On either side of the street is the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, the older of the Jerusalem patriarchs. “Orthodox” means the true, “right path.” Since the Great Schism in the Church in 1054, the term refers to the Eastern Church, while the Western Church with its headquarters in Rome, is referred to as “Catholic” (universal, widespread). Orthodox Christianity emphasizes the mystical and experiential aspects of ritual; their churches are richly decorated and enveloped in incense, and the liturgy is recited in Greek.
Usually the Greek flag and the flag of the Patriarch (a red cross on a white background) can be seen flying along the street. Above the doorways of the buildings, and superimposed in the center of the flag one can also see the letter “T” with a circle in the middle: the letters “tau” and “phi” signifying the Greek word “taphos” meaning “tomb” or “sepulcher.” This is the symbol of the ancient Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulcher which manages the Church’s affairs. Above the doorway and to the right is a relief of the Holy Sepulcher of Jesus, and beyond the entrance are offices, chapels, a monastery and access to the Courtyard of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. To the left is the Holy See of the Patriarchate, a library and a reception hall. The sect possesses many antique objects and important manuscripts.
The vast majority of the community is of Arab decent, but the leadership is Greek. The Greek-Orthodox Church owns many buildings and properties in Jerusalem and throughout Israel, including lands that were leased by the Israeli Government where the Knesset and Government Quarter are presently located.