Irvine transferred to St. Raphael’s jurisdiction

The following letter was found in Ingram N.W. Irvine’s file in the OCA Archives in Syosset, New York. The letter is undated (the pre-printed date line “190_” does not have a specific year) and appears under the letterhead of the North American Ecclesiastical Consistory, 15 East 97th Street, New York, N.Y. It is handwritten and…

Prayers for the President

Attend an American Orthodox parish today, of any jurisdiciton, and you’re likely to hear prayers offered for the President of the United States (and, in some parishes, for the other branches of government as well). The first evidence I’ve been able to find of such prayers is from the journal Christian Union, 10/4/1871: Bishop Johannes,…

The Reversal of St. Raphael

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…

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…

Fr. Arsenios Davis & communion with Episcopalians

Officially, of course, the Orthodox Church has never been in communion with the Protestant Episcopal Church. Yes, there’s been some close dialogue over the years, and once upon a time even St. Raphael blessed his people to seek out Episcopal priests in extreme situations (though he soon rescinded that permission). Still, Orthodoxy has never entered…

Parish priest stability, 1911-1915

I’ve conducted a little study on parish stability during the 1910s, with some slightly surprising results. I began with a list of the Orthodox parishes that had resident priests in 1911. For each of these, I checked to see whether the same priest was serving the parish four years later, in 1915. My results aren’t…