The Orthodox Church: 200 million Faithful and 1,000 Bishops

This is an update as a result of recent events. We now have the most accurate statistics we can obtain in the light of new demographics and polls (Wikipedia is of little help here). If any reader has more accurate figures, please inform us, so that we can make corrections.


The Orthodox Church is a family of Local Churches, just like the Churches of the Galatians, the Ephesians, the Romans, the Thessalonians, the Colossians etc, as described in the letters written to them by the holy Apostle Paul. Each of the Local Orthodox Churches has a main administrative figure, a chief bishop known as a Patriarch, or in the case of smaller Churches, a Metropolitan or an Archbishop. However, the Church as a whole has no earthly head, because the head of the Orthodox Church is our Lord Jesus Christ. His authority is expressed in the Orthodox Church through the Holy Spirit as revealed particularly through the Holy Scriptures, Church Councils and the saints. Below you will find details of the 16 Local Orthodox Churches and their approximate sizes, totalling: Bishops: 1,003. Priests: 80,092. Parishes: 72,493. Monasteries: 3,008. Faithful: 200,000,000.


Russia: Bishops: 419. Priests: 40,000. Parishes: 36,878. Monasteries: 1,000. Faithful: 144,000,000

This is a multinational Orthodox Church and accounts for over 70% of all Orthodox. It cares for Orthodox living on canonical Russian Orthodox territory, spread over one fifth of the planet (the former Soviet Union except for Georgia, plus China and Japan) and peopled by over 62 nationalities, with autonomous (semi-independent) Churches in several countries outside Russia. Its territories include the Russian Federation, the Ukraine (with its fully-independent Church), Belarus, Moldova, Transcarpathia (the main part of Carpatho-Russia), Kazakhstan, Central Asia and the Baltic Republics. The Russian Church also includes the autonomous Japanese Orthodox Church and the Chinese Orthodox Church, as well as Exarchates in Belarus, Western Europe, South-East Asia and Africa.


Romania: Bishops: 59. Priests: 15,513. Parishes: 13,527. Monasteries: 637. Faithful: 18,800,000

Also known as the Patriarchate of Bucharest, apart from in Romania there are also many Romanian parishes in the Diaspora. This is especially in Western Europe, where the Autonomous Metropolia of Western and Southern Europe has two million faithful, six bishops and 677 parishes.


Greece: Bishops: 100. Priests: 9,117. Parishes: 8,000. Monasteries: 598. Faithful: 10,000,000

Under the Archbishop of Athens, this Church cares for all Orthodox in Greece.


Serbia: Bishops: 45. Priests: 3,000. Parishes: 2,974. Monasteries: 204. Faithful: 8,000,000

The canonical territory of the Patriarchate of Belgrade covers Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia and Slovenia. There are also many parishes in the Serbian Diaspora.


Bulgaria: Bishops: 27. Priests: 1,500. Parishes: 2,600. Monasteries: 120. Faithful: 4,500,000

The Patriarchate of Sofia covers Bulgaria and a number of churches in the Diaspora.


Georgia: Bishops: 47. Priests: 1,100. Parishes: 550. Monasteries: 172. Faithful: 3,500,000

The Patriarchate of Tbilisi covers Georgia and a small Georgian Diaspora.


Constantinople: Bishops: 130. Priests: 5,935. Parishes: 3,196. Monasteries: 148. Faithful: 3,050,000

This includes Greek Orthodox in Istanbul (about 1,000), those on Greek islands such as Crete and Rhodes (700,000), and above all the Greek Diaspora in the Americas, Western Europe and Australia. There are also ten parishes in Finland and small groups of other Non-Greek Orthodox elsewhere. It has 58 titular bishops.


Antioch: Bishops: 41. Priests: 408. Parishes: 496. Monasteries: 32. Faithful: 3,000,000

The canonical territory of the Arab Patriarch, who lives in Damascus, includes Syria, the Lebanon and Iraq.


Macedonia: Bishops: 10. Priests: 500. Parishes: 500. Monasteries: 20. Faithful: 1,300,000

This Church looks after Orthodox in North Macedonia and in the Diaspora, in Australia and elsewhere.


Alexandria: Bishops: 38. Priests: 350. Parishes: 850. Monasteries: 3. Faithful: 1,000,000

Although for historical reasons its Patriarch is a Greek and his appointment is in the care of the Greek government, this Patriarchate is in Egypt. It also cares for St Catherine’s Monastery on Mt Sinai, but most of its faithful are Africans in over 54 African countries.


Cyprus: Bishops: 17. Priests: 600. Parishes: 628. Monasteries: 28. Faithful: 650,000

Under an Archbishop, this Church cares for all Greek Orthodox in Cyprus


Poland: Bishops: 12. Priests: 420. Parishes: 237. Monasteries: 13. Faithful: 600,000

Under the Metropolitan of Warsaw, this Church cares for Orthodox of all origins who live mainly in eastern Poland.


Albania: Bishops: 8. Priests: 154. Parishes: 909. Monasteries: 1. Faithful: 200,000

Under the Archbishop of Tirana, this Church cares for Orthodox in southern Albania, many of whom are of Greek origin.


The Czech Lands and Slovakia: Bishops: 5. Priests: 197. Parishes: 240. Monasteries: 4. Faithful: 170,000

Led by a Metropolitan, this Church cares for Carpatho-Russian, Slovak and Czech Orthodox, as well as large numbers of Ukrainian Orthodox immigrants.


Jerusalem: Bishops: 23. Priests: 50. Parishes: 50. Monasteries: 25. Faithful: 130,000

Although its Patriarch is a Greek and his appointment is in the care of the Greek government, the flock consists of Palestinian Orthodox in Palestine and the Jordan.


North America (OCA): Bishops: 13. Priests: 1,098. Parishes: 699. Monasteries: 3. Faithful: 100,000

This Church began from the descendants of Slav immigrants to North America from the old Austro-Hungarian Empire, but is now a multinational group, not recognised by all but destined to be part of a future North American Orthodox Church.