Posts tagged Alexander Nemolovsky
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.
Thanksgiving Day as it is constituted as a civil holiday in the United States (and Canada) is not specifically found on the Orthodox liturgical calendar, but that doesn’t mean that Orthodox Christians in North America have ignored it. Here’s a notice from the New York Tribune for a Thanksgiving Divine Liturgy held at St. Nicholas Cathedral in 1921, celebrated by Archbishop Alexander Nemolovsky and Archimandrite Patrick Mythen.
From all of us here at SOCHA, Happy Thanksgiving to all who are celebrating today!
On Tuesday, Aram Sarkisian told the story of a mystery photo featuring an Orthodox priest, whom he eventually identified as the Syrian/Antiochian Fr. Job Salloom of Washington, DC. In the course of his investigation, Aram noticed that the mystery priest bore a striking resemblance to a priest in an earlier image — a 1915 group photo of clergy surrounding the casket of St. Raphael Hawaweeny. That led Aram and me to start another project: an attempt to identify all the clergy in that St. Raphael photo. That photo appears at the top of this article, and I’ve added numbers to make the identification process easier.
Our idea was to identify as many of these men as possible, and then ask our readers for help. We figure that, by “crowdsourcing” the image, we may be able to get the names of every single one of the clergymen pictured.
One of the first problems we ran into was the fact that the visiting Antiochian Metropolitan Germanos Shehadi is nowhere to be found in the photo, although he played a prominent role in the funeral service. And for that matter, there are only 18 or so priests in the photo (and that includes the Russian Bishop Alexander Nemolovsky), but there were many more at the funeral. According to A. Issa’s St. Vladimir’s Seminary thesis on the life of St. Raphael, 22 Syrian priests, three deacons, two bishops (Germanos and Alexander), and an unspecified number of Russian priests were present.
So what gives? Where are Metropolitan Germanos and all the rest of the Syrian clergy?
The answer is that they aren’t in the photo, because they weren’t in Brooklyn when this photo was taken — because this photo is not from St. Raphael’s funeral. Raphael died on February 27, 1915. The funeral took place on March 7, which allowed enough time for the Syrian clergy to converge on Brooklyn. But the day after Raphael’s death, on Sunday, February 28, Bishop Alexander celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the Syrian cathedral. I’m nearly certain that the above photo was taken after this service. Metropolitan Germanos hadn’t even left Montreal for New York yet, and many other Syrian priests were only just making their travel arrangements.
So that’s our first clue: it’s very likely that all of the clergy in this photo lived within an afternoon’s train ride of Brooklyn, because that’s all the time they would have had to get there. Let’s look at each clergyman one by one, and see what we can find here at the outset.
#1: Fr. Job Salloom
It’s fitting that the man who started this whole project, Fr. Job Salloom, is #1 on our list (by virtue of standing at the far left of the photo). Check out Aram’s recent article to learn more about Fr. Job.
#4: Fr. Michael Husson (?)
Fr. Michael Husson was an active priest in America from 1902 to 1937, and most of that time was spent at St. George Church in Worcester, MA. His career encompassed a huge swath of Antiochian history in America, from St. Raphael’s consecration in 1904 through the dueling consecrations of Antony Bashir and Samuel David in 1936. In between, Fr. Michael’s parish was the first to throw its lot in with Metropolitan Germanos Shehadi’s “Antacky” faction. Later, in 1924, Worcester was the site of the consecration of Victor Abo-Assaly, the first primate of the modern Antiochian Archdiocese of North America. The above photo of Fr. Michael was taken in about 1900, so we can assume he looked a little different standing around St. Raphael’s casket in 1915. That said, Aram and I both think that Clergyman #4 looks rather similar to Fr. Michael — enough so that it could be him, 15 years later. If any of our readers has a later photo of Fr. Michael, please let us know. (And for a bit more on Fr. Michael, check out this article I wrote a couple of months ago.)
#5: Fr. Michael Ilyinsky
In 1915, 48-year-old Fr. Michael Ilyinsky was on the staff of St. Platon Russian seminary in Tenafly, NJ. In 1935, after the death of his wife, Fr. Michael was consecrated a bishop, taking the monastic name Makary, and served as the first Dean of St. Vladimir’s Seminary from 1938 to 1944. In 1946, Archbishop Makary left the Metropolia and in 1947 became Exarch (primate) of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Exarchate of North and South America. In 1952, he was elevated to the rank of Metropolitan. The above photograph was taken slightly before his death in 1953.
