Independence Day in Chicago, 1892

Back in 2009, I wrote an article about a unique Independence Day church service held in Chicago by Fr. Firmilian Drazich of Serbia. I thought it’d be appropriate to link to it today. If anyone out there has more information about this fascinating event, please email me at mfnamee [at] gmail [dot] com. Matthew Namee

Joseph Vilatte and the Wisconsin Old Catholics, 1891-92

In the comments section of an old article I wrote on the first Orthodox parishes in each US state, Isa Almisry and I have recently had an interesting exchange about an Old Catholic parish in Wisconsin which discussed joining (and possibly did briefly join) the Russian Orthodox Church in 1891-92. This story involves Joseph Rene Vilatte,…

Serbs in Chicago

I’ve recently stumbled onto a really interesting article on the history of Chicago’s Serbian community. This paper, written by Krinka Vidaković Petrov, was published in the journal Serbian Studies in 2006. It helps shed further light on the early history of Orthodoxy in Chicago, which we’ve discussed many times on this website. I found this…

Early Orthodoxy in Portland, Oregon

Orthodoxy has been in Portland, Oregon for well over a century, and its history is of particular interest to me, as my in-laws live in the city, and I have visited there many times. Today, we’re going to look at the beginnings of organized parish life in Portland. According to Brigit Farley, there are records of…

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…

Orthodoxy in Chicago, 1888-1892

Back in June, I did one of my first podcasts on an attempt, in 1888, to form a multiethnic parish in Chicago. Here are the basics: By 1888, there were about a thousand Orthodox Christians living in Chicago, most of them Greeks and Serbs / Montenegrins. A few years earlier, they had organized themselves into an Orthodox society…

Fr. Ambrose Vretta: pioneering priest in Chicago & Seattle

In the past, I’ve mentioned the Russian Mission’s practice of employing “client clergy” — non-Russian priests with ties to Russia, who served multiethnic or non-Russian parishes in America. St. Raphael and Fr. Sebastian Dabovich are perhaps the most famous examples, but there were many more. One of the earliest of these client clergy was Fr. Ambrose…

The First Greek Church in New York

From 1870 to 1883, Fr. Nicholas Bjerring operated a Russian chapel in New York City. At the time, there were very few Orthodox Christians in New York, and Bjerring’s parish was always small. As we’ve discussed before, in 1883, the Russian government decided to pull its funding and close the chapel. Bjerring responded by leaving…

July 4, 1892

Last month, I did a podcast on the attempt to form a pan-Orthodox parish in Chicago in 1888. (You can also read a post about it here.) That attempt failed, and in 1892, separate Greek and Russian parishes were founded in Chicago. The Greek church was founded in April, under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Athens,…