Mimo Milosevich has written on Archimandrite Theoklitos Triantafilides (who served in America from 1896 to 1916). Some of his reflections may be read here:
Indeed, I consulted Mimo when writing my paper on Greeks serving in the Russian Mission, which I presented at this past year’s SOCHA Symposium. He was very helpful in pointing me to sources and information.
Mimo has dedicated himself to sharing the story of Archimandrite Theoklitos and it’s easy to see why. In an age when missionaries for the Russian Mission were brought over for short stints and when missionaries of any Orthodox background typically moved about from parish to parish, Theoklitos is a sturdy rock. He still went to the “hinterlands,” mostly in Texas, but also in Colorado and spent time in San Francisco reaching out to the Greek community there. He (and others) were ultimately largely unsuccessful in that venture in San Fran, in that the Greeks formed their own parish eventually, but not entirely and his dedication was clear. He served God and God’s people through the Russian Mission. He was able to see his way through the difficult hectic life of a missionary priest at a time when not all could. Indeed, at a time when many laity could not. He accepted canonical order and he loved the people under his care. Barring some unbeknownst event in the Galveston Daily News, he should be included amongst those mentioned as possible Greek saints in America.
All that said, here is a recent talk given by Mimo:
Please be aware that during the introductory part, before Mimo himself begins speaking, there is a lot of background noise. If you can forebear, you’ll be glad because that quickly goes away and the talk is very nice. We at SOCHA are very glad that Mimo and Fr. John Whiteford (the talk was at his parish) were willing to allow us to share this with our readers.
One of the minor characteristics of Orthodox Christianity in America has been the regular appearance of imposters. Already on our blog, we have discussed the Bulgarian monk in Idaho and his ghost story. We have also discussed Agapios Honcherenko. Perhaps the Bulgarian monk really was a monk (though obviously in disobedience) and I still find it difficult to know exactly what to believe concerning Honcherenko. One person that can definitely be labeled an imposter is Stephen Ustvolsky when he served as a bishop (“Metropolitan Serphim”). We mentioned him in passing here:
I thought I would take the time today to provide us with a slightly fuller account of what it is he was doing. This article includes the text for a denunciation that was to be read publicly:
Matthew has mentioned the first English speaking Transfiguration parish here:
One of the converts he mentioned was a gentleman named Reginald Wright Kauffman. Kauffman lived from 1877-1957 and was a noted author. He also served as a newspaper editor for a time. He was raised Episcopalian and apparently considered Mormonism for a time. He and his wife Ruth authored a book on it in 1912. You may still purchase a reprint from the University of Illinois Press. Despite this, he became Orthodox at the Transfiguration parish in New York in 1920. Here is a newspaper description of that event:
To the best of my knowledge, he remained Orthodox, but I am not sure of that. Fr. Daniel H.B. Montgomery mentioned Kauffman as a “pioneering convert” in “Your Orthodox Mission to America” Word Magazine (1957): 207-8, 212. This need not mean Kauffman remained Orthodox and if anyone has any information on Kauffman that relates to his Orthodoxy, we welcome feedback.
One way in which Orthodox Christians have been characterized by various sociologists and even Orthodox themselves is to refer to Orthodoxy’s ghettoization and/or refuge-seeking. I do not believe that is the entire story for American Orthodoxy, not even earlier in the 20th century. This is because much of my research as of late has been into people and events that contradicts the view that refuge-seeking is all there is to American Orthodoxy. Nonetheless, and despite whatever peer-reviewed publications I might offer to the contrary, there is most certainly truth to it.
In addition to the obvious cultural factors (English was not the native language of Eastern European and Middle Eastern immigrants and cultural mores differed), flashes of anti-immigrant violence directed against Orthodox Christians helped create this scenario.
The most well known example may be the anti-Greek riots of South Omaha, Nebraska in 1909. The instigating event causing the riot was a Saturday night scuffle between a police officer and a local Greek man. The officer had followed the young Greek man into the home of a lady who allegedly had a reputation for illicit behavior. A scuffle ensued and the policeman was shot and killed. The following morning, when the bells of the local Greek Orthodox Church began ringing, a mob gathered together and ransacked the Greek section of town. The Greek Town of South Omaha burned to the ground and 1,200 Greeks fled. The precipitating cause was labor tensions, as the Greeks had arrived during a labor shortage and were competing for jobs. Moreover, they were willing to work for lower wages.
