Protestant brides and Greek grooms in DC, 1906

Regular readers of this website have no doubt noticed that I am really interested in early American converts to Orthodoxy. There weren’t too many, but the handfuls of people who did join the Church in the late 19th and early 20th century almost always present fascinating stories. The most notable converts, in terms of visibility,…

A Jewish convert to Orthodoxy in 1897

Leaving aside Native Alaskans and Uniates, conversions to Orthodoxy in America were quite rare at the turn of the last century. Yes, American women occasionally converted when they married cradle Orthodox men, and there was the odd Episcopalian convert, but even taking those into consideration, conversions were very uncommon. And if Protestants joining the Orthodox…

The Odd Adventures of Fr. Philip Sredanovich

Fr. Philip Sredanovich is one of the odder characters in American Orthodox history. Perhaps not as odd as the embellishing Agapius Honcharenko or the wandering Bulgarian Monk, but in all my studies, I’ve run across few parish priests stranger than Sredanovich. Sredanovich was born in Montenegro in 1881. I read somewhere that he was educated in…

The Failed Mission of Fr. Stephen Hatherly

Yesterday, May 19, was the 126th anniversary of the arrival in America of Protopresbyter Stephen Hatherly, a convert priest from England. Hatherly served under the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and spent several months in the US, attempting to establish an Orthodox parish in New York. Last July, I wrote an article on Hatherly’s brief American tenure, but…

Early Orthodoxy in Alabama and Georgia

In June of 1900, an Archimandrite Dorotheo — I don’t know his last name — came to Birmingham, Alabama. He had traveled there from Chicago, although I’m not sure which Chicago parish he was affiliated with. Borrowing a local Episcopal church — the Church of the Advent — he performed the first known Orthodox sacraments…

Today in history: the death of St. Alexis Toth

101 years ago today, May 7, 1909, Archimandrite Alexis Toth died in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Here is the obituary that ran in the evening newspaper, the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader: Rt. Rev. Alexis G. Toth, pastor of St. Mary’s Orthodox Greek Catholic Church of North Main street, this city, died at 2 o’clock this afternoon from a…