The Death of Aftimios Ofiesh

I had meant to write something about this yesterday, since July 24 marks the anniversary of the death of Aftimios Ofiesh, the sometime Archbishop of Brooklyn, who departed this earthly life in 1966. Aftimios was briefly the leader of the American Orthodox Catholic Church (1927-33), the first attempt to create a united, pan-Orthodox, autocephalous Orthodox…

Photo of the week: a newlywed archbishop

In the half-dozen years before his wedding on April 29, 1933, Archbishop Aftimios Ofiesh had moved further and further away from mainstream Orthodoxy, setting himself up as the head of an “autocephalous” jurisdiction called the American Orthodox Catholic Church—which at its inception in 1927 had the official blessing of the Russian Metropolia in America (which…

Some thoughts on the Russy-Antacky schism

Yesterday, in my “This week in American Orthodox history” article, I mentioned the following event: April 23, 1917: St. George Syrian Orthodox Church in Worcester, MA became the first official “Antacky” parish, declaring its loyalty to Metropolitan Germanos Shehadi. Informally, the Russy-Antacky schism began immediately after St. Raphael died in 1915, when his priests disagreed…

This week in American Orthodox history (January 30-February 5)

A lot of Antiochian-related events this week: January 30, 1902: Archimandrite Raphael Hawaweeny, head of the Syro-Arab Orthodox Mission in America, began a pastoral journey to Mexico. Later this week — on February 3 — he made a brief stop in Cuba en route to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. St. Raphael remained in the Yucatan for…

The mystery of Irvine’s funeral

I’ve written more words about Fr. Ingram Nathaniel Irvine than about any other historical figure. Irvine was an Episcopal priest who converted to Orthodoxy in 1905, was ordained by St. Tikhon, and played a major role in American Orthodoxy until his death in January 1921. He was a trusted assistant to St. Raphael Hawaweeny, and…

An update on Fr. Moses Abihider

Recently, I wrote a brief article on Fr. Moses Abihider, a Syrian/Antiochian priest from the early 20th century who was buried alongside St. Raphael Hawaweeny. Shortly after that, a reader named Robert Klancko emailed me with more information. Mr. Klancko’s wife is a relative of the Abihider family, and, among other things, he told me the…