The Church of Greece (Greek: Ἐκκλησία τῆς Ἑλλάδος, Ekklisía tis Elládos, [ekliˈsia tis eˈlaðos]), part of the wider Greek Orthodox Church, is one of the autocephalous churches which make up the communion of Eastern Orthodox Christianity. Its canonical territory is confined to the borders of Greece prior to the Balkan Wars of 1912–1913, with the rest of Greece being subject to the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. However, most of its dioceses are de facto administered as part of the Church of Greece for practical reasons, under an agreement between the churches of Athens and Constantinople. The primate of the Church of Greece is the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece.
Prevailing religion of Greece
Adherence to the Eastern Orthodox Church was established as a definitive hallmark of Greek ethnic identity already in the first modern Greek constitution, the "Epidaurus Law" of 1822, during the Greek War of Independence. The preamble of all successive Greek constitutions simply states "In the name of the Holy, Consubstantial and Indivisible Trinity", and the Eastern Orthodox Church of Christ is established as the "prevailing" religion of Greece.
Mainstream Orthodox clergy's salaries and pensions are paid for by the State at rates comparable to those of teachers. The Church had previously compensated the State by a tax of 35% on ordinary revenues of the Church, but Law 3220/2004 in 2004 abolished this tax. By virtue of its status as the prevailing religion, the canon law of the Church is recognized by the Greek government in matters pertaining to church administration. This is governed by the "Constitution of the Church of Greece", which has been voted by Parliament into law. Religious marriages and baptisms are legally equivalent to their civil counterparts and the relevant certificates are issued by officiating clergy. All Greek Orthodox students in primary and secondary schools in Greece attend religious instruction. Liaisons between church and state are handled by the Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs.
Supreme authority is vested in the synod of all the diocesan bishops who have metropolitan status (the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece, Greek: Ἱερὰ Σύνοδος τῆς Ἐκκλησίας τῆς Ἑλλάδος Hierà Sýnodos tês Ekklēsías tês Helládos [ieˈra ˈsinoðos tis ekliˈsias tis eˈlaðos]) under the de jure presidency of the Archbishop of Athens and all Greece. This synod deals with general church questions. The Standing Synod is under the same presidency, and consists of the Primate and 12 bishops, each serving for one term on a rotating basis and deals with details of administration.
The church is organised into 81 dioceses; 36 of which, located in northern Greece and in the major islands in the north and northeast Aegean, are nominally and spiritually under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, which retains certain privileges over and in them—for example, their bishops have to acknowledge the Patriarch as their own primate during prayers. They are called the "New Lands" (Νέαι Χώραι, or Néai Chōrai) as they became part of the modern Greek state only after the Balkan Wars, and are represented by 6 of the 12 bishops of the Standing Synod. A bishop elected to one of the Sees of the New Lands has to be confirmed by the Patriarch of Constantinople before assuming his duties. These dioceses are administered by the Church of Greece "in stewardship" and their bishops retain their right of appeal (the "ékklēton") to the Patriarch.
The dioceses of Crete (Church of Crete) and the Dodecanese, and the Monastic Republic of Holy Mount Athos remain under the direct jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople; they are not part of the Church of Greece. The Archdiocese of Crete in particular enjoys semiautonomous status: new bishops are elected by the local Synod of incumbents, and the Archbishop is appointed by the Ecumenical Patriarchate from a three-person list (the triprósōpon) drawn by the Greek Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs from among the incumbent Metropolitans of Crete.
Clergy and monastics
As in other Eastern Orthodox Churches, male graduates of seminaries run by the church (and financed by the Greek State), may be ordained as deacons and eventually priests. They are allowed to marry before their ordination as deacons, but not afterwards. The vast majority of parish clergy in Greece are married. Alternatively, they may enter monasteries and/or take monastic vows. Monastics who are ordained as priests, and possess a university degree in theology, are eligible as candidates for the episcopate (archimandrites). Women may also take monastic vows and become nuns, but they are not ordained.
Monasteries are either affiliated to their local diocese, or directly to one of the Orthodox Patriarchates; in the latter case they are called "Stauropegiac" monasteries (Stayropēgiaká, "springs of the Cross").
A split (schism) occurred within the Church in 1924 when the Holy Synod decided to replace the Old Calendar (Julian) with a hybrid calendar—the so-called "Revised Julian Calendar"—which maintained a modified Julian dating method for Easter while adopting the Gregorian Calendar date for fixed feasts. Those who refused to adopt this change are known as Old Calendarists (palaioimerologites in Greek) and still follow the old Julian Calendar. They themselves have suffered several schisms, and not all Old Calendarists comprise one Church. They refer to themselves as "Genuine Orthodox Christians", and the largest group associating itself with the Old Calendarists is the Synod of Archbishop Chrysostomos II Kioussis. This Synod has obtained government recognition as a valid Orthodox Church, although this is not in communion with the Church of Greece or the other Eastern Orthodox Churches.
