Greek Church , (also called the Greek Catholic, the Orthodox Greek, the Orthodox, or the Eastern church), that part of the Christian church which adheres only to the doctrinal decrees of the first seven oecumenical councils (of Nice, 325; Constantinople, 881; Ephesus, 431; Chalcedon, 451; Constantinople, 553 and 080; and Nice, 787), of the so-called Quinisex-tum of Constantinople, held in 692, and of the council held at Constantinople under Photius in 870 and 880, while it rejects the authority of all the succeeding councils recognized by the Roman Catholic church as oecumenical. A dog-matical difference between the Greek church and the church of Rome arose as early as 482, when the emperor Zeno endeavored to reconcile the Monophysites with the Catholic church by publishing a creed called the Henoticon, in which the disputed articles were entirely avoided. Felix II., the bishop of Rome, excommunicated the patriarchs of Constantinople and Alexandria for having been instrumental in issuing the Henoticon, and thus actually severed the communion between the churches of the East and of the West. The altered disposition of the court of Constantinople enabled Pope Hormisdas in 519 to restore the union, which however never became very firm again, and was repeatedly interrupted by decisions of the emperors in matters of faith, against which the bishops of Rome protested.
The adoption in the western church of an article which declared that the Holy Spirit proceeded from the Son as well as the Father (Filioque), and its incorporation in the confession of faith at the synod of Toledo (589), constituted another point of dogmatic difference, although it did not awaken opposition in the Greek church until some time in the 8th century. Still more than these dogmatic differences, political and hierarchical reasons prepared a dissolution of the union. The patriarchs of Constantinople, to whom the councils of Constantinople (881) and Chalcedon (451) had assigned the second place among the patriarchs of the Catholic church, strove to obtain the first. The emperors claimed in the settlement of the numerous dogmatical controversies of the East a power which the bishops of Rome denied to them. The more Rome and Italy became politically estranged from the East, the more intolerable became the exercise of the supreme authority on the part of the bishop of Rome. A temporary dissolution of the union again took place in 782, when the pope condemned iconoclasm, which was approved of by several emperors, and by a synod of Constantinople in 754. More serious than ever before became the conflict between the two churches when the patriarch Photius, whose accession in 858 was due to the influence of the court, was rejected by Pope Nicholas I. as an intruder.
A circular was then sent forth by Photius, censuring the observance of Saturday as a last, the use of eggs and cheese during the first week in Lent, the administration of confirmation exclusively by bishops, the prohibition of the marriage of priests, and the use of the words Filioque in the Nicene creed. At a synod convened by Photius at Constantinople in 867 the pope was excommunicated and deposed. Besides these errors, the Roman church was charged with having drawn the Bulgarians into ecclesiastical connection with Rome, though they had been converted by Greeks. Since Photius the relations of the eastern church to that of Rome have never been reestablished in a definite form, though the great schism was not fully declared before July 16, 1054, when Roman legates deposited on the great altar of the church of St. Sophia at Constantinople the sentence of excommunication which had been issued against the patriarch Ca3rularius, who in 1053 had added to the former charges of heresy brought against the Roman church that of using unleavened bread in the eucharist.
At the council of Lyons (1274) Michael Palaeologus allowed his representatives to subscribe to the Roman confession of faith, as he hoped thus to obtain aid against the Turks from the West; but when Pope Martin IV. excommunicated the emperor (1281), Greek synods held at Constantinople in 1283 and 1285 reaffirmed the independence of the Greek church. For the last time a union between the two churches was consummated at the synod of Florence (1439), by the Greek emperor and the patriarch himself. But the people and the great body of the inferior clergy were entirely strangers to any such union, and the conquest of Constantinople (1453) made the hostility of the Greek church to Rome still greater. The Roman Catholic church never ceased in its endeavors either to bring about a corporate union, or to gain over individual Greek congregations. Numerous Latin convents were established in the East, and in Calabria the Orosinian seminary was founded by Clement XII. for this special purpose. They succeeded in organizing a Greek United church, which acknowledged the supreme authority of the pope, while on the other hand it was permitted to abide by all the peculiar usages of the Greek church which did not affect fundamental doctrines, as marriage of the priests, reception of the Lord's supper in both kinds, use of the Greek language in the divine service, etc.
