Posts tagged Isabel Hapgood
Fr. Ingram Nathaniel Irvine and Isabel Florence Hapgood were the two people most responsible for the spread of English in early 20th century American Orthodoxy. Hapgood, a lifelong Episcopalian, was a renowned translator, honored by the Tsar, and she is still remembered today for her landmark 1906 English translation of the Orthodox Service Book. Less than a year earlier, in November 1905, Irvine, a defrocked Episcopal priest, was received into Orthodoxy and ordained by St. Tikhon. Irvine made it his life’s work to promote the use of English in American Orthodox parishes.
Yet despite their common advocacy English-language Orthodoxy, Irvine and Hapgood were like oil and water. Hapgood’s feelings towards Irvine are not well documented, but Irvine made his disdain for Hapgood clear, both in public and in private. In a 1915 letter published in the official magazine of the Russian Archdiocese (and reprinted on this site), Hapgood publicly begged the Archbishop to invest in a first-rate show choir, arguing that a great choir is “immensely more important” than “twenty little new parishes.” Irvine’s response was swift and strong, lambasting Hapgood for her “musical heresy.” Two years later, in a letter to Archbishop Evdokim (and preserved in the OCA archives), Irvine called her “that vixen Miss Hapgood,” and said that she had “damned the Church for years.”
It appears that the hostility between Irvine and Hapgood dates at least to the time of Irvine’s conversion to Orthodoxy, in late 1905. Not long ago, I happened to read Stuart H. Hoke’s outstanding paper, “A Generally Obscure Calling: A Character Sketch of Isabel Florence Hapgood” (St. Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly 45:1, 2001). This is, by far, the most complete and well-researched biography of Hapgood I have ever seen. Hoke points out that, in his 1906 book A Letter on the Anglican Church’s Claims, Irvine committed a “major slight” against Hapgood, erroneously identifying Fr. Alexander Hotovitzky as the person chiefly responsible for Hapgood’s brand-new English Service Book. Irvine wrote that the book had been “under the watchful eye of the Very Rev. A.A. Hotovitzky and its real merits as a valuable Liturgical work as well as a witness in the English language to ‘the faith once for all delivered unto the Saints’ must be ascribed to his painstaking and interest, both as a Liturgical Scholar and Theologian.”
This was all sorts of wrong, and Hotovitzky immediately moved to correct the problem. In a letter to The Living Church (a major Episcopalian periodical), published on December 15, 1906, St. Alexander wrote,
Such an assertion, which attaches my name to the publication, and imputes to me qualities and services to which I have made no claim in connection with that publication, unhappily and unjustly omits the name of the real author of the work, to whom, incontestably, all its merits, all praises and gratitude should be attributed. The Service Book was compiled by Miss Isabel F. Hapgood, on her own initiative. To her belongs the original idea of this work; hers are the plan and execution of it, which have required arduous labor and expenditure of strength for the space of several years, as she was compelled to study our Liturgical books, and the Church Slavonic and Greek languages, and so forth. Any one who has the slightest conception of the complicated structure of the Orthodox religious services, in their entire extent, will make no mistake if he applies to this labor the epithet “gigantic,” both as to its design and its importance; and the merits of Miss Hapgood’s liturgical English in this work are confirmed by learned ecclesiastical authorities of the Episcopal Church.
Further on, Hotovitzky instructed Irvine to insert a copy of this letter into his book:
In comparison with this enormous mass of labor — in truth a most precious and unselfish gift from Miss Hapgood to our Church — my share in it, (as an orthodox priest, who has rendered, so far as occasion required, only what aid was indispensable,) is merely of secondary importance; and, especially when her name is omitted, does not deserve to be mentioned. And therefore, being profoundly distressed that this statement, so unfortunately phraseed [sic], has found a place in your book, I most earnestly ask you to place the matter in its true and complete light by inserting my letter in the text of your book, so that no reader would be misled by that paragraph.
