Freemasonry in American Orthodox history

Once upon a time, it was the norm for American men to be members of fraternal organizations. These were especially attractive to new immigrants, who wanted to be integrated into American society and make progress in business. And in that earlier era, fraternal membership was the best and quickest way to achieve both goals. They joined the…

Two Greek youths come to America in 1823

Years ago, on an online database, I came across an article titled “The Two Greek Youth” and published in the April 1823 issue of The Guardian, or Youth’s Religious Instructor, a short-lived American magazine. According to the article, Protestant missionaries brought these two boys over from Malta to study at the Cornwall School in Connecticut.…

Photo of the week: the monument to Fr. Methodios Kourkoulis

In its early years, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church (later Cathedral) went through priests like a newborn goes through diapers. In the dozen years from its founding in 1892 until 1904, the parish welcomed, and said goodbye to, no fewer than eight pastors. These included some (relatively) big names: Fr. Paisios Ferentinos, the first Greek…

This week in American Orthodox history (Sept. 10-16)

September 11, 1893: The World’s Parliament of Religions opened in Chicago. I’ve written quite a bit about the Parliament in past articles, and you can read all of them by clicking here. The super-short version: In conjunction with the Chicago World’s Fair, representatives from every major world religion convened in Chicago for the mother of…

The Life of Archbishop Michael Konstantinides

Editor’s note: Today, July 13, marks the 54th anniversary of Archbishop Michael Konstantinides, primate of the Greek Archdiocese. Archbishop Michael has been largely (and unfairly) forgotten, for a simple reason: his eight-year tenure was sandwiched in between the larger-than-life Archbishops Athenagoras and Iakovos. But Archbishop Michael was a genuinely outstanding hierarch, and he’s worthy of…

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…