Greek Influence on Christianty


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Greek influence on Christianity was monumental because from its conception was dependent upon the Greek language for writing the Bible and spreading the Gospel.
Greek influence on Christianity first spread in the predominantly Greek-speaking eastern half of the Roman Empire.
Christianity originated with the Ministry of Jesus Christ in 30 AD as He went about Judea preaching of the imminent Kingdom of God.
After the Resurrection and Ascencion of Jesus Christ, the Missionary Journeys of the Apostles proclaimed His Gospel of Jesus Christ's Message, about God, of love, hope, of mercy, repentance and forgiveness to all people seeking salvation.
Jerusalem was the original Christian center of the world in first-century AD Judea amongst Jews who looked toward an "Anointed" Leader (Messiah) from their ancestral line of King David who would remove Roman occupation and restore their freedom.


Jerusalem

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Greek Influence on Christianity
The Jews were the first people to encounter the One True God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the "Patriarchs" or founders, because of their role in God's establishment of His covenant with the people of Israel.
Jerusalem has been the ancestral and spiritual homeland of the Jewish people since the 10th century BC.
King David, the shepherd boy who became a warrior-king, made Jerusalem the national and spiritual capital of the Jewish kingdom in 1003 BC.
His son, Solomon, built the first holy Temple (990 – 931 BC) only to have it torn down 400 years later by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar.
Jerusalem is where Jesus Preached, Died, was Crucified and was Resurrected.


The Great Commission

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Greek Influence on Christianity
Forty days after Jesus Christ's Resurrection on the Mount of Olives, outside Jerusalem and in the presence of eleven of his Disciples, He endowed them to become Apostles (Greek word meaning “ones sent forth”: Aπόστολος - Apóstolos) as recorded in Matthew. 28:19-20: “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
- Matthew 28:19
Jesus Christ was then taken up into Heaven to take His Place at the Right Hand of His Father.
The Great Commission of Jesus Christ laid the foundation for spreading the Christian Gospel to the Gentile World (non-Jew) by the Apostles as they travelled throughout the eastern half of the Roman Empire, (Greece and its former colonies in Asia Minor, portions of North Africa and the Middle East) establishing Christian communities.
In these eastern cities, the early church produced its first Christian leaders who defined Christian Doctrine and established the uniqueness of their Christian faith.


Greek Influence on Christianity

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Greek Influence on Christianity
Christianity has a historical and spiritual heritage of the Jews that is rooted in the Old Testament comprising the sacred Scriptures of the Hebrews and recording the history of the Hebrew people as the chosen people of God.
Both, Jews and Christians, believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - the Creator of the universe and the source of everything.
Judaism and Christianty began separating with the first Jewish revolt to win freedom from Roman domination (66–74 AD) and ended after the Bar Kokhba revolt (132–135 AD) that led to the destruction Israel.
The Jews were decimated through mass killings, 985 villages were destroyed, prisoners of war were sold as slaves throughout the empire and expulsion to the diaspora (scattered outside the land of Israel).
Jews were banished from Jerusalem and the city was renamed Aelia Capitolina.
The remaining Jews moved to the northern towns of Galilee to continue a Jewish presence.
To further punish the Jews for their rebellion, the Romans renamed their homeland with the Latin name Palestina.