Hoke writes that Irvine obeyed Hotovitzky’s order, and I’m sure that did, but I’ve seen two copies of the book, and neither have such an insert.
Stuart Hoke refers to A Letter on the Anglican Church’s Claims as “Irvine’s spurious book.” This is way off base; Irvine’s book is a perfectly worthwhile piece of work. The “letter” referred to in the title was originally written by Irvine to St. Tikhon, explaining the ecclesiastical position of the Church of England. In addition to the letter, Irvine pulled together articles from prominent Episcopalian scholars and ecclesiastics, each one explaining a different aspect of Anglicanism. While Irvine’s statement about the Service Book was indeed wrong, it doesn’t mean that his whole book is “spurious.”
While all this provides helpful background on the Irvine-Hapgood dynamics, what is most interesting is the insight it provides into the relationship between Irvine and Hotovitzky. You may recall that Hotovitzky was actually Irvine’s priestly sponsor when he was ordained in November 1905. In fact, Hotovitzky had to defend Irvine’s ordination in the face of criticisms from, among others, The Living Church. A year later, though, Hotovitzky wrote to the same Living Church journal, strongly critiquing Irvine and instead defending the Episcopalian Hapgood. While both were important and admirable figures, Irvine and Hotovitzky were polar opposites in many ways — Hotovitzky more reserved and politically-savvy, Irvine a bull in a china shop. Hotovitzky takes a rather standoffish tone in his letter announcing Irvine of Irvine’s transfer from the Russian Mission to the Syrian Mission. It may very well be Hotovitzky did not really care for Irvine, and that some of that distaste originated in Irvine’s “slight” of Hapgood in 1906.
[This article was written by Matthew Namee.]
Last week, we reprinted Isabel Hapgood’s account of St. Raphael’s funeral. The Hapgood article appeared in the New York Tribune on March 8, 1915. Two days later, the paper published the following letter to the editor from Fr. Ingram Nathaniel Irvine:
To the Editor of The Tribune.
Sir: An unfortunate mistake was made in an article written by Miss Isabel Hapgood which would make it seem to appear that the Russian Bishop and his Russian clergy did not pay the proper repsect to the office of the Syrian Bishop at the funeral. The words to which exception is taken are as follows: “The Syrian priests, in passing, kissed the dead Bishop’s hand after kissing the cross. The Russian Bishop and priests passed without saluting cross and hand.”
Indeed, the respect and episcopal honor paid to Bishop Raphael’s office and person by Bishop Alexander was the most remarkable expression of love that has ever been known in the United States to the body of a dead prelate. From the moment Bishop Alexander was notified of his brother Bishop’s death until the day after his burial in the crypt of the cathedral (which, by the bye was not built by Bishop Raphael, as Miss Hapgood, through misapprehension, also states) he and his clergy were present and gave the same attention as if the deceased Bishop was of their own nationality. The usual custom of kissing the cross and the hand of the dead Bishop was also observed.
If, from matter of respect to the Syrian clergy, who had come from great distance to the funeral, Bishop Alexander and his clergy gave way for a moment, it was altogether because of the tenderness toward thirty priests of the Syrian Bishop who crowded around the casket brokenhearted and bereaved. However, from the first visitation to the dead body until the casket lid was locked down, Bishop Alexander and his clergy paid every required honor — indeed, to such an extent that it might have appeared to outsiders that he was their own Bishop and not that of the Syrian flock.
INGRAM N.W. IRVINE.
St. Nicholas Cathedral, March 9, 1915
As regular readers of this website know, Irvine was a prominent Episcopal priest who converted to Orthodoxy and was ordained by St. Tikhon in 1905. Irvine worked closely with St. Raphael and his Syrian Mission from the beginning, and around 1909, he was actually transferred to St. Raphael’s own jurisdiction. Irvine remained there until St. Raphael’s death, after which he returned to the main Russian Mission. Irvine was a tireless promoter of the use of English in American Orthodoxy, the education of Orthodox children, and the unity of all Orthodox ethnic groups under the Russian Archdiocese.
