An article published on the official website of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America back in 2014 that has since been removed, 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 was also published on the website of Orthodox Christian Laity, here.
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.
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.
Michelle- most GOA parishoners just can’t seperate Orthodoxy from Hellenism! It’s really a shame and for most it’s religion as part of heritage. They treat the church more an ethnic social club. I am at an OCA parish now because of this and there the focus is faith and Orthodoxy, and not whether you can speak a foreign language.
So well said. I have been voicing the same question for many years. We Greeks are marrying non-Greeks. Speak English and make them feel welcome, or lose them and their children to a Church where they do feel welcome. Members from Greece will continue to come. They know the Liturgy by heart and understand the English as well. Most Greeks I know do not speak Greek either. The Church in America needs to understand this is not Greece. Also why in other countries, for instance, Albania, is everything in the Greek Orthodox Church in Albanian so the people will understand. We want to be close to Jesus and that is hard if you dont understand what is being said
Greekodoxy is not Orthodoxy, even though some Greeks may want to think that being Greek is synonymous with being Orthodox. I’m a member of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), now in communion with the Patriarchate of Moscow. I, too, am a convert from Roman Catholicism, and, thanks be to God, I did not have to experience any xenophobia from Russian parishioners. Thankfully, ROCOR is not anti-English, and is, however, honest in its desire to maintain as much of the Old Slavonic as possible; moreover, ROCOR uses what I call ecclesiastical English; i.e., the Elizabethan English as illustrated in the King James Bible. I think it sounds beautiful; not a fan of “modern” English in the Divine Liturgy. Having said all that, I think it’s important to realize that not every jurisdiction suffers from the “Greekodoxy” mentality. We also have to remember that the Greek Orthodox Church is being slowly influenced by modernism and [false] ecumenism. God bless!
Everything you said over here is nothing but a crap, or if you want it a bit stronger your comment is a BS! Give me a break!
In the near future the national Christian Churches of european origin (former roman) all disappear.
Only reunited into a single european Church (roman ortodox), updated, will resist, even thrive.
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.
This year did not attend Good Friday and Holy Saturday services. Thanks to live streaming I was watching. Have a blessed Pascha.
Right! You’re so much right! Excellent comment, Sir!
A reply to Mister GEORGE ECONOMIDES: Right! You’re so much right! Excellent comment, Sir!
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.
Sandra- An ethnic Greek parish is the only place where a married man can call another married man’s wife, Kukula / Doll” and it seems natural to them. How mysogynist is that practice?
?My three kids also have nothing to do with the Greek Orthodox Church ?
?They were born and raised in the faith!?
My experience is very different. Visiting monasteries has enriched my faith! The monastic movement is gaining strength in response to the ethnic focus in many of the GO churches.
Exactly The average pew packed, organ droning greek USA Parish with it’s piety at oprah- greekfest level, has nothing to offer anyone. It’s pseudo greek crap, not even real.
The monasteries bring Orthodoxy unknown to these people and why it’s a shock. The Russian church as always has brought Orthodoxy and the english language and saints and spirituality.
Let alone the Phanar corruption and its empty vacuous charade. 100 m dollars a yr greek America sends these play acting wusses and they now send u a new carpet bagger to milk the cow.
Monasteries I visited I felted always welcome and I do have the best memories of all the ones I visited!
There the Greek language is first ( like in the Holy Books!)
The letters from Paul , also the Holy Gospels were written in the Ancient Greek!
The very first Christians.
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
Bless your heart!
Really it depends many times on the character, dynamism and the devotion of the priest. I see this in our community in Bethesda, md.
So it behooves us all to invest in people with humble and great character to entice and appeal to all kinds of people.
I e., People with καρδιά γεμάτη καλοσύνη και χριστιανικη ψυχή
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.
A Reply to Mister SPIROS BLEZOS: Sir, you couldn’t give a better explanation! Bravo for your comment! So much true what you said! They want to exterminate Orthodox nations and Orthodox faith no matter who it is Orthodox Greeks, Orthodox Serbians, Russians, or whoever!
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.
Go to a differnt church
George, Your response to Karen is “go to a different church”. Don’t you realize that is exactly why the GO churches in the US are lacking? It’s not just because some have come to declare Atheism, but many are being spiritually fed in other churches when they weren’t in their church. How many GO members do you know that even open and read their Bible? I grew up in GO but my Papou was the only one I saw reading the Bible. Christianity is supposed to be about spreading the gospel of Christ, you can’t do that unless you’ve read it.
I cant believe how ethnocentric and ethnochauvantistic your beliefs are!
How sad for you and your mentality, inviting people to a Baptism, and they don’t understand what is being said. Are you serious, first its a violation of common sense, but obviously your a ghetto dweller. enjoy the ride, its nor going to last much longer!
Na ageiasei to stoma sou file! Edo ston kathedriko sti NYC pou einai i arciepiskopi olis tis amerikis o papas den kserei leksi
I laugh when i hear all this about greek Culture and faithfulness. You have destroyed the worship with rows of rigid seating in such an old fashioned way and with organ and 19c BANAL old fashiobed western music and often clean shaven priest. No one would even think for instance to prostrate themselves to the ground as in the lenten prayer of St Ephraim the syrian.
You have developed a borgeoise passive form of worship . I am greek and I now live in Bulgaria where is Joy to worship. I know USA and greek America and Holy Trinity Cathedral.
In truth yes english needs to be used but that actually not the be all of it. If people feel welcomed and warm, the language takes a back seat. In addition yr bishops do not live like monks.
There needs to be in USA one Orthodox church.
Are you really Greek? Or are you a Catholic who attempted to convert? You used the term Mass instead of Divine Liturgy……that is unusual for Greek!!
The church has one job and one job only, to spread the Gospel of Christ and not the Gospel of Hellenism!
I agree totally. Ntino. My experience is similar to yours and it’s heartbreaking to see what has happened. We GO need to either return to roots or just assimilate as the Patriarch seems to want.
