The history of the Greek Evangelical Church (GEC) can be divided into three sections. The first includes its history in the Greek area, the second its history in Asia Minor and the third the history as it emerged after the Asia Minor Catastrophe and the union of the two parts at the borders of Greece.
Important reform efforts were made in the vital area of Hellenism, but these remained without continuation.
The first of these was the reformation of the Issauri in the 8th century, when an attempt was made to impose a simpler religion. Another is the effort of Patriarch Cyril of Lucari in the 17th century when he founded a Patriarchal Printing Office, ordered and printed the translation of the New Testament into modern Greek and finally wrote the Lucari Confession, clearly Protestant in orientation.
Although politics played a big role in the above two movements, no one can deny that the effort to simplify the form of religion and the return to the Bible and its study occupied a significant part of these reforms. Another effort, not from above but from the people, is the creation of evangelical churches by Greeks influenced by the Reformation, who lived in Crete and the other Venetian possessions of the Greek archipelago during the 16th century.
Often the evangelicals of the time passed the Catholic holy examination and were sentenced to imprisonment.
In the years after the French and before the Greek revolution, the ideas of the neo-Greek enlightenment spread. Its exponents and especially Korais, disappointed with the state of the clergy, their illiteracy, the religious state of the people, the prejudices, preached a return to a simpler form of religion and to the Holy Bible.
After the revolution, the same ideas, together with a surrounding atmosphere of dislike for the official religious establishment led many to reactions in many different guises (e.g. Kairis, Laskaratos, Farmakidis, Vamvas). In this climate, the demand for a way out towards a more modern, simpler form of religion was born and strengthened, during an era with a widespread concept of the evolution of society, urban development and later (during Trikoupi's time) the attempt to industrialize the country.
The establishment of the EEE is marked by the publication of the newspaper "Star of the East" in January 1858. Its founder was Michael Kalopothakis (1825-1911), a medical surgeon, who studied theology and published the newspaper with the aim of defending the freedom of the press. Kalopothakis was influenced by the above ferments of his time, but the decisive point of his conversion to the Protest was the trial and conviction of an American missionary, Jonah King, simply because he believed differently.
This condemnation was also the point that made Kalopothakis rebel after he saw that in his country there was no freedom of conscience.
In 1868, he founded the "Children's Newspaper", the first children's illustrated publication, which until 1893, when it was closed, was the most important exponent of children's journalism in Greece.
In 1871 the first evangelical church was built in Athens, while Greek Evangelical Churches were soon created in Thessaloniki, Piraeus, Volos and Ioannina.
During the Cretan revolution of 1866-69, Kalopothakis and his associates founded an organization for the treatment of refugees from Crete, which provided food, shelter and education to thousands of needy people.
In 1883 the above churches created in Volos the first Synod of evangelical churches, which united them in one body.
In 1897, in the so-called "unfortunate" Greek-Turkish war, the officials of the EEE led by M. Kalopothakis went to the front of Thessaly in order to treat the wounded and refugees. Due to the hardships of the war, the pastor Athanasios Longinidis fell ill and died.
During the same war in 1897, but also in the First Balkan War in 1912, Maria Kalopothaki, the first Greek doctor, daughter of Michael, distinguished herself for her services to the motherland. She studied in Paris and devoted all her energies to organizing and directing military hospitals, training sister nurses and promoting hygiene in schools. M. Kalopothakis was a founding member of Parnassos, the Archaeological Society, founder of the Philosopher's Association, and was very active in establishing the Sunday holiday.
In 1911 M. Kalopothakis died and his son Dimitrios (1867-1946) took over as editor of the magazine "Star of the East". Dimitrios was a professor of history at the University of Athens and a correspondent journalist for the TIMES and the MORNING POST. D. Kalopothakis served E. Venizelos in the campaign for national claims before the Treaty of Versailles (1919). From Venizelos he received the order to establish and direct the Press Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1920 to 1930. He was honored with various awards from the Greek and British Governments.
In Asia Minor
In Asia Minor, Greek Evangelical Churches were established in Pontus, Cappadocia, the Smyrna region and Constantinople, mainly from 1870 onwards. An important personality for the churches of Asia Minor was Xenophon Moschou, famous philological translator of the most important dictionary of the ancient Greek language, by Liddell and Scott. Moschou was an assistant to the Metropolitan of Smyrna Chrysostomos, editor of his English correspondence.
With the persecution-genocides, many evangelicals from Asia Minor lost their lives, among them the evangelical pastors P. Pavlidis, X. Bostanzoglou, A. Ioakeimidis, D. Theocharidis, who were hanged by the Turks for their national action.
Although the Treaty of Lausanne exempted Greek Evangelicals from the exchange of populations, they followed their Orthodox brethren to Greece in 1922.
The evangelical refugees either joined the already existing churches in Greece, or created new ones in the places where they settled. In 1924, the Panhellenic Evangelical Association was formed, which included all the churches. In 1938 the Syndesmos was renamed the Greek Evangelical Church which, through its Synod, united them into one body.
During all the struggles of Greece, during the 20th century from the Balkan wars and the battle of Skra in the First World War, to Cyprus, the Greek evangelicals gave their presence and their blood in the defence of national rights. "Eastern Star" was closed in April 1967 with the imposition of censorship and reopened after 7 months.
EEE's activity continues to be diverse in the intellectual, charitable, publishing, artistic, social fields.
The Church of Glyfada
The Greek Evangelical Church of Glyfada was planted in 2009 by the First Greek Evangelical Church of Athens, when a church planting effort in Athens was launched. In 2013, the church invited George Tolias to become pastor to minister to the people of Glyfada.