Prayers for the President

Attend an American Orthodox parish today, of any jurisdiciton, and you’re likely to hear prayers offered for the President of the United States (and, in some parishes, for the other branches of government as well). The first evidence I’ve been able to find of such prayers is from the journal Christian Union, 10/4/1871: Bishop Johannes,…

A church in New York in 1850?

The first Orthodox place of worship in New York was founded in 1870, when the Russian Church established an embassy chapel under the care of Fr. Nicholas Bjerring. As we’ve discussed before, the idea of a New York chapel originated in 1866, and its purpose was primarily to further relations with the Episcopal Church. A…

The Russian Diocese in the San Francisco Call, 1900

Editor’s note: On April 22, 1900, the San Francisco Call published a full-page spread on Orthodoxy in America. The author, Sarah Comstock, visited San Francisco’s Holy Trinity Cathedral and interviewed the cathedral dean, Fr. Sebastian Dabovich. The resulting article (below) was accompanied by several photos, some of which I have reproduced here. It has advanced quietly…

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…