This week in American Orthodox history (May 21-27)

May 21, 1851: Michael Ziorov — the future Bishop Nicholas, head of the Russian Mission in North America — was born in the District of Kherson, in what was then the Russian Empire and what is today Ukraine. As a layman, he served as Inspector for two seminaries. At 36, he was tonsured a monk,…

Fr. Ilia Zotikov: A Hieromartyr in a File Drawer

One of the little mysteries I’ve been meaning to research for some time has a bit of a family connection.  This past week, I finally had the opportunity to delve into it, and the results were far different than I ever anticipated. My great-grandparents were married on May 2/15, 1908 at St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox…

Joseph Vilatte and the Wisconsin Old Catholics, 1891-92

In the comments section of an old article I wrote on the first Orthodox parishes in each US state, Isa Almisry and I have recently had an interesting exchange about an Old Catholic parish in Wisconsin which discussed joining (and possibly did briefly join) the Russian Orthodox Church in 1891-92. This story involves Joseph Rene Vilatte,…

Bishop Nicholas in Galveston, 1896

In September of 1896, Bishop Nicholas Ziorov made his first archpastoral visit to the brand-new parish of Ss. Constantine and Helen in Galveston, Texas. This multiethnic church was founded just a few months earlier by Fr. Theoclitos Triantafilides, the great Greek archimandrite who served in the Russian Mission. Just after the bishop’s arrival on September…

Correcting the record on Bishop Nicholas Ziorov

Bishop Nicholas Ziorov, head of the Russian Mission in America from 1891 to 1898, is one of the most underappreciated people in American Orthodox history. I am afraid that I have done nothing to help this state of affairs. Back in June, I wrote dismissively that Bishop Nicholas “was a good man, but was also…

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…

St. John comes to Chicago, 1895

This article was originally published one year ago, on November 2, 2009.   This past weekend, those of us on the New Calendar celebrated the feast day of St. John Kochurov, the Russian New Martyr and former priest of Holy Trinity Cathedral in Chicago. With that in mind, I thought I’d talk a bit about St.…

Prayers for the President: an addendum

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article detailing some of the history of prayers for the US President in American Orthodox churches. After I published it, a reader named Andy Romanofsky sent along this excerpt from Chapter 1 of Archbishop Gregory Afonsky’s A History of the Orthodox Church in America: 1917-1939: The faithful of the Orthodox Church…