Which Eastern Orthodox Church Has the Largest Membership?
There are two main groups of Eastern Orthodox churches. The first is the Greek Orthodox Church, with about 30 million members, while the second is the Russian Orthodox Church with more than six million members. The numbers in the two groups are not necessarily related. Both groups have been experiencing growth since the late 19th century. The growth of the Greek Orthodox Church has been largely due to immigration. This growth stems in part from the desire of offspring to assimilate. It is a natural tendency for these members to embrace the dominant culture in a country like the United States, while still retaining their Orthodox faith.
With an increasing number of Pacific Islanders turning to Christianity, the Asia-Pacific Eastern Orthodox Church is seeing membership rise. Missionaries and believers alike are providing pathways and connections to Christianity in the region. However, missionaries and clergy need to have a firm understanding of the history and religious landscape of their countries. The Jones family, for example, has relocated to Fiji, where they plan to work to grow Orthodox Christianity.
Bulgaria is the home to the largest Eastern Orthodox Church in the world, with a membership of more than 1 million. In addition to its plethora of Orthodox churches, Bulgaria is also home to many Muslims. While the majority of Muslims in Bulgaria practice Sunni Islam, there are also significant Shia populations. For example, in Razgrad, Sliven and the surrounding Tutrakan region, more than 80,000 Shia Muslims are believed to live.
The Orthodox Church of Cyprus has 442,000 members. It has six dioceses, seven bishops, and twelve hundred priests.
The Eastern orthodox church in Georgia has formally decided to withdraw from the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Conference of European Churches (CEC). The decision is likely to strengthen anti-ecumenical sentiment in other Orthodox churches. The Synod cited the failure of the WCC leadership to fully represent the interests of the Orthodox churches. The WCC consists of over 330 churches, not counting the Roman Catholic Church.
Republic of Macedonia
The Eastern Orthodox Church (EOC) is the largest Christian denomination in the Republic of Macedonia, with approximately 1.2 million members. Since its formation on July 19, 1967, the Macedonian Orthodox Church has become autocephalous. In a recent census, there were 6.746 Catholics living in the country.
The Romanian Orthodox Church is the largest autocephalous Eastern Orthodox church in the Balkans. The church is majority Romanian, and it had a membership of more than 16 million in the late 20th century. The church is in full communion with other Eastern Orthodox churches, and the Romanian Orthodox Church ranks seventh in the order of precedence. It has jurisdiction over the country and other nearby countries, and has diaspora communities in North America and Central and Western Europe.
The Eastern orthodox church is a prominent institution in Russia. As patriarch of Russia for nearly two decades, Patriarch Aleksii sought to enchurch believers as quickly as possible. To accomplish this, he greatly expanded the ecclesiastical bureaucracy, including the number of dioceses and parishes, priests, and monasteries. In addition, the patriarchal schools needed significant funding.
The Eastern orthodox church in Serbia has the largest number of members in Southeastern Europe. It is a prominent institution in Serbian society. The church provides religious instruction and services, and many of its congregations are pilgrimage sites for their followers. It has also introduced religious instruction in schools, and SOC priests are present at many public events.
The Eastern Orthodox Church is the second largest Christian body in the world, with a long history dating back to the time of Jesus Christ and the Twelve Apostles. It comprises several autocephalous churches including the Church of Russia, Serbia, Romania, and the Catholicosate of Georgia. It also includes the Orthodox churches of Greece, Cyprus, Poland, and Albania.