History of the Eastern Orthodox Church
The history of the Orthodox Church is traced back to Jesus Christ and the Apostles. The Apostles appointed successors, known as bishops, and they in turn appointed other bishops in a known as Apostolic succession. Over time, five Patriarchates were established to organize the Christian world, in the early Middle Ages, Orthodox missionaries spread Christianity towards the north, to the Bulgarians, Serbs and others. In the Late Middle Ages, the Fall of Constantinople brought a part of the worlds Orthodox Christians under Ottoman Turkish rule. Nevertheless, Orthodoxy continued to flourish in Russia, as well as within the Ottoman Empire among the latters Christian subject peoples, four stages of development can be distinguished in the history of the Orthodox Church. Early Christianity, which represents the first three centuries through the age of Constantine the Great, constitutes the Apostolic and ancient period. The Byzantine period, beginning with the time of the Ecumenical Councils, the last stage is the modern period.
The Orthodox jurisdictions with the largest number of adherents in modern times are the Russian, the Ethiopian, the most ancient of the Orthodox communities existing today are the churches of Jerusalem, Alexandria, Armenia and Ethiopia. Christianity first spread in the predominantly Greek-speaking eastern half of the Roman Empire, early growth occurred in the two political centers of Rome and Greece, as well as in Byzantium. Historically the word church did not mean a building or housing structure, the earliest Ecclesiology would posit that the Eucharistic assembly, under the authority and permission of a Bishop, is what constitutes a Church. As St. Ignatius of Antioch said, Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop, Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude be, even as, wherever Jesus Christ is and it is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast.
The church of Rome by tradition was founded by both Saint Peter and Saint Paul, systematic persecution of the early Christian church caused it to become an underground movement. The first above-ground legal churches were built in Armenia, Armenia became the first country to legalize Christianity under King Tiridates III and embrace it as the state religion in 310 AD. However, illegal churches before Christian legalization are mentioned throughout history, for example. Also noteworthy are the Church of St Peter in Antioch and the Cenacle in Jerusalem, much of the official organizing of the ecclesiastical structure, clarifying true from false teachings was done by the bishops of the church. Their works are referred to as Patristics and this tradition of clarification can be seen as established in the saints of the Orthodox Church referred to as the Apostolic Fathers, bishops themselves established by apostolic succession. This continued into the age when the practice of the religion of Christianity became legal, the Biblical canon began with the officially accepted books of the Koine Greek Old Testament
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church, alternatively legally known as the Moscow Patriarchate, is one of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox churches, in full communion with other Eastern Orthodox patriarchates. The Primate of the ROC is the Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus and it exercises ecclesiastical jurisdiction over the autonomous Church of Japan and the Orthodox Christians resident in the Peoples Republic of China. The ROC branches in Belarus, Latvia and Ukraine since the 1990s enjoy various degrees of self-government, in Ukraine, ROC has tensions with schismatic groups supported by the current government, while it enjoys the position of numerically dominant religious organisation. The ROC should not be confused with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, headquartered in New York, New York, the two Churches reconciled on May 17,2007, the ROCOR is now a self-governing part of the Russian Orthodox Church. According to one of the legends, Andrew reached the location of Kiev. The spot where he erected a cross is now marked by St.
Andrews Cathedral. By the end of the first millennium AD, eastern Slavic lands started to come under the influence of the Eastern Roman Empire. There is evidence that the first Christian bishop was sent to Novgorod from Constantinople either by Patriarch Photius or Patriarch Ignatios, by the mid-10th century, there was already a Christian community among Kievan nobility, under the leadership of Byzantine Greek priests, although paganism remained the dominant religion. Princess Olga of Kiev was the first ruler of Kievan Rus′ to convert to Christianity and her grandson, Vladimir of Kiev, made Rus officially a Christian state. The Kievan church was a metropolitanate of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Ecumenical patriarch appointed the metropolitan, who usually was a Greek. The Metropolitans residence was located in Kiev itself, the capital of the medieval Rus state. Following the tribulations of the Mongol invasion, the Russian Church was pivotal in the survival, despite the politically motivated murders of Mikhail of Chernigov and Mikhail of Tver, the Mongols were generally tolerant and even granted tax exemption to the Church.
