The First Orthodox Liturgy in New York City

On March 2, 1865, New York City witnessed its first-ever Orthodox liturgy. The service was held in Trinity Chapel, which belonged to the Episcopal Church. The priest, Fr Agapius Honcharenko, was originally from what is now Ukraine and what was then a part of the Russian Empire. But he came, apparently, from the Church of…

Two Russian Priests in New York City, 1863

In September of 1863, in the middle of the American Civil War, a fleet of Russian ships arrived in the New York harbor. Their mission was both diplomatic and strategic, but anyway, that’s not terribly relevant here.[i] More to the point, among the crews of the ships were at least two Orthodox priests serving as…

The First Black Orthodox Priest in America

On today’s episode of the American Orthodox History podcast, we’re running a lecture I gave at the Brotherhood of St Moses the Black conference in Indianapolis at the end of May. The subject is Fr Raphael Morgan, the first black Orthodox priest in America. The text of the lecture is below. Also, later this year, St.…

The Failed Mission of Fr Stephen Hatherly

From 1870 to 1883, Fr Nicholas Bjerring was pastor of a Russian Orthodox chapel in New York City. Bjerring was a convert from Roman Catholicism, and he basically operated an “embassy chapel.” He held services for Russian and Greek officials stationed in America, he ministered to the few Orthodox Christians living in New York, and…

“Sometimes make a claim…”

One of the topics which has drawn together the founding members of SOCHA has been the question of the nature of Orthodox administrative unity in late 19th and early 20th century America.  This is perhaps one of the most fascinating questions being asked in the study of Orthodox history in America.  Is it really the…