Eastern Orthodoxy by country

Last updated
Distribution of Eastern Orthodox Christians in the world by country:
Main religion (more than 75%)
Main religion (50-75%)
Important minority religion (20-50%)
Important minority religion (5-20%)
Minority religion (1-5%)
Tiny minority religion (below 1%), but has local autocephaly Eastern Orthodoxy by country.png
Distribution of Eastern Orthodox Christians in the world by country:
  Main religion (more than 75%)
  Main religion (50–75%)
  Important minority religion (20–50%)
  Important minority religion (5–20%)
  Minority religion (1–5%)
  Tiny minority religion (below 1%), but has local autocephaly

Based on the numbers of adherents, the Eastern Orthodox Church (also known as Eastern Orthodoxy) is the second largest Christian communion in the world after the Roman Catholic Church. [1] The most common estimates of the number of Eastern Orthodox Christians worldwide is approximately 200–260 million. [2] [3] [4] [5] The numerous Protestant groups in the world, if taken all together, outnumber the Eastern Orthodox, [6] but they differ theologically and do not form a single communion. [7]

Eastern Orthodox Church Christian Church

The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 260 million baptised members. It operates as a communion of autocephalous churches, each governed by its bishops in local synods. Roughly half of Eastern Orthodox Christians live in Russia. The church has no central doctrinal or governmental authority analogous to the Bishop of Rome, but the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is recognised by all as primus inter pares of the bishops. As one of the oldest surviving religious institutions in the world, the Eastern Orthodox Church has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus, and the Near East.

Catholic Church Largest Christian church, led by the Bishop of Rome

The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.

Protestantism Division within Christianity, originating with the 16th century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be errors in the Roman Catholic Church

Protestantism is the second largest form of Christianity with collectively between 800 million and more than 900 million adherents worldwide or nearly 40% of all Christians. It originated with the 16th century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be errors in the Roman Catholic Church. Protestants reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of papal supremacy and sacraments, but disagree among themselves regarding the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. They emphasize the priesthood of all believers, justification by faith alone rather than also by good works, and the highest authority of the Bible alone in faith and morals. The "five solae" summarise basic theological differences in opposition to the Roman Catholic Church.

Eastern Orthodoxy is the largest single religious faith in the world's largest country by area: Russia (41% [8] [9] -77%), [10] [11] [12] where roughly half of the Eastern Orthodox Christians live. It is the majority religion in Ukraine (65.4% [13] -77%), [14] Romania (82%), [15] Belarus (48% [16] -73% [17] ) Greece (95%-98%), [15] Serbia (97%), [15] Bulgaria (88%), [15] Moldova (93%), [15] Georgia (84%), [15] North Macedonia (65%), [15] Cyprus (89%) [15] and Montenegro (72%), [15] and it is also predominant in the disputed territories of Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transnistria.

Faith, derived from Latin fides and Old French feid, is confidence or trust in a person, thing, or concept. In the context of religion, one can define faith as confidence or trust in a particular system of religious belief. Religious people often think of faith as confidence based on a perceived degree of warrant, while others who are more skeptical of religion tend to think of faith as simply belief without evidence.

Russia transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia

Russia, or the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and North Asia. At 17,125,200 square kilometres (6,612,100 sq mi), Russia is, by a considerable margin, the largest country in the world by area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, and the ninth most populous, with about 146.79 million people as of 2019, including Crimea. About 77% of the population live in the western, European part of the country. Russia's capital, Moscow, is one of the largest cities in the world and the second largest city in Europe; other major cities include Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg and Nizhny Novgorod. Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms. From northwest to southeast, Russia shares land borders with Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia and North Korea. It shares maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk and the U.S. state of Alaska across the Bering Strait. However, Russia recognises two more countries that border it, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both of which are internationally recognized as parts of Georgia.

Ukraine Sovereign state in Eastern Europe

Ukraine, sometimes called the Ukraine, is a country in Eastern Europe. Excluding Crimea, Ukraine has a population of about 42.5 million, making it the 32nd most populous country in the world. Its capital and largest city is Kiev. Ukrainian is the official language and its alphabet is Cyrillic. The dominant religions in the country are Eastern Orthodoxy and Greek Catholicism. Ukraine is currently in a territorial dispute with Russia over the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014. Including Crimea, Ukraine has an area of 603,628 km2 (233,062 sq mi), making it the largest country entirely within Europe and the 46th largest country in the world.

