ORTHODOx CHuRCHEs

The Orthodox churches in the United States have some special challenges of their own. These churches in many cases are strongly anchored in particular ethnic cultures. Traditionally this has made it difficult for them to develop harmony with one another. Each church has ties with its particular national and political background. Since their national traditions in challenges for the oriental orthodox churches

The Oriental Orthodox churches are suffering in much the same way as the Catholic Church through loss of members and vocations to the priesthood and the monastic orders. This is exacerbated by the rise of Islam within the Middle East, which has led to many historic Christian communities seeing their young migrate to the United States and elsewhere. The war in Iraq, for example, has led to many Christians fleeing the country, while the rise of militant Islam in Egypt has created problems for the Coptic Church. The increasing numbers of Orthodox who have migrated to the United States has strengthened the existing Orthodox presence there, and it is possible that within a few years the heartland, numerically, of the ancient Orthodox churches of the Middle East will have shifted to the United States. The consequences of this will be considerable in terms of continuity, lifestyle, and leadership.

the old world often were opposed to one another's, historical memory has often kept them opposed in their new homeland. In particular instances the ethnic unity within these churches at first was beneficial: It brought a certain strength to each ethnic and religious church. These churches helped their Orthodox immigrants find support and identity in the United States. As the younger generations have become more Americanized, however, it has become more difficult to preserve close links to a church that has strong ties to an ethnic tradition. To meet these challenges efforts have been made to introduce English into the Divine Liturgy and to update music. Yet the traditions in these religious communities seem to be so strong that adaptation comes slowly.

Catholic lay missionaries working on a community project with AIDS orphans in the Korogocho slum, Nairobi, Kenya.

Catholic lay missionaries working on a community project with AIDS orphans in the Korogocho slum, Nairobi, Kenya.

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