Such holy figures as Sergius of Radonezh and Metropolitan Alexis helped the country to withstand years of Tatar oppression, the Trinity monastery founded by Sergius of Radonezh became the setting for the flourishing of spiritual art, exemplified by the work of Andrey Rublev, among others. The followers of Sergius founded four hundred monasteries, thus extending the geographical extent of the Grand Duchy of Moscow. However, the Moscow Prince Vasili II rejected the act of the Council of Florence brought to Moscow by Isidore in March 1441, Isidore was in the same year removed from his position as an apostate and expelled from Moscow. The Russian metropolitanate remained effectively vacant for the few years due largely to the dominance of Uniates in Constantinople then. In December 1448, Jonas, a Russian bishop, was installed by the Council of Russian bishops in Moscow as Metropolitan of Kiev and All Russia without the consent from Constantinople. Subsequently, there developed a theory in Moscow that saw Moscow as the Third Rome, the successor to Constantinople
Theotokos is a title of Mary, mother of Jesus, used especially in Eastern Christianity. The usual Latin translations, Dei Genetrix or Deipara, are translated as Mother of God or God-bearer, the Council of Ephesus decreed in 431 that Mary is the Theotokos because her son Jesus is both God and man, one divine person with two natures intimately and hypostatically united. Similar to this is the title of Mother of God, Mother of God is most often used in English, largely due to the lack of a satisfactory equivalent of Greek τόκος / Latin genetrix. The title has been in use since the 3rd century, in the Syriac tradition in the Liturgy of Mari and Addai, Theotokos is an adjectival compound of two the Greek words Θεός God and τόκος childbirth, offspring. A close paraphrase would be whose offspring is God or who gave birth to one who was God, the usual English translation is simply Mother of God, Latin uses Deipara or Dei Genetrix. The Church Slavonic translation is Bogoroditsa, in an abbreviated form, ΜΡ ΘΥ, it often is found on Eastern icons, where it is used to identify Mary.
The Russian term is Матерь Божия, variant forms are the compounds Θεομήτωρ and Μητρόθεος, which are found in patristic and liturgical texts. The theological dispute over the term concerned the term Θεός God vs. Χριστός Christ, and not τόκος vs. μήτηρ, to make it explicit, it is sometimes translated Mother of God Incarnate. This decree created the Nestorian Schism, Cyril of Alexandria wrote, I am amazed that there are some who are entirely in doubt as to whether the holy Virgin should be called Theotokos or not. For if our Lord Jesus Christ is God, how is the holy Virgin who gave birth, not. But the argument of Nestorius was that divine and human natures of Christ were distinct, at issue is the interpretation of the Incarnation, and the nature of the hypostatic union of Christs human and divine natures between Christs conception and birth. Within the Orthodox doctrinal teaching on the economy of salvation, Marys identity, for this reason, it is formally defined as official dogma. The only other Mariological teaching so defined is that of her virginity, both of these teachings have a bearing on the identity of Jesus Christ.
The term was certainly in use by the 3rd century, athanasius of Alexandria in 330, Gregory the Theologian in 370, John Chrysostom in 400, and Augustine all used theotokos. Origen is often cited as the earliest author to use theotokos for Mary, although this testimony is uncertain, the term was used c.250 by Dionysius of Alexandria, in an epistle to Paul of Samosata. The Greek version of the hymn Sub tuum praesidium contains the term, in the vocative, the oldest record of this hymn is a papyrus found in Egypt, mostly dated to after 450. But according to a suggestion by de Villiers possibly older, dating to the mid-3rd century, the use of Theotokos was formally affirmed at the Third Ecumenical Council held at Ephesus in 431. Nestorius opponents, led by Cyril of Alexandria, viewed this as dividing Jesus into two persons, the human who was Son of Mary, and the divine who was not
An episcopal polity is a hierarchical form of church governance in which the chief local authorities are called bishops. Churches with an episcopal polity are governed by bishops, practicing their authorities in the dioceses and conferences or synods, bishops are considered to derive their authority from an unbroken, personal apostolic succession from the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. Bishops with such authority are said to represent the historical episcopate or historic episcopate, Churches with this type of government usually believe that the Church requires episcopal government as described in the New Testament. In some systems, bishops may be subject to higher-ranking bishops and they meet in councils or synods. These gatherings, subject to presidency by higher ranking bishops, usually make important decisions, for much of the written history of institutional Christianity, episcopal government was the only known form of church organization. The definition of the word episcopal has variation among Christian traditions, there are subtle differences in governmental principles among episcopal churches at the present time.
