Each age tries to form its own conception of the past. Each age writes the history of the past anew with reference to the conditions uppermost in its own time. — Frederick Jackson Turner
Here’s a new site worth a visit. The Society for Orthodox Christian History in the Americas has launched a new blog at OrthodoxHistory.org. The picture here, found in the archives of the Library of Congress, shows a meeting of Orthodox bishops in 1921. But, mysteriously, it’s not clear what the meeting was about. As OrthodoxHistory.org explains:
Few photos from the early 20th century history of American Orthodoxy are so rich in significance as this one. This was taken during the 1921 visit of then-deposed Abp. Meletios (Metaxakis) of Athens to America, beginning the process of founding the Greek Archdiocese. He came traveling with Bp. Alexander (Demoglou), who would become the first Greek Archbishop of America. Meletios and Alexander did a remarkable amount of work toward uniting the Greek parishes in America, which were numerous by this time and deeply divided along political lines, with factions supporting either the Greek monarchy or the Venizelist democratizers. Meletios was later elected as Ecumenical Patriarch in November of this same year.
Here is how SOCHA describes its mission — from the “Real Church. Real History” post on the blog:
Anyone who has made a comparative study of the history of Orthodox Christianity in North America has probably quickly surmised that there is something of a historiograpical problem. That is, the writing of the history of Orthodox Christianity in America has been plagued with jurisdictional squabbles, claims to primacy and other agendas, often with little attention to what primary sources actually yield up as the story contained within them. Myths and ideology have often dominated these histories, rather than a close reading of historical documents.
With the formation of the Society for Orthodox Christian History in the Americas (SOCHA), the membership desires to begin to shift the approach to studying and writing the history of Orthodoxy in the Americas (and elsewhere, of course, should members desire it) to reflect an earnest engagement with primary sources. There is no jurisdictional agenda attached to SOCHA, and there is no specific ideology or philosophy which members are required to share, excepting only the basic integrity crucial to historical study and the honesty required to have one’s premises challenged and revised should the evidence warrant it.
This site hosts essays, links to podcasts, book reviews, tidbits discovered in the course of research, photographs, and more.
OrthodoxHistory.org is authored by Fr. Andrew and Matthew Namee. Namee is doing a regular podcast now on American Orthodox History on Ancient Faith Radio. Listen here to the introductory talk: