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Preservation of American Hellenic History

San Francisco Diocese Resolution,
February 4, 2002,
to be sent as a Proposal to the Archdiocese for the Preservation of Community Histories

Summary Description

Under the leadership of His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony, during the San Francisco Diocese Clergy Laity Conference, held at St Nicholas Ranch, Dunlap, California, February 2002, a proposal was accepted enthusiastically for the preservation of community histories.

This has been forwarded as a resolution by the San Francisco Diocese conference to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America with recommendation for its inclusion as a nationwide proposal in the Archdiocese 36th Biennial Clergy Laity Congress, to be held in Los Angeles, June 30 to July 4, 2002. The Clergy Laity Congress will be hosted by the San Francisco Diocese.


The problem and a solution were presented to the San Francisco Diocese Clergy Laity Conference from the Ascension Historical Committee, Oakland, California, February 4, 2002.


American-Hellenic cultural artifacts and memorabilia are being lost at an alarming rate with each succeeding generation. Precious historic documents, including parish, community, Philoptochos, youth groups, fraternal organization records, photographs, and personal histories are being neglected or destroyed. Customs and traditions followed by the founders and pioneers of our communities are fast disappearing from our consciousness; thereby further robbing future generations of their rightful legacy.

During the 1998 symposium for the Preservation of Our History: Past, Present, and Future, held in Oakland, California, in February, 1998, a paper was presented (by Speros Vryonis, Jr., titled Cultural Context of Preserving Community Archives) in which this was stated:

There are two important bodies of primary source materials that are absolutely crucial: the ecclesiastical documents of the Greek Orthodox Church of America, and the secular records of the Greek communities. It is a stark fact that there is no large-scale systematic study of the community institutions of the Greek American Orthodox community. One can only guess at the degree of disappearance and destruction of community archives [...] through neglect and indifference. The Greek American experience in this country's communities is shrinking. We need to take prompt measures to begin this work systematically.

The need for documenting and preserving our experience is acute, for our rich heritage is being diminished and even distorted, thus negating our true history in this country.


As expressed in the same paper, the solution exists in the formation of organizations that could produce a united effort to recover primary sources for community histories.

More exactly, we may see that the solution exists in the creation and the support of History Preservation Committees within each Parish community, accomplished through the proposal of a resolution to this effect at the 36th Biennial Clergy Laity Congress, the ideal venue for addressing this critical problem.

The Diocese Resolution

Let the 36th Biennial Clergy Laity Congress resolve that each and every Parish of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America create a History Preservation Committee to collect, itemize and store carefully any and all items pertaining to the history and culture of the founders, and their descendants, and successive generations of communicants within each respective community.

Wherever possible, these historic objects are to be stored in a specific, dedicated area in the community facilities.

The specific objectives of these committees will be to identify, collect, record, organize, preserve, and maintain the records and artifacts of each community's history and culture.

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