Deisis (Novogorod)

3. What Are 'Historical Entries'?


What Are 'Historical Entries'?

As mentioned elsewhere, 'historical entries' are those of parishes, missions, etc, that:

  • are no longer extant under an identity that they once had, or,
  • are no longer located in a place (city, town, etc) where they were once situated.

Why bother to include them?

Historical entries are included to assist those searching for a specific church using outdated information (e.g., 'My grandparents were married at St George's in Coalminersville, but I can't find a church by that name in the town').

They also afford a historical record of our temples, particularly those of blessed memory.


Isn't there a risk that these entries will cause confusion?

There is, but we incorporated several safeguards to avoid that happening. In searching 'By Church', users will find that historical entries are in a separate, clearly titled, database. Another database, titled 'Show All'; contains both active and historical entries, but features (described below) distinguish between the two types.

When a user undertakes to search using the 'By Location' function, active and historical entries are contained in an integrated database (as is the case with the 'Show All' listings described above). Again, however, distinguishing characteristics make the differences between the two types readily apparent.


How can historical entries be distinguished from active entries?

Historical entries are clearly labeled and annotated to avoid being mistaken for active entries and can also be noted by certain omissions. These indicators and omissions include:

  • a labeled field 'Historical Entry:', immediately below a church's name on its detailed listing, will be followed by text (textual variations are shown below) indicating the reason that the church is inactive;
  • a labeled field 'Status:',immediately below the 'Historical Entry' field, will prominently state "HISTORICAL ENTRY ONLY"
  • the words 'Formerly at' will immediately precede the address on the detailed listing;
  • the phrase 'Historical Entry - Not a Mailing Address or Active Location' will appear in a bordered box to the right of the address;
  • not uncommonly, the canonical jurisdiction to which the church is attributed will be one that itself is defunct (e.g. 'Apostolic Exarchate for Faithful of the Oriental Rites: Ruthenian'), as the canonical jurisdiction shown for such a church is the one to which it was ascribed when the event occurred that caused it to become historical;
  • sacramental records will be indicated as being, or presumed to be, elsewhere (this is not definitive, as there are active churches - particularly missions - for which this is also true).
  • the presence of a statement that this is 'Entry # of # for this Church', together with a link ('See Also Entry #') directing you to see another (higher-numbered) entry

What types of circumstances cause a church to be listed as a historical entry?

Historical entries reflect that a church was:

  • Canonically Suppressed, as when a parish or other 'canonically erected' entity is closed;
  • Canonically Transferred, to a different Church sui iuris;
  • Civilly Suppressed, due to persecution or otherwise;
  • Merged, with or into another parish;
  • Relocated, to another city or town;
  • Renamed, as in being placed under a different patronage;
  • Suppressed, as when a mission or other entity which is not 'canonically erected' is closed; or,
  • Translated to Orthodoxy, in the case of those parishes which separated from communion with Rome, most commonly in the aftermath of the celibacy and trusteeship disputes of the early 20th century

The dark red text above reflects the phrasing used in such entries to describe the nature(s) of the historical change(s).

Some such churches are no longer active places of worship; others are active, but no longer in communion with Rome. Such have only an historical entry.

Those which remain active in another location, under another patronage, or otherwise, have both an historical entry and an active entry; the latter corresponds to the present locale or identity.

When there is both an historical and an active entry for a church, that is clearly indicated (i.e., 'For this church, this is entry # of #') and cross-referencing hyperlinks (i.e., See Also Entry #') are provided.


Why are historical entries not listed for my ancestral homeland?

For the most part, historical entries only appear in listings for English-speaking countries in the diaspora. There are literally thousands of closed temples throughout the world and a lot of demand, particularly from those researching family histories, for data about those located in 'the Old Country'.

Regretably, information needed to adequately document entries for those outside the diaspora is not readily available and, were it, it is doubtful that we would have adequate resources to do the necessary data entry.


Note that a parish may have more than one historical entry. Holy Cross Armenian Catholic Church (Belmont, MA) is an example. It was situated in two different cities before relocating to its present site. As a result, there are two historical entries for it, in addition to its active entry.


Note too that Orthodox parishes which were never in communion with Rome (those formed by faithful who separated from a parish that itself remained in communion with Rome) are not listed - only those in which the parish as an entity separated. Generally, however, a parish's historical data makes note of the Orthodox parishes which were formed in this way.


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