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The Syriac Orthodox in North America (1895–1995)


A Short History


A short history of the Syriac Orthodox community in North America between 1895, the year of the First Sayfo that triggered the first wave of immigration to North America, and 1995, marking the passing away of Metropolitan Mor Athanasius Yeshue Samuel, the first and only Archbishop of the Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese of the United States and Canada.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-4037-0
  • *
Publication Status: Forthcoming

Publication Date: Apr 26,2019
Interior Color: Black with Color Inserts
Trim Size: 5.5 x 8.5
Page Count: 350
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-4632-4037-0
$42.00
$29.40

The one hundred years between 1895 and 1995 witnessed the birth of a brand new American cultural identity created by Middle Eastern immigrants belonging to the Syriac Orthodox Church. Beginning with the first refugees to arrive on the shores of the United States after the horrors of the 1895 Sayfo massacres, George A. Kiraz carefully lays out the history of the Syriac Orthodox American communities in this new book, drawing from Syriac-language newspapers, archived photos, and oral histories collected in personal interviews.

The narrative examines both the broad contours of Syriac Orthodox history and the individual experiences of the families who moved to North America during this critical century, moving back and forth between geopolitical context, social history, and personal stories. In the process, it depicts the construction of a culture: despite the fact that these Syriac Orthodox did not even have their own church in North America for roughly thirty years, they worked slowly to build church infrastructure, to develop social organizations and associations, and to print newspapers and publications that documented community and religious life. As these families were knitting together to build cohesive communities, they were also navigating their relationship with church leadership in the Middle East, negotiating their identity, and creating new models for participation in Syriac Orthodox structures.

This book is a critical record of these communities' history, documenting the fruits of a hundred-year project and preserving details and accounts that otherwise stand in danger of being lost to the passage of time.

A co-publication between Gorgias Press and Beth Antioch Press.

The one hundred years between 1895 and 1995 witnessed the birth of a brand new American cultural identity created by Middle Eastern immigrants belonging to the Syriac Orthodox Church. Beginning with the first refugees to arrive on the shores of the United States after the horrors of the 1895 Sayfo massacres, George A. Kiraz carefully lays out the history of the Syriac Orthodox American communities in this new book, drawing from Syriac-language newspapers, archived photos, and oral histories collected in personal interviews.

The narrative examines both the broad contours of Syriac Orthodox history and the individual experiences of the families who moved to North America during this critical century, moving back and forth between geopolitical context, social history, and personal stories. In the process, it depicts the construction of a culture: despite the fact that these Syriac Orthodox did not even have their own church in North America for roughly thirty years, they worked slowly to build church infrastructure, to develop social organizations and associations, and to print newspapers and publications that documented community and religious life. As these families were knitting together to build cohesive communities, they were also navigating their relationship with church leadership in the Middle East, negotiating their identity, and creating new models for participation in Syriac Orthodox structures.

This book is a critical record of these communities' history, documenting the fruits of a hundred-year project and preserving details and accounts that otherwise stand in danger of being lost to the passage of time.

A co-publication between Gorgias Press and Beth Antioch Press.

"This study of the Syriac dot should be required reading for all beginning students of Syriac, as they will quickly acquire insight into discerning homographs and their separate meanings. The study is very readable, in fact, enjoyable, as the author tantalizes us with potential reasons why scribes developed a system of diacritics using the dot. Those who study Syriac manuscripts will also benefit from comments about how early manuscripts can differ from more recent orthographic and diacritic conventions that appear in printed editions. The book is a must read for every serious student of Syriac."

- Jerome A. Lund, Review of Biblical Literature, 2017

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Contributor Biography

George Kiraz

George A. Kiraz is the founder and director of Beth Mardutho: The Syriac Institute, and the president of Gorgias Press. He earned an MSt in Syriac Studies from Oxford University, and an MPhil and PhD from Cambridge University. He has an extensive list of publications in Syriac studies.

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