Greece was an early center of Christianity. Upon formation of the Patriarchate, the Church was formerly a part of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. It was declared autocephalous in 1833 in a political decision of the Bavarian Regents acting for King Otto, who was a minor. It was only recognized as such by the Patriarchate in 1850, under certain conditions with the issue of a special "Tomos" decree which brought it back to a normal status. As a result, it retains certain special links with the "Mother Church".
According to The Independent the Greek party of Independent Greeks supports the role of the Greek Church in family life and education.
Administration and Hierarchy of the Throne
Head of the Church of Greece and of the Holy Synod is Archbishop Ieronymos II (Ioannis Liapis), Archbishop of Athens and All Greece (2008–).
Metropolises and Metropolitans of the Church of Greece
- Metropolis of Aetolia and Acarnania : Kosmas Papachristou (2005–)
- Metropolis of Argolis : Iakovos (Damianos) Pachis (1985–)
- Metropolis of Arta : Ignatios Alexiou (1988–)
- Metropolis of Cephalonia : Spyridon Kalafatakis (1984–)
- Metropolis of Chalcis, Istiaia and Sporades Islands : Chrysostomos (Konstantinos) Triantafyllou (2001–)
- Metropolis of Corfu, Paxi and Diapontia Islands : Nektarios (Dimitrios) Dovas (2002–)
- Metropolis of Corinth : Dionysios (Dimitrios) Mantalos (2006–)
- Metropolis of Demetrias and Almyros : Ignatios (Panagiotis) Georgakopoulos (1998–)
- Metropolis of Elis and Oleni : Germanos (Ioannis) Paraskevopoulos (1981–)
- Metropolis of Glyfada and Aexoni : Pavlos (Efstratios) Tsaousoglou (2002–)
- Metropolis of Gortyna and Megalopolis : Ieremias Foundas (2006–)
- Metropolis of Gytheion and Oitylo (Metropolis of Mani from 2010) : Chrysostomos (Dimitrios) Korakitis (1996–)
- Metropolis of Hydra, Spetses and Aegina : Ephraem (Evangelos) Stenakis (2001–)
- Metropolis of Kalavrita and Aigialeia : Amvrosios (Athanasios) Lenis (1978–)
- Metropolis of Karpenisi : Nikolaos Drosos (1979–)
- Metropolis of Karystos and Skyros : Seraphim (Sokrates) Roris (1968–)
- Metropolis of Kessariani, Vyronas and Hymettus : Daniel (Dionysios) Pourtsouklis (2000–)
- Metropolis of Kifissia, Amaroussion and Oropos : Kyrillos (Konstantinos) Misiakoulis 1 (2010–)
- Metropolis of Kythira : Seraphim Stergioulis (2005–)
- Metropolis of Ilion, Acharnes and Petroupolis : Athenagoras (Georgios) Dikaiakos 1 (2010–)
- Metropolis of Larissa and Tirnavos : Ignatios (Iakovos) Lappas (1994–)
- Metropolis of Leucada and Ithaca : Theofilos (Konstantinos) Manolatos (2008–)
- Metropolis of Mantineia and Kynouria : Alexandros Papadopoulos (1995–)
- Metropolis of Megara and Salamis : Vartholomeos Katsouris (1974–)
- Metropolis of Mesogeia and Lavreotiki : Nikolaos Hatzinikolaou (2004–)
- Metropolis of Messinia : Chrysostomos Savvatos (2007–)
- Metropolis of Monemvasia and Sparta : Eustathios (Konstantinos) Speliotis (1980–)
- Metropolis of Naupactus and Agios Vlasios : Hierotheos Vlachos (1995–)
- Metropolis of New Ionia and Philadelphia : Konstantinos Farantatos (1994–)
- Metropolis of New Smyrna : Symeon (Periklis) Koutsas (2002–)
- Metropolis of Nicaea : Alexios Vryonis (1995–)
- Metropolis of Paronaxia (Paros, Naxos and Antiparos) : Kallinikos (Nikolaos) Demenopoulos (2008–)
- Metropolis of Patras : Chrysostomos (Christos) Sklifas (2005–)
- Metropolis of Peristeri : Chrysostomos (Gerasimos) Zafyris (1978–)
- Metropolis of Phocis : Athenagoras (Nikolaos) Zakopoulos (1986–)
- Metropolis of Phthiotis : Nikolaos Protopappas (1996–)
- Metropolis of Piraeus : Seraphim Mentzenopoulos (2001–)
- Metropolis of Stagi and Meteora : Seraphim Stefanou (1991–)
- Metropolis of Syros, Tinos, Andros, Kea and Milos : Dorotheos Polykandriotis (2001–)
- Metropolis of Thessaliotida, Fanari and Pharsalos : Kyrillos (Georgios) Chrystakis (2005–)
- Metropolis of Thebes and Levadia : Georgios Matzouranis (2008–)
- Metropolis of Thera, Amorgos and the Islands : Epiphanios (Michael) Artemis (2003–)
- Metropolis of Trifyllia and Olympia : Chrysostomos (Alexandros) Stavropoulos (2007–)
