GVF-NYC-1947b

Fr Matthew Baker: Florovsky Visits America

Last night, March 1, 2015, the brilliant Orthodox scholar (and priest, husband, and father of six), Fr Matthew Baker, died in a car accident. In remembrance of him, we are republishing a really outstanding article that he wrote for this site in 2012. You can read more about Fr Matthew in this post by his friend, Fr Andrew Damick. If you are able, please consider…

Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in New Orleans, early 20th century

What was the first Orthodox parish in America?

The question, “What was the first Orthodox parish in America?” is surprisingly difficult to answer. A big part of the problem comes from that word, “parish.” What is a parish? When does a collection of Orthodox people become a “parish”? It’s a matter of interpretation, and particularly in the early years of Orthodoxy in America,…

1896-01-26 - NY Press illustration of interior of NY Syrian chapel

St Raphael’s Original New York Chapel

St Raphael Hawaweeny arrived in New York City in 1895, and he immediately established a chapel for his growing community of Arab Orthodox Christians. The chapel was located at 77 Washington Street in Manhattan, right next to the Syrian Maronites’ own chapel. The Orthodox chapel, called St Nicholas, was a very modest affair, a low-ceilinged,…

Archbishop Victor Abo-Assaly (photo from the collection of Sam Namee)

Remembrances of Archbishop Victor Abo-Assaly

From 1895 until his death in 1915, St. Raphael Hawaweeny was the unquestioned leader of the Arab Orthodox in America. He was technically affiliated with the Russian Archdiocese, although he also had strong ties to the Patriarchate of Antioch. When he died, his followers split into two factions. The Russy faction, which ultimately coalesced around…

Fr. Raphael Morgan

The Birth of Fr. Raphael Morgan

So I think I found something I’ve been looking for for many, many years — the birthdate of Fr. Raphael Morgan, the first black Orthodox priest in America. First, the backstory. Until now, the closest I’ve been able to get to nailing down a birthdate for Fr. Raphael is to say, “circa 1864 to 1871.”…

aleppo-jerusalem

Of Antioch and Alexandria, England and America

Introduction: Visitors at Balamand If you were to visit today the web site of the St John of Damascus School of Theology in Balamand, Lebanon you might not be surprised to find a news item about a group of English businessmen visiting the Institute and attending a vespers service. After all, people travel much more…