To some extent the separation of episcopal churches can be traced to these differences in ecclesiology, for some, episcopal churches are churches that use a hierarchy of bishops that regard themselves as being in an unbroken, personal apostolic succession. Episcopal is used to distinguish between the various organizational structures of denominations. For instance, the word presbyterian is used to describe a church governed by a hierarchy of assemblies of elected elders, episcopal is used to describe a church governed by bishops. Self-governed local congregations, governed neither by elders nor bishops, are referred to as Congregational. More specifically, the title Episcopal is applied to several churches historically based within Anglicanism including those still in communion with the Church of England, many Methodist churches retain the form and function of episcopal polity, although in a modified form, called connexionalism. All orthodox Christians were in churches with a government, that is, one Church under local bishops.
Writing between ca.85 and 110, St. Ignatius of Antioch, Patriarch of Antioch, was the earliest of the Church fathers to define the importance of episcopal government. Assuming Ignatius view was the Apostolic teaching and practice, the line of succession was unbroken and passed through the four ancient Patriarchal sees, Jerusalem, some organizations, though aloof from the political wranglings of imperial Christianity, nevertheless practiced episcopal polity. The single Roman Empire was divided between two autonomous administrative centers and Constantinopolitan, West and East, Latin speaking and Greek speaking. This remained the status quo through the fourth century, a deep chasm developed between the East and West, becoming critical around 350, known as the Aryan, or Nicene controversy. The Eastern Christian Churches were thought by Constantine to believe against the Trinity, Bishop of Poitiers, believed that the Eastern Church should be given the opportunity to, at least, be educated on the subject.
Constantine, in his wisdom, and upset by disagreement, banished Hilary to the East and this truth became known in the West, though some differences lingered
Abkhazian Orthodox Church
The Abkhazian Orthodox Church is an Eastern Orthodox church outside the official Eastern Orthodox ecclesiastical hierarchy. The Abkhazian Orthodox church is organised into two eparchies, one in Pitsunda and one in Sukhumi, the Pitsunda Cathedral is the churchs chief cathedral. The church is led by priest Vissarion Aplaa. It has nine parishes and one monastery, at Kaman, the Abkhazian Orthodox Church considers itself to be the continuation of the Catholicate of Abkhazia. The Catholicate of Abkhazia was disbanded in 1814, when all local dioceses were taken over by the Russian Orthodox Church and they became part of the Georgian Orthodox Church following the fall of Tsar Nicholas II in 1917. The Abkhazian orthodox dioceses fall under the recognized territory of the Georgian Orthodox Church as Sukhumi-Abkhazian eparchy. After the 1992-1993 war in Abkhazia, ethnically Georgian priests had to flee Abkhazia, the last Georgian monks and nuns, based in the upper Kodori Valley, were expelled early in 2009 after they resisted pressure from the Abkhaz authorities to sever allegiance to the Georgian church.
The ethnically Abkhaz Vissarion Aplaa was the only remaining priest after the early 1990s war, in the following years, recently consecrated clerics from the neighbouring Russian Maykop Eparchy arrived in Abkhazia. The new priests came into conflict with Vissarion, but through the mediation of Russian church officials, under the agreement, the Eparchy would thenceforth have co-chairs and be named the Abkhazian Eparchy with undefined canonical status, to stress its separation from the Georgian Orthodox Church. The agreement did not hold however, when Priest Vissarion refused to share the leadership and its leader Aplia asked the Russian and Georgian churches to recognize the Abkhazian Orthodox Church. On 9 February 2011, the Abkhazian government transferred 38 churches and monasteries perpetually into the care of the Abkhazian Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox theology
Eastern Orthodox Christian theology is the theology particular to the Eastern Orthodox Church. Orthodox Christians believe in a single God who is three and one, the Father and Holy Spirit, one in essence. The Holy Trinity is three unconfused and distinct divine persons, who share one divine essence, uncreated and eternal, the Father is the eternal source of the Godhead, from whom the Son is begotten eternally and from whom the Holy Spirit proceeds eternally. The essence of God being that which is beyond human comprehension, Orthodox Christians believe the incarnate Word of God is one person in two natures, both fully divine and fully human, perfectly God and perfectly man. Throughout the ages this has been a point of contention between schismatic Christian theological factions and the body of Christian believers. Christ had a divine will, or set of desires and spiritual incentives, and he had a human body, human mind, and human spirit able to be tempted with sin and to suffer the same way as we would.
