Lebanese Greek Orthodox Christians

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Lebanese Greek Orthodox Christians
المسيحية الأرثوذكسية الشرقية في لبنان
Distribution of Greek Orthodox Christians in Lebanon
Lebanese Arabic
Koine Greek and vernacular
Christianity (Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch)

Lebanese Greek Orthodox Christians (Arabic: المسيحية الأرثوذكسية الرومية في لبنان) refers to Lebanese people who are adherents of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch in Lebanon, which is an autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church within the wider communion of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, and is the second-largest Christian denomination in Lebanon after the Maronite Christians.

Lebanese Greek Orthodox Christians are believed to constitute about 8% of the total population of Lebanon.[1][2][3] Most of the Greek Orthodox Christians live either in the capital city of Beirut, the Metn hinterland, the Hasbayya and Rashayya districts in the southeast, and the North Governorate, in the Koura region (south of Tripoli) and Akkar.

Under the consensus of the unwritten agreement known as the National Pact among the different political leaders of Lebanon, the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of Lebanon and the Deputy Prime Minister of Lebanon are assumed to be Greek Orthodox Christians.[4]


Lebanon religious groups distribution: areas with a Greek Orthodox plurality are shown in bright yellow

The Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch adheres to the Eastern Orthodox Church, which is composed of several autocephalous jurisdictions united by common doctrine and by their use of the Byzantine rite. They are the second largest Christian denomination within Christianity in Lebanon. Historically, these churches grew out of the four Eastern Patriarchates (Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, and Constantinople) of the original five major episcopal sees (the Pentarchy) of the Roman Empire, which included Rome. The final split between Rome and the Eastern Churches, who came to oppose the views and claims of the Popes of Rome, took place in 1054. From that time, with the exception of a brief period of reunion in the fifteenth century, the Eastern Churches have continued to reject the claims of the Patriarchate of Rome (the Catholic Church) to universal supremacy and have rejected the concept of papal infallibility. Doctrinally, the main point at issue between the Eastern and Western Churches is that of the procession of the Holy Spirit, and there are also divergences in ritual and discipline.

An estimate of the area distribution of Lebanon's main religious groups

The Greek Orthodox include many free-holders, and the community is less dominated by large landowners than other Christian denominations. In present-day Lebanon, Eastern Orthodox Christians have become increasingly urbanized, and form a major part of the commercial and professional class of Beirut and other cities. Many are found in the Southeast (Nabatieh/Beqaa) and North, near Tripoli. They are highly educated and well-versed in finance. The Greek Orthodox church has become known in the Arab world, possibly because it exists in various parts of the region. The Greek Orthodox church has often served as a bridge between Lebanese Christians and the Arab countries.

Lebanese Greek Orthodox Christians have a long and continuous association with Eastern Orthodox Churches in European countries like Greece, Cyprus, Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Romania. The church exists in many parts of the Arab world and Greek Orthodox Christians have often been noted; historically, it has had fewer dealings with Western countries than the Maronite Church, but it does have strong connections to Russia and Greece. The Lebanese Greek Orthodox Christians are believed to constitute about 8% of the total population of Lebanon,[2][3] including the Palestinian Greek Orthodox community, many of whom have been given Lebanese citizenship.

Greek Orthodox Christians support a variety of political parties and factions, including non-sectarian parties such as the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, the Lebanese Communist Party, and the Democratic Left Movement; and mostly Christian parties such as the Free Patriotic Movement, the Marada Movement, the Lebanese Forces, and the Kataeb.

Greek Orthodox Christian settlements[edit]

In Lebanon, the Greek Orthodox Christians are found in Beirut, the Southeast (Nabatieh/Beqaa) and North, near Tripoli, Koura, and also in Akkar, Batroun, Matn, Aley, Zahlé, Miniyeh-Danniyeh, Hasbaya, Baabda, Marjeyoun, Tripoli, Rashaya, Byblos, and Zgharta.

A map of the distribution of Greek Orthodox Christians by district in Lebanon

Cities and towns with a majority Greek Orthodox population in Lebanon[edit]

Abou Mizan, Chrine, Achrafieh, rait ,Amioun, Rahbeh, Kousba, Anfeh, Deddeh, Kfaraakka, Aaba, Afsdik, Bdebba, Batroumine, Bishmizzine, Btourram, Bkeftine, Bsarma, Btaaboura, Charbila, Darchmezzine, Fih, Kaftoun, Kelhat, Kfarhata, Kfarhazir, Kfarsaroun, Ras Maska, Miniara, Cheikh Mohammad, Zawarib, Hamat, Douma, Dhour El Choueir, Bteghrine, Mansourieh, Broummana, Kafarakab, Bhamdoun, Souk El Gharb, Marjayoun, Deir Mimas, Deir Dalloum, Hmairah, Tal Abbas, Cheikh Taba, Rachaya Al Foukhar, Aita al-Foukhar, Jeddayel, Gebrayel, Mhaidthe (Bikfaya) and others.

Cities and towns with an important Greek Orthodox minority[edit]

Ras Beirut, Tripoli, El Mina, Chekka, Bourj Hammoud, Zahleh, Halba, Batroun, Bikfaya, Baskinta, Antelias, Ras el Matn, Aley, Bechamoun, Machgara, Hasbaya, Kfeir, Niha Bekaa, Riit, and others.

Beirut was once ruled by seven prominent Greek Orthodox Christian families that formed Beirut's High Society for centuries: Trad, Geday, Fernaine, Araman, Bustros, Sursock, Fayyad, and Tueini.

Lebanese Greek Orthodox–born notables[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Minority Rights Group International – working to secure the rights of minorities and indigenous peoples".
  2. ^ a b Lebanon – International Religious Freedom Report 2010 U.S. Department of State. Retrieved on 14 February 2010.
  3. ^ a b Lebanon – July–December, 2010 International Religious Freedom Report U.S. Department of State. Retrieved on 1 June 2012.
  4. ^ Harb, Imad (March 2006). "Lebanon's Confessionalism: Problems and Prospects". USIPeace Briefing. United States Institute of Peace. Archived from the original on 9 July 2008. Retrieved 20 January 2009.
  5. ^ Raheb, Mitri; Lamport, Mark A. (15 December 2020). The Rowman & Littlefield Handbook of Christianity in the Middle East. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-1-5381-2418-5.
  6. ^ Moreh, Shmuel (1 January 1976). Modern Arabic Poetry: 1800–1970 ; the Development of Its Forms and Themes Under the Influence of Western Literature. Brill Archive. ISBN 978-90-04-04795-2.