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Snapshot of Greece – The official language of Greece is Greek, though there are some regions with Albanian and Turkish influences. About 97% of Greece’s population belongs to the Greek Orthodox Church. Greece’s population is also the most religiously active among European countries. Greece has a rich history in philosophy, politics, literature, and architecture. Folk dancing continues to be practiced for various ceremonies and celebrations, especially in smaller villages. Much of modern Greek music also combines traditional musical elements with modern pop styles, such as in laïko music. Soccer and basketball are Greece’s most popular sports, though other athletic events, such as wrestling, are also popular. Greek cuisine is influenced by its Mediterranean location. Olive oil is used in most dishes, and several other herbs and spices such as oregano, garlic, and basil are commonly used as well. Fish and lamb dishes are quite popular, as well as different types of salads and cheeses. Vegetarian dishes are particularly popular during Lent. Greece also has its own distinct types of fast food, such as souvlaki (grilled meat served on a skewer) and gyros (thinly sliced meat wrapped inside naan with vegetables and sauce).
Snapshot of Cyprus (part of the Greece Athens Mission)
The official languages of Cyprus are Greek and Turkish, though Armenian and Cypriot Maronite Arabic are recognized minority languages. In addition to these languages, much of the population is also able to speak English. About 78% of Cyprus’s population is Christian, most of whom belong to the Church of Cyprus (a Greek Orthodox Church). Another 18% of the population is Muslim. The island’s population is divided between those of Greek descent and those of Turkish descent. There tends to be a cultural divide between the two groups. Greek laïko music is popular, though other genres such as rock and hip hop are also popular. Soccer is the most popular sport in Cyprus, though basketball and volleyball are also somewhat popular. Cypriot cuisine is similar to Greek cuisine, with an emphasis on the use of fresh vegetables and herbs in most dishes. Several types of fish and seafood dishes are commonly eaten (including octopus stew), though some chicken, pork, and lamb dishes are also eaten. Bulgur and natural yogurt are also common food staples on the island.
Total Church membership in Greece is 751. There is one mission, four congregations, and one family history center.
Currently there are no official travel warnings issued for Greece. Greece has a strict immigration policy. There have been reports of people being injured while being picked up for interrogation concerning illegal immigration, and therefore it is advisable to always carry proper documentation such as a copy of your passport and your church-issued missionary identification. The U.S. State Dept. advises carrying an actual passport; however, if you are uncomfortable doing that, a color copy will suffice in most situations. Always adhere to mission guidelines.
Shipping: Recommended shipping companies are UPS and USPS. Ship to the mission home and not the the missionaries’ apartments.
Panayias Eleftherotrias 9
PO Box 51178
145 63 Kifissia