In this way God is said to have suffered and died in the flesh of Jesus, although the nature is itself impassible. He is said to have been begotten timelessly as God without a mother, Orthodox Christians believe in the betrayal, execution and resurrection of Jesus Christ, that he truly rose from the dead on the third day following his crucifixion. The feast of the resurrection of Christ, which is called Easter in Germanic languages, is known as Pascha in the Orthodox Church and this is the Aramaic variant of the Hebrew Pesach, meaning Passover. The resurrection of Christ is the Christian Passover, Pascha is called the Feast of Feasts and is considered the greatest feast of all the Churchs liturgical feasts, including the feasts of the Nativity and the Annunciation. Energies and essence are both inseparably God, the divine energies are the expressions of divine being in action according to Orthodox doctrine, whereas the persons of the Trinity are divine by nature. Hence, created beings are united to God through participation in the divine energies, Orthodox Christians hold that man was originally created in communion with God, but through acting in a manner contrary to his own nature, he disrupted that communion.
Because of mans refusal to fulfill the image and likeness of God within him, but when Jesus came into the world He Himself was Perfect Man and Perfect God united in the divine Hypostasis of the Logos, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. Through his assumption of human nature, human existence was restored, enabling human beings, the Word of God came in His own Person, because it was He alone, the Image of the Father, Who could recreate man made after the Image. In order to effect this re-creation, however, He had first to do away with death, therefore He assumed a human body, in order that in it death might once and for all be destroyed, and that men might be renewed according to the Image. St. Athanasius, On the Incarnation Salvation, or being saved, refers to process of being saved from death and corruption. The Orthodox Church believes that its teachings and practices represent the path to participation in the gifts of God. Yet, it should be understood that the Orthodox do not believe that you must be Orthodox to participate in salvation, the Orthodox believe that there is nothing that a person can do to earn salvation
Czech and Slovak Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia is a self-governing body of the Eastern Orthodox Church that territorially covers the countries of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Archbishop Rastislav of Prešov was elected by the Extraordinary Synod held on January 11,2014, the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia presents both an ancient history as well as a very modern history. The present day church occupies the land of Great Moravia, where the brothers Ss, in doing this they developed the first Slavic alphabet, a mixture of Greek and Hebrew-based characters with a few invented characters of their own to represent unique Slavic sounds. This was done at the express inviation of the powerful ruler Rastislav of Moravia, when an appeal of the ecclesiastical issue was made to Rome, Nicholas summoned both Cyril and Methodius and the complaining Frankish parties to his court to hear them out. For the next ten years, Methodius continued his work, but the death of John VIII in 882 removed his papal protection, after this, Pope Stephen V of Rome confirmed his Swabian co-adjutor Wiching as bishop.
Methodiuss disciples were imprisoned, expelled to Bulgaria or enslaved and Naum of Ohrid, formed the nucleus of the Slavic participation in the conversion of Bulgaria to Orthodoxy, after they were released from prison and escorted to the Danube. After the legal restraints to Orthodoxy were removed with the end of World War I, many looked to the Serbian Orthodox Church as parts of the Serbian church had been within the pre-war union. Among those seeking the Orthodox church was a Catholic priest, Matěj Pavlík, the Church of Serbia thus consented to consecrate Matěj Pavlík as a bishop of the Orthodox Church with the name Gorazd. On September 25,1921, Archimandrite Gorazd was consecrated Bishop of Moravia and Silesia at the Cathedral of the Holy Archangel Michael in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, by Serbian Patriarch Dimitrije. Gorazd is considered to be in the succession from Archbishop Methodius of Moravia and bears the name of one of St. Methodiuss disciples and successor, as the Orthodox leader in the new nation of Czechoslovakia, Bp.
Gorazd laid the foundations of the Orthodox Church throughout Bohemia, Moravia, in Bohemia, he oversaw the building of eleven churches and two chapels. He published the books for the conduct of church services that were translated in the Czech language. He provided aid to those in Slovakia and Subcarpathian Rus which were part of Czechoslovakia, thus, in the interbellum period, Bp. Gorazd built the small Czech church that during World War II would show how firmly it was connected to the Czech nation, in 1938 the Third Reich succeeded in annexing the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia during the Munich Conference. The following year it annexed the remainder of the Czech lands into the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, by 1942 Reinhard Heydrich, architect of the Final Solution, had become governor of the Protectorate. After the May 27,1942, assassination attack on Heydrichs car in Prague, Czech partisans took refuge in the crypt of the Ss. Cyril and they were aided by senior church laymen, who kept Bp.
