Thursday, December 1, 2016

Narrating Community History

"The Annunciation, 1916-2016: Yesterday ... Today ... Tomorrow"

A Documentary about the history of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, Akron Ohio (

Keywords: Greek Orthodoxy in Akron, Ohio; Greek Orthodox values; making an ethnoreligious community; community self-representation

The documentary story weaves around three values, faith, family, tradition. "It was faith that founded the church, ... family has sustained it, and tradition binds it all together." The foundation of the Church connects with immigrant moral values and the view of men as their guardians: only married men were assigned as founders. "Family men" were seen as "more stable..." The Akron community is unique for its continuity in spiritual leadership, a mere three priests served the community for a span of ninety years since the church's foundation in 1926. Parishioners celebrate the church as a spiritual and cultural center. It is experienced as home, and the power of its rituals on the senses is noted. An interviewee speaks of the early 20th century social function of the community as a "safety net" providing much needed mutual support. Also, "the Church gives us culture." There is commentary about the expanding role of the community's charity and missionary programs. The documentary features excerpts regarding the making of its church's iconography. It also addresses the place of Greek education in the parish. I noted that instilling "love for heritage" to the children was deemed more important that teaching the Greek language in depth. Also, it is impossible to miss the children dances smiling during festival folk performances (and this invites perhaps a study of diaspora's embodiment of emotion in dance).

Summary and Commentary, Yiorgos Anagnostou

I thank Stavros Constantinou for sharing this resource with me
To watch the documentary go to,

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