from the January 2003 edition of the Orthodox Observer

4 Logos

NEW YORK. - The new official Archdiocese logo appears for the first time in the January 2003 issue of the Orthodox Observer.

The new design changes have resulted from a revision process, the purpose of which is to visually reflect the continuity and progress that characterizes the work and ministry of the Greek Orthodox Church in America.

In its 80-year history in the Western Hemisphere, the Greek Orthodox Church has endeavored to communicate its visual identity with clarity, consistency, and uniformity by using a distinct and recognizable logo in its print and digital media, written publications, and stationery.

From its incorporation in New York state in the 1920’s until today, the Archdiocese has undergone significant organizational developments, always with the aim of best serving the spiritual needs of her faithful.

History reveals that developments in the structure of the Archdiocese prompted logo design changes.

To date, the Archdiocese has used seven logos since its establishment. Each of these has possessed unique characteristics reflective of the identity of the Archdiocese at given times in its history.

Logos are important because they communicate identity through unique and recognizable symbols. Also important in communicating the identity of an institution, uniformity and consistency are ensured by use of a logo.

Finally, logos give insights into an institution’s history. This is true for our Archdiocese.

From 1961 until 2002, the seal evolved to include a visual representation of North and South America in the background, the jurisdictional territory of what was formerly the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America until 1996.

Two additional changes to the seal, seen in 1961 and 1996, have been retained in the new version, as they more accurately reflect the ecclesiastical, spiritual, and canonical identity of the Archdiocese.

The first was inclusion of the term “Orthodox” in the formal name, the “Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America” (italics added). The second change was the addition of the words “Ecumenical Patriarchate,” along its edge.

Today, within the circular inscription of the new seal is a cross whose flared arms terminate in tear-drop-shaped serifs or roundels.

This iconographic type of cross, also known as “cross pomme,” appears as early as the sixth century and was associated with the True Cross of Christ.

It is this large silver cross form that was erected in the Forum of Constantine in Constantinople, possibly during the reign of Theodosius I (379-395).

Certainly by the eighth century, it was identified as the form of the cross Constantine beheld in the sky before his victorious battle at the Malvian Bridge. This association was maintained throughout the duration of the Byzantine Empire.

At its center is a disc bearing the combined letters of X and P—the monogram of Christ—the Chi-Ro—that Constantine witnessed in a dream and later adopted as the official symbol for the shields of his soldiers and the imperial standard, the labarum.

Adjacent to the four cross arms are the letters IC XC NIKA: Jesus Christ conquers. Again, this is a reference to Constantine’s vision in which the luminous cross in the sky was inscribed with the words: EN TOYTW NIKA—by this (sign), conquer.[1]

With the official launching of the new logo, each metropolis, parish, institution, and organization of the Archdiocese will be issued official guidelines on its use and presentation together with a CD of camera-ready templates for use on stationery and other printed material, and for the electronic media.

The guidelines will assist with proper and consistent usage throughout the Archdiocese, offering a unified presentation and consistent appearance on related materials.

Additionally, each metropolis, parish, and institution will receive an Archdiocesan flag.

The new logo has officially debuted on the cover of the 2003 Archdiocese Yearbook.

[1] Description of Archdiocesan seal courtesy of the Very Rev. Archimandrite Joachim Cotsonis, Ph.D.