Posts tagged England
St Raphael Hawaweeny was a native of Lebanon, who in 1904 became the first Orthodox bishop ordained in the new world. As Bishop of Brooklyn he had oversight over the Syro-Lebanese communities that were beginning to appear in the Americas in the early twentieth century and he worked tirelessly for their growth and consolidation. It has been noted previously by Matthew Namee on this web site that during the years of St Raphael’s ministry until his repose in 1915 there was a dramatic increase in the extent and use of the English language in the liturgical life of these communities.
Last year, whilst I was researching in the National Archives in London, England, I discovered a document that shows that St Raphael’s missionary concerns extended beyond English to the Spanish language. The document I found was a letter (written in Russian) in 1912 from St Raphael to Fr. Eugene Smirnov, the priest of the Russian Embassy church in London. By way of background it should be mentioned that Fr. Eugene had briefly served as a reader at the Russian Orthodox parish in New York in the early 1870’s under Fr Nicholas Bjerring. Fr Eugene maintained an active interest in Orthodox missionary work throughout his life and in particular facilitated considerable support for the development of the church in America by way of both material and financial assistance.
The letter, which is translated in full below, is evidence of the expansive missionary vision of both St Raphael and Fr. Eugene. I am indebted to Dr. Karina Ross of St George Antiochian Orthodox George in Utica for its translation:
Esteemed Father Protopriest!
The box with five hundred copies of St. John’s Liturgy in the Spanish language that you promised to me in your letter from Feb. 13th / 26th of the current year was conveyed to me yesterday from the Russian Cathedral in New York.
I humbly request you to notify of this the deeply respected – apostles of Orthodoxy in the twentieth century in the heterodox West – splendid general V. Vich(?)-Perez and remarkable warrior of Christ G. A. K (can’t make out the surname), (the life and the conversion to Orthodoxy of the former through the latter, your spiritual son, I described in great detail from its account in “Church News” in my Arabic spiritual publication “Al-Khalimat” (“The Word”) last year), and also to let them know of my deepest gratitude and prayerful blessing.
I intend to send out these copies to our Orthodox Syrian Arabs who are living in Spanish language countries in Northern and Central America, in hope that this very beneficial book with (?) mercy will be of great use for the support of Orthodoxy and, quite likely, for its proliferation among Spanish speakers. Let the Lord of Hosts support all those who labour in Christ’s vineyard.
I sincerely thank you, esteemed Father Protopriest, for the love that you have shown me and for your trust in my unworthiness, with deep reverence and sincere gratitude, yours truly.
Perpetually praying for you to Lord Jesus, Raphael, Bishop of Brooklyn.
To His Blessedness
32 Welbeck St., London
It is my hope that a reader of this article might be able to find and translate the article of St Raphael in Al-Khalimat” (“The Word”) referred to in the letter so that we might learn the identity of the two Spanish language apostles of Orthodoxy in the twentieth century and thus place this document within the wider context in which it obviously belongs. I am not certain to what extent Spanish is currently employed liturgically in any of the Antiochian Orthodox parishes in the USA and whether any evidence exists of its earlier use that St Raphael clearly intended to promote through the distribution of this translation of the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom.
Nicholas Chapman, Herkimer, NY, August 26, 2012
Editor’s note: We’re extremely pleased to present another article by Nicholas Chapman, who continues to excavate the very earliest origins of Orthodoxy in America. To read more about Nicholas and his exciting research, check out the upcoming edition of the journal Road to Emmaus, which features a lengthy interview with Nicholas. Also, if you’re coming to our SOCHA symposium at Princeton later this month, you’ll have an opportunity to hear Nicholas present a 20-minute lecture on his work.
In my first article on Orthodoxy in Colonial Virginia published on this web site nearly two years ago, I mentioned in passing that the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in Russia had retrospectively approved of Colonel Philip Ludwell III’s translation of the Orthodox Confession of Peter Moghila, Metropolitan of Kiev. At that time I was not aware that this translation was in fact published and distributed.
I cannot presently be certain at what exact time Ludwell made this translation, but it must have been some time between his conversion to Orthodoxy at the end of 1738 and his move to London in the summer of 1760. In any event the first edition was published in London, England in 1762 and during a visit to the British Library this past spring I was able to handle and read a copy of the original edition. Aside from the translation of the catechism itself it contains a preface by the translator (Ludwell) as well as a few other inserted details, all of which have much to tell us about the mind and intention of the man who may be America’s first convert to the Orthodox Faith.
