A Greek bishop in America in 1893

In 1893, the World’s Fair was held in Chicago. In conjunction with the Fair, something called the “World’s Parliament of Religions” was held from September 11-27. This was a remarkable gathering, which brought together not only Christian leaders of various denominations, but people of every religious stripe — Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc. It seems…

95 years ago: The death of St. Raphael

This past Saturday was February 27, the 95th anniversary of the death of St. Raphael Hawaweeny, the great Syrian Bishop of Brooklyn. His death set off more than a week of commemorations in the Syrian Orthodox community. Telegrams immediately went out to Syrian parishes all over the country. In fact, the news spread so quickly that…

The Trial of St. Raphael, Part 1

It’s a funny thing — slander, that is. Once it’s out there, you can’t take it back. Good men — saints — have been accused of the most heinous crimes imaginable, and been completely innocent. At the same time, bad men have been accused of the same crimes, and been guilty. Ultimately, as an historian,…

The death of Fr. Misael Karydis

On December 22, I wrote about the tragic death of Fr. Misael Karydis, longtime pastor of the Greek church in New Orleans. You’ll want to read that article first, to follow what I’m talking about today. After I published that piece, I unconvered several more reports on Karydis’ death, from the New York Sun, Tribune,…

Fr. Misael Karydis and his flying machine

Archimandrite Misael Karydis spent twenty years as the priest in New Orleans, from 1881 until 1901. Two decades at a single parish is a long time, especially in the early years of American Orthodox history. Before Karydis, only one priest (that I know of) had ever served such a lengthy tenure — Hieromonk Nikolai Militov,…

To shave or not to shave?

For three tumultuous decades — 1907 to 1938 — Fr. Basil Kerbawy was the dean of St. Nicholas Syrian Orthodox Cathedral in Brooklyn. Apparently, in 1911, he was having some issues related to his beard, and things got so bad that he wrote to William Gaynor, the mayor of New York. I can’t resist reprinting their…