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Greek Orthodox Church
St Sophia's Church, Sydney, Australia
The Greek Orthodox Church (Ελληνορθόδοξη Εκκλησία, ) is the body of several churches within the larger communion of the Orthodox Church, sharing a common cultural tradition, and whose liturgy is traditionally conducted in Koine Greek, the original language of the New Testament.
The churches where the Greek Orthodox term is applicable are:
*The four ancient Patriarchates:
** The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, headed by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, who is also the "first among equals" of the Eastern Orthodox Communion
*** The 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 Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria
** The Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch
** The Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem
*Two national autocephalous churches:
** The Church of Greece
** The Church of Cyprus
* Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai
Another autocephalous church which may be described as Greek Orthodox is the Church of Albania. Led since the collapse of the former Stalinist régime by Archbishop Anastasios, a Greek national, the Church conducts its liturgy in Greek in areas populated by the ethnic Greek minority.
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America should not be confused with the Orthodox Church in America, whose autocephaly – granted by the Russian Orthodox Church – is not recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and many other churches of the Eastern Orthodox Communion.
History of the term
Historically, the term Greek Orthodox has also been used to describe all Eastern Orthodox Churches, since "Greek" in "Greek Orthodox" can refer to the Greek heritage of the Byzantine Empire. During 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, so that most parts of the liturgy, traditions, and practices of the church of Constantinople were adopted by all, and still provide the basic patterns of contemporary Orthodoxy. However, the appellation "Greek" was abandoned by Slavic and other national orthodox churches in connection with their peoples' national awakenings, from as early as the 10th century A.D.
Seal of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople