Posts tagged 1910
I recently received the above photo in an email from Deacon Steven Kroll, who offered the following details:
Over the past several months I have been traveling up to Hartshorn, OK to serve alongside the priest who is caring for the remainder of the the faithful at Sts. Cyril & Methodius. This month I took my iPad with the intention of photographing several items around the church (old ledgers & metrical books, icons, and photograph in the church hall. One of these photographs in particular I want to share with you. Its from 1910 and there are quite a few orthodox clergymen in the photo, as well as a bishop’s portrait at the top of the photo. I was hoping you could take a look at it and see if you can identify any of the clergy by sight. The priest near the center seated in the front row resembles pictures I’ve seen on your website of Alexander Hotovitzky. The bishop at the top reminds me of St. Raphael of Brooklyn, but you may know better.
Thanks very much to Deacon Steven for passing this along. If any of our readers can identify some of the people in this photo, let me know and I’ll update this post.
Update: According to Fr. David Mastroberte, over on our Facebook page, the priest to the left of Fr. Alexander Hotovitzky is Fr. Peter Kohanik, who served in the Russian Archdiocese for many years.
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 Church and become a Roman Catholic. After spending time in a Jesuit monastery in Maryland, the Baron became dissatisfied with Rome and decided to convert again, this time to Protestantism.
He traveled to New York, where he became a bit of a sensation among well-to-do Protestant clergy. An ex-Catholic priest, who edited a journal called The Converted Catholic, saw the Baron as “a brand snatched from the burning” and arranged for the him to give speeches about his religious journey. According to the New York World, the Baron’s “chief stock in trade” was a photograph of a priest dressed in Orthodox vestments. The photo was supposed to be of the Baron himself, and it did look just like him, even in little details, such as the small mustache and bowed eyeglasses.
But it wasn’t a photo of the Baron — it was Fr. Alexander Hotovitzky, rector of the Russian church in New York. Apparently, the Baron showed the photo to one person too many: one lady recognized it as Hotovitzky, and when the Baron was confronted with this charge, he vanished. Hotovitzky and an Episcopal Church leader (who himself had been duped by the Baron) issued a joint letter, warning New Yorkers that the purported Baron was a fraud. As far as I know, the Baron was never heard from again.
Several years later, another fraudulent nobleman appeared in New York, and this time, he wasn’t a mere “baron” — he was supposedly a Serbian prince. The purported Prince Stefan Nemanjich-Dushanjich and his family first showed up in a fashionable Long Island town in 1906, but it wasn’t until 1909 that he revealed his “true” identity as a member of the Serbian royal family. He convinced an impressive list of people, including Bishop Raphael Hawaweeny, Bishop Alexander Nemolovsky, Fr. Alexander Hotovitzky, and Fr. Methodios Kourkoulis, the longtime priest of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in New York. In 1910, the Prince induced these four prominent Orthodox clergymen to travel to Long Island to serve a memorial Divine Liturgy for his reputed royal ancestors — quite the “pan-Orthodox” affair!
As with the earlier Baron, the Prince’s ultimate downfall was a result of a lecture tour. The First Balkan War broke out in the fall of 1912, and the Prince began giving speeches, ostensibly on behalf of the Serbian Red Cross. This caught the attention of Michael Pupin, a Columbia professor and Serbia’s honorary consul general. Professor Pupin immediately saw through the Prince’s charade, and it quickly came to light that the Prince was neither royal nor Serbian, but rather a con man named Jimmy “Alphabet” Andrews.
Decades earlier, Andrews had made headlines by eloping with a prominent Chicago woman, who divorced him when Jimmy started an affair with his stenographer. It was the same stenographer who later posed as the Prince’s wife, and even their kids were in on the act.
I don’t know what became of either the purported Baron or “Prince” Jimmy Andrews. As usual, if you have any clues, let us know.
Main sources: New York World (Jan. 27, 1900) and New York Times (Nov. 27, 1912).
Last week, we discussed St. Raphael’s involvement with the Episcopal Church — his role in an Orthodox-Anglican dialogue group, and his June 1910 letter permitting Episcopalian clergy to minister to Syrian Orthodox people in limited circumstances. Later that year, one of St. Raphael’s top assistants, Fr. Ingram Nathaniel Irvine, wrote a lengthy open letter, warning the Orthodox bishops in America of the Episcopalian threats to Orthodoxy. “Permit me to remind you, Fathers, that already the decks of the Protestant Episcopal battleships are cleared for action,” Irvine wrote. “Her Diocesan regiments, well equipped and united, are in ecclesiastical array.” He continued:
I say with solemn earnestness that the battle will be fought in the United States between Orthodoxy, by which I mean “the faith once for all delivered unto the saints,” as saith St. Jude, and now alone kept by the Holy Orthodox Church of which you and I have the honor of being members, and all others, whether Roman Catholic, Anglican, Protestant, Unitarian or Nothingarian.
Irvine’s full letter is a highly significant document, and we will examine it in detail in the future. For now, suffice it to say that Irvine warned the Orthodox bishops that these seemingly harmless ecumenical dialogues posed serious threats to the survival of Orthodoxy in America. In part, this is because such dialogues seemed to legitimize the Episcopal Church in the eyes of the untrained Orthodox layman. Combined with statements such as St. Raphael’s June 1910 letter, the door was opened for Episcopalians to say to the Orthodox, “Look, we are just like you! You needn’t worry about seeking an Orthodox priest; come to our churches instead!” Irvine warned,
Samson lost his strength when he played the fool with Delilah, who pretended love so as to disarm him of his source of power over the foes of the ancient Israel. We Orthodox, both Clergy and Laity, will lose all our strength if for the sake of society blandishments, whether clerical or lay, of those who hold not the Faith, betray our trust. Sooner or later we will find the Philistines rushing in upon us.
On September 25, 1911 — so, 15 months after issuing his letter of permission to the Episcopalians — St. Raphael formally withdrew from the Anglican and Eastern Orthodox Churches Union. He sent a letter to the Union, tendering his resignation, and then sent a pastoral epistle to his flock. Irvine’s influence is apparent in both letters. In fact, it is clear, based on the language and writing style, that Irvine himself authored both documents. This is not to say that St. Raphael had no hand in their content; on the contrary, he most certainly agreed with everything expressed in the letters, and he signed his name to both. But given Irvine’s position as a trusted advisor, his vast knowledge of Anglicanism, and his considerable writing ability, it is understandable that St. Raphael would delegate to him the actual task of letter-writing. (Incidentally, I can document at least one other instance in which Irvine ghost-wrote a letter for St. Raphael, and he almost certainly did the same for St. Tikhon on at least one occasion.)
To the letters. In the first, to the Union itself, St. Raphael (via Irvine) said,
There is a great and growing misunderstanding on the part of the Laity to wit, that, there is actually a union, or that, there will be, in the very near future, a corporate Union, between the Protestant Episcopal Church and the Holy Orthodox in America at least. The result is that the Laity in some sections are being confused in their doctrinal belief as well as growing careless about other requirements of the Holy Orthodox Church. In fact they neither know what to believe nor to reject, – much less which Church it is their duty to sustain.
To make matters worse, as we noted above, some Episcopalian clergymen had taken too far the limited permission in St. Raphael’s June 1910 letter:
Some of the Protestant Episcopal Clergy have taken upon themselves, through misunderstanding, to offer their services to Orthodox people, when even Orthodox Priests were within calling distance to minister to them; thus conveying the idea that, they, the Protestant Episcopal Clergy, were accepted as Holy Orthodox and that, there was no need of the ministrations or pastoral care of their own Orthodox Bishops and Clergy.
Thus, St. Raphael respectfully withdrew from the Union. He followed this with a 2200-word pastoral epistle. He (again via Irvine) stated, “I am convinced that the doctrinal teaching and practices, as well as the discipline, of the whole Anglican Church are unacceptable to the Holy Orthodox Church.” Therefore, “I direct all Orthodox people residing in any community not to seek or to accept the ministrations of the Sacraments and rites from any clergy excepting those of the Holy Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church.” But St. Raphael didn’t stop there. It was not enough for the Orthodox to avoid the ministrations and sacraments of non-Orthodox bodies. He went on, “I further direct that Orthodox Christians should not make it a practice to attend the services of other religious bodies, so that there be no confusion concerning the teaching or doctrines.”
The full text of this letter may be found at this link.
Now, imagine the position of St. Raphael. He was a vice president of the Anglican and Eastern Orthodox Churches Union. He had frequent dealings with Episcopalians, as did his associates in the Russian Archdiocese. Talk of union was in the air. His June 1910 letter was well-received by Episcopalians and not publicly criticized by any Orthodox people. But he saw, and Irvine called attention to, the error of that 1910 letter. It must have taken immense humility for St. Raphael to rescind his permission and withdraw from the Union. I’m sure he had many long discussions with Irvine beforehand, and he must have ultimately instructed Irvine to draft two letters on his behalf. St. Raphael read them, and perhaps edited them (for an unadulterated Irvine letter could be abrasive).
