Timeline of Eastern Orthodoxy in Greece (1924–1974)

This is a timeline of the presence of Orthodoxy in Greece from 1924 to 1974. The history of Greece traditionally encompasses the study of the Greek people, the areas they ruled historically, as well as the territory now composing the modern state of Greece.

Second Hellenic Republic (1924–1935)Edit

Venerable Saint Arsenios the Cappadocian (1840–1924).
Saint Nicholas Planas of Athens (1851–1932).
  • 1930-1931 Rulings of the Court of Appeal (1930) and the Supreme Court (1931) imposed a ban on Uniates in Greece from wearing the outer garments of Orthodox clergy, in order to avoid the confusion with Orthodox clergy they were seeking, however the Uniates never consistently respected this decision.[17]
Eminent Metropolitan Germanos Karavangelis (1866-1935).
  • 1931 Benaki Museum opens in Athens, housing Byzantine, Post-Byzantine, and Neo-Hellenic ecclesiastical and national art collections.[note 4]
  • 1932 Death of Saint Nicholas Planas.[19][20][21]
  • 1933 Church of Greece bans Freemasonry, declaring that when one becomes a Mason (a member of Freemasonry) it is an act of apostasy from the Church and therefore, until that person repents, they can not attend the Holy Eucharist;[22][23][note 5][note 6] opening of the new Patriarchal Palace in Cairo by Patriarch Meletios, built at the expense of Theodore Kotsikas.[24]
  • 1934 Mustafa Kemal Atatürk transformed Hagia Sophia into a museum.[25][note 7]
  • 1935 Death of eminent prelate Metropolitan Germanos (Karavangelis) in Vienna, who had played a central role and was an active participant both in the Greek Struggle for Macedonia and in Pontus, and was a primary candidate for election to the Ecumenical Throne of Constantinople in 1921, and to be Archbishop of Athens in 1923, only to censured in the end by both church and state;[26][27] Old Calendar schism, when three bishops declared their separation from the official Church of Greece stating that the calendar change was a schismatic act;[note 8] German Biblical scholar Alfred Rahlfs published his two-volume Septuaginta, a semi-critical edition of the Greek Septuagint, being the only complete critical text of the Septuagint in existence to that date.[30][note 9]

Kingdom of Greece restored (1935–1967)Edit

  • 1936 Apostolic Ministry of the Church of Greece founded ( 'Apostoliki Diakonia' );[31] General Ioannis Metaxas, Prime Minister of Greece during the 4th of August Regime (1936–41), propagated a Third Hellenic Civilization (Ancient Greece and Byzantium being the first two);[32] by 1936, Zoe Brotherhood had opened 300 catechetical schools with 35,000 pupils, and received the first prize at the International Protestant Conference on Sunday Schools in Oslo.[33]
Venerable Saint Silouan of Mt Athos (†1938).
  • 1957 Death of Blessed Elder Jeronymo (Ieronimos) abbot of Simonopetra.[66][67] Greek-American priest John Romanides publishes his doctoral dissertation The Ancestral Sin with the approval of the Theological Faculty of the University of Athens, representing a classic, landmark work in the theological revolution of the 1960s that set an unimpeachable standard of Orthodoxy.[68]
  • 1958 Pope John XXIII and Ecumenical Patr. Athenagoras I (Spyrou) exchanged formal letters calling for peace among the Christian churches.[15]
Blessed Elder Joseph (Spilaiotis) the Hesychast (†1959)

