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Georgian Orthodox Church in North America (2009 - Present) - Religious Group

Religious Family: Eastern Liturgical (Orthodox)
Religious Tradition: Orthodox
Description: The Georgian Orthodox Church is one of the oldest Christian Churches in the world. Headquartered in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia, it is the country’s dominant religious institution (85% of the population are Orthodox Christians) and is also highly influential in both the public and political spheres. Christianity had become the state religion of Georgia in 326 AD due to the missionary activity of St. Nino, given the epithet of “Equal to the Apostles.” She came from Jerusalem and was a close relative of St. George, another patron saint of Georgia. Under St. Nino’s influence, Georgian Queen Nana and King Mirian converted to Christianity and asked Byzantine Emperor Constantine to send clergy to Iberia to baptize the nation. Monasteries have flourished in Georgia since the sixth century, serving as important educational and cultural centers. An emphasis on monasticism remains a significant feature of the Georgian Orthodox Church today. The Georgian Orthodox Church follows the same doctrine and teachings as other Eastern Orthodox Churches, but it also retains many distinct ethnic traditions. During the baptism of a baby (natloba), for instance, the godfather (natlia) plays a very important role. He first cuts the hair and nails of the newborn. By doing this, it is believed that the qualities and talents of the godfather are transmitted to the child. The documented Georgian presence in America can be traced to 1890, when Buffalo Bill Cody hired twelve Georgian horsemen to perform with his Wild Congress of Rough Riders. The first wave of immigration from Georgia was result of the Soviet invasion of Georgia in 1921, when about 200 Georgian refugees came to the United States. The second wave of Georgian emigrees arrived in the wake of WWII by virtue of the Displaced Persons Act of 1948 and the Refugee Act of 1953. The third wave of immigration was in the late 1980s-1990s. It was sparked by the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, and by the ensuing political turmoil and deep economic crisis experienced by the newly independent Georgia in the early 1990s. Yet the Georgian-American community remains relatively small in numbers and highly dispersed across the United States. Until recently, Georgians in America attended - or even served as clergy - in the other Orthodox churches. The first distinctly Georgian Orthodox parish with Georgian as a language of worship was opened in 2009: the Atskuri St. Mary Church in Philadelphia, PA. Later, the North American Eparchy (Diocese) of the Georgian Orthodox Church was formed. The Diocesan Center is in St. David the Builder Georgian Orthodox Monastery in Ashley, PA. In 2014, Bishop Saba (Intskirveli) was appointed the ruling Bishop of the Diocese.
Official Site: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100064567997597

Maps: Georgian Orthodox Church in North America1

Adherence Rate per 1,000 (2020)

Congregations (2020)



Top 5 Georgian Orthodox Church in North America States (2020)1 [View all States]

Rank State Congregations Adherents Adherence Rate
1 Alaska 1 70 0.10
2 District Of Columbia 1 30 0.04
3 Pennsylvania 2 325 0.02
4 Maryland 1 125 0.02
5 New York 4 305 0.02

Top 5 Georgian Orthodox Church in North America Counties (2020)1 [View all Counties]

Rank County Congregations Adherents Adherence Rate
1 Kodiak Island Borough, AK 1 70 5.34
2 Carroll County, MD 1 125 0.72
3 Bucks County, PA 1 275 0.43
4 Somerset County, NJ 1 110 0.32
5 Putnam County, NY 1 20 0.20

Top 5 Georgian Orthodox Church in North America Metro Areas (2020)1 [View all Metro Areas]

Sources

1 The 2020 data were collected by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies (ASARB) and include data for 372 religious bodies or groups. Of these, the ASARB was able to gather data on congregations and adherents for 217 and on congregations only for 155. [More information on the data sources]

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