Shopping, eh? Well, glad you've decided to come over.
Yes, I will be visiting the local parishes of each jurisdiction; indeed, I have already begun to do so.
LOL Good. Saves me the typing. I'd be interested in knowing what YOUR impressions have been thus far concerning the six factors...
--How much is the language of the old country used in liturgy, fellowship, elsewhere?
My exp. in the OCA and AOAA had a lot of oc language in fellowship; very little in AOAA liturgy and none in OCA liturgy. GOA has more Greek in liturgy, but the liturgy in Amarillo, TX is all English.
--How important is maintaining the culture of the old country?
Very; this is seen in the particular styles of panikhidas (service for departed), foods, festivals, language, style of chant, etc.
--How much are the jurisdictions under the control or the “strong influence” of the leaders of the jurisdictions back in the home country?
OCA's enjoys the benefits of self-government--i.e., total self-government, no interference from Moscow--but as far as the actual recognition of said self-government by others, it's not universal.
AOAA's apparently on the road to this point, too, as it's autonomous, i.e., able to elect its own bishops but not its Metropolitan.
GOA is neither autocephalous or autonomous. No talk of when either will occur, afaik. The EP still desires to directly oversee the archdiocese, and is also one who does not recognize the OCA's autocephaly due to the belief on his part that the EP has jurisdiction over all newly-evangelized, non-Greek lands, so anyone else "setting up shop" as fully independent of their mother Church (i.e., OCA from Moscow) isn't recognized. Remains to be seen if the AOAA will be recognized upon achieving autocephaly.
--How much does maintaining ethnic language and tradition (small ‘t’) improve the quality of living the Orthodox Tradition (big “T”) overall?
Depends. Does it foster a community which centers around church life? Or do people show up to help facilitate the Greek/Russian/Hafli festival and then disappear when it's time for church? I've seen both.
--How rich or poor is the jurisdiction in buildings, salaries for priests and other support personnel, charitable programs, missionary work?
Don't have numbers available. My EXPERIENCE has been, from talking to various priests in major metropolitan areas, that GOA priests are well taken care of, AOAA priests are less so (but still comfortable) and OCA and ROCOR priests usually have to take a second, part-time job of some kind to make ends meet.
--How much (what percentage of the population in the U.S.) is converts?
My impression is that it's fairly evenly dispersed. I go to the pan-Orthodox Vespers services around the DFW Metroplex during Lent and every parish in every jurisdiction has had converts.
--How open are the jurisdictions to converts?
More than any other question you asked, this is (in America, anyway) entirely
dependent upon the individual parish.
--How much, if at all, is Tradition (big “T’) watered down or diminished because of the presence of converts?
Well, some converts in the AOAA went nuts some time back in CA, and there are some cradle Greeks who are GOING nuts now concerning parish councils, and I'm sure there are problems in the OCA (haven't seen any myself), but oftentimes converts seem to be MORE insistent upon the Holy Tradition than some cradles. And, on a side note, it'd probably be better to stop that "big T/little t" distinction; I think you'll find that one compliments the other, and the insistence on dividing the two diminishes them both and only serves to divide a parish, since no one can ever agree completely on which traditions go in which category.
--Overall, how missionary are the jurisdictions How dedicated to missionary work / proselytizing are the jurisdictions?
Mostly the things we're doing are pan-Orthodox, like ocmc and iocc. Available to anybody. Now, as to which jurisdictions are most active here and abroad concerning "getting the word out," there are "hot" parishes and "cold" ones all over. Luck of the draw in many cases concerning what's near you.
--How active and innovative are the jurisdictions in charitable works, pro-life work, general outreach, missionary activity, and adapting tradition (little ‘t’) to American culture?
Again, no general trend, up to the parish. As to adapting cultural traditions to American culture, this is something I would hope all jurisdictions were VERY careful about. These cultural things are living links to where our faith came from; I'd favor a more natural, go-with-the-flow kind of change, to let the Church in its liturgies change and baptize AMERICA, rather than start with existing American culture and impose it on the Church.
--How much are the leaders (clergy and laity) corrupted by money or power or other problems?
LOL Um...wow. Ask pokrov.org. Carefully.
--How many monasteries do the jurisdictions have in the U.S.?
Somebody posted a list here
--How well are they growing?
As in, more being founded? Not sure. These things aren't usually planned in committees, if you know what I mean.
--How well do they function as centers of spiritual health for people (i.e., what is their proximity to Orthodox populations, general reputation for holiness, etc.) ?
Not sure, as this may vary from region to region, monastery to monastery. My advice? Go to ones near you and make a call for yourself. Someone once said that the only orthopraxis we should be concerned about is that within our own parish, as that's what directly effects us.
Hope this helps!