Editorial: The New Americanism, Orthodox History and Unity in America

In the closing years of the 19th century, a number of Roman Catholic leaders in America were accused of a heresy called Americanism, and Pope Leo XIII wrote an apostolic letter specifically denouncing elements of this teaching, Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae. Americanism was essentially the emphasis on American political values over against the Roman Catholic political…

Rethinking the Myth of Unity

One year ago, I delivered a paper at St. Vladimir’s Seminary entitled, “The Myth of Unity and the Origins of Jurisdictional Pluralism in American Orthodoxy.” (Click here for the audio.) My thesis was that, contrary to a widely-held belief, American Orthodoxy was not administratively united prior to the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. Rather, from a very…

A few good links

On his Frontier Orthodoxy website last week, Fr. Oliver Herbel posted an essay outlining his position on Archbishop Arseny’s canonization. In a follow-up post, Fr. Oliver responded to the charge that he was employing a “hermeneutic of suspicion.” Finally, on his own blog, Gabriel Sanchez used Fr. Oliver’s comments a springboard to reflect upon the…

Passing Judgment on the Past

This week, I’ve written about two topics that can be somewhat divisive: clergy dress, and pews. From the feedback I’ve been getting, it seems that some people want me to come down on one side or the other. Should priests wear cassocks everwhere? Should they wear collars? Should our churches have pews, or shouldn’t they?…

A note of thanks

I happened to pick up an old favorite off the bookshelf recently — E.H. Carr’s classic What Is History?, published in 1961. It’s a wonderful little book about the method of history; if you majored in history in college, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of it. It’s not quite Robin Collingwood, but it’s pretty…

The Origins of the “Myth of Unity”

Back in June, I gave a paper at St. Vladimir’s Seminary entitled, “The Myth of Past Unity and the Origins of Jurisdictional Pluralism in American Orthodoxy.” The unwieldy title notwithstanding, the premise of my paper was simple: that the commonly-held story of a unified American Orthodoxy which fragmented after the Russian Revolution is, quite simply,…

Parish Histories

Yesterday, we announced the addition of some new pages on the SOCHA website, including a Resources page. In the past day, we’ve added links to dozens and dozens of web pages that deal with various aspects of American Orthodox history. There’s actually a huge quantity of material out there on the Internet, freely available, but…