The many names of Chicago’s Russian church

Sometimes, we historians deal with big, important issues. Other times, we obsess over minutae. Today is one of the latter occasions. Chicago’s OCA cathedral, known for the past century as Holy Trinity, had a lot of names in its early years. It’s a pretty convoluted history, and I am attempting to unravel it. Here’s what…

“Thank you; we have the original.”

Most of the time, on this website, we talk about the history of Orthodoxy in the Americas. But it’s important to remember that, especially in the 19th century, American Protestant missionaries were traveling in the other direction, going to places like Greece and Syria in an effort to convert Orthodox Christians to Protestantism. I recently…

The controversial Fr. Basil Bouroff

Yesterday, I wrote about St. John Kochurov’s arrival in Chicago, which followed on the heels of Fr. B.A. Bouroff’s expulsion by Bishop Nicholas, on the grounds that Bouroff had taken classes at the University of Chicago. But who was this Fr. Bouroff, and what was his story? As it turns out, the September 2, 1895…

The Russian Diocese in 1905

In 1905, the Roman Catholic religious writer Andrew Shipman wrote an article on the Russian Church in America. It’s an enlightening piece, a snapshot of the Russian Mission taken by an intelligent outsider. Given that the Russian Mission is the subject of my latest podcast on Ancient Faith Radio, I thought this would be a…

Dabovich’s Miter

If you read one of the many articles on the life of Fr. Sebastian Dabovich, you might run across a story about his miter (that is, his archimandrite’s crown). Dabovich had been elevated to archimandrite by St. Tikhon in 1905, and Tikhon gave Dabovich a miter on the occasion. According to St. Nicholai Velimirovich, the crown was…

More on Fr. Vladimir Alexandrov

A few days ago, we discussed the tragic story of Fr. Vladimir Alexandrov, the early 20th century Russian priest whose life reads like (as Fr. Andrew Damick has suggested) a Russian novel. Very briefly: Alexandrov accidentally killed his son; his wife had an affair with his assistant priest (and took the family’s $19,000 savings); he…

The tragic story of Fr. Vladimir Alexandrov

Fr. Vladimir Alexandrov was a priest in the Russian Mission in the late 19th and early 20th century. He began his career in 1896, as the choir director of the multiethnic St. Spiridon Church in Seattle, Washington. After his ordination in 1898 (or ’99), he remained in Seattle as the pastor of the church. It…