American Orthodox demographics, 1906-1936

Every ten years, from 1906 to 1936, the US Census Bureau compiled a Census of Religious Bodies. These censuses are gold mines of information on early American Orthodoxy. Also, unlike so many of the inflated numbers that you’re likely to see floating around, the census data is reliable. With its considerable resources, the Census Bureau…

Orthodoxy in Chicago, 1888-1892

Back in June, I did one of my first podcasts on an attempt, in 1888, to form a multiethnic parish in Chicago. Here are the basics: By 1888, there were about a thousand Orthodox Christians living in Chicago, most of them Greeks and Serbs / Montenegrins. A few years earlier, they had organized themselves into an Orthodox society…

Dabovich’s Miter

If you read one of the many articles on the life of Fr. Sebastian Dabovich, you might run across a story about his miter (that is, his archimandrite’s crown). Dabovich had been elevated to archimandrite by St. Tikhon in 1905, and Tikhon gave Dabovich a miter on the occasion. According to St. Nicholai Velimirovich, the crown was…

The First Churches, State by State

There is an argument, made by many, that the first autocephalous Church to expand into a new territory “gets” that territory. I call it the flag-planting theory, because it reminds me of 15th century European explorers who reached the shores of undiscovered (for them) lands, stuck a flag in the sand, and claimed that piece…

Language in American Orthodoxy, 1916

As you might expect, most American Orthodox parishes in 1916 used foreign languages. From that year’s Census of Religious Bodies, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, we find the following unsurprising information: Both of the Albanian parishes used exclusively Albanian. The four Bulgarian parishes used Bulgarian and Slavonic. The 87 Greek parishes used exclusively Greek.…

Trinity Chapel: A Correction

A couple days ago, I wrote a piece on the first Orthodox liturgy in New York City, celebrated by Fr Agapius Honcharenko in 1865. The site of the liturgy was Trinity Chapel, which belonged to the Episcopal Church. In my post, I included a photo of Trinity Church… Which, as it turns out, is different…

July 4, 1892

Last month, I did a podcast on the attempt to form a pan-Orthodox parish in Chicago in 1888. (You can also read a post about it here.) That attempt failed, and in 1892, separate Greek and Russian parishes were founded in Chicago. The Greek church was founded in April, under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Athens,…