Posts tagged language
I’ve been looking through a borrowed copy of Fr. Michael Gelsinger’s Orthodox Hymns in English, published by the Antiochian Archdiocese in 1939. This is a significant work, and Gelsinger’s hymns are still used to this day. I’ll write more about this book in the future, but I found the following paragraph, from the Introduction, to be especially interesting:
Other religions in America have hymnbooks containing six hundred or more melodies; Orthodoxy in English, though rightfully heir to the grandest and richest score of music in existence, would only with difficulty command as many as fifty melodies. Our lack of Orthodox hymns that can be sung in English has already encouraged the use of substitutes: rumor tells of Parishes that use Protestant hymnbooks, — in one case, at least, the Billy Sunday collection; and in another a book of “Pentecostal Hymns.” Can we calmly face a future which might add “Brighten the Corner Where You Are” and “Beautiful Isle of Somewhere” to the treasures of Orthodox devotion?
No, Gelsinger answers: “It is, of course, as unthinkable as it is unnecessary that we should permit any such development.” His answer? Translate Orthodox music from all the traditions — Greek, Russian, Antiochian, Bulgarian, Romanian, etc. — into the English language.
Every tradition of our Orthodox music should find a home in every Parish in America; for American Orthodoxy inherits the music of every national Orthodox Church abroad. It is usual to say that our children will all be Americans together; but that is only one face of the truth. It is equally true that each of our children as an Orthodox Christian is as much Russian as he is Greek, as much Greek as he is Syrian, as much Syrian as he is Bulgarian or Rumanian: for he is the rightful heir of everything Orthodox that has ever entered this country.
Here, Gelsinger sounds a lot like Fr. Ingram Nathaniel Irvine and Fr. Leonid Turkevich before him, and like countless people today. But back in 1939, Gelsinger’s views were pretty cutting-edge. They had a substantial influence on the development of American Orthodoxy in the decades that followed.
To our New Calendar readers: Christ is born!
The following article was originally published on August 21, 2009. If you’re interested, you might check out the comments to that original posting. We’ll be back with brand-new material on Monday, December 28.
As you might expect, most American Orthodox parishes in 1916 used foreign languages. From that year’s Census of Religious Bodies, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, we find the following unsurprising information:
- Both of the Albanian parishes used exclusively Albanian.
- The four Bulgarian parishes used Bulgarian and Slavonic.
- The 87 Greek parishes used exclusively Greek.
- Both of the Romanian parishes used exclusively Romanian and Slavonic.
- 166 of the 169 Russian parishes used exclusively Slavonic. Of the other three, two used a combination of Slavonic and English, and one used exclusively English.
- 11 of the 12 Serbian parishes used exclusively Slavonic and/or Serbian. One Serbian parish used exclusively English.
In total, there were 276 parishes in the United States in 1916, not counting the Syrians. 272 of those 276 (98.55%) worshipped entirely in foreign languages, and just two used English only.
None of this should come as a surprise. The vast majority of American Orthodox Christians in 1916 were either immigrants, or the children of immigrants. And the vast majority of American Orthodox clergy were also immigrants, most of whom had been educated and ordained in the Old World.
Now we come to the Syrians… and as we’ve seen before, the Syrians are an outlier. This is what the 1916 Census has to say:
Of the 25 organizations, 13, with 4,361 members, reported services conducted in English only; and 12, with 7,230 members, reported services conducted in foreign languages alone or with English. Of these, 4 organizations, with 1,230 members, reported the use of Arabic alone or with English; 5, with 2,900 members, Arabic, Greek, and English; and 3, with 3,100 members, Arabic, Greek, Russian, and English. In 1906 all the organizations then represented reported the Syro-Arabic language only.
This is stunning. Ten years earlier, in 1906, the Syrians were like everybody else, worshipping exclusively in their native tongue. In 1916, everybody else was pretty much the same — 98.55% foreign. But in just a decade, the Syrians had changed dramatically. By 1916, at least 21 of the 25 Syrian parishes (84%) used at least some English in their church services, and over half (13 of 25) were entirely in English.
How on earth did this happen? I don’t have a clear answer; however, there is one clue. In 1905, an Episcopal priest named Ingram Irvine converted to Orthodoxy. He was ordained by Ss. Tikhon and Raphael, took the name “Fr. Nathaniel,” and for about two years, he served in the Russian Mission. His purpose was “English work.” He wrote articles in English, published a couple of small books, and conducted an English-language Vespers service on Sunday nights. He also helped St. Tikhon with English-language administrative work, and advised him on Anglican-Orthodox relations.
Irvine is one of my favorite figures in American Orthodox history, and we’ll talk about him in great detail in the future, but for now, it’s enough to know that he transferred to St. Raphael’s jurisdiction after St. Tikhon returned to Russia in 1907. And Irvine’s transfer also meant the transfer of the “English work.” Now, his English articles appeared in the otherwise all-Arabic Al Kalimat (The Word). He made it his special mission to reach out to the English-speaking children of Arabic immigrants to America. He taught Sunday School, ghostwrote letters for St. Raphael, and generally promoted the use of English in the Syrian Mission. He did this at the direction and with the encouragement of St. Raphael; when St. Raphael died in 1915, Irvine wrote, “With Bishop Raphael’s death ended the initiatory Chapter of English Orthodox Church work in America.”[*]
I don’t think Irvine alone was responsible for the great proliferation of English in the Syrian Mission in the years 1906-1916, but he must have played a major role. Just thinking out loud, another factor may have been the weaker national identification with Orthodoxy among the Syrians. What I mean is this: to be a Russian, a Greek, or a Serb was to be Orthodox. National identity and religious affiliation were intimately intertwined, to the point that they were one and the same. But it was not so among the Syrians. They came, not from their own nation-state, but from the Ottoman Empire. And they also came from a region of great religious pluralism — back in Syria, they lived alongside Melkites, Maronites, Muslims, and Druze. In other words, while Slavonic, Greek, and Serbian culture (and language) was closely identified with Orthodoxy, the same could not be said of Syro-Arab culture and language. And it’s possible (though I can’t prove it) that this distinction was a major factor in the spread of English among the Syrians, while the rest of American Orthodoxy was still firmly attached to foreign languages.
Finally, Fr. John Erickson offered this comment upon seeing the language data:
In light of the very large number of parishes St Raphael’s Syrian mission that used only English or predominantly English, another question that might be interesting to explore would be the extent to which, in the years immediately following, the “Antacky” advocated the use of Arabic or otherwise resorted to identity politics.
At present, I don’t have any idea whether the Russy-Antacky divide involved language, but it is a question I will have to explore (and if anyone wants to help, please let me know!)
[*] Ingram N.W. Irvine (Fr. Nathaniel), “Bishop Raphael, In His Relation to the English Work of the Archdiocese of North America,” Russian Orthodox American Messenger 19:5 (March 15, 1915), 72.
On the latest episode of our American Orthodox History podcast, Nicholas Chapman recounts the almost incredible story of Orthodox Christianity in colonial Virginia. Last month, we published Nicholas’ first article on the subject. Below, he continues his series.
On July 4, 1789, after nearly five years of service, Thomas Jefferson was coming to the end of his time as US minister plenipotentiary to France. It was the eve of what would come to be known as the French revolution, but this did not prevent Jefferson from hosting a celebration to mark the recently won independence of the United States. The party was attended by many of Jefferson’s closest friends in Paris, including John Paradise, the son in law of Philip Ludwell III.
John Paradise was by any account a remarkable man: an extraordinarily gifted linguist with a talent for friendship which brought him into contact with almost all the great men of his day. English was probably only his seventh language and by all accounts he never spoke it well! He was, however, able to converse freely in Greek, Italian, Turkish and Arabic amongst others and almost certainly knew Russian. He used his gifts to teach Thomas Jefferson classical Greek whilst visiting him in Paris.
John Paradise was also an Orthodox Christian. His father, Peter Paradise, had been the British Consul in Salonika (Thessalonica) and his mother was half Greek. It is possible that his paternal grandfather was also both English and Orthodox, making John Paradise a third generation English Orthodox at the time of his birth at Salonika in April 1743. His father, Peter, had contacts with monks from Mt. Athos during his years in Salonika and it is not known whether it was these, or his marriage, that had brought him to the Church.
After his early years in Greece, John was sent to the University of Padua (modern day Italy) and ultimately to Oxford to complete his education. At some point in the 1760’s it seems that the Paradises met Philip Ludwell and his three daughters in London. On April 20, 1766 they are all recorded as partaking of the sacrament of Holy Communion at the Russian Orthodox Church in London. When Philip Ludwell III died less than a year later, Peter Paradise became one of the legal guardians of Ludwell’s three daughters. When Frances died less than a year after her father and Hannah (the eldest daughter) married in March 1769, Lucy Ludwell went to live at Peter Paradise’s London home. Barely two months later Lucy married Peter’s son John.
