An Antiochian wedding at the St. Louis World’s Fair

(An earlier version of this post was published in 2010.) 108 years ago this week, in 1904, St. Raphael Hawaweeny, the Syro-Arab Bishop of Brooklyn, officiated at a wedding in St. Louis. The English bride and Arab groom had a rather romantic backstory, and the wedding took place at the imitation Holy Sepulchre in the “Jerusalem”…

An Antiochian wedding at the St. Louis World’s Fair

Editor’s note: 106 years ago tomorrow — and almost exactly one year before the Battle of Pacific Street — St. Raphael officiated at a wedding in St. Louis. The English bride and Arab groom had a rather romantic backstory, and the wedding took place at the imitation Holy Sepulchre in the “Jerusalem” exhibit at the St.…

St. Raphael’s consecration: a newly-discovered photo

St. Raphael was consecrated Bishop of Brooklyn on March 13, 1904. I wrote about this event in July, and my article was accompanied by a small photo of Raphael — the only known surviving photograph of his consecration. That is, until now.  Last month, I stumbled upon an issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle from March…

To shave or not to shave?

For three tumultuous decades — 1907 to 1938 — Fr. Basil Kerbawy was the dean of St. Nicholas Syrian Orthodox Cathedral in Brooklyn. Apparently, in 1911, he was having some issues related to his beard, and things got so bad that he wrote to William Gaynor, the mayor of New York. I can’t resist reprinting their…

Cassocks or Collars?

It’s a common debate within American Orthodoxy: should our priests wear cassocks, or should they wear suits and collars like their Roman Catholic and Protestant counterparts? One side rightly argues that cassocks are the traditional and virtually universal style of dress for Orthodox clergy. The other side just as correctly points out that even some American saints wore…

St. Alexander Hotovitzky on St. John of Kronstadt

  St. Alexander Hotovitzky was the rector of St. Nicholas Church (and then Cathedral) in New York City from his ordination in 1896 until his return to Russia in 1914. For almost all of that time, he was the highest-ranking priest in the Russian Mission. Of course, he was dean of the diocesan cathedral, but…

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…