The first Orthodox church on the American continent was established in 1792 on Kodiak Island, in present-day Alaska, by eight monks from western Russia. The Russian Orthodox Church is unique among major religious groups in the United States: It is the only church to expand from west to east. It moved its original headquarters from Sitka, Alaska, to San Francisco, then to New York City. The Church of Saint Nicholas, built in 1901 in New York City, became the main Russian Orthodox church in the United States in 1905.
There were at that time about 20,000 Russian Orthodox members in 60 parishes throughout the United States, but within a decade the numbers had grown to 100,000 with 169 parishes, and by 1975 there were more than a million parishioners. The Greek Orthodox Church established itself toward the end of the 19th century in the large cities of New York and Chicago and fanned out to other regions, having more than 2 million mem-
Catholic congregation receiving communion during a Mass celebrated by the Bishop of Salford Diocese in Manchester, England. The ritual of a Catholic Mass always remains the same, although the celebration may differ in terms of the building in which it is conducted, the music sung, and the language in which it is said.
Recent estimates indicate that there are around 6 million Orthodox in the United States. This includes members of the Orthodox Church of America, which is the name of the church that formerly was called the Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church of America. Other ethnic groups of Orthodox Christians (Albanians, Bulgarians, Romanians, Serbians, Syrians, and Ukrainians) arrived in the 20th century. Many of the Orthodox churches keep strong ties, at least in tradition and spirit, with their respective mother churches and train their clergy there.
bers in 1975, by far the largest representative of Orthodoxy in the Western world.
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