Greek Orthodox Christianity in Lebanon

Lebanese Greek Orthodox Christians
المسيحية الأرثوذكسية الشرقية في لبنان
Total population
Lebanese Arabic
Christianity (Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch)
An estimate of the area distribution of Lebanon's main religious groups
Lebanon religious groups distribution

Greek Orthodox Christianity in Lebanon (Arabic: المسيحية الأرثوذكسية اليونانية في لبنان) refers to adherents of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch in Lebanon, which is an autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church within the wider communion of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, and is the second largest Christian denomination in Lebanon after the Maronite Christians.

Lebanese Greek Orthodox Christians are believed to constitute about 8% of the total population of Lebanon.[2][4] Most of the Greek Orthodox Christians live either in the capital city of Beirut, the Southeast (Nabatieh/Beqaa), and the North Governorate, in a region south of Tripoli.

Under the terms of an unwritten agreement known as the National Pact between the various political and religious leaders of Lebanon, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament and the Deputy Prime Minister in Lebanon are obligated to be Greek Orthodox Christians.[5]


The Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch adheres to the Eastern Orthodox Church, which is composed of several autocephalous jurisdictions united by common doctrine and by their use of the Byzantine rite. They are the second largest Christian denomination within Christianity in Lebanon. Historically, these churches grew out of the four Eastern Patriarchates (Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, and Constantinople) of the original five major episcopal sees (the Pentarchy) of the Roman Empire which included Rome. The final split between Rome and the Eastern Churches, who came to oppose the views and claims of the Popes of Rome, took place in 1054. From that time, with the exception of a brief period of reunion in the fifteenth century, the Eastern Churches have continued to reject the claims of the Patriarchate of Rome (the Catholic Church) to universal supremacy and have rejected the concept of papal infallibility. Doctrinally, the main point at issue between the Eastern and Western Churches is that of the procession of the Holy Spirit and there are also divergences in ritual and discipline.

The Greek Orthodox include many free-holders, and the community is less dominated by large landowners than other Christian denominations. In present-day Lebanon, the Eastern Orthodox Christians have become increasingly urbanized, and form a major part of the commercial and professional class of Beirut and other cities. Many are found in the Southeast (Nabatieh/Beqaa) and North, near Tripoli. They are highly educated and well-versed in finance. The Greek Orthodox church has become known in the past for its pan-Arab orientation, possibly because it exists in various parts of the Arab world. The Greek Orthodox church has often served as a bridge between Lebanese Christians and the Arab countries.

Lebanese Greek Orthodox Christians have a long and continuous association with Eastern Orthodox Churches in European countries like Greece, Cyprus, Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Romania. The church exists in many parts of the Arab world and Greek Orthodox Christians have often been noted for pan-Arab or pan-Syrian leanings; historically, it has had less dealings with Western countries than the Maronite Church. The Lebanese Greek Orthodox Christians are believed to constitute about 8% of the total population of Lebanon,[2][3] including the Palestinian Greek Orthodox community, many of whom have been given Lebanese citizenship.

The political parties, supported by the community are the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, the Lebanese Communist Party, the Free Patriotic Movement, the Marada Movement, the Lebanese Forces, the Kataeb, the Democratic Left Movement, and the Future Movement.

Greek Orthodox Christian settlements

In Lebanon, the Greek Orthodox Christians are found in Beirut, the Southeast (Nabatieh/Beqaa) and North, near Tripoli, Koura, and also in Akkar, Batroun, Matn, Aley, Zahlé, Miniyeh-Danniyeh, Hasbaya, Baabda, Marjeyoun, Tripoli, Rashaya, Jbeil, and Zgharta.

Cities and towns with a majority Greek Orthodox population in Lebanon

Achrafieh, Amioun, Kousba, Anfeh, Deddeh, Kfaraakka, Aaba, Afsdik, Bdebba, Batroumine, Bishmizzine, Btourram, Bkeftine, Bsarma, Btaaboura, Darchmezzine, Fih, Kaftoun, Kelhat, Kfarhata, Kfarhazir, Kfarsaroun, Ras Maska, Miniara, Cheikh Mohammad, Zawarib, Hamat, Douma, Dhour El Choueir, Bteghrine, Mansourieh, Broummana, Kafarakab, Bhamdoun, Souk El Gharb, Marjayoun, Deir Mimas, Rachaya Al Foukhar, Aita al-Foukhar, and others.

Cities and towns with an important Greek Orthodox minority

Ras Beirut, Tripoli, El Mina, Chekka, Bourj Hammoud, Zahleh, Halba, Batroun, Bikfaya, Baskinta, Antelias, Ras el Matn, Aley, Bechamoun, Machgara, Hasbaya, Kfeir, Niha Bekaa, Rit, and others.

Achrafieh was once ruled by seven prominent Greek Orthodox Christian families that formed Beirut's High Society for centuries: Trad, Geday, Fernaine, Araman, Bustros, Sursock, Fayyad, and Tueini.

Notable Lebanese Greek Orthodox Christians

See also


  1. "Minority Rights Group International – working to secure the rights of minorities and indigenous peoples".
  2. 1 2 3 Lebanon – International Religious Freedom Report 2010 U.S. Department of State. Retrieved on 14 February 2010.
  3. 1 2 Lebanon – July–December, 2010 International Religious Freedom Report U.S. Department of State. Retrieved on 1 June 2012.
  4. Lebanon July-December, 2010 International Religious Freedom Report U.S. Department of State. Retrieved on 01 June 2012.
  5. Harb, Imad (March 2006). "Lebanon's Confessionalism: Problems and Prospects". USIPeace Briefing. United States Institute of Peace. Archived from the original on 9 July 2008. Retrieved 20 January 2009.
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