Tuesday, October 14, 2003

The New York Times today compares percentages of the world's Christians in 2000 to what they were in 1900. The bad news is for Eastern Orthodox, who were about 22% then and have shrunk to just below half that today - 10% of the pie. The biggest drop of any grouping in the stats. (Anglicans took the second biggest cut, down a third, from under 6% to under 4%.) I dare say they've got bigger problems than a calendar, nationalism and jurisdictional turf wars.

A possible cause is that in 1900 many in Russia's vast imperial population (but not all) would have been listed as Orthodox; not so now after Communism secularized that country. But half? I don't think the change in Russia can account for all those people, but I could be wrong.

My guess is the Oriental Orthodox are included under 'Orthodox'.

Apostolic Christians still far outnumber Protestants - the number of Christians is still half Catholic, quoth the Times - but are down from about 73% in 1900 to 60% in 2000.

I wonder who they call 'Independents' (the group that mushroomed) - wouldn't these simply be Protestants? They might mean Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses, but not many people realize these groups aren't Christian churches.

Protestants have shrunk from about 20% to about 16% but if you count the 'Independents' as Protestants then their number has shot up to just over a third of the total.

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