Chicago Greeks oppose choral music in 1908

Several years ago, I began writing about the “Americanization” of Orthodoxy — things like pews, organs, mixed choirs, the cassocks vs. collars debate, clean shaven priests, etc. (Click here to read my article on organs in Greek churches.) Recently, I found a great historical source — an open letter from a group of Chicago Greeks…

Fr Philip Abo-Assaley cropped

Fr. Philip Abo-Assaley of Grand Rapids

Fr. Philipous (or Philip) Abo-Assaley was an early Antiochian priest who served under St. Raphael and, later, Bishop Aftimios Ofiesh. He founded St. George Orthodox Church in Grand Rapids, Mich. and served as its pastor for many years. Recently, I stumbled onto this very nice little biography of Fr. Philip from the 1918 book Grand…

Conference on St. Sergius of Radonezh

One of our SOCHA advisory board members is Deacon Andrei Psarev, church history instructor at Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, NY. He’s asked us to help spread the word about a conference being held at Jordanville on October 10 and 11 to commemorate the 700th anniversary of the birth of St. Sergius of Radonezh. Registration is…

St. Raphael Hawaweeny

The Battle of Pacific Street, Part 3: Gunshots

As we’ve been discussing in detail, in September 1905, New York’s Syrian community was on the brink of war. On one side were the Orthodox, who rallied around their bishop, St. Raphael Hawaweeny. The saint himself opposed violence — both violent acts and violent words — but his attempts to intervene only exacerbated the problem.…

"The Syrian Colony, Washington Street," by W. Bengough

The Battle of Pacific Street, Part 2: Eve of the Battle

In our last article, we left the two New York Syrian camps — Orthodox and Maronite — on the brink of war. Each side’s partisan newspaper attacked the other, and the Maronites took particular aim at St. Raphael, the Orthodox bishop of Brooklyn, accusing him of all sorts of outlandish offenses. Various parties received anonymous…