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,…

To shave or not to shave?

For three tumultuous decades — 1907 to 1938 — Fr. Basil Kerbawy was the dean of St. Nicholas Syrian Orthodox Cathedral in Brooklyn. Apparently, in 1911, he was having some issues related to his beard, and things got so bad that he wrote to William Gaynor, the mayor of New York. I can’t resist reprinting their…

Cassocks or Collars?

It’s a common debate within American Orthodoxy: should our priests wear cassocks, or should they wear suits and collars like their Roman Catholic and Protestant counterparts? One side rightly argues that cassocks are the traditional and virtually universal style of dress for Orthodox clergy. The other side just as correctly points out that even some American saints wore…