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Greek Evangelical Church

This body has been from the first a national movement. Its first leader, Michael Kalopothakes, a native of Areopolis, near Sparta, had come under the influence of Protestant missionaries, having attended a missionary school run by two missionaries of the Southern Presbyterian Church in the USA. As a student in Athens he attended the meetings of Jonas King,* but the missionaries had no intention of establishing a Protestant church in Greece-and only strong opposition compelled Kalopothakes and other Greeks to organize an Evangelical church. After graduating in medicine he studied at Union Theological Seminary, New York, and in 1858 organized the First Church in Athens, opened the first Sunday school, and in 1871 erected the first Evangelical building at the foot of the Acropolis. He became the first agent of the British and Foreign Bible Society, and editor of the weekly paper Astir Tis Anatolis which is still being published by the church as a monthly magazine. Within a few years several churches were organized in other parts of the country.

Parallel to this movement was a similar Evangelical effort among the Greeks in Asia Minor, Turkey, where a number of churches were organized. When in 1922-23, as a result of war, the Greeks had to evacuate Asia Minor, the Evangelicals in Turkey went to Greece as refugees, joined the local church, and also formed new congregations in different areas. Today under the general synod there are some thirty congregations with a membership of 12,000. There are seventeen ordained pastors and a few lay workers. There is an Evangelical orphanage in Katerini, Macedonia; a Bible school; two summer camps for the church's children (in Attica and Macedonia); and a family camp in Thrace.