Legal forms available for religious groups
1. Association (articles 78 of Greek Civil Code)
Provisions of incorporation:
a) Minimum 20 members
b) Non-profit purpose
c) The statutory purpose must not be illegal, immoral and not be in contrary with public order.
d) The founders or temporary association’s management have to file an application for registration of the incorporated association at Greek Court of First Instance. The abovementioned application for registration must include:
• Formation of association
• Names of members of management
• Articles of incorporation of association (signed by members, the date of signing), which have to be included the following:
– association’s purpose, corporate name, domicile
– terms of registration and withdrawal of a member
– rights and obligations of members
– legal representative of association (court and out of court representative)
– income of association
– members of management and the terms under which the administration operates and its members are dismissed
– terms under which its assembly of members meet and decide,
– terms under which the Articles of Association are amended
– terms under which the association is dissolved.
The abovementioned application is examined by a competent judge. If the above conditions are met, he approves the registration of the association in the book, which is kept at the Court of First Instance and also he orders publishing of the association’s articles of association to the press. The approved statute is notified to the Public Prosecutor and filed in the Court’s of First Instance archive.
Thus, the association acquires legal personality, as meaning that it is “born” at the time of its registration in the Court’s archive.
2. Foundation (Article 108 of Greek Civil Code)
Provisions of incorporation:
a) property setting by a special purpose,
(B) a founding act, defining the purpose of the foundation, its property and its organization,
(C) approval of incorporation by decree,
(D) upon authorization, the founder is obliged to transfer the property which he has set up to the institution.
3. Civil non-profit company (741 of Greek Civil Code)
– contract of two or more persons, which may be written or oral
– obligation for partners to pursue a common purpose, eg scientific, philanthropic, artistic, religious, economic purpose
– joint contributions, which may be their personal work, money or other objects or other benefits.
– no legal personality, if its purpose is not be economic.
4. Establishment of a Religious Legal Entity (Law 4301/2014)
Religious legal entity may be a group of persons of a religious community, which seeks their organized worship and the collective manifestation of its member’s religious. That religious community acquires legal personality at the time of its registration in the Court’s archive (Book of Religious Legal Persons).
Provisions of incorporation:
(i) 300 persons, of which at least one is the religious leader, a priest or a pastor of the religious community, authorized to perform the sacred rituals of the religion. The religious leader must be a Greek citizen or a citizen of a Member State of the European Union or a foreigner who is legally residing in Greece.
(ii) file an application to the Court of first instance, following :
– confession of faith,
– names of the members of the administration,
– a full curriculum vitae of the religious leader of the community,
– provision about election or selection process of religious leader
– A list of its places of worship
– A Regulation, signed by its members and by date.
The regulation must not be illegal and not be in contrary with public order. It must be included:(A) corporation name,
(C) its internal organizational structure,
(D) members of the administration, the terms for appointment and withdrawal, the rules of its operation,
(E) terms about election or selection of religious leaders,
(F) legal representative of corporation (court and out of court representative)
(G) terms under which members are registered and are dismissed, and their rights and obligations as well,
(H) terms under which the corporate body assembles and decides,
(I) its income and that income’s origin,
(J) any relationships, spiritual and administrative ties with a Greek ecclesiastical person and foreign religious communities or organizations as well.
(K) terms under which the Articles of Incorporation are amended
(L) terms under which the entity is dissolved.
The regulation defines the religion, doctrine and confession of faith, describes their religion teaching and religious rules.
(iii) The property of the religious legal entity derives from member’s voluntary contributions, donations or estates, or any financial aid from Greek legal entities of the same church or religion.
(iv) its religious leader or a multilateral group, to which he is necessarily involved, as defined by his regulation manage the entity
(v) entity may establish and operate any branch, library, retreats and worship centers anywhere in Greece.
Furthermore, the Religious Legal Entities may operate camps, private schools, radio stations, charities, non-governmental organizations to develop their activities.
If the above conditions are met, the Court of first instance accepts the application and orders: a) to be published the Confession of Faith and a summary of the regulation in the press and b) to be registered the Religious Legal Entity at Book of Religious Legal Entities. Subsequently, the regulation is ratified by the President of the Court, notified to the Prosecutor of Prosecution and filed in the file of the Court of First Instance.
The religious entity acquires legal personality at the time of its registration in the Court’s archive.
5. If you are interested to establish a “worship place”, a special permission from the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs is required, as defined in the Circular Protocol Number Α.Π. 69230/A3 (ΑΔΑ: ΒΙΤΦΘ9-T0T).