Religions of Lebanon: the Greek Orthodox

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The Greek Orthodox represent 8% of the Lebanese and historically represent one of the largest city elites in the country

The Orthodox of Lebanon

The majority of the Greek Orthodox Lebanese adhere to the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch, an autocephalous church widespread above all in Turkey, Lebanon and Syria, where it has its main seat. This church, like most of the Eastern Orthodox ones, saw its definitive birth in 1054, the year in which it definitively and irremediably broke relations with Rome, with which it was only briefly reconciled in the 15th century. The reason behind the fracture was the Pope’s decision to consider himself as a direct descendant of Peter, thus placing his own see above all other Christian confessions, which however did not accept in any way to submit to this authority, bringing so to the Great Schism; at the doctrinal level, the major differences are related to papal infallibility and the procession of the spirit, both seen as “Latin innovations”. It must be said that the Greek Orthodox Church is technically a union of several Eastern autocephalous churches united by the common doctrine and the Byzantine rite.

Being Arab
Samir Kassir

Traditionally the Greek Orthodox community is the most urbanized and with fewer landowners, which has allowed it to become one of the major city elites, developing not only in Lebanon but throughout the Arab world; their being Orthodox then brought them very close to Russia and Greece, with which they historically have a solid and lasting relationship. Obviously having cities as a center of reference rather than countryside has had its consequences, so much so that the only district with a Greek-Orthodox majority is that of Koura, not far from Tripoli; the most representative neighborhood in Beirut turns out to be Achrafieh. This group is the second most popular branch of Lebanese Christianity with 8% of the population and according to the National Pact it is the vice president of parliament. Among the most famous Greek Orthodox must absolutely be mentioned: Samir Kassir, Elias Khoury, the Rahbani family and Nassim Taleb.

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