The Church in America

How was the Greek Orthodox Church brought to America?

The Greeks suffered 400 years of Oppression and persecution under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. The movement for Greece’s Independence took place on March 25, 1821 and independence was realize in 1829. The period following the fall of the Ottoman Empire was filled with poor economic conditions and instability especially in the Balkans. In 1923 as the result of the negotiations to end World War I there was a population exchange between what is now Turkey and Greece. There were over 2,000,000 involved in this massive disruption of normal life. Then Greece fell under the occupation of the Axis powers during World War II. In 1941 to 1944 there was a blockade by the Allies which led to a great famine in Greece where over 300,000 died of starvation. Then, followed a civil war that pitted family against family.

During these periods of conflict and struggle people left Greece to establish a better life for themselves. The United States was one of the better places for them to seek a new life. Thousands and thousands came. Many stayed long enough to earn money and return. Others stayed and sent a major portion of their income back to help families left behind and still struggling. Over 500,000 Greeks arrived in the United States between 1890 and 1924 another 200,000 between 1946 and 1982. As the immigrants came they brought their Church with them. The immigrants established the first Orthodox Church in 1864 in New Orleans.