Significant minorities, making up between 1 and 31 per cent of the population, are present in several European countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina (43%), [15] Latvia (18%), Estonia (14%), Albania (7%), [18] Lithuania (4%), Croatia (4%), Slovenia (2%), and Finland (1.5%). In Asia, around the former USSR, Eastern Orthodoxy constitutes the dominant religion in northern Kazakhstan, representing 23.9%, [19] of the population of the region, and is also a significant minority in Kyrgyzstan (17%), Turkmenistan (5%), Uzbekistan (5%), Azerbaijan (2%), [15] and Tajikistan (1%). In Lebanon, 8% are Eastern Orthodox. [20] In Syria, 5-8% were Eastern Orthodox prior to the war, and Eastern Orthodox Christians represent between 0.5% and 2.5% in Palestine, [21] and over 1% in Jordan. Recent immigration and missionary activity raised the numbers of the Eastern Orthodox community in Catholic and Protestant countries such as Australia, Austria, Germany, Italy, Spain, Canada and Switzerland to roughly 2% of the population in each.

Europe Continent in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere

Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Asia to the east, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia.

Bosnia and Herzegovina Republic in Southeast Europe

Bosnia and Herzegovina, abbreviated BiH or B&H, sometimes called Bosnia–Herzegovina and often known informally as Bosnia, is a country in Southeastern Europe, located within the Balkan Peninsula. Sarajevo is the capital and largest city.

Latvia Republic in Northeastern Europe

Latvia, officially the Republic of Latvia, is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. Since its independence, Latvia has been referred to as one of the Baltic states. It is bordered by Estonia to the north, Lithuania to the south, Russia to the east, and Belarus to the southeast, and shares a maritime border with Sweden to the west. Latvia has 1,957,200 inhabitants and a territory of 64,589 km2 (24,938 sq mi). The country has a temperate seasonal climate.

The percentage of Christians in Turkey fell from 19 percent in 1914 to 2.5 percent in 1927, [22] due to events which had a significant impact on the country's demographic structure, such as the Armenian Genocide, the population exchange between Greece and Turkey, [23] and the emigration of Christians to foreign countries (mostly in Europe and the Americas). [24] Today there are more than 160,000 people of different Christian denominations. [25]

Christians people who adhere to Christianity

Christians are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. The words Christ and Christian derive from the Koine Greek title Christós (Χριστός), a translation of the Biblical Hebrew term mashiach (מָשִׁיחַ).

Turkey Republic in Western Asia

Turkey, officially the Republic of Turkey, is a transcontinental country located mainly on the Anatolian peninsula in Western Asia, with a smaller portion on the Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe. East Thrace, the part of Turkey in Europe, is separated from Anatolia by the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorous strait and the Dardanelles. Turkey is bordered by Greece and Bulgaria to its northwest; Georgia to its northeast; Armenia, the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan and Iran to the east; and Iraq and Syria to the south. Istanbul is the largest city while Ankara is the capital. Approximately 70 to 80 per cent of the country's citizens identify as Turkish. Kurds are the largest minority; the size of the Kurdish population is a subject of dispute with estimates placing the figure at anywhere from 12 to 25 per cent of the population.

Armenian Genocide Systematic killing of Armenians residing in the Ottoman Empire

The Armenian Genocide, also known as the Armenian Holocaust, was the Ottoman government's systematic extermination of 700,000 to 1.5 million Armenians, mostly citizens of the Ottoman Empire. The starting date is conventionally held to be 24 April 1915, the day that Ottoman authorities rounded up, arrested, and deported from Constantinople to the region of Angora (Ankara), 235 to 270 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders, the majority of whom were eventually murdered. The genocide was carried out during and after World War I and implemented in two phases—the wholesale killing of the able-bodied male population through massacre and subjection of army conscripts to forced labour, followed by the deportation of women, children, the elderly, and the infirm on death marches leading to the Syrian Desert. Driven forward by military escorts, the deportees were deprived of food and water and subjected to periodic robbery, rape, and massacre. Other ethnic groups were similarly targeted for extermination in the Assyrian genocide and the Greek genocide, and their treatment is considered by some historians to be part of the same genocidal policy. Most Armenian diaspora communities around the world came into being as a direct result of the genocide.

