- Protestantism was first introduced in 1828 to Greece, a land dominated by Eastern orthodoxy, when Jonas King (1792-1869) arrived as a representative of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. Staying on for decades in a rather hostile environment, King organized the first congregation in 1866; his assistant Michael Kalopothakis, a young convert, built the first Protestant church. In 1885, a synod was formed by the three congregations that had come into being by that time.Meanwhile, other missionaries were active in Turkey, where many Greeks lived. Following the Greek-Turkish War of 1922, Greeks who had responded to the missionaries relocated to Greece, and the Protestant movement experienced a spurt of growth.The Greek Evangelical Church was the only Protestant church in Greece for many years, but other groups arrived in the 20th century. The Jehovah's Witnesses began work in 1900 and have subsequently become the largest non-Orthodox group in the country; the Seventh-day Adventist Church arrived in 1903. More than 20 other groups now have one or more congregations, though progress overall has been slow, given the aggressive efforts of the Orthodox Church of Greece to retain its hegemony. The Free Evangelical Churches of Greece (1908), the Church of God of Prophecy (1927), and the Southern Baptist Convention (1969) have garnered some support. There were approximately 200,000 Protestants in Greece as the 21st century began.Further reading:■ David Barrett, The Encyclopedia of World Christianity, 2nd ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001)■ Jean-Jacques Bauswein and Lukas Vischer, eds., The Reformed Family Worldwide: A Survey of Reformed Churches, Theological Schools, and lnternational Organizations (Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans, 1999)■ S. L. Burch, The Beginning of Protestant Mission to the Greek Orthodox in Asia Minor and Pontos (Pasadena, Calif.: Fuller Theological Seminary, M.A. thesis, 1977).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.