Wood and cast lead printing block. The block is square-shaped. The print image is a circular seal with a solid outline encompassing an image of the globe. The outline contains Greek text, following the circle, that reads: "Holy Archdiocese North & South Americas." The image of the globe shows the North and South American continents. Superimposed over the globe is a modified Christian cross with a circle emcompassing the Chi-Rho at the intersection of the cross.
Donated by John Damianos. The printing block was used in a linotype printing machine. Linotype presses allowed for the casting of entire lines to be printed at a time. Linotype printing was eventually succeeded by lithograph printing and computer typesetting during the 1960's and 1970's. This printing block was used by the Chicago-based, Greek Art Printing Company, which was founded in 1914. The emblem on the print block is that of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America. The print block was used for the printing of numerous products for the Archdiocese. The image was used for the printing of the programs for the annual "Vasilopitta" held for the benefit of Saint Basil's Orphanage in Garrison, New York. An informational flyer about St. Basil's Academy was also printed with the logo. The ball was held by the Second Diocesan District and the Executive Council of Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptohos Societies of Greater Chicago. The Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society, Incorporated is the women's philanthropic society of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. The mission of the Society is to: aid the needy, promote the charitable, benevolent, and philanthropic efforts of the Archdiocese, to promote and preserve the concepts of Orthodox Christianity and the Orthodox Christian family, and to promote participation in activities of the Greek Orthodox community. The Society was founded in 1931. St. Basil's Academy (Orphanage) is a children's home operated by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and is located in Garrison, New York. The Academy provides board and education for orphaned Greek Orthodox children or children whose parents are unable to sufficiently provide for them. The grammar school teaches bilingual curriculum for grades 1-9. The Academy is operated through contributions from the Archdiocese, but the funds raised by the Vasilopeta balls held by the Ladies Philoptochos Societies also cover a large part of the cost, as well as contributions from Sunday Schools, other organtizations, and individual donors. The Vasilopeta ball, St. Basil, and the holding of the balls in January are all tied together. Vasilopeta is a traditional New Year's Day bread or cake from the Balkans that is cut on New Year's Day in order to bring blessing and good fortune in the New Year. It is common for organizations and societies to cut the bread or cake at formal receptions or balls held between New Years and the beginning of Great Lent. Vasilopetta is associated with St. Basil through the popular legend that St. Basil called upon the populace of Caesarea to raise the funds to pay ransom to a besieging army. When the besiegers were presented with the ransom they were so embarrassed by the fact that it was raised through collective giving that they left the city without collecting the ransom. St. Basil was then left to return the money and jewelry to its owners, but with no way of knowing what belonged to whom. So he baked all the money and jewelry into loaves of bread and distributed it to the citizens and by miracle all the items were returned to the rightful owners. The print image is also used on the programs for the Pan-Orthodox Vesper services of 1963 and 1964. Both services were held on the Sunday of Orthodoxy and were joint services held with clergy and members of Chicago-area Greek, Serbian, and Albanian Orthodox churches. Vespers is the first service of the Daily Cycle of divine services in the Orthodox Church and is commonly held in the evening due to the liturgical day beginning at sunset. The Vespers are divided between three different types dependent on what days they are being served: Great Vespers, Daily Vespers, and Small Vespers. The Vespers of the Sunday of Orthodoxy is held on the first Sunday of Great Lent. It has become common practice in North America for all Orthodox parishes and missionaries in a locale to observe the Sunday of Orthodoxy together in a Pan-Orthodox Vespers service led by clergy of the various jurisdictions. The Chicago-area Pan-Orthodox Vespers includes parishoners and clergy from the Greek, Serbian, and Albanian Orthodox churches and is held at a different church annually. The print image also appears on letterheads for the Second Diocesan District in Chicago, the Fourth Diocesan District of San Francisco, the Archdiocese of North & South America out of New York, and the Saint Basil's Academy, as well as the cover for the Second District's 1965 financial report and a program/menu for the 1965 Bishop's Dinner. The print block was also used for the printing of a sponsor page for the United Greek Orthodox Churches of Chicago in the 1969 Greek Orthodox Youth of America, Diocese II, District 1 Conference program. The archdiocese was established by the Greek Orthodox Church in 1921 under the jurisdiction of the Church of Constantinople. The archdiocese was transferred to the jurisdiction of the Church of Greece in 1908, but was transferred back to the Church of Constantinople in 1922. The archdiocese was based out of New York City. In 1996 the Ecumenical Patriarchate divided up the administration of the archdiocese between four regions (America, Canada, Central America, and South America). The New York diocese now only administers the territory of the United States. The image is also used on the letterhead for the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church of Chicago, located at 742 South Ada Street. Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church is chartered with the state of Illinois as Syndesmos Hellinikes Kinotitos of Chicago (which translates to "Union/Association of the Greek Community." The church was founded in 1897 as the first Greek Orthodox parish in the Midwest. The Christian cross is the most common symbol of christianity. The Chi-Rho symbol, or christogram, is a monogram formed out of the first two letters, Chi and Rho, of the Greek word for Christ. The Byzantine legend is that Emperor Constantine saw the chi-rho symbol in a dream prior to the Battle of the Milvian Bridge. In the dream, Constatine is said to have seen the symbol and heard a voice that said bearing the symbol would bring victory. When Constantine was victorious he legalized Christianity and made the Chi-Rho the official imperial seal.
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