Philip Ludwell III’s London house was also a home for an extended Virginian family including three of his sister Hannah’s children: Alice, Arthur and William Lee. It was William who was to marry the eldest Ludwell daughter in March 1769. She was also his first cousin. Close to the Ludwell house in Cecil St. was the London home of Benjamin Franklin, who at that time was on his second extended visit to England. Franklin was one of the early members of the Royal Society, to which John Paradise would subsequently be elected. Philip Ludwell III was very proud of the inventive achievements of his fellow countryman and in 1762 commissioned a portrait of Franklin. This became Franklin’s preferred painting of himself.
Franklin was an intimate of the Ludwell household and on his return to America he sent his “best wishes to Miss Ludwell and the other ladies.” This familial contact with Franklin was to prove vital for John Paradise and Lucy Ludwell Paradise. The division of the Virginian estates of Philip Ludwell III after his death was to prove complex and made even more so by the outbreak of war between the American colonies and the British Empire. By that time Franklin was the first US minister plenipotentiary to France. In this capacity John and Lucy Ludwell Paradise visited him in Paris in 1779. Through his office John Paradise was to be granted US citizenship in October 1780, whilst the War of Independence was still raging. It can be said therefore that one of the first (and perhaps the first) naturalized American citizen was an Orthodox Christian, a member of the Russian Orthodox Church of mixed English and Greek ethnicity!
It was not until September of 1787 that John and Lucy Ludwell Paradise were finally able to travel to their estates in Virginia. During their time in America they were able to spend four days at Mt. Vernon with General George and Martha Washington. Washington’s diary for Sunday, December 30, 1787 records that at around eleven o’clock that day “Mr. Paradise and his Lady, lately from England but now of Williamsburgh , came in on a visit.” Sadly, we have no detail of the conversation that was exchanged during their stay, although it is known that Washington suspended the normal conduct of his affairs during their visit, which was not his normal practice. As John Paradise was on intimate terms with the two most important representatives of the United States overseas (John Adams and Thomas Jefferson) and personally acquainted with so many other persons of note, it is not difficult to think that Washington would have found his visit of immense interest.
Barely two months after their visit to Mt. Vernon, the Paradises were to receive the shocking news of the death of their daughter Philippa, aged only thirteen, in London. So it was, that shortly afterward, they were to return to London. Here it was that they met the newly appointed Russian priest, the Rev. Yakov Smirnov, who was to become Lucy’s cherished spiritual father. John Paradise was to work very closely with Fr. Smirnov is 1791 in a concerted public campaign to persuade British public opinion against war with Russia. For his service in this respect Paradise was awarded a pension of £150 p.a. by the Russian Empress Catherine the Great, a substantial sum for its time.
It also seems likely that Paradise recruited the assistance of Frederick North, the future Earl Guildford, whose father Lord North was British Prime Minister during the American War of Independence. The young North was secretly baptized as an Orthodox Christian in Corfu in 1791 and at the same time was composing and publishing sonnets in praise of Catherine the Great! When John Paradise died in 1795 he left Frederick North some of his most precious possessions, thereby indicating the closeness of the relationship they must have enjoyed during his lifetime.
I have only briefly skimmed the facts of John Paradise’s life and adventures here. There is more to be written. But it must be of considerable interest that a man who was clearly an active Orthodox Christians was on intimate terms with the first three Presidents of the United States. James Boswell in his famous “Life of Johnson” penned the best obituary of him. He wrote: “John Paradise (1743 1795). Son of the British Consul at Salonica and a native woman of that country. He was distinguished by his learning and a very general acquaintance with accomplished persons of almost all nations” (Boswell’s Life of Johnson, vol. IV, p. 364, note 2).
Nicholas Chapman, Yonkers, NY, December 14, 2009
In 1878, the Arbeelys immigrated to the United States. They were the first Syro-Arab family to come to America; or, at the very least, they were the first prominent Syrians in America. Najeeb Arbeely founded the first Arab-American newspaper, Kawkab America, and he also held the post of immigration inspector at Ellis Island. His brother Abraham was instrumental in bringing St. Raphael Hawaweeny to the United States.
A couple of years after their arrival in this country, Abraham did an extensive interview with the St. Louis Globe-Democrat (7/22/1880). It’s long, but it’s also extremely interesting, so I’m reprinting the whole thing here:
“A native of Syria — of Damascus?”
“Yes; Dr. A.J.A. Arbeely;” and the person addressed bowed with Oriental grace, as he made himself known to the reporter.
