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Do most Americans even know the Orthodox Church exists?


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#1 Tony Jiang

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 03:23 AM

I am curious but do you guys think that most americans are even aware that the Orthodox church even exists, because from what i can tell, many Americans are rather ignorant of the different forms of Chrisitanity....that the only form of chrisanity that exists in their mind is the Protestant type....

#2 Father David Moser

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 04:46 AM

Certainly most Americans are aware of the Orthodox Church. They just consider it to be another denomination among many.

Fr David

#3 Myles Lane

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 08:17 AM

Most Americans in my life either have no clue it exists or they've only heard of it in passing thinking its just another catholic type thing.

#4 David Puline

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 09:05 AM

Hello...I really did come to know the Orthodox Church until I moved to the country I live in know. After much study (years)...studying the differences mainly between RC & Luth. Then I came across some Orthodox sites and much of their theology and doctrine, etc...I believed.....that was 5-6 years ago. What drew me was the Liturgy...and it still does.

#5 Alice

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 02:13 PM

When I was growing up in the sixties and seventies, my experience was that most Americans did NOT know what the Orthodox church was.
With the downfall of communism in Russia, I believe that even the most ignorant or secluded American does indeed now know about the existence of an Orthodox church.

#6 Herman G.

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 04:00 PM

In my circle in NE Texas and SE Oklahoma...absolutely not. 99% of everyone asked me why I was converting to Judaism if that gives you any idea.

Even after explaining it, half of those people think I'm now Roman Catholic (my in-laws asked why I wanted to submit myself to a Pope).

#7 Jeremy Troy

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 05:40 PM

My experience is that most Americans do know that the Orthodox Church exists, but don't know much about it.

#8 Jeff Johnson

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 07:32 PM

In American society, I'd assume most would hear of the Orthodox Church and assume it to be an ethnic/exotic form of Roman Catholicism, or as mentioned above, confuse it with Orthodox Judaism. Many people living today will never enter an Orthodox church or see the Divine Liturgy. What they see of Orthodoxy is in popular movies like "Big Fat Greek Wedding" or as those "strangely dressed" folks at the ecumenical gatherings. In a culture inundated with pop Christianity and Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer, the spirituality of Silouan of Athos or Seraphim of Sarov is something strange and foreign.

In Christian college as an undergraduate I took a church history class from a Baptist professor. He spoke very admiringly of the Orthodox. I'm just perplexed he could remain a Baptist after reading the Church fathers...

#9 Tony Jiang

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 07:52 PM

Certainly most Americans are aware of the Orthodox Church. They just consider it to be another denomination among many.

Fr David


gee padre, i dunno, i mean when you tell them about orthodox, they probably will think Jews with the big beards and all, i think people in canada might actually know that this Church exists, as since there is a large minoirty of ukrainians, in the central province who are Orthodox

#10 Owen Jones

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Posted 21 September 2012 - 08:42 AM

The only people in America who have heard about the Orthodox Church, by and large, are people who have attended a Greek festival, or know a Greek person who is a believer well enough to have had at least a brief discussion about it. So I would estimate that maybe about 1% of the American people who are not Orthodox have some idea that there is a Christian body called Greek Orthodox. As for Orthodoxy per se, I would say .5%.

#11 Xenia Moos

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Posted 22 September 2012 - 02:39 AM

When I tell people I am an Orthodox Christian they will look puzzled until I tell them it's the Church of Greece and Russia and then some of them will have an idea what I"m talking about. Once a well-known pastor with a national apologetics ministry asked me if we believed in the Trinity.

#12 Alice

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Posted 22 September 2012 - 01:22 PM

When I tell people I am an Orthodox Christian they will look puzzled until I tell them it's the Church of Greece and Russia and then some of them will have an idea what I"m talking about. Once a well-known pastor with a national apologetics ministry asked me if we believed in the Trinity.


Yes, I do think it is necessary to qualify with 'Greek' or 'Russian'...with these descriptions, I have found that everybody has an idea about its existence; that is different from them knowing anything about it...

Not that most Americans these days know much about any Christian faith tradition or denominations anyway! I have had to 'enlighten' friends who are Roman Catholic on their OWN beliefs! I have also had to do that with cradle Orthodox too! :-)

#13 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 02:27 PM

If I may extend the thread to England. When I became Orthodox, my niece (high school and college education, including religious education) asked, 'is it Christian?' At my university, someone asked me my religion, and I replied, 'Orthodox'. 'You're a jew?, she asked.

#14 Alice

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 07:40 PM

If I may extend the thread to England. When I became Orthodox, my niece (high school and college education, including religious education) asked, 'is it Christian?' At my university, someone asked me my religion, and I replied, 'Orthodox'. 'You're a jew?, she asked.


Andreas,

If you were to have said 'Russian Orthodox' instead of just 'Orthodox' would they have known that it is Christian?

#15 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 09:14 PM

Dear Alice,

Not to speak for Andreas, but from my experience yes, most people in the U.K. sadly associate the word Orthodox with Judaism, and would not know what was meant by Orthodox Christian, yet should one say Greek Orthodox or Russian Orthodox then people normally know what one means, although they would then most likely think "oh he/she is part Greek/Russian".

In Christ.
Daniel,

#16 Ben Johnson

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 12:24 AM

How about Eastern Orthodox?

#17 Mike L

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 05:30 AM

How about Eastern Orthodox?



Thats what I usually say... I'm in the Southern US (Deeeeep South..lol) and unless I say "You know..the Church that's in Greece and Russia", they look very puzzled. Then if I explain it, they usually say something like, "Oh, so you're like a Catholic then?" LOL They usually merely see it as a type of RCism, or the RC Church without a Pope. I always make sure to explain the dogmatic differences when I can.

#18 Etsi JC Brigid W.

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 04:49 PM

I didn't know about Orthodoxy until I was a young mother in my mid-twenties. And then, the "convert" that told me about it (long story on why that one is in quotes...let's just say that I know the person VERY well) presented it more as superstitious gibbity-gobble and a social club that she had (lied to) joined.

#19 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 10:49 PM

True, 'Greek Orthodox' might mean something to some, if only to the extent that it might evoke the memory of blue-domed churches in advertisements for holidays in Santorini. I don't like the expression 'Eastern Orthodox' - it implies geographical limitations. How is someone in San Francisco 'eastern'? And what, then, would be 'Western Orthodox'?

#20 Herman G.

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 02:12 AM

Well, saying Eastern Orthodox is a great opener to talk about the Great Schism (and therefore getting the RC connection out of the way).




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