God. No need to do the comparison against those who are the comparison and therefore beyond comparison, right?

    Exclusiveness leads to STOP THINK and I would encourage you to understand what stop think is and what causes it. Stop think will never find a solution to the self destructive state of the GOA. Exclusiveness of this kind is only really relevant to itself and so that will its solution that will never lead the exclusive GOA to solution.

    I for one will not eat the scraps off of the elders plate. His exclusiveness will not make me holy or bring me salvation. His eaten scraps would flush down the toilet like everything else I eat. Of course, he is not a threat to any resurrect the church from the dead strategy, correct? Between him and the hierarchy the GOA is going to be resurrected from its dead religion state?

    There is simply no easy way of telling the GO who they have handed their church over too and what they have turned it into. I don’t believe their exclusivity believes a word of this, that they are a Christian cult church who has abandoned God and turned itself over to Satan.

    There will be no attitude or behavior adjustment coming to the GOA. To believe that it will come would be like believing that the GO are Gods only true Christians in Gods only true church. If you believe that lie you will end up in their same state. You will be corrupted and then you will deny the lie you believed that corrupted you. In fact, you will believe that the exclusive lie somehow protects you from being corrupted. You will become just like those Jesus faced. They too did not see what their exclusive viewpoint lie of themselves turned them into subtly over time and then it was too late for them to repent return to God for having turned themselves into God and salvation. As God they were exclusively only relevant to themselves.

    Oops! Now I am in Orthodox trouble! I’m not an Orthodox and dare to tell them who that they are and why they are who that they are in the real world outside of their delusional exclusive world that they live in. I just popped the bubble in the popped GOA imploded bubble.

    Like the GOA has never been told before in America is this. Now watch the raise the church from the dead strategy with the cover name of a church growth and relevancy development strategy fail.

    The GOA is the finest Christianity that there is and so it can’t fail. What is so God exclusive right and true cannot fail. All churches outside of the GOA are the ones in a state of failure for their not converting over to Greek Orthodoxy. The Greeks did the comparison and that is their conclusion of them. They are heretic’s who practice apostasy in the comparison. They are lost children of the mother church who do not know that they are lost by not being Orthodox. They don’t know what they are missing by not being of this systemically corrupt and unrepentant in bondage church.

    Good luck resurrecting the GOA from its dead religion Christian cult state of church. You now know what the only solution is that will work. Now by your exclusiveness deny the cause of the problem and its only solution.

    All of this Orthodox talk is going in circles. In ten years it will be the same circular talk that never goes to cause to find the solution. The Greek Orthodox are going to remain circular without solution by denial of the cause of their church death. That circle they are going in is like a closing noose around their stiff proud necks. As the circle shrinks it closes in on them closing all ways of escape until they no longer exist.

    The strategy of the evil one is to encompass surround you and cut off all way of escape. He uses your exclusiveness to do that with. He then closes the circle and destroys you in it. Your exclusiveness will not allow you out of the closing circle it creates and the father of lies uses all of you to destroy your church by your exclusive thinking in viewpoint of yourselves he has deceived you into. You hand yourselves over to him when you replaced God with your church as God and then by his deception he deludes you into using your hands to destroy your church with. He uses your exclusivity to destroy you with and now you are too powerless far too little far too late to stop him. It is so bad among you that you can be told what the problem and solution is and by your exclusivity you will deny them both. That is how he turns you into no repentance return to God and into a Christian cult church.

    Snap goes the stiff proud necks in Satan’s noose. Satan dropped the floor trap door they were standing on out from under them and their proud stiff necks went snap. Now they are twisting in the wind as the rotting dead hanging from the gallows they built for themselves.

    Satan dances on the dead Greek Orthodox grave buried under 6′ of generationally transmitted unrepentant corporate sin and systemic bondage’s.

    Ashley Nevins

  92. Cheryl Cantillon on

    I married a converted Catholic in 1974. We found our church to be accessible to families. The problem remains the lack of social acceptance based on ethnicity, wealth, and kinship. Our parishioners must make themselves accessible.

