Orthodoxy in Colonial Virginia

A note from Matthew Namee: What follows is a first glimpse of what is, I am confident, the most exciting research currently being done on the subject of American Orthodox history. As I’ve been telling others, my own research is pretty interesting stuff, but Nicholas Chapman’s work blows mine out of the water. Nicholas is…

Calendar issues in early American Orthodoxy

One of the most obvious practical issues facing early Orthodox Christians in America was the difference between the Church calendar — the “Julian” calendar — and the civil (“Gregorian”) calendar. In the 19th century, twelve days separated the two calendars; after the turn of the century, the difference was thirteen days. And since the “New…

Fr. Arsenios Davis & communion with Episcopalians

Officially, of course, the Orthodox Church has never been in communion with the Protestant Episcopal Church. Yes, there’s been some close dialogue over the years, and once upon a time even St. Raphael blessed his people to seek out Episcopal priests in extreme situations (though he soon rescinded that permission). Still, Orthodoxy has never entered…

The First Churches, State by State

There is an argument, made by many, that the first autocephalous Church to expand into a new territory “gets” that territory. I call it the flag-planting theory, because it reminds me of 15th century European explorers who reached the shores of undiscovered (for them) lands, stuck a flag in the sand, and claimed that piece…

The First Orthodox Liturgy in the American South

As we discussed earlier, Fr. Agapius Honcharenko celebrated the first Orthodox liturgy in New York City on March 2, 1865. At the time, he was the only Orthodox priest in America outside of Alaska. And as we’ve also discussed, there were Greeks and other Orthodox Christians living in New Orleans in the 1860s. In fact, they…

Confederate Orthodox soldiers in the Civil War

In 1861, the Greeks living in New Orleans organized their own volunteer militia regiment to fight on the Confederate side in the Civil War. From Fr. Alexander Doumouras, in the 1975 book Orthodox America: 1794-1976: Government records show an unofficial memorandum mentioning “Greek Company A,” Louisiana Militia, 1861. The company included a captain, three lieutenants,…