As we have seen before (and will see again), Irvine had an antagonistic relationship with Isabel Hapgood, the Episcopalian writer and linguist who translated the Service Book into English in 1906. While the pair shared an interest in spreading the use of English in American Orthodox parishes, they differed on virtually everything else. Hapgood’s views of Irvine aren’t well recorded (or, if they are, they haven’t been discovered yet), but Irvine is on record many times as an outspoken opponent of Hapgood and nearly all that she stood for. It is therefore unsurprising that Irvine would publicly call out Hapgood on such a seemingly insignificant error in an otherwise accurate article on St. Raphael’s funeral.
Then again, perhaps it wasn’t so insignificant. It’s established that, as early as St. Raphael’s funeral itself, the Syrian priests were divided over whether they should be under Russia or Antioch (see, for instance, the 1924 court case Hanna v. Malick). We also know, from other documents, that Irvine strongly supported the unity of American Orthodoxy under Russian jurisdiction. I’m just speculating here, but it is entirely possible that Irvine read Hapgood’s error in the context of the jurisdictional uncertainty and division that was beginning to overtake the Syrian Mission in the days and weeks after St. Raphael’s death. Viewed in this light, Irvine may have felt it necessary to emphasize, very publicly, the unity between the Russians and the Syrians. The fact that it also accorded him the opportunity to criticize his longtime foe, Hapgood, would have been icing on the cake.
[This article was written by Matthew Namee.]
Editor’s note: The following article was written by Isabel Hapgood and appeared in the New York Tribune on March 8, 1915. It is the most complete surviving description of the funeral of St. Raphael, who died on February 27, 1915. Hapgood herself had known St. Raphael for nearly two decades, from the time that he first arrived in America.
The first Syro-Arabian Bishop in America was buried yesterday in a tomb beneath the Syro-Arabian Cathedral of St. Nicholas in Brooklyn, which forms his monument.
Bishop Raphael Hawaweeny was born in Damascus, a pure Arab. [In fact, St. Raphael's family was from Damascus, but he was born in Beirut. - Ed.] From the Patriarchal Theological School, at Khalki, he went to Russia and became so identified with the spirit of the country that he was wont to say, “In soul I am a Russian.” He went in a monastery at Kiev for six years, and then was professor of Arabic at the University of Kazan. A desire for active work brought him to America.
In Russia he was ordained, and it was under the auspices of the Holy Synod that he labored here. On several occasions the Patriarch of Antioch offered him the rank of Metropolitan in his native Syria. It is probable that had he returned he would have become Patriarch, but he felt that his work was among the 25,000 Syro-Arabians here, whom he had organized into thirty parishes.
He came to this country in 1895. His first church was on the second floor of a house in Washington Street, Manhattan. How the floor bore up under the masses of worshippers, especially when the Russian Bishop held services there on his infrequent visits from San Francisco (then the seat of the Russian diocese), I never understood. Another dispensation of Providence was required to avert a catastrophe when we adjourned to the floor above and enjoyed a genuine Arab feast, ending with Arab coffee flavored with rosewater from Syria. All the partitions and supports below had been removed to make space in the church.
Bishop Nicholas, now Archbishop of Warsaw, remarked to me on one occasion: “I know now exactly how Louis XIV felt when he had to eat in public!”
After the feast a couple of handsome young fellows (ladies’ tailors by their American profession) in Albanian costume performed the famous sword play over the oilclothed floor, upon which dressy lengths of ingrain carpet had been loosely laid, with such vigor that they literally cut the gas jets, partly smashed the fixtures and had to be separated by the umpire, who interposed with a dagger — more Providence!
One day a pistol flew from one of the swordsmen’s sashes across the room and landed at my feet — that illustrates the vigor of the proceedings. I captured it and refused to return it until the end of the session — and thereafter, instead of sitting at the side of the room, I took a safe seat by the side of the Russian Bishop.