I couldn’t agree more. Why is it that we Greeks, born here, haven’t succeeded in teaching the language to others? There’s so many ways to have incorporated language teaching and learning. I was brought up in a home that only spoke Greek and I feel blessed for that gift. I have no desire not hear our beautiful Orthros and Liturgy in English.
Do I need to have koliva at the forty day blessing or can I ask our priest to say a prayer at the gravesite at the forty day
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
You should be proud of your great Slavic origins instead of copy catting another culture. Macedonia has always been Greek no matter what the NATO want. And please apologize for the imprisonment of your great Archbishop Jovan….awful stuff.
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.
Is that where you get your history, from movies?
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 …
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
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.
All this faux nationalism has no place here and peopke are what they feel. But being greek living in Bulgaria and knowing FYROM or Northern Macedonia as known now, i can say the language is a bulgarian dialect and they Bulgarians but obviously feel a pride in their bit of the macedonian area. Beautiful alive churches and monasteries there.
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.
Vickie- my pastor does a sermon on line , every week – so if you need that- a lot of his sermons could be appropriate for any religion
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 ??
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.
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.
Such an interesting family history. May I ask why the students left Halki?
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.
WHATS THERE TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT THE REAL TRUTH IS THAT PEOPLE OF DIFFERENT NATIONALITIES THAT USED THE GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH BECAUSE THEY WERE ORTHODOX HAVE NOW BUILT THEIR OWN CHURCHES AND ATTEND THEM, CLASSIC EXAMPLE IS THE MACEDONIANS BEFORE 1922 THEY ONLY HAD A FEW CHURCHES IN NORTH AMERICA NOW THEY HAVE HUNDREDS, AND SO TO DO THE COPTICS AND SERBS AND BULGARS ALL STOPPED ATTENDING THE GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH AS THEY WHORESHIP IN THEIR OWN CHURCHES NOW.
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.
I am reading these messages on March 16, 2020. I am appalled at the hatred and misinformation many of the commentators express!!! I especially want to address “BELIEVE”, of May 5, 2016. All Orthodox Christian Churches offer the BEST that is available, in the CHURCH, to honor GOD! That’s why you see gold, silver, beautiful carvings and fabrics. The Holy icons are not idols, they remind us of the Saints, who sacrificed themselves for love of Christ, and are good examples for us to imitate. Luke, the Evangelist, was the first to create icons. He met the Theotokos, the mother of God, and created drawings of her holding the infant Christ, so Christians of the future would have them. Icons of the important events of the life of Christ are an educational tool, for the people who could not read the Gospel. By the way, the Gospel was not written until decades after the Ressurection of Christ.
As for the Macedonian political argument, this column is about religious issues, not political ones!
The truth is that there are Holy men and women IN ALL ETHNIC GROUPS of Orthodox Christians, just as there are confused hypocrites in all ethnic groups. If we are True Christians, we will not speak to each other with hatred, hiding behind our church roots TO APPEAR like Christians. TRUE Orthodox Christians will only speak to each other or about each other, in LOVE, IN HUMILITY, and not use the accomlishments of earlier generations to insult others.
If we are Christians, we will do our best to LOVE OUR NEIGHBOR AS WE LOVE OURSELVES, which is what Christ instructed us to do.
I, too, came from Greece as a child and I love the Divine Liturgy sung in beautiful Byzantine chant. And I have chanted in church when no one else was available. My uncle, the Rev. Nicholas Elias, brought from Greece due to a need for priests, very early on realized that a translation of the Services into English was necessary for the next generations and the spouses of intermarriage. With a printing press in his basement, he set out to translate and print the Divine Liturgy into a Greek and English handbook. He also added explanations in both languages, of the different sections of the Liturgy so the people would understand better what all the symbolism meant. I still have my copy. It was very helpful to me.
But in my sixties, I transferred to an OCA Orthodox Church, of mixed ethnic heritages. There were many wonderful things going on in the “Greek” Orthodox Church I used to attend. The majority of mixed marriages added to the community. But the thing that made me leave, (something I never thought would happen), was the arrogance of some members of the Board, people who got elected over and over again, who in their minds felt that THEY were the HEADS of the church. These people were misled in their ignorance, (on the Spiritual side of the issue), although they did do a good job of taking care of the building. Due to this attitude on their part, they caused two outstanding priests to leave, (so they could save their health from all the chronic stress).
The services are in English in the OCA community.
As much as I love the Byzantine services, and as much as my Uncles’ translation taught me, I understand the hymns and prayers better when I hear every word in English, as the service progresses.
The music is simpler, but this enables the parishioners to sing along more easily.
My Greek friends feel that I betrayed them by leaving. That is not why I left. I still love them as individuals, but my spiritual needs are met better in my new church. A large number of this congregation is made up of converts, who had felt a need for something more. They searched and researched and after a lot of reading, etc. they embraced Orthodoxy very seriously. They are interested in their Salvation, and go to frequent confession, frequent Communion, tithing, charitable giving, taking care of the weak and needy in the church community and the larger community… They are the American Orthodox Church, focused on their Salvation. Just as all the Orthodox communities of all the orthodox countries were when they lived at home.
But, once they emigrated to this country, of course they became distilled into various ethnic groups since they spoke different languages and knew different customes.
So, let’s try to be patient with one another, attend the church that meets our spiritual needs, and in time all the ethnic groups will be several generations removed from the earliest immigrants. By then all the churches will use English and the youth will better understand our faith. There are summer church camps, spiritual retreats and plenty of spiritual books in English now, to teach us in the language we know better. In time, the older generations who brought their own customes, prejudices and fears from countries that had been under the rule of the Ottoman Empire for centuries, will have gone to their well deserved rest. And the Orthodox Church in this country, God willing, will continue to educate and nourish the next generations on the road to their Spiritual fulfillment and ultimate Salvation, by the Grace of the Holy Spirit.
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…
For those who may not know, the term Greek Orthodox was w the rarest exception, not used until the 19th c. It would have been incomprehensible to Sts. athanasios, Basil and Chrysostom who again and again referred to the church as Η καθολική εκκλησία, η καθολική εκκλησία, η καθολική εκκλησία. This is why to this day we have the words of the early church in prayers for the catechumens which are repeated in the baptismal service, “and unite them to Thy holy Catholic and apostolic church.”