“When did you arrive?”
“This morning,” answered the Doctor.
“Are you connected with the Syrian family that arrived in New York a couple of years ago?”
“The same; the party was composed of my father and mother, five brothers — I am the eldest — and sister. They are all in Tennessee now except my mother. She is dead.” And as he conveyed this last item of information the Doctor took off the red turban he wore, and bowed his head a moment in reverie. Then he continued: “The family are in Maryville, Tennessee. I have been in Texas eighteen months practicing medicine. My younger brother is also a doctor in practice in Tennessee.”
“Tell me about your coming to this country.”
“Well, you see we are Christians — my father being a Doctor of Divinity in the Greek Church, as well as a Doctor of Medicine — and we were subjected to great persecution at the hands of the Turks.”
“You were converts, then?”
“No; the family had always been Christian, that is, as far back as we have any record. My ancestors, as Christians, ante-dated the invasion of the Turks. My father, prior to coming here, was employed for many years in teaching the Syrian language to the missionaries from America. He had incurred the displeasure and hostility of the Turkish authorities. We were in the massacre of Christians in Damascus in 1860 — I was only 10 years old then — but my father, although hunted like a wild beast, succeeded in makign his escape. The murderous Turks made several other attempts upon his life, but a kind Providence protected him so that not a hair of his head was harmed. The Mohammedan persecution finally became so great that my father resolved to leave the land of our nativity, and upon consultation with the American missionaries he concluded to emigrate to America. In the summer of 1878, during the Parish Exposition, a passport was obtained for the entire family to visit the Exposition, and they started, but stayed only a few days in Paris, and then came to the United States, landing in New York in September. They spent a month in that city, but concluding that the weather would be too severe for them they went to Maryville, East Tennessee, and settled. Thus the first Syrian family that ever emigrated to this country came and took up their residence under the aegis of the stars and stripes.”
“Is it not difficult to leave Damascus — to emigrate — or are the Turks glad enough to get rid of Christians?”
“The Sultan and the Turkish Pasha (Governor) at Damascus look with great disfavor upon emigration of Syrians, and so many obstacles have to be overcome by emigrants that very few leave indeed, and thus it happens that we are the only Syrians in America. Passports are withheld, and as no one is allowed to leave there without these documents, the disfavor amounts to really a prohibition. That’s the reason no other family of that nationality has ever come to this country before. Our friends are very anxious to come, and thus establish a Syrian colony here in America, but such a scheme was then impracticable. We promised to look the country over, however, and if possible find a suitable locality.”
“How much have you done already in this direction? Missouri, you see, is making an effort to induce immigration.”
“Well, the difficulty is to find a section suitable in every respect. The great obstacle is the climate. It is too changeable and uneven in those localities I have visited — a marked contrast to Damascus, where the climate is always even. Still we may yet find a suitable locality. We went to Texas in 1878, and it was hard getting along at first, as we could not speak English very well, as you observe I can now. When we arrived at Austin, Texas, I concluded to stop there for a time and see how the country agreed with me. My father went on and visited different parts of the State, but found nothing that suited him, so he returned to his home in Tennessee, where he has resided since. I practiced medicine at Austin for the past eighteen months, when I was called home suddenly by my mother’s death, and coming by the way of Kansas City, where I stopped for a few days, I arrived in St. Louis yesterday, as stated.”
“How do you like the country, generally?”
“It is magnificent — all the parts I have visited — except in respect to climate; and St. Louis is simply magnificent, if the weather could be always like this.”
“You liked Texas?”
“Very much. The people were very kind to me, and assisted me to a large practice. I shall probably return there. Kansas City I also greatly admired, and the professional brethren and others placed me under many obligations for courtesies. I wish I had time to visit all the medical institutions here and meet the doctors, but I shall have to go home in a day or two.”
“What is your school of medicine?”
“Oh, I am regular, as you call it here, or old school. I have several diplomas: one granted by the Syrian Protestant College, located at Beirut, chartered by the State of New York, and, therefore, an American institution. After receiving the parchment I was obliged to go through a very severe examination by the Sultan’s head medicine man, at the Royal Medical College at Constantinople, before I could practice my profession, as the other college is not recognized by the Government.”
He was awarded a diploma from the Royal College, and both of the documents are decorated with seals, indicating their authenticity.
And then the Doctor took his turn at interviewing.
“Are you the religious editor?”
“Not often; why?”
