“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…

Fr. Raphael Morgan against Marcus Garvey

Marcus Garvey was a widely influential black nationalist from Jamaica. He promoted black pride and championed the “back to Africa” movement. In 1916, when he was just 29 years old and at the outset of his public career, he visited the United States and embarked on a 38-state speaking tour. Not all of the black Americans…

Calendar issues in early American Orthodoxy

One of the most obvious practical issues facing early Orthodox Christians in America was the difference between the Church calendar — the “Julian” calendar — and the civil (“Gregorian”) calendar. In the 19th century, twelve days separated the two calendars; after the turn of the century, the difference was thirteen days. And since the “New…

Robert Josias Morgan visits Russia, 1904

It’s been a while since we talked about Robert Josias Morgan, the black Episcopal deacon who became an Orthodox priest in 1907, taking the name “Fr. Raphael.” In the past, I’ve mentioned that, prior to his conversion to Orthodoxy, Morgan visited Russia in 1904. Upon his departure, he wrote a letter, which was reprinted in…

The First Black Orthodox Priest in America

On today’s episode of the American Orthodox History podcast, we’re running a lecture I gave at the Brotherhood of St Moses the Black conference in Indianapolis at the end of May. The subject is Fr Raphael Morgan, the first black Orthodox priest in America. The text of the lecture is below. Also, later this year, St.…