The term orthodox was rarely used before the 8th c. when it became used to clarify that those who respect the icons support the true Orthodox faith. Obviously, after the said schism of the 11th c, this became a regular word before “Catholic and apostolic.”
These thoughts are not opinion but historical reality, facts. Hence, if we want to attract people, think. Unless those you wish to attract know that “Greek orthodox” means the historic church you’re just putting a higher hurdle for them to consider coming. Would we as Greeks e.g., prefer to go to the only Orthodox Church in our area if it was emphasizing Bulgarian orthodox or would we rather it be emphasizing “…orthodox Catholic or orthodox Christian?”
All languages we can with discretion of course, embrace and use to whatever level is appropriate, be true to our culture(s) and customs but how can you even get people in the door if they don’t know that everybody is equal inside? Emphasizing “Greek Orthodox” in large letters works when you don’t need to grow and have plenty of people and money for programs.
Use your language and pray in it daily but be serious about Jesus, the Jewish God-man who with His holy mother, the Panayia welcome us whom they never considered ξένους and have Ανοιχτές αγκάλες/open arms like them and communicate love to everyone.
Thank you to Spyro and Father Evangelos for opening the windows of ignorance so that truth can enter.
Maybe it's time to join together with the other Orthodox jurisdictions in America and establish the True Church here. Just sayin'
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 …
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.
Greek orthodox is false. Ye shall know them by there fruits.
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.
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
And here ^ is one of the major issues right there! You want to know why people, especially young people are leaving Orthodoxy, I present example A. ^
Spiros, Very well said! Μπραυο σου! Καλο το ειπες!
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!
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.
Friend u alone here understand. The greek church in USA is culturally very borgeoise and has turned the liturgy in to a passive event with organ and crap cacophony that is as byzantine as mood and sanky as in a Theatre. And all the rest. But for me it as i saw it it is because it has aquired a protestant spirit with no mysticism or sense of worship at one end and no attempt to engage with 21St c. I Sat through a sermon when priest teaching young to pray had them saying how they would pray for a sunny day if wanted to play. How primitive and poor former who praying for rain.!!!
In addition you have bishops who live well and not as monks.
I live in Bulgaria and we have wonderful worship that congregation join in and give the kiss of peace as well as clergy. There are no rigid rows od seats, and sermon is always relevent.
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!
It’s good to be proud of one’s heritage, but to promote only “Greekness” in Church and civic life can and does drive observant Orthodox Christians toward secularism. I’m 3rd generation Greek American on Mom’s side, with clergy in my heritage, and have been told that I’m not Greek enough to be accepted or respected as a regular parishioner by the Parish Seniors. My blue eyes and light hair color are such a giveaway. When my child was small, some older parishioners actually slapped, shoved, belittled this blue-eyed blond kid (tho he’s 3/4 Greek) because they felt that kid “didn’t belong (here) in the Church.” THAT’S why I’m the last Orthodox one in the family tree; from Yia Yia and Papou, and their 5 children, to 11 grands and 17 great-grands. I still attend, as a holiday- and wedding-service G/O , but I can’t drag any cousins with me. Thanks for Hellenism, but keep it separate from the Orthodox Church. All my years of Greek school didn’t help except when visiting Greece. Be well in this difficult time.
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!
I’ve been to your church and everything you say is true, but that wonderful priest of yours with the very pretty wife can be rather two faced and underhanded when he wants to get rid of someone he doesn’t judge to have the social behaviors and economic class of the type of people he wants in his rapidly growing upper middle class Greek church. It has been a year, and I still shed tears over the emotional, psychological, and spiritual wounding I experienced at St. S……..n, L.Co.
so sorry to hear of your experiences! It is painful really I too share some painful moments…not sure what we are going to do…
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…
Bob Gdovic ❤️
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
The GO Patriarch has worsened the situation by sowing seeds of division within the Christian Orthodox world. He has set a terrible example!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Are you at an Orthodox Christian liturgy?? Because I’m trying to figure out which parts do not worship God??
Rosemary, you are mistaken the early liturgies done in homes and on the run were very simple. They developed into liturgies that were five hours in duration ( the lost original Liturgy of St. James, shortened to what is used today in the fourth century. ) There were many different Liturgies in the first centuries.
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.
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!
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.
I find the families of mixed marriages are more likely to attend services regularly. This issue should really be addressed.
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.
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.
May I ask, Tina, is you husband from Slovakia – Europe? Or his parents?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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??!
Exactly The average pew packed, organ droning greek USA Parish with it’s piety at oprah- greekfest level, has nothing to offer anyone. It’s pseudo greek crap, not even real.
The monasteries bring Orthodoxy unknown to these people and why it’s a shock. The Russian church as always has brought Orthodoxy and the english language and saints and spirituality.
Let alone the Phanar corruption and its empty vacuous charade. 100 m dollars a yr greek America sends these play acting wusses and they now send u a new carpet bagger to milk the cow.
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.
Sadly this is true of many faiths in our society. We are fast becoming a secular society!
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.
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…
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://firstname.lastname@example.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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Alexandra Zouncourides-Lull your commentary and observations are the best. You wrote lucidly and logically. Καλή Ανάσταση. Καλό Πάσχα.
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.
There is also the matter of the exorbitant fees!https://www.facebook.com/elenifk
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.
I encountered plenty of smiles at the Greek church half full of Protestant converts. There were a number of other E. European ethnicities there as no other ethnic Orthodox churches nearby, the Greeks always sit together at two tables at fellowship and let us know they are parishoners of higher status. The converts are mostly Protestant converts who started off in Antiochian parishes and typical of Protestants changed churches as soon as they found a “flavor” they liked better. Nobody parties like the Greeks, and its fur coats and stilettos on Sunday……overall I found the spiritual narcissism and triumphalism disconcerting.
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?
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.
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.
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!
George Kilantonis – AMEN!!!!
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.
It is not the strongest who survive but the ones most able to adapt
tsk tsk tsk
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.
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.