The whole affair must have been painful for St. Raphael, but, a century later, I am amazed at his openness and humility. As the June 1910 letter proves, he was not perfect, but his actions in 1911 are evidence of his genuine love for his flock. He was a great bishop.
At the turn of the last century, relations between the Orthodox and Anglican Churches were quite warm. They cooled a bit in 1905, when St. Tikhon ordained the former Episcopal priest Ingram Nathaniel Irvine to the Orthodox priesthood, but even so, many on both sides of the dialogue felt that full union would eventually happen.
In England in 1896, a body was formed called the “Anglican and Eastern Orthodox Churches Union.” A dozen years later, in 1908, a group of High Church Episcopalians decided to establish an American branch of the organization. Several Orthodox leaders attended the first meeting in New York City, including the Syrian Bishop Raphael Hawaweeny and two of his clergy, the Fr. Benedict Turkevich (representing the Russian Archdiocese), and Fr. Methodios Korkolis (representing the Greeks). During the meeting, St. Raphael was elected to be the Orthodox Vice President.
The Episcopalians had an ambitious agenda: they wanted the Orthodox to recognize their holy orders as valid; indeed, they wanted to be recognized as a Local Church, just as “Orthodox” as Russia or Antioch. The Orthodox, and St. Raphael in particular, had much more modest goals. They wanted to promote friendly dialogue, with initiatives such as seminarian exchanges.
All the while, St. Raphael faced a monumentally difficult pastoral situation. His flock was scattered across North America, and many lived far away from any Orthodox church, Syrian or otherwise. In 1909, the Episcopalians suggested that he have the Anglican Book of Common Prayer translated into Arabic, so that the Syrians could worship with the Episcopalians. Raphael responded that it would be better for the Episcopalians to buy some Orthodox service books for their churches, so that the Syrians could use them if they visited.
In June of 1910, Raphael went even further, granting formal permission for his people to seek the ministrations of Episcopal clergymen in the event that no Orthodox priest was available. Here is his letter, which I am reprinting from the Journal of the Proceedings of the One Hundred and Ninth Annual Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of New Hampshire (November 1910):
Right Reverend and Reverend Brothers:—
I thank God for the great work which is being done by our Union, in the way of promoting fellowship and a better understanding between the Holy Orthodox and Anglican Churches.
I assure you also of my full appreciation of all the kindnesses and courtesies extended to me and my people.
Now, in order that all complications may be avoided in the matter of mixed Services, that is, when a Syrian Orthodox may desire to have any Sacrament performed by a Bishop or Priest of the Anglican Communion in North America, I offer briefly some of our rules, as Orthodox Catholics, which, if possible, I beg to have enforced.
However, in this matter I am only speaking for myself personally, as an Orthodox Bishop, and in no way binding my brother Orthodox Bishops in North America. I speak alone for the Syrian people.
First:—It is against our Law to marry two brothers to two sisters.
Second:—It is equally contrary to the same law to marry a man to a deceased wife’s sister, and vice versa.
Third:—We do not permit marriage within the fourth degree of consanguinity.
Fourth:—Civil Divorces are not acknowledged by the Orthodox Church, unless for causes she sanctions; and, therefore, no civilly divorced person can be reunited in wedlock to another party, unlets divorced by the Church, as well as by the State.
Fifth:—The Orthodox Church requires that a child shall be baptized by a Trine Immersion in the water, and be immediately afterwards Chrismated.
Inasmuch as there is a variance between your and our Churches in these matters, I suggest that, before any marriage Service is performed for Syrians desiring the services of the Protestant Episcopal Clergy, where there is no Orthodox Priest, that the Syrians shall first procure a license from me, their Bishop, giving them permission, and that, where there is a resident Orthodox Priest, that, the Episcopal Clergy may advise them to have such Service performed by him.
Again, in the case of Holy Baptism, that, where there is no resident Orthodox Priest, that the Orthodox law in reference to the administra
tion of the Sacrament be observed, namely immersion three times, with the advice to the parents and witnesses that, as soon as possible, the child shall be taken to an Orthodox Priest to receive Chrismation, which is absolutely binding according to the Law of the Orthodox Church.
