Friday, October 24, 2008

Orthodox convert boomlet: not over?
And getting mainstream media attention. More.

In a survey of 1,000 people from two Orthodox denominations, the Greek Archdiocese (America’s largest, which seems to have the least converts — more exclusively ethnic) and the old Russian Metropolia (Slavs in Pennsylvania and Ohio like in The Deer Hunter):
Thousands of members had converted to the faith as adults: 29% of Greek Orthodox are converts, as are 51% of the OCA.
Like the Antiochians (whose born members include Arab-American actor Jamie Farr) who pioneered the boomlet, a sea change in a small church!

Traditionalists meet would-have-been Newmans (to know history is to cease to be Protestant):
“In the case of Roman Catholics, those are mainly people who are not quite happy with the reforms of the Second Vatican Council; they are looking for the Catholic Church as it used to be...” said Alexei Krindatch, the Orthodox Institute’s research director. “In the case of evangelical Christians, those are people who have very strong personal beliefs, they know the Bible very well, they are frequent churchgoers, and eventually they want to join an established church with deep, historical roots.”
Not established in the political sense.
“In all possible measures, belonging to a church is more important to Orthodox than [Roman] Catholics.”
Probably a difference between, in the West, very small churches with committed members (and I think this was a survey of churchgoers: what of all the ethnics who never go to church?) and huge ones with lots of nominal members (there are RC parishes bigger than Episcopal dioceses), not anything inherent between the two sides (whose real difference is to do with the scope of the Pope).
The study’s other findings showed a majority of Orthodox Christians would support allowing married bishops, but not female priests. They also want their clergy to work with their Catholic and Protestant counterparts to coordinate a common date for Easter, which typically falls several weeks later for the Orthodox due to their use of an older liturgical calendar.
Changes nothing to do with faith or morals.

The great thing about the Orthodox ethos is, even though many of them have the wrong opinion on contraception, doctrine and practice flow naturally from the church’s life and are not up for a vote or wholesale revision from on high. Historically Rome operated that way too.

I wonder if independent (non-church-affiliated) research would confirm any of this or if Owen White’s right that the boomlet is essentially ‘15-20 years ago’, that is, over.

How many of the converts are still marriage converts? Also a reason many convert out.

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