Bashir, the Federation, and SCOBA

On today’s episode of the American Orthodox History podcast, I interviewed SOCHA executive director Fr. Oliver Herbel on the subject of the “Federated Orthodox Greek Catholic Primary Jurisdictions,” a 1943 attempt to create a national, pan-Orthodox organization. The Federation is to SCOBA what the League of Nations was to the United Nations. Both the Federation…

The Origins of the “Myth of Unity”

Back in June, I gave a paper at St. Vladimir’s Seminary entitled, “The Myth of Past Unity and the Origins of Jurisdictional Pluralism in American Orthodoxy.” The unwieldy title notwithstanding, the premise of my paper was simple: that the commonly-held story of a unified American Orthodoxy which fragmented after the Russian Revolution is, quite simply,…

Orthodoxy in Chicago, 1888-1892

Back in June, I did one of my first podcasts on an attempt, in 1888, to form a multiethnic parish in Chicago. Here are the basics: By 1888, there were about a thousand Orthodox Christians living in Chicago, most of them Greeks and Serbs / Montenegrins. A few years earlier, they had organized themselves into an Orthodox society…

St. Tikhon’s Vision, 1905

In 1905, the Holy Synod of Russia was preparing for an All-Russian Council. In advance of this, the Synod asked all the diocesan hierarchs of the Russian Church to send in their opinions on various church reform issues. St. Tikhon was among the respondents, and a portion of his reply has become rather famous among…

The New Orleans Gospel Book

In 1927, Fr. Boris Burden wrote the following: The Church of the Holy Trinity in New Orleans, La., claims to have been the first Greek church in the United States. On the occasion of its dedication in 1860 Alexander II, Czar of Russia, sent to its Greek Priest, the Reverend Father Michael, a gold-embossed Book…

“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…