A few years passed and Father Raphael was able to move his church to a building on Pacific Street, near Hoyt Street, which later on became a cathedral. That was in 1904. Early that year he was raised to the rank of Archimandrite, and in May of that year he was consecrated Bishop, and became the second Vicar of the Russian Archbishop.
Ordinarily three bishops are required for consecration. In this case, owing to its exigencies, only two officiated, the Most Revered Tikhon, Archbishop of Aleutia and North America, now Archbishop of Vilna, and the Right Rev. Innokentz, first Vicar, later Bishop of Yakutsk and Viluisk, and now Archbishop of Tashkent, in Turkestan. That is, I am sure, the only ocasion [sic] when a Bishop of the Orthodox Eastern Church has been consecrated in America, and a wonderful service it was.
The Russian Ambassador, not being able to come, sent his representative, who sat at the right hand of the new Bishop at the banquet which followed. As the only representative of America and the Episcopal Church, I was placed at his left hand, opposite the consecrating prelates, and was called on for a speech after the Ambassador’s representative had conveyed his formal message.
In course of time Bishop Raphael came to know many of the Episcopal clergy, and was highly respected by them. His later alienation from them is regarded as having arisen under misapprehension. By his own people he was cherished as the man to whom they owed their beneficent organizations. The Young Turk element quarrelled with him for reciting the formal prayer for the Sultan, as the ruler of Syria, in the services, and several attempts were made on his life. At times he was obliged to go about with a guard, and I met him in the Syrian restaurants dining with a guard on duty. But he lived down their enmity.
Bishop Raphael died, after an illness of three weeks, from dropsy, kidney trouble and heart disease, worn and gray as a man of seventy with his toils and sufferings.
For a week he lay in state in his cathedral, and morning and evening requiem services were held by the Right Rev. Alexander, Bishop of Alaska, assisted by Russian and Syrian clergy. A wonderful service, picturesque in setting.
Across the foot of the open coffin was draped the purple episcopal mantle, with its crimson velvet “tables of the law.” Over the face lay a sacramental veil of white and silver brocade, embroidered with a gold cross. At the head of the coffin stood pontifical candles, but no longer lighted, as during pontifical service. They were tied with black ribbons, so that their tips spread abroad, reversed and unlighted. Between them, leaning against the head of the catafalque and the coffin rose the crozier. Behind, on a folding lectern, lay a purple velvet cushion, on which were placed the orders and decorations which the Bishop had received, many from Russia. The holy doors in the centre of the ikonostasis, with its many ikoni, were closed and draped in black and gold, purple and silver. All about the walls were more ikoni, and huge floral pieces surrounded the coffin. One of the set pieces was an armchair, of white artificial flowers, with sprays of lavender flowers and surmounted by a canopy or arched gateway of palms, violet tulle and white flowers.
At the evening requiems the church was always filled. Many women waited for hours to secure front seats in the little gallery. More women thronged every step of the stairs. The Syrian priests, in passing, kissed the dead Bishop’s hand, after kissing the cross. The Russian Bishop and priests passed without saluting cross and hand.
The gospels were read night and day, instead of Psalms, as with a layman, by relays of clergy. The Syrians relieved one another at frequent intervals, and showed the finest, most varied forms of intoning.
Bishop Alexander who, by command of the Holy Synod, has charge of the vast Russian Diocese of North America until the newly appointed Archbishop shall arrive, stood at the services motionless (“like a candle” is the Russian term.)
Thursday evening, at the close of the services, a picture was taken of the dead Bishop and the circle of celebrating clergy. After the clergy had retired, representatives of all the Syrian societies, including women, made addresses from the chancel platform about the great work which Bishop Raphael had accomplished for his people in America.