  93. Michele, you are right about the Greeks. If you were American born and spoke Greek, forget what they were say to you! The only unity you would see among us, is at the Greek parade. Sad, that it is for one day. Then we go back to be jealous and not wish well for each other. When I go to church it is wonderful to hear the service in Greek. Even you don't understand it.But, because of the mix marriages today, some churches do the services at the same time in Greek and in English.. Even if you do not understand what is being said. The service in Greek is a great tradition that should NEVER disappear and we have one beautiful religion.

  94. Chuck Bradley on

    At 18 I was received into the Orthodox Church by Holy Chrismation at a Greek Orthodox Chuch. I constantly, constantly was asked what my ethnic background and always treated like a 2nd class citizen.

    I am 47 now and have been a member of Parishes of other jurisdictions: particularly OCA parishes and an Antiochian Orthodox parish where no one EVER asks me about my ethnicity or treats me differently. If I was paid a million bucks to attend a GOA parish regularly, I wouldn’t do it. So happy in the OCA. OCA and AOCA are nowhere near perfect, but they seem to understand Great Commission was made by Jesus that His followers should go to all the nation/all the tribes.

    • Unfortunately, some of the behaviour of the Hellenic immigrants that made their way to North America, was very self-serving and narrow minded. They could not see that from the mid-70’s onwards that “new blood,” was not going to come from Ellas. Their know-it-all attitudes, when in fact they were ignorant, has led to this situation. Things can still be salvaged by individuals with critical thinking skills.

  95. Penelope Pappas Sells on

    Evangelos Pappas ….. you share my father's name!!! His parents came from the area near Sparta in the early 1900s. He's been gone a long time, just seeing your name made my day. I still remember the day when I was quite young, when a priest asked about my Anglo-American mother and said " You realize that makes you a mongrel, not a thoroughbred"….. I never felt comfortable or accepted in the church again

  96. so, to move beyond complaining about the ways that some of us have been treated in the past, what do we actually need, as we go forward?

    For instance, I’ve become convinced that one crucial need is for us to understand the Scriptures better than we do. Most of what passes for “bible study” among us is sheer protestantism, not to say pious poppycock. I mean, this is really *huge*, because *no one* has any real training in Scripture. Without that, we naturally fall back on sentimentality and ethnicity.

    We could say the same about our understanding of the church’s liturgy. It’s just not there.

    But i propose these only as examples of the things I think we need if we’re to go forward. You may have other insights. Please share!

  97. I Live in the UK and I am second generation, my parents came from Cyprus. The church is having the same problems here and there are more faiths who are proactive and speak English and friendly to new comers.

    The church needs to move forward and adapt to the country it is in and help the local community as this is what the church had to do in Greece when it first started and convert the Greeks, they were not born Greek Orthodox.

    Doing the service in English and making it more fun for children would be a start and my Scottish wife would understand whats going on too.

    If the church is in France then it should do the service in French.

    It is up to the Church, at the end of the day if they would like to keep the people and convert new ones they need to do something or have to start selling their church’s like some other christen faiths are doing.

    As Greece gets on and shops stay open 24hrs 7days a week(like in the UK) the Greek young people will need a good reason to go and it start hitting home then.

    • And secularism is so great? Murdering babies as they leave the birth canal, politicians who have no moral values, societies with full jails, rampant drug use, its all so wonderful.

  98. John Masterjohn on

    As I read this article, I was overwhelmed with the emphasis on “Greek” rather than the Universal “Orthodox Christian”. My Father married a convert as did I and one of my children. We love the Greek Orthodox Church. The biggest problem is that many of the Greeks are snobs who see the church as their club. The drive away good mixed families and the newly baptized in the faith. The ironic part is that so many of these “Greek” families are so cheap, that many of our churches would not survive if not for the Non Greeks or the part Greeks (As stewardship chairperson at my parish I am comfortable saying this.
    We need all parishioners, especially the OLD Greeks to welcome the newcomers with open arms in the spirit of Christ. These people are the future of our church. If we do not embrace them they will go elsewhere. Orthodoxy in America will be the OCA. We will preserve and grow our church through love and outreach. This needs to start at coffee hour and continue through every aspect of church life.

