Roman Catholicism in Greece

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The Catholic Church in Greece is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope in Rome.

Indigenous Roman Catholic Greeks number about 50,000[1] and are a religious and not an ethnic minority. Most of them are either descendants of the Venetians and Genoese that ruled many Greek islands (in both the Aegean and Ionian seas) from the early 13th until the late 18th century, or descendants of the thousands of Bavarians that came to Greece in the 1830s as soldiers and civil administrators, accompanying King Otto. One very old but still common term to refer to them is Φράγκοι, or "Franks", dating to the times of the Byzantine Empire, when medieval Greeks would use that term to describe all Catholics.

Since the early 1990s however, the number of Catholic permanent residents of Greece has greatly increased; today, they number 200,000 at the very least, and probably more.[1] These Catholics are immigrants from Eastern Europe (especially Poland) or from the Philippines, but also include Western European expatriates that live permanently in Athens or the Greek Islands (especially Crete, Rhodes and Corfu).

In addition to the Catholics of the Latin Rite who represent the vast majority of the faithful, there are about 5,000 of the Greek Rite,[1] and a few hundred Armenian Catholics.

Today, the majority of Catholics live in Athens, a city of about four million people; the rest of them can be found all over Greece. Most indigenous Catholics live in the islands, and especially the Cyclades, where Syros and Tinos in particular have some entirely Catholic villages and parishes. There are also Catholics in Corfu, Naxos, Santorini, Cefalonia, Zakynthos, Rhodes, Kos, Crete, Samos and Chios. In the mainland, Catholic communities are smaller, and include those of Patras (a city that was home to a large Italian community until World War II), Thessaloniki, Kavala, Volos etc.

Popes from Greece[edit]

Bishops' Conference[edit]

The Bishops' Conference of Greece (Hiera Synodos Katholikis Hierarkhias Hellados) has six members:

  • The Archbishop of Corfu and Apostolic Administrator of Thessaloniki
  • The Archbishop of Naxos and Tinos and Apostolic Administrator of Chios
  • The Archbishop of Athens and Apostolic Administrator of Rhodes
  • The Bishop of Syros and Santorini and Apostolic Administrator of Crete
  • The Exarch of the Greek Catholics of Byzantine Rite (based in Athens)
  • The Ordinary of the Armenian Catholics (based in Athens)

Papal representatives to Greece[edit]

Type Name Dates
Apostolic Nuncio Edward Joseph Adams 22 Feb 2011 -
Apostolic Nuncio Luigi Gatti 16 Jul 2009 - 22 Feb 2011
Apostolic Nuncio Patrick Coveney 25 January 2005 - 16 July 2009
Apostolic Nuncio Paul Fouad Tabet 2 January 1996 - 25 January 2005
Apostolic Pro-Nuncio Luciano Storero 28 June 1990 - 15 November 1995
Apostolic Pro-Nuncio Giovanni Mariani 25 April 1980 - 5 May 1990
Apostolic Delegate Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli 12 January 1935 - 23 December 1944
Apostolic Delegate Carlo Margotti 12 February 1931 - 25 July 1934
Apostolic Delegate Louis Petit 4 March 1912 - 24 June 1926
Apostolic Delegate Antonio Delenda 25 August 1900 - ? August 1911
Apostolic Delegate Giovanni Marango 9 June 1874 - ? 1900


Notable Greek Roman Catholics[edit]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c "Religious Freedom in Greece (September2002)" (RTF). Greek Helsinki Monitor Minority Rights Group - Greece. Retrieved 2007-09-15. 

External links[edit]