Military dictatorship (1967–1974)Edit

See alsoEdit


Church Fathers


  1. ^ On 17 August 1926, government representatives from Greece and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (Yugoslavia) signed an agreement settling the question of a Yugoslav free port at Thessaloniki.[7]
  2. ^ "Like Matthopoulos he wrote like a Protestant pietist. In his book The Question of Conception, Papakostas faithfully follows Anglican and Roman Catholic opinion about contraception, presented as a quintessentially Orthodox view."[10]
  3. ^ "Codified in the 1928 Patriarchal and Synodical Act, the "New Lands" were entrusted to the temporary stewardship of the Church of Greece, provided that the Church respected the terms of the Act. The Act subsequently has been incorporated into several pieces of Greek legislation (Laws 3615/1928, 5438/1932, 599/1977, and Article 3, paragraph 1 of the current Greek Constitution), thereby recognizing the ecclesiastical agreement between the two sides."
  4. ^ "Antonis Benakis, son of a rich Greek family in Alexandria, donated his Athens family home and a collection of 37,000 Islamic and Byzantine objects and books to the state in 1931."[18]
  5. ^ "Orthodox Christians must disavow the Masonic movement and resign from it if they have joined it in ignorance of its goals. Pike, in his Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry tells us that "Every Masonic Lodge is a temple of religion; and its teachings are instruction in religion." (p. 213) "Masonry, around whose altars the Christian, the Hebrew, the Moslem, the Brahim, the followers of Confucius and Zoroaster, can assemble as brethren and unite in prayer to the one God who is above all the Baalism." (p. 226) "Masonry, like all religions, all the Mysteries, conceals its secrets from all except the Adepts and Sages or Elect and uses false explanations and interpretations of its symbols to mislead those who deserve only to be misled." (p. 105 ).[22]
  6. ^ (in Greek) "Η Σύνοδος τής Ιεραρχίας ασχολήθηκε με το θέμα αυτό κατά την συνεδρία τής 7ης Οκτωβρίου 1933 και εξέδωσε ειδική «Πράξη» (Εκκλησία 48/1933, σ. 37–39). Το κείμενο αυτό κάνει λόγο περί «διεθνούς μυητικού οργανισμού» και «μυσταγωγικού συστήματος, όπερ υπομιμνήσκει τάς παλαιάς εθνικάς μυστηριακάς θρησκείας ή λατρείας, από των οποίων κατάγεται και των οποίων συνέχειαν και αναβίωσιν αποτελεί». Το κείμενο αναφέρεται σε μαρτυρίες μασονικών κειμένων και κατοχυρώνει τη θέση της «εκ των εν ταίς μυήσεσιν δρωμένων και τελουμένων».[23]
  7. ^ "In 1934, however, after establishing Turkey as a secular state in which religion was to be held in a sphere separate from government, law, and politics, the first president of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (1923–1938), ordered that Hagia Sophia be closed as a mosque and her icons restored. However, rather than return the basilica to the EP, he insisted that the historic church become a state-sponsored museum."[25]
  8. ^ A major event occurred in May, 1935: Eleven Bishops of the official Church decided to return to the Old Calendar and to take charge of the Traditionalist communities. Nonetheless, such was the pressure exerted on them that eight withdrew at the last moment. The three bishops who persevered were:[28]
    In an official encyclical as a synod of living bishops, they declared that the new calendar Churches were in a state of schism, and then they consecrated four new bishops, including: Matthew (Karpathakis) of Bresthena; Germanus of the Cyclades; Christopher of Megara; and Polycarp of Diavlia. In 1937 they split amongst themselves; and today they have become more than 12 groups, on account of successive splintering, defrocking, rivalry, walling-off, and anathematizing.[29] Greek Old Calendarist groups maintain that they have not separated over a mere calendar, rather that the calendar is a symptom of what has been called "the pan-heresy of ecumenism."
  9. ^ It was based on the principles of reconstructing the text conceptualized by him and Lagarde. It was, however, only a preliminary critical edition, inasmuch as Rahlfs realized that it would be impossible in his lifetime to take into account the textual evidence of the many hundreds of existing manuscripts and relevant subsequent translations of the Septuagint. So he undertook to base the text he reconstructed primarily on the three great uncial manuscripts of the fourth and fifth centuries A.D., Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, and Alexandrinus.[30]
  10. ^ The Greek Civil War (December 1944 – January 1945 and 1946–49) was a two-stage conflict during which Greek communists unsuccessfully tried to gain control of Greece.[41]
  11. ^ Historically, they were considered as a part of Rûm millet by the Ottoman authorities. As the Sanjak of Alexandretta was then a part of Syria, Greeks were not subject to population exchange of 1923. After Hatay State was annexed by Turkey in 1939, many of them emigrated to Syria and Lebanon.
  12. ^ On 13 December 1943, some 1200 males, including boys as young as 13, were massacred by Germans and the town gutted.