  99. The issue is very simple. Orthodoxy is a top down centralized structure of authoritarian power and control with a exclusive, closed, isolated, segregated and subjective system. It is a church/state structure and system.

    Christ did not come to us as church/state structure and system . He came to us as bottom up and open system Philippians 2:1-17.

    Christ rejected the idea of merger with the state, a kingdom of this world, in Matthew 4:1-11.

    What is authoritarian and closed as a structure and system is not transparent. What is not transparent is not accountable. What is not accountable goes corrupt. What goes corrupt goes abusive. What goes abusive goes destructive.

    Jesus + Something Else goes corrupt by the idolatry of the something else being equal to God.

    Satan said to Jesus, ‘All these I will give to you if you fall down and worship me’, and that is what has happened to Orthodoxy in ways it will deny if shown to the Orthodox.

    Jesus in John 8:31-59 is a comparison of the system of Christ to the system of Satan. It is a warning to not become like what Christ confronted or there will be serious consequences. The consequences are this, John 8:42-44.

    Satan is authoritarian ruler who is a closed system of power and control and he is structurally and systemically corrupt. If you mimic, duplicate or practice his structure and system you will go corrupt as a church. The degree that a church does mimic, duplicate or practice his structure and system is the degree that it goes corrupt.

    The GO did not come to America as the evangelism of the Christ Commission. They came here omitting it and therefore omitted Christ from their church and now are suffering the consequences of their self idolatry in their exclusive viewpoint of themselves. When you omit Christ you create a void and evil fills the void as God in ways that those who allow that will not see and will deny if shown.

    The props that hold Orthodoxy up in places like Russia and Greece do not work in western rational freedom of religion America. In America a church must stand up on its own two Jesus feet and walk like Jesus walked. Christ alone and not Christ plus something else is what works.

    The props have come out from under the GO in America. Their church has fallen to the ground and cannot stand up. Their church was built upon a foundation of Christ plus something else and that foundation is corrupt and it collapsed due to the idolatry of the plus something else as God propping it up.

    Satan is pure self idolatry who wants to be God. Self idolatry is what got him thrown out of heaven. Self idolatry was the strategy he used in the Garden. Self idolatry is the GOC that has fallen down and can’t stand up on its self idolatry. Satan fell and those who follow him fall with him.

    Christ + Satan = The Death of the GOA.

    The dead will disagree and when their church is corrupt, failed, irrelevant, cultic, abusive and DYING. That denial exposes the degree that their church is dead. What they feel or think does not matter in their subjective, closed and isolated system disagreement. What is the objective rational practical reality of their dying state of church and why it is dying is what matters.

    The reasons why the Orthodox cannot hear this is because of the same reasons why those Christ confronted in John 8:31-59 would not listen too or believe Him. Christ confronted self idolatry in the Gospels. Self idolatry really only listens to its exclusive self as God over God and that is why it goes corrupt by idolatry of itself.

    Orthodoxy in America represents less than 1% of Christianity here. It has the most to lose. It is losing by self idolatry. The largest jurisdiction in America is demographically imploding for exclusive self idolatry reasons.

    Jesus in the Gospels confronted a cult of self idolatry. They too believed they were Gods only true worship, theology, structure and system, history, fathers, traditions and salvation. What Christ confronted was a top down centralized structure of authoritarian religious rule power and control that was an exclusive, closed, isolated, segregated and subjective system. They were proud, arrogant and self righteous in their we are the exclusive only right and true of God self centered viewpoint they had of themselves that saw themselves as superior.

    Christ came to us the opposite of the structure and system He confronted to make the objective and stark comparison that could not be missed by how radically different He was in how He came to us. The Orthodox come to us as more of what Christ confronted than who and how Christ came to us in the Gospels. He came to us as a other centered humble servant and not as a proud self centered dictator.

    Jesus confronted a cult. A cult is based upon self idolatry with an exclusive viewpoint of itself. A cult is a top down authoritarian structure and exclusive closed system. A cult is systemically corrupt. A cult does not listen and it cannot be wrong about itself.

