This week in American Orthodox history (May 7-13)

This week’s installment of our “This week” series is unusually brief, because I’m in the middle of final exams for law school. I hope you’ll understand, and I should be back next week with a full-length piece. May 9, 1870: The newly chrismated convert Nicholas Bjerring was ordained to the Orthodox priesthood in St. Petersburg,…

This week in American Orthodox history (March 12-18)

This week is a busy one: March 14, 1767: Philip Ludwell III, the first Orthodox convert in American history, died in London. Decades earlier, in 1738, Ludwell had joined the Orthodox Church in London. He was just 22 at the time, and was a rising star in the Virginia aristocracy. Remarkably, the Russian Holy Synod…

Joseph Vilatte and the Wisconsin Old Catholics, 1891-92

In the comments section of an old article I wrote on the first Orthodox parishes in each US state, Isa Almisry and I have recently¬†had an interesting exchange about an Old Catholic parish in Wisconsin which discussed joining (and possibly did briefly join) the Russian Orthodox Church in 1891-92. This story involves Joseph Rene Vilatte,…

Today in history: the death of St. Alexis Toth

101 years ago today, May 7, 1909, Archimandrite Alexis Toth died in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Here is the obituary that ran in the evening newspaper, the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader: Rt. Rev. Alexis G. Toth, pastor of St. Mary’s Orthodox Greek Catholic Church of North Main street, this city, died at 2 o’clock this afternoon from a…

Old Calendar Christmas

Today, of course, is Christmas for those Orthodox Christians on the Old (Julian) Calendar. Until the 1920s, all of Orthodoxy used the Old Calendar, and of course that included all the Orthodox in America. As we’ve discussed, the American media thought that this was thoroughly fascinating, and newspapers often ran articles on “Greek” or “Russian”…