Church of Greece
|Church of Greece|
|Autocephaly/Autonomy recognized||1850 by Constantinople|
|Current primate||Ieronymos II|
|Musical tradition||Byzantine Chant / Choral|
|Population estimate||10,000,000 |
|Official website||Church of Greece|
The Church of Greece, also called the Greek Orthodox Church, is one of the most important of the fourteen autocephalous churches of the Orthodox Christian communion, whose territory consists of the whole of Greece except for those parts which belong to the Patriarchate of Constantinople, such as the Dodecanese and Crete. Though bishops of the "new lands" (those that were liberated from 1912 and afterwards) are members of the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece, they refer to the Patriarch of Constantinople in the divine services.
During the Byzantine Empire and the subsequent Turkish occupation of Greece, the Christian church in Greece was under the administration of the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople. After the Greek War of Independence (1821-32), the provisional president of Greece Ioannis Kapodistrias(1776-1831), began negotiations with the patriarch for the independence of the Greek church. The final decision was made when Otto I(1815-1867), the new king of Greece, feared the Turkish government might still be able to influence the politics of Greece through the patriarchate of Constantinople and as such the Greek church was declared autocephalous in 1833. The independence was formalised by Constantinople in 1850, with some limitations specified in the "Tomos".
Hierarchy of the Church of Greece
The Church of Greece is organised as a state church, similar to the pattern adopted in the Russian church under Peter the Great of Russia. The ultimate authority is vested in the Synod of Bishops under the presidency of the archbishop of Athens and all Greece. A second synod, with the same presidency, consists of 12 bishops, each serving for one year only. The first synnod deals with general ecclesiastical questions, whereas the second synod deals with administrative details. The church is divided into 81 small dioceses; some of these, are nominally under the jurisdiction of Constantinople. The majority of the church's priests in Greece do not have a university education, with very little formal training beyond two years at higher seminaries after high school. An up-to-date listing, in order of seniority of ordination, of the Holy Synod can be accessed at the Church of Greece's official website.
Ecclesiastical organisations under the Holy Synod
- Apostolic Ministration (Apostoliki Diakonia)
- Communication and Cultural Service
- Inter-Orthodox Centre
- Foundation of Byzantine Musicology
- Welfare Fund of Parish Clergy
- The Holy Synod is organised into two key synodical committee areas. The first area is broken into committee groups that deal with standard issues such as:
- Ecclesiastical art, music and christian monuments;
- Divine worship and pastoral work;
- Doctrinal and nomocanonical matters;
- Monastic life;
- Christian education and youth;
- Inter-orthodox and christian relations;
- Ecclesiastical education and training of parish clergy;
- Press, public relations and enlightenment;
- Social welfare and chariry;
Special synodical committee groups deal with issues such as:
- Women's issues;
- Monitoring European affairs;
- Academy of Ecclesiastical arts;
- Human rights;
- Marriage, family, child protection and demographic issues;
- pastoral matters and situations;
- Divine and secular dispensation and ecology;
- Liturgical rebirth;
- Cultural identity;
- Study of ancient cults and new paganism;
- Pilgrim and religious tours.
Timeline of Greek Church
- ca.47-48 Apostle Paul's mission to Cyprus.
- ca.49 Paul's mission to Philippi, Thessaloniki and Veria.
- 49 Paul's mission to Athens.
- ca.51-52 Paul's first mission to Corinth; he writes his two Epistles to the Thessalonians.
- ca.54 Paul writes his First Epistle to the Corinthians.
- ca.55 Paul revisits Corinth.
- ca.56 Paul revisits Macedonia; he writes his Second Epistle to the Corinthians.
- ca.61 Paul shipwrecked in Crete.
- ca.95 Apocalypse of John written on the island of Patmos.
- ca.431 Church of Cyprus autocephalous.
- 860 St. Cyril and Methodius of Thessaloniki mission to the Slavs.
- 1430 The monks of Mount Athos submit to Sultan Murad II and keep their autonomy.
- 1453 Fall of Constantinople to the Turks.
- 1677 Bishop Henry Compton of London builds church for the Greeks in London.
- 1682 Greek church in London closed.
- 1753 School founded on Mount Athos.
- 1759 School on Mount Athos forced to close down.
- 1821 Greek War of Independance begins; martyrdom of Patriarch Gregory V.
- 1828 Greek church opened in Londing (second time).
- 1833 The National Assembly at Nauplio declares the Church of Greece as independant from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
- 1834 Suppression of many monasteries in this new era.
- 1850 Patriarch Anthimos IV recognises the Church of Greece as an autocephalous church. Certain conditions issued in a special "Tomos" decree; as a result, the Greek National Church holds special links with the "Mother Church".
