Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
|Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America|
Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I |
Archbishop of America Demetrios
|Headquarters||New York City, New York|
|Territory||United States of America|
|Members||2 million adherents, 476,900 members (107,400 regular attendees)|
|This article forms part of the series|
|Orthodoxy in the Americas|
|Assembly of Bishops|
|List of monasteries in the United States|
The Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church today, numbering over 250 million worldwide, is a communion of self-governing churches, each administratively independent of the other, but united by a common faith and spirituality. Their underlying unity is based on identity of doctrines, sacramental life and worship, which distinguishes Orthodox Christianity.
As of 2013 Archbishop Demetrios served the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. He served as:
- Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America
- Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
- President of the Holy Eparchial Synod
- Convener and Chairman of the Episcopal Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Hierarchs in North and Central America
- Chairman of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas
Episcopal details include:
- Consecrated as Bishop September 17, 1967
- Elected as Archbishop of America August 19, 1999
- Enthroned as Archbishop of America September 18, 1999
The mission of the Archdiocese is to proclaim the Gospel of Christ, to teach and spread the Orthodox Christian faith, to energize, cultivate, and guide the life of the Church in the United States of America according to the Orthodox Christian faith and tradition.
The Greek Orthodox Church in America considers that it sanctifies the faithful through divine worship, especially the Holy Eucharist and other sacraments, building the spiritual and ethical life of the faithful in accordance with the Holy Scriptures, Sacred Tradition, the doctrines and canons of the Ecumenical and local Councils, the canons of the Holy Apostles and the Fathers of the Church and of all other Councils recognized by the Orthodox Church.
The Archdiocese states that it serves as a beacon, carrier, and witness of the message of Christ to all persons who live in the United States of America, through divine worship, preaching, teaching, and living of the Orthodox Christian faith.
Before the establishment of a Greek Archdiocese in the Western Hemisphere there were numerous communities of Greek Orthodox Christians. The first Greek Orthodox community in the Americas was founded in 1864, in New Orleans, Louisiana, by a small colony of Greek merchants. History also records that on June 26, 1768, the first Greek colonists landed at St. Augustine, Florida, the oldest city in America. The first permanent community was founded in New York City in 1892, today's Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity and the See of the Archbishop of America. The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America was incorporated in 1921 and officially recognized by the State of New York in 1922.
In 1908, the Church of Greece received authority over the Greek Orthodox congregation of America, but in 1922 Patriarch Meletius IV of Constantinople transferred the archdiocese back to the jurisdiction of the Church of Constantinople. In 1996, the one Archdiocese was split by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, dividing the administration of the two continents into four parts (America, Canada, Central America, and South America) and leaving only the territory of the United States for the Archdiocese of America.
Holy Eparchial Synod
The Holy Eparchial Synod of the Archdiocese is composed of:
- Archbishop Demetrios of America, President
- Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago
- Metropolitan Savas of Pittsburgh
- Metropolitan Methodios of Boston
- Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver
- Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta
- Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit
- Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco
- Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America is composed of an Archdiocesan District (New York City) and eight metropolises (formerly dioceses): New Jersey, Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Boston and Denver. It is governed by the Archbishop and the Eparchial Synod of Metropolitans. The Synod is headed by the Archbishop (as the first among equals) and comprises the Metropolitans who oversee the ministry and operations of their respective metropolises. It has all the authority and responsibility which the Church canons provide for a provincial synod.
There are more than 500 parishes, 800 priests and approximately 440,000 to 2 million faithful in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, depending on the source of reports and the counting method being used. The number of parishes in the Greek Archdiocese rose by about 9% in the decade from 1990 to 2000, and membership growth has largely been in terms of existing members having children. Membership is concentrated in the Northeastern United States. The states with the highest rates of adherence are Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and New York. However, there are also large numbers of members in Florida and California.
The Archdiocese receives within its ranks and under its spiritual aegis and pastoral care Orthodox Christians, who either as individuals or as organized groups in the Metropolises and Parishes have voluntarily come to it and which acknowledge the ecclesiastical and canonical jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
The Archdiocese also includes 21 monastic communities, 17 of which were founded by Elder Ephraim (former abbot of Philotheou monastery). The largest of these is St. Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery in Florence, Arizona.
