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…

The Failed Mission of Fr Stephen Hatherly

From 1870 to 1883, Fr Nicholas Bjerring was pastor of a Russian Orthodox chapel in New York City. Bjerring was a convert from Roman Catholicism, and he basically operated an “embassy chapel.” He held services for Russian and Greek officials stationed in America, he ministered to the few Orthodox Christians living in New York, and…