Asia Minor

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Greek Influence on Christianity
After Jerusalem, the second most important place for spreading Christianity was Asia Minor where many exciting stories of Early Christianity took place.
Here, you will find the final resting place of Noah's Ark on Mount Ararat, the Seven Churches of Revelation, and the first and most important Orthodox, Christian Empire before the land was turned Turkish and Muslim.
Biblical Asia Minor was also the birthplace of many famous Greek Saints which included Saint Paul (a Jew born in Tarsus, Asia Minor), Saint Luke the Evangelist, Saint Timothy, Saint George, Saint Nicholas, Saint Basil and Saint Helene (the mother of the Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great) to name just a few.
The Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great established the Greek city of Byzantium in Asia Minor, as the second capital of the Roman Empire on May 11, 330 AD.
Byzantium became famous as Constantinople and capital of the first Orthodox, Christian Empire.
When Rome fell to Germanic invaders, the Ostrogoths in 476 AD, the Byzantine Empire became known as "The Empire of the Greeks" because its people were Greek, their language and culture was Greek - they referred to themselves as Hellenes or Graekos to preserve their ancient Hellenic heritage.
Constantine the Great and his mother Helene are venerated as Saints by the Orthodox Church with their Feast Day being May 21.
Orthodox Centers Evangelized By The Apostles
*Centres founded throughout Greece by Saint Paul
*Antiochian, Asia Minor churches founded by Saint Peter
*Egyptian churches founded by Saint Mark (including the Ethiopian of Africa or Abyssinia)
*Syrian (or Assyrian), along with the Byzantine, Georgian and Russian churches founded by Saint Andrew
*Armenian church, as well as the churches of Samaria and Judea founded by Saint Jude and Saint Bartholomew
*Church of Jerusalem founded by Saint James.
Seven Churches of Revelation
Revelation’s seven churches were Christian communities in Asia Minor that received Jesus Christ's Apocalyptic Message and then spread to the rest of the Christian communities of Asia Minor.
The Apostle John the Evangelist was exiled in the first century AD to the Greek island of Patmos, then, a Roman penal colony near Asia Minor for being Christian.
According to Revelation 1:11, Jesus Christ instructs John of Patmos to: "Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven Churches declaring the triumphs and failings of those churches and to warn each congregation to repent.
1. Ephesus
Ephesus (Greek: Ἔφεσος) was a city in Ancient Greece on the coast of Ionia, Asia Minor and was built by Ionian Greek colonists in the 10th century BC.
The city was famous for the Temple of Artemis (550 BC) and was designated one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
During the Classical Greek era, it was one of twelve cities that were members of the Ionian League (Ancient Greek: Ἴωνες, Íōnes; κοινὸν Ἰώνων, koinón Iōnōn; or κοινὴ σύνοδος Ἰώνων, koinē) comprising twelve Ionian Greek city-states (a dodecapolis) as an alliance from a perceived Persian invasion threat.
During Early Christianity, the church at Ephesus is representative of the Apostolic Period from 30 AD to 95 A.D when the Church was involved in Christian Doctrine.
2. Smyrna
The church at Smyrna represents the persecuted church (martyr church) that existed from 95 AD to about 312 AD and existed at the time that the Book of Revelation was written.
The other Churches of Revelation are:
3. Pergamum
4. Thyatira
5. Sardis
6. Philadelphia
7. Laodicea

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Saint Paul

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Greek Influence on Christianity
Saint Paul, one of the most important figures of Christian History made an impact as an Apostle, Theologian, and as a Letter-writer of the Apostolic Age (33 AD – 100 AD) is considered "the Apostle of the Gentiles" (non-Jew) for his mission to spread the Gospel to all people.
Saint Paul's Gentile doctrine would change the course of Christianity from a small sect of Judaism that ultimately, became a world faith with many Christian denominations.


Roman Empire

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Greek Influence on Christianity
The early Christian Church was established after much suffering and martyrdom as many Christians were beaten, stoned to death, thrown to the lions, torn to death by dogs or set on fire while others were crucified.
It was the Romans who murdered many of the Apostles and other founders of Christianity because of their proclamation of Jesus Christ and their denial to worship and sacrifice to pagan gods.
In 64 AD, a great fire ravaged Rome and Emperor Nero placed the blame on Christians to divert attention from himself.
It was The Edict of Milan in February, 313 AD by two Roman emperors, Constantine and Licinius that Christianity was granted religious toleration and decreed that Roman citizens had, “the liberty to observe the religion of their choice and mode of worship.”
The Nicene Creed, also called Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed is a doctrinal statement of correct Christian beliefs that was proclaimed at the first Council of Nicaea in 325 AD.
A longer version of Christian beliefs was established at the Council of Constantinople in 381 AD, and is now used in most Christian Liturgies.
In 382 AD, Pope Damasus, commissioned Jerome to translate the Bible from the Greek into the Latin Vulgate version.
The Tyndale Bible by William Tyndale (1494–1536) is credited with being the first English translation from Hebrew and Greek texts of the Bible.


