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