SOCHA to co-sponsor 1st American Orthodox historical symposium at Princeton University

SOCHA is pleased to announce:

Pilgrims and Pioneers
The Growth of Orthodox Christianity in 20th Century America

Friday, September 30 – Saturday, October 1, 2011
Princeton Theological Seminary

This symposium will examine some of the people and movements that contributed to the growth of Orthodox Christianity in 20th century America. We will pay special attention to the role of missionaries, immigration and conversion, the emergence of Orthodox theological scholarship in English, and Orthodox engagement in American civic and political life.

Interested scholars and members of the Society for Orthodox Christian History in the Americas (SOCHA) are invited to submit abstracts of papers related to the symposium’s theme(s), which will also be considered for publication in the symposium’s proceedings. Abstracts should be submitted via e-mail to Fr. Oliver Herbel no later than June 1, 2011. All abstracts will be reviewed by a committee comprised of leadership from the symposium’s co-sponsors.

The event is co-sponsored by the Society for Orthodox Christian History in the Americas (SOCHA), the School of Christian Vocation and Mission at Princeton Theological Seminary, and the Fr. Georges Florovsky Orthodox Christian Theological Society at Princeton University.

Featured Lecturers

Fr. Demetrios J. Constantelos, Ph.D., D.D., is a retired presbyter of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, and the Charles Cooper Townsend Sr. Professor Emeritus of History and Religious Studies, and Distinguished Research Scholar in Residence at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Pomona, N.J. He is the author of numerous scholarly publications and the series editor of the collected works of Archbishop Iakovos Koukouzis, whose legacy of leadership in the public sphere Fr. Demetrios will discuss in his lecture.

Fr. Oliver Herbel, Ph.D., is the executive director of the Society for Orthodox Christian History in the Americas (SOCHA). In addition to a forthcoming book on St. Sarapion of Thmuis, Fr. Oliver has published several articles in peer-reviewed journals, mainly focused on American Orthodox history. He is currently editing his dissertation under the new title Creative Converts: How Intra-Christian Converts to Orthodoxy Imagine Their Conversions. Fr. Oliver’s lecture will focus on several Greek clergymen who served in the early Russian Mission.

Scott M. Kenworthy, Ph.D., is associate professor of comparative religion at Miami University, Ohio. He is the author of The Heart of Russia: Trinity-Sergius, Monasticism and Society After 1825 (Oxford University Press, 2010), as well as several book chapters and articles in peer-reviewed journals, mainly focusing on Russian and Russian American history. His lecture will examine the life and legacy of St. Tikhon Bellavin.

Matthew J. Baker is currently a Ph.D. student at Fordham University, where he is pursuing research focused on the thought of Fr. Georges Florovsky. His articles have recently been published in International Journal of Systematic Theology and Participatio: The Journal of the Thomas F. Torrance Theological Fellowship. His lecture will examine the influence of Fr. Florovsky and his contemporaries.


Friday, September 30, 2011

  • 6:30 p.m.  Opening Registration
  • 7:00 p.m.  Panel Discussion: Hagiography vs. History? Toward an Orthodox Philosophy of History
  • 8:00 p.m.  Reception

Saturday, October 1, 2011

  • 8:00-8:45  Continental Breakfast
  • 8:45-9:00  Welcome & Prayer
  • 9:00-12:15  Plenary Session: Pilgrims and Pioneers
  • 9:00-9:45  Scott M. Kenworthy
  • 9:45-10:30  Fr. Oliver Herbel
  • 10:30-10:45  Break & Refreshments
  • 10:45-11:30  Fr. Demetrios Constantelos
  • 11:30-12:15  Matthew J. Baker
  • 12:15-1:15  Lunch       
  • 1:15-1:50  Discussion Panel with Plenary Speakers
  • 1:50-2:00  Short Break & Refreshments
  • 2:00-3:00  Concurrent Sessions 
  • 2:00-2:30  Concurrent Papers: Session 1
  • 2:30-3:00  Concurrent Papers: Session 2
  • 3:00-3:30  Closing Assembly

Optional for those staying in Princeton

  • 5:00 p.m.  Vespers, Chapel of the Transfiguration (Murray-Dodge Hall, Princeton University)


Please click here to register. You may also register by downloading this registration form (.pdf) and either faxing it to 609.497.0709 or mailing it to:

School of Christian Vocation & Mission

20 Library Place

Princeton NJ 08540-6824

The early-bird registration fee is $75 for non-students, and $35 for students. This includes continental breakfast and lunch on Saturday, refreshments on both days, materials, and tuition.

After August 15, 2011, the fee will go up to $100 for non-students and $50 for students.

A very limited number of rooms are available in the seminary’s lodging facility. Each room has a single bed and shares a bathroom with one other single room. The cost is $55/night.

We have also reserved a block of rooms at the Doubletree Hotel Princeton (about 10 minutes away by car) at the preferential rate of $99/night.

Please e-mail with any questions.


The Society for Orthodox Christian History in the Americas is pleased to be co-sponsoring the first American Orthodox historical symposium at Princeton Seminary.  The theme for this first symposium is Orthodox Pilgrims and Pioneers.  If you are interested in presenting a paper (approximately twenty minutes in length) for the symposium, please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words to Fr. Oliver Herbel at froliverherbel [at] cableone [dot] net by June 1.  Abstracts should have a clear thesis and demonstrate the author’s knowledge of the relevant sources.  All papers will be considered for publication in the new, forthcoming, peer reviewed annual e-journal, Journal of American Orthodox Church History, for the 2012 volume.