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Orthodoxy in Latin and South America

Asteriktos

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What is Orthodoxy like in Latin and South America? We sometimes see stories about a priest changing jurisdictions, an orphanage, a group converting en masse, but what are things like in total or as a whole? How many Orthodox are there total? How many of the Orthodox writers through the centuries have been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, etc.? Have there been any efforts to translate stuff--even basics like Scripture and liturgy and prayer books--into the local languages that don't have hundreds or tens of millions of speakers/readers? Are overlapping jurisdictions as much a commonplace there as in N. America?
 

ody30

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For what it is worth, there is a long history of Orthodoxy in Chile. My ancestors immigrated before the establishment of the Zionist state from Beit Jala. An historically Orthodox Christian town that abuts to Bethlehem on the west side. Most of these are Palestinian and at least originally Orthodox. As the moved around the country it was difficult to establish Orthodox churches outside the capital. But from what I understand the Church is growing. (Full disclosure, my parents immigrated from Chile to the US. and I have lived in Ohio for most of my 50+ life )
 

Menas17

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From what I understand there are thousands (hundreds of thousands) of Orthodox converts in Guatemala. Some of these might be part of the Syriac OO Church, its kind of hard to find info on it. My understanding is that there are quite a few converts to Orthodoxy in Argentina
 

hecma925

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There are many converts in Guatemala. The problem is the lack of accurate numbers. I've heard the "hundreds of thousands" figure for years now. May it be so.
 

RaphaCam

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Brazilian Orthodoxy looks like American Orthodoxy on a smaller scale. It was brought by immigrants, and then the first converts came either because of marriage or much simply because the church of the local area was Orthodox and they liked the community. Then later came organised missions and now jurisdictions are mixed.

Actual organised missions started in the 1980's, championed by the Metropolia of Western Europe (which was Old Calendarist) and the Syriac Orthodox Church. The Metropolia of Western Europe quickly split between the Portuguese Orthodox Church (a canonical autonomous church under the Polish Orthodox Church) and the Holy Synod of Milan (which is still Old Calendarist), and the Brazilian communities went under the Portuguese Orthodox Church, thus becoming the first organised canonical mission. It had its own mass conversions. I once heard D. Chrisóstomo say it looked like a new Pentecost.

After the Portuguese Orthodox Church broke up in the early 2000's, some parishes went to the Serbian Orthodox Church, which never became very missionary in character, but most went directly under the Polish Orthodox Church. The Greek Orthodox Church also has some missions, but nothing very organised or well structured, although I did hear of a mass conversion. The Antiochian Orthodox Church is a bit messy, but it has its own missions despite the lack of incentives from bishops. The Russian Orthodox Church has started to see the fruit of its missionary champions over the last decade, and before that I already heard of the mass conversion of one or two Eastern Catholic parishes, while more recently there was the mass conversion of an Old Calendarist community. There's also a large Ukrainian Orthodox community, but I don't really understand their canonical status: they're definitely under the EP, but I don't know whether directly, in an arrangement similar to the UOCUSA and the UOCC, or under the UOCUSA. I never heard of organised Ukrainian Orthodox missions, but I know some Brazilians do attend their churches. The OCA was once present, but its parish went under the MP. ROCOR had at least some two parishes, but they went under D. Agafângelo's pompously named PSCA schism. The PAOC keeps doing its mission, and there was at least two relatively recent mass conversions, one in a Native American tribe and one in a Syriac community.

Among the OO's, Syriacs still have very organised missionary work, but I don't know much about them. Copts and Armenians stick more to themselves. I've heard Ethiopians are starting to organise themselves, but they don't have a church yet. Old Calendarists are probably too disorganised to do any mission nowadays.
 
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RaphaCam

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I hadn't paid attention to the specific questions.

