Greece is the country where the concept of democracy was birthed (Pericles) and philosophy was developed (Socrates, Platon, etc.). It is the birthplace of Alexander the Great of Macedonia (330 BC) who spread Greek literature throughout the world.
The Lord honored the Greek language by using it for the writing of the New Testament.
Pentecost in Greece in the 1st century
At AD 50, the apostles Paul and Silas, together with Titus and Timothy (Titus 1:5; 2 Corinthians 7:6), brought to Greece the gospel of Jesus Christ and the experience of Pentecost (Acts 16 – 18; 1 Corinthians 12 – 14).
They first visited northern Greece (Macedonia) by way of Neapolis (modern day Kavala) Acts:16:11. They preached the Gospel in Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, Corinth, Crete, Nicopolis and elsewhere.
At AD 96, the apostle John was exiled to the Greek island of Patmos (Revelation 1:9). John was among the 120 disciples who were all baptized in the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.
Pentecost in Greece in the 20th and 21st century.
I. Founders of the Work in Greece
Many Greek servants of God were persecuted for their faith. Some were beaten, others were imprisonned, and some were even exiled for their faith. All these servants of God played a very important role in building the work of the Pentecostal Church in Greece.
The first Greek pioneer for God was Dimitrios Katrisiosis. In 1924 he left his home village of Vagia and traveled throughout Greece preaching the message of God’s salvation through Jesus Christ and His work on the Cross. He was persecuted and exiled.
Mihalis Kounnas preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Athens in 1927. During this time the first Greek Pentecostal church was established in Athens in the Petralona area.
Two other founders of the Pentecostal work in Greece were Charalambos Mamalis and Aristotelis Dictiopoulos. Bothe were Greek who went as immigrants to California. While there, they joined other Greek brothers in an Assemblies of God church. Later, they felt they had to return in Greece and work for the Lord with the cooperation of the AoG brotherhood.
Mamalis was the first who returned to Greece, in 1930, and he preached the Gospel with miracles following throughout Greece. In 1931, Dictiopoulos also preached the Gospel with the power of the Holy Spirit. Both emphasized the Baptism in the Holy Spirit in their preaching.
Mamalis eventually became the pastor of the largest Pentecostal church in Athens, which was located at Aiolou Street, and Dictiopoulos established the Pentecostal church in Macedonia, northern Greece.
II. Number – Structure
Today the Pentecostal Church in Greece numbers about 12,000 members.
The Pentecostal Church includes the following:
- Greek Synod of the Apostolic Church of Pentecost, which is affiliated with the Assemblies of God worldwide.
- Apostolic Church of Christ, which is affiliated with the International Foursquare Church.
- The Church of God of the Full Gospel, which is affiliated with Church of God worldwide.
- The Church of God of Prophesy, which is affiliated with the Church of God of Prophecy worldwide.
- Free Apostolic Church of Pentecost. These churches do not fellowship nor cooperate with the other Pentecostal churches in Greece nor abroad.
III. Expansion of the Gospel
In Greece the gospel is preached in buildings that need special license from the government. Fortunately, it is now much easier to obtain a license than before. The Greek Orthodox Church strongly opposes all non-Orthodox churches, and considers their members as non-Greek and traitors of their ancestral traditions. Many times, leaders and other believers were accused for proselytism and went through trial. Most of them were declared innocent, but some were convicted and used the opportunity to evangelize prisoners. Lately, there is an ongoing trial for preselytism, which is now examined by Arius Pagus, the supreme Greek court.
Despite the persecution, there is evangelism in Universities, open meetings in squares and roads, and even door-to-door evangelism. Also, the Greek Pentecostal community runs a Bible school in cooperation with the Springfield-based Global University. At the past there was also a Pentecostal television station, but its operation was terminated.
The Greek Dimitris Peponis has been a missionary in China with many blessings in his ministry. Today, Christos Moukas lives in Bulgaria and dynamically ministers with miracles and witnesses many conversions.
Our Youth organizes evangelistic crusades in cities and villages throughout Greece. They have especially visited prisons, orphanages, and earthquake-plagued areas helping spiritually and practically. At the same time they work in door-to-door evangelism.
Before the Greek financial crisis, Greek Pentecostals had organized humanitarian visits to various Balkan countries, giving encouragement, financial support, and spiritual help to our Balkan brothers.
V. Medical Missions
Greek Pentecostal doctors had organized medical teams and visited Romania, FYROM, Bulgaria, and Albania, offering medical assist. Also, in partnership with Doctors Without Borders, they visit poor areas offering free medical services.
Today, because of the financial crisis in Greece, our churches have focused on helping the poor, the unemployed, and the immigrants with food, clothing, and medicines.
Cooperation with Other Churches
The churches of our Synod maintain good, brotherly relations with the other groups of Pentecostal Churches in Greece. We organize various conferences in which members of other churches also participate.
Besides our cooperation with the World AoG Fellowship, our Synod cooperates with the PEF and the SEAGF.