Topic 3 Greece

In Greece there is a significant number of religious minority groups. The Muslim minority in Western Thrace is the main, officially recognised in Greece, and consists of three ethnic groups - the Turks, the Pomaces and the Roma - and three linguistic ones, respectively. A large part, however, falls to the Greek Orthodox faith.

  • Greek Orthodox: 98%
  • Muslim: 1,3 %
  • Other: 0,7 % (e.g., Catholic, Protestant, Jewish)

Freedom of belief is guaranteed by the constitution and non-Greek Orthodox religious groups, such as Muslims, Catholics, Protestants and Jews, have their own prayer and faith institutions.

Source: https://pixabay.com/vectors/greece-flag-greek-sky-blue-white-26871/

The church-state relations (religious nationalism)

  • In Greece, one of the main issues within the context of security and protection of places of worship is related to the perennial problem of the church-state relations, the basic provisions which are socially significant today.
  • It is an issue that depicts the religious context in Greece, which appears in literature as religious nationalism, and perhaps in a wider context, it is the most serious problem the Orthodox Church has faced since the fall of Byzantium under Ottoman rule in the 15th century, which makes it almost impossible today to think of the Orthodox Church, its mission and testimony in the world separately from the ethnicity and specific national history.
  • Some of the most characteristic manifestations of this problem are the identifications of Church and ethnicity, Church and ethno-cultural identity, Church and national ideology and Church and state as mentioned at the beginning.

The recent economic and refugee crises

  • The economic crisis that affected Greece from the beginning of 2012, along with the increase of right-wing followers and the political party of Golden Dawn, as well as new multi-religious environments that came as a result of the arrival of several refugee waves in Greece have created a climate in which any kind of reference on sensitive spiritual matters had the potential of triggering juxtaposition among the political parties.

The isolated incidents of attacks against places of worship that occurred in Greece had an impressive increase the last 5 years.

Between 2015 to 2018 there is a 300% increase in cases of attacks against places of worship.

Main target of the attacks: Orthodox Christian Church (temple and place of worship).

Main type of attacks: Vandalism and desecration, burglaries and thefts.

As for minority religions, anti-Semitic acts have increased by 81% in 2018.

Regarding the Greek laws, according to Article 5 of the Constitution All those who are in the Greek territory enjoy the absolute protection of their life, honor and freedom, without distinction of nationality, race, language and religious or political beliefs’.

There are many public authorities that deal with this issue. The most important are listed below. For more information, click on the name of the institution.