Brigham Young University

On 19 September 1972, Elder Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated Greece for the preaching of the gospel in modern times. Before its organization as a mission 1 July 1990, Greece was part of the Austria Vienna East Mission, and before that it was part of the International Mission.

Missionaries first entered Greece near the turn of the century, after the Church received a letter from Rigas Profantis of Athens requesting more information about the restored gospel. Turkish mission president Ferdinand F. Hintze visited Greece in April 1899 and taught Profantis and his friend, Nicholas Malavetis, who had been searching for truth. Both were baptized 22 October 1905 by J. Wilford Booth of the Near East Mission.

In 1909 or 1910 the Church withdrew missionaries from Greece, and a branch was not organized until 1965. President Ezra Taft Benson visited the country in 1979.

Before the official organization of a mission in Greece, the Church in that nation consisted mainly of United States military and diplomatic personnel and their families. With the close of the American air bases in Greece, the Church created a large international branch of various nationalities and organized a small Greek branch in Athens. A small branch was also organized in the northern city of Thessalonica. The frequent denial of resident permits to United States missionaries was partially overcome by the recommendation that half of the missionaries called be European members, who did not need visas or resident permits.

By the beginning of the year 2000 there were 479 members of the Church in Greece living in 5 branches.

[Year-end 2005: Est. population, 10,668,000; Members, 631; Missions, 1; Branches, 5; Percent LDS, .006, or one in 17,179; Europe Central Area; Source 2007 Church Almanac.]

SOURCE

1999-2000 Church Almanac. Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1998. 327.

R. DOUGLAS PHILLIPS

From Arnold K. Garr, Donald Q. Cannon, and Richard O. Cowan, eds., Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2000), 445. Used with the permission of the Deseret Book Company. Copies prohibited by law.