#6: Fr. George Maloof
Fr. George Maloof was the founding priest of St. George Church in Boston, and he served there from 1900 until his death in 1920. The photo on the right is from the St. George parish website. Fr. George was recently described as “an intensely spiritual man whose only concern was the welfare of his flock.”
#7: Fr. Aftimios Ofiesh
This is an easy one. Fr. Aftimios Ofiesh was one of the leading candidates to replace St. Raphael as Bishop of Brooklyn, and he was consecrated to the post in 1917. But a large portion of the Syrians rejected Aftimos’ authority in favor of Metropolitan Germanos, creating the “Russy-Antacky schism.” Aftimios eventually created his own jurisdiction, the American Orthodox Catholic Church, which drifted to the fringes of mainstream Orthodoxy. In 1933, Aftimios married a young woman, effectively ending his ecclesiastical career.
#8: Archdeacon Emmanuel Abo-Hatab
Another easy one: Archdeacon Emmanuel was St. Raphael’s right-hand man, and he accompanied the great bishop on many of his missionary trips. Adn. Emmanuel was just 25 in 1915 — far below the canonical minimum age for consecration — but he was one of the top candidates to succeed Raphael. In the end, Aftimios Ofiesh was chosen instead, and his former rival Emmanuel became a loyal lieutenant. In 1927, Emmanuel was consecrated a bishop for Aftimios’ American Orthodox Catholic Church, but two years later, Emmanuel bolted to join the Russian Metropolia. Aftimios had fallen out of favor with the Metropolia, and Emmanuel replaced him as bishop for the Syrians. Just a few weeks after Aftimios got married in 1933, Emmanuel died.
#9: Bishop Alexander Nemolovsky
In 1915, Alexander Nemolovsky was the Bishop of Alaska, yet from the departure of Archbishop Platon in mid-1914 until the arrival of Archbishop Evdokim in May 1915, Alexander was also serving as temporary administrator of the entire Russian Archdiocese of North America. Later, after the Bolshevik Revolution and the departure of Abp. Evdokim for the All-Russian Sobor, Alexander again served as temporary administrator, and was elected as diocesan primate at the 2nd All-American Sobor in 1919. The embattled Abp. Alexander served but three years in this post, and departed for Constantinople in 1922. He eventually became the Archbishop of Brussels under the Patriarchate of Constantinople, then the Patriarchate of Moscow, and was elevated to the rank of Metropolitan in 1959. Met. Alexander died in Belgium in 1960.
We don’t know who this man is, but he appears to be either a deacon or a subdeacon.
This priest may be Russian, rather than Syrian.
#12: Fr. Basil Kerbawy
Fr. Basil Kerbawy was dean of St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn (where the casket photo was taken) from 1907 until his death in 1937. He was married and thus ineligible to become a bishop, but Fr. Basil threw his weight behind Archdeacon Emmanuel. He had a sort of love-hate relationship with Aftimios, sometimes serving as an ally, other times as an enemy. Awhile back, I wrote about a rather amusing incident involving Fr. Basil’s beard, some rotten vegetables, and the Mayor of New York. In 1924, he made a pastoral visit to Jamaica, which is where the grainy newspaper photo on the right was taken.
#13: Possibly Fr. Ingram Nathaniel Irvine
Unfortunately, Clergyman #13′s face is obscured, so we can’t tell for sure whether he has Irvine’s distinctive, gigantic mustache — but if you look closely, it looks like he might. From other images, we know that Irvine had a bald head, just like #13. Also, both men appear to have dark eyebrows. We’re almost certain that Irvine was present for the casket photo, given that he was St. Raphael’s English secretary. None of the other priests in the photo look like Irvine, so we’re reasonably confident that we’ve made the right identification.
#18: Fr. Joseph Elia Xanthopoulos
I’ve written quite a bit about the few Greek priests who served in the Russian Mission, but until we started this project, I had never known about Fr. Joseph Elia Xanthopoulos, a half-Lebanese, half-Greek priest who served in the Syrian Mission. At the time of St. Raphael’s death, he was the pastor of St. Mary Church in Wilkes-Barre, PA. Later, he joined the Greek Archdiocese and served at St. George in Springfield, MA for two decades. He’s a fascinating figure who defies our neat little ethnic categories, and I’d love to learn more about him.