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,
I think the Greek American lost thefeelings to be Greeks and very soon all they will be Moslems or Atheist !!!!
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!).
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.
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.
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.
Satan places the Ethniki in the converts' way to dissuade them from the Church.
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!
You have it in one. Some people here want a what ever is easy and no effort religion, or rather warm oprah syrup poured over them , and not realising their views are as racist and narrow as the ones they attack.
They have a protestant mentality that wants everything goes. For as long as it does. What ever you give them will never be adequate. And they seem to want not to worship but a club, only their sort of club.
As to modern Greece,yes there are Greek atheists, Muslims, Catholics etc, but no one can argue that orthodoxy did not shape the soul of the greek nation. In general in fact Orthodoxy is strongly reviving in Russia, in eastern Europe.
Secularists fail to see that secularism is just as closed and with it’s own jdols as what they accuse and attack.
In end it’s not about Greek or Russian etc but about Christ or denial of Christ. But as human beings, as with anything else, this is mediated through a Culture. Get over it.
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!
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.
so how do we ‘teach our children how to participate in the church and “make it their own”’?
Bless your heart!
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.).
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.
And so true. What i find amusing and not mentioned here, is that greek America, church wise with it’s shaven faces, organ cacophony that is an insult to western, let along the musical greek acapella byzantine tradition, etc is an ersatz kitsch version. Why the monasteries are such a shock.
On my USA visits it’s in english worshipping OCA churches that i have felt greek and Orthodox Christian and see the future.
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.”
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!
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.
All religions are fairy tales.
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.
Including atheism. All based on faith. Good luck
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….
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.
Their is another way Maria the Ethnic Hellenes .
Email me if you would like i can tell you more . Kane67@gmail.com
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?
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%? Seems hard to believe.
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.
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.
When I first visited the Greek Orthodox church after being a lifelong Roman Catholic of great inconsistency in attendance as an adult, a reconversion and a brief stint with Ruthenian Byzantine, I thought I had found heaven on earth. After 8 months, I began to suspect I could never be Greek enough to be Orthodox, or Orthodox enough to be Greek. It was obvious the Greeks didn’t care for most converts and only put up with them because they couldn’t afford their new mission church in Protestant country without their financial contributions. I started to realize most of the converts were what psychologists refer as “sensitives”, thin skinned types that require being treated with kid gloves and getting tons of approval. The Greek priest having grown up helping his father run the family Greek Resturant was very good at catering to those monied educated sensitive Protestant converts. He was, also, good at lecturing about Greek history and language root word meanings, and an excellant public speaker who practiced his homily deliveries several times before Sunday. I didn’t come to see the protective narcissic spiritual snobbery, and realize I was dealing mostly with saccharin smiles at fellowship until I had a conflict with a monied convert that I had actually brought to the church. When the priest dealt out indifference through my difficulty with her and for my own security and to avoid a slanderer that might resort to false accusation and court, I had to leave. I didnt figure out he wanted me gone way before I brought her because I was of an undesirable socio economic class until the damage both emotional and spiritual was done. No church for the poor there, just a lot of spiritual snobs that gloat over discovering and coming to Orthodoxy. In the end, I had to wonder if there is anything in that Eucharist I really needed, if those that received it prayerfully on a regular basis couldn’t be any better than the triumphalistic elists I encountered there. They have a beautiful liturgy, too bad it is all that they have got. Like the Sadducees they take after to stuck in their self righteousness and stuck in the past to see God.
You do get about with this evangelical stuff.. So u don’t believe in Orthodoxy. Get over it and get a life. I have criticism of the Church as long as yr arm I also reject evangelical Christianity but I don’t occupy their airways with long tirades .
Still whatever does for you.
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.
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.
I completely agree, although I am Greek living in Ioannina Greece!
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.
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
Penelope these people don’t reflect the Orthodox Church unfortunately.
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!
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.
This is great! What a relief that people are finally waking up to the nonsense of religion!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Which is more common of the marriages Greek men with non Greek women or Greek women with non Greek men?
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.
Perhaps what you write may seem true to you. The Russian Orthodox movement has shown itself to be regressive. Always has been, with the exception when the State controlled what happened in the Church. The last people who can speak about ethnicity and Orthidocy.
nearly two years ago i asked here, “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?” —but nobody responded to that, I suspect because (it seems) most of our correspondents have left the church and are not interested in helping at this point.
But let me offer an invitation: Seriously, if any of you live in the San Francisco area, you can find a very fine, even exceptional parish here— St Nicholas Orth. Ch. (OCA) in San Anselmo (about 20 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge). If you’re in the area, come and see how it can really work!
And look me up when you come!
I can share one of our secrets— we’re fairly small and we have a full lunch after every liturgy. The whole parish is divided into cooking teams, and— who’d a thunk?— when you cook together, you get to know each other and become friends!
John Burnett your awesome thinker!
Wish you were my brother – I’ll visit there someday I’m in Manhattan NY!
There is an expected Spartan attitude of how parishioners should be absorbed with the church to the sacrifice of family. Unless you were born to this, you would feel that the church asking too much.
I have experience of greek churches in USA and I agree with much said. Re ethnic CLUB etc etc and dealing with issues from bishops good at talk but more concerned with dead historical titles
but what amuses me more is that for all it’s vaunted greekness, with it’s organs and rigid pews and 19c pseudo westernized music banality, treating congregation as Theatre goers the only thing preserved is a language no one of the current generation understands any more. For the record I am greek and. Greek speaking and literate too. I love the greek language and our byzantine tradition. But frankly I would if in USA attend a Oca church , Slav origin church or a greek one going against the trendy liturgical and social. Sadly I see greek America has brought it’s liturgical organ bound to korea and Albanian too.
Above and beyond worshipping in an Orthodox manner I also look to be challenged spiritually and I also cannot agree with the blanket condemnation of gays,etc etc.
So a mutilated liturgical tradition operating. In a ethnic CLUB. Neither Orthodox, neither a good CLUB.
You are all morons God doesn’t give a rats about any of you and your stupid beliefs
you all seem to know better, go start your own stupid church
as for me, my i get to enjoy sleeping in on sundays, rooting who I want and doing what I like
see you in hell, idiots!