Saturday morning, after the liturgy had been celebrated in Old Church Slavonic and Greek by Bishop Alexander and his clergy, and in Syrian by the Syrians, while the choir of the Russian Theological Seminary from Tenafly, N.J., sang their part in Slavonic, two requiem services were held, the first by the Metropolitan Hermanos Shehadah, of Selveskia Mount Lebanon [should be Baalbek - ed.], Syria (his black, waist-long hair concealed beneath his black cassock and cloth of silver pall) and the Syrian clergy; and the second by Bishop Alexander and a few Russian priests, the seminary choir singing. The Syrian clergy no longer kissed the dead Bishop’s right hand. That lay at rest forevermore. The raised left hand supported a large cross, and this alone was saluted.
Yesterday morning, at 10 o’clock, the liturgy was celebrated by Bishop Alexander, standing at the right of Metropolitan Hermanos, on their eagle rugs upon the dais at the head of Bishop Raphael’s coffin. As was customary, Bishop Alexander was vested on the dais in magnificent vestments of silver brocade. Metropolitan Hermanos wore gold brocade and the tall Metropolitan’s mitre of crimson velvet and gold, from whose crest rose a diamond cross. The choir of the Russian St. Nicholas Cathedral sang, except during the brief intervals when the Syrians chanted.
At a layman’s funeral the clergy wear black velvet and silver; at the funeral of a priest or bishop, no mourning is worn and the flowerlike vestments of the priests, mingling with the magnificent floral pieces, produce a very brilliant effect. The Syrian deacon wore pink brocade with a stole of blue and gold. As only 500 people were allowed by the authorities inside the cathedral, there was space for the ceremony of processions to and from the altar. At 12 o’clock the liturgy ended. At 1:30 the funeral began.
The singing was now done for the Syrians by the boys’ and girls’ choir of the Sunday school, wearing white vestments with lavender crosses, the girls, with mortarboard caps, occasionally assisting the clergy. The Russian singing was done by the clergy, assisted by the adult members of the choir. In all there were about forty priests, Russian and Syrian, who chanted, the Russians led by Archdeacon Vsevolod, of the Russian Cathedral, with his magnificent voice.
Among the hymns, which show the spirit of the service, were:
“Give rest, O Lord, to the soul of thy servant and establish him in Paradise. Where the choirs of the saints, O Lord, and of the just, shine like the stars of heaven, give rest to thy servant, who hath fallen asleep, regarding not all his transgressions.”
“Forasmuch as we all are constrained to that same dread abode, and shall hide ourselves beneath a gravestone like to this, and shall ourselves shortly turn to dust, let us implore of Christ rest for him who hath been translated hence.”
In the Eastern Church there are several orders of burial. One is for a child under seven years old, in which no mention is made of sin, because a child’s soul “is not grown,” as the Russians say, until he is seven. Another is for adult laymen; a third, for those who die in Easter week, in which there are almost no songs of mourning, but all are songs of the joy of the Resurrection; the fourth, for dead priests, has five epistles and five gospels. These were read by the Syrians and the Russians alternately, as were the many hymns, most of which were written by St. John of Damascus.
Then at last the clergy made addresses, Father Basil Kerbawy, dean of the cathedral, Father Sergius Snegyeroff and others, in praise of the Bishop. Father Kerbawy reduced the congregations to tears. Bishop Alexander made the last speech, directly addressing the dead as he stood by the coffin.
After “Memory Eternal” had been proclaimed in Syrian and in Old Church Slavonic, with the addition of the Bishop’s title and name, the procession formed. It is customary to carry the body of a Bishop around the outside of the church and to hold a brief service on each of the four sides before going to the graveyard. This constituted the funeral procession in the present case, as its route was along Pacific Street to Henry Street, thence to State Street, then to Nevins Street and back along Pacific Street to the cathedral.
The procession formed in the following order: Cronin, political leader of the district; squad of mounted police; twenty to thirty small boys in white tunics, with lilac crosses and flowers; the Cathedral committee (honorary pall-bearers); girls, singing hymns; Syrian Ladies’ Aid Society; the Homsian Fraternity; the Syro-American Political Club; members of the various Syrian diocesan parishes; the United Syrian Societies; cathedral Sunday school pupils, carrying crosses, candles and church banners; coaches with floral offerings; Archimandrite [Aftimios] Aphaish of Montreal, carrying the cushion with the late Bishop’s orders; finally, St. Joseph’s Society of Boston.