Additionally, one seminary is operated by the Greek Archdiocese, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts, which educates not only Greek Archdiocese seminarians but also those from other jurisdictions, as well.
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America was a member of SCOBA and is a member of its successor organization, the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America. Due to the order of the Diptychs, the Greek Archbishop of America serves as the Chairman of the Assembly.
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese comprises some 525 parishes and 20 monasteries across the United States of America. The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese has one seminary school under its jurisdiction. This school is called Holy Cross. The seminary is located in Brookline, Massachusetts and in 2012 celebrated its 75th anniversary as a school of theology. The campus is also home to the only accredited Greek Orthodox undergraduate college in America, Hellenic College. These two schools are situated on the highest geographical point adjacent to Boston, known as the "Holy Hill".
- Archbishop Demetrios (Trakatellis) of America
- Metropolitan Iakovos (Garmatis) of Chicago
- Metropolitan Methodios (Tournas) of Boston
- Metropolitan Isaiah (Chronopoulos) of Denver
- Metropolitan Alexios (Panagiotopoulos) of Atlanta
- Metropolitan Nicholas (Pissare) of Detroit
- Metropolitan Gerasimos (Michaleas) of San Francisco
- Metropolitan Savas (Zembillas) of Pittsburgh (elected November 2, 2011; enthronement December 8, 2011)
- Metropolitan Evangelos (Kourounis) of New Jersey
(This is the actual hierarchical seniority order and formal listing of the bishops.)
- Bishop Andonios (Paropoulos) of Phasiane, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of America (and by extension also of the Direct Archdiocesan District)
- Bishop Demetrios (Kantzavelos) of Mokissos, assigned to the Metropolis of Chicago
- Bishop Sebastianos (Skordallos) of Zela
- Bishop Apostolos (Koufallakis) of Medeia, assigned to the Metropolis of San Francisco
- Metropolitan Maximos (Aghiorgoussis) of Pittsburgh
- Bishop Iakovos (Pililis) of Catania
- Metropolitan Philotheos (Karamitsos) of Meloa
- Bishop Dimitrios (Couchell) of Xanthos
Former Archbishops of America
- Alexander (Demoglou), 1922–1930
- Athenagoras (Spyrou), 1931–1948
- Michael (Konstantinides), 1948–1958
- Iakovos (Coucouzis), 1959–1996
- Spyridon (Papageorge), 1996–1999
- Archbishop Athenagoras (Cavadas) of Thyateira and Great Britain (formerly of Boston)
- Archbishop Athenagoras (Kokkinakis) of Thyateira and Great Britain
- Metropolitan Anthony (Gergiannakis) of San Francisco
- Metropolitan Germanos (Polyzoides) of Hierapolis
- Metropolitan Joachim (Alexopoulos) of Demetrias (formerly of Boston)
- Metropolitan Philaretos (Johannides) of Syros (formerly of Chicago)
- Metropolitan Silas (Koskinas) of Saranta Ekklesia
- Bishop Aimilianos (Laloussis) of Harioupolis
- Bishop Eirinaios (Tsourounakis) of San Francisco
- Bishop George (Papaioannou) of New Jersey
- Bishop Gerasimos (Papadopoulos) of Abydos
- Bishop Germanos (Liamadis) of Constantia
- Bishop Germanos (Psallidakis) of Synadon
- Bishop Kallistos (Papageorgapoulos) of San Francisco
- Bishop Meletios (Diacandrew) of Aristeas
- Bishop Meletios (Tripodakis) of Christianopoulis
- Bishop Paul (deBallester) of Nazianzos
- Bishop Philip (Koutoufas) of Atlanta
- Bishop Theodosius (Sideris) of Ancona
- Bishop Timothy (Haloftis) of Detroit
Office of the Archbishop
The Office of the Archbishop responds to the demands associated with the overall duties of the Archbishop. Tasks include: scheduling of the archbishop's pastoral visitations, official and unofficial meetings with clergy and laity, public and official appearances, audiences, conferences and travels. In addition, the Office processes all forms of communication addressed to the Archbishop.
Office of the Chancellor
The Office of the Chancellor is concerned with the well-being of the clergy, their ongoing assignments and reassignments, their continuing education, and the benefits provided to them by the Church.
