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Author Topic: Decline in Marriages - GOA  (Read 1790 times) Average Rating: 0
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SolEX01
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« on: February 18, 2011, 02:30:28 AM »

Based on data published in the 2004, 2008, 2009, 2010 & 2011 Yearbooks from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, the percentage decline in total marriages for each Metropolis & Archdiocesan District was tabulated from 2002 to 2009 ("review period"):  The 3 Metropolises with the greatest declines in total marriages in the review period were:

Metropolis of Boston: 38.80%
Metropolis of San Francisco: 38.64%
Archdiocesan District: 31.27%

The rest (in descending order of percentage decrease)

Metropolis of Atlanta: 26.10%
Metropolis of New Jersey: 23.49%
Metropolis of Denver: 19.57%
Metropolis of Detroit: 19.21%
Metropolis of Pittsburgh: 18.18%
Metropolis of Chicago: 15.52%

For the Entire Archdiocese: 27.56%

One interesting statistic is that the number of Orthodox/Orthodox weddings from 2002 to 2009 remained unchanged (for Metropolis of Pittsburgh) and showed a 2.41% increase (for the Metropolis of Detroit).  In calendar year 2008, there were 54 Orthodox/Orthodox weddings for the Metropolis of Detroit.  In 2009, there were 85 weddings in the same Metropolis.

Another observation: the Metropolis of Boston & San Francisco each registered more than 40% decline in InterChristian marriages and more than 30% decline in Orthodox/Orthodox marriages during the review period.  Only the Metropolis of Atlanta and New Jersey encountered a greater than 30% decline in Orthodox/Orthodox marriages during the review period.

Once the data is obtained from the other GOA Yearbooks online (to complete 2003, 2004, & 2005), a more complete statistical analysis will be presented.   Smiley

The next study will include Baptisms and Chrismations.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2011, 02:49:55 AM by SolEX01 » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2011, 10:59:36 AM »

Perhaps take this with a grain of salt, since the data would probably be only as good as the parishes' reporting methods. And I know personally of a particular parish that had not reported any births, deaths or marriages to the Metropolis for several. years. I'd be willing to bet that's not an anomaly.
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« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2011, 05:17:13 PM »

Perhaps take this with a grain of salt, since the data would probably be only as good as the parishes' reporting methods.

Parishes keep their own records; however, no Sacrament of Holy Matrimony can take place without a Bishop's approval.

And I know personally of a particular parish that had not reported any births, deaths or marriages to the Metropolis for several. years. I'd be willing to bet that's not an anomaly.

Is that Parish in schism with the Metropolis?   Huh
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« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2011, 05:49:56 PM »

Is that Parish in schism with the Metropolis?   Huh

Not officially.... Wink (anyway a new priest rectified the situation)
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« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2011, 03:51:23 AM »

Having "filled in the blanks" on marriage statistics for 2003, 2004 and 2005, the Metropolis of San Franscisco experienced a sharp decline in weddings from 2003 to 2004.  In 2003, the Metropolis of San Francisco was second only to the Archdiocesan District in total number of weddings.  In 2009, the Metropolis is 3rd behind the Metropolis of Chicago and the Archdiocesan District.

The Archdiocesan District and the Metropolis of Boston have experienced a constant decline in total marriages per year during the review period with more significant declines in InterChristian marriages (starting in 2006 for the Metropolis of Boston). 

The decline in Orthodox/Orthodox weddings for the Archdiocesan District starts in 2005 and continues through 2009. 

One will have to wait for the 2012 Yearbook to obtain statistics from 2010.

Also in 2006, the Metropolis of Pittsburgh experienced a sharp increase in Orthodox/Orthodox weddings (ranking 5th overall in the Archdiocese) and a sharp decrease in InterChristian weddings (ranked towards the bottom with the Metropolis of Denver).

Next is the analysis of Baptisms and Chrismations to identify any similar trends.
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« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2011, 12:29:07 PM »

Having "filled in the blanks" on marriage statistics for 2003, 2004 and 2005, the Metropolis of San Franscisco experienced a sharp decline in weddings from 2003 to 2004.  In 2003, the Metropolis of San Francisco was second only to the Archdiocesan District in total number of weddings.  In 2009, the Metropolis is 3rd behind the Metropolis of Chicago and the Archdiocesan District.

