St. Innocent’s first homily as Metropolitan of Moscow

After the death of St. Philaret Drozdov, St. Innocent, the former missionary to Alaska and Siberia, was chosen to be his replacement as Metropolitan of Moscow. Below is his first pastoral address as Metropolitan, given in Moscow’s Dormition (Assumption) Cathedral on May 26, 1868 — 142 years ago today. The address was printed in the…

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…

This week in American Orthodox history (May 7-13)

This week’s installment of our “This week” series is unusually brief, because I’m in the middle of final exams for law school. I hope you’ll understand, and I should be back next week with a full-length piece. May 9, 1870: The newly chrismated convert Nicholas Bjerring was ordained to the Orthodox priesthood in St. Petersburg,…

This week in American Orthodox history (April 30-May 6)

May 4, 1793: Empress Catherine the Great of Russia granted the Holy Synod permission to establish an Orthodox mission in “Russian America” (Alaska). The following year, the first eight missionaries, including St. Herman, arrived on Kodiak Island. May 3, 1870: Nicholas Bjerring, a convert from Roman Catholicism, was received into Orthodoxy by chrismation in St.…

A Connecticut Yankee in the Tsarina’s Domain

It may come as a surprise to learn that one of the earliest descriptions of Orthodox worship in Alaska comes not from the pen of a Russian missionary or fur trader, but from that of a young Anglo-American explorer who visited the “Great Land” in 1778, sixteen years before the first missionaries arrived in Kodiak.…

This week in American Orthodox history (April 16-22)

Christ is risen! Indeed he is risen! April 17, 1907: Fr. Demetrios Petrides arrived in America from Greece. He went immediately to Philadelphia, taking charge of Evangelismos (Annunciation) Greek Orthodox Church in the city. One of his first acts was to write a letter to the Ecumenical Patriarchate recommending that a catechumen, Robert Morgan, be…

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…