Office of Administration
The Office of Administration has a responsibility for the administrative, financial and developmental functions of the Archdiocese. This Office manages the human resources and operations of the Archdiocesan headquarters in New York. Additionally, the Office acts as the coordinator and liaison for the Clergy-Laity Congress, the Archdiocesan Council and the various Archdiocesan Institutions.
The Archdiocesan Council is the advisory and consultative body to the Archbishop. It interprets and implements the decision of the Clergy-Laity Congress and the Regulations of the Archdiocese, administers the temporal and financial affairs of the Archdiocese, and possesses interim legislative authority between Clergy-Laity Congresses.
Since the establishment of the first Greek Orthodox Church in 1864, the evolution of the Greek-American community has been a primary concern of the leadership of the Church. This department works to maintain the historical documents of the Greek Orthodox Church and of Hellenism in the Americas.
The Archdiocese Benefits Committee is the legal body of the Church in America to address the temporal needs of our clergy and lay employees of the Archdiocese.
The Department of Communications facilitates communication throughout the Church in America and communicates the scope of the ministry and activity of Archdiocese in the larger contexts of America and the world. The Department assists the Hierarchs, Clergy, Parishes, Departments, Organizations, Institutions, and Programs in receiving and communicating information.
Education Office / Direct Archdiocesan District
The Direct Archdiocesan District Office of Education serves the District's parochial day schools and the afternoon Greek language schools by providing professional training for all teachers (Greek and English curricula); appropriate materials for teaching Greek as a second language; and The Comprehensive Examination in Modern Greek for the evaluation of student learning.
The Department of Finance maintains the material well-being of the Archdiocese of America. It is responsible for the oversight of all financial matters of the Archdiocese.
The mission of GOTelecom is to serve the needs of the Church by producing and disseminating religious, cultural and educational mass media materials pertaining to Orthodox Christianity and Hellenic Culture.
The purpose of the Greek Education and Culture program of the Archdiocese is to instill in youth the spiritual, moral and cultural values of Greek Orthodox heritage.
The IT Department sets the overall strategic technology vision for the Archdiocese, technology standards, and all computer operations and systems at the Archdiocese. Overseeing and coordinating technology efforts in the various Archdiocesan departments, organizations, and institutions is also a focal point for the IT Department in order to improve the speed, efficiency, and accuracy of information shared and disseminated.
Inter-Orthodox Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations
The Ecumenical Office has as its main function the task of providing information, stimulating interest and coordinating ecumenical activities on the archdiocesan, metropolitan and parish levels. It adheres to the principle that Orthodoxy and Orthodox ecumenism must always speak the truth, never compromising the integrity and purity of Orthodox teachings, but always respecting the sincerity of the religious convictions and spiritual sensitivities of others.
The Department of Internet Ministries is responsible for identifying, leveraging, and developing technologies appropriate for Orthodox Christian digital ministry. In this capacity, the Department is charged with the development and expansion of the Archdiocese’s presence on the Internet and the World Wide Web. The Department is also responsible for creating and coordinating all digital applications and services provided by the Archdiocese; overseeing and managing all multimedia programs and their development; creating new programs and services through iPods, cell phones, and any other emerging technologies.
Marriage and Family
This department has been established to deal with marriage and family—fundamental institutions of vital importance for the Church and Society. A significant part of the work of the department is the issue of inter-Christian marriages.
The Orthodox Observer is a monthly publication of the Archdiocese for the purpose of serving as a direct link between the leadership of the Church and each individual reader. It communicates the message of the Gospel and provides news of local, national and international interest about the Church.
Outreach and Evangelism
The Department of Outreach & Evangelism has been established to reach out to inactive Orthodox Christians and to the unchurched, meet the needs of those inquiring about the Orthodox faith, and offer each community the tools for parish renewal and for the establishment of new parishes.
In 2004, the Archdiocese created the Office of Parish Development as a resource for various aspects of parish development, including raising funds for expansion projects and renovations, stewardship, grant opportunities, endowments, and more. The Office of Parish Development aims to assist parishes to work according to an effective strategy that is rooted in sound fundraising principles.
As of 2006, the annual Stewardship Program materials of the Archdiocese are created and distributed through the Office of Parish Development.
The task of this department is to develop further and to coordinate the philanthropic work of the Archdiocese. Working closely with various community organizations, most especially the Ladies Philoptochos Society, this Department will coordinate on a national level the philanthropic work of the Church wherever the need may arise.