The book is slim brown leather bound volume of some 209 pages, printed in black ink. It has on the spine Greek Church Orthodox Confession and London 1762. The front cover is marked only with a beautiful gold embossed crown. The title page contains the following (I was unable to make a digital copy so what follows is my copy typing of the original, leaving the mid eighteenth century English unchanged. If you remember to change that the letter f can be read, as s the meaning should be clear.) :
The Orthodox Confession of the Catholic and Apostolic Eastern Church; Faithfully Translated from the Originals
Meditate upon thefe Things, give thyself wholly to them; ———-
Take heed unto thyfelf, and unto thy Doctrine; continue in them: For in fo doing thou fhalt fave thyfelf.——
1 Tim. Iv. 15. & 16.
Printed in A.D. MDCC LXII
As Moghila’s work seems to have originally been published in both Latin and Greek, the title page information seems to suggest that Ludwell had access to both texts in making his translation. The biblical quotations chosen by Ludwell seem to indicate that the purpose of the catechism is the salvation of the individual reader. The translator’s preface that follows on the next page reveals more fully Ludwell’s purpose and mission:
Devout Chriftian Reader.
Be pleafed to accept this Labour of Love, of thine unworthy Fellow-Servant; who mindful of the Command, “When thou art converted, ftrenghten “thy Brethren,” prefenteth, with all Humility, thefe his Endeavours, for thine Attainment of the Truth, and everlafting Salvation: And, in return, affift him with thy Prayers, to the Throne of Grace and Mercy; that, whilft he offereth Inftruction to others, he may fo take Heed unto himfelf, that he become not a Caft-away.
Thus faith the Lord, Stand ye in the Ways, and fee, and afk for the old Paths, where is the good Way, and walk therein, and ye fhall find Reft for your Souls.
Jerem. Vi. 16.
Unto you that fear my Name, fhall the Sun of Righteoufnefs arife with healing in his Wings. Mal. Iv. 2.
These words and quotations, although brief, clearly indicate an apostolic intention on the part of Ludwell, to reveal the fullness of the Orthodox Faith to his fellow British and British American countryman. At the same time he does not see them as being radically “other” but as fellow believers whose present understanding of the Faith needs to be strengthen by a return to the “old paths” which he understood to be found in the Orthodox Faith. As such he stands within the best tradition of Orthodox mission that seeks to recognize all that is good and of God in a culture and then to show how it may be completed within the Orthodox tradition.
I have not been able to ascertain how many copies of this original edition were published and how widely they were circulated. Clearly it did circulate. There is a fascinating article in the Scottish Review published in Paisley, Scotland in January 1892. The article is entitled Translated Greek Office Books. The author of this extensive article turns out to be no less than the Rev. Fr. Stephen Hatherly the late nineteenth century English convert to Orthodoxy who briefly attempted to start an Orthodox mission in New York in the 1880’s. (Click here for more information.) Hatherly writes as follows of Ludwell’s (aka Lodvel’s) work:
Another English writer on the subject of the Greek Church who preceded Dr. King is Col. Lodvel. The work attributed to him is one of the most important in the ample oriental ecclesiastical library. Dr. King alludes to the original of the work, and to three translation, though it publication had a ten years’ start of his book.
Here Hatherly is saying that Dr. King did not know of Ludwell/Lodvel’s translation. Dr. King was Dr. John Glen King D.D. who in 1764 had been appointed Chaplain of the English Factory in St. Petersburg, Russia. In 1772, he published in London his opus magnum The Rites and Ceremonies of the Greek Church in Russia; containing an account of its Doctrine,Worship and Discipline. Hatherly says of this work that it is now a scarce book and is likely to become scarcer, being bought up on every opportunity at American account. (Emphasis mine.)
Having pointed out that King did not seem to know of Ludwell/Lodvel’s translation, Hatherly then reveals that he has in front of him a personally inscribed copy. He writes:
After the word ‘originals’ in the title page, there is, in a clear old fashioned handwriting, the addition, ‘of Nectarius, Patriarch of Jerusalem; Parthenius, Patriarch of Constantinople; and the catechism of Petr Mogilaw, Archbishop of Kiow. And afterwards, with a coarser pen, and inferior ink, ‘By Col. Lodvel, father to Mrs. Paradise.’
Did Hatherly make use of Ludwell’s work during his abortive Orthodox mission in the USA and how many copies had already crossed the Atlantic in the 120+ years preceding it? A quick search suggests that no original physical copies are held in any US library, but given the sturdy, handsomely bound volume I held in my hands this past April, I find it difficult to believe that more copies have not survived.
Copyright – Nicholas Chapman, Herkimer, NY, September 11, 2011
Editor’s note: Over the past several weeks, we have been publishing some historical documents which Nicholas Chapman recently discovered in London. Here are the relevant links:
- Nicholas’ introduction to the documents
- A letter by St. Philaret of Moscow on Orthodoxy in America in 1865
- A letter by Agapius Honcharenko in defense of himself
Today, we’re publishing the final document in this series — a report detailing the case against Honcharenko. We don’t know who wrote this report, but it provides previously unknown details on Honcharenko’s life prior to his arrival in America. This document was translated from Russian by Matushka Marie Meyendorff.
