Greek Orthodox Church
|Greek Orthodox Church|
Flag used by the Orthodox Church in Greece, and the standard of the self-governed monastic state of Mount Athos.
|Primate||The Patriarchs of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem, and the Archbishops of Athens, Cyprus, Tirana and Mount Sinai|
|Headquarters||various, but Constantinople is held in special regard|
|Territory||Eastern Mediterranean & diaspora|
|Language||Koine Greek and Arabic, with other local languages used in the diaspora|
|Members||23–24 million (about 50% of whom are in Greece)|
The name Greek Orthodox Church (Monotonic Greek: Ελληνορθόδοξη Εκκλησία, Polytonic: Ἑλληνορθόδοξη Ἑκκλησία, IPA: [elinorˈθoðoksi ekliˈsia]) is a term referring to the body of several Churches within the larger communion of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, whose liturgy is or was traditionally conducted in Koine Greek, the original language of the New Testament. Today, several of these Churches conduct their services in Arabic, the common language of most of their faithful, while at the same time maintaining elements of Greek cultural tradition. The current territory of the Greek Orthodox Churches more or less covers the areas in the Eastern Mediterranean that used to be a part of the Byzantine Empire. The origins of the Orthodox Church can be traced back to the churches which the Apostles founded in the Balkans and the Middle East during the first century A.D., and it maintains many traditions practiced in the ancient Church. Greek Orthodox Churches, unlike the Catholic Church, have no Bishopric head, such as a Pope, and hold the belief that Christ is the head of the Church. However, they are each governed by a committee of Bishops, called the Holy Synod, with one central Bishop holding the honorary title of "first among equals."
Greek Orthodox Churches are united in communion with each other, and with the other Eastern Orthodox Churches. The Eastern Orthodox hold a common doctrine and a common form of worship, and they see themselves not as separate Churches but as administrative units of one single Church. They are notable for their extensive tradition of iconography (see also: Byzantine art), for their veneration of the Mother of God and the Saints, and for their use of the Divine Liturgy on Sundays, which is a standardized worship service dating back to the fourth century A.D. in its current form. The most commonly used Divine Liturgy of the Orthodox Church was written by Saint John Chrysostom (347–407 A.D.).
The churches where the Greek Orthodox term is applicable are:
- The four ancient Patriarchates:
- The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, headed by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, who is also the "first among equals" of the Eastern Orthodox Communion
- The Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria
- The Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch
- The Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem
- The Orthodox Church of Mount Sinai
- Orthodox Church of Albania also known as "Greek Orthodox Church of Albania" led since the collapse of the former Stalinist régime by Archbishop Anastasios, a Greek national, the Church conducts its liturgy in Koine Greek in the areas of Albania populated by the ethnic Greek minority.
History of the term
Historically, the term Greek Orthodox has also been used to describe all Eastern Orthodox Churches, since "Greek" in "Greek Orthodox" can refer to the Greek heritage of the Byzantine Empire. During eight centuries of Christian history, most major intellectual, cultural, and social developments in the Christian church took place within the Empire or in the sphere of its influence, thus most parts of the liturgy, traditions, and practices of the church of Constantinople were adopted by all, and still provide the basic patterns of contemporary Orthodoxy. However, the appellation "Greek" was abandoned by Slavic and other national orthodox churches in connection with their peoples' national awakenings, from as early as the 10th century A.D.
Seal of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
Chiesa di S.Giorgio dei Greci in Venice, 1548
Cathedral of St Sophia (founded 1925), Sydney, Australia
Allerheiligenkirche in Munich, 1995
- Demetrios J. Constantelos, Understanding the Greek Orthodox Church, Holy Cross Orthodox Press 3rd edition (March 28, 2005)
- L. Rushton, Doves and magpies: village women in the Greek Orthodox Church Women's religious experience, Croom Helm, 1983
- Paul Yuzyk, The Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church of Canada, 1918–1951, University of Ottawa Press, 1981
- Demetrios J. Constantelos, The Greek Orthodox Church: faith, history, and practice, Seabury Press, 1967
- Daniel B. Wallace: Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament, page 12,. Zondervan, 1997.
- Robert H. Stein: The method and message of Jesus' teachings, page 4,. Westminster John Knox Press, 1994.
- Janet Saltzman Chafetz; Helen Rose Ebaugh (18 October 2000). Religion and the New Immigrants: Continuities and Adaptations in Immigrant Congregations. AltaMira Press. p. 155. ISBN 978-0-7591-1712-9. Retrieved 2 September 2013. "The distinctive characteristics of the Greek Orthodox Church are its sense of continuity with the ancient Church of Christ and the Apostles and its changelessness. The Orthodox church traces its existence, through the ordination of Bishops. directly back to the Apostles and through them to Jesus."
- Sally Bruyneel; Alan G. Padgett (2003). Introducing Christianity. Orbis Books. p. 7. ISBN 978-1-60833-134-5. Retrieved 2 September 2013. "The Eastern Orthodox and thye Roman Catholic Churches are the oldest with roots going back to the earliest Christian groups."
- Benjamin Jerome Hubbard; John T. Hatfield; James A. Santucci (2007). An Educator's Classroom Guide to America's Religious Beliefs and Practices. Libraries Unlimited. p. 63. ISBN 978-1-59158-409-4. Retrieved 2 September 2013. "The Orthodox Church traces its origins to the churches founded by the apostles in the Middle East and the Balkans in the first century."
- Robert L. Plummer (6 March 2012). Journeys of Faith: Evangelicalism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholicism and Anglicanism. Zondervan. p. 128. ISBN 978-0-310-41671-5. Retrieved 2 September 2013. "Catholicism holds that if a Church claims to be Christian, then it must be able to show that its leaders-its bishops and its presbyters (or priests)- are successors of the apostles. That is why the Catholic Church accepts Eastern Orthodox ordinations and sacraments as valid, even though Eastern Orthodoxy is not in full communion with Rome."
- William A. Dyrness; Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen (25 September 2009). Global Dictionary of Theology: A Resource for the Worldwide Church. InterVarsity Press. p. 244. ISBN 978-0-8308-7811-6. Retrieved 2 September 2013. "This connection is apparent through the historical succession of bishops of churches in a particular geographic locale and by fidelity to the teachings of the apostles (cf. Acts 2:42) and life as it developed in the patristic tradition and was articulated by the seven ecumenical councils."
- Heidi Campbell (22 March 2010). When Religion Meets New Media. Routledge. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-203-69537-1. Retrieved 2 September 2013. "There are three branches within Christianity: Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant. ... The Christian church draws its lineage and roots from the time of Jesus Christ and the apostles in CE 25–30 and the birth of the Church at Pentecost in ..."
- Wendy Doniger (January 1999). Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of World Religions. Merriam-Webster. p. 309. ISBN 978-0-87779-044-0. Retrieved 2 September 2013. "EASTERN ORTHODOXY, one of the major branches of CHRISTIANITY, characterized by its continuity with the apostolic church, its liturgy, and its territorial churches."
- "Ecumenical Patriarchate". Retrieved 2009-03-09.
- "Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain – Home". Retrieved 2009-03-11.
- "The Holy Orthodox Archdiocese of Italy and Malta". Retrieved 2009-03-11.
- The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America should not be confused with the Orthodox Church in America, whose autocephaly – granted by the Russian Orthodox Church – is not recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and many other churches of the Eastern Orthodox Communion.
- "Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia". Retrieved 2010-01-14.
- "The official web site of Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa". Retrieved 2009-03-09.
- "Greek Orthodox Church Of Antioch And All The East". Retrieved 2009-03-09.
- "Jerusalem Patriarchate". Retrieved 2009-03-09.
- "Ecclesia – The Web Site of the Church of Greece". Retrieved 2009-03-09.
- "Church of Cyprus" (in Greek). Retrieved 2009-03-09.
- "About Cyprus – Towns and Population". Government Web Portal – Areas of Interest. Government of Cyprus. Retrieved 19 January 2010.
- "Cyprus". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 19 January 2010.
- "The Holy Monastery of the God-trodden Mount Sinai, Saint Catherine’s Monastery". Retrieved 2009-03-09.
- Roudometof, Victor (2002). Collective memory, national identity, and ethnic conflict. Greenwood Press. p. 179. "the only remaining issues between the two sides concern the extent to which minority members should have equal rights with the rest of the Albanian citizens as well as issues of property and ecclesiastical autonomy for the Greek Orthodox Church of Albania."
- Thornberry, Patrick (1987). Minorities and human rights law (1. publ. ed.). London: Minority Rights Group. p. 36. ISBN 9780946690480.
- "Albanian church attack ‘act of religious hatred’". WorldWide Religious News. Retrieved 12 June 2012.
- Byzantium in Encyclopedia of historians and historical writing Vol. 1, Kelly Boyd (ed.), Fitzroy Dearborn publishers, 1999 ISBN 978-1-884964-33-6
- Edwin Pears, The destruction of the Greek Empire and the story of the capture of Constantinople by the Turks, Haskell House, 1968
- Millar, Fergus (2006). A Greek Roman Empire : power and belief under Theodosius II (408–450). University of California Press. p. 279 pages. ISBN 0-520-24703-5.
- Tanner, Norman P. The Councils of the Church, ISBN 0-8245-1904-3
- The Byzantine legacy in the Orthodox Church by John Meyendorff – 1982
- Hugh Wybrew, The Orthodox liturgy: the development of the eucharistic liturgy in the Byzantine rite – 1990
- The Christian Churches of the East, Vol. II: Churches Not in Communion with Rome by Donald Attwater – 1962
- J Meyendorff, Byzantine Theology: Historical Trends and Doctrinal Themes (1987)
- Joan Mervyn Hussey, The Orthodox Church in the Byzantine Empire, 1990
- A. P. Vlasto, Entry of Slavs Christendom – 1970
- Andreĭ Lazarov Pantev, Bŭlgarska istorii︠a︡ v evropeĭski kontekst – 2000
- Media related to Greek Orthodox Church at Wikimedia Commons