Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Fr. George Florovsky and a 1976 Super Bowl Commercial

Tall and gaunt, he would appear in the long black cassock of an Orthodox priest on the Princeton campus. The erudite undergraduates, considerably more flexible in their dress, styled him “the Grand Inquisitor” — a fitting title, given his tendency to project a sense of doctrinal authority. At Princeton, the staff of the Firestone Library christened Florovsky a “patron saint of photocopying” for the countless hours he spent at the copy machine. Apparently his photocopying talent was so well known that he even became an inspiration for the 1976 Super Bowl commercial of the Xerox Corporation, featuring a monk busily copying medieval manuscripts.* In this way, unawares, Florovsky contributed to raising the American advertising industry to a higher level of intellectual sophistication.

* As reported by John W. Barker, “An Addendum” to John V. A. Fine, “Father Georges Florovsky in America,” in J. W. Barker (ed.), Pioneers of Byzantine Studies in America (Amsterdam: Adolf M. Hakkert, 2002), 123.

From Gavrilyuk, Paul L. Georges Florovsky and the Russian Religious Renaissance [Changing Paradigms in Historical and Systematic Theology] Oxford University Press, 2013, pp. 8-9.