Back in June, I wrote a post on parish priest stability in the 1910s, and I found that the Syrians under St. Raphael had a higher clergy retention percentage than any other American Orthodox group. Way higher. Of the 14 Syrian parishes that had resident priests in 1911, 10 of them had the same pastor four years later. That’s 71.4%. Here’s how the various ethnic groups break down:
71.4% Syrian (10/14)
42.9% Serbian (3/7)
20.3% Russian (15/74)
27.5% Greek (11/40)
The Syrians were stable in almost every measurable way. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Census of Religious Bodies, conducted in 1906 and 1916, the Syrians had the most balanced male-to-female ratio of any group. Here are the percentages of women in 1916 (median includes smaller groups such as Romanians, Bulgarians, and Albanians):
The Syrians also had the highest ratio of priests per capita. Here is the number of parishioners per priest for each group:
How about parishioners per church edifice?
I’m probably beating a dead horse at this point, but here are the Sunday School student-teacher ratios:
The Syrians were becoming more established, too. Here is the percentage growth in the number of church edifices from 1906 to 1916:
Bottom line, by any method I can think of to measure stability, the Syrians under St. Raphael were the most stable Orthodox group in America. This makes me curious to learn more about how exactly he functioned as a bishop. The statistics alone suggest that he was doing something right.