Indeed, Greek Orthodox and other Eastern European Orthodox immigrants were often in the middle of labor disputes. For example, in Montana, citizens of Great Falls held meetings for the purpose of driving the Greeks from their town. On another occasion, near Mt. Home, Idaho, some one hundred Greeks cleared land of sagebrush and instead of being paid were run off in the middle of the night by fifty masked men. Nor was the American reception of Greek Immigrants contingent simply upon labor concerns. There was a religious dimension to it as well, at least amongst those involved in missionary movements. American anti-immigration and ethnic sterotypes also affected Slavic immigrants. In Desloge, Missouri, for example, a 1917 labor riot drove out many of the Carpatho-Rusyn immigrants (who had previously converted from Eastern Catholicism to Orthodoxy).
Of course, it was not just Orthodox who encountered this. This was a problem for Eastern Catholics from the Austro-Hungarian Empire as well. And, really, America has a pattern of reacting this way. Each new wave of immigration encounters this. In the case of Eastern Europeans, however, the language and cultural distinctions were such that one way of reacting to the situation was to rally around one’s culture, utilizing the local parish as the cultural center. As I said earlier, though, I don’t believe that’s the entire story to Orthodox history, but it is certainly a part of it.
 An overview of the riot may be found in Alice Scourby, The Greek Americans (Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1984), 33-4 and Theodore Saloutos, “Cultural Persistance and Change: Greeks in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountain West, 1890-1970,” Pacific Historical Review 49 (1980): 85-8.
 Scourby, 34.
 See Peter Carl Haskell, “American Civil Religion and the Greek Immigration: Religious Confrontation Before the First World War,” St. Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly 18:4 (1974):166-192.
 Karel D. Bicha, “Hunkies: Stereotyping the Slavic Immigrants, 1890-1920,” Journal of American Ethnic History 2:1 (1982): 16-38.
In the middle of the twentieth century, Fr. Boris Burden (+1973) played important roles in American Orthodoxy. It was he and Fr. Michael Gelsinger who rallied behind the attempt in the late 20s and early 30s to unite Orthodoxy and they were the key players, together with George E. Phillies (a Greek attorney) in establishing the Federated Orthodox Greek Catholic Primary Jurisdictions in America, which I’ve discussed on here before. He and Fr. Michael also donated a large number of books to the university in Buffalo, starting their Byzantine collection.
Unfortunately, Fr. Boris also seemed to find his way into the courts. I haven’t had a chance to try to track down this case, but the Brooklyn Daily Eagle of Saturday, April 9, 1932, lists Joseph McKoe v. Boris Burden as a case scheduled for the 8th District Court on April 11th. As I said, I don’t know what drove that case, but in another case, in 1924, Burden was taken to court for getting into a fist fight. Here’s the newspaper article from back then (Brooklyn Eagle, October 14, 1924). By the way, raising a fist against another, if you’re a priest, breaks canon law. Though I am aware of economia being extended when a priest was defending someone else, in this case, that is not the case. It is an old fashioned, immature fist fight. So, sometimes in American Orthodoxy, those who have worked the hardest have also had serious character flaws. I suppose that’s to be expected in a frontier, marginalized religion, but it is worth remembering nonetheless.
PRIEST HOLDS OWN
IN FISTIC BATTLE
Following a violent altercation last midnight between Hugh Yeo, 23 years old. a taxi drlver, living at 2155 65th st., and Boris Burden of 417 8th St., starters for the Yellow Taxi Cab Company,- at their stand at Ave. 1 and the Brighton line, Patrolman John Maxwell took both men to the Parkville station, where they were charged with disorderly conduct.
Yeo spent the night in the cells. Burden obtained bail. When he appeared before Magistrate Eilperln in the Flatbush Court this morning, the taxi starter of the night before, a tall, good-looking young man of 26. with blond, wavy hair. wore the black gown and round clerical collar of a priest. “Yon could have knocked me over with a feather,” said Yeo, when his fellow prisoner explained to the Court that during the day he was the Rev. Father Boris Burden of the Eastern Orthodox Greek Catholic Church. He said that he is attached to the general staff of the cathedral at 15 E. 97th St.. Manhattan, and added that he has been working on a sociological study of immigrants. Fred G. Ritta. counsel for the Yellow Taxi Cnb Company, defended the priest taxi starter against the disorderly conduct charge, to which he pleaded not guilty. The client, at the instigation of his employers, also preferred a charge of assault against Yeo. According to Yeo, the priest-starter gave as good as he took, both in blows and verbal insults.