In Russia, however, almost all the dioceses of the United Greek church were induced, under the reigns of Catharine II. and of Nicholas, again to dissolve their connection with Rome, and to pass over to the Russian church. It was believed that a portion of the clergy and of the people were opposed to this change of ecclesiastical relations, and several congregations in 1858 petitioned Alexander II. for permission to return to the United Greek church; but this was not granted, and that church in 1873 had become almost extinct in the Russian dominions. In general, the clergy and people of the Greek church have at all periods showed themselves decidedly hostile to a union with Rome, and numerous controversies, such as that under the patriarch Dositheus in Jerusalem on the holy sepulchre (1674), as well as the yearly repeated excommunication of the pope and of his adherents, kept up this spirit of hostility. When, therefore, Pius IX. in 1848 again invited by an encyclical letter the entire eastern church to a corporate union with Rome, his proposition was rejected; and the invitations which in 1869 were addressed by the pope to the Greek bishops to attend the Vatican council were unanimously declined.
There seems to be in the Greek church not even any organized party, as in most of the other eastern and some of the Protestant churches, which hopes and labors for a future union with the Roman Catholic church. The return to the Roman communion of numbers of the high Russian nobility, and the establishment of such societies as those of St. Diony-sius in Turkey and St. Peter in Germany for effecting a reunion of the churches, have led to no appreciable result. The Protestants early sought to establish friendly relations with the Greek church. Melanchthon in 1559 sent a Greek translation of the "Confession of Augsburg " to the patriarch of Constantinople, and in 1574 an epistolary correspondence on this confession took place between the theologians of Tubingen and the patriarch Jeremiah II., yet without success. Cyril Lucaris, who leaned toward Calvinism, was strangled in 1638. In modern times the Greek church has shown itself, in general, very hostile to the Protestant missionary schools, and to the Bible societies, though its literature shows a strong influence of Protestantism; a periodical, sympathizing with the principles of Protestant Christianity, was established at Athens in 1858, and found a large patronage.
The high-church party in the church of England, which recognizes the Greek church as an orthodox branch of the church of Christ, sought to obtain from the Greek bishops the same recognition for itself, and the establishment of a closer intercourse, and a special society was established for promoting intercommunion between the two churches. The idea has found many zealous friends among the eastern bishops, and a friendly correspondence has sprung up between the dignitaries of the two churches, in which even the archbishop of Canterbury and the patriarch of Constantinople have taken part. The Greek church has manifested a profound interest in the progress of the Old Catholic movement. Prominent clergymen of that church attended and addressed the congresses held by the Old Catholics of Germany, and the hope was generally expressed that the movement might lead to the reunion of the eastern and western churches. - The internal history of the Greek church since its separation from the Roman Catholic is almost entirely destitute of great events. In 1588 Russia received an independent patriarchate, whereby the spiritual supremacy which the patriarch of Constanti-nople had virtually exercised over the church was abolished.
In 1833 a synod of 36 Greek metropolitans, held at Nauplia, declared the orthodox eastern church of Greece independent of every foreign authority ; and in 1850 this independence was recognized by Constantinople. A great commotion within the Greek church of Turkey was subsequently caused by the Bulgarian nationalists, who objected to the appointment of non-Bulgarian bishops over Bulgarian dioceses. The Turkish government at length yielded to their demands, and organized a number of Bulgarian dioceses into an exarchate. A synod held in Constantinople in 1872, and attended by the patriarchs of Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Alexandria, excommunicated the entire Bulgarian church organization, which, however, had the sympathy of the Russians. Dogmatic controversies rarely occurred, and a formation of new sects took place only in Russia, called forth not so much by doctrinal differences as by opposition to liturgical and hierarchical changes in the state church. With regard to other Christian denominations, as well as to Mohammedanism, paganism, and Judaism, the Greek church has kept itself almost exclusively on the defensive. In Russia, however, the government has succeeded in converting a large number of its non-Christian population, especially in Siberia, to the Greek church.
