This week in American Orthodox history (June 18-24)

June 21, 1863: Jovan Dabovich was born in San Francisco to Serbian immigrants. He would be baptized by an Orthodox priest aboard a visiting Russian ship, and he later became Fr. Sebastian, one of the most prominent Orthodox clergymen in America.

June 18, 1878: Fr. Paul Kedrolivansky, dean of the Russian cathedral in San Francisco, died under mysterious circumstances. I did a podcast on this one awhile back. Was he murdered by his assistant priest? The Russian vice consul? A random nihilist? Or was it a freak accident? Summarizing the story just won’t do it justice; listen to the podcast for the whole thing, and click here to read more.

The Greek bishops Philaret, Alexander, and Germanos, after Philaret's consecration as Bishop of Chicago. Photo from the Chicago Tribune.

June 21, 1923: Fr. Philaret Ioannides was consecrated Bishop of Chicago for the Greek Archdiocese — the first Orthodox consecration in the city’s history. At one point in the service, some in the crowd began to shout, “Anaxios!” and a near-riot broke out. Here’s how the Chicago Tribune described it the next day:

Archbishop Alexander, according to custom, had chanted out the query: “Is our new bishop worthy of the honor that has been bestowed upon him?” As if by prearranged signal a dozen or more in the audience sprang to their feet. “No, no, no. He is unworthy.”

Those backing Bishop Joannides accepted the challenge by  leaping at the shouters and in a moment the ceremony had been turned into one of confusion.

Fists started flying, someone called the police, and when the dust settled, eight people were arrested. The whole mess was part of the broader split between “Royalists” (supporters of the Greek King Constantine) and Venizelists (supporters of the Greek prime minister) — a division that tore through Greek communities throughout the United States. According to the Tribune, Bishop Philaret was viewed as a Royalist.

June 19, 1933: Bishop Apollinary Koshevoy died at the age of 58. After the Bolshevik Revolution, Apollinary spent three years as a bishop in Jerusalem before coming to America. He initially served as Bishop of Winnipeg for the Russian Metropolia (today’s OCA), and in 1926 he became the Archbishop of San Francisco. Right around this time, relations between the Metropolia and ROCOR soured, and Apollinary sided with ROCOR. He remained in San Francisco and founded the famed Joy of All Who Sorrow Cathedral. One of his successors, of course, was St. John Maximovitch.

June 23, 1941: Fr. Jacob Korchinsky, formerly a priest in America, was martyred by Communists. In a previous article, I pulled together a bunch of different sources on Fr. Jacob’s remarkable and well-traveled life. Click here to read it.

June 22, 1969: The convert priest Fr. Dmitri Royster was consecrated Bishop of Berkeley and auxiliary to the Metropolia’s Archbishop of San Francisco. Bishop Dmitri later went on to establish the OCA Diocese of the South, which he led for many years.

June 24, 1975: The rival Antiochian Archdioceses of New York and Toledo formally united into a single jurisdiction. In the wake of St. Raphael’s death in 1915, the Antiochians in America split into “Russy” and “Antacky” factions. This division persisted until the early 1930s, when the various competing hierarchs all left the scene (by death or otherwise) at basically the same time. It looked as if the schism would die with those bishops, but in 1936, a new split opened, with one bishop in New York and the other in Toledo. This new division lasted for almost forty years, until Metropolitan Philip Saliba and Metropolitan Michael Shaheen agreed to merge their Archdioceses, with Philip emerging as the primate.