“Because I wonder when I read the Globe-Democrat every day in Texas, how it ever got so much religious matter. Is that the reason why it is called the great religious daily?”
“Yes, and because it is so thoroughly orthodox.”
“I notice that. I am orthodox myself. My father, besides being a Greek ecclesiastic, is very intimate with the Greek Patriarch at Antioch. Oh, yes, we are orthodox. I have letters from a number of clergymen, as well as doctors.”
And here the Doctor showed a number.
“Wasn’t there some talk of uniting the Anglican Church — Protestant Episcopal in America — with the Greek Church?”
“I believe there was some effort in that direction, and there is very little difference between them. Indeed, we are in accord with most evangelical bodies, and I have some very kindly reflections of the Presbyterians.”
“Isn’t there a Greek Church in New York, with which the Episcopal Church is in accord?”
“I believe they agree. But my father could tell you much better of these things than me, as the greater part of his sixty years of life has been spent in that direction.”
The Doctor was then entreated to explain somewhat of the Arabic tongue, and did so to the great interest of his auditors. He incidentally remarked that he believed the Oriental way of writing from right to left more proper and convenient than the English method, from left to right. The Arabic alphabet has twenty-nine letters, with only three vowels and a like number of accents. The Doctor contrasted it with the Greek, with which he is also familiar, and pointed out the differences. His sketch of the Syrian people was very interesting, and, if he is a specimen, they are a fine type of manhood, tall and dignified in appearance. His complexion is dark — olive rather than swarthy — and hair very black. Red heads are rare in Syria.
The population of Damascus he estimated at 150,000, of which about three-fourths are Mohammedan, about 25,000 Christians and the balance Jews. The latter are chiefly bankers or brokers. The Christians are not generally wealthy, and mostly engaged in weaving and the manufacture of damask. The Turks, many of them, live in opulence. There is no inter-marrying between Turk and Christian, or Hebrew and Christian. The Ottoman Government is represented by a Pasha, or Governor, who is a very enlightened man, but the people other than the Turks are not in favor of the Government, and covet independence. The future of Turkey, the Doctor thinks, will be just what the great Powers choose to make it. The Turks are a hindrance to Christian civilization, and must sooner or later be blotted out. Nothing but the jealousy of the Powers prevented them taking the territory, and eventually they will probably assume a protectorate over it. Perhaps Great Britain or France will eventually get Damascus. Further alluding to the manners and customs of his people, the Doctor spoke of prolonged religious fasts among the Turks, at times.
“What do you think of Dr. Tanner?”
“Oh (laughing), I hardly know what to think about his feat. I have been reading your paper every day about it and am much interested. I hardly think he can succeed. It doesn’t seem in accordance with nature. But he may. In this great country I don’t allow myself to be surprised at anything.”
Dr. Arbeely goes hence to Louisville, and from there to Knoxville, Tenn., and a visit to his family. He will probably return West via St. Louis.
A few things… I don’t know who “Dr. Tanner” is, though Arbeely’s comments have piqued my curiosity. His remarks about the fate of Turkey are almost prophetic, coming nearly four decades before the end of World War I. Also, what he says about religious persecution in Turkey is certainly accurate, but it shouldn’t be assumed that the later Syro-Arab immigrants — the “Ellis Islanders,” if you will — were fleeing such persecution. Most of the immigrants in the 1890-1920 period (including my own family) came to the US principally in search of prosperity and opportunity, rather than religious freedom.
The Arbeelys ultimately ended up back in New York, where, as I said earlier, Najeeb Arbeely became an immigration inspector and newspaper editor, and Abraham organized the Syro-Arab Orthodox and worked to bring St. Raphael to America.
A note from Matthew Namee: What follows is a first glimpse of what is, I am confident, the most exciting research currently being done on the subject of American Orthodox history. As I’ve been telling others, my own research is pretty interesting stuff, but Nicholas Chapman’s work blows mine out of the water. Nicholas is a native of England, but he now lives in New York, where he works for the presses of both St. Vladimir’s and Holy Trinity (Jordanville) seminaries. I hope to interview Nicholas for my American Orthodox History podcast in the near future, and his article below is only the first of many.
It will come as a surprise to many, if not all Orthodox Christians in America, to learn that the story of their Church here begins not in 1794 but in 1738. Not in Russian Alaska, but rather British Virginia. Furthermore, what began in 1738 was not a mere blip on the radar, a passing moment of no historical import. Otherwise, how could it be that the daughter of a man described as “renowned in early Virginia history “(Annette Gordon-Reed: The Hemingses of Monticello) would write to President Thomas Jefferson early in his second term of office (Aug 27, 1805) “With the blessing of God I am now in good health, and with my priest’s blessing and command who is the Rev. Mr. Smirnov.”