The theological literature of the Greek church is not extensive ; none of its works have ever been of marked influence on Roman Catholic or Protestant theology. During the present century, however, the number of ecclesiastical seminaries has considerably increased, and the periodical literature is also multiplying. - The Greek church recognizes the Bible and tradition as rules of faith ;' the latter, however, only so far as it is in accordance with the first seven oecumenical councils and the synods held at Constantinople in 692 (known among Latin canonists as the "council in Trullo" or Quinisextum), and in 879-880, presided over by Photius. A system of the doctrines of the Greek church, more complete, and, on account of its application of Aristotelian formulas, more scientific than any similar work in the Latin church up to that time, was compiled by the monk John Damascene (died about 700). The most important confessions of faith are :
or Confessio Orthodoxa, by Petrus Mogilas, metropolitan of Kiev (also called the Russian catechism), published in 1640); and or S'ynodus Hierosolymitana, under Dositheus, in 1672. The former, which in 1643 was signed by all the Greek patriarchs, and solemnly recognized at the synod of Jerusalem in 1672 as the confession of faith of the oriental church (published in Greek and Latin, Amsterdam, 1602; Leip-sic, 1695; in German by L. Frisch, Frankfort, 1727), has everywhere, especially in Russia, symbolic authority. The latter was signed by 67 bishops and clergymen. None of the other books sometimes regarded as symbolical (e. g., the two confessions of the patriarch Gennadios in Constantinople, and the confession of the patriarch Jeremiah of 1580) has obtained so general a symbolic authority, and the confession of Metrophanes Kritopulos of 1661 is only a private letter. (See Kimmel, Libri Symbolici Ecclesioe Orientalis, Jena, 1843, and appendix to this work by Weissenborn, 1850.) Plato, a Russian archbishop and president of the academy of St. Petersburg, was the author of a catechism which in many points differs from that of Petrus Mogilas, and is less hostile to Protestantism. The Greek church holds in common with the Roman Catholic the doctrines of seven sacraments, of the sacrifice of the mass, of the veneration of the Virgin Mary, the saints, images, and relics, of the meritorious-ness of fasting and other works, the hierarchical degrees of ecclesiastical orders, and monas-ticism. Its peculiar tenets are mainly the following : It disowns the authority of the pope, and, in controversies of faith, acknowledges the infallibility of oecumenical councils.
At Constantinople baptism by immersion only is admitted as valid; but the Russian church considers baptism by immersion as a matter of rite, not of dogma. It administers the Lord's supper in both kinds, and gives confirmation and communion to children immediately after baptism. It denies the existence of a purgatory, yet prays for the dead, that God would have mercy on them at the general judgment. It maintains that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father, as principal, through the Son as medium. It admits of no images in relief or embossed work, but uses paintings and engravings in copper or silver. It approves of the marriage of priests, provided they enter into that state before their admission into holy orders; it condemns second marriages of priests, and fourth marriages of laymen. It keeps four fasts in the year more solemnly than the rest. - The churches are mostly built in the form of a cross. The altar stands toward the east under a vault which is higher than the nave, and separated from it by a partition board containing three doors, the middle of which is called the sacred door, and when opened permits the altar to be seen. At the beginning of the canon of the mass the doors are closed, and are not opened again until after the communion of the priest and deacon.
Benches are not used, as the people stand during divine service, using a kind of crutch as a support. The principal act of worship is the mass, which all are bound to hear every Sunday. Only one mass a day is said in each congregation, and that before the rising of the sun. The liturgy used at the mass is known as that of the apostle James and Basil the Great, This work was again abridged by Chrysostom, and in this shorter form, which, however, has likewise undergone some changes in the course of time, it is used on common days, while the longer liturgy of Basil is still used at some of the higher festivals. The sermon, which is considered unessential, was formerly very rare, and consisted generally of a homily read from old collections.
The priests of Russia began in 1682 to preach their sermons instead of reading them from books, and gradually it became the general practice to preach at least twice a year. In 1858 many of the churches of St. Petersburg introduced the custom of having a sermon every Sunday. All the sermons, however, had to be submitted to the previous examination of the bishops, which censorship was abolished in the diocese of St. Petersburg at the beginning of 1859. Festivals peculiar to the oriental church are the consecration of water on Jan. 6, in commemoration of Christ's baptism, and the Orthodox Sunday, on which a curse is pronounced against all heretics. It is forbidden to use instrumental music in the churches, but the mass is generally accompanied by choirs of singers. Catechising is something rare, and the arrangements for religious instruction are very imperfect. The language used at divine service is among the Greeks of Turkey and Greece the old Greek, among the Russians and other Slavic nations the old Slavonic, and among the Georgians the old Georgian. - The clergy are divided into two classes, the higher and the lower clergy. The former class comprises the patriarchs, metropolitans, archbishops, and bishops; all of whom are chosen from among the monks, and must live in celibacy.
