The Russian Archbishop welcomes the Greek Archdiocese, 1921

“[I]n 1921 … without the knowledge and canonical approval of the Russian Orthodox Church, a Greek Archdiocese was founded in America.” (Patriarch Alexy I of Moscow to Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras, March 17, 1970.) Patriarch Alexy’s position has been shared by many people, particularly since the OCA was granted autocephaly by Moscow in 1970. But is…

The Failed Mission of Fr. Stephen Hatherly

Yesterday, May 19, was the 126th anniversary of the arrival in America of Protopresbyter Stephen Hatherly, a convert priest from England. Hatherly served under the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and spent several months in the US, attempting to establish an Orthodox parish in New York. Last July, I wrote an article on Hatherly’s brief American tenure, but…

Early Orthodoxy in Alabama and Georgia

In June of 1900, an Archimandrite Dorotheo — I don’t know his last name — came to Birmingham, Alabama. He had traveled there from Chicago, although I’m not sure which Chicago parish he was affiliated with. Borrowing a local Episcopal church — the Church of the Advent — he performed the first known Orthodox sacraments…

The World’s Parliament of Religions, 1893

Not long ago, I wrote a pair of articles on the visit of the Greek archbishop Dionysius Latas to the United States. The archbishop came to America in 1893 to attend the ”World’s Parliament of Religions,” which was held in conjunction with the Chicago World’s Fair. When we last left Abp Dionysius, he had visited New York and…

Today in history: Church bell stolen in Chicago

As you may have heard, a few weeks ago thieves made off with six church bells from Holy Dormition Church (OCA) in Cumberland, Rhode Island. The bells were soon recovered, albeit in a seriously damaged condition. The whole episode got me thinking about other instances in American history in which valuable church bells were stolen…

Today in history: Guns on Pascha, 1905

I was browsing my newspaper archives recently, and came across an article about a Greek Pascha celebration in New York, exactly 105 years ago today (April 30, 1905). Here’s the whole article, from the New York Times: While more than a thousand persons were in front of the Holy Trinity Hellenic Orthodox Church, in Seventy-second…

New Podcast on Fr. Demetrios Petrides

On today’s episode of my American Orthodox History podcast, I focus on the life of Fr. Demetrios Petrides, a Greek priest in Philadelphia and Atlanta from 1907 to 1917. It was Petrides who, as priest in Philadelphia, wrote a letter to the Ecumenical Patriarchate recommending Robert Morgan for ordination as the first black Orthodox priest…

“The Stormy Petrel of the Cloth”

We’ve spent a lot of time on this website talking about Fr. Raphael Morgan, the first black Orthodox priest in America. Morgan was attached to the Greek church in Philadelphia. When he went to the Ecumenical Patriarchate to be ordained in 1907, he had two letters in his possession. One was from the Greek community…

Fr. Raphael Morgan against Marcus Garvey

Marcus Garvey was a widely influential black nationalist from Jamaica. He promoted black pride and championed the “back to Africa” movement. In 1916, when he was just 29 years old and at the outset of his public career, he visited the United States and embarked on a 38-state speaking tour. Not all of the black Americans…