- 1866 Greek church takes the diocese of the Ionian Islands from Constantinople.
- 1871 Patriarch Gregory V returned to Athens and entombed in cathedral.
- 1881 Thessaly and part of Epirus added to the Church of Greece.
- 1901 Publication of Gospels in modern Greek. Riots ensue and publications are withdrawn from circulation.
- 1912 Epirus, Macedonia and eastern islands, from Northern territories of Greece, are liberated and come under the administration of the Greek Church.
- 1917 Hierarchy of the Greek Church changed in accordance with political control of the country of Greece.
- 1923 Treaty of Lausanne hands over contrl of the Holy Mountain to Greece.
- 1924 Constitution of the Holy Mountain agreed; Greek government adopts new calendar; Old Calendarist Schism.
- 1926 Proposal for Mount Athos to be turned into a Casino by Pangalos.
- 1947 The Dodecanese Islands are liberated but remain under the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
- 1953 School of Theology on Mount Athos reopened.
- 2000 Greek church campaigns against omission of compulsory reference to religious affiliation on identity cards.
Over the centuries, the Church of Greece has been associated with many saints on the Church's calendar. Some of these include:
- Andrew of Crete
- Demetrios of Thessaloniki
- Gregory Palamas
- Irene Chrysovalantou
- Kosmas Aitolos
- Nectarios of Aegina
- Nicholas (Planas)
- Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain
- Phanourios of Rhodes
- Raphael, Nicholas and Irene
Structure of the Church of Greece
- Archdiocese of Athens
- Metropolis of Aitolia and Akarnania
- Metropolis of Alexandroupolis, Traianoupolis and Samothrace
- Metropolis of Argolida
- Metropolis of Arta
- Metropolis of Attica
- Metropolis of Glyfada
- Metropolis of Gortyna and Megalopolis
- Metropolis of Goumenissa, Axioupolis and Polykastron
- Metropolis of Grevena
- Metropolis of Gytheion and Oetylos
- Metropolis of Hydra, Spetses and Aegina
- Metropolis of Ierissos, Agion Oros and Ardamerion
- Metropolis of Ioannina
- Metropolis of Kaisariani, Vyrona and Imittos
- Metropolis of Kalavryta and Aigialia
- Metropolis of Karpenision
- Metropolis of Karystia and Skyros
- Metropolis of Kassandreia
- Metropolis of Kastoria
- Metropolis of Kefalonia
- Metropolis of Kitros, Katerini and Platamona
- Metropolis of Korinthos
- Metropolis of Kythira
- Metropolis of Lagkada
- Metropolis of Larisa and Tyrnavos
- Metropolis of Lefkas and Ithaca
- Metropolis of Lemnos
- Metropolis of Mantinia and Kynouria
- Metropolis of Maroneia and Komotini
- Metropolis of Megara and Salamis
- Metropolis of Mesogea and Lavreotiki
- Metropolis of Messinia
- Metropolis of Mithimna
- Metropolis of Monemvasia and Sparta
- Metropolis of Mytilini
- Metropolis of Nafpaktos
- Metropolis of Neapolis and Stavroupolis
- Metropolis of Nea Ionia and Philadelphia
- Metropolis of Nea Krini and Kalamaria
- Metropolis of Nea Smyrni
- Metropolis of Nicaea
- Metropolis of Nikopolis and Preveza
- Metropolis of Paramythia
- Metropolis of Paronaxia
- Metropolis of Patra
- Metropolis of Peiraeus
- Metropolis of Peristeri
- Metropolis of Polyani and Kilkis
- Metropolis of Samos and Ikaria
- Metropolis of Servia and Kozani
- Metropolis of Serres and Nigrita
- Metropolis of Sidirokastron
- Metropolis of Sisanio and Siatista
- Metropolis of Stages and Meteora
- Metropolis of Syros, Tinos, Andros, Kea, and Melos
- Metropolis of Thessaliotis and Fanariofersala
- Metropolis of Thessaloniki
- Metropolis of Theva and Levadeia
- Metropolis of Thera, Amorgos and Islands
- Metropolis of Trifylia and Olympia
- Metropolis of Trikala and Stages
- Metropolis of Veria and Naousa
- Metropolis of Xanthi
- Metropolis of Zakynthos and Strofades
- Metropolis of Zihni and Nevrokopio
- The Church of Greece, official website
- Representation of the Church of Greece to the European Union, official website
- Eastern Christian Churches: The Orthodox Church of Greece by Ronald Roberson, a Roman Catholic priest and scholar
|Autocephalous and Autonomous Churches of Orthodoxy|
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|The * designates a church whose autocephaly or autonomy is not universally recognized.|