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P.A.H.H. [d]

Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America Department of Archives

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Historical Development

Greek Orthodox have been settling in the United States as early as the 1880's. Since the establishment of the first in 1892, the evolution of the Greek American community has become a primary concern of the Church and its leadership. Thus, through the work of this vital department, the preservation of historical documents of the Greek Orthodox Churches and Hellenism in the Americas has become a priority.

Established more than thirty years ago, the Department of Archives has undertaken the task of systematically evaluating, organizing and classifying voluminous files, dating as far back as 1905. These documents, which preceded the formal establishment of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America, record the history, progress and growth of its institutions, the Greek American community and numerous fraternal, social, cultural and educational organizations.

The office of the Archives, once envisioned as a dream, has now become a reality. After many years of work, the chronicles of our history can be described as a professional approach to the preservation of our Greek Orthodox heritage in America.

Included in the Archive are thousands of documents representing numerous categories of Church development. Among the many categories indexed, these are included:

  1. the establishment and incorporation of the Archdiocese.
  2. The historical development of key institutions and governing bodies within the church.
  3. The structure and reorganization of the Archdiocese.
  4. The listings of all clergymen within the hierarchy of the Church.
  5. The correspondence of clergy and parishes within the Archdiocese.
  6. Progress of the Ecumenical Movement.
  7. Records of the Ecumenical and other Orthodox Patriarchates, and
  8. An extensive photograph file and library of books on Greeks in America.


The primary concerns of this department are to meet the needs to preserve, restore and index documents which are the historical accounts of events leading up to the organization and development of the Greek Orthodox Churches of the Americas. Since documents recording these important events are irreplaceable and in danger of disintegrating due to age, every effort is being made to preserve and restore them in a centralized location at the Archdiocese.


Since the establishment of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America in 1922, the evolution of the Greek-American community has been a primary interest to the leadership of the Church. To meet this concern, his Eminence Archbishop Iakovos created the Department of Archives in 1964 to serve as a repository of Orthodoxy and Hellenism in the Americas. The department's task was to systematically collect, organize and categorize a vast collection of materials accumulated by the Archdiocese over the years that bore witness to its own history and that of Hellenic culture in the New World. The Archdiocese's archival collection also records the Hellenic culture in the New World. The Archdiocese's archival collection also records the progress and growth of the Church and its institution, as well as that of the numerous social, cultural, and educational organizations of the Greek-American community. Perhaps by looking through the department's collection one can discover and appreciate the struggle and triumph of Orthodoxy and our Holy Archdiocese since its inception while also understanding the Church's identity and its relationship to others.


The mission of the Department of Archive is to systematically, collect, organize, catalog, and maintain the documents relating to the history of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and the Greek-American community. As a repository of select resources, the department's goal is to preserve our indelible past, chronicle our present, and to provide a valuable resource center for future generations interested in the unique history of our Holy Archdiocese, the vast richness of our Greek Orthodox faith and Hellenism in the Americas.

Archival Collection

The Archdiocese's archival collection chronicles all aspects of church affairs and its institutions, and includes a collection of material regarding:

  • Archdiocesan encyclicals;
  • clergy-laity congresses;
  • diocesan congresses;
  • archdiocesan and diocesan council records;
  • clergy records and correspondence;
  • parish records and correspondences;
  • minutes from Holy Synod meetings, as well as ecumenical meetings (SCOBA, WCC, NCC, NAD, Roman Catholic and Orthodox consultation);
  • religious educational and Greek paidea;
  • correspondence with Hellenic College/Holy Cross School of Theology, St. Basil's Academy, Philoptochos, and other church institutions;
  • correspondence with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, other Orthodox patriarchates and autocephalous churches;
  • correspondence with other Orthodox Christian jurisdictions in the Americas;
  • correspondence with Roman Catholic and Protestants, Jews, and Muslims;
  • correspondence with American, Greek, and international political leaders and figures;
  • and the correspondence of Archbishops Alexandros, Athanagoras (268th Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople), Michael, and Iakovos.

The department also includes materials regarding the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, an extensive collection of photographs, an impressive library on Hellenism in the Americas, and information on various Hellenic cultural and fraternal organizations and societies within the national and international landscape.

Current projects:

  • Collecting materials and artifacts for the archive collection of His Eminence Demetrios Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church of America.
  • Organizing the archive collection of His Eminence Metropolitan Spyridon, the former Metropolitan of Chaldea, during his tenure as Archbishop of America.
  • Collecting, cataloging, organizing, and maintaining select archival documents and materials.
  • Filming and digitizing various collections and conducting research requests for information.

Language(s) of Collection:

  • Greek.
  • English.
  • French.
  • German.
  • Russian.

Finding Aids:

These are cross-referenced and listed in alphabetical and chronological order:

  • Indices of records.
  • Indices of photographs.
  • Indices of materials.

Restrictions on access:

Open to serious scholars and students with the appropriate academic credentials and a letter of reference from your diocesan metropolitan or parish priest. Many documents need to be processed before viewing.

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About the Author


Citation Guidelines

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Calle, Nikie, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America Department of Archives, Workshop Report in Procedures for the Preservation of Parish Histories, 36th Biennial Clergy Laity Congress of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, on-line publication July 2002, available at http://www.pahh.com/symposia/workshops2002/calle.html.

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