Orthodox Christianity in Turkey

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Eastern Orthodoxy is a today a tiny minority in Turkey. Although it was once the predominant religion in the region that comprises today Turkey, as part of the Byzantine heritage, today it is comprising far less than one tenth of one percent of the entire population. The provinces of Istanbul and Hatay, which includes Antakya, are the main centres of Christianity in Turkey, with comparatively dense Christian populations, though they are very small minorities. The traditional variant of Orthodox Christianity present in Turkey is the Eastern Orthodox branch, focused mainly in the Greek Orthodox Church.

There has been a recent trend of exodus for many Turkish Christians. Indeed, İzmir (formerly Grecian Smyrna) used to have a Greek Orthodox majority up until the 20th century, but the Christian population in the area today is now insignificant. Despite this decline, however, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, the Greek Orthodox leader of the Eastern Orthodox Church has its seat in Istanbul, and an Autocephalous Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate exists in Istanbul as well. Furthermore, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch is based in Damascus, Syria. This is probably due to the history Christianity has in the region, as Constantinople used to be the religious centre of Eastern Orthodox during the Middle Ages, and the famous Apostle Paul of Tarsus was from Turkey and performed his first of three missions trips recorded in Acts exclusively in that area.

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