Eastern Orthodox Church

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Greek Influence on Christianity
The Eastern centers of the Roman Empire differed from the western because even though, they became Roman citizens through invasion, they remained true to their Greek heritage.
"Orthodox" comes from the Greek words orthos ('right') and doxa ('belief') which means correct belief or right thinking.
The Eastern Orthodox Church traces its history back to the Apostolic Age (33 - 100 AD).
There were four Greek-speaking centers in the East:
*Jerusalem
*Antioch
*Alexandria
*Constantinople (Byzantium)
*Rome was the Latin-speaking center in the West.
Western Culture is Based on:
1. Ancient Greece
2. Roman Empire
3. Christianity
Greek culture influenced all three and defined as "Greco-Roman culture", " Judeo-Christian culture" and "Judeo-Hellenic-Christian culture."
Orthodox Monasticism
Monasticism began at the end of the Great Persecution of Roman emperor, Diocletian in the late 3rd century AD by the first Christian monks who had developed an enthusiasm for asceticism (avoiding of all forms of indulgence for religious reasons) in Egypt and Syria and became an established institution of Christianity by the 4th century AD.
Saint Anthony the Great (251 - 356 AD) of Egypt is considered the Father of Orthodox Monasticism ("living alone with God as his only companion").
Saint Basil, also called Saint Basil the Great (Koinē Greek: Ἅγιος Βασίλειος - 1 January 379 AD), was a bishop of Caesarea Mazaca in Cappadocia, Asia Minor who was an influential theologian who supported the Nicene Creed of the early Christian church.
He was involved in establishing the order of the Liturgy, wrote numerous prayers, sermons, epistles and rules for monastic life including commentaries on Sacred Scripture and a Treatise of the Holy Spirit.
Orthodox Monasticism guided the course of theology, the veneration of icons and the piety and religious practices of the Byzantines.
Mount Athos in northern Greece was the international center of monasticism by the 11 century AD.

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Athens and Jerusalem

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Greek Influence on Christianity
Ancient Greece was the birthplace of Classical Civilization's intellectual, scientific, architectural, artistic and political ideas that originated and laid the foundations of western civilization.
The Greeks love of wisdom, science, art and architecture set them apart from other cultures and was centuries ahead of other peoples of the world.
Their greatest thinkers would ensure the inculcation of Greek values that were created in a democratic system that thrived on liberty.
The Golden Age of Greece symbolizes the power and glory of the ancient city-state of Athens at its peak in the 5th century BC.
Foundation of Western Civilization:
1. Logic and Reason - Athens
Ancient Athens represented logic and reason as expressed by the great ancient Greek philosophers.
Logic influences a person's choices that ultimately affect their lifestyle.
Reason is associated with applying logic based on new or existing information.
History’s most brilliant thinkers laid that foundation of Western thought.
They include:
*Thales Of Miletus
First Greek philosopher of the Milesian School that focused on natural science.
Socrates
Father of western thought of the ethical tradition.
Plato
Founder of the Platonist school of thought and the Academy - the first center of higher learning in the Western world.
Aristotle
Greek philosopher who tutored Alexander the Great and founder of the Lyceum Peripatetic school of Philosophy in the Aristotelian tradition.
2. Democracy
Greek civilization was the first European civilization to create a culture that valued liberty..
In this democratic system, literature, art, architecture, sculpture, philosophy, medicine, law and mathematics flourished and had a profound effect on the shaping of the modern world.
3. Judeo-Christian Tradition - Jerusalem
The Jews had a huge impact in changing human history through faith - belief in the One and Only True God.
Christianity also had its origins in Jerusalem and has had a profound influence on the history and formation of Western society.
The Crucifixion of Jesus and His Resurrection are the two most important events in Christian history that gave new life and spiritual strength that spread all over the world.
The Cross of Christ stands tall for all who can see, its symbol of love, hope and everlasting life in the Heavenly Kingdom of God.
Christianity has a religious continuity with Judaism, the ancient spiritual heritage of the Jews - Judeo-Christian values has its roots in the Holy Bible.
Christianity gives humanity their greatest asset - Faith in God and Jesus Christ!
Christianity takes its name from the Greek word "Christ" meaning "Anointed One" (with the Blessing of God).