From 1857 to 1860 at the church of our mission in Athens there served the Hierodeacon Agafy. He was the son of a priest. Agafy had completed a course of studies at the Seminary in Kiev in 1853.
He entered the Kievo-Pechersk Lavra. In 1856 he was ordained to the hiero-deaconate. In 1857, according to the testimony of the deceased Metropolitan of Kiev, Philaret, Agafy was sent by the Holy Synod to the post which had opened of Hierodeacon at our church in Athens.
From the beginning of his arrival in Athens, Agafy (as was reported in 1860 by the previous rector of the Church in Athens, Archimandrite Antonin) showed a tendency against the fulfilment of the rules of the life of a monk. He lacked friendliness towards the persons who formed his parish and had an especially negative attitude towards the rector. In January 1860 a boy of around 16 declared to Archimandrite Antonin that Agafy, for a long time, had hounded him with impolite words and at last made an improper proposition. When confronted with the accuser, Agafy agreed and said that he did it with the aim to learn if the rector himself did not have a similar relationship with the named person. After that it was declared to Agafy that he should find another place of work, This is why he was given a position that removed him from the church in Athens. Soon after that was found, glued to the wall of the tower adjacent to the church of the embassy a slander against Archimandrite Antonin. When it was found that a similar slander was written also in the bell; Agafy was sent to Russia. He left on February 2, 1860.
In that same year, 1860, the former ambassador to Greece wrote in a secret letter [?], to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, that the basic idea directing Agafy’s life was that all in the world is a convention and that everything can be understood whatever way one wants to. As a result of this, Agafy had a secret opposition to everything legal and generally accepted. He rejected all order and was repulsed by every constraint. This attitude brought him to the deepest and dirtiest amorality. He showed a noticeable pleasure in the degrading of the motherland, of spiritual knowledge, and of everything in general which is respected. He showed a sympathy to the …….; he presented ideas for the independence of “Little Russia” [Left bank Ukraine]; he expressed a clear dissatisfaction with Orthodoxy; and he rejected the need for confession. In the last period,[xx?] he displayed an unorthodox conviction toward a rapprochement with the American proselytiser of Lutherism in Greece, Ioan Kinlom. With his help, Agafy was supplied at his arrival from Athens with many letters of recommendation.
On his trip to Russia from Constantinople, he xx Malta and from there he removed his diaconal clothing and left for London. In August 1861 the Holy Synod took into consideration this above described action of the former hierodeacon Agafy (the fact that from February 1860 he was in a self decided absence) and decided to consider the designated hierodeacon Agafy as being defrocked and excluded from the clergy.
About the information received in 1864 that Agafy having returned to Athens in the Spring of 1863 continued, by anonymous letters, to bring shame on Archimandrite Antonin, there was a contact with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs requesting Agafy be sent from Athens to Russia. The decision was transmitted to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in April 28, 1861 No. 4899.
The ministry responded that they do not have the possibility to forcibly return Agafy to Russia. It asked our Ambassador in Athens to look for ways to remove Agafy from Greece.
In Athens our representative informed us that Agafy (who was living then in Athens in the Greek monastery of Tendely) forcefully denies the anonymous letters about which Fr Antonin complained.
Editor’s note: Today, we present the second of three historical documents recently discovered by Nicholas Chapman. On August 24, we published Nicholas’ introduction to the documents, and last week, we published a letter by St. Philaret of Moscow on the subject of Orthodoxy in America in 1865. Today’s document is an 1865 letter from Agapius Honcharenko to a priest. While the recipient is not identified by name, Nicholas notes that the priest was “most likely the Rev. Eugene Popov, the Russian Priest in London, England.” The initial translation of this letter has been provided by Matushka Marie Meyendorff.
The letter isn’t dated, but we can get a good idea of when it was written from this sentence: “I received today a letter from New Orleans, from the Greek Consul …… to go there and baptize four children and ten Illyrians.” On March 26, 1865, the New York Times reported that Honcharenko was to depart for New Orleans “in a few days.” It is thus probable that the letter was written shortly before that date.
Very Reverend Father,
I have always regretted and wondered why in the new world there is no Catholic Orthodox faith and because of this having prepared myself with the necessary objects for a church service: of course icons, vestments etc. Last fall on October 1 I embarked from Smyrna on an American ship and left for America having received the ordination to the priesthood, the holy antimens and the holy myrrh with a letter from the Great Church. I arrived on Dec 21 and on Dec 25, the day of the birth of Christ, in our Orthodox dogma, among the Greeks, was performed the first liturgy on this continent since the time of Columbus.