- Metropolis of Trikke and Stagi 2 : Alexios (Theodoros) Mihalopoulos (1981–)
- Metropolis of Zakynthos and Strophades : Chrysostomos (Dimitrios) Synetos (1994–)
1 In 2010 the Metropolis of Attica was split into 2 new Metropolises, the Metropolis of Kifissia, Amaroussion and Oropos (temporary Vicar: the Metropolitan of Mesogeia) and the Metropolis of Ilion, Acharnes and Petroupolis (temporary Vicar: the Metropolitan of Megara)
2 The Metropolis of Trikke was separated from the Metropolis of Stagi (and Meteora) in 1981 but still bears the titular name "Trikke and Stagi"
Titular Metropolises and Metropolitans
Titular Dioceses and Bishops
Metropolises and Metropolitans of the New Lands
(under the jurisdiction of Constantinople until 1928, then under Athens; except the Dodecanese)
- Metropolis of Alexandroupolis : Anthimos (Christos) Koukouridis (2004–)
- Metropolis of Chios, Psara and Inousses and Exarchate of All Ionia : Markos Vasilakis (1965–)
- Metropolis of Didymoteichon and Orestias and Exarchate of Haemimontos : Damaskinos (Minas) Karpathakis (2009–)
- Metropolis of Drama : Pavlos (Alexandros) Apostolidis (2005–)
- Metropolis of Dryinoupolis, Pogoniani and Konitsa and Exarchate of Northern Epirus : Andreas Trebelas (1995–)
- Metropolis of Edessa, Pella and Almopia : Ioel (Panagiotis) Fragkakis (2002–)
- Metropolis of Elassona and Exarchate of Mount Olympus : Vasileios Kolokas (1995–)
- Metropolis of Eleftheroupolis and Exarchate of Pangaeon : Chrysostomos (Ioannis) Avajianos (2004–)
- Metropolis of Florina, Prespes and Eordaia : Theoklitos (Thomas) Pasalis (2000–)
- Metropolis of Goumenissa, Axioupoli and Polykastro : Dimitrios Bekiaris-Mavrogonatos (1991–)
- Metropolis of Grevena : Sergios (Antonios) Sigalas (1976–)
- Metropolis of Ierissos, Mount Athos and Ardameri : Theoklitos Athanasopoulos (2012–)
- Metropolis of Ioannina and Exarchate of Epirus : Theoklitos Setakis (1975–)
- Metropolis of Kassandria and Exarchate of All the Thermaic Gulf : Nikodemos (Konstantinos) Korakis (2001–)
- Metropolis of Kastoria and Exarchate of Upper Macedonia : Seraphim (Ioannis) Papakostas (1996–)
- Metropolis of Kitros, Katerini and Platamonas and Exarchate of Pieria : Agathonikos (Georgios) Fatouros (1985–)
- Metropolis of Langadas : Ioannis Tassias (2010–)
- Metropolis of Lemnos and Agios Efstratios and Exarchate of the North Aegean : Ierotheos Garyfallos (1988–)
- Metropolis of Maronia and Komotini and Exarchate of Rhodope : Damaskinos (Petros) Roumeliotis (1974–2012)
- Metropolis of Mithymna : Chrysostomos (Kyriakos) Kalamatianos (1984–)
- Metropolis of Mytilini, Eresos and Plomari : Iakovos Frantzis (1988–)
- Metropolis of Neapolis and Stavroupolis : Varnavas (Markos) Tyris (2004–)
- Metropolis of Nea Krini and Kalamaria : Prokopios (Antonios) Georgantopoulos (1974–)
- Metropolis of Zichni and Nevrokopion : Ierotheos (Dimitrios) Tsoliakos (2003–)
- Metropolis of Nikopolis and Preveza and Exarchate of Old Epirus : Meletios Kalamaras (1980–)
- Metropolis of Paramythia, Filiates, Gyromeri and Parga and Exarchate of Thesprotia : Titos (Sotirios) Papanakos (1974–)
- Metropolis of Philippi, Neapolis and Thasos : Prokopios (Michael) Tsakoumakas (1974–)
- Metropolis of Polyani and Kilkision : Emmanuel Sigalas (2009–)
- Metropolis of Samos and Ikaria : Eusebios (Evangelos) Pistolis (1995–)
- Metropolis of Serres and Nigrita : Theologos (Ioannis) Apostolidis (2003–)
- Metropolis of Servia and Kozani : Pavlos Papalexiou (2004–)
- Metropolis of Siderokastron : Makarios (Sotirios) Philotheou (2001–)
- Metropolis of Sisanion and Siatista : Pavlos Ioannou (2006–)
- Metropolis of Thessaloniki : Anthimos (Dionysios) Roussas (2004–)
- Metropolis of Veria and Naousa : Panteleimon (Ioannis) Kalpakidis (1994–)
- Metropolis of Xanthi and Peritheorion and Exarchate of Western Thrace : Panteleimon (Michael) Kalaphatis (1995–)
Tomkinson, John L., Between Heaven and Earth: The Greek Church, Anagnosis (Athens, 2004) ISBN 960-87186-5-1
Online Greek Orthodox Typikon http://www.e-typikon.com