U.S. Orthodox churches have more converts than expected, study says

Mostly from Catholic and evangelical backgrounds
A new survey of Orthodox Christians in America has found a larger-than-expected number of converts, mostly from Roman Catholic and evangelical Protestant backgrounds.

The report, released by the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute in Berkeley, California, surveyed 1,000 members of Greek Orthodox and Orthodox Church in America congregations—two denominations, or jurisdictions, that represent about 60 percent of the estimated 1.2 million Orthodox Christians in the U.S.

Although historically Orthodox churches in the U.S. were formed and peopled by immigrants, the study found that nine out of ten parishioners are now American-born. Thousands of members converted to the faith as adults: 29 percent of members of the Greek Orthodox Church are converts, as are 51 percent of the OCA’s members.


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