  13. ^ The history of the Greek Civil Code is rather brief. After the establishment of the Modern Greek state (1832), the first efforts to institute a common civil code started. Concurrently, regional civil codes were applied, such as the Ionian Code of 1841, the Samiakos Code of 1899 and the Cretan code of 1903. Finally, the government of Eleutherios Venizelos was effective in its efforts to institute a Civil Code, establishing a committee for that purpose. The committee consisted of legal scholars and drafted a fully developed civil code. This code was put in force with Law 2250/1940, but due to the German occupation that followed, its application began on 23 February 1946.[46]
  14. ^ "The Germans troops who surrendered to the Greeks on the island of Symi on 8 May 1945, were the last Germans to lay down their arms. As one commentator noted, in their surrender, even the Nazis recognised the Dodecanese as Greek. Under the Paris Peace Treaty of 1947, the islands were formally transferred to Greek sovereignty."[48]
  15. ^ "Bishop Mark Lipa arrived in the United States in December 1950 and succeeded in winning the loyalty of three of the twelve AOCA parishes in the country...Since the union of the Albanian Orthodox Church in America (AOCA) and its counterpart in the homeland was no longer an option following the suppression in 1967 of all religious organizations in Albania, in 1971 the AOCA, to ensure its canonical status, joined the multinational Orthodox Church of America as its Albanian Orthodox Archdiocese."[52]
  16. ^ Because of the many miracles of the Holy Virgin which were reported by Greek soldiers during the Greco-Italian War of 1940–1941, the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece decided in 1952 to commemorate the feast day of The Protection of the Mother of God on 28 October, rather than on the traditional date of 1 October. Thus, the feast of the Protection of the Mother of God was made to coincide on 28 October with Ohi Day in Greece – ((in Greek) «'Οχι»), the Anniversary of the "No" – which is celebrated throughout Greece, Cyprus and in Greek communities around the world in commemoration of the rejection by Greek Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas of the ultimatum made by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini on 28 October 1940. (See also: Greco-Italian War and the Battle of Greece).
  17. ^ The institute (Istituto Ellenico) publishes a yearly periodical entitled Θησαυρίσματα . The first issue appeared in 1962.
  18. ^ Both Abp. Chrysostomos I (Papadopoulos) (r. 1923-1938) and Gregorios Papamichael (1875-1956) are rightly credited for establishing the two basic academic journals of Neohellenic theology: Theologia and Ekklesia.[63]
  19. ^ Nissiotis embodies a new type of thinking free from the provincialism and old-fashioned attitudes characteristic of Greek theology. He was in touch with all the new developments of his time, being well-informed about current trends in science, philosophy, art, psychology and politics. For a theologian, the breadth of his interests was unprecedented. He not only observed the rapid changes taking place in the world around him but also participated in them.[65]
  20. ^ "Archimandrite Charalambos Vasilopoulos (1910–1982) was one of the leading figures of the Greek Orthodox anti-ecumenical movement, and is still held in high esteem in conservative ecclesiastical circles. In 1959, he founded a religious society (the POE, Panhellenic Orthodox Union) with an anti-heretical agenda, and in 1961 he established the newspaper Orthodoxos Typos (Orthodox Press), which continues to be the chief voice of Orthodox fundamentalism. He was abbot of Moni Petraki monastery from 1962 to 1968. He published a huge number of biographies of saints, initially in collaboration with Fotis Kontoglou, which have collectively sold in the hundreds of thousands and still retain their popularity. Archimandrite Vasilopoulos’ favourite word was the verb ‘to uncover’. Everywhere he went he saw hidden enemies of Orthodoxy and of the nation (ecumenists, freemasons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and, above all, Jews), and considered it his duty to expose them. Hence the titles of his books, all published by Orthodox Press Publications, at very low prices and in tens of thousands of copies: Uncovering Freemasonry (1967); Jewish Freemasonry Revealed (1975), an extended version of the former; Ecumenism Unmasked (1971); Uncovering Jehovah’s Witnesses (undated); The Rotary Club Unmasked (undated); Theosophy Uncovered (1973); ‘Inspired Women’ Unmasked;; (1977)."[80]
  21. ^ "The skull of St. Andrew, the martyred Patron Saint of Greece, arrived by air in Greece last Saturday from Rome. It was returned to the Greek Orthodox Church as a gesture of Church unity by Pope Paul. A Greek Orthodox delegation flew to Rome the day before to accompany the relic to Patras. Cardinal Bea led a party of 15 cardinals accompanying the skull, which is encased in gold, and presented it to Bishop Constantine of Patras, where St. Andrew the Apostle was martyred. His skull was kept there until 1462, when it was removed to Rome to preserve it from the advancing Turks."[90]
