This week in American Orthodox history (June 4-10)

June 10, 1870: The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church created the Diocese of the Aleutian Islands and Alaska. Previously, Alaska — or, before its 1867 sale to the United States, “Russian America” — was part of the Diocese of Kamchatka. Making Alaska its own diocese was part of the transition in the wake…

Neutral Principles of Law in a Bulgarian parish dispute

Today I’ll be discussing Aglikin v. Kovacheff, a 1987 Illinois appellate court case involving a dispute over control of St. Sophia Bulgarian Orthodox Church in Chicago. The key question, in this case, concerns the extent of the diocesan bishop’s authority over the local parish. The bishop had dismissed certain members of the parish board of trustees — did he have…

The census record of Fr. Misael Karydis

Fr. Misael Karydis is one of many odd, mysterious figures from early American Orthodox history. We’ve discussed him at length in past articles. He was the longtime pastor of Holy Trinity Church in New Orleans, from 1881 until his suicide in 1901, and besides his pastoral work, he was apparently something of an inventor. Among…

American Orthodox demographics, 1906-1936

Every ten years, from 1906 to 1936, the US Census Bureau compiled a Census of Religious Bodies. These censuses are gold mines of information on early American Orthodoxy. Also, unlike so many of the inflated numbers that you’re likely to see floating around, the census data is reliable. With its considerable resources, the Census Bureau…