The Orthodox CHuRch And iTs Challenges

The Orthodox churches have had to respond in the last few decades to the collapse of communism and the rise of militant Islam. The collapse of communism has meant the rebuilding of shattered communities, churches, and moral standards in countries such as Russia and Georgia. As the patriarch of Moscow said in 1990, the coming of freedom was as severe a test of the church as the years of persecution under communism because "when we were persecuted, no one expected us to be able to help them. Now they want us to do everything!"

In the Middle East, the combination of reduced vocations to the priesthood, loss of members, and the rise of Islam has resulted in declining numbers of Oriental Orthodox communities. These political and social pressures have, however, seen an increase in the number of Orthodox Christians migrating from the Middle East to the United States and thereby strengthening American Orthodox communities.

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