The lower clergy are subdivided into the black clergy (so called after their dress) or monks, and the white or secular clergy, who wear blue, violet, or brown dresses. A convent is governed by an abbot or archimandrite and among the other monks here are priors priests and deacons who can perform the same functions as the priests and deacons of the secular clergy. All the others are merely called monks The lower secular clergy are protopopes arch priests), popes (priests), deacons, subdea-cons, and lectors. The monks of the Greek church, as well as the nuns, who are less numerous, generally follow the rule of St. Basil, with the exception of those of Mt. Sinai and Mt. Lebanon, who follow the rule of St. Anthony. At the head of the female convent stands an oikono-mos, who must be at least 80 years of age. He chooses a priest as confessor of the nuns, who also elect, under his presidency, an abbess
The most celebrated convents are those of Mt. Athos, the convent of the holy sepulchre in Jerusalem, and that of Mt. Sinai in Arabia.- With regard to church constitution, the Greek church is made up of ten independent groups. I. The church of Constantinople is governed by a patriarch, who bears the title of "Most Holy Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome, (Ecumenical Patriarch." He has under him 129 bishops, of whom there are seven in Rou-mania, four in Servia, and one at Venice. The churches of Roumania and Servia incline to make themselves independent of Constantinople ; and the Bulgarians, after many years of agitation, have at last succeeded in obtaining from the Turkish government the establishment of a Bulgarian exarchate, which at first contained 12 dioceses, and which, on certain conditions legally provided, may be joined by any other dioceses in which the Bulgarians are predominant. The dioceses of the Ionian islands were, in consequence of the incorporation of the islands with Greece, transferred from the church of Constantinople to that of Greece. Throughout the immediate possessions of the Sublime Porte (i. e., all European and Asiatic Turkey except Roumania and Servia) the patriarch of Constantinople has not only spiritual, but also a kind of temporal jurisdiction, as he is considered by the Turkish law the head of all the Greek Christians, who have to pay to him a yearly tax.
He presides in the synod, the highest ecclesiastical board, which governs the Greek church of Turkey, and consists of all the patriarchs and a certain number of archbishops (properly 12), who have to take up their permanent residence at Constantinople. In certain cases, as the election of a patriarch, the holy synod has to act in union with the national assembly, a number of representatives of the most distinguished Greek families of Constantinople. The hatti-humayum of Feb. 21, 1856, provided for important changes in the relation of the patriarchs and the holy synod to the Greek church. They were to receive a fixed salary, to lose their temporal and judicial power, and the patriarchs and bishops were to be appointed for life. A supreme church council, to consist of priests and laymen, was to be elected by the entire church. II. The church of Alexandria counts five bishops, under the "Blessed and Holy Patriarch of the great city of Alexandria, of all Egypt and Pentapolis, of Libya and Ethiopia, Pope and Judge (Ecumenical." The patriarch habitually resides at Cairo. III. The church of Antioch numbers 17 bishops.
Its chief bears the title of " Blessed and Holy Patriarch of the City of God, Antioch, Syria, Arabia, Cilicia, Iberia, Mesopotamia, and all the East, Father of Fathers and Pastor of Pastors." IV. The church of Jerusalem has 14 bishops. The patriarch is called the "Blessed and Holy Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem, of Palestine, Syria, Arabia beyond Jordan, Cana Galilee, and Holy Sion." V. The Russian church has 60 bishops, governed by the "Most Holy synod directing all the Rus-sias," which was first established by Peter the Great, and consists of three metropolitans, one archbishop, two other clerical and two lay members. VI. The church of the island of Cyprus counts four bishops, under the "Blessed and Holy Bishop of New Justiniana and of all the Isle of Cyprus." His see is at Nicosia. VII. The Greek church of Austria is divided into three jurisdictions entirely independent of each other. In the lands of the Hungarian crown there is a metropolitan for the Serb nationality at Carlovitz, and another for the Rouman nationality at Hermannstadt; there are besides eight bishoprics.
