The Reversal of St. Raphael

Last week, we discussed St. Raphael’s involvement with the Episcopal Church — his role in an Orthodox-Anglican dialogue group, and his June 1910 letter permitting Episcopalian clergy to minister to Syrian Orthodox people in limited circumstances. Later that year, one of St. Raphael’s top assistants, Fr. Ingram Nathaniel Irvine, wrote a lengthy open letter, warning…

St. Raphael and the Episcopalians in 1910

At the turn of the last century, relations between the Orthodox and Anglican Churches were quite warm. They cooled a bit in 1905, when St. Tikhon ordained the former Episcopal priest Ingram Nathaniel Irvine to the Orthodox priesthood, but even so, many on both sides of the dialogue felt that full union would eventually happen.…

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…

St. Raphael’s consecration: a newly-discovered photo

St. Raphael was consecrated Bishop of Brooklyn on March 13, 1904. I wrote about this event in July, and my article was accompanied by a small photo of Raphael — the only known surviving photograph of his consecration. That is, until now.  Last month, I stumbled upon an issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle from March…

“Oh foolish parent, who hath bewitched you!”

If you are a regular reader of this website, you already know about Fr. Ingram Nathaniel Irvine. Briefly, for those unfamiliar with him: Irvine was a longtime Episcopal priest who was defrocked by his bishop — unjustly, so he said. St. Tikhon agreed, and, in 1905, Tikhon ordained Irvine to the Orthodox priesthood. He put…

The Forgotten Saint of the Forgotten Church on the Forgotten Island

Archimandrite Theoclitos Triantafilides is one of the most remarkable figures in American Orthodox history. An ethnic Greek, he served as tutor to the future Tsar Nicholas II and went on to establish the multiethnic parish of Ss. Constantine and Helen in Galveston, Texas, under the Russian Mission. His story has been mostly untold, until now. The following article,…

Fraudulent “Chaldean” fundraisers in America

As I’ve probably said a hundred times now, America is a frontier region for Orthodoxy. This was especially the case at the turn of the last century, when the chaotic nature of the American Orthodox scene provided ample opportunity for imposter priests to make a good living on unwitting Orthodox immigrants. I’m sure we’ll discuss…

100 Years Ago Today: January 8, 1910

If you were living in New York City exactly one hundred years ago, you could have read the following article in the Tribune, one of New York’s many newspapers: GREEK CHRISTMAS Prayers Offered for Czar at Cathedral of St. Nicholas. Christmas was celebrated in New York yesterday by ten thousand Russians, Greeks and Syrians, in…

The Trial of St. Raphael, Part 1

It’s a funny thing — slander, that is. Once it’s out there, you can’t take it back. Good men — saints — have been accused of the most heinous crimes imaginable, and been completely innocent. At the same time, bad men have been accused of the same crimes, and been guilty. Ultimately, as an historian,…