However, their presence was discovered by the Nazis, and on June 18 the Nazis attacked their hiding place in the cathedral, the Orthodox priests, and Bp. Gorazd were arrested and killed by firing squads on September 4,1942, in reprisal the Nazis forbade the church to operate in Bohemia and Moravia
Crucifixion of Jesus
The crucifixion of Jesus occurred in 1st century Judea, most probably between the years 30 and 33 AD. According to the gospels, the Christ, was arrested and sentenced by Pontius Pilate to be scourged. Jesus was stripped of his clothing and offered wine mixed with gall to drink and he was hung between two convicted thieves and according to Marks Gospel, died some six hours later. During this time, the soldiers affixed a sign to the top of the cross stating Jesus of Nazareth and they divided his garments among them, but cast lots for his seamless robe. After Jesus death they pierced his side with a spear to be certain that he had died, the Bible describes seven statements that Jesus made while he was on the cross, as well as several supernatural events that occurred. Collectively referred to as the Passion, Jesus suffering and redemptive death by crucifixion are the aspects of Christian theology concerning the doctrines of salvation. The baptism of Jesus and his crucifixion are considered to be two historically certain facts about Jesus, bart Ehrman states that the crucifixion of Jesus on the orders of Pontius Pilate is the most certain element about him.
John Dominic Crossan states that the crucifixion of Jesus is as certain as any historical fact can be, eddy and Boyd state that it is now firmly established that there is non-Christian confirmation of the crucifixion of Jesus. Craig Blomberg states that most scholars in the third quest for the historical Jesus consider the crucifixion indisputable. Christopher M. Tuckett states that, although the reasons for the death of Jesus are hard to determine, one of the indisputable facts about him is that he was crucified. While scholars agree on the historicity of the crucifixion, they differ on the reason, geza Vermes views the crucifixion as a historical event but provides his own explanation and background for it. John P. Meier views the crucifixion of Jesus as historical fact and states that, based on the criterion of embarrassment, Christians would not have invented the painful death of their leader. Meier states that a number of criteria, e. g. the criterion of multiple attestation. The crucified man was identified as Yehohanan ben Hagkol and probably died about 70 AD, the analyses at the Hadassah Medical School estimated that he died in his late 20s.
The earliest detailed accounts of the death of Jesus are contained in the four canonical gospels, there are other, more implicit references in the New Testament epistles. In the synoptic gospels, Jesus predicts his death in three separate episodes, all four Gospels conclude with an extended narrative of Jesus arrest, crucifixion and accounts of resurrection. In each Gospel these five events in the life of Jesus are treated with more detail than any other portion of that Gospels narrative. Scholars note that the reader receives an almost hour-by-hour account of what is happening, after being flogged, Jesus was mocked by Roman soldiers as the King of the Jews, clothed in a purple robe, crowned with thorns and spat on
Polish Orthodox Church
The Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church, commonly known as the Polish Orthodox Church, or Church of Poland is one of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Churches in full communion. In total, it has approximately 600,000 adherents, the establishment of the church was undertaken after the Treaty of Riga left a large amount of territory previously under the control of the Russian Empire, as part of the Second Polish Republic. Eastern Orthodoxy was widespread in the Belarusian Western Belarus regions and the Ukrainian Volhynia, during the interwar period, the Polish authorities imposed severe restrictions on the church and its clergy. The most famous example, the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Warsaw was destroyed, in Volyhnia a total of 190 Orthodox Churches were destroyed and a further 150 converted to Roman Catholicism. Several court hearings against the Pochayiv Lavra took place, the remaining parishes that were now on the territory of the Polish Peoples Republic were kept by the PAOC, including most of the mixed easternmost territories such as around Chełm and Białystok.
In 1948, under pressure from the Russian Orthodox Church, the Ecumenical Patriarchate granted the PAOC autocephalous status, the European bishops, have left the jurisdiction on 2000, which eventually resulted on senior Bishop Chrysostom being raised to archepiscopal dignity. There are now parishes in the states of Rio de Janeiro and Paraíba, in 2003, following the decision of the Holy Sobor of Bishops of the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church, the New Martyrs of Chelm and Podlasie suffering persecution during the 1940s were canonized. The church is headed by the Archbishop of Warsaw and Metropolitan of All Poland, Sawa Hrycuniak
Christianity is a Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, who serves as the focal point for the religion. It is the worlds largest religion, with over 2.4 billion followers, or 33% of the global population, Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God and the savior of humanity whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Old Testament. Christian theology is summarized in creeds such as the Apostles Creed and his incarnation, earthly ministry and resurrection are often referred to as the gospel, meaning good news. The term gospel refers to accounts of Jesuss life and teaching, four of which—Matthew, Luke. Christianity is an Abrahamic religion that began as a Second Temple Judaic sect in the mid-1st century, following the Age of Discovery, Christianity spread to the Americas, sub-Saharan Africa, and the rest of the world through missionary work and colonization. Christianity has played a prominent role in the shaping of Western civilization, throughout its history, Christianity has weathered schisms and theological disputes that have resulted in many distinct churches and denominations.
