Plans for a New York church in the 1870s

Immediately upon Fr. Nicholas Bjerring’s arrival in New York City in 1870, news spread that the Russian Church planned to construct a great temple in the city, on the corner of 51st Street and Lexington Avenue. This is from the Christian Advocate journal (6/29/1871): A magnificent structure is about to be erected by the Russian government…

James Chrystal: the first convert priest

A month ago, I did a podcast and wrote an article about the first two American Orthodox convert priests, James Chrystal and Nicholas Bjerring. Today, I’m publishing a brief biography I wrote on Chrystal (and which I adapted for use in the podcast). James Chrystal was born in 1831, ordained an Episcopal deacon in 1859…

In Defense of Fr. Irvine

“Self righteousness. Self assuredness. Emphasising unity of administration. Not understanding the importance of Church music. The Freemason Conspiracy Theory. Aggressiveness…..” The other day, I happened upon an online discussion of Fr. Ingram Nathaniel Irvine and his dislike of Isabel Hapgood. One commentator, whom I would credit if I knew his/her real name, said, “I understand…

The Prophet of American Orthodoxy

Fr. Ingram Nathaniel Irvine, the great convert priest who was ordained by St. Tikhon in 1905, may well be the most quotable figure in American Orthodox history. You can expect lots of Irvine-related material on this website well into the future, but I thought that today, I might offer some particularly great quotations from the…

Robert Josias Morgan visits Russia, 1904

It’s been a while since we talked about Robert Josias Morgan, the black Episcopal deacon who became an Orthodox priest in 1907, taking the name “Fr. Raphael.” In the past, I’ve mentioned that, prior to his conversion to Orthodoxy, Morgan visited Russia in 1904. Upon his departure, he wrote a letter, which was reprinted in…