Monday, October 3, 2011

"Orthodoxy: Ethnicity and Conversion" and "Greek Orthodox Liturgical Music in America"

This weekend I attended the "Pilgrims and Pioneers: The Growth of Orthodox Christianity in 20th Century America" Conference, held at the Princeton Theological Seminary. In addition to Rev. Dr. Demetrios Constantelos's plenary talk on Archbishop Iakovos, two papers addressed Greek America. Here is the respective titles and abstracts:

Dr. Amy Slagle, University of Southern Mississippi, From Saint Raphael to Father Gladky: The Influence of Ethnicity and Conversion on Orthodox Church Growth in Mississippi

"Despite the dominance of Protestantism in the history and cultural life of Mississippi and portions of the Deep South more generally, Orthodox Christians have had a long-standing presence in the state, with the founding of its first parish by Syrian/Lebanese immigrants (under the spiritual direction of St. Raphael Hawaweeny) in Vicksburg in 1906 and the second by Greeks in the state capital, Jackson, in 1951. Furthermore, beyond immigration and the establishment of “ethnic” parishes, Mississippi was also been the beneficiary of missionary activity carried out by the late Archpriest George Gladky (1931-1989) and the Orthodox Church in America’s Diocese of the South since the 1970s. Much of this missionization has, simultaneously, targeted and arisen in response to the increasing numbers of Americans interested in investigating and embracing the Orthodox faith. Drawing upon historical and ethnographic research, this paper explores alternative patterns of parish formation and development among Orthodox churches in Mississippi over the course of the twentieth century. While highlighting its regional particularities, I argue that Mississippi stands as an important case study for reflecting upon the dynamic interplay of ethnicity and conversion found more generally within modern American Orthodoxy."

Dr. Alexander Lingas, City University London, The Domestication of Greek Orthodox Liturgical Music in America 1930-1960
"This paper explores the early reception of Greek Orthodox liturgical music in the United States of America during its crucial formative period of 1930–1960. It begins by identifying a number of ‘Old World’ sources for Greek American repertories, the most important of which are the received traditions of post-medieval Byzantine chanting as practised throughout the Eastern Mediterranean, polyphony as cultivated at the Royal Chapel of the Hellenic Kingdom, and the reformed idiom of Byzantine chanting proffered by the Athenian cantor John Sakellarides. It then addresses the transformation of these sources in publications of liturgical music issued on the East Coast of the USA from 1931 to 1953 by Nicholas Roubanis, Christos Vrionides, George Anastasiou and Anna Geortheou Gallos. It concludes by briefly discussing the early work in Los Angeles of Frank Desby, whose publications combined further movement toward what was at that time the American musical mainstream with an academic agenda adopted from European composers and musicologists."

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