Eastern Orthodox population by country

The number of members of the Eastern Orthodox Church in each country has been subject to a lot of debate. Each study performed that seeks to discover the number of adherents in a country may use different criteria, and be submitted to different populations. As such, some numbers may be inflated, and therefore inaccurate. Examples of this are Greece and Russia, where estimates of adherence to Eastern Orthodoxy may reach 80-98%, but where surveys found lower percentages professing Eastern Orthodoxy or belief in God. The likely reason for this disparity is that many people in these majority Eastern Orthodox countries will culturally identify with the Eastern Orthodox Church, especially if they were baptized as children, even if they are not currently practicing. This includes those who may be irreligious, yet culturally identify with the Eastern Orthodox Church, or for whom Eastern Orthodox Christianity is listed on official state records. Other cases of incongruent data also might be due to counting ethnic groups from Eastern Orthodox countries rather than actual adherents. A case of this is the United States, which has large numbers of immigrants from Eastern Orthodox countries. The Eastern Orthodox jurisdictions often reported large numbers of members, which together would total 2-3 million across the country. However, a 2010 study by Alexei Krindatch sought data from each parish, with the specific criteria of annual participation. This study produced the "Atlas of American Orthodox Christian Churches", and discovered that there were only about 817,000 Eastern Orthodox Christians actively practicing their faith (that is to say, attending church services on a regular basis) in the United States. The study explained that such a difference was due to a variety of circumstances, for example the higher numbers having counted all people who self-identify as Eastern Orthodox on a census regardless of active participation, or all people belonging to ethnic groups originating in Eastern Orthodox countries. This study, while initially controversial, proved groundbreaking, and has since been officially approved for use by the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America.

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America is an organization of church hierarchs of Eastern Orthodox Churches in United States.

As such, any data used to figure the population of Eastern Orthodox per nation, should be understood as estimated rather than exact. Additionally, total numbers of Eastern Orthodox Christians throughout the world may be anywhere from 150 million to 300 million, depending on the studies and definitions which are used.

Eastern Orthodox Church religious adherence by country
CountryTotal Population% Eastern OrthodoxEastern Orthodox total
Flag of Albania.svg  Albania (details)2,621,9776.75% (as per census, number likely upwards of 20%)148,992 [26] (census unreliable, deemed corrupt, number is expected to be much higher)
Flag of Armenia.svg  Armenia (details)3,262,2000.04%1,200
Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia (details)23,824,6002.6%563,100 [27]
Flag of Austria.svg  Austria (details)8,773,0006%500,000
Flag of Azerbaijan.svg  Azerbaijan (details)9,624,9002.5%240,000
Flag of Belarus.svg  Belarus (details)9,481,00073%4,590,000 [16]
Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina.svg  Bosnia & Herzegovina (details)3,502,22743% [15] 1,505,957
Flag of Bulgaria.svg  Bulgaria (details)7,348,328 [28] 59.4% [29] 4,374,135
Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada (details)33,476,6881.7%550,690 [30]
Flag of Croatia.svg  Croatia (details)4,284,8894.44% [31] 195,969
Flag of Cyprus.svg  Cyprus (details)838,89789.1% [15] 781,900
Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czech Republic (details)10,538,2750.2%20,533
Flag of Egypt.svg  Egypt (details)84,550,0000.39%350,000[ citation needed ]
Flag of Estonia.svg  Estonia (details)1,294,48613.66%176,773 [32] [33]
Flag of Finland.svg  Finland (details)5,477,3591.10% [34] 59,000
Flag of Georgia.svg  Georgia (details)3,729,63582.1%3,550,000
Flag of Germany.svg  Germany (details)80,716,0001.87%1,500,000
Flag of Greece.svg  Greece (details)10,815,19795%10,270,000
Flag of Grenada.svg  Grenada (details)107,3170.1%100 [35]
Flag of Guatemala.svg  Guatemala (details)17,263,2390.23%40,000 [36]
Flag of Israel.svg  Israel (details)9,010,050 [15] 0.67% [15] 50,000
Flag of Italy.svg  Italy (details)60,795,6121.5%900,000 [37]
Flag of Japan.svg  Japan (details)126,880,0000.03%30,000 [38]
Flag of Jordan.svg  Jordan (details)6,508,8872-4.5%125,000-300,000
Flag of Kazakhstan.svg  Kazakhstan (details)17,948,81623.9%4,300,000 [19]
Flag of South Korea.svg  Korea, South (details)51,413,9250.005%4,000
Flag of Kosovo.svg  Kosovo (details)1,433,8421.48% (as per census)25,837 (census boycotted by Northern Kosovo, and by a part of Serbs in the south)
Flag of Kyrgyzstan.svg  Kyrgyzstan (details)5,895,10017% [39] 1,000,000
Flag of Latvia.svg  Latvia (details)2,027,00017.9%370,000 [40]
Flag of Lebanon.svg  Lebanon (details)4,525,2479%330,000
Flag of Lithuania.svg  Lithuania (details)2,966,954125,189 [41]
Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico (details)121,736,8090.00012%15,000
Flag of Moldova.svg  Moldova (details)3,383,33293.3%3,158,015
Flag of Montenegro.svg  Montenegro (details)629,32081.0%509,749 [42]
Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand (details)4,599,3270.3%13,883 [19]
Flag of North Macedonia.svg  North Macedonia (details)2,022,54769.8%1,610,184 [43]
Flag of Palestine.svg  Palestine (details)4,550,3682.50% [21] 100,000
Flag of Poland.svg  Poland (details)0.4%156,000 [44] [45]
Flag of Romania.svg  Romania (details)20,121,64181.1%16,321,389 [46]
Flag of Russia.svg  Russia (details) [47] 145,500,00046.6% [48] -77.0% [10] [11] 58,800,000 [49] [50] -101,450,000 [49]
Flag of Serbia.svg  Serbia (details)8,740,68097.06%8,478,459 [51]
Flag of Slovakia.svg  Slovakia (details)5,397,0360.9%49,133 [52]
Flag of Slovenia.svg  Slovenia (details)2,055,4962.2%45,000
Flag of Spain.svg  Spain (details)46,464,0533.10%1,500,000
Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden (details)9,775,5721.0%97,000
Flag of Switzerland.svg   Switzerland (details)8,211,7001.7%140,000 [53]
Flag of Syria.svg  Syria (details)22,457,3365%1,200,000
Flag of Tajikistan.svg  Tajikistan (details)8,208,0002%160,000
Flag of Transnistria.svg  Transnistria (details)505,15391% [54] 460,000
Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey (details)77,695,9040.8%60,000
Flag of Turkmenistan.svg  Turkmenistan (details)5,171,6435% [55] 410,000
Flag of Ukraine.svg  Ukraine (details)40,000,00065.4%-76.6% [14] 27,802,000 [13] -34,850,000 [14]
Flag of the United States.svg  United States (details)321,163,1570.25%817,528 [56]
Flag of Uzbekistan.svg  Uzbekistan (details)29,559,1005% [57] 1,000,000
TOTALNANA~260 million [14]