  22. ^ "Over a thousand Greeks were promptly expelled, most on a few hours' notice. They were permitted to take with them only $22 and one suitcase of clothes. Another 5,000 were expelled shortly thereafter. Another 10,000 to 11,000 Greeks were expelled after September 1964, when Turkey discontinued renewing residence permits of Greek citizens. On 11 October 1964, the Turkish newspaper, Cumhuriyet, reported that 30,000 Turkish nationals of Greek descent had left permanently, in addition to the Greeks who had been expelled."[95]
  23. ^ Saint Sabbas' relics had been stolen by the Crusaders of the First Crusade (1096-1099), along with many other relics, and were brought to Venice and placed in the Church of Sant'Antonin.[100] The delegation from the Patriarchate of Jerusalem in 1965 included Archbishop Vasilios of Jordan (later the Matropolitan of Caesarea); Archimandrite Theodosios - Igumen of Bethany; Archimandrite Seraphim Savvaitis - Igumen of the Holy Lavra of Saint Sabbas the Sanctified; and Hierodeacon Kyriakos (later the Metropolitan of Nazareth).[100] Elder Seraphim Savvaitis (†2003) had written in his memoirs that:
    • "the Pope did not return the holy relics to us because he loved us, but because Saint Sabbas the Sanctified would often appear to him and troubled him to return his relics back to his monastery (i.e. Holy Lavra of Saint Sabbas the Sanctified). When the Pope died without having taken into account the Saint, Saint Sabbas appeared again to his successor. Moreover, in the church where his holy relics were kept within a glass reliquary, the Saint would hit the glass, making trouble and upsetting the guards and the Latin monks."[100]
  24. ^ "Fr. John Romanides, of blessed memory, revealed that a Papist "bishop" had confided to him that, according to the Vatican’s plan, the union would not happen from the top, that is to say, from the bishops, the theologians and the dialogues, but rather from the so-called grassroots ecumenism, that is to say, through the mutual association between the two sides and the gradual implementation of sacramental intercommunion (intercommunio), which is already being put into effect by Rome and the Orthodox Ecumenists."[102]
  25. ^ "This scientific institute was founded by a Patriarchal and Synodic Sigillion in 1965, and started functioning in 1968. It is housed in a special wing of the Holy Patriarchal and Stavropegic Monastery of the Vlatades in Acropolis, Thessalonica. Its aim according to the Patriarchal Sigillion is to promote «the study and research of Patrology, Christian literature in general, Patristic Theology, and their neighbouring Theology disciplines»."[103][104]
  26. ^ "Panayiotis Christou clearly saw how the teaching of Gregory Palamas could renew Orthodox theological studies internationally. Palamas' thought presupposes a vital Orthodox self-awareness, with a sense of the criteria that mark it off from the Western understanding of the Church. The Russian diaspora's "school" of theology, like the corresponding Serbian "school" of Fr. Justin Popović and the Romanian "school" of Fr. Dumitru Stăniloae, took on a neo-Palamite character. Christou's publishing initiative was a pivotal point in theological education, responding to a conscious need for the renewal of the Orthodox presence in our time."[107]
    See: (in Greek) Παναγιώτης Χρήστου. Βικιπαίδεια. (Greek Wikipedia.)
  27. ^ "In a closely argued, thoroughly documented, and (considering the range of his subject) remarkable consise tome, Professor Patrides outlines Milton's ideas and presentation of the main points of the Christian faith, his conception of the Godhead, the Creation and the nature of Nature, the Fall and Redemption of Man, Love and Grace, history and the eschata of history."[111]
  28. ^ "This theory conflicts with traditional Christian teaching on several counts. It contradicts the vision of the historical process as a path to the final transfiguration and change into a better state, not as a return to the starting point. Secondly, it practically excludes the notion that one can follow Christ into eternal life only of one's free choice...Thirdly, in Origen's system the apokatastasis is closely linked with the theory of the pre-existence of souls: the life of the soul in the body is viewed as a kind of punishment or trial, necessary for its restoration to its primordial dignity. This theory has always been firmly rejected by the Church. Fourthly, Origen's version of the apokatastasis raises the question: what is the moral sense of the entire drama of human history, if good and evil are ultimately irrelevant before divine mercy and justice? The Council of Constantinople in 543 and the fifth ecumenical council in 553 condemned the teaching of Origen and his followers on the doctrine of apokatastasis. But having condemned Origen, the fifth ecumenical council said not a word about the teaching of Gregory of Nyssa, who also wrote of the total extermination of vice and the final salvation of all people."[116]
