Fr. Kyrill Johnson, 1897-1947

A lot of us at SOCHA happen to be really busy right now (personally, I’m in the middle of law school exams), so rather than leave you without much to read this week, here’s an article we originally published back in August 2010. Fr. Kyrill Johnson was one of many fascinating early American converts to…

This week in American Orthodox history (May 7-13)

This week’s installment of our “This week” series is unusually brief, because I’m in the middle of final exams for law school. I hope you’ll understand, and I should be back next week with a full-length piece. May 9, 1870: The newly chrismated convert Nicholas Bjerring was ordained to the Orthodox priesthood in St. Petersburg,…

Churches on wheels: then and now

On April 27, MSNBC published photos of a medical train in Russia that includes a full-blown Orthodox chapel (thanks to the excellent Byzantine, TX blog for the link). The train/clinic, named after the great surgeon-bishop St. Luke of Simferopol, travels to the far reaches of Siberia and has “a carriage that operates as a mobile…

This week in American Orthodox history (April 30-May 6)

May 4, 1793: Empress Catherine the Great of Russia granted the Holy Synod permission to establish an Orthodox mission in “Russian America” (Alaska). The following year, the first eight missionaries, including St. Herman, arrived on Kodiak Island. May 3, 1870: Nicholas Bjerring, a convert from Roman Catholicism, was received into Orthodoxy by chrismation in St.…

Photo of the week: a newlywed archbishop

In the half-dozen years before his wedding on April 29, 1933, Archbishop Aftimios Ofiesh had moved further and further away from mainstream Orthodoxy, setting himself up as the head of an “autocephalous” jurisdiction called the American Orthodox Catholic Church—which at its inception in 1927 had the official blessing of the Russian Metropolia in America (which…

Some thoughts on the Russy-Antacky schism

Yesterday, in my “This week in American Orthodox history” article, I mentioned the following event: April 23, 1917: St. George Syrian Orthodox Church in Worcester, MA became the first official “Antacky” parish, declaring its loyalty to Metropolitan Germanos Shehadi. Informally, the Russy-Antacky schism began immediately after St. Raphael died in 1915, when his priests disagreed…

A Connecticut Yankee in the Tsarina’s Domain

It may come as a surprise to learn that one of the earliest descriptions of Orthodox worship in Alaska comes not from the pen of a Russian missionary or fur trader, but from that of a young Anglo-American explorer who visited the “Great Land” in 1778, sixteen years before the first missionaries arrived in Kodiak.…

Historical Studies of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad

One of our advisory board members, Deacon Andrei Psarev of Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, NY, operates the excellent church history website ROCORStudies.org. As the name suggests, the site is devoted to studying the history of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR). Recently, we asked Deacon Andrei to provide a summary of the…