Church of Greece

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Church of Greece
Founder(s) Apostles
Autocephaly/Autonomy declared 1833
Autocephaly/Autonomy recognized 1850 by Constantinople
Current primate Ieronymos II
Headquarters Athens, Greece
Primary territory Greece
Possessions abroad
Liturgical language(s) Greek
Musical tradition Byzantine Chant / Choral
Calendar Revised Julian
Population estimate 10,000,000 [1]
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.

The current primate of the Church of Greece is His Beatitude 2008, Ieronymos II (Liapis), Archbishop of Athens and All Greece.


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

Synodical Committees

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:
  1. Ecclesiastical art, music and christian monuments;
  2. Divine worship and pastoral work;
  3. Doctrinal and nomocanonical matters;
  4. Monastic life;
  5. Christian education and youth;
  6. Inter-orthodox and christian relations;
  7. Ecclesiastical education and training of parish clergy;
  8. Press, public relations and enlightenment;
  9. Heresesies;
  10. Social welfare and chariry;
  11. Finance

Special synodical committee groups deal with issues such as:

  1. Women's issues;
  2. Monitoring European affairs;
  3. Bioethics;
  4. Academy of Ecclesiastical arts;
  5. Human rights;
  6. Marriage, family, child protection and demographic issues;
  7. pastoral matters and situations;
  8. Divine and secular dispensation and ecology;
  9. Liturgical rebirth;
  10. Cultural identity;
  11. Study of ancient cults and new paganism;
  12. 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.

Greek saints

Over the centuries, the Church of Greece has been associated with many saints on the Church's calendar. Some of these include:

See also

Structure of the Church of Greece

  1. Archdiocese of Athens
  2. Metropolis of Aitolia and Akarnania
  3. Metropolis of Alexandroupolis, Traianoupolis and Samothrace
  4. Metropolis of Argolida
  5. Metropolis of Arta
  6. Metropolis of Attica
  7. Metropolis of Glyfada
  8. Metropolis of Gortyna and Megalopolis
  9. Metropolis of Goumenissa, Axioupolis and Polykastron
  10. Metropolis of Grevena
  11. Metropolis of Gytheion and Oetylos
  12. Metropolis of Hydra, Spetses and Aegina
  13. Metropolis of Ierissos, Agion Oros and Ardamerion
  14. Metropolis of Ioannina
  15. Metropolis of Kaisariani, Vyrona and Imittos
  16. Metropolis of Kalavryta and Aigialia
  17. Metropolis of Karpenision
  18. Metropolis of Karystia and Skyros
  19. Metropolis of Kassandreia
  20. Metropolis of Kastoria
  21. Metropolis of Kefalonia
  22. Metropolis of Kitros, Katerini and Platamona
  23. Metropolis of Korinthos
  24. Metropolis of Kythira
  25. Metropolis of Lagkada
  26. Metropolis of Larisa and Tyrnavos
  27. Metropolis of Lefkas and Ithaca
  28. Metropolis of Lemnos
  29. Metropolis of Mantinia and Kynouria
  30. Metropolis of Maroneia and Komotini
  31. Metropolis of Megara and Salamis
  32. Metropolis of Mesogea and Lavreotiki
  33. Metropolis of Messinia
  34. Metropolis of Mithimna
  35. Metropolis of Monemvasia and Sparta
  36. Metropolis of Mytilini
  37. Metropolis of Nafpaktos
  38. Metropolis of Neapolis and Stavroupolis
  39. Metropolis of Nea Ionia and Philadelphia
  40. Metropolis of Nea Krini and Kalamaria
  41. Metropolis of Nea Smyrni
  42. Metropolis of Nicaea
  43. Metropolis of Nikopolis and Preveza
  44. Metropolis of Paramythia
  45. Metropolis of Paronaxia
  46. Metropolis of Patra
  47. Metropolis of Peiraeus
  48. Metropolis of Peristeri
  49. Metropolis of Polyani and Kilkis
  50. Metropolis of Samos and Ikaria
  51. Metropolis of Servia and Kozani
  52. Metropolis of Serres and Nigrita
  53. Metropolis of Sidirokastron
  54. Metropolis of Sisanio and Siatista
  55. Metropolis of Stages and Meteora
  56. Metropolis of Syros, Tinos, Andros, Kea, and Melos
  57. Metropolis of Thessaliotis and Fanariofersala
  58. Metropolis of Thessaloniki
  59. Metropolis of Theva and Levadeia
  60. Metropolis of Thera, Amorgos and Islands
  61. Metropolis of Trifylia and Olympia
  62. Metropolis of Trikala and Stages
  63. Metropolis of Veria and Naousa
  64. Metropolis of Xanthi
  65. Metropolis of Zakynthos and Strofades
  66. Metropolis of Zihni and Nevrokopio


External links

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