New details on the mysterious “Bulgarian Monk”

Awhile back, I did a podcast on a 19th century figure who called himself “The Bulgarian Monk.” This man, also known as Rev. A.N. Experidon, came to America in the 1870s and claimed to be an Orthodox hieromonk. He remained here until his mysterious death in Idaho in the early 1890s — after which, so…

This week in American Orthodox history (June 4-10)

June 10, 1870: The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church created the Diocese of the Aleutian Islands and Alaska. Previously, Alaska — or, before its 1867 sale to the United States, “Russian America” — was part of the Diocese of Kamchatka. Making Alaska its own diocese was part of the transition in the wake…

This week in American Orthodox history (May 28-June 3)

This week’s article is embarrassingly short — so short that I don’t think it actually qualifies as an “article.” I’ve just been pulled in all directions lately, and haven’t been able to give this site the time I’d like. We’ve got several fascinating article in the pipeline, though, including pieces from Nicholas Chapman and Deacon…

St. Innocent’s first homily as Metropolitan of Moscow

After the death of St. Philaret Drozdov, St. Innocent, the former missionary to Alaska and Siberia, was chosen to be his replacement as Metropolitan of Moscow. Below is his first pastoral address as Metropolitan, given in Moscow’s Dormition (Assumption) Cathedral on May 26, 1868 — 142 years ago today. The address was printed in the…

Film on Yup’ik Orthodox of Alaska in development

A young filmmaker, Dmitry Trakovsky, is working on a really exciting project: a documentary on the Orthodox Yup’ik people of Alaska. Here’s how Trakovsky describes the film on his fundraising page at Kickstarter.com: This feature-length documentary embarks on a voyage down the murky waters of the Kuskokwim and Yukon Rivers of southwestern Alaska, to the…

This week in American Orthodox history (May 21-27)

May 21, 1851: Michael Ziorov — the future Bishop Nicholas, head of the Russian Mission in North America — was born in the District of Kherson, in what was then the Russian Empire and what is today Ukraine. As a layman, he served as Inspector for two seminaries. At 36, he was tonsured a monk,…

This week in American Orthodox history (May 14-20)

May 17, 1870: The newly ordained convert priest Fr. Nicholas Bjerring celebrated his first Divine Liturgy in St. Petersburg, Russia. He didn’t know Church Slavonic, so he served in German. May 19, 1884: Archimandrite Stephen Hatherly, a convert priest from England, arrived in Philadelphia. I wrote about Hatherly’s visit almost three years ago. The basic…

Fr. Kyrill Johnson, 1897-1947

A lot of us at SOCHA happen to be really busy right now (personally, I’m in the middle of law school exams), so rather than leave you without much to read this week, here’s an article we originally published back in August 2010. Fr. Kyrill Johnson was one of many fascinating early American converts to…

This week in American Orthodox history (May 7-13)

This week’s installment of our “This week” series is unusually brief, because I’m in the middle of final exams for law school. I hope you’ll understand, and I should be back next week with a full-length piece. May 9, 1870: The newly chrismated convert Nicholas Bjerring was ordained to the Orthodox priesthood in St. Petersburg,…

Churches on wheels: then and now

On April 27, MSNBC published photos of a medical train in Russia that includes a full-blown Orthodox chapel (thanks to the excellent Byzantine, TX blog for the link). The train/clinic, named after the great surgeon-bishop St. Luke of Simferopol, travels to the far reaches of Siberia and has “a carriage that operates as a mobile…