How many Orthodox are there total?
The numbers are fuzzy. Most countries don't have official numbers, most official numbers are outdated, all of them mix together any churches declaring themselves Orthodox even if there are masses of vagantes, most unofficial numbers are unreliable. Brazil counted 132k Orthodox Christians in 2010, I'd expect 150k as a pessimistic figure for the 2021 census. Stats in Guatemala are unofficial and vary wildly between the tens of thousands and half a million people, the fact it's mostly a rural religion in a rough country probably makes good stats very difficult. Mexico counted 18k in 2010. Argentina must have some tens of thousands. I'm aware that Venezuela, Paraguay and Chile have well established communities in the many thousands.

How many of the Orthodox writers through the centuries have been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, etc.?
No clue about Spanish (although I found many authors only in Spanish), but in Portuguese we have a couple. Off the top of my head and just post-schism, Sts. John of Shanghai, Seraphim of Platina, Nicholas Motovilov and Nicholas of Ohrid, plus Met. Kallistos of Dioclea, Met. Hilarion of Volokolamsk, Abp. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos, H. Tristram Engelhardt Jr., Lewis Patsavos, Nikolay Berdyaev, The Way of a Pilgrim and the Philokalia, not to mention liturgical and prayer books. The Antiochian Orthodox Church has translated parts of the Holy Scriptures, but for some reason their version isn't much used by other jurisdictions. There's a priest under the Greek Orthodox Church working on a Psalter. I've only seen one theological work formally published by a Brazilian author, the Lebanese-born Dn. Michel Fares Breidi, who wrote a book on the trinitarian theology of the hospitality of Abraham. Books written by the Portuguese Metropolitan Gabriel of Lisbon (memory eternal), however, are highly prized. We're blessed to have a Greek Orthodox priest who's a compulsive translator and compiler, I'm almost sure he hasn't published anything of his own authorship yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if there's something on the internet.

Have there been any efforts to translate stuff--even basics like Scripture and liturgy and prayer books--into the local languages that don't have hundreds or tens of millions of speakers/readers?
I'm sure there are liturgies in at least one Mayan language in Central America. I've seen Paraguayan Orthodox Christians conversate in Guarani and even quote the Bible in the language, but I have no clue if they use it in church. ROCOR uses French rather than Haitian in Haiti, but Haitians have a weird relationship with their own mother tongue, so it's no wonder.

Are overlapping jurisdictions as much a commonplace there as in N. America?
Yes, just in another scale.
 

RaphaCam

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Set me on fire!
This reminded me of when we met that gyros seller in Queens who was trying to scare me about walking alone around New York and I could only think about how when anyone goes missing in a ghetto they don't belong to in Rio the idea that they might have been necklaced is one of the first things that comes to people's minds.

I don't think that's much of a thing nowadays, though. It's probably less mythical and distant than the New York muggings, but still.
 

Menas17

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Argentina must have some tens of thousands. I'm aware that Venezuela, Paraguay and Chile have well established communities in the many thousands.

I would have thought there would have been more Orthodox in Argentina, at least a similar number to Brazil, given the number of Arab Argentines. Guess that is not the case?
 

RaphaCam

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I would have thought there would have been more Orthodox in Argentina, at least a similar number to Brazil, given the number of Arab Argentines. Guess that is not the case?
I'm thinking about a low number, but some tens of thousands should be accurate. Arab immigration to Brazil was more massively Christian and both Syrian and Lebanese, while although I haven't actually studied Arab immigration to Argentina I'm aware it was more Lebanese and there was some religious diversity. Former president Carlos Menem was born Sunni Muslim and national hero/villain (depends on whom you ask) Mohamed Alí Seineldín was born Druze.
 

Menas17

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I'm thinking about a low number, but some tens of thousands should be accurate. Arab immigration to Brazil was more massively Christian and both Syrian and Lebanese, while although I haven't actually studied Arab immigration to Argentina I'm aware it was more Lebanese and there was some religious diversity. Former president Carlos Menem was born Sunni Muslim and national hero/villain (depends on whom you ask) Mohamed Alí Seineldín was born Druze.
Ahh ok, makes sense.

Are you at all familiar with the Orthodox parishes in Costa Rica?
 
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