Press Office, News and Media Relations
This office is responsible for the coordination of the English and Greek Press Offices, Radio and Television Office (GOTelecom) and Archdiocese involvement in matters of public and political affairs in the United States and relations with the White House, Congress, academic leaders, local and state officials. Further the department is responsible for the implementation of programming for public events involving the Archdiocese, and the Clergy-Laity Congresses.
The Department of Public Affairs assists the Office of the Archbishop in coordinating the Archdiocese involvement in matters of public and political affairs in the United States, the White House, Congress, academic leaders and local and state officials. This office also implements programming for public events related to public affairs.
This department keeps the vital records of the Greek Orthodox Faithful, including marriages, divorces, baptisms, and funerals. It compiles annual vital statistics in cooperation with diocesan registrars, and maintains the canonical files.
This department serves the parishes and metropolises by providing materials and services that will advance their programs of religious education. The department also serves individuals, organizations, military bases, ecumenical groups, and overseas parishes with catechetical resources.
The Stewardship Program is a ministry resource to help guide parish stewardship campaigns. Materials are created around a central theme, which changes annually, and include posters, brochures, sample communication documents, month-to-month operation guidelines, and other resources for priests and lay leadership. The stewardship materials are mailed to all parishes in the fall of each year and are also available online at goarch.org. The Office of Parish Development, which oversees the Stewardship Program, is also available to provide additional assistance to parishes regarding their individual stewardship programs.
Youth and Young Adult Ministries
The Department's mission is to (1) minister to youth and youth workers, as well as young adults and their families, helping them to better understand and experience the Orthodox Faith; (2) assist the local parish and/or metropolis in creating and sustaining youth and young adult ministries; and (3) create resources, which are disseminated throughout our Archdiocese.
To further their work, they have developed an active social media presence on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Blogger ("The Ladder" Blog). Their weekly YouTube videos ("Be the Bee," on the Y2AM channel) have been well-received, as has "ExeGenius," an annotated version of the Sunday Gospel readings.
The Department oversees a variety of programs for youths of all ages, including HOPE (kindergarten through second grade), JOY (third through sixth grades), GOYA (ages thirteen through eighteen), Altar Boys, Scouting, and Camping Ministries.
Information about different institutions throughout the United States which are part of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
Archdiocesan Cathedral of Holy Trinity
The Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity provides regular divine worship, counseling, Christian education, human services and cultural programs for people in the New York City area.
Hellenic College and Holy Cross School of Theology
Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology together constitute a Greek Orthodox Christian institution of higher learning providing undergraduate and graduate education. Located on a 52-acre (21 ha) campus in Brookline, Massachusetts, Hellenic College and Holy Cross seek to educate leaders, priests, lay persons, men and women.
Saint Basil Academy
Saint Basil Academy is the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese home away from home for children in need. Serving as a philanthropic center of the Church, the purpose of the Academy is to provide a loving Christian environment, where resident children are nurtured into adulthood. Although children are brought to the Academy for various reasons, the common thread of all the resident children is the inability of a parent of guardian to sufficiently care for them.
St. Michael's Home
Saint Michael's Home is a New York State Department of Social Services-certified residential adult care facility of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. The programs and services of St. Michael's Home are specifically designed for senior individuals who seek assisted living in a Greek Orthodox environment.
St. Photios National Shrine
The St. Photios National Shrine is the only Greek Orthodox National Shrine in the country. It is primarily a religious institution and is located in America’s oldest city, St. Augustine, Florida. The purpose of the Shrine is two-fold. First, it honors the memory of the first colony of Greeks in the New World and the succeeding generations of Greek immigrants (protopori). Secondly, it serves to preserve, enhance and promote the ethnic and cultural traditions of Greek heritage and the teachings of the Greek Orthodox Church in America. Over 100,000 people visit the Shrine each year.
Archdiocesan Presbyters Council (APC)
The Archdiocesan Presbyters Council seeks to support, enhance, and promote the brotherhood of our priests on all levels of their diakonia, spiritual growth, and personal needs. Established in 1970 as the National Presbyters Council with the expressed purpose of receiving counsel from and offering counsel to the Archbishop concerning priestly issues, the current APC continues to work closely with the archbishop and the Chancellor of the Archdiocese in addressing the concerns of clergy.
Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
The Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle are laymen of the Archdiocese who have been honored for their outstanding service to the Church by having a Patriarchal title, or "offikion", bestowed upon them by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. Those upon whom this title of the Byzantine Church has been conferred are known as "Archons of the Great Church of Christ", and the titles are personally conferred by the Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the Americas, Archbishop Demetrios.
Faith: An Endowment for Orthodoxy & Hellenism
This is a separate endowment fund that exists for the purpose of assisting the National Ministries and institutions of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Contributions to the Endowment remain permanently restricted and inviolate in accordance with the purpose of the Endowment fund. Financial support for the Archdiocese Ministries and Institutions comes from the growth of the Endowment's investments.
Hellenic Cultural Center
The Hellenic Cultural Center of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America was established in 1986 with the goal of cultivating the rich Orthodox heritage and the Hellenic customs, culture and traditions within the Greek-American community.
Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Endowment Fund Incorporated is a separate endowment fund corporation that exists for the purpose of seeding and nurturing the ministries of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese that advance Orthodoxy and Hellenism. Members commit $100,000, which is paid over a period of 10 years or less. The contributions to the Fund remain permanently restricted and inviolate. Only assets in excess of that amount are used for the distribution of grants in accordance with the purpose of the Fund.
National Forum of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians
The National Forum of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians is the Archdiocesan ministry responsible for liturgical music activities and the development, support, and recognition of church musicians. Chartered in 1976 as an auxiliary of the Archdiocese, the National Forum serves as the liaison among local church musicians, metropolitan church music federations, and the Archdiocese. It also serves as the gathering place for church musicians to discuss issues related to liturgical music and to formulate needed responses.
National Sisterhood of Presvyteres (NSP)
The National Sisterhood of Presvyteres, formally established in 1982, consists of all the Presvytéres (i.e. the wives of married priests) of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. The purpose of the Sisterhood is to promote the spirit of Christian love among the Presvyteres by giving them opportunities to get acquainted with one another. This is accomplished with retreats, meetings, social gatherings and newsletters which help the Presvyteres develop a unique bond. The Sisterhood National Board meets annually, whereas, the general membership convenes every two years at the Clergy-Laity Congress.
Ladies Philoptochos Society
The Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society, the official philanthropic organization of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, was established in November 1931, by the late Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I, who was then serving as Archbishop of North and South America. The members of the National Board of Philoptochos are dedicated church women who offer countless hours to the philanthropic, humanitarian, and Christian mission of the Church. There are 475 Philoptochos chapters in the United States. The structure of the Philoptochos includes the National Board, Metropolitan Boards, and Chapters in every parish of the Archdiocese.
The Greek Orthodox chaplain is a priest who provides the Holy Mysteries to Orthodox Christians and who additionally provides pastoral ministry to people in all walks of life. Some priests serve full-time as chaplains in the armed forces, whereas other parish priests have assumed additional responsibilities as chaplains at Veteran’s Administration hospitals, with local police forces, at prisons, and in hospitals. One of the most significant features of chaplaincy activity is ministry to individuals other than Orthodox Christians, and the witness of Orthodox faith among all Americans.
Retired Clergy Association
The Retired Clergy Association (RCA) of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America was founded and established by the late Fr. John Zanetos on April 26, 1988 to continue and promote the fellowship of the retired priests; to encourage the utilization of the retired priests’ expertise as a resource; to guide and help those who are about to retire plan for their retirement; to help the retired priest readjust to his new status as a retired clergyman; to promote the improvement of benefits to the retired clergy and help them manage in their retirement years; to provide support and guidance for clergy who may be facing emotional, personal, family or financial problems; and to communicate news of interest to the retired clergy.
- 1.^ The number of adherents given in the "Atlas of American Orthodox Christian Churches" is defined as "individual full members" with the addition of their children. It also includes an estimate of how many are not members but regularly participate in parish life. Regular attendees includes only those who regularly attend church and regularly participate in church life.
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- Official website
- Official Facebook Page of the Archdiocese
- Official Twitter Feed of the Archdiocese
- Official Website of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Constantinople
- Commentary on the charter dispute by the 2004 Vice-President of the Archdiocesan Council
- Profile of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America on the Association of Religion Data Archives website