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Greek Influence on Christianity

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Hellenistic Age
The Hellenistic Age (4th to 1st century BC) followed the Classical Age of Greece dominated much of the Mediterranean and Middle East and Greek became the international language of the Greco-Roman Period (332 BC - 395 AD).
Hellenisms impact continued during the Roman Empire - Roman culture was in fact, Greco-Roman.
Its influence on Christianity and later, on Western civilization was monumental.
Hellenism and Judaism formed the basis of Early Christianity.
Many Jews embraced Greek culture and the Greek language.
The Apostles names were Hellenized and Greek names were also given to children throughout Judea and the Diaspora (e.g. Andrew, Peter, Paul, Thomas, Simon Philip, Alexander, Jason).
Christianity was able to spread and flourish because the Eastern half of the Roman Empire was Hellenized.
The New Testament was written in Greek.
The Old Testament was also translated from Hebrew into Greek.
Greek was used to preach the Gospel of Christ throughout the Roman Empire.
Hellenistic Alexandria
Alexandria was famous for the Pharos Lighthouse, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, its Great Library (the largest in the ancient world) and for its Museum where scholars such as Euclid (Greek mathematician and "Father of Geometry") and Eratosthenes (Greek mathematician, geographer and chief librarian at the Library of Alexandria) worked there.
Alexandria was also a center for Biblical Studies where the Septuagint (Greek version of the Hebrew Bible) was commissioned, which was the oldest Greek version of the Old Testament.
Hellenistic Antioch
It was at Antioch that Gentiles (non-Jew) were first baptized into the Christian church and were called Christian.
From Antioch, Saint Paul set out on his first missionary journey to Christianize the gentile (non-Jew) world.
And, it was at Antioch that Matthew’s First Gospel of the New Testament was written following the Great Commission.
Saint Luke the Evangelist
The Early Christian Church ascribes to Saint Luke the Evangelist, the Greek physician and Christian Historian, authorship of both the Gospel according to Luke and the Book of Acts of the Apostles of the New Testament.
Saint Timothy
Saint Timothy who was born in Asia Minor to a Jewish mother and Greek father is a co-author on 2 Corinthians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, and Philemon in the Holy Bible.


Constantine the Great

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Greek Influence on Christianity
The Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great established the Greek city of Byzantium in Asia Minor as the second capital of the Roman Empire on May 11, 330 AD and gave it his name, Constantinople.
Constantine broke away from the pagan traditions of Rome after his victory at Chrysopolis in Asia Minor against Licinius and became sole emperor of the Roman Empire.
Constantinople was characterized by Orthodox Christianity because its people were Greek.
The word "Orthodox" meaning "right belief" was founded in the 4th century AD by Constantine I (also referred to as Constantine the Great) who was converted to to Christianity by a vision of the Cross.
Constantine the Great is venerated as a Saint together with his mother, Helene.
Their Feast Day is celebrated on May 21.


Byzantine Empire

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Greek Influence on Christianity
The Christian Byzantine period began with the First seven Ecumenical Councils over eleven centuries from the First Council of Nicaea in 325 to the Fall of Constantinople in 1453.
The Greek East and Latin West finally divided in 1054 and became known as the East–West Schism when on July 16, three papal legates entered Hagia Sophia in Constantinople during Divine Liturgy and placed a bull of excommunication on the altar - the Orthodox Patriarch then, followed through and excommunicated the western church.
By the 12th century, Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest European city and Orthodoxy reached its Golden Age marked by a cultural renaissance of Greek and Byzantine art and architecture entering their most glorious period.
The Byzantine Empire was delivered a mortal blow during the Latin, Fourth Crusade, when Constantinople was sacked in 1204 that weakened the city and made it vulnerable to the advancing Muslim, Ottoman Turks.
Although Constantinople was re-taken by the Greeks in 1261, the Byzantine Empire and its remaining territories were progressively annexed by the invading Ottoman Turks over the 15th century.
Islam
Islam was born in 610 AD through its founder, Muhammad.
By 632 AD Muslim armies had taken Syria, the Holy Land and Egypt, thus placing the Orthodox patriarchates of Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem under Muslim control.
The Islamic rulers also moved the capital of Syria from Antioch to Damascus forcing the Orthodox Patriarch to transfer his residence to Damascus, where he continues to reside today.
In 637 AD Jerusalem fell to the invading Arab armies.
Since that time, Orthodox Christianity faced Muslim invasions for centuries.
The fall of Constantinople in 1453 marks a great disaster in Orthodox Christian history.
On May 29, 1453, Constantinople, the Orthodox Christian capital was overwhelmingly besieged by the Muslim, Ottoman Turks from central Asia and the great Byzantine Empire ended after 1,123 years in a bloody holocaust with the sword that wiped out 80% of the Orthodox Christian centers the Apostles of Jesus had evangelized.
Since then, the Catholic church in Rome became the dominant force of Christianity.


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