Greek Orthodox Church

The Greek Orthodox Church (Greek: Ἑλληνορθόδοξη Ἐκκλησία, Ellinorthódoxi Ekklisía, IPA: [elinorˈθoðoksi ekliˈsia]), or Greek Orthodoxy, is the body of several churches[2][3][4] within the larger communion of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, whose liturgy is or was traditionally conducted in Koine Greek.[5] Its history, traditions, and theology are rooted in the early Church Fathers and the culture of the Byzantine Empire. Greek Orthodox Christianity has also traditionally placed strong emphasis on and awarded high prestige to traditions of Eastern Orthodox monasticism and asceticism, with origins in Early Christianity in the Near East and in Byzantine Anatolia.

Greek Orthodox Church
ClassificationEastern Orthodox Church
ScriptureSeptuagint, New Testament
TheologyEastern Orthodox theology
PrimateThe Patriarchs of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem, and the Archbishops of Athens, Cyprus, Albania and Mount Sinai
LanguageKoine Greek, Katharevousa,[1] Arabic, and English, with other local languages used in the diaspora
LiturgyByzantine Rite
HeadquartersVarious, but Constantinople is held in special regard
TerritoryEastern Mediterranean and Greek diaspora
FounderApostle Andrew
SeparationsTrue Orthodoxy (Greek Old Calendarism) (1920s)
Members23–25 million (about 40% of whom are in Greece)

Historically, the term "Greek Orthodox" has been used to describe all Eastern Orthodox churches in general, since "Greek" in "Greek Orthodox" can refer to the heritage of the Byzantine Empire.[6][7][8] During the first eight centuries of Christian history, most major intellectual, cultural, and social developments in the Christian Church took place within the Empire or in the sphere of its influence,[8][9][10] where the Greek language was widely spoken and used for most theological writings. Over time, most parts of the liturgy, traditions, and practices of the church of Constantinople were adopted by all, and these still provide the basic patterns of contemporary Orthodoxy.[11][12][13] Thus, the Eastern Orthodox came to be called "Greek" Orthodox in the same way that the 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.[14][15][16] Thus, by the early 21st century, generally only those churches most closely tied to Greek or Byzantine culture were called "Greek Orthodox" in common parlance.