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,…

St. Raphael and the Battle of Pacific Street

As we’ve seen over the past couple of weeks, in September 1905, New York’s Syrian community was on the brink of war. On one side were the Orthodox, who rallied around their bishop, St. Raphael Hawaweeny. The saint himself opposed violence — both violent acts and violent words — but his attempts to intervene only…

The Eve of the Battle of Pacific Street

Last week, we left the two New York Syrian camps — Orthodox and Maronite — on the brink of war. Each side’s partisan newspaper attacked the other, and the Maronites took particular aim at St. Raphael, the Orthodox bishop of Brooklyn, accusing him of all sorts of outlandish offenses. Various parties received anonymous threats, and…

Trouble in Syrian New York

Way back in January, I began what I intended to be a series on the 1905 arrest and trial of St. Raphael Hawaweeny. I wrote only one article on the subject, though, and even that article was more of a collection of quotations from contemporary newspapers than an actual piece of historical work. I confess…

Fr. Ingram Nathaniel Irvine on ecumenism in 1907

Recently, I happened to revisit an essay by Fr. Ingram Nathaniel Irvine, published in St. Raphael’s Al Kalimat (The Word) magazine. I don’t have the precise date, but I think it was written in 1907. The whole article is on the subject of “Church Unity” — what, today, we would call “ecumenism.” Irvine’s ecclesiology is interesting. Focusing…

Isabel Hapgood: Syro-Arabians in the United States (1899)

Editor’s note: Regular readers of this website are no doubt familiar with Isabel Hapgood, the Episcopalian translator of the Orthodox service book from Slavonic into English. (For more on Hapgood and her role in early American Orthodox history, check out my recent podcast.) Today, we’re reprinting an article Hapgood wrote on the Syro-Arabs (Syrians/Lebanese) in…

Source of the week: Schmemann on Vatican II

Fr. Alexander Schmemann was one of the observers at Vatican II, the landmark 1960s council of the Roman Catholic Church. His reaction to the event is priceless — Schmemann took the “opportunity to thank God” that he was Orthodox. Here’s the story, from the New York Times (11/16/1963): A Russian Orthodox theologian-observer at the second session…

The Erratic Life of Fr. Patrick Mythen

Fr. Patrick Mythen was an Orthodox Christian for just four years, but in that time, he was one of the most powerful priests in the whole Russian Archdiocese. This period — 1920-1924 — was one of great tumult and trial for the Russian jurisdiction, as it shifted from an archdiocese of the Russian Orthodox Church…

Greeks in Florida, 1768

Recently, multiple people have asked me to write about the Greek colony in New Smyrna, Florida in the 1760s. Today, I’m doing just that, but I have to admit, I’ve been rather hesitant. Unlike many of the subjects I tackle here at OrthodoxHistory.org, the New Smyrna story is pretty well-known, especially among Greeks, who call…

The tragic story of Fr. Vladimir Alexandrov

Fr. Vladimir Alexandrov was a priest in the Russian Mission in the late 19th and early 20th century. He began his career in 1896, as the choir director of the multiethnic St. Spiridon Church in Seattle, Washington. After his ordination in 1898 (or ’99), he remained in Seattle as the pastor of the church. It…