The Orthodox continue to grow! The number of “active members” of the various Orthodox churches will probably exceed half a million in a few years’ time – bigger than the Methodists (which are declining) and larger than the combined numbers in the New (or House) Churches, which are also growing. However, they are less than the total numbers of Pentecostals who are now the third largest denominational group in the UK (after the Roman Catholics and the Anglicans).
Both the Orthodox, which have roughly doubled since the year 2000, and the Pentecostals, which have roughly tripled in the same period, have increased for the same reason – large numbers of Christian immigrants, or at least immigrants coming from nominally Christian countries. Some, like the Roman Catholics, have been especially welcoming to immigrants from certain countries. For example, the Catholics have started over 35 chaplaincies in the last few years in the Diocese of Westminster alone, each ministering to a particular language, nationality or ethnic group. The Pentecostals have grown mainly because of the large numbers coming from Africa, especially Nigeria and Ghana.
The Orthodox growth is also mostly due to immigration but has been more mixed. There are three broad groups of Orthodox Christians, the Eastern, the Oriental and the Others, which in 2013 were respectively, 91 per cent, eight per cent and one per cent of the total of 460,000 UK Orthodox members. Of these, over five-sixths, 86 per cent,