Yet Another Priest is Taken to Court

In the middle of the twentieth century, Fr. Boris Burden (+1973) played important roles in American Orthodoxy.  It was he and Fr. Michael Gelsinger who rallied behind the attempt in the late 20s and early 30s to unite Orthodoxy and they were the key players, together with George E. Phillies (a Greek attorney) in establishing the Federated Orthodox Greek Catholic Primary Jurisdictions in America, which I’ve discussed on here before.  He and Fr. Michael also donated a large number of books to the university in Buffalo, starting their Byzantine collection.

Unfortunately, Fr. Boris also seemed to find his way into the courts.  I haven’t had a chance to try to track down this case, but the Brooklyn Daily Eagle of Saturday, April 9, 1932, lists Joseph McKoe v. Boris Burden as a case scheduled for the 8th District Court on April 11th.  As I said, I don’t know what drove that case, but in another case, in 1924, Burden was taken to court for getting into a fist fight.  Here’s the newspaper article from back then (Brooklyn Eagle, October 14, 1924).  By the way, raising a fist against another, if you’re a priest, breaks canon law.  Though I am aware of economia being extended when a priest was defending someone else, in this case, that is not the case.  It is an old fashioned, immature fist fight.  So, sometimes in American Orthodoxy, those who have worked the hardest have also had serious character flaws.  I suppose that’s to be expected in a frontier, marginalized religion, but it is worth remembering nonetheless.



Following a violent altercation last midnight between Hugh Yeo, 23 years old. a taxi drlver, living at 2155 65th st., and Boris Burden of 417 8th St., starters for the Yellow Taxi Cab Company,- at their stand at Ave. 1 and the Brighton line, Patrolman John Maxwell took both men to the Parkville station, where they were charged with disorderly conduct.

Yeo spent the night in the cells. Burden obtained bail. When he appeared before Magistrate Eilperln in the Flatbush Court this morning, the taxi starter of the night before, a tall, good-looking young man of 26. with blond, wavy hair. wore the black gown and round clerical collar of a priest. “Yon could have knocked me over with a feather,” said Yeo, when his fellow prisoner explained to the Court that during the day he was the Rev. Father Boris Burden of the Eastern Orthodox Greek Catholic Church.  He said that he is attached to the general staff of the cathedral at 15 E. 97th St.. Manhattan, and added that he has been working on a sociological study of immigrants. Fred G. Ritta. counsel for the Yellow Taxi Cnb Company, defended the priest taxi starter against the disorderly conduct charge, to which he pleaded not guilty. The client, at the instigation of his employers, also preferred a charge of assault against Yeo.   According to Yeo,  the priest-starter gave as good as he took, both in blows and verbal insults.


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