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Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America (Diocese of the Orthodox Church in America) (1929 - Present) - Religious Group

Religious Family: Eastern Liturgical (Orthodox)
Religious Tradition: Orthodox
Description: The Romanian Orthodox Episcopate is a semiautonomous part of the Orthodox Church in America. Historically, Romanian ethnic identity has been closely identified with the Orthodox Christian faith. Orthodox Christians comprise about 90% of the present-day Romanian population. The initial Romanian immigration to the U.S. occurred at the beginning of the 20th century and gravitated largely to industrial centers such as Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, New York, and other “Rust Belt” cities. Typically, the Romanian immigrants were accompanied by Romanian Orthodox clergy who came to America to minister to them. The first Romanian Orthodox parish in the U.S. was opened in 1904, in Cleveland, OH. In 1929, the Congress of clergy and laity held in Detroit established the “Autonomous Missionary Episcopate,” which united all the scattered parishes. The Congress also asked the Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church in Bucharest to send a bishop. In 1935, the first Romanian Orthodox Bishop, Policarp Moruşca, arrived in America. That same year, the Episcopate purchased the Grey Tower Farms in Grass Lake, Michigan, which is near Detroit. Known as the Vatra Romaneasca (Romanian Hearth), it served from its establishment as the center of the Romanian Church and culture in the United States. After WWII, the Communist takeover in Romania divided Romanian communities in America along political lines. The question of either remaining loyal to the Patriarchate of Bucharest or separating from the Communist-controlled Church in Romania provoked a schism among Romanian Orthodox parishes. Since 1951, two rival Romanian Orthodox church bodies have existed in America. One was the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese of the Americas, which remained loyal to the Patriarchate of Bucharest and has become the present-day Romanian Orthodox Metropolia in the Americas. The second was the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America, which declared itself completely separated from the Church in Romania in both spiritual and administrative affairs. The Episcopate also became the legal successor to the original Missionary Episcopate. As such, it retained the historical headquarters at Vatra Romaneasca. The first Episcopate’s leader was a former lay theologian, Viorel Tiofia, who was consecrated as a bishop. In 1960, the Romanian Episcopate merged with and became semi-autonomous diocese of the Orthodox Church in America. The local Romanian Orthodox parishes, their Church choirs, their youth dance troupes, and summer festivals continue to play a key role in keeping Romanian culture alive in the United States. With the fall of Communism in Romania in 1989, a massive influx of new immigrants changed the demographics of Romanian churches in America, making them both larger and more ethnically-centered. The Romanian Episcopate is part of Orthodox Church in America and one of its three ethnic dioceses (the others being Albanian and Bulgarian). Therefore, the 2020 statistics of its congregations and adherents are included in the statistics of the Orthodox Church in America.
Official Site: https://www.roea.org/

Maps: Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America (Diocese of the Orthodox Church in America)1

Adherence Rate per 1,000 (2000)

Congregations (2000)



Top 5 Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America (Diocese of the Orthodox Church in America) States (2000)1 [View all States]

Rank State Congregations Adherents Adherence Rate
1 Illinois 2 3,000 0.24
2 Ohio 7 1,911 0.17
3 Michigan 7 1,670 0.17
4 Arizona 2 850 0.17
5 Florida 4 2,460 0.15

Top 5 Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America (Diocese of the Orthodox Church in America) Counties (2000)1 [View all Counties]

Rank County Congregations Adherents Adherence Rate
1 Broward County, FL 2 2,300 1.42
2 Stark County, OH 2 400 1.06
3 Mahoning County, OH 1 250 0.97
4 St. Louis city, MO 1 300 0.86
5 Mercer County, PA 1 95 0.79

Top 5 Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America (Diocese of the Orthodox Church in America) Metro Areas (2000)1 [View all Metro Areas]


Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America (Diocese of the Orthodox Church in America), Members (1952 - 2006)2


Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America (Diocese of the Orthodox Church in America), Ministers & Churches (1952 - 2006)2


Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America (Diocese of the Orthodox Church in America), Trends (1952 - 2006)2

YEAR MEMBERS MINISTERS CHURCHES
1952 50,000 36 50
1953 50,000 40 55
1954 50,000 40 55
1955 50,000 35 51
1956 50,000 40 51
1957 50,000 46 51
1958 50,000 46 51
1959 50,000 42 52
1960 50,000 43 52
1961 50,000 40 53
1962 50,000 41 53
1963 50,000 40 49
1964 50,000 43 45
1965 50,000 43 44
1966 50,000 42 44
1967 50,000 42 44
1968 50,000 46 44
1969 50,000 50 45
1970 50,000 50 45
1971 50,000 50 45
1972 50,000 49 45
1973 50,000 50 40
1974 40,000 52 40
1975 40,000 52 40
1976 40,000 42 40
1977 40,000 53 40
1978 40,000 55 34
1979 40,000 55 34
1980 40,000 57 34
1981 40,000 62 34
1982 40,000 69 34
1983 41,000 61 35
1984 60,000 67 34
1985 60,000 67 34
1986 60,000 67 34
1987 60,000 67 34
1988 60,000 67 34
1989 65,000 81 37
1990 25,000 81 56
1992 65,000 81 37
1993 65,000 81 37
1994 65,000 81 37
1995 65,000 81 37
1996 65,000 81 37
2001 1,400 16 22
2002 1,500 19 22
2006 10,635 138 64
       

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]

2 All data on clergy, members, and churches are taken from the National Council of Churches’ Historic Archive CD and recent print editions of the Council’s Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches. The CD archives all 68 editions of the Yearbook (formerly called Yearbook of the Churches and Yearbook of American Churches) from 1916 to 2000. Read more information on the Historic Archive CD and the Yearbook.

Membership figures are "inclusive." According to the Yearbook, this includes "those who are full communicant or confirmed members plus other members baptized, non-confirmed or non-communicant." Each denomination has its own criteria for membership.

When a denomination listed on the Historic Archive CD was difficult to identify, particularly in early editions of the Yearbook, the ARDA staff consulted numerous sources, including Melton’s Encyclopedia of American Religions and the Handbook of Denominations in the United States. In some cases, ARDA staff consulted the denomination’s website or contacted its offices by phone. When a denomination could not be positively identified, its data were omitted.

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