Romania ranks 3rd in the world in terms of canonical Orthodox population, according to a review made by Matthew Namee from the Society for Orthodox Christian History in the Americas. Another conclusion of his analysis is that most of the Christian Orthodox in the West are Romanian.
The first three countries in terms of the Orthodox population number are Russia, followed by Ukraine and Romania. Thus, Romania is the European country with the most numerous Orthodox population.
The mean estimate was made using more sources of data for each country. The expert gave 192 million as the total number of Orthodox faithful in these countries.
Italy has the most Orthodox faithful in a Catholic country, most of them Romanian
Matthew Namee’s analysis shows that Italy has the biggest number of Orthodox faithful in a Catholic country – 2.2 million. This is twice the number in Spain or France and more than the number of Orthodox faithful in the US and Canada together.
Most of the Orthodox from Italy are foreign residents, of which the majority are Romanian. Italy is home to most of the Romanian diaspora: 1.2 million, according to the Romanian Foreign Affairs Ministry.
The Romanian Orthodox communities from Italy function in worship places offered by or bought from the Catholic faithful.
300 of the over 1,300 parishes of the Romanian diaspora around the world are in Italy.
A century ago, 20% of the Christian population was Orthodox, a percentage which has dropped to 12%, informs Pew Research Center. A century ago, 7% of the world’s population was Orthodox. Now, the number has dropped to 4%. The evolution is correlated with a decreased percentage of Christians in Europe: from 91% to 77%.
While the number of Orthodox decreases in Europe, due to a drop in the fertility rate and the ageing of the population from the Christian continent, the number of Orthodox rapidly increases in Africa. Approximately 1.3 million Orthodox live on this continent. Half of them are Kenya.
Foto credit: Arhiva Basilica.ro / Raluca Ene