Summary of the Greek Orthodox Church
The term Greek Orthodox Church refers to churches within the larger communion of Eastern Orthodox Christianity sharing a common tradition whose liturgy is also traditionally conducted in Koine Greek, the original language of the New Testament.
Churches Where the Greek Orthodox Term is Applicable
The churches where the Greek Orthodox term is applicable are:
The four ancient Patriarchates:
- The Great Church of Christ in Constantinople, headed by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, who is also the "first among equals" of the Eastern Orthodox Communion,
- The Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria,
- The Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch,
- The Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem
Two national autocephalous churches:
- the Orthodox Church of Greece
- the Orthodox Church of Cyprus
As well as:
- the Orthodox Church of Mount Sinai
And four eparchies of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople:
- the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain
- the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Italy and Malta
- the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
- the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia
The Orthodox Church of Albania, whose liturgy is carried out in Koine Greek only in certain areas of Albania, has also been described as the Greek Orthodox Church of Albania, however this has become complicated by tensions between the Greek and Albanian governments over the ethnic Greek minority in Albania, the majority of which happen to be followers of the Orthodox Church.
History of the Term
Historically, the term Greek Orthodox has also been used to describe all Eastern Orthodox Churches, because the word "Greek" in the phrase "Greek Orthodox" is used to refer to the Greek heritage of the Byzantine Empire because during 8 centuries of Christian history most intellectual, cultural, and social developments in the Christian church took place within the Empire or in an area of its influence, thus, most parts of the liturgy, traditions, and practices of the church of Constantinople were adopted by all followers and still provide the basic patterns of Orthodoxy now days. However, the term Greek Orthodox was abandoned by Slavic and other national orthodox churches, who had proceeded to assist to the purposes of their peoples national awakenings, from as early as the 10th century A.D.