The Archdiocesan District and the Metropolis of Boston have experienced a constant decline in total marriages per year during the review period with more significant declines in InterChristian marriages (starting in 2006 for the Metropolis of Boston). 

The decline in Orthodox/Orthodox weddings for the Archdiocesan District starts in 2005 and continues through 2009. 

One will have to wait for the 2012 Yearbook to obtain statistics from 2010.

Also in 2006, the Metropolis of Pittsburgh experienced a sharp increase in Orthodox/Orthodox weddings (ranking 5th overall in the Archdiocese) and a sharp decrease in InterChristian weddings (ranked towards the bottom with the Metropolis of Denver).

Next is the analysis of Baptisms and Chrismations to identify any similar trends.
So what's your point?
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« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2011, 02:52:40 PM »

Next is the analysis of Baptisms and Chrismations to identify any similar trends.
So what's your point?

Having completed the analysis for Baptisms and Chrismations, the following Metropolises registered positive gains in Baptisms during the 8 year review period:

Metropolis of Chicago: 45.44%
Metropolis of New Jersey: 13.96%
Metropolis of Atlanta: 9.65%

The following Metropolises registered positive gains in Chrismations during the same review period:

Metropolis of New Jersey: 39.51%
Metropolis of Atlanta: 7.92%

The other Metropolises registered declines in baptisms and chrismations.  The Archdiocesan District registered a 4.56% decline in Baptisms while the Metropolis of Detroit registered a 36.18% decline during the review period.  The Metropolis of Denver registered a 2.36% decline in Chrismations even though there have been sharp increases and decreases from year to year.

The Archdiocesan District reached a peak in baptisms in 2004 and has encountered a gradual (not sudden) decline since.

The Metropolis of Boston experienced a 22.17% decline in Baptisms and a 45.16% decline in Chrismations to accompany the 38.80% decline in total marriages.  Looking more closely, between 2002 and 2005, Baptisms decreased by 39.72%; however, between 2005 and 2009, Baptisms increased by 29.12%.

In the last 2 Yearbooks, the Archdiocese has provided a 25 year bar chart for total weddings, baptisms and chrismations.  The point of this thread is to break down the numbers by Metropolis and make note of long-term trends given that the Metropolises are in their 8th year of existence with only one change in Metropolitan (the repose of Met. Antony) during the time period.

The Metropolis of Chicago has risen from 7th to 3rd in baptisms from 2002 to 2009.
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« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2011, 11:31:43 PM »

Next is the analysis of Baptisms and Chrismations to identify any similar trends.
So what's your point?

Having completed the analysis for Baptisms and Chrismations, the following Metropolises registered positive gains in Baptisms during the 8 year review period:

Metropolis of Chicago: 45.44%
Metropolis of New Jersey: 13.96%
Metropolis of Atlanta: 9.65%

The following Metropolises registered positive gains in Chrismations during the same review period:

Metropolis of New Jersey: 39.51%
Metropolis of Atlanta: 7.92%

The other Metropolises registered declines in baptisms and chrismations.  The Archdiocesan District registered a 4.56% decline in Baptisms while the Metropolis of Detroit registered a 36.18% decline during the review period.  The Metropolis of Denver registered a 2.36% decline in Chrismations even though there have been sharp increases and decreases from year to year.

The Archdiocesan District reached a peak in baptisms in 2004 and has encountered a gradual (not sudden) decline since.

The Metropolis of Boston experienced a 22.17% decline in Baptisms and a 45.16% decline in Chrismations to accompany the 38.80% decline in total marriages.  Looking more closely, between 2002 and 2005, Baptisms decreased by 39.72%; however, between 2005 and 2009, Baptisms increased by 29.12%.

In the last 2 Yearbooks, the Archdiocese has provided a 25 year bar chart for total weddings, baptisms and chrismations.  The point of this thread is to break down the numbers by Metropolis and make note of long-term trends given that the Metropolises are in their 8th year of existence with only one change in Metropolitan (the repose of Met. Antony) during the time period.

The Metropolis of Chicago has risen from 7th to 3rd in baptisms from 2002 to 2009.
I still don't understand what underlying message you're trying to communicate with all these statistics.
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« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2011, 12:25:56 AM »

I still don't understand what underlying message you're trying to communicate with all these statistics.

