P.T. Barnum’s widow married in NY Greek church

P.T. Barnum was the greatest showman of the 19th century. Today, he’s most closely associated with the circus that bears his name, but in his own day, he was much more than a circus organizer. In an era before blockbuster movies, Barnum was the closest you could get to a larger-than-life Hollywood producer. He was…

A visit to the New Orleans Greek church in 1885

Editor’s note: The following excerpt appeared in the Historical Sketch Book and Guide to New Orleans and Environs, published by Will H. Coleman in 1885. It is a rare firsthand account of Holy Trinity church in New Orleans in the 19th century. The priest at the time was Fr. Misael Karydis, whose life has been…

From Harvard MD to Orthodox priest: the Fr. Pythagoras Caravellas story

Editor’s note: The following article was written by relatives of Fr. Pythagoras Caravellas, and originally appeared in the 60th anniversary commemorative album for Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral in San Francisco, published in 1996. The article has been reprinted at Annunciation Cathedral’s website, and we present it here courtesy of the San Francisco Bay Area Greek Historical…

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: Church bell stolen in Chicago

As you may have heard, a few weeks ago thieves made off with six church bells from Holy Dormition Church (OCA) in Cumberland, Rhode Island. The bells were soon recovered, albeit in a seriously damaged condition. The whole episode got me thinking about other instances in American history in which valuable church bells were stolen…

Today in history: Guns on Pascha, 1905

I was browsing my newspaper archives recently, and came across an article about a Greek Pascha celebration in New York, exactly 105 years ago today (April 30, 1905). Here’s the whole article, from the New York Times: While more than a thousand persons were in front of the Holy Trinity Hellenic Orthodox Church, in Seventy-second…

“The Stormy Petrel of the Cloth”

We’ve spent a lot of time on this website talking about Fr. Raphael Morgan, the first black Orthodox priest in America. Morgan was attached to the Greek church in Philadelphia. When he went to the Ecumenical Patriarchate to be ordained in 1907, he had two letters in his possession. One was from the Greek community…

Can you solve this mystery?

I recently received an email from Fr. Timothy Sawchak, of Holy Trinity OCA Church in Kansas City. He sent the above photo, of a mystery clergyman. It was, apparently, discovered at an old studio and given to Annunciation Greek Church, also in Kansas City.  There was no writing on the photo, or markings of any…

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…