The San Francisco Cathedral: Before and After

In its early years, the Russian cathedral in San Francisco had a number of homes, including: 3241 Mission St. (the home of a parishioner named Mr. Seculovich) 509 Greenwich St. 911 Jackson St. 1108 Pierce St. 829 Greenwich St. (owned by a German Lutheran church) 1713 Powell St. Most of those buildings were occupied for…

When to sit and when to stand

Last week, I spent about 2,000 words discussing the question of pews in early Greek churches in America. Based on my findings to date, it seems that pews became popular in Greek churches sometime in the 1920s, for reasons that aren’t yet clear. In Paul Manolis’ indispensible History of the Greek Church of America in…

Pews (or lack thereof) in early Orthodox churches

Yesterday, I introduced one of my ongoing research projects, a study of the origins of pews in American Orthodox churches. Oh, I’m famililar with the old story — that early Orthodox parishes bought old Protestant churches and retained the inherited pews — but whenever I hear that story, it seems to be just a bald…

Built or Bought? Greek church buildings in the 1910s

Pews are a common sight in American Orthodox churches, especially those in the Greek and Antiochian Archdioceses. I remember, as an adolescent in an Antiochian parish, learning that my fellow Orthodox in Greece or Russia or Lebanon don’t have pews in their churches. When I asked why we had pews and the rest of Orthodoxy…