So, that’s it: we’ve got a pretty good idea about 10 of the 18 clergy pictured in the casket photo, but we need your help to identify the other eight (and to confirm the identities of the priests we’ve already found). Next week, Aram will be back with a follow-up article, along with more information to help with the identification process. In the meantime, if you’re at an Antiochian parish, see if you can match one of the clergymen in the casket photo to one of your old parish priests. If you have old parish commemorative booklets with photographs, compare them with the unknown faces. If you find any matches, or have pictures that could otherwise help with the identification process, please drop me an email at mfnamee [at] gmail [dot] com. We need your help!
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 he was the chief advocate of the use of English in Orthodox worship. Irvine’s significance to American Orthodox history is difficult to overstate.
I’m now working on a book about Irvine. No specifics yet, but I plan to finish it by the time I graduate from law school in a year. I’ve slowly begun to review my sources on Irvine, and I stumbled onto a really, really strange bit of information.
Irvine died in Brooklyn on January 23, 1921. The first obituary was published the next day, in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. This obituary seems to have been the main source for the obituaries that appeared in numerous other papers in the following days. Here’s the weird part:
The Rev. Dr. Ingram N.W. Irvine, 71 years old, in charge of the English division of the Eastern Holy Orthodox Catholic Church of America, died on Sunday, of heart trouble, at his residence, 677 Sterling pl. The funeral services will be held tomorrow morning at 11 o’clock, at Dr. Irvine’s late home, the Rev. A.L. Charles, rector of St. Mark’s P.E. Church, officiating, and the internment will follow in Greenwood Cemetery. Dr. Irvine is survived by his wife, Mrs. Emmalena Wilson Irvine, and a daughter, Mrs. Annie Chapin.
There’s not really any question that Irvine remained Orthodox to the end of his life. Even this obituary speaks of him as being the head of the “English division” up to his death. And if you know anything about Irvine, you know that he was a stubborn mule who wouldn’t just cut and run from a church at the first hint of discomfort. I’m 99.9% certain that Irvine did not revert to Episcopalianism in the month before he died.
So why was Irvine’s funeral in his home and not in a church — and why did an Episcopal priest officiate? Apart from the almost impossible prospect of a deathbed apostasy, here are the most likely scenarios I can come up with (with help from Aram Sarkisian and Fr. Oliver Herbel):
1. Irvine’s widow and/or daughter arranged for an Episcopalian funeral. This, in my view, is the most likely scenario. We don’t know much of anything about Emmalena, Irvine’s wife. Yes, she helped Irvine with his teaching ministry, but we don’t even know if she formally converted to Orthodoxy. For all we know, she remained Episcopalian even after her husband’s conversion. As for daughter Annie, she was a very dysfunctional person. It’s a story for another day, but suffice it to say that Annie stole from a lot of people, probably was a con artist, and left her children to be primarily raised by their grandparents (the Irvines). I doubt she’d demand an Episcopalian funeral, but her motives are difficult to follow. In any case, Emmalena and/or Annie may have asked Rev. A.L. Charles of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church to officiate.
2. Irvine himself asked for an Episcopalian funeral, but remained Orthodox. This is less crazy than it sounds. According to Aram Sarkisian’s research, Irvine’s bishop, Abp Alexander Nemolovsky, was in Canada when Irvine died. And Irvine had just been through a bad experience with a failed convert parish led by the erratic Archimandrite Patrick Mythen (who, incidentally, was probably in Canada with Abp Alexander when Irvine died). The nearest Orthodox bishop was the Syrian Bishop Aftimios Ofiesh of Brooklyn — a man Irvine hated. Irvine may have been so upset with the nearby Orthodox authorities that he preferred to be buried in a quiet ceremony officiated (perhaps) by an Episcopal priest that Irvine respected.
3. Irvine had an Orthodox funeral and an Episcopalian memorial service. This theory, suggested by Fr. Oliver, assumes that the newspapers just didn’t know about the Orthodox service. Along similar lines, Fr. Oliver points out that the Orthodox and Episcopalians may have officiated at the same funeral service. After all, in that era, it wasn’t unheard of for Orthodox and Episcopalian priests to officiate at the same marriage ceremony. I find this suggestion somewhat less likely than the possibility of dual funerals, simply because the Episcopalian funeral reported in the Eagle took place at Irvine’s home, rather than a church. Which suggests that it was something less than an “official” event. If Orthodox clergy were involved, why not do it at a church?