    Yes, I know, what the Orthodox believe about themselves. The Orthodox are just too Gods only true church exclusively God right to be a cult. Those not of them do not have salvation and are heresy that practices apostasy in comparison to them. The Orthodox are Gods objective only spiritually correct standard of measure that determines what other churches are in comparison to who they claim to be and the Orthodox church is corrupt.

  100. A certain amount of Greek ethnicity in our church is the social glue necessary for our survival as a small dispersed minority. However the Divine mission of the Orthodox Church is perpetuation of our faith, not the survival of Greek language or culture. The trick is to maintain a functional balance. A parish should include just enough ethnicity to accommodate those who need it. However, it should not be exclusive. Yes, Greek hymns inject uplifting mysticism. But Greek language Gospel and Epistle readings, reciting the Creed and Lords prayer in Greek, saying the Consecration Prayer in Greek, and delivering a Greek sermon might make some
    Greek enthusiasts feel warm and fuzzy. But to English speakers, it breeds religious ignorance and superficialty.

    However to those who value the Greek language as much as or even more than the Orthodox faith, I guess this is alright!

  101. Christina H. on

    This article touches on the problem but doesn’t speak of much in the way of a solution. I suspect that this is because the Orthodox church worldwide is slow to make any changes whatsoever in response to changes in society. And on the whole, this is good, because the church is God’s hand in the world and it can’t be guided by the world.

    On the other hand! I’m one of those people counted in the attrition figure, and I never wanted to be. I chose to marry a non-Greek, non-Christian. I wrongly thought as a young person that my husband’s faith had no bearing on my faith in the eyes of God, who would always know my faith was as strong as ever. But I didn’t know that the church had a different opinion. My first introduction to this as a young Orthodox newly married adult was to be told by a priest that I could not be godmother to my nephew because I was not in “good standing”. I was mortified and shocked. This information has caused me to be distant from the church for my whole adult life.

    I am perfectly happy building my relationship with God outside the Orthodox church. I do not believe that Orthodoxy is the only form of Christianity and I know many God-fearing, reverent non-Orthodox Christians. I miss taking communion greatly. I miss going to service regularly. I miss being a part of a Greek community greatly.

    So the church has an attrition problem; it is true. But it is the church pushing away people who would otherwise be happy to come for reasons that I personally do not agree with. My husband is now a baptized and believing Christian, no thanks to the Orthodox church for excluding him and our marriage. He is not interested in remarrying me inside the Orthodox church, and I can hardly blame him, because the past exclusion still stings. Additionally, the Orthodox church is unwelcoming toward gays, which I have grown up accepting, but others find this exclusion to be a deal-breaker in a religious community and they seek a more open congregation that welcomes all of God’s children. The Orthodox church is purposefully exclusive and this is why it is bleeding members. It’s not about which parts of the service are in Greek. It’s not about which percentage of the service is Greek. It’s about purposeful exclusion. You cannot be so exclusive and on purpose, and then be surprised that you are about to die a death caused by no membership.

    To me, the saddest part of this is that I cannot pass down my love of Greek and Orthodox traditions to my children. They will never be able to feel the deep joy I feel when I hear the hymns of my childhood. They will never be brought to tears by those songs. And they should, because those hymns and songs are in their blood, passed down through centuries of Greek heritage. They cannot go to Sunday school, Greek school, or Greek dance lessons, because my local parish excludes children of parents who are not in “good standing.” This is a cultural and religious crime.

    If the Orthodox church wants to survive, the path is simple. Embrace your descendants and embrace all of God’s children. Welcoming the people who want to come to the church but who have been excluded by the clergy and leadership will instantly cause a flood of vibrant new blood in the church.

  102. Tyler Sanders on

    Which is more common of the marriages Greek men with non Greek women or Greek women with non Greek men?

  103. News flash! It’s already too late for many reasons. Not the least of which is the generally clueless hierarchy who have yet to grasp the reality of 20th century America, let alone the 21st century. When our leaders will care more about the people and their struggles – and how the love of God can be a reality for them – instead of being obsessed with the their pectoral crosses and meaningless and outdated emperor crowns, things will continue to deteriorate at a rapid rate. The Church is a sorry and shameful mess. I speak as one who has had a front row seat.

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