The New Orleans Gospel Book

In 1927, Fr. Boris Burden wrote the following: The Church of the Holy Trinity in New Orleans, La., claims to have been the first Greek church in the United States. On the occasion of its dedication in 1860 Alexander II, Czar of Russia, sent to its Greek Priest, the Reverend Father Michael, a gold-embossed Book…

Nicolas Benachi, founder of the New Orleans Greek church

In the early years of the New Orleans parish, resident parish priests were few and far between. Fr. Agapius Honcharenko visited for a short while in 1865. Fr. Stephen Andreades served the parish in the late 1860s, and Fr. Gregory Yayas was the pastor from 1872-74. But the real leader of the community in those…

The First Orthodox Liturgy in the American South

As we discussed earlier, Fr. Agapius Honcharenko celebrated the first Orthodox¬†liturgy in New York City on March 2, 1865. At the time, he was the only Orthodox priest in America outside of Alaska. And as we’ve also discussed, there were Greeks and other Orthodox Christians living in New Orleans in the 1860s. In fact, they…

Confederate Orthodox soldiers in the Civil War

In 1861, the Greeks living in New Orleans organized their own volunteer militia regiment to fight on the Confederate side in the Civil War. From Fr. Alexander Doumouras, in the 1975 book Orthodox America: 1794-1976: Government records show an unofficial memorandum mentioning “Greek Company A,” Louisiana Militia, 1861. The company included a captain, three lieutenants,…