US Orthodox memorials for Tsar Alexander III

Tsar Alexander III of Russia died on November 1, 1894. A week later (and 116 years ago today), on November 8, two memorial services for the Tsar were held in America. Both were of note, for various reasons. New York had no Russian church in 1894, so the Russian consul and numerous other dignitaries converged…

The Greeks in America, 1873

Editor’s note: The following article appeared in the New York Times on August 4, 1873. That’s nearly two decades before Greek immigrants began to flood into America. According to the book Race, Ethnicity, and Place in a Changing America, only 217 immigrants came from Greece to the US in the entire period from 1824 to…

Did St. Raphael try to shoot a police officer?

In my last article, I wrote about the “Battle of Pacific Street” — the gunfight between Syrian Orthodox and Maronites in Brooklyn on the night of September 18, 1905. As I said before, St. Raphael Hawaweeny fled the scene and was chased (and then arrested) by a policeman, Officer Mallon. According to Mallon, St. Raphael pulled…

St. Raphael and the Battle of Pacific Street

As we’ve seen over the past couple of weeks, in September 1905, New York’s Syrian community was on the brink of war. On one side were the Orthodox, who rallied around their bishop, St. Raphael Hawaweeny. The saint himself opposed violence — both violent acts and violent words — but his attempts to intervene only…