Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America (1936 - Present) - Religious GroupReligious Family: Eastern Liturgical (Orthodox)
Religious Tradition: Orthodox
Description: The Orthodox Church of Antioch is one of four ancient Orthodox Patriarchates. Headquartered in Damascus, Syria, this Church was historically composed of Orthodox Christian Arabs residing in the present-day Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, and Iraq. The Antiochian Orthodox immigrants began arriving in large numbers to America from what was then Ottoman Empire in the early 1890s. From 1895 to 1915, these Antiochian Orthodox were united into a “Syro-Arabian Mission” which was part of the Russian Orthodox Church. They were led by the charismatic Raphael Hawaweeny, the first Orthodox bishop consecrated on American soil, who was later (2000) glorified as Saint Raphael of Brooklyn. After Bishop Raphael’s death (1915) and following the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia (1917), the Antiochians in America were divided into rival groups. Two major factions were formed in 1936. One, headquartered in New York, was led by Archbishop Anthony (Bashir), who recognized the supremacy of the Patriarch of the Church of Antioch. The second group was centered in Toledo, OH and it was presided over by Archbishop Samuel (David), who maintained closer relations with the Russian Orthodox Church. It has become known as “Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Toledo and Dependencies.” The group of Archbishop Samuel consisted mainly of clergy and parishioners from the Zahle region of Lebanon. It became ethnically and regionally defined and, as a result, over time, shrank in size. In contrast, the Archdiocese of New York, under Archbishop Antony, began to introduce the use of English into the church services and thus expanded its horizons and membership. In 1975, the Toledo group ceased to exist and merged with the New York Archdiocese now under the leadership of Metropolitan Philip (Saliba), the successor of Metropolitan Anthony. Together they formed the present-day Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. One of the most significant events in the history of the Archdiocese took place in 1987, when several thousand members of the Protestant “Evangelical Orthodox Church” joined the Archdiocese. This was the largest mass conversion in the history of American Orthodox Christianity. The membership of the modern-day Antiochian Archdiocese is comprised of three different demographic groups: American-born descendants of the original Arab immigrants, Arabs who emigrated from the Middle East in recent decades, and American converts to Orthodoxy who were formerly Protestant or Roman Catholic. As a result, there is a considerable variation in the church and worship practices. Most congregations worship in English, but many also use a great deal of Arabic for the benefit of recent immigrants. Some clergy adhere to very traditional outward practices, such as wearing black cassocks and long beards. Others prefer a more Western appearance. The Antiochian Archdiocese has produced several important organizations for American Orthodox Christianity including Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry which ministers to hundreds of inmates, regardless of religion. Ancient Faith Radio – originally a grassroots enterprise within the Antiochian Archdiocese - has become the largest Orthodox Christian web-based media outlet and publishing house in the U.S.
Official Site: https://www.antiochian.org/
Connections: Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
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Maps: Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America1
Adherence Rate per 1,000 (2020)
Top 5 Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America States (2020)1 [View all States]
Top 5 Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America Counties (2020)1 [View all Counties]
Top 5 Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America Metro Areas (2020)1 [View all Metro Areas]
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, Members (1925 - 2007)2
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, Ministers & Churches (1925 - 2007)2
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, Trends (1925 - 2007)2
1 The 2020 data were collected by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies (ASARB) and include data for 372 religious bodies or groups. Of these, the ASARB was able to gather data on congregations and adherents for 217 and on congregations only for 155. [More information on the data sources]
2 All data on clergy, members, and churches are taken from the National Council of Churches’ Historic Archive CD and recent print editions of the Council’s Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches. The CD archives all 68 editions of the Yearbook (formerly called Yearbook of the Churches and Yearbook of American Churches) from 1916 to 2000. Read more information on the Historic Archive CD and the Yearbook.
Membership figures are "inclusive." According to the Yearbook, this includes "those who are full communicant or confirmed members plus other members baptized, non-confirmed or non-communicant." Each denomination has its own criteria for membership.
When a denomination listed on the Historic Archive CD was difficult to identify, particularly in early editions of the Yearbook, the ARDA staff consulted numerous sources, including Melton’s Encyclopedia of American Religions and the Handbook of Denominations in the United States. In some cases, ARDA staff consulted the denomination’s website or contacted its offices by phone. When a denomination could not be positively identified, its data were omitted.