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GCU 114 Greek Orthodox in Greece Greek Orthodox is the main religion in Greece today.

Most of the people in Greece identify themselves as part of the religion of Greek Orthodox. Although, Greek Orthodox was not always the official religion. In ancient Greece, many Greeks worshipped different gods and goddesses. The discovery of mythology began during the Minoan and Mycenaean periods of ancient Greece. It was first introduced in Homers epic poem, The Illiad. Throughout Greece, different cities worshipped a specific god or goddess. For example, in the city of Athens, the people would worship and send prayers to the goddess, Athena. In the Metropolitan Museum of Art article, it was stated that Greek myths

explained the origins of the gods and their individual relations with mankind. The art of Archaic and Classical Greece illustrates many mythological episodes, including an established iconography of attributes that identify each god. There were twelve principal deities in the Greek pantheon (Metropolitan Museum of Art). Since, Greek worshipped gods and goddesses,
most of the art that was created portrayed those figures. Other practices, the ancient Greeks would perform was rituals and sacrifice animals. Greeks have gathered many myths throughout the centuries. Most of those myths tell a moral story, tragedy, and war. Mythology is a fascinating subject.

Greek Orthodox is the major religion in Greece. Based on the graphs above, it is stated that based on the first graph Christianity is 90.9% in Greece. Then, the second graph below states that Greek Orthodox is 95.0%, Roman Catholic is 3.5%, Protestant 1.1%, Independent 0.3%, Anglican 0.1%, and

Other is 0.1% (Joshua Project). Greek Orthodox refers back to the Greek heritage of the Byzantine Empire. Greek Orthodox churches are united with one another and the other Orthodox Churches in Europe. Greek Orthodox is part of Christianity and have very similar traditions. Unlike the Catholic Church, the church believes that the head of the Church is Jesus Christ, himself, not the Pope. Another difference between Orthodox and Catholic Church is that Greek Orthodox priests are able to marry. Before their ordination as priests, they are able to commit to only one woman, but if the wife dies then the priest is not allowed to marry again (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America). It is a very unique part of the religion. Some customs and traditions that are practiced within the Greek Orthodox are Name Day celebrations, Engagement, Clean Monday, and Easter. On Name Day celebrations, most Greek families name their children after different saints. On the feast day of the saint, family and friend celebrate their name day and it is a day full of food and fun. Name day is a lot more important than birthdays. On Engagement, the man asks the hand of marriage of the woman he loves from the father and family. The couple exchanges each others rings that are worn on the left hand. After the wedding, they switch the rings to the right hand. Engagement periods can last many years. The next custom is called Clean Monday, which is also called the first day of Lent. Families are able to celebrate and spend time with each other by having a picnic and flying kites. Lastly, Easter has to be the most important celebration for Greeks. On Easter weekend, Greek families make buns, red dye eggs, decorate the tomb with flowers, follow a slow procession, dress up and go to church, and just before midnight they turn off the lights to symbolize the darkness and death of Christ, and roast lamb on Easter Sunday (Greeka). These customs and traditions are still being celebrated to this day.

St. Andrews Cathedral in Patras, Greece.

Greek Orthodox Priests

Dyed Red Eggs for Easter

Greek Orthodox Cross

In conclusion, the major religion that is practiced is Greek Orthodox. Greeks used to worship gods and goddesses, which is where mythology comes in. Everybody in the world has their own set of customs and traditions. Greece still honors their own customs and traditions. The Greek Orthodox do have some similarities and differences between the Catholic Church, but so do other religions.

Sources 1.. Saint Andrews Cathedral. (2007). *Web Photo+. Retrieved from http://www.atlantaserbs.com/learnmore/monasteries_and_towns/StAndrew-Greece.htm 2. Travel Freak. (2012). Red Dye Eggs. [Web Photo]. Retrieved from http://www.atlantaserbs.com/learnmore/monasteries_and_towns/StAndrew-Greece.htm 3. Barry ORegan. Now Public. (2008). [Web Photo]. Retrieved from http://www.nowpublic.com/culture/fisticuffs-break-between-priests-holy-land-0 4. Gallery Byzantium. (2013). [Web Photo]. Retrieved from http://www.gallerybyzantium.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=1_9_24 5. Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. (2013). Pastoral Guidelines. Retrieved from http://www.goarch.org/archdiocese/departments/marriage/interfaith/pastoralguidelines 6. Greeka. (2013). Traditions in Greece. Retrieved from http://www.greeka.com/greece-traditions.htm