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Orthodox Christian Laity records

 Collection
Identifier: MSS0029

Scope and Contents

This collection contains materials donated by individuals involved with Orthodox Christian Laity, as well as materials transferred by the organization itself. The organization’s purpose, governance, membership and activities are evidenced in administrative and financial documents, as well as in meeting agendas and minutes, and programs, publicity and publications.

Dates

  • 1987-2003
  • Majority of material found within 1987-2001

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Biographical / Historical

Orthodox Christian Laity (OCL) was founded in Chicago in 1987 by a group of Greek Orthodox lay men and women. Motivated by scandals in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America, their goal was the spiritual and institutional renewal of Orthodoxy in America. The Orthodox laity, they felt, had been long neglecting its responsibilities and allowing the church hierarchy to employ their positions for irreligious purposes.

Initially, all the founding members of Orthodox Christian Laity were Chicagoans and members of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, but over time the organization expanded its focus to include concerned lay people from all Orthodox jurisdictions and all parts of the United States. Along with this expansion in membership came an expanded focus. At the time of its founding, OCL had been primarily concerned with “abuses of power” at the upper levels of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, including sex scandals, suspicious real estate transactions, and other incidents which were perceived as representing an unspiritual and exploitative mindset among Church hierarchs. However, as the organization grew and began to encompass members of other Orthodox groups, the OCL became concerned about the overall situation of Orthodox Christianity in the United States.

Orthodox Christian Laity acts as an advocate for Orthodox lay people and even clergy on a wide variety of issues. Among their concerns are advancing the position of women in the churches, improving the quality of religious education, promoting programs for increased youth involvement, providing support for adults and children of multi-faith families, and encouraging personal spiritual renewal among lapsed Orthodox. One of OCL’s most important projects is working to achieve autocephaly—that is, the union of all the different Orthodox jurisdictions in the United States (Russian, Serbian, Greek, etc.) into a single American Orthodox Church. Yet in taking on all these important projects, the Orthodox Christian Laity have never ceased to act as an important “watchdog” organization, making sure that the voices of Orthodox people are always heard by the reigning hierarchs.

Extent

18 Linear Feet (39 boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Arrangement

The Orthodox Christian Laity records are divided into two series. Series One (Boxes 1-32) is further divided into six subseries: Organizational Files, Activities, Publicity, Orthodox Churches, Topic Files, and Affiliated Organizations. The bulk of the records are dated between 1987, when OCL was founded, and 2001, when most of the material was donated to the archives. However, in some cases, there are earlier materials that were collected by OCL members and used by the organization for research purposes. Series Two (Boxes 33-39) contains the personal files of George Matsoukas, a former president of OCL, and is divided into seven subseries: General OCL, Orthodox Church Issues, Charter Issue, Greek Orthodox American Leaders, Jerusalem Task Force, Justinian Center, and Miscellaneous Files.

Physical Location

4/7/G-H

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Andrew T.Kopan, Accession 1994.22. Donated by OCL Executive Director George Matsoukas, Accession 2006.21; 2006.25; 2007.5. During the early 2000s, the OCL office transferred additional materials to DePaul which were added to the original Kopan accession (Series 1). In June 2006, the OCL Board of Directors voted to make DePaul University Special Collections and Archive Department the official repository for OCL materials.

Related Materials

Andrew T. Kopan papers; Greek American Youth of America records

Processing Information

E. Etchingham 2004; E. Boden 2007

Title
Guide to Orthodox Christian Laity records
Status
Completed
Author
E. Etchingham 2004; E. Boden 2007
Date
2017
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the DePaul Special Collections and Archives Repository

Contact:
John T. Richardson Library
2350 N. Kenmore Ave.
Room 314
Chicago Illinois 60614
773-325-7864