  29. ^ "The military junta which seized power in Greece on 21 April, adopted and put into effect a new law which resulted in major changes within the Greek Orthodox Church. The law dismissed the twelve bishops of the Synod, the executive body of the sixty-seven member Assembly of Bishops, reduced the membership of the Synod to nine; and provided that the government, rather than the Assembly of Bishops, would elect the members of the Synod. The newly constituted Synod was given the power to name new bishops, which power was formerly possessed by the Assembly. The junta also forced retirement of Archbishop Chrysostomos by extending a compulsory retirement statute to cover this position although he had previously been exempt from the measure. He was replaced by Archimandrite Ieronymos Kotsonis who was the personal chaplain to King Constantine and who is regarded as one of the most progressive figures of the church. The new archbishop soon made it clear that the traditional attitude of the Greek hierarchy toward the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople would not be followed by him as he emphasized the ties of respect between his church and the Patriarchate of Constantinople. In his installation address he pledged sweeping reformation within the church, mentioning particularly his intention to purge the church of unworthy ministers and to seek to attract better educated clergy."[117]
  30. ^ "The junta in Greece forced the resignation of the old and ailing archbishop of Athens, Chrysostomos II Hatzistaurou, promoting in his place a young archimandrite, Hieronymos Kotsonas; replaced the canonical synod of the Church with the uncanonical "Aristindin" synod; and replaced the bishops it disliked with others it preferred."[120]
  31. ^ (in Greek) Τα εγκαίνια της ΟΑΚ έγιναν στις 13 Οκτωβρίου 1968 με συμμετοχή εκπροσώπων όλων των Ορθοδόξων Εκκλησιών, άλλων χριστιανικών παραδόσεων και Οργανισμών, των Πανεπιστημίων της χώρας και πλήθους λαού.[123]
  32. ^ He was glorified by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople on 29 August 2018:[126]
    (in Greek) α) Εἰσηγήσει τῆς Κανονικῆς Ἐπιτροπῆς συμπεριελήφθη εἰς τό Ἁγιολόγιον τῆς Ὀρθοδόξου Ἐκκλησίας ὁ ἐν Πάτμῳ ἀσκήσας καί ἀναπτύξας μέγα πνευματικόν καί κοινωφελές ἔργον ἐν Δωδεκανήσῳ, Κρήτῃ καί ἀλλαχοῦ Ἀρχιμανδρίτης Ἀμφιλόχιος Μακρῆς, διατελέσας Ἡγούμενος τῆς ἱστορικῆς Ἱερᾶς Μονῆς Ἁγίου Ἰωάννου τοῦ Θεολόγου καί Πατριαρχικός Ἔξαρχος Πάτμου, ὅστις καί ἵδρυσε τήν ἐν τῇ Νήσῳ γυναικείαν Ἱεράν Μονήν Εὐαγγελισμοῦ Μητρός Ἠγαπημένου.[127]
  33. ^ The 3602 relics originated from only 476 (12.5%) of the saints. Furthermore, five saints accounted for nearly a quarter (25%) of all these relics, including Sts. Charalampos, Panteleimon, Tryphon, Paraskevi, and George.[129]
  34. ^ The discovery of the icon just as the War of Independence against the Turks got under way was regarded as an omen and proof that God had willed the liberation of Greece.[134]
  35. ^ The 1933 decision of the Bishops of the Church of Greece was renewed with a new act, issued on 28 November 1972. Hence, the Hierarchy: "adheres strictly to the provisions in the act relating to Freemasonry. It is declared and proclaimed that Freemasonry is a proven mystery religion, a projection of the old pagan religions, most foreign and contrary to the revealed salvific truth of our Holy Church. It is declared categorically that the status of a person who is a Mason in whatever form, is incompatible with the status of a Christian member of the Body of Christ."[23]
  36. ^ "A close associate of Archbishop Ieronimos Kotsonis during the 1967–74 dictatorship, Christodoulos managed in 1973 by a royal edict to lodge the fraternity on prime land just outside Athens. Surprisingly, the edict implied that the established monastery was not under the authority of the local bishop, but of the Holy Synod itself. That was an unprecedented privilege since it made Chrysopigi a secular, so to speak, monastery, whose members could by-bass or even undermine ecclesiastical hierarchy. Until today, Panagia Chrysopigi functions as a nursery for higher clergy of right-wing and nationalistic persuasions, providing staff in the most important Greek dioceses. In principle, of course, the Archbishop denied any relationship between politics and the Church but...the statement was to be dismissed each time an imagined threat to the Church and the nation emerged. Examples abound: Turkey, Albania, FYROM, globalisation, the Papacy, amoralism, atheism, communism, nihilism and so forth. The Archbishop’s discourse on any of these subjects demonstrates that friends and foes do exist, as is only natural with a discourse that programmatically presents Greece and the Greek Orthodox Helleno-Christian tradition as being under siege by, inter alia, the forces of a godless modernity emanating from the west and the forces of barbarism in the East."[139]
  37. ^ "Published (in English) through the courtesy and by the permission of the Hellenic American Society, Indianapolis, Indiana."
  38. ^ "The Turkish army occupied almost 40 percent of the land area of the island, despite the fact that the Turkish population numbered less than 20 percent."[143]
  39. ^ The Turkish policy of forcing a third of the island's Greek population from their homes in the occupied North, preventing their return, and settling Turks from the mainland in their places is considered an example of ethnic cleansing.[145][146][147][148][149][150][151][152][153][154][155][156][157][158]


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