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For all the narrowminded idiots if you know the bible and history you will know that the Greek religion is not made up out of every slick talking preachers interpretation. It is the only real and original. The ones that talking trash about the Greeks because they’re jealous, They should know that there is only two kinds of people in this world the Greeks and the ones wished to be Greek.
I must say, that Brother Pappas did a fine job on this piece. The comments are all over the place though. When the Archdiocese(Goarch) responded to the HUFFINGTON POST that first reported over 100,000 Greeks were leaving the Archdiocese and over 80,000 in the OCA (which does most of their services in English) it should have been an INSTANT SIGNAL TO EVERYONE that our Orthodox Church in the United States had a problem, but it most certainly wasnt the Mixed Marriage issue. Dont get me wrong, many of the “Xeni” do get a COLD reception from us in Church but at the Festivals, which are the money makers, we practically adopt them as honorary Greeks!!! Why?? Our churches need money also, but therein lays the Red Hering. If we adopted them the same way in the church the Xeni wouldnt have a problem. The language in the Greek church shouldn’t even be an issue. The same way our Children learn “Kyrie Eleison” is Lord have Mercy, the same can be done for the entire Liturgy. THE LITURGY IS IN ANCIENT GREEK, AND THAT IS NO LONGER EVEN SPOKEN NOR UNDERSTOOD BY MANY GREEKS. It is mere habit!! I am part of the Julian Calendar, AND IF LOOK AT OUR TRUE, PROUD, TRADITIONAL ORTHODOX church, you may find it to be better, at least in the “Autonomous Archdiocese”. We have overcome having our churches taken by governments, not being paid at all as we were opposed to the Westernization of Orthodoxy, and even today the “gangster bishops” from the deep pocket churches find us to be a threat to their pockets instead of Brothers in faith and Sister Churches if not the SAME REALLY. Once a month, we do a teaching liturgy and while in Greek and English, we teach why the priest does certain things, what the Great Entrance means, recite the “inaudible ” prayers, and explain all of it. Since 2005, I asked for our churches to start hosting Support Groups and announce them over and over, why? Simple, we are not only United in faith and language and culture, but also in “LIFE”. WHO BETTER THEN OUR OWN PASSIONATE PEOPLE would be able to understand and deal with the LIFE issues we share?? Grief ? Loss of a Child? A Parent? How about a loss to suicide? What about DUI’S? Alcoholism? Drugs? OH MY GOSH, Divorce? Having a homosexual child or being a Homosexual in a Greek Church? We must stop worrying about the Old Country Club Perfect Greek Family, and deal with our truths together. Why should our Orthodox go to a Catholic Church for AA or a Hospital? We claim we love our children so let’s show them!! Greek school is nice sure, but what about finding the really good students to tutor our not so good students so ALL CAN SUCCEED? Why give our clothes, wedding gowns, prom dresses and such to St. Vincent Fe Paul when we could surely either dedicate a classroom in our own churches or at one of the bigger churches and have our own THRIFT STORE??? STORES? Believe me!!!!! These things are what unite people and truly are Philanthropic as we claim we are. The Day of Liturgy, donuts, Sunday School and Banquet Halls with period dances and festivals IS NOT ENOUGH, and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE the “church ” . I wont mention too much of what else the “Autonomous Greek Archdiocese ” does as to not give away our “play book” per se, but what a sad state of affairs for Orthodoxy when we do not properly conduct our outreach and embrace our own, and OUR BELOVED Greek Orthodox Christian brethren choose to go to a mega church with outreach and attend a concert for Christmas as a service instead of our leaders “leading” by transitioning properly to keep us. Sadly, because of all of these false “claims” about the Old Calendarists not being canonical, Greeks dont even know we exist!!! No government supported church can determine “canonical status” based on what the government wants declared!! We have a problem in the UNITED STATES AND SOON CANADA and the “big” fish that need more water then us little fish are allowing the evaporation to occur. Something like our government here on global warming.
I also said earlier, the church needs money too, which is true, but to implement philanthropic programs, care for the disabled, homes for battered women….
Instead, when they get scandalised and hear about the truly one Church in Utah being closed or another in New England that is having money issues and cant pay their annual stipend has their Metropolitan say either pay it or your sacraments are invalid, as the Cathedral in Chicago goes into foreclosure and saved at the last minute, or poor St. Nicholas at ground zero, BUT nevermind all that, the synod votes themselves a raise, uuuuuum…. there are enough stones to break many a camel’s backs!! Why? We are so much better then this!!! Where are our Archons and Lay Leaders to ask for Accountability???
Our American Metropolitans are who should be blamed. They have no idea how to transition our ORIGINAL CHRISTIAN CHURCH, to an entity that is there to serve people. Instead, it appears they believe the people are there to serve them and the church is their Fortune 500 Job. The answer is so simple. ALL OF US, transition to help each other, dont wait for “THE PERINOU’S” when clearly it’s the Chicken Coup that can bring our people back. Our parishes must ask for accountability or escrow the tithe!!!
Forget Bartholomew meeting with Rome!! Unite the Calendar’s, make all of us stronger, let us work together, please avoid schisms with other churches, leave Ukraine alone!! One cant claim canonical but violate canon and expect people not to be scandalized and leave our beloved Orthodox Church and start funding St. Jude’s or the Heart Association Directly and watching Joyce Meier while sipping coffee in their pajamas, and just say private prayers in front of the Icon!!!! I APOLOGIZE TO EVERYONE AND ANYONE WHOM I MAY HAVE OFFENDED OR DO AS I CLOSE,
THE PROBLEM IS NOT INTERMARRIAGES!!!!
