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Greek Orthodox Church

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Greek Orthodox Church (Greek: Ἑλληνορθόδοξη Ἐκκλησία, Ellinorthódoxi Ekklisía, IPA: [elinorˈθoðoksi ekliˈsia]) is a term that can refer to any one of three classes of Christian churches, each associated in some way with Greek Christianity, Levantine Arabic-speaking Christians or more broadly the rite used in the Eastern Roman Empire.

The broader meaning refers to "the entire body of Orthodox (Chalcedonian) Christianity, sometimes also called 'Eastern Orthodox,' 'Greek Catholic,' or generally 'the Greek Church'".[1]

A second, narrower meaning refers to "any of several independent churches within the worldwide communion of (Eastern) Orthodox Christianity that retain the use of the Greek language in formal ecclesiastical settings". In this sense, the Greek Orthodox Churches are the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and its dependencies, the Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem, the Church of Greece and the Church of Cyprus.[1]

The third meaning refers to the Church of Greece, an Eastern Orthodox Church operating within the modern borders of Greece.



Historically, the term "Greek Orthodox" has been used to describe all Eastern Orthodox churches, since the term "Greek" can refer to the heritage of the Byzantine Empire.[2][3][4] During the first eight centuries of Christian history, most major intellectual, cultural, and social developments in the Christian Church took place in the Byzantine Empire or its sphere of influence,[4][5][6] where the Greek language was widely spoken and used for most theological writings. The empire's capital, Constantinople, was an early important center of Christianity, and its liturgical practices, traditions, and doctrines were gradually adopted throughout Eastern Orthodoxy, still providing the basic patterns of contemporary Orthodoxy.[7][8][9] Thus, Eastern Orthodox came to be called "Greek" Orthodox in the same way that Western Christians came to be called "Roman" Catholic. However, the appellation "Greek" was abandoned by the Slavic and other Eastern Orthodox churches as part of their peoples' national awakenings, beginning as early as the 10th century A.D.[10][11][12] Thus, by the early 21st century, generally only those churches most closely tied to Greek or Byzantine culture and ethnicity were called "Greek Orthodox" in common parlance.[13]

Greek Orthodoxy has also been defined as a religious tradition rooted in preserving the Greek identity.[14]

In 2022, U.S. government estimated that 81-90% of the population of Greece identified as Greek Orthodox.[15]



The Greek Orthodox churches are descendants of churches which the Apostles founded in the Balkans and the Middle East during the first century A.D.,[16][17][18][19][20][21][22] as well as maintainers of many ancient church traditions.[22]



See also



  1. ^ a b Demetrios [Trakatellis] (2010). "Orthodox Churches, Eastern: Greek Orthodox Church and Its Theology". In Patte, Daniel (ed.). The Cambridge Dictionary of Christianity. Cambridge University Press. p. 895. ISBN 978-0-521-52785-9.
  2. ^ Boyd, Kelly (August 8, 1999). Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9781884964336 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ Edwin Pears, The Destruction of the Greek Empire and the Story of the Capture of Constantinople by the Turks, Haskell House, 1968
  4. ^ a b 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.
  5. ^ Tanner, Norman P. The Councils of the Church, ISBN 0-8245-1904-3
  6. ^ The Byzantine legacy in the Orthodox Church by John Meyendorff - 1982
  7. ^ Hugh Wybrew, The Orthodox Liturgy: The Development of the Eucharistic Liturgy in the Byzantine Rite - 1990
  8. ^ The Christian Churches of the East, Vol. II: Churches Not in Communion with Rome, by Donald Attwater - 1962
  9. ^ J Meyendorff, Byzantine Theology: Historical Trends and Doctrinal Themes (1987)
  10. ^ Joan Mervyn Hussey, The Orthodox Church in the Byzantine Empire, 1990
  11. ^ Vlasto, A. P. (1970). The Entry of the Slavs into Christendom: An Introduction to the Medieval History of the Slavs. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521074592. OCLC 637411069.
  12. ^ Pantev, Andrey Lazarov (2000). Българска история в европейски контекст (in Bulgarian). IK "Khristo Botev". ISBN 9544456708. OCLC 45153811.
  13. ^ "Greek Orthodox and Russian Orthodox - Questions & Answers". www.oca.org. Retrieved 2022-10-23.
  14. ^ Saloutos, Theodore (1973). ""The Greek Orthodox Church in the United States and Assimilation."". The International Migration Review. 7 (4): 395–407. doi:10.2307/3002553. JSTOR 3002553.
  15. ^ US State Dept 2022 report
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ 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 the Roman Catholic Churches are the oldest with roots going back to the earliest Christian groups.
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ 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.
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ 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 ...
  22. ^ a b 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.

Further reading

  • Aderny, Walter F. The Greek and Eastern Churches (1908) online
  • Constantelos, Demetrios J. Understanding the Greek Orthodox church: its faith, history, and practice (Seabury Press, 1982)
  • Fortesque, Adrian. The Orthodox Eastern Church (1929)
  • Hussey, Joan Mervyn. The orthodox church in the Byzantine empire (Oxford University Press, 2010) online Archived 2020-08-01 at the Wayback Machine
  • Kephala, Euphrosyne. The Church of the Greek People Past and Present (1930)
  • Latourette, Kenneth Scott. Christianity in a Revolutionary Age, II: The Nineteenth Century in Europe: The Protestant and Eastern Churches. (1959) 2: 479–484; Christianity in a Revolutionary Age, IV: The Twentieth Century in Europe: The Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Eastern Churches (1958)
  • McGuckin, John Anthony (ed.). The Encyclopedia of Eastern Orthodox Christianity. Vol. 2 vols. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011).