Different Metropolises are growing at different rates (positive and negative) ... there's one underlying message.

Different Metropolises are experiencing significant declines in InterChristian marriages ... there's another underlying message.

The GOA is suing a Government Agency and is more concerned about rebuilding a Church on prime NYC real estate than evangelizing.  Perhaps that is the underlying message.   Undecided
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« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2011, 12:52:17 AM »

I still don't understand what underlying message you're trying to communicate with all these statistics.

Different Metropolises are growing at different rates (positive and negative) ... there's one underlying message.

Different Metropolises are experiencing significant declines in InterChristian marriages ... there's another underlying message.

The GOA is suing a Government Agency and is more concerned about rebuilding a Church on prime NYC real estate than evangelizing.  Perhaps that is the underlying message.   Undecided

Have more GOA babies AND evangelize. Cheesy

In Christ,
Andrew
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« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2011, 01:55:36 AM »

I still don't understand what underlying message you're trying to communicate with all these statistics.

Different Metropolises are growing at different rates (positive and negative) ... there's one underlying message.

Different Metropolises are experiencing significant declines in InterChristian marriages ... there's another underlying message.

The GOA is suing a Government Agency and is more concerned about rebuilding a Church on prime NYC real estate than evangelizing.  Perhaps that is the underlying message.   Undecided

So what are you doing about it?
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« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2011, 02:15:27 AM »

I still don't understand what underlying message you're trying to communicate with all these statistics.

Different Metropolises are growing at different rates (positive and negative) ... there's one underlying message.

Different Metropolises are experiencing significant declines in InterChristian marriages ... there's another underlying message.

The GOA is suing a Government Agency and is more concerned about rebuilding a Church on prime NYC real estate than evangelizing.  Perhaps that is the underlying message.   Undecided

So what are you doing about it?

Praying ... to see if a Church is really that important to have at Ground Zero.  Otherwise, not much else.   angel

Compiling these statistics was an interesting exercise since the GOA makes wholesale sacramental data readily available vs. other Orthodox Jurisdictions.
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« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2011, 02:46:56 AM »

Strange.  The "Orthodox Observer" mailing list, (which includes all active member households of all parishes across the country), has increased by 40,000 names over the past decade, a 24.25% increase, to 165,000.

Reporting from the parishes is via the executed certificates of baptism and holy matrimony, which are issued by the metropolitan/metropolis.  What kind of a certificate is being issued by parishes that don't "report" these sacraments, simply a parish certificate?  Wouldn't the metropolis' registrar notice the lack of activity from a parish, and take some action?
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« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2011, 02:59:29 AM »

Hypothetical:

If a person is baptized and chrismated at a monastery (perhaps as a lapsed Orthodox or a convert), would the monastic community report the sacraments to the Metropolis?

Delivery of the Orthodox Observer was resumed in my household; before, 10-15 years elapsed (during the tenure of Archbishop Spyridon) since the last Orthodox Observer was received.  Frankly, I thought Internet publication of the Observer resulted in the halting of mail delivery (or postage costs became unfeasible).
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« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2011, 03:18:32 AM »

I still don't understand what underlying message you're trying to communicate with all these statistics.

Different Metropolises are growing at different rates (positive and negative) ... there's one underlying message.

Different Metropolises are experiencing significant declines in InterChristian marriages ... there's another underlying message.

The GOA is suing a Government Agency and is more concerned about rebuilding a Church on prime NYC real estate than evangelizing.  Perhaps that is the underlying message.   Undecided

So what are you doing about it?

Praying ... to see if a Church is really that important to have at Ground Zero.
And what say do you have in that matter that you need to discern this?
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« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2011, 03:50:51 AM »

I still don't understand what underlying message you're trying to communicate with all these statistics.

Different Metropolises are growing at different rates (positive and negative) ... there's one underlying message.

Different Metropolises are experiencing significant declines in InterChristian marriages ... there's another underlying message.

The GOA is suing a Government Agency and is more concerned about rebuilding a Church on prime NYC real estate than evangelizing.  Perhaps that is the underlying message.   Undecided

So what are you doing about it?

Praying ... to see if a Church is really that important to have at Ground Zero.
And what say do you have in that matter that you need to discern this?

