Source of the Week: Dabovich on Bishop Nestor

On today’s episode of my American Orthodox History podcast, I talk about the tragic death of Bishop Nestor Zass, head of the Diocese of the Aleutian Islands and Alaska from 1879 to 1882. One of Bp Nestor’s parishioners in San Francisco was the 19-year-old Jovan Dabovich, the future Archimandrite Sebastian. Years later, Dabovich wrote a…

A Life of St. Herman from 1919

  Vera Vladimirovna Johnston was born in the Russian Empire, married an Englishman, and eventually moved to New York. Her own story is extremely fascinating, and we will discuss it in detail in the future. Today, however, I am reprinting an article she wrote in 1919, entitled, “Herman — Russian Missionary to America.” This article…

Fr. Jacob Korchinsky: Missionary and Martyr

Recently, on our Facebook page, someone left a comment requesting information on Fr. Jacob Korchinsky, who is apparently being considered for canonization. I was vaguely familiar with Korchinsky; I’d read his name before, but knew next to nothing about him. Obviously, I wanted to learn more. Over the past couple of days, I’ve pieced together…

St. Innocent’s Vision

On October 18, 1867, the Russian Empire formally ceded Alaska to the United States. The next month, St. Innocent was elected Metropolitan of Moscow. Shortly after this, Innocent sent the following letter to the Ober-Procurator (the Tsar’s representative) of the Holy Synod.[*] Rumor reaching me from Moscow purports that I wrote to someone of my great unhappiness…

“When we speak of Tsarist pressure”

In the late 1920s, after Abp. Aftimios Ofiesh (the successor to St. Raphael in the see of Brooklyn and the subject of my M.Div. thesis and possible future book) had in 1927 established, with the blessing of the Russian Metropolia, the so-called “American Orthodox Catholic Church,” he engaged in something of a debate via correspondence…

A Letter to President McKinley

In my latest American Orthodox History podcast on Ancient Faith Radio, I spoke with Eric Peterson about Alaskan Orthodoxy in the period following the 1867 sale of Alaska by Russia to the United States. This was a tragic period, and for decades, a Presbyterian missionary named Rev. Sheldon Jackson ruled Alaska with an iron fist. He…