In the Republic I find in the official documents seven thousand Orthodox Slavs, (Illyrian Dalmatians of Montenegro) , three thousand Russians and three thousand Greeks. These sheep live from birth without a Pastor. The Slavs and Russians, although they are citizens of the Republic…….. But they ask with all the soul addressing themselves to Russia, asking that the Russian Synod send a blessing for their church meetings and they ask to have the petition at the litany to commemorate the Emperor Alexander II and the Holy Synod of the Church of Russia as a symbol of the unity with the Russian Church. As I am a citizen of Greece, during my services I commemorate the Greek King and Synod and the Slavs do not wish this. During the several days of my stay in New York I baptized a few friendly …. (eight) and two Russians. I received today a letter from New Orleans, from the Greek Consul …… to go there and baptize four children and ten Illyrians.
By birth I am a Russian and I served at the Russian Church in Athens as a deacon. My unfortunate fate…….. (March 15, 1860) Unfairness of people …… made me become a Greek citizen. I am also with my soul and body dedicated to the Russian people…. The Russian government . Prince Gorchokov is convinced of this. But why does not the Russian Holy Synod recognise the truth of what I say?!!!
I am addressing you the deepest request very very Reverend Father. I have heard a lot about the goodness of your soul. Please pay attention to me and to the goodwill of the Orthodox Church and ask the petition for me that I would receive the blessing upon my sheep, both Slavs and Russians, from the Holy Synod, because I am the only and first Pastor of the Orthodox Church on this continent and the Pastor for all the Orthodox sheep of the flock of Christ.
I remain with the deepest respect ,
Priest Agapius Honcharenko
47 Exchange Place, Room 19, New York
A Brief Commentary on Documents Found in the National Archives in London under the Heading “The Russian Orthodox Church in America and Its Clergy 1865”
Editor’s note: We are once again privileged to present the work of the remarkable Nicholas Chapman. Several months ago, we published two articles by Nicholas on the presence of Orthodoxy in Colonial Virginia (to read those, click here and here). Today, Nicholas introduces us to some of his most recent discoveries. On the next three Tuesdays, we’ll publish the three documents Nicholas discusses below.
At the end of July this year I was able to spend an afternoon at the National Archives in London, UK. I was aware that certain documents pertaining to the history of the Russian Orthodox Community in London were held there and I was hoping to find more information with regard to the early presence of Orthodoxy in British America before the American Revolution. Whilst my original goal was achieved I also discovered a wealth of other documents relating to the history of Orthodoxy in America between 1865 -1945. There is much more to translate and to write. I am grateful to Matushka Marie Meyendorff for her initial draft translation of the documents that follow. Not every part is immediately readable, but God willing a more complete and refined translation can be made in due course.
It would perhaps be helpful to briefly set a little historical background. There are three documents collectively filed under the heading of “The Russian Orthodox Church in America and Its Clergy 1865” They consist of a covering letter written by the venerable and very elderly Metropolitan Filaret of Moscow to the “Ober Procurator” of the Holy Synod of Russia – effectively the Minister of Religion. The Metropolitan encloses two further documents: a detailed and generally negative overview of the case against Agapius Honcharenko with an explanation as to why he was defrocked as a deacon by the Russian Synod in 1861. The second is a letter to an unknown priest (most likely the Rev. Eugene Popov the Russian Orthodox priest in London) from Agapius Honcharenko pleading his side of the story and essentially petitioning to be taken back by the Russian Church. Since his defrocking as a deacon, he appears to have been made a priest, either by the Church of Constantinople or the Church of Greece.
It is interesting that Metropolitan Filaret does not simply dismiss Honcharenko’s claims but appears to treat them seriously enough to suggest to the Ober-Procurator that they provide sufficient grounds to lead the Russian Church to establish a full ecclesial presence in the United States. It should be remembered that these documents predate the US purchase of Alaska from the Russian Empire in March 1867. It should also be noted that the American Civil War was still underway when these documents were written and that the Russian Empire was an active supporter of the Northern States during the conflict. Many in fact credit Metropolitan Filaret as being one of the driving forces behind the abolition of serfdom in Russian Empire (1861) and Agapius Honcharenko was also known as an advocate of that cause. This may partly explain Filaret’s somewhat sympathetic stance to his case.
The reference of Filaret to “American spiritual leaders” in California is also of interest and is most probably related to the overtures being made at that time by leaders of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the USA to the Russian Orthodox Church and efforts which had already begun toward the formation of a Russian Orthodox Parish in San Francisco.
Nicholas Chapman, Herkimer, New York, August 21 2010