The Bulgarian Diocese in Exile

The longest-serving hierarch in American Orthodox history was Abp. Kyrill Yonchev (1964-2007), until late this past June, when his record tenure of nearly 43 years was exceeded by Metr. Philip Saliba of the Antiochian Archdiocese. Kyrill was well-known and well-loved as the OCA’s diocesan bishop for Western Pennsylvania as well as its Bulgarian diocese. What…

The First Convert Orthodox Bishop in America

One of the curiosities of studying American Orthodox history is that a number of the “firsts” are largely unknown. Matthew Namee has done a lot of work in introducing the first black Orthodox priest in America, Fr. Raphael Morgan. With this post, we’re going to look briefly at the first convert bishop in Orthodox America,…

“This Syrian Bishop derives his authority from… Antioch”

Matthew has previously provided for us some tidbits on the ambiguous canonical status of St. Raphael of Brooklyn (Antioch? Moscow? Both? How?)—see especially his post on St. Raphael’s consecration as well as listening to the relevant parts in his “The Myth of Past Unity” lecture. Here’s another data point that I just discovered indicating that…

Why study American Orthodox history?

Those of us who are doing the tinkering on the machinery of the newly founded SOCHA have been astounded by the outpouring of attention that our site has received. From the stats, we’re getting around 200 views per day on the site, and we now have more than 500 fans following us on Facebook (from…

The Non-Invention of Meletios Metaxakis

It is often asserted that Ecumenical Patriarch Meletios Metaxakis invented the idea that the Ecumenical Patriarchate has authority to extend its jurisdiction beyond its traditional boundaries into the so-called “diaspora.” This is the Patriarchate’s current interpretation of Canon 28 of the Council of Chalcedon, which Meletios used in 1921-22 in order to justify his establishment…

From Aftimios Ofiesh to The Satan Seller

One of my odd hobbies in historical research is wandering the strange hinterlands of episcopi vagantes on the Internet. I think I first became interested in the phenomenon as I studied Abp. Aftimios Ofiesh (as previously mentioned, the subject of my M.Div. thesis). When I first encountered Aftimios’s name, it was in some offhand remark…

“When we speak of Tsarist pressure”

In the late 1920s, after Abp. Aftimios Ofiesh (the successor to St. Raphael in the see of Brooklyn and the subject of my M.Div. thesis and possible future book) had in 1927 established, with the blessing of the Russian Metropolia, the so-called “American Orthodox Catholic Church,” he engaged in something of a debate via correspondence…

Not Quite SCOBA

Few photos from the early 20th century history of American Orthodoxy are so rich in significance as this one. This was taken during the 1921 visit of then-deposed Abp. Meletios (Metxakis) of Athens to America, beginning the process of founding the Greek Archdiocese. He came traveling with Bp. Alexander (Demoglou), who would become the first…

SOCHA on Facebook

The Society now has a “page” on Facebook, adding another outlet to keep folks connected with this site and what’s going on in the study of American Orthodox history: Check it out here.