The problem is our own inability to properly outreach, be there for our people through Philanthropy, embrace and motivate the faithful to feel welcomed and want to come to church, all the while watching the Ecclisiatical Leaders lead by example, and certainly not threatening parishes with invalid sacraments and closures while they vote themselves a raise and show hypocrisy. While I am always happy to welcome new Orthodox Christian faces or long unseen fellow Greeks to our Autonomous Greek parishes, as well as establish new ministries, chapels, and churches or embrace groups that have left anywhere to help plant a new church, INSIDE, IN THE PIT OF MY HEART, IN THE BOTTOM OF MY VERY SOUL AND ESSENCE I LAMENT PRIVATELY AND IN MY PRAYERS. YOU SEE, I wasnt always a Julian Orthodox Christian. I was born into, baptized, attended Sunday School and Greek School, served as an Acolyte, became a reader, a Psalti, became a sub Deacon and even taught Sunday school, and took communion in my early years with GOARCH. I take no pleasure in their pains I assure you, however, now, as a Julian Orthodox Christian I must do all I can not only to preserve the righteousness of the Traditional church BUT TO WORK HARDER AND TIRELESSLY to welcome the displaced, the disenfranchised, the scandalized Orthodox Christians from leaving the faith entirely and becoming Mega Church attendees. We must cease our public “perfection” modeling and open our hearts and churches to those who ache are suffering, have fellowship for them, and even have a “Newly Marride” group to celebrate with them and also to support them when matters arise. Brethren, ORTHODOXY IS OUTREAH AND FELLOWSHIP!!! Certainly it must be more so now.
Exactly. Well said.
Brother Nikodemos – Very well said and better explains the feelings I expressed in my post today, 7/7/19.
Sorry to say, I was raised Greek Orthodox but the church is anything but exemplifying Christ. Not all Greek Orthodox are Greek. We are Palestinian and have been Greek Orthodox for thousands of years. St. George is buried in Lydda in the Greek Orthodox church from 1700 years ago, and yet we are still not fully welcome? If you can’t even welcome the people who Jesus chose to live with and start the Christian church, you’re doing something wrong. I’m happy in a different church community that welcomes all to Christ’s table. If you value your own Church and its special witness to Christianity, you need only model the life of Christ to find a way forward. It seems quite clear the modern church is not welcoming and loving thy neighbor so Christ has been pushed to the margins in his church.
No one in greece goes to church, the church was supportive of the military junta in greece. This is 2019, no one believes in that christian jesus nonsense. Jesus and his disciples were palestinian jews and not greek. So basically you are whorshipping Palestinian peasants who were uneducated and lucky to drink water with no traces of urine in it. It’s time that we seperate church from state and stop lining the clergy’s pockets with money. The orthodox church like most religions has become a business……. Wake up losers.
Friend you have had yr rant. Pity u missed yr opportunity with Lenin way back. So u don’t believe. Get over it and get a life. What u angry about.
Actually, Greek American children grew up with GREEK language liturgy. In English, and in repetition in English, the liturgy LOSES it’s essence. In REALITY, Greek males who immigrated to the U.S. in the late 1800s and early 1900s married American women because there were VERY FEW Greek girls in the U.S. at that time. We Greek Americans are leaving the Orthodox church ONLY because of the GRAFT, CORRUPTION, LIES, and MANIPULATION by our church leaders. Education enlightens us to understand that icons were finally approved because of the former prostitute Empress Theodore. How interesting a FACT!!! Jesus was a profit: FACT. Yet Christianity is a SCAM. A BAD idea to try manipulate the faithful by the most evil of all men. Salaries if $300,00. Does NOT help enlist the faithful either. Research shows by 2030 Christian churches will have closed. NEW CIRCUS TRICKS will ONLY PUSH us AWAY even FASTER. A SHAME, but TRUE. As for FAKE MIRACLES and the FAKE HOLY LIGHT, just MORE REASONS to RUN AWAY from this SCAM.
We were married by a Methodist minister who believes in the same God as we do. We could not afford a Greek Orthodox wedding and had no relatives in Florida to be our kombadi. Our very small wedding was on the beach of the Atlantic Ocean – with all of God’s beautiful creations – birds, flowers growing in the sand dunes, a beautiful afternoon sun, etc. My mother came down to attend, along with co-workers from our jobs.
After that, I went to our local Greek Festival where I saw a sign posted for adult Greek school…..said see the priest for more info. I talked to him and his response was, “If you were not married in the Greek church then you cannot attend”. !! At that same Greek Festival, I was sitting by the bakery where they were prepping for the day. I offered to help and was making boxes for pastries. After a few minutes, a lady came over and asked if I was a church member. I explained we had just moved to Florida and this was my first visit to their church. Her reply, “If you are not a church member then we don’t need your help.” ??
My husband suffered a serious back injury, and I was working 3 jobs.l I saw that the Philoptochos helped people in the community. I sent an e-mail to the “new and improved” priest asking if anyone was available to mow my grass – our mower was broken and we did not have enough available cash to pay someone. I never got a response! WHY would I want to attend this church? The next closest Greek church was 45 miles away. Not driving that far – will stay home, help myself and my friends/neighbors in need, and do God’s work from here. I’d love to attend services but not if I have been ostracized from my very first day visiting our local church. Guess if I had a ton of money, owned a big business, or even a small restaurant I would have been in the “in crowd”. Very sad………..
That this article lives on thru heavy commenting for 5 years speaks to it’s excellence. Thank You Pappas Post.
I am a second generation Greek in America. I don’t speak Greek and I married a non Greek who is a Christian but is has no strong ties to any denomination.
Was she made to feel welcome in the Greek church? No.
Even our wedding service by an old world Greek Priest was all Greek. Maybe 5 people out of 300 understood it.
Hence, we rarely attend church at a Greek Orthodox Church.
When I travel – especially during Lent, I always look for a Greek Orthodox Church.
In Grand Rapids MI I was happy to find one , but felt very unwelcome. Never ever returned there.
I stumbled into an Antiochian Church there and was immediately welcomed by a “convert” Priest.
Turns out that church in Grand Rapids has multiple Priests. All converts.
They brought most of their parishioners with them. Dutch Reformed. Lutherans.
It’s a beautiful thing.
Now I try to be in Grand Rapids for Lent just to celebrate with this nice group.
The services are all in English and they even do the Kurie Eleyson in four languages.
Where I wouldn’t bring friends and coworkers to a Greek church to hear services in a language they don’t understand, I DO bring guests and friends to the Antiochian Orthodox Church there.
