In Search Of… Fr. Stephen Andreades, the first Greek priest in America

In the past (for instance, here), I’ve referred to a Fr. Stephen Andreades, who, in 1867, was the priest of Holy Trinity parish in New Orleans. He was one of the first Orthodox priests in the contiguous United States, but we know virtually nothing about him. In fact, until now, the only source I had for Andreades was the following note in a 1967 St. Vladimir’s Quarterly article by Fr. Alexander Doumouras:

The priest who succeeded Fr. Agapius [Honcharenko] in New Orleans was an archimandrite named Fr. Stephen Andreades. One of his sermons, which was delivered on December 15, 1867, was translated into Russian by Thomas Kraskovsky and printed in the Alaska Herald on March 15, 1868. In this sermon Fr. Andreades stated that he had been “invited from Greece” to come to America and serve the parish in New Orleans. He did not state who invited him and who appointed him.

I’ve never seen the original Alaska Herald source, and while we could state pretty confidently that Andreades was the first Greek Orthodox priest in America — and the first pastor of the New Orleans parish, given that Honcharenko was never actually the resident priest — we didn’t know anything else.

We still don’t know much, but on Google Books, I found this note from Understanding the Greek Orthodox Church by Demetrios J. Constantelos (1982):

In 1867 the congregation moved to its permanent church and appointed its first regular priest, Stephen Andreades, who had been invited from Greece. He had a successful ministry from 1867 to 1875, when the archimandrite Gregory Yiayias arrived to replace him. The New Orleans congregation also acquired its own parish house; a small library, which included books in Greek, Latin…

And of course, this being just the “snippet view” of Google Books, I can’t get any more information.

My own research conflicts somewhat with Constantelos’ information. He has Andreades in New Orleans from 1867-75, followed by Fr. Gregory Yiayias. However, I found a reference to Yiayias in New Orleans in the September 13, 1872 issue of the Petersburg Index, a Virginia newspaper. Also, Henry Rightor’s Standard History of New Orleans, Louisiana (1900) puts Yiayias’ tenure at 1872-74.

So we’ve got two sources — one of them contemporary — which put Yiayias, and not Andreades, in New Orleans in 1872. Which makes me wonder where Constantelos got his dates. Obviously, I need to look at Constantelos’ actual book, rather than a Google snippet view.

The early history of the New Orleans parish remains shrouded in mystery. We know the names of some of the priests — Andreades, Yiayias, and the strange Fr. Misael Karydis — but we don’t know much about them, or their relationship to the church hierarchy. If anyone has more information, please let me know.

This article was written by Matthew Namee.

3 thoughts on “In Search Of… Fr. Stephen Andreades, the first Greek priest in America

  1. The rest of that “snippet” is here, conjured from Google Books, but there’s not much to it:

    …and Slavonic; and a cemetery. The number of churches in the second half of the nineteenth century corresponded to the number of Greek Orthodox communities, which were concentrated in cities. Up to 1891 there were approximately twenty-five hundred Greek Orthodox in the United States; from then on, there was a substantial increase in immigration. In 1891 and later many Greek Orthodox churches were founded in large cities such as New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Boston, and in many smaller cities and towns such as Washington, DC; Newark, New Jersey; Ipswich, Massachusetts;

  2. Thanks very much! Kind of strange to see Washington and Newark classified as a “smaller cities” along with Ipswich!

    Okay, I had to look this up… According to the 1890 Census, Washington was the 14th largest city in the US. Newark was 17th. Of the “large cities” listed by Constantelos, San Francisco was the smallest at 298,997 people (ranked 8th). Which isn’t THAT much bigger than “small city” Washington (230,392).

    I got the population data here: http://tiny.cc/auvli

  3. Pingback: OrthodoxHistory.org » Early Orthodoxy in Galveston & New Orleans

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