Freemasonry in American Orthodox history

Once upon a time, it was the norm for American men to be members of fraternal organizations. These were especially attractive to new immigrants, who wanted to be integrated into American society and make progress in business. And in that earlier era, fraternal membership was the best and quickest way to achieve both goals. They joined the…

Turkevich_Metr_Leonty (c1950)

Met. Leonty: A Life in Moments

As Matthew pointed out in his post yesterday, this week marks the 47th anniversary of the death of one of the truly  great Orthodox churchmen of the 20th century, Metropolitan Leonty Turkevich.  With an ecclesiastical career in the United States spanning from 1906 to 1965, there are few figures in the history of Orthodoxy in America…

This week in American Orthodox history (May 14-20)

May 17, 1870: The newly ordained convert priest Fr. Nicholas Bjerring celebrated his first Divine Liturgy in St. Petersburg, Russia. He didn’t know Church Slavonic, so he served in German. May 19, 1884: Archimandrite Stephen Hatherly, a convert priest from England, arrived in Philadelphia. I wrote about Hatherly’s visit almost three years ago. The basic…

Photo of the week: a newlywed archbishop

In the half-dozen years before his wedding on April 29, 1933, Archbishop Aftimios Ofiesh had moved further and further away from mainstream Orthodoxy, setting himself up as the head of an “autocephalous” jurisdiction called the American Orthodox Catholic Church—which at its inception in 1927 had the official blessing of the Russian Metropolia in America (which…

Florovsky Visits America

Sixty-five years ago today, on Holy Monday, April 7, 1947—the feast of Annunciation (O.S.)—an important event in the history of Orthodoxy in America occurred, with the first visit of Father Georges Florovsky to the United States. As with so many key turns in his ecclesiastical trajectory, Florovsky’s coming to America was occasioned by his intense…

This week in American Orthodox history (April 2-8)

April 3, 1904: On Palm Sunday, Fr. Nicola Yanney was ordained to the priesthood by St. Raphael Hawaweeny. Fr. Nicola was a young widower living in Kearney, Nebraska. His wife had died during childbirth in 1902, just days before  her husband’s 29th birthday, leaving behind three other children. In August of 1903, the Syrian Orthodox…

This week in American Orthodox history (January 30-February 5)

A lot of Antiochian-related events this week: January 30, 1902: Archimandrite Raphael Hawaweeny, head of the Syro-Arab Orthodox Mission in America, began a pastoral journey to Mexico. Later this week — on February 3 — he made a brief stop in Cuba en route to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. St. Raphael remained in the Yucatan for…