Fr. Sebastian Dabovich & the mystery of St. Tikhon’s miter

In 2009, I wrote an article on the miter (crown) which Archbishop Tikhon Bellavin gave to Fr. Sebastian Dabovich at the Dabovich’s elevation to archimandrite in 1905, and which Dabovich later auctioned off to raise money for the Serbian war effort in 1912. Today is the anniversary of Dabovich’s birth, and the miter’s whereabouts remain…

This week in American Orthodox history (March 5-11)

March 10, 1866: The future Archbishop Arseny Chagovtsov was born in Kharkov, in what was then the Russian Empire and what is today Ukraine. A widowed priest, he became a monk and came to America in 1903 to serve in the Russian North American Mission. He was instrumental in the establishment of St. Tikhon’s Monastery…

Fr. Sava Matanovich: the first Serbian Orthodox priest in America

Just a brief note today: I had always assumed that Fr. Sebastian Dabovich was the first Serbian Orthodox priest in America, but apparently he wasn’t. The first Serbian priest in America — and probably the first Serbian priest the California-born Dabovich had ever seen — was Fr. Sava Matanovich. From the 1985 book Sacred Places of…

Fr. Sebastian Dabovich on St. Innocent of Alaska

Editor’s note: The following lecture was given by Fr. Sebastian Dabovich on August 15, 1897 to the parish school St. Sergius in San Francisco, in the presence of Bishop Nicholas Ziorov. The occasion was the 100th anniversary of the birth of St. Innocent Veniaminov, the great Alaskan missionary and later Metropolitan of Moscow. The text was originally…

Source of the week: an interview with Fr. Sebastian Dabovich

Editor’s note: The following interview, with Fr. Sebastian Dabovich, originally appeared in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and was reprinted in the Macon (GA) Telegraph on July 31, 1903. We’re reprinting it here in full. Abbot Sebastian Dabovich, a priest high in the circles of the orthodox Russian church, passed through Seattle yesterday on his way to…

The Russian Diocese in the San Francisco Call, 1900

Editor’s note: On April 22, 1900, the San Francisco Call published a full-page spread on Orthodoxy in America. The author, Sarah Comstock, visited San Francisco’s Holy Trinity Cathedral and interviewed the cathedral dean, Fr. Sebastian Dabovich. The resulting article (below) was accompanied by several photos, some of which I have reproduced here. It has advanced quietly…

Source of the Week: Dabovich on Bishop Nestor

On today’s episode of my American Orthodox History podcast, I talk about the tragic death of Bishop Nestor Zass, head of the Diocese of the Aleutian Islands and Alaska from 1879 to 1882. One of Bp Nestor’s parishioners in San Francisco was the 19-year-old Jovan Dabovich, the future Archimandrite Sebastian. Years later, Dabovich wrote a…

A Greek church in San Francisco, 1903

  From its founding in 1868, the Russian cathedral in San Francisco was a multiethnic community. In particular, Greeks and Serbs were an integral part of the church, and, at various times, there was an ethnic Greek (Fr. Kallinikos Kanellas) and an ethnic Serb priest (Fr. Sebastian Dabovich) serving the parish. By 1903, however, the…