The Churches of Greece
 

While many of us are more familiar with the Greek Mythology of Zeus, Athena and Poseidon than the Greek Orthodox religion, it is their beautiful churches, not Greek temples, that now dominate the rural and urban landscapes of Greece. Greek Orthodox Christians make up 97% of the Greek populace, leaving only small populations of Muslims, Roman Catholics and Jews.

According to Orthodoxy history, the first to preach Christianity in the Greek World was St. Paul in 49 AD. But it wasn't until Emperor Constantine the Great converted to Christianity in the 4th century that the faith of the nation was cemented.

By the 8th century a schism of opinions began to appear between the Patriarch of Constantinople and the Pope of Rome, such as the celibacy of clergy (orthodox priests could marry before being ordained) and certain religious creed vernacular. By 1054 the disputes and opposition became pronounced enough that the Patriarch and the Pope excommunicated each other, and the Greek Orthodox church was born.

During the Ottoman rule, from 1453 to 1821, the Greek Orthodox church used its strength to act as a cultural beacon to help preserve the Greek language, history, traditions and Orthodox faith. Although on paper the Greek Church and Orthodox church are separated, the Orthodoxy is still an omni-present force in both public and private life, with in open celebration of its beliefs, traditions, customs and religious festivals and feasts.

 
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