The dead prelate was borne in an open coffin by the priests, the snowflakes drifting down upon his splendid mantle of purple, crimson and white, his golden mitre, and the white brocade sacramental veil which covered his face. The body was followed by the Orthodox clergy, both Syrian and Russian; last came Bishop Alexander of Alaska. The family of the deceased, parishioners and friends followed, women joining, although it is not the custom to do so abroad.
Directly beneath the altar the Bishop had built for himself a vault. On the return of the procession masses of the flowers were carried into the crypt, and the clergy surrounded the bronze coffin into which the mahogany casket was lowered. The Metropolitan Hermanos made the final address before the coffin was closed, and a most distressing scene of grief ensued. Not only the clergy, but many parishioners, cast earth upon the body of their beloved Bishop.
Editor’s note: Regular readers of this website are no doubt familiar with Isabel Hapgood, the Episcopalian translator of the Orthodox service book from Slavonic into English. (For more on Hapgood and her role in early American Orthodox history, check out my recent podcast.) Today, we’re reprinting an article Hapgood wrote on the Syro-Arabs (Syrians/Lebanese) in America at the very end of the 19th century. This piece originally appeared in The Independent on February 16, 1899. I have no idea where Hapgood got those population figures, but based on other sources, I’m inclined to think that the actual number of practicing Syrian Orthodox in America was a fraction of the 20,000 claimed in this article. Also, while the Galveston parish did have a number of “Syro-Arabs,” it had a Greek priest and was directly under the Russian Diocese. But really, that’s all quibbling; this article is valuable as a snapshot of the three main Syro-Arab groups in America early in St. Raphael’s American career, at the turn of the last century.
Altogether, there are about 60,000 Syro-Arabians in this country, scattered over the United States and Canada. But they are by no means united In their religious beliefs.
The Orthodox, that is to say, those who belong to the Holy Orthodox Catholic Apostolic Church of the East, number about 20,000. They have two churches, one In Galveston, Texas, with one priest; the other at No. 77 Washington street, in this city, with two priests. The rector, the Rev. Archimandrite Raphael, was offered the Bishopric of Beirut several years ago, but he prefers his larger sphere in this country, practically a diocese, all parts of which he visits about once in two years. His assistant. Father Afram (Ephraim), has been here but a few months. Father Raphael is a learned and accomplished monk, who was professor of the Oriental languages for nearly eight years in Russia, first at Kieff, afterward at Moscow and Kazan Ecclesiastical Academies. He speaks Russian fluently, and celebrates the Church services in the Old Church Slavonic, when necessary, as well as in his native Arabic, so that there is a close union of sympathy and mutual help between the Syro-Arabian and the Russian Churches in New York. The Orthodox Syro-Arabians are under the jurisdiction of the Russian Bishop — now the Right Reverend Tikhon, Bishop of the Aleutian Islands and Alaska, whose Episcopal seat is at San Francisco. These Syro-Arabians (whose Liturgy, in Arabic and Greek, is at ten o’clock on Sunday mornings and the mornings of feast days) intend soon to build themselves a church of their own to replace their present inadequate and uncomfortable quarters, temporarily aranged, with church room and dispensary, in one of the ancient dwellinghouses near Rector street.