I have no say; the topic concerns me because we are taught to accept suffering as a cost of discipleship.  To make an analogy ... the Archdiocese accepts the loss of St. Nicholas Church as a cost of ministering to the World.  If the Archdiocese can rebuild St. Nicholas at the same location, elsewhere in Manhattan or Neptune, may God Bless them!
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« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2011, 12:02:05 PM »

I still don't understand what underlying message you're trying to communicate with all these statistics.

Different Metropolises are growing at different rates (positive and negative) ... there's one underlying message.

Different Metropolises are experiencing significant declines in InterChristian marriages ... there's another underlying message.

The GOA is suing a Government Agency and is more concerned about rebuilding a Church on prime NYC real estate than evangelizing.  Perhaps that is the underlying message.   Undecided

So what are you doing about it?

Praying ... to see if a Church is really that important to have at Ground Zero.
And what say do you have in that matter that you need to discern this?

I have no say; the topic concerns me because we are taught to accept suffering as a cost of discipleship.
Yes, we are taught to accept the cost of discipleship, not demand that someone else accept it.
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« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2011, 12:57:07 PM »

I still don't understand what underlying message you're trying to communicate with all these statistics.

Different Metropolises are growing at different rates (positive and negative) ... there's one underlying message.

Different Metropolises are experiencing significant declines in InterChristian marriages ... there's another underlying message.

The GOA is suing a Government Agency and is more concerned about rebuilding a Church on prime NYC real estate than evangelizing.  Perhaps that is the underlying message.   Undecided


I think they can do more than one thing at once...
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« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2011, 01:55:44 PM »

I still don't understand what underlying message you're trying to communicate with all these statistics.

Different Metropolises are growing at different rates (positive and negative) ... there's one underlying message.

Different Metropolises are experiencing significant declines in InterChristian marriages ... there's another underlying message.

The GOA is suing a Government Agency and is more concerned about rebuilding a Church on prime NYC real estate than evangelizing.  Perhaps that is the underlying message.   Undecided

So what are you doing about it?

Praying ... to see if a Church is really that important to have at Ground Zero.
And what say do you have in that matter that you need to discern this?

I have no say; the topic concerns me because we are taught to accept suffering as a cost of discipleship.
Yes, we are taught to accept the cost of discipleship, not demand that someone else accept it.

You're right.   Smiley

I just wanted to post some interesting trends in Metropolis life during the last 8 years of the Metropolises ... I find them interesting and worthy of discussion in light of current events; I'm sorry that no one else finds them as such.   Sad
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« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2011, 06:40:59 PM »

I do! Thank you for taking the time to post the statistics. Their does not always need to be a point for the information to be of relevance. I deal with strategic analysis and it is my job to be able to extract "the point" from the data I am given ... so, I can see that with the information you supplied above we can create our own hypothesis and discussions based on the attempt to interpret.

<gasps for air><mouthfull>
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« Reply #20 on: February 20, 2011, 06:45:40 PM »

I still don't understand what underlying message you're trying to communicate with all these statistics.

Different Metropolises are growing at different rates (positive and negative) ... there's one underlying message.

Different Metropolises are experiencing significant declines in InterChristian marriages ... there's another underlying message.

The GOA is suing a Government Agency and is more concerned about rebuilding a Church on prime NYC real estate than evangelizing.  Perhaps that is the underlying message.   Undecided

So what are you doing about it?

Praying ... to see if a Church is really that important to have at Ground Zero.
And what say do you have in that matter that you need to discern this?

I have no say; the topic concerns me because we are taught to accept suffering as a cost of discipleship.
Yes, we are taught to accept the cost of discipleship, not demand that someone else accept it.

You're right.   Smiley

I just wanted to post some interesting trends in Metropolis life during the last 8 years of the Metropolises ... I find them interesting and worthy of discussion in light of current events; I'm sorry that no one else finds them as such.   Sad
Make more GOA babies. Smiley Then remove the pews.  Wink Cheesy J/k

In Christ,
Andrew
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« Reply #21 on: February 20, 2011, 10:58:41 PM »

Thank you everyone for your input.   Smiley
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« Reply #22 on: February 22, 2011, 11:17:57 AM »

Wouldn't the metropolis' registrar notice the lack of activity from a parish, and take some action?