Eastern Orthodox Church by jurisdiction

Autocephalous Orthodox Churches

The Eastern Orthodox Church is organized as a union of several autocephalous subdivisions, which are also called "Churches" (or, sometimes, "jurisdictions"). Some are associated with a specific country, while others are not. This table presents some known data regarding individual jurisdictions. "NA" means that data is not available.

Autocephaly Christian hierarchical practice

Autocephaly is the status of a hierarchical Christian Church whose head bishop does not report to any higher-ranking bishop. The term is primarily used in Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches. The status has been compared with that of the churches (provinces) within the Anglican Communion.

Eastern Orthodox Church by jurisdiction
Constantinople 125NA1,800 [Note 1] 142648
Alexandria 41NANANANA
Antioch 36NANANANA
Jerusalem 20NANANANA
Russia 21730,675NA80730,142
Serbia 45NANA2863,100
Romania 5315,0687,60535915,717
Bulgaria 151,500NA1202,600
Georgia 37437NANA600
Cyprus 16NANA67NA
Greece 10110,0003,541 [58] 541 [58] NA
Poland 12NANANA400
Albania 6135NA150909
Czech Lands & Slovakia 6NANANA172
Orthodox Church in America 14NANA20700


  1. This is including Mount Athos

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  2. Adherents (28 October 2005). "Christianity". Major Branches of Religions Ranked by Number of Adherents. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  3. Fairchild, Mary (17 March 2017). "Eastern Orthodox Denomination". ThoughtCo. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
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  13. 1 2 РЕЛІГІЯ, ЦЕРКВА, СУСПІЛЬСТВО І ДЕРЖАВА: ДВА РОКИ ПІСЛЯ МАЙДАНУ (Religion, Church, Society and State: Two Years after Maidan) Archived 2017-04-22 at the Wayback Machine , 2016 report by Razumkov Center in collaboration with the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches. pp. 27-29.
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  47. There is no official census of religion in Russia, and estimates are based on surveys only. In August 2012, ARENA determined that about 46.8% of Russians are Christians (including Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, and non-denominational), which is slightly less than an absolute 50%+ majority. However, later that year the Levada Center Archived 2012-12-31 at the Wayback Machine determined that 76% of Russians are Christians, and in June 2013 the Public Opinion Foundation determined that 65% of Russians are Christians. These findings are in line with Pew's 2010 survey, which determined that 73.6% of Russians are Christians, with VTSIOM's 2010 survey (~77% Christian), and with Ipsos MORI Archived 2013-01-17 at the Wayback Machine 's 2011 survey (69%).
  48. Arena - Atlas of Religions and Nationalities in Russia. 2012 National Survey of Religions in Russia. Sreda.org
  49. 1 2 http://fom.ru/obshchestvo/10953 Public Opinion Foundation
  50. http://www.levada.ru/17-12-2012/v-rossii-74-pravoslavnykh-i-7-musulman Archived 2012-12-31 at the Wayback Machine Levada Center
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