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…

The Non-Invention of Meletios Metaxakis

It is often asserted that Ecumenical Patriarch Meletios Metaxakis invented the idea that the Ecumenical Patriarchate has authority to extend its jurisdiction beyond its traditional boundaries into the so-called “diaspora.” This is the Patriarchate’s current interpretation of Canon 28 of the Council of Chalcedon, which Meletios used in 1921-22 in order to justify his establishment…

Debates on unity: three issues

In various places on the Internet, there have been debates and discussions concerning the question of Orthodox administrative unity prior to 1921. Often, people seem to be talking past one another. The issue of “Orthodox unity” actually encompasses a variety of areas, some of them historical, some not. I thought I would try to summarize just what those…

SOCHA on the AOI weblog

Interested parties may care to look at this post from the American Orthodox Institute weblog commenting on the SOCHA website. The comments section contains some notable material, as well, highlighting what SOCHA members feel is vital: an earnest engagement with the primary sources of American Orthodox history unencumbered by jurisdictional agendas.

“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…

Two Columns from 2005

Readers may be interested to read the following two columns from 2005, written by Theophilus Eardwine and appearing on the OrthodoxyToday website. Both are notable in that they deny the commonly held notion that pre-1921 Orthodoxy in America was united under the Russian Archdiocese, something that in 2005 was unthinkable in many circles. The first…

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…