Where does this story begin and who are its principal characters? Where are there descendants today and what became of their heritage of Orthodox faith and life that lasted for at least sixty/seventy years? My early research is only beginning to answer some of these questions, whilst posing many more.
Let’s begin with Colonel Philip Ludwell III, a third generation Virginian. He was the man who in 1753 gave George Washington his commission in the army and they exchanged frequent correspondence. Ludwell was a cousin of Washington’s wife, Martha. He was also a relative of Confederate General Robert E Lee and Presidents William Henry Harrison and Benjamin Harrison, amongst many other distinguished figures of American history. His grandfather, Philip Ludwell I was the first British Governor of the Carolinas and his father, Philip Ludwell II a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses and Rector of the College of William and Mary. (The second oldest college in the USA and its first University.) Ludwell’s English manservant, John Wayles, was the father in law of Thomas Jefferson and the father of Jefferson’s African American mistress, Sally Hemings!
When, where and why did Colonel Philip Ludwell become Orthodox? He was received in the Russian Orthodox Church in London, on December 31, 1738 (Old style) by Fr. Bartholomew Cassano, a half French, Alexandrian Greek whose wife Elizabeth (nee Burton) is one of the first recorded English converts to Orthodoxy. Ludwell would have been twenty-two years old at the time. His reception was authorised at a meeting of the Holy Synod of the Church of Russia, who blessed him to take the Holy Gifts back to Virginia and which approved of his translation into English of the “Orthodox Confession” written by Peter Moghila, Metropolitan of Kiev, one hundred years earlier. They also granted him a dispensation to continue attending the Anglican church in Virginia, taking into account his position as “an important Royal official” and recognising that “apart from the Province of Pennsylvania, all religions but Protestantism are banned.”
His extensive business interests seem to have led him to travel frequently between Virginia and London. The London parish register documents his participation in the sacraments of confession and Holy Communion on twelve occasions between August 5 1760 and his death on March 14, 1767. (This is very frequent by the standards of the time when once a year communion was the norm.) On April 3, 1762 (Holy Wednesday) he brought his three daughters to be chrismated and somewhat unusually also stood as their sponsor.
His health began to fail him during 1766 and the register records that on Sunday, September 17, 1766, “The sick Philip Ludwell received Holy Communion in his house during the day.” On February 22, 1767 it states “the sick Mr. Philip Ludwell confessed and received Holy Communion, and was anointed with oil at his home.” Shortly thereafter on March 14, 1767 “Philip Ludwell died at five o’clock in the afternoon” and that the following day the “Canon after the departure of the soul from the body” was read at the church. On March 19, 1767 (the fourth day of Great Lent) his funeral took place. On March 22,1767 he was buried in the crypt of the church of St. Mary Bow. (A small Anglican Church to the east of the City of London, which at that time was a distinct village apart from the city.)
Another hint of the intensity of Ludwell’s commitment to the Church is found in Edward L Bond’s 2004 work Spreading the Gospel in Colonial Virginia. Writing in the context of what Bond describes as “Private devotional exercise common among some of Virginia’s elite gentleman” he states that “Philip Ludwell III transcribed from the Greek his own translation of the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom “The Divine and Holy Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom as it is performed without a Deacon.” ” Did Ludwell’s so called “private devotion” set him on a path to Orthodoxy? Perhaps it is so.
For now, I have only one clear statement, which is found in a letter written in 1791 by the Russian Ambassador in London, Count Vorontsov to his brother Alexander in St. Petersburg. The relevant passage is actually focusing on John Paradise (of whom there is much more to say.) Vorontsov writes “By a strange coincidence an Englishman, a friend of his (i.e. Paradise’s) father’s, who had some property in Virginia, took it into his head to read in the original all the Fathers of the Church and become convinced that our religion was the only true one; he forsook his own to study it and brought up his only daughter who afterwards married my friend Mr. Paradise.”
As mentioned previously, Ludwell in fact had three daughters, but only one was alive in 1791 and known to Count Vorontsov. All three daughters had been baptized as Orthodox Christians and at least one (Lucy who wrote to Jefferson in 1805) was married in the Church. In my next articles I will turn to their stories and those of the men they married.
Nicholas Chapman, Herkimer, NY, Nov 11, 2009