The Greek church of Cisleithan Austria has an archbishop (since January, 1873) at Czernowitz, and bishops at Zara and Cattaro. VIII. The church of Mt. Sinai has only one bishop, the "Blessed Archbishop of Sinai." IX. The church of Montenegro likewise has but one bishop, called " Metropolitan of Scanderia and the Seashore, Archbishop of Cettigne, Exarch of the Holy See of Ipek, Lord of Montenegro and of Berda." He had formerly both spiritual and temporal power, but recently the jurisdictions have been divided. The present bishop was induced by the Russian government to go to St. Petersburg, and not, as was done by his predecessors, to Constantinople, to receive episcopal consecration. X. The Hellenic church, in the kingdom of Greece, numbers 31 archbishops and bishops, governed by the "Holy Hellenic Synod" of Athens. The presidency of this board belongs by right to the metropolitan archbishop of Attica and Boeotia, residing in Athens. This board was established in 1852, and consists of five prelates of the kingdom. They meet annually in September, and have to take an oath of fidelity to the king before beginning their proceedings.
All these ten divisions of the orthodox church recognize the supreme authority of a general council; but as no general council has been assembled for 1,000 years, they do not agree on the conditions required to make a council really oecumenical. In addition to these ten divisions, which recognize each other as orthodox, there are in Russia a number of sects, most of which fully acknowledge the doctrinal basis of the Greek church, but reject the liturgy of the Russian church as corrected by Patriarch Nicon (1654), and therefore keep aloof from any intercourse with the state church. By the state church they are called Raskolniki (separatists), while they call themselves Staroviertzi (of the old faith). The number of these sects dissenting from the state is large. They also differ widely from each other, and some of them have placed themselves in open opposition not only to the liturgy and the government of the Russian church, but also to the doctrines of the Greek church in general. As from their origin they have been incessantly subjected to persecution, their peculiarities are but imperfectly known.
The great argument employed against those of them who adhered to the orthodox doctrine of the Greek church was, that the true church is essentially episcopal; therefore they, having no bishop, could not be the true church. Some years ago, however, the Greek bishops of the Austrian empire ordained for them a bishop. The former rigor of the Russian government against them has been mitigated since the accession of Alexander II., and in 1859 an imperial decree even prescribed that the bishops of the state church shall in future ordain the priests and bishops of the Raskolniks. - The Greek church predominates in all Russia, European Turkey, Greece, and Montenegro, and its area is continually extending by the progress of Russia in central Asia. The number of Greek Christians in Russia amounts to about 54,000,000. This, however, includes the sects, whose number is estimated at from 5,000,000 to 15,000,000. Turkey numbers about 12,000,-000 inhabitants belonging to the Greek church, of whom 4,275,000 belong to Roumania, and 1,295,000 to Servia; Austria (according to the census of 1871), 3,050,000; the kingdom of Greece, 1,440,000; Montenegro, 125,000; Germany, about 3,000. In all other countries only a few Greek churches are found, nearly all of which are connected with Russian embassies.
Thus the whole population connected with the Greek church in 1874 was about 74,300,000. The greatest number of United Greeks is in Austria, nearly 4,000,000; Turkey has about 50,000; Russia, 229,000; southern Italy, 80,-000. They were formerly very numerous in Russia, where under the Polish rule a considerable portion of the church acknowledged the supremacy of the pope at the synod of Brzesc or Brest (1596). But most of them returned to the Russian state church under the reign of Catharine II., and the remainder at a synod in Polotzk in 1839. The total number thus lost by the Roman Catholic church in Russia is estimated at about 10,000,000. The Greek United church in Austria has two archbishops and six bishops; in Turkey, one patriarch (of Antioch) and eight suffragans; in Russia, one bishop at Chelm. - See Chytraeus, Be Statu Ecclesiarum hoc Tempore in Groecia (Rostock, 1569); Leo Allatius, Groecia Orthodoxa (2 vols., Rome, 1652 and 1659); Thomas Smith, Be Ecclesioe) Groecoe Statu Hodierno (London, 1678); Le Quien, Oriens Christianus (3 vols., Paris, 1740); Wenger, Beitrage zur Kenntniss des gegenwar-tigen Geistes der Griechischen Kirche (Berlin, 1839); H. J. Schmitt, Kritische Gesehichte der Nengriechischen Kirche (Mentz, 1840); Wig-gers, Kirchliche Statistik (2 vols., Hamburg, 1843); L'Eglise orthodoxe d'Orient (Athens, 1853); J. M. Neale, "History of the Holy Eastern Church"(London, 1847 et seq.); Dean Stanley, "Lectures on the History of the Eastern Church " (London, 1861; New York, 1870); Sil-bernagl, Verfassung und gegenwartiger Bestand sammtlicher Kirchen des Orients (Landshut, 1865); and Gagarin, Leclergerusse(Paris,1871).