Next door to thorn, at No. 79 Washington street, is the Church of a second division of the Syro-Arabians — the so-called “Greek Catholics.” They number about 10,000 in this country, and in addition to the church in New York, have one in Chicago, and a priest at each, with two or more who travel about. They depend upon the local Roman Catholic Churches, and are free. Practically, they are Roman Catholics, though the term “Greek Catholic” originally signified those members (or communities) of the Orthodox Eastern Church who were persuaded to recognize the supremacy of the Pope. That was the sole condition required of them, and the compact then made provided for their retaining all their own customs — the Holy Communion in both kinds, the married parish priesthood, and the ancient dogmas without change or alteration. In practice, they have lost nearly everything except their vernacular language in the Church services, and have gradually had imposed upon them the altered and new dogmas of the Roman Church, as is the case with the Uniats In Russia, who stand in the same relation to both the Roman and the Orthodox Eastern Churches. It is to be observed, however, that in the case of the Uniats (who came chiefly from Eastern Austria and Galicia and Southwestern Russia), the effort on the part of the Roman Church to deprive the Uniat congregations in this country of their married priests (it being, obviously, inconvenient to have that striking difference presented to the public to whom explanation of the original compact is not easy) has resulted in the return by the thousand of these Uniats to the bosom of the Holy Orthodox Church of the East. This movement began about eight years ago under the Russian Bishop Vladimir, and has continued, in ever-increasing force, under the recent Bishop, Nikolai, now transferred to the Crimea. The ceremony of reunion with their original Church, the Orthodox, can be quite frequently seen in the Russian Church, 323 Second avenue. It is simple, and consists in renouncing the Pope and the newly-erected dogmas, the repetition of the Creed in the Eastern form, i.e., the Nicene Creed without the filioque clause; confession, swearing allegiance to the Orthodox Church, and participation in the Holy Communion immediately thereafter.
The third division of the Syro-Arabians is the Maronite Church, whose place of worship in New York is at No. 83 Washington street. Their rector here is the Rev. Peter Korkomaz, who has an assistant, and there are three other churches and priests. In this country they number about 30,000. Accounts differ as to their actual number in Syria, and vary from 150,000 (probably a fair average) to 250,000 and 400,000. Owing to a desire to escape from taxation by the Turkish Government, probably, the figures are not easily verified. The Maronites are, at the present day, Roman Catholics, to all intents and purposes. Originally, when the Church of God was one, they, like Rome and the Eastern Church, held the dogmas as stated by the Holy Eastern Church at the present day. But this body of Christians rejected the Sixth Oecumenical Council, and affirmed that there was but one will — the Divine will — in the man Jesus and in Jesus the Son of God; hence their name (with others who held the same view) of Monothelltes. Their Bishop, John Maron (who died in 676 A. D.), became their head when they seceded from the Church, and they derived their name from him, he himself being named after a Saint of the fifth century. After the second Crusade, the Maronites abjured the Monothelite heresy and became formally united to the Roman Church, in the year 1182, but under the same conditions as the Greek Catholics. At the present day, however, they are wholly Roman Catholics, with the exception of, perhaps, two minor particulars: their Church books and services are in the ancient Syriac (Chaldean) language, which the people do not understand—their ordinary language being Arabic; and, legally, their priests are still allowed to marry before ordination, if they so desire, as in the Eastern Church. Practically, very few priests do marry, as the influence of Rome (though not the command, as yet) is exerted against that custom. They have a Patriarch, who resides at Bkirki, about two hours’ journey from Beirut, Syria, and eight Bishops, together with three titular Bishops. About a month ago, the Patriarch, John Peter Hajji, died. The Maronite Bishops assembled at Bkirki to elect another. For three days they passed their time in fervent prayer for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in their election. (If, at the expiration of three days, they cannot agree, the Pope has the right to appoint the new Patriarch.) Their choice fell upon Bishop Elijah Huyk, vicar-resident at Rome. On Sunday, January 22d, all the Syrians of the three Churches here mentioned, with their priests, united in a service for the repose of the Maronite Patriarch’s soul, the service being held in the Maronite Church. The title of the Patriarch, in common with five other dignitaries of the Churches, is Patriarch of Antioch, and the Bishops rule over Aleppo, Tripoli, Damascus, Tyre and other cities. As each nation has (or used to have) its favorite Saints, to whom, in particular, prayers are offered (as in Russia, St. Nicholas, the Wonder Worker, Bishop of Myra), so the Maronites offer their petitions, with special devotion, to the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph. They, like the Greek Catholics, depend upon the Roman Catholic establishment in the United States.
