Like other coastal American cities, Boston was a magnet
for immigrants in the XIX and XX Centuries, and remains so
today. The quilt of ethnic neighbourhoods
and suburbs is home to many communities of Eastern Christians,
and to religious institutions of (in some cases)
Suburban Watertown has been a major centre of the Armenian
diaspora since 1900 and houses the Armenian Library and Museum.
The Melkites (Eastern Rite Catholic Antiochians) have an eparchy
and seminary in Newton. The Greek Orthodox see of Boston
(under various names) has long been one of the most influential
in the West; Holy Cross School of Theology in Brookline
is one of the principal Greek seminaries outside of Greece.
Brookline is also the home of a very different but no less
famous Greek Orthodox institution: the Old Calendarist monastery
of the Holy Transfiguration, source of icon prints and translations
familiar throughout the Orthodox world but the focus of much
doctrinal and jurisdictional controversy.
Many celebrated Orthodox intellectuals have also lived and taught in
Boston or Cambridge, beginning with
the lexicographer E. A. Sophocles in the
Boston in New England is named for Boston in Lincolnshire, which
in turn is named for
St. Botolph of Iken, an English Orthodox monastic of the
VII Century. The founders of the Bay Colony were hardly
enthusiasts for their city's patron saint -- although the
Puritan minister John Cotton, while still preaching in the old
Boston, was to his credit irritated by his congregants'
iconoclast zeal to demolish the statues in the mediæval
cathedral. Nevertheless, Anglicans and Roman Catholics
remembered the connexion, and in the XX Century the monks
of Holy Transfiguration Monastery wrote a service and an
ikon to encourage Orthodox to do the same. It is curious that
one of the most important events in Boston's history -- the
Battle of Bunker Hill -- took place on St. Botolph's Day
according to the Anglican calendar.
Norman Hugh Redington
- SOME ORTHODOX BOSTONIANS:
Return to St Pachomius Library.