of Constantinople, Athenagoras I 
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Time Period
4/6/1886  - 7/7/1972
Description
In 1930, Athenagoras was named Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in the United States. He took control of the archdiocese in February 1931, bringing an end to a struggle among several American Orthodox bishops. He sought to bridge divides between American Orthodoxy’s various ethnic groups by establishing personal ties with individual Orthodox communities throughout the country, successfully centralizing power under his archbishopric. Still, Athenagoras remained an advocate of the continued role of Greek being the main language of Orthodox worship in the United States. The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese entered a new period of financial and administrative stability under Athenagoras, who oversaw the establishment of new schools and seminaries.

He was elected Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople in 1948, after having built the largest Orthodox diocese in the United States. This set a pattern for the formation of ethnic Orthodox parishes that has lasted to the present day.
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Narrative
Athenagoras was born Aristocles Spyrou in 1886 in the Ottoman Empire (modern-day Greece). He took Athenagoras as his monastic name. He was consecrated as the Metropolitan of Corfu in 1922 and was later named Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in the United States under the Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1930.

Athenagoras took control of the archdiocese in February 1931, bringing an end to a struggle between several American Orthodox bishops. He sought to bridge divides between American Orthodoxy’s various ethnic groups by establishing personal ties with individual Orthodox communities throughout the country, successfully centralizing power under his archbishopric and that of the Patriarch of Constantinople. Still, though, Athenagoras remained an advocate of the continued role of Greek being the main language of Orthodox worship in the United States. The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese entered a new period of financial and administrative stability under Athenagoras, who oversaw the establishment of several new schools and seminaries.

He was elected Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople in 1948, after having built the largest Orthodox diocese in the United States. This set a pattern for the formation of ethnic Orthodox parishes that has lasted to the present day. Later in his career, Athenagoras became a noted advocate of ecumenism. He and Catholic Pope Paul VI met in 1964 and 1965 to discuss relations between their churches. The two leaders revoked the mutual excommunications of their predecessors that had set off the Great Schism in 1054. Athenagoras died in 1972.
Religious Groups
Timeline Entries for the same religious group Eastern Liturgical Family (Orthodox)
Eastern Liturgical Family (Orthodox): Other ARDA Links

Events
Joint Catholic-Orthodox Declaration
Photographs

Athenagoras of Constantinople (cropped from Aristotle Onassis Patriarch Athenagoras)- Wikimedia Commons- photo by Pieter Jafarzadeh, from Nationaal Archief Fotocollectie ANEFO (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Athenagoras of Constantinople statue- Wikimedia Commons- photo by Rpriore (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Book/Journal Source(s)
Erickson, John H., 1999. Orthodox Christians in America. New York: Oxford University Press.
FitzGerald, Thomas E., 1995. The Orthodox Church. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
Queen, Edward, Stephen Prothero and Gardiner Shattuck, 1996. The Encyclopedia of American Religious History. New York: Facts on File.
Web Source(s)
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/speeches/1965/documents/hf_p-vi_spe_19651207_common-declaration_en.html
"Joint Catholic-Orthodox Declaration of His Holiness Pope Paul VI and the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I" (December 7, 1965)
Web Page Contributor
William S. Cossen
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in History

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