Descendants of these immigrants are in their fourth or fifth generations and are several million in number with the vast majority beyond the second generation.
However our Church in striving to preserve its cultural heritage continues to project itself as an ethnic religion and most people today view it as such with the result that Greek Orthodoxy has been decimated by attrition and faces a grave survival and identity crisis.
The first Greek Orthodox Church was founded in New Orleans, almost 150 years ago, but in the main, communities began to appear in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, in an era encompassing the largest immigrations.
By 1922, over 200 Greek Orthodox Churches had been built.
Among them were the dispossessed, joining millions of immigrants from Europe looking for a new start.
Those who came liked what they found and the vast majority remained to build a new life.
It is a concern shared by learned religious leaders who understand the need for a compassionate outreach towards intermarried families with sensitivity to differences among intermarried couples and the problems they face as a family.Smithsonian experts project that by 2050; the Hispanic population can be expected to double, from 14% to 29%, and from 42 million to 119 million as the over- all population continues to grow.Thus, even as the pre-existing core Catholic population is decreasing, Hispanic population growth can be expected to add millions of Catholic families in the coming decades with continuing growth in America.Kehayes goes as far as saying that the Greek Orthodox Church in America will be nearly extinct, unless the church acts quickly.“As each population passes into successive generations, growing numbers of families move further from their origins, with the probability that our beloved Greek Orthodox Church in America will become moribund in the very near future.” The complete text of the article, entitled “An Important Challenge for Greek Orthodox Christianity” is below.