On today’s episode of our American Orthodox History podcast, I discuss Isabel Hapgood, an Episcopalian woman who had a significant impact on American Orthodox history. She is most famous today for her landmark English translation of the Orthodox Service Book. Her translation was first published in 1906, and remains in print today. Below, I am reprinting a review of the book, from the New York Tribune (12/15/1907):
Uniformity of doctrine is an unfailing note of the Holy Orthodox Catholic Apostolic Church of the East. But with dogmatic unity once assured the Church has always been ready to adapt itself to the exigencies of national life among the peoples to whom its message has come. Thus the Syro-Arabian, Greek and Russian branches of the Orthodox Apostolic Church, while one in doctrine, are each independent, or rather autocephalous, in government, and the cultus varies in form and language according to the needs of the different groups within the pale of the Eastern Obedience.
The Service Book compiled and translated by Miss Hapgood for use in public worship of the Russian Church in North America is a timely recognition of the presence in this country of an increasing number of adherents of the Eastern Church, and of the fact that English is the only language that communicants in America may hope to have in common. In her important project Miss Hapgood has had the backing of the Holy Synod of Russia, by whom part of the expense of publication is defrayed. Count Sergius I. Witte has been a liberal contributor, and dignitaries like the Archbishop of North America have given sympathetic scholarly aid.
The old Church-Slavonic service books from which the translations have been made contain a wealth of liturgical material too bounteous for ordinary purposes. By following the canon of judicious neglect Miss Hapgood has succeeded admirably in making a book which shows all the services in general use. The list includes the liturgies of St. John Chrysostom and St. Basil the Great, the Liturgy of the Pre-sanctified Gifts, the Service of the Hours, the All-night Vigil and Grand Compline. Offices for the chief festivals are given, as well as orders of Ordination, Holy Baptism, Holy Unction and the lesser rites. The translator has added valuable chapters on the significance of the liturgical actions and on the symbolism of the Church, and has furnished complete tables of the lessons, feasts and fasts.
Apart from its immediate usefulness for English speaking members of the Russian Church, the Service Book will have interest for many sorts of churchmen. It stimulates inquiry as to what steps may be taken by American adherents of a great communion whose ideal calls for separate national churches professing the same faith. As to a possible rapproachment with other churches having “national” aspirations, discussion may at least be deferred until the three branches of the Orthodox Church in this country, Russian, Greek and Syro-Arabian, are found in organic union. The Service Book makes entirely clear that the Eastern Church regards its own orthodoxy with complete seriousness. All postulants must repudiate the distinctive tenets of their old allegiance. Lutheran and Reformed candidates are required to forswear “Protestant errors,” and applicants from the Roman-Latin Confession must renounce in terms one false doctrine, filioque, and three erroneous beliefs, and must disavow “all the other doctrines of the Western Confession, both old and new, which are contrary to the Word of God and the true tradition of the Church, and to the decrees of the seven Ecumenical Councils.”
When once through the wicket, however, the convert finds that the Orthodox Apostolic Church has ample pastures for the flock. As James Darmesteter said of Judaism, there is with the cult of isolation a creed of catholicity. Whoever turns to the treasury of devotion which Miss Hapgood’s pious initiative and diligence have made accessible will in the closer view of this venerable communion get fresh impressions of its length and breadth, a deepened reverence for its great names, a more sympathetic understanding of its intricate yet effective symbolism. A spirit breathes through the ancient forms a needfulness and awe characteristic of worship at its highest.
Hapgood’s Service Book has been digitized and is available at both Google Books and the Internet Archive. The only real biographical work on Hapgood, so far as I’m aware, is Marina Ledkovsky’s 1998 article. And, to listen to my new podcast on Hapgood’s life, click here.