There is a lesson to be learned.
I hope the GOC wakes up and realizes it’s about being Orthodox, NOT Greek.
In the near future the national Christian Churches of european origin (former roman) all disappear.
Only reunited into a single european Church (roman ortodox), updated, will resist, even thrive.
What a bunch of malarkey and it pains me to say that. Orthodoxy as a Christian religion is a beautiful one. Trust me there no mistake why the Orthodox Church has lasted over a thousand years of wars, oppression and murder. It harkens back to the very roots of what the church was built upon and the continuous message that it brings to us each and everyday. After reading the comments and going back and forth of the term Greek before Orthodox. May I ask why does that offend you? Are you upset? Are you angered by that? Is it because you don’t connect with your Hellenic roots? If so, that is okay, and there is a church available for you, it’s called the OCA or any other Christian denomination for that matter. You’re more than okay to join them if you would like. But please don’t sit there and write how the church has left you because of the Greek language… because that my friends is really low. Regardless of the Ethnic word in front of the word Orthodox, the foundation is the same. Just like the Russian Orthodox is to the Russians. And the Romanian Orthodox is to the Romanians and so on and so forth. Same league different jersey. For me, Greek Orthodoxy represents a meaningful picture. One that is special to me. It’s a way to connect to my Hellenic heritage while celebrating the Orthodox faith. We all have a part to play, if we allow the slipping away of our culture, our identity… simply because we have become lazy to embrace or take pride, honor, or respect in our identity as Greek then that’s a shame. It’s a shame to the our forefathers and mother’s who immigrated to this country, holding on to their faith and culture and helped to build the churches we pray in and communities we enjoy each other’s company. It’s a slap in the face to what they fought for. As the saying goes, you don’t appreciate what you have today because you didn’t have to sacrifice anything for it. To suffer. To have that feeling of oppression that came before us. Laziness in its purest form. When you step back and think for one second what our Hellenic Church survived through. Four hundred years of oppression, war, murder at the hands of their oppressors because they held onto what meant most to them. Their faith and culture. The Church in Greece protected our faith. The Church In Greece protected our culture. And our forefathers and mother’s brought that with them here to the US. The only unfortunate thing is the Archdiocese through in its past hundred plus years of existence bowed down to Anglican crypto Protestant qualities that peeled away the beauty of our ancient church. But that’s a opinion for another post, any way I digress. Simply put for those who don’t like the Greek or don’t have a connection to the culture again that’s okay. I nor anyone can change that. But listen clearly, do not bastardize Hellenism only to be used for festivals with saganaki booths and gyros. Hellenism is richer than the jestering we have relegated her to. She deserves respect as well as our Orthodox faith and to me the two go hand in hand. As for the intermarriages, it’s inevitable, but as in any marriage it takes respect from both people to embrace the things each one loves and holds near and dear to their hearts. If they love the church and the Greek culture then respect that, but it takes effort and if one is lazy to hold on to those values then I’m afraid this article is true to its word and that the flame of our beloved Greek Orthodox Church in America will eventually die out. My hope is that who ever reads this has an open mind…but….if not, again all is lost. Don’t abandon your community because you got in a fight or feel out of place or the church uses to much Greek. What I say to you is be the change and keep the community alive. If you don’t know the Greek, ask for half in English or learn some of the hymns and liturgy in Greek. Believe me, if the Apostles wrote the gospels in the Greek language you know it must be special. Onward and Upward!
Thank you for saying this Ioannis – you are spot on
Thanks Romanos. It’s refreshing to both read and see people who still care about their Greek identity and take pride in it. Far to often people use Greek as the reason for the failings of the church and it’s a total and complete cop-out. It’s not the Greek… its our assimilation to western Christian attitude of well if it doesn’t suit me then I’ll just change it to suit me. Hence one of the reasons why we have the hundreds of different Christian denomination that started, where of all places, right here in this country. The Greek should have no place as an issue but it’s people who use it as a escape goat because they don’t feel like they belong. If you don’t feel like you connect with the Hellenic part that’s okay but at least stay and grow the Church for the faith aspect. Many Greek Orthodox Churches use English in the liturgy. And how I said before in my original post, if you don’t know the Greek maybe try to learn part of the liturgy in Greek. Teach people to say the Creed and the Lords Prayer in Greek and understand the original translation. Because personally, I have come across certain hymns and epistles that have been translated in the English from the original Greek that don’t match up and diminish the beauty of the original text. But to be honest I feel that It’s just a full out crusade against the Greek part. Yet I find it funny when people have no problem to flash their “Greekness” when it suits them for the festivals. Doesn’t work that way. All I have to say is, as Greek Orthodox our Church survived a lot throughout the past six hundred years, And I’ll be dammed if we allow people here in the states to allow its flame to extinguish because they feel the Greek is too much for them. For me it’s important to fight in order to keep our communities alive. If the priests and monks we able to accomplish that when they themselves and the entire Greek people risked their lives to practice their Orthodox faith we sure can fight for them and our forefathers and mother’s who built this Greek Orthodox community we are lucky to have in the states. So again, enough of this crusade against the Greek. Hopefully more people can understand.
Orthodoxy is for us to adapt to… not for Orthodoxy to adapt to the world. But our church adds both English and Greek to our services and welcomes interfaith marriages and converts. But these people also have to show that they care to be accepted fully. What good is going to a festival or church service here and there and then saying you aren’t accepted? Come help in the kitchen. Sign up for things. Make yourself involved and they will most likely embrace you as their own. And thank you Ioannis being GREEK and being ORTHODOX go hand in hand. Our religion is full of beauty and traditions. How can you have one without the other? I for one am lucky to be both. I’m fortunate to live in a community that embraces this and I’m able to raise my kids this way.
I WANT NOTHING,I FEAR NOTHING,I AM FREE ,QUOTE BY THE GREAT NIKOS KAZAANTAKIS.I AM A GREEK ORTHODOX BUT REJECT
THE REPETETIVE DOGMA CLOSERD MIND VIEWS OF THE CHURCH WHO PARTICIPATE IN PAGAN RITUALS AND SEEM TO LOVE MONEY MORE THAN CHRIST.I DO ACCEPT JESUS CHRIST AS MY SAVIOR,BUT FEEL BADLY AS MORE PEOPLE LEAVE THE CHURCH.
