More to it than Zeus and Apollo

Updated: August 22, 2004, 9:57 PM ET
By Brian Church | Special to ESPN Insider
ATHENS, Greece – It was Sunday. My surname is Church. You can guess where I went.

That's right. To a taverna with's Jim Caple, whom I've not seen at Bible study recently.

Being called Church is useful in Greece. Officials get your name immediately when you say it's the English for iklisia, from which we get the word "ecclesiastical."

I don't go to church much. And I've never really taken to the Orthodox Church of Greece. My gut impression is that Christianity here has more of a national, rather than truly religious character, one more concerned with propagating respect for the history of the Orthodox Church than the Christian message itself.

But that could be very unfair.

What is fact is that Christianity owes the Greeks, big time. St. Paul famously wrote to young churches in Greece, including Thessaloniki -- we Athenians think they needed two of his letters because they're a bit slow up north -- and Corinth. Disagreements then, disagreements later. In A.D. 1054, Rome (Catholic) and Constantinople (Orthodox) split over what role LeBron James would play on this year's U.S. Olympic men's basketball team.

Just making sure I've got your attention.