Anyway, at this point, we don’t know what was going on with Irvine’s funeral. But the three of us — Fr. Oliver, Aram, and I — are trying to track down what happened.
This article was written by Matthew Namee.
Last week, we reprinted Isabel Hapgood’s account of St. Raphael’s funeral. The Hapgood article appeared in the New York Tribune on March 8, 1915. Two days later, the paper published the following letter to the editor from Fr. Ingram Nathaniel Irvine:
To the Editor of The Tribune.
Sir: An unfortunate mistake was made in an article written by Miss Isabel Hapgood which would make it seem to appear that the Russian Bishop and his Russian clergy did not pay the proper repsect to the office of the Syrian Bishop at the funeral. The words to which exception is taken are as follows: “The Syrian priests, in passing, kissed the dead Bishop’s hand after kissing the cross. The Russian Bishop and priests passed without saluting cross and hand.”
Indeed, the respect and episcopal honor paid to Bishop Raphael’s office and person by Bishop Alexander was the most remarkable expression of love that has ever been known in the United States to the body of a dead prelate. From the moment Bishop Alexander was notified of his brother Bishop’s death until the day after his burial in the crypt of the cathedral (which, by the bye was not built by Bishop Raphael, as Miss Hapgood, through misapprehension, also states) he and his clergy were present and gave the same attention as if the deceased Bishop was of their own nationality. The usual custom of kissing the cross and the hand of the dead Bishop was also observed.
If, from matter of respect to the Syrian clergy, who had come from great distance to the funeral, Bishop Alexander and his clergy gave way for a moment, it was altogether because of the tenderness toward thirty priests of the Syrian Bishop who crowded around the casket brokenhearted and bereaved. However, from the first visitation to the dead body until the casket lid was locked down, Bishop Alexander and his clergy paid every required honor — indeed, to such an extent that it might have appeared to outsiders that he was their own Bishop and not that of the Syrian flock.
INGRAM N.W. IRVINE.
St. Nicholas Cathedral, March 9, 1915
As regular readers of this website know, Irvine was a prominent Episcopal priest who converted to Orthodoxy and was ordained by St. Tikhon in 1905. Irvine worked closely with St. Raphael and his Syrian Mission from the beginning, and around 1909, he was actually transferred to St. Raphael’s own jurisdiction. Irvine remained there until St. Raphael’s death, after which he returned to the main Russian Mission. Irvine was a tireless promoter of the use of English in American Orthodoxy, the education of Orthodox children, and the unity of all Orthodox ethnic groups under the Russian Archdiocese.
As we have seen before (and will see again), Irvine had an antagonistic relationship with Isabel Hapgood, the Episcopalian writer and linguist who translated the Service Book into English in 1906. While the pair shared an interest in spreading the use of English in American Orthodox parishes, they differed on virtually everything else. Hapgood’s views of Irvine aren’t well recorded (or, if they are, they haven’t been discovered yet), but Irvine is on record many times as an outspoken opponent of Hapgood and nearly all that she stood for. It is therefore unsurprising that Irvine would publicly call out Hapgood on such a seemingly insignificant error in an otherwise accurate article on St. Raphael’s funeral.
Then again, perhaps it wasn’t so insignificant. It’s established that, as early as St. Raphael’s funeral itself, the Syrian priests were divided over whether they should be under Russia or Antioch (see, for instance, the 1924 court case Hanna v. Malick). We also know, from other documents, that Irvine strongly supported the unity of American Orthodoxy under Russian jurisdiction. I’m just speculating here, but it is entirely possible that Irvine read Hapgood’s error in the context of the jurisdictional uncertainty and division that was beginning to overtake the Syrian Mission in the days and weeks after St. Raphael’s death. Viewed in this light, Irvine may have felt it necessary to emphasize, very publicly, the unity between the Russians and the Syrians. The fact that it also accorded him the opportunity to criticize his longtime foe, Hapgood, would have been icing on the cake.
[This article was written by Matthew Namee.]