Greece Other Religions
Sources: The Library of Congress Country Studies; CIA World Factbook
In 1992 four Roman Catholic archdioceses were functioning in Greece, including two directly responsible to the Holy See in the Vatican, four dioceses, and the Apostolic Vicariate of Thessaloniki. An estimated 51,380 Roman Catholics lived in Greece at that time. The largest populations are descendants of Venetian settlers in the islands, where three of the four archdioceses are located. These three are the archdioceses of Rhodes; of Corfu, Zacynthus, and Cefalonia in the Ionian Sea; and of Naxos, Andros, Tinos, and Mykonos in the Aegean Sea. Two other Catholic churches, the Uniate Rite and the Armenian Rite, also have small parishes in Greece.
The main Protestant group is the Greek Evangelical Church (Reformed), which has thirty churches with an estimated total of 5,000 adherents. In the seventeenth century, Orthodoxy was influenced strongly by Calvinism, the predominant theology of the West European Reformed churches, and during that period of shifting religious politics several attempts were made to join Orthodox and Protestant churches. Today the Orthodox Church of Greece is in communion with the Church of England but not with the Roman Catholic Church.
Greek law recognizes a chief mufti as religious head of the Muslim population, which numbered about 132,000 in 1975 and included only Sunni (see Glossary) Muslims. Some 83 percent of Greece's Muslims are Turkish speaking; the other 17 percent are Pomaks and Gypsies. The Turkish Muslims are concentrated in Thrace and the Dodecanese Islands, where government funds maintained 205 mosques and two seminaries were functioning in the early 1980s. Alleged confiscation of Muslim religious property has been an issue of confrontation with the Greek government.
Before World War II, Greece had a Jewish population of about 75,000, with the largest concentration in Thessaloniki where the Jews played a key role in the city's rich cultural and commercial activity. An estimated 60,000 Jews in Thessaloniki were either executed or sent to the concentration camp at Auschwitz by the Nazis during the occupation; in the early 1990s, Greece's Jewish population was estimated at about 5,000. The Central Board of the Jewish Communities of Greece, located in Athens, is the main administrative body of Judaism.
Data as of December 1994
NOTE: The information regarding Greece on this page is re-published from The Library of Congress Country Studies and the CIA World Factbook. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Greece Other Religions information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Greece Other Religions should be addressed to the Library of Congress and the CIA.