Furthermore, when an Orthodox Layman is dying, if he confesses his sins, and professes that he is dying in the full communion of the Orthodox Faith, as expressed in the Orthodox version of the Nicene Creed, and the other requirements of the said Church, and desires the Blessed Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ, at the hands of an Episcopal Clergyman, permission is hereby given to administer to him this Blessed Sacrament, and to be buried according to the Rites and Ceremonies of the Episcopal Church. But, it is recommended that, if an Orthodox Service Book can be procured, that the Sacraments and Rites be performed as set forth in that Book.
And now I pray God that He may hasten the time when the Spiritual Heads of the National Churches, of both yours and ours, may take our places in cementing the Union between the Anglican and Orthodox Churches, which we have so humbly begun; then there will be no need of suggestions, such as I have made, as to how, or by whom, Services shall be performed; and, instead of praying that we “all may be one” we shall know that we are one in Christ’s Love and Faith.
Raphael, Bishop of Brooklyn.
Not long after issuing this letter, St. Raphael did an about-face, withdrawing from the Anglican and Eastern Orthodox Churches Union altogether, and instructing his people to disregard his previous letter. We’ll discuss those events in the near future.
It is well known that, at the turn of the last century, thousands of Syrians/Lebanese made the trip across the Atlantic to New York. What is less well known, at least here in the US, is that many Syrian emigrants went to other parts of the New World, including South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. A lot of these travelers found their way to Jamaica, which, to this day, has a sizeable Syrian contingent.
Unlike the Syrians in the US, however, these Syro-Jamaicans didn’t obtain a permanent Orthodox priest, or establish a functioning Orthodox community. They stuck together as an ethnic group, but in terms of their religion, they eventually became absorbed into the existing Anglican church of Jamaica.
That said, the Syro-Jamaicans did receive occasional pastoral visits from Orthodox clergy. In 1913-14, Fr. Raphael Morgan, the first black Orthodox priest in America (who was serving under the Church of Greece at the time), visited Jamaica and served the Divine Liturgy (aboard a Russian ship) for the Syrians he met. But he wasn’t the first Orthodox clergyman to visit Jamaica. Three years earlier, in August of 1910, a priest named Fr. Antonio Michael came to the island. Here is an account of his visit, from the Kingston Gleaner (8/4/1910):
It will be remembered that during last year the [Anglican] Archbishop addressed a meeting of Syrians on the Rectory Lawn. Since that time many of the Syrians have been worshiping with us regularly. A step towards closer fellowship was taken on July 17th, when the Rector, taking advantage of the visit to Jamaica of a priest of the Greek Orthodox Church, arranged a special service for Syrians. The priest in question, Father Antonio Michael came with authority from the Patriarch of Antioch to visit the Syrians scattered through these Islands.
Having inspected the Patriarch’s letter the Rector invited Father Antonio to celebrate the Holy Eucharist at the Altar of the Kingston Parish Church. The invitation was accepted and accordingly on Sunday we were privileged to witness a fine illustration of the friendly relations which exist between the Anglican and the Greek Orthodox Church.
At 8 a.m. the Rector celebrated and Father Antonio sat in the Sanctuary in his robes. At 9 a.m. Father Antonio celebrated for the Syrians in the presence of a large congregation of Jamaicans, following the Eastern rite, the Rector being present within the Sanctuary. The services lasted altogether two hours and a half, but many remained to the end, though the Syrians’ service being in Arabic was difficult to follow for those not acquainted with the language. To those who knew something of the Eastern rite it was full of interest. At the close of the service Father Antonio commended the Syrians to the pastoral care of the Rector.
Father Antonio concluded his address on the Gospel for the day in these words:
“May you live together in peace and love. I raise my heart and hands to God Almighty asking Him to be with every one of you. May He prosper you in all your undertakings. May He bless the Island of Jamaica and grant to His Majesty King George V. strength, wisdom and length of days; to His Excellency the Governor and to all associated with him in the Government of this Island, knowledge and understanding. I pray that our Heavenly Father may keep and bless the Archbishop and the Ministers of the Holy Church especially Mr. Ripley who has allowed me to have this service to-day. O God, guard Thy children from all dangers ghostly [spiritually] and bodily. May they grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ and finally of His great mercy obtain everlasting life. Amen.”
Clearly, Fr. Antonio did not plan to remain in Jamaica, and he saw nothing wrong with commending the Orthodox people there to the care of the Anglican clergy. As I said, the next Orthodox priest (that I’m aware of) to visit Jamaica was Fr. Raphael Morgan. While he was under the Church of Greece, most of the other Orthodox clergymen to visit Jamaica in the early 20th century were Antiochians. However, no permanent priest was ever assigned to for the Syrian community, and today, the descendants of those Syrians are predominantly Anglican.