The Greek Orthodox adhere to the Orthodox Eastern Church, which is actually a group of autocephalous churches using the Byzantine rite. Historically, these churches grew out of the four Eastern Patriarchates (Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, and Constantinople) which, from the fifth century diverged from the Western Patriarchate of Rome over the nature of Christ. The final split took place after the fall of Constantinople in 1096. From that time, with the exception of a brief period of reunion in the fifteenth century, the Eastern Church has continued to reject the claim of the Roman patriarchate to universal supremacy, and has also rejected the concept of papal infallibility . Doctrinally, the main point at issue between the Eastern and Western Churches is that of the procession of the Holy Spirit. There are also divergences in ritual and discipline.
Originally a peasant community, the Greek Orthodox include many free- holders, and the community is less dominated by large landowners than other Christian denominations. In present-day Lebanon, the Greek Orthodox have become increasingly urbanized, and form a major part of the commercial and professional class of Beirut and other cities. Many are also found in the southeast and north, near Tripoli. They are both highly educated and well versed in finance. The sect has become known for its pan-Arab orientation, possibly because it exists in various parts of the Arab world. The church has often served as a bridge between Lebanese Christians and the Arab countries. Members of the sect constitute 5 percent of the population.
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