Catholic Church in Greece
The Catholic Church in Greece is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope and Curia in Rome.
Indigenous Catholic Greeks number about 50,000 and are a religious and not an ethnic minority. One very old but still common term used to refer to them is Φράγκοι, or "Franks", referring to the religion of Franks and other Western Europeans during the Middle Ages, as opposed to practitioners of the Orthodox faith, who were called Ρωμαίοι, or "Romans" (due to the Byzantine Empire being the successor state of the ancient Roman Empire). Since the early 1990s however, the number of Catholic permanent residents of Greece, has continuously increased making the total number of Catholics in Greece more than 200,000. These Catholics are immigrants from Eastern Europe, especially Poland, or from the Philippines. Many of the Germans and French that settled in the Greek Islands also follow the Roman Catholic faith.
The majority of Catholics are resident in Athens, a city of about four million people, however Catholics can be found all over Greece. Most indigenous Catholics live in the Cyclades, where Syros and Tinos have some entirely Catholic villages and parishes. There are also Catholics in Corfu, Patras, Thessaloniki, Giannitsa, Kavala, Volos, and more distant islands like Rhodes, Kos, Crete, Naxos, Santorini, Samos, Chios, Kefalonia, Zakynthos, etc.
The Bishops' Conference of Greece (Hiera Synodos Katholikis Hierarkhias Hellados) has six members:
- The Archbishop of Corfu and Apostolic Administrator of Thessaloniki
- The Archbishop of Naxos and Tinos and Apostolic Administrator of Chios
- The Archbishop of Athens and Apostolic Administrator of Rhodes
- The Bishop of Syros and Santorini and Apostolic Administrator of Crete
- The Exarch of the Greek Catholics of Byzantine Rite (based in Athens)
- The Ordinary of the Armenian Catholics (based in Athens)
- Archdiocese of Athens
- Archdiocese of Rhodos
- Archdiocese of Corfù, Zante and Cefalonia
- Archdiocese of Naxos, Andros, Tinos and Mykonos
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 http://www.greekhelsinki.gr/bhr/english/organizations/ghm_mrgg_religious_freedom_2002.rtf Religious Freedom in Greece (September 2002)