St. John comes to Chicago, 1895

This past weekend, those of us on the New Calendar celebrated the feast day of St. John Kochurov, the Russian New Martyr and former priest of Holy Trinity Cathedral in Chicago. With that in mind, I thought I’d talk a bit about St. John’s arrival in Chicago. John Kochurov was just 24 years old when…

A Russian Church in New York, 1895

Since the closing of Fr. Nicholas Bjerring’s chapel in 1883, New York City had been without a Russian Orthodox place of worship. Greek churches were founded in the city in 1892 and ’94, and by 1895, there were Russian parishes in Minnesota, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. Finally, in April of 1895, the Russian Mission returned to…

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…

Isabel Hapgood on St. John of Kronstadt

A couple of weeks ago, we reprinted St. Alexander Hotovitzky’s 1904 account of his meeting with St. John of Kronstadt. Nearly a decade earlier, the famous translator Isabel Hapgood wrote her own profile of St. John — then known as Fr. John Sergieff, pastor of St. Andrew’s Church in Kronstadt. The article appeared in The Independent…

The Lost Church of Baltimore

The 1890s witnessed the initial proliferation of Orthodox churches in the contiguous United States, and most of those early parishes are still with us today — both Greek churches in New York City, the Greek and Russian churches in Chicago, St. Alexis Toth’s parishes in Minneapolis and Wilkes-Barre. But one early effort didn’t make it…

What a majestic and refulgent language is the Arabic!

St Raphael—then an archimandrite—arrived in New York City on November 14, 1895. He made quite a first impression, not only on his Syrian Orthodox flock, but on the New York media. On November 19, the following appeared in the New York Sun: It was a pleasure to listen to the strains of the Arabic language, as…