Worldwide, the three largest branches of Christianity are the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the denominations of Protestantism. There are many important differences of interpretation and opinion of the Bible, concise doctrinal statements or confessions of religious beliefs are known as creeds. They began as baptismal formulae and were expanded during the Christological controversies of the 4th and 5th centuries to become statements of faith. Many evangelical Protestants reject creeds as definitive statements of faith, even agreeing with some or all of the substance of the creeds. The Baptists have been non-creedal in that they have not sought to establish binding authoritative confessions of faith on one another. Also rejecting creeds are groups with roots in the Restoration Movement, such as the Christian Church, the Evangelical Christian Church in Canada, the Apostles Creed is the most widely accepted statement of the articles of Christian faith. It is used by Presbyterians and Congregationalists and this particular creed was developed between the 2nd and 9th centuries.
Its central doctrines are those of the Trinity and God the Creator, each of the doctrines found in this creed can be traced to statements current in the apostolic period. The creed was used as a summary of Christian doctrine for baptismal candidates in the churches of Rome. Most Christians accept the use of creeds, and subscribe to at least one of the mentioned above. The central tenet of Christianity is the belief in Jesus as the Son of God, Christians believe that Jesus, as the Messiah, was anointed by God as savior of humanity, and hold that Jesus coming was the fulfillment of messianic prophecies of the Old Testament. The Christian concept of the Messiah differs significantly from the contemporary Jewish concept, having become fully human, suffered the pains and temptations of a mortal man, but did not sin
Church of Greece
The Church of Greece, part of the wider Greek Orthodox Church, is one of the autocephalous churches which make up the communion of Eastern Orthodox Christianity. However, most of its dioceses are de facto administered as part of the Church of Greece for practical reasons, the primate of the Church of Greece is the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece. Mainstream Orthodox clergys salaries and pensions are paid for by the State at rates comparable to those of teachers, the Church had previously compensated the State by a tax of 35% on ordinary revenues of the Church, but Law 3220/2004 in 2004 abolished this tax. By virtue of its status as the religion, the canon law of the Church is recognized by the Greek government in matters pertaining to church administration. This is governed by the Constitution of the Church of Greece, Religious marriages and baptisms are legally equivalent to their civil counterparts and the relevant certificates are issued by officiating clergy. All Greek Orthodox students in primary and secondary schools in Greece attend religious instruction, liaisons between church and state are handled by the Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs.
Supreme authority is vested in the synod of all the bishops who have metropolitan status under the de jure presidency of the Archbishop of Athens. This synod deals with general church questions, the Standing Synod is under the same presidency, and consists of the Primate and 12 bishops, each serving for one term on a rotating basis and deals with details of administration. They are called the New Lands as they part of the modern Greek state only after the Balkan Wars. A bishop elected to one of the Sees of the New Lands has to be confirmed by the Patriarch of Constantinople before assuming his duties and these dioceses are administered by the Church of Greece in stewardship and their bishops retain their right of appeal to the Patriarch. As in other Eastern Orthodox Churches, male graduates of seminaries run by the church, may be ordained as deacons and they are allowed to marry before their ordination as deacons, but not afterwards. The vast majority of clergy in Greece are married. Alternatively, they may enter monasteries and/or take monastic vows, monastics who are ordained as priests, and possess a university degree in theology, are eligible as candidates for the episcopate.
Women may take vows and become nuns, but they are not ordained. Monasteries are either affiliated to their diocese, or directly to one of the Orthodox Patriarchates. Those who refused to adopt this change are known as Old Calendarists and they themselves have suffered several schisms, and not all Old Calendarists comprise one Church. They refer to themselves as Genuine Orthodox Christians, and the largest group associating itself with the Old Calendarists is the Synod of Archbishop Chrysostomos II Kioussis. This Synod has obtained government recognition as a valid Orthodox Church, Greece was an early center of Christianity