What action would that be?
A telephone call or letter asking for the information to be updated, perhaps?
Which can be ignored or answered by, "oh, yeah, we'll get around to it. We've been kinda busy."

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« Reply #23 on: February 22, 2011, 03:32:23 PM »

The analysis would be more conclusive if it included other related data, like regional demographic/population shifts, overall rates of marriage (i.e. indicating whether there is a general trend in marrying later or not at all), etc.  I'm not defending the Archdiocese or any Metropolis - I look at the numbers at least twice per year and see the same lost opportunities that many others do.

As to the point about spending energy on St. Nicholas and not on evangelism, I don't think the data is able to support your conclusion; there isn't enough information presented, making your conclusion more an opinion than an observation.  Many in the GOA "know" that there is a discrepancy in the amount of evangelization going on region-by-region; some Metropolises are more focused on reaching out, some are trying hard to stop outflows.  I don't think the numbers can be indicative of the trend, however, absent other data (the aforementioned more general statistics).

Finally, ultimately responsibility for bringing people to Christ falls to the parishes; the Archdiocese and Metropolises are doing their best to empower the parishes, providing them with ideas and materials - but the "rubber meets the road" at the parishes, where the most important aspects of evangelization (charity, love, hospitality, etc.) take place.  We in the parishes are "failing" in this regard (although I do not think it is necessarily right to characterize the Body of Christ as "failing") - we should and could be doing more to be ambassadors of the Lord to those who do not know Him.
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« Reply #24 on: February 22, 2011, 04:55:49 PM »

Finally, ultimately responsibility for bringing people to Christ falls to the parishes; the Archdiocese and Metropolises are doing their best to empower the parishes, providing them with ideas and materials - but the "rubber meets the road" at the parishes, where the most important aspects of evangelization (charity, love, hospitality, etc.) take place.  We in the parishes are "failing" in this regard (although I do not think it is necessarily right to characterize the Body of Christ as "failing") - we should and could be doing more to be ambassadors of the Lord to those who do not know Him.

Amen, Father!

I often hear things like "the Archdiocese/Metropolis should" or "shouldn't" do this, that or the other thing (or whatever your jurisdictional hierarchy is), which has always reminded me of people saying, "the government ought to do something about that!"
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« Reply #25 on: February 22, 2011, 06:19:09 PM »

To complete the analysis, for the time being, the marriage statistics for the Archdiocese of America, from when the Archdiocese of America became a separate entity in 1996 to 2001, were incorporated.

For the entire 14 year period from 1996 to 2009:

Orthodox/Orthodox marriages decreased by 10.18% (peaking in 2003)
Inter-Christian marriages decreased by 37.94% (from the maximum in 1996)
Total marriages decreased by 28.82% (peaking in 1999)
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« Reply #26 on: February 22, 2011, 07:57:40 PM »

The analysis would be more conclusive if it included other related data, like regional demographic/population shifts, overall rates of marriage (i.e. indicating whether there is a general trend in marrying later or not at all), etc.  I'm not defending the Archdiocese or any Metropolis - I look at the numbers at least twice per year and see the same lost opportunities that many others do.

In some large USA cities and Metropolises, there is a significant "inclusive" population of Orthodox Christians who are: aging, not mobile (e.g. unlikely to move from one Metropolis to another) and whose young people are likely to marry at different rates (and ages) than the general population.  At least in the Orthodox/Orthodox category, the decline in marriages is less pronounced than the Inter-Christian category (where one participant is Orthodox).  If there are similar trends among the number of marriages performed overall in USA, then it is safe to say that the GOA mirrors the rest of the country.

Putting the above hypothesis to the test for 2000-2005 (from here):

USA Marriages in 2005: 2,249,000 (2,245,500 excluding GOA)
USA Marriages in 2000: 2,315,000 (2,311,000 excluding GOA)

%Change in USA Marriages from 2000 to 2005: -2.83% (using only numbers excluding the GOA)
%Change in Total Marriages in GOA from 2000 to 2005: -8.83%

At least in a 6 year period, the total number of marriages in the USA decreased at a lower rate than total marriages in the GOA.
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« Reply #27 on: February 23, 2011, 12:13:56 AM »

In Reply #26, I meant to say "significant exclusive population of Orthodox Christians" rather than "inclusive."   angel
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