A Report on Orthodox Monastic Communities in the United States (SCOBA, 2014)

It should be noted that between the end of data-collection (May 2014) and time of release of final report (October 2014), at least two new monastic communities appeared on the “Orthodox Church map” of the United States. However, because they did not participate in the survey, information about these monasteries is not included.

Geronda Ephraim & Bishop Artemis
Geronda Ephraim & Bishop Artemis

Introduction: Background of the Study and How It Was Conducted.
More than 70 Orthodox monastic communities representing various Orthodox jurisdictions operate today in the United States. There exists significant diversity among these communities in terms of their size, liturgical practices, openness to outside visitors, educational programs, ʺeconomicʺ activities, etc.

Bishop Joseph, Geronda Ephraim & Geronda Paisios.
Bishop Joseph, Geronda Ephraim & Geronda Paisios.

The study ʺOrthodox Monastic Communities in the United Statesʺ was initiated by and conducted under auspices of the Committee for Monastic Communities of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States (His Grace, Bishop George (Schaefer), Chairman). Principal researcher and author of the study report was Alexei Krindatch, research coordinator for the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America.

TX Synodia
The Committee for Monastic Communities of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops is tasked with cataloging, studying and comparing the different monastic communities and practices in the United States. Accordingly, the study ʺOrthodox Monastic Communities in the United Statesʺ was designed in order to take a first step towards this goal.

Archbishop Demetrios & Gerondissa Markella
Archbishop Demetrios & Gerondissa Markella

The major source of information presented in this report was a survey of US Orthodox monasteries conducted in the fall 2013 ‐ spring 2014. A two‐page questionnaire was sent to all US Orthodox monastic communities and completed by their superiors. The questionnaire used in this survey is provided in Appendix A. All 71 monastic communities existing in the United States at the time of the study participated in the study.

Bishop Joseph at St. John the Forerunner Monastery
Bishop Joseph at St. John the Forerunner Monastery

In addition to completed questionnaires many monasteries provided various additional materials such as monasteryʹs brochure, bylaw, typicon, etc. Most of these materials were scanned, saved in digital format and provided in an addendum to this report.

Consecration of the Chapel at Life-Giving Spring Monastery, CA.
Consecration of the Chapel at Life-Giving Spring Monastery, CA.

Read the full 159 page report here: http://www.assemblyofbishops.org/assets/files/docs/research/StudyOfUSMonasteriesReportFinal.pdf

Metropolitan Isaiah, Geronda Ephraim & Hieromonk Nektarios Arvanitakis
Metropolitan Isaiah, Geronda Ephraim & Hieromonk Nektarios Arvanitakis

SHORT SUMMARY

1. Most of the monasteries in the USA belong to the GOA (27%), followed by the OCA (25%) and the Russian Orthodox (24%).

2. Most of the monasteries are female (37 monasteries, 52% of all monasteries), though almost evenly divided with male (34 monasteries, 48% of all monasteries).

3. 23 of the 50 states have monasteries, half of which are in just 5 states.

4. New York has the most monastic communities (13 monasteries, 18% of all monasteries), followed by California (8 monasteries, 11% of all monasteries).

5. 39 of the 71 monasteries in the US were founded after 1990. Only 4 were founded prior to World War II.

6. There are 512 monastics in all US monasteries. The average number of monastics per community is slightly above 7. 39 monasteries have less than 5 monastics. Only 8 monasteries have more than 20 monastics.

7. The largest Orthodox monastery in the US is Saint Anthony’s Monastery in Arizona (GOA) with 49. Out of the 8 largest monasteries, 6 belong to the GOA.

8. 53% of all the monasteries use English as the primary language in worship, 16% equally English and another language, and 31% primarily another language. OCA monasteries mostly use English (83%), while GOA monasteries primarily use Greek (84%).

9. 52% of all monasteries use email. 51% have websites.

10. 37% of all monasteries receive a significant number of visitors.

Bishop Methodios of Boston Liturgizing on Mt. Athos (2011)
Bishop Methodios of Boston Liturgizing on Mt. Athos (2011)

in this report.

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