THE ORTHODOX RELIGION is very important in Greece with many religious festivals and the social role of the clergy.

As early as the 1st century AD. In MY day, Greece became a very active centre of Christianity and the islands of DODEKANISOS were the first to be evangelized: St. Luke stayed there, as well as St. John who had the revelation of the Apocalypse at PATMOS. Everywhere, even in the most remote corners of the smallest islands, you will find chapels and monasteries.

Enter a church or monastery in a bathing suit or shorts. On the contrary, provide decent clothes.  respect the cult of the Greek people.

The Greek population is made up of 98 Orthodox Christians, most of them practising: religion still holds a central place in society.

The vast majority of Greeks (97.6) are Orthodox Christians, the others being Muslims (1.3), Catholics (0.4), Protestants (0.1), Jews (0.1 ) or of various religions (0.5). The Greek Orthodox Church is autocephalous and has its own statutes, but its doctrine is indissolubly linked to that of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.



The”popes” are officials of the Ministry of Education and Cults,very present in private and public life. They can get married and have children. The Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary is not recognized.


The Church is not separated from the state. The Orthodox religion is thus practiced and taught in schools. In 2000, under pressure from the European Union and at the cost of a heavy dispute with the Church, the government finally removed the mention of religion on the identity card. It is difficult to assess the political and economic influence of the Church, but it is customary to consult the Patriarch for most major political decisions. In addition, many representatives of the Church sit on the boards of large Greek companies. It is also rumoured that the Church controls 6 of the National Bank of Greece and remains the country’s first landowner. This is evidenced by the famous Mount Athos, located in the south-east of Macedonia on the Chalcidic Peninsula, a self-administered territory with numerous monasteries, forming an Orthodox monastic centre for a millennium.

Believers, without being very observant, the Greeks prefer to marry in church and respect the Greek festivals, we can still detect the traces of a pre-Christian heritage


During the Byzantine and Ottoman periods, citizens were part of a particular people of the Empire and this according to their Religion and even today, this classification is found in several Balkan states such as Serbia or Montenegro, but perhaps the best known example is Bosnia. The citizens of this country are called Bosnians, but if we talk about Bosnian Muslims in particular, we call them Bosnians, and the same goes for Bosnian Orthodox Christians, they are called Bosnian Serbs. As for the Bosnians of The Catholic Religion, they are called the Bosnian Croats. The only groups that escape this religious classification in the Balkans are Roma and Albanians who are considered Roma and Albanians regardless of their religion, moreover if someone asks an Albanian what is the main religion of Albanian, chances are he’s saying it’s Albanianism (being Albanian).

All this to say that in the Balkans, Religion is primarily used as a marker of identity, because of the Byzantine and Ottoman past of the countries of the Region. For the rest, people are not especially religious, evenif the cultures of the region are strongly imbued  with local religions. In short, Religion in the Balkans is more about ways of doing and living (a kind of local folklore) than anything else and belonging to a community.

Moreover, to illustrate the identity side of religions in Greece and the Balkans, during the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923 between the Greek and Turkish parties, which established a huge exchange of people to put an end to the massacres of parts and others, this exchange of population took place, at the request of the Turkish side, on the Ottoman criteria.

As a result, as a result of this treaty, Muslims in Greece were deported to Turkey and Orthodox Christians from Turkey were expelled to Greece.

The two exceptions are the Muslims of Western Thrace (Eastern Greece) who were allowed to remain and who correspond to the majority of Muslim citizens living in the country and the hundreds of thousands of Orthodox Christians who lived in Constantinople.

For the Muslims of Thrace, they still live in Greece today and they have Greek citizenship. On the other hand, the Constitution refers to them as “Muslims” and not as Greeks and they live under different laws (Sharia) from those enjoyed by the rest of the population.

As for the 100,000 Orthodox of Constantinople who had also been exempted from the population exchange provided for by the Treaty of Lausanne, they were expelled by the Turks in 1955, during the pogroms of Istanbul. In the treaty, they were called “Rums” (i.e. Romans, the term for Orthodox citizens of the Ottoman Empire) and also enjoyed special rights as an ethnic-religious minority.

Today there are only about 3000 of them left in Constantinople while the Muslims of Thrace are still there and still benefit from their cultural exceptions.

This is why religion now occupies such a place in so-called modern Greece.
It is linked to the history of the country and to the Byzantine heritage that the Greek-Orthodox Church has succeeded in preserving and passing on to the new generations.


It is the State Religion of modern Greece and it has a number of religious and cultural differences with other Christian religions and in particular the Catholic Religion. Here are some: There is no Pope in the Orthodox Religion because this place, for Orthodox Christians, is rightly up to Jesus, on the other hand Orthodox religious can marry, which is not the case for Catholic priests and in Greece , women cannot access certain parts within the churches. Also, easter is more important than Christmas for Greek Orthodox and a number of Christian holidays do not take place on the same dates as Catholic holidays (It is not the same Calendar).

In short, this list of specificities specific to the Greek Orthodox Religion is far from exhaustive but that is not the aim, the aim of this page being above all to explain why Greece today is a Christian Orthodox country and not a country such as France and some other Northern European countries, many of which have become countries without state religion (at least in terms of facts).

As is happening everywhere the emergence of civil marriages is happening more and more in Greece. Without orthodocx marriage, the woman cannot bear the name of her husband and as you will imagine easy the arrival of a child in the absence of religious marriage, prohibits all possibility of baptism. So the wedding-baptism group shootings are becoming more and more common. You have certainly experienced a Western marriage, however know that in the islands with very developed kinship ties, it is difficult to make less than 500 people….


What is the difference between the Catholic Christian religion and the Orthodox one?

Catholics and Orthodox are Christians and therefore they all believe in the same God and in the Bible. Orthodox and Catholic differences were officially born out of the schism of 1054: a history of political power and dogmatic and theological questions. So at that time, many differences appear in the rite, spirituality, way of living and behaving as a believer for each of his two religious worlds.

For Catholics, the Holy Spirit comes from the Father AND the Son,while for the Orthodox, the Holy Spirit proceeds from the  Father.

At the Orthodox Mass QUOTIDIan, people stay up or sit but don’t kneel. The popes don’t talk much but sing instead. Orthodox eat fermented bread while Catholics eat azyme, in other words, Host.

Catholics make the sign of the cross with two or three fingers of the right hand on his forehead and then on his chest, and finally from one shoulder to the other (from left to right) saying “In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” while the Orthdoxes make a small sign of cross from right to left. The Orthodox can make this sign two and one time. Orthodox make their cross sign every time they pass a church.

In Orthodox churches,  there are icons that are not found among Catholics, who instead have paintings and statues. During Greek Masses, there are no speeches but only “sung”.

The Orthodox Church is not separated from the state, whereas the opposite is true for Catholics. Some tell me that Orthodox popes are public officials who are collaborators of a corrupt Greek state. I would say that unfortunately some popes are not saints and that they are people like everyone else, even if they pass on the word of God. However, the fact is that Greeks go to church every Sunday (all Greek churches are full every Sunday).

The Orthodox Church has a country-by-country structure (for Greece, the patriarchy of Constantinople) while the Catholic Church is international (via the Vatican). The Orthodox deny the Supreme Authority of the Pope.

Orthodox papas can be married and have children while the Christian clergy do not allow themselves any marriage. From a certain degree, the clergy is not entitled to marriage.

The Orthodox Church baptizes by immersion because it has been the tradition since the evangelical origins.

The Orthodox live in a church organized according to cannons fixed in the early days of Christianity. The Catholic Church is more like an administration, which has often reformed, changed and gained a great deal in its teaching and power on earth.