This week in American Orthodox history (June 18-24)

June 21, 1863: Jovan Dabovich was born in San Francisco to Serbian immigrants. He would be baptized by an Orthodox priest aboard a visiting Russian ship, and he later became Fr. Sebastian, one of the most prominent Orthodox clergymen in America. June 18, 1878: Fr. Paul Kedrolivansky, dean of the Russian cathedral in San Francisco,…

Bogus aristocrats and Orthodox saints

At the very end of the 19th century, a fellow going by the name “Theodor O’Brien MacDonald, Baron de Stuart” appeared in New York City. His second and third names notwithstanding, the “Baron” claimed to be the son of a Russian general. He left Russia, so he said, because he wanted to leave the Orthodox…

This week in American Orthodox history (June 11-17)

June 16, 1889: Deacon Raphael Hawaweeny was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Sylvester, rector of the Kiev Theological Academy. Deacon Raphael had come to the Kiev school a year earlier, and the plan was for him to study there and then return to Syria, where he would become the Russian-language secretary for the Patriarch…

New details on the mysterious “Bulgarian Monk”

Awhile back, I did a podcast on a 19th century figure who called himself “The Bulgarian Monk.” This man, also known as Rev. A.N. Experidon, came to America in the 1870s and claimed to be an Orthodox hieromonk. He remained here until his mysterious death in Idaho in the early 1890s — after which, so…

Nicholas Chapman: Was Fr. Samuel Domien a Greek Catholic? Part 3

Editor’s note: What follows is the last of three articles by Nicholas Chapman on Fr. Samuel Domien, the first Orthodox priest known to have set foot in the Western Hemisphere. Domien was fascinated with electricity and became friends with Benjamin Franklin, who mentions Domien in his letters. To read Nicholas’ original article on Domien, from…

This week in American Orthodox history (June 4-10)

June 10, 1870: The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church created the Diocese of the Aleutian Islands and Alaska. Previously, Alaska — or, before its 1867 sale to the United States, “Russian America” — was part of the Diocese of Kamchatka. Making Alaska its own diocese was part of the transition in the wake…

Nicholas Chapman: Was Fr. Samuel Domien a Greek Catholic? Part 2

Editor’s note: What follows is the second of three articles by Nicholas Chapman on Fr. Samuel Domien, the first Orthodox priest known to have set foot in the Western Hemisphere. Domien was fascinated with electricity and became friends with Benjamin Franklin, who mentions Domien in his letters. To read Nicholas’ original article on Domien, from…