Greek Orthodoxy - From Apostolic Times to the Present Day
Orthodox and non-Orthodox theologians and scholars believe that the Judaization of Christianity would have been fatal, while its Hellenization determined its universal appeal and its catholic character. Greek Orthodox Christianity is Christocentric and biblical, but at the same time it bears all the characteristics of the Greek genius. Christianity’s religious schemes and theological categories reveal the influence of the ancient Greek mind. There is unity, but a unity in diversity. There is canon law, but it is not always enforced. The concept of the Roman auctoritas has found little fertile ground in the Greek East. The Greek emphasis on inquiry and the continuous quest for personal understanding and interpretation constitute the background of the development of "heresies," or "choices," outside the mainstream of Orthodoxy. … Asceticism and continence as ideals of holiness, and the longing for soteria (salvation) and theosis (deification), were adopted by early Christianity from Greek religious or philosophical practices, from Orphic, Pythagorean, Stoic, and Hermetic teachings and practices.
It is fashionable even among Greek Orthodox theologians to criticize this infiltration, the rational element and the academic arguments in Orthodox theology, and instead to stress either the simplistic biblical, or the mystical and the ritualistic approach. … It was Paul who contributed greatly to the development of harmonious relations between Christianity and the Greeks. He visited and established Christian congregation in all the important Hellenic centers of the Asiatic continent and the European mainland. He further explained the "unknown God," to whom the Greeks had erected numerous sanctuaries in such cities as Athens, Olympia, and Pergamum, and the Greeks did not hesitate to become his disciples. A distinguished historian of the Greek and Roman worlds, A. H. M. Jones, rightly observes that "the strength of early Christianity lay predominantly in Greek-speaking urban areas." The name "Christian" replaced the ethnic name of the Greeks for many centuries, while their national name, "Hellene," lost its original meaning.
Two factors contributed to this change. After Caracalla’s edict in 212, all Greeks and members of other nationalities of the Roman Empire became Roman citizens. Thus, from the third century on the Greeks were referred to as Romans, or Romeoi. Furthermore, with the attempts of Emperor Julian to revive paganism, "Hellene," as an ethnic or national name, came to be identified with the ancient religious cults, the pagan gods, and the ancient classical tradition in general. Hellene and Hellenismos became synonymous with paganism. The Greeks were simply Christians of the Roman Empire. The designation "Christian" persists to a great degree even today. When a Greek inquires about someone he does not know, he usually asks not whether the person is a Greek but whether he or she is a Christian.
Cf. Books for getting closer to Orthodox Christianity ||| Orthodox Images of the Christ ||| Byzantium : The Alternative History of Europe ||| The pulse of Ancient Rome was driven by a Greek heart ||| Vasilief, A History of the Byzantine Empire ||| Schmemann, A History of the Orthodox Church ||| Videos about Byzantium and Orthodoxy ||| Aspects of Byzantium in Modern Popular Music ||| 3 Posts on the Fall of Byzantium ||| Greek Literature / The New Testament
Reference address : http://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-orthodox-history.asp?pg=5