JESUS CHRIST HAVE MERCY ON US ALL
The Church has brought this on themselves by changing precedent. At one time, there was tremendous pressure encouragement and pride in guiding Greeks to marry Greeks. The Church was aggressive in promoting this to preserve the faith, culture & traditions. You couldn’t marry in the Church unless you converted first to Orthodoxy. Then they gave in. All you had to do was be Christian. That evolved into a total reversal of the conviction to preserve Greeks marrying Greeks to it was wrong to even think that way. Even to the point of many parishes where hellenaphobia is rampant! Don’t mention the “G” word! That’s anti Orthodox! If these changes had not happened would people still have intermarried? Of course! Would we have welcomed them with open arms? Absolutely but the difference would have been the original mindset. If you want to be with us then you adopt our faith, culture and traditions. We don’t sacrifice, homogenize, pasteurize and anglicize to suit you at the eradication of our people assimilating into oblivion! My God 400 years of Ottoman Oppression couldn’t do it and damn if we are not doing it ourselves!!! Of course our clergy has continued to use the excuse that we have to spread the gospel and the Church won’t exist unless we allow others to join us. Well, the statistics prove otherwise. It’s not working and we have lost most of our people of Greek decent because of it. We are not unique anymore. Oh yes, I almost forgot. We do whore ourselves out for 3 days a year at our Greek Festivals because our Church leaders see the dollars. After the festivals you better keep your mouth shut about Hellenism! Well I’ve said my piece. Hell even the AHEPA is on life support because they have lost their way too! They’ve allowed the Churches to run off the Sons of Pericles and the Maids of Athens all in the name of protecting Goya and Y.A.L.! They knew how to decrease membership and castrate the AHEPA & Daughters of Penelope. Now we have our new Archbishop kissing the feet of the Biden-Harris Campaign plus raving about Ginsberg when these people and their policies are anti Orthodox in every way!!! Some of you steeple will villianize me I’m sure because it would take courage to stand up to the clergy. The facts speak for themselves. Our leadership has taken us down the wrong path and is too arrogant to admit it far less change course.
After reading most of the hundreds of comments I can see that the GOC in the US is going through the same experience as ours in South Africa (except the use of the organ, God forbid). My wife is a non-Greek convert who after a number of miracles in her life, has devoted all of her last forty years to printing every GOC service in transliterated Greek (Latin letters) with the English translation on the opposite page. She has been through difficult times with the odd priest who does not accept her worth and also good and happy times with priests who treated her with respect and attended her weekly classes in Orthodoxy. The main accent of the Orthodox Church is LOVE and this is something that is generated by the parish priest, whether he be Greek, Serbian, Russian, Afrikaner or whatever. And that is where this argument should end. Some priests have what it takes in a spirit of love, humility and faith; and others do not.
I am not Greek and have been welcome in all the churches that I attend. I have made many friends in church. I have no problem with the services in Greek. Perhaps more teaching of the liturgy and its hymns needs to be done, not only for the non-Greeks but for everyone. How many know the Katavasies of Easter and Christmas? They are masterpieces for their language, their music and the theology of the feasts. We have to read and study more in order to discover the beauty of our Orthodox Faith. Even if the service is in English, there are many things we do not understand unless we look up its meaning. (Thine of Thy own we offer unto Thee) Some of the translations are very poor and in some cases distort the meaning of the Greek word(s). We need to read the Apolitikia (Hymns of the day) , the Apostolos, and Gospel before the liturgy and then again after. We need to be present in the church with our children on time every Sunday. It is the family that gives its faith and religion to its children. It is work, but you will receive a reward. Remember, it is our Orthodox Faith that shouts out to us for six weeks Christos anesti! Hold on to this Faith and give to our young people.
THERE ARE SEVERAL REASONS FOR THIS AND ONE IS LANGUAGE INDEED. HOWEVER, INHOSPITABLE CHURCHES, WITHOUT WELCOMING STRANGERS OR NEW PEOPLE, AND NOT ADJUSTING TO OTHER PROGRAMS OTHER THEN SUNDAY SCHOOL, GOYA, SENIOR CITIZENS IS ANOTHER REASON. OUR FAITHFUL ARE GOING THROUGH DIVORCE, SOME GO TO JAIL, OTHERS GET DUI’S, AND THEY ARE FORCED TO GO TO CLASSES IN DIFFERENT CHURCHES. IF BY SOME LONG SHOT THEY RETURN TO THE CHURCH, THE GOSSIP WHEELS GO ROUND AND ROUND. THE GLASS HOUSES THROW STONES. GOD FORBID SOMEONE KNOWS A RETURNING PARISHONER IS GAY. THEN WE HEAR ABOUT PEOPLE LIKE THAT SHOULD ATTEND THEIR OWN CHURCHES. IT SEEMS TO ME THAT VERY FEW OF US ARE NOT EVEN WORTHY TO CROSS OURSELVES LET ALONE KISS A HALLOWED HOLY ICON. LANGUAGE THE PROBLEM? NO. GOING TO A MUSEUM INSTEAD OF A CHURCH IS. PEOPLE WANT TO GO TO CHURCH AND SEEK AND FIND GOD. HOWEVER, FEW WILL VISIT THE SAME MUSEUM EVERY SUNDAY ESPECIALLY WHEN THE PRICES ARE GOING UP AND THE TOUR GUIDES ARE EXTREMELY RUDE.
A BONE IS ALREADY DEAD IT JUST TAKES TIME TO BECOME A FOSSIL. THE ANSWER IS HOW WOULD CHRIST ACT TOWARDS ONE ANOTHER AND WHAT WOULD HE HAVE AVAILABLE FOR THOSE SEEKING HIS GUIDANCE.
Of course with the current sermons, extreme right wing conservatism, unyielding dogmatism, and other spiritually unattractive attributes, why would anyone stick around.