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.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.
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.
*** 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.
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%.