IS SAINT BASIL'S - BY GREEKS, FOR GREEKS, ABOUT GREEKS AND IN GREEK?
The reality is, you don't have to be Greek, to be Greek Orthodox, any more than Roman Catholics have to be Roman. Although there are some people of Greek heritage in our parish…most aren’t. Our parish is a very diverse family, of Greeks, Russians, Ukrainians, Jordanians, Lebanese, Eritreans, Romanians, Ethiopians, Chinese, former Protestants of various types (including our half Irish and half Scottish priest, Fr Boyd), former Roman Catholics, former agnostics, and former atheists.
The worship services at Saint Basil Church are done primarily in English. On Sundays we do the “Lord’s Prayer” in both English and Ancient Greek, just to offer you a little flavor of how it sounded many centuries ago.
So, you may be wondering, if it’s not just for Greeks and it’s not in Greek, then why is it called “Greek Orthodox”? Our Church is referred to as, "Greek,” because Greek was the first language of the ancient Christian Church through which our Faith was first transmitted. The New Testament was written in Greek and the early writings of Christ's followers were also written in the Greek language. The word "Greek" is used to describe the Christians who originated from the Greek speaking early Christian Church, who also used classical Greek thinking to find appropriate expressions of the Orthodox Faith. For instance, when the Gospel writer, John, used the word, “Logos,” to describe the Son of God who had taken on human flesh, he took that word, “Logos,” from pagan Greek thought and Christianized it, offering his readers its fuller meaning in our Lord, Jesus Christ.
The Greek Orthodox Church is governed through a conciliar hierarchy. On a regional level, our Church is under the leadership of His Eminence, Metropolitan Gerasimos. He’s the bishop of the Greek Metropolis of San Francisco, who oversees Greek Orthodox parishes throughout seven states in the west (including, Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington). Throughout the United States’ Greek Archdiocese of America, there are 9 such metropolises, who are each under the leadership of their own metropolitans (bishops), who together, are referred to as the Holy Synod of Bishops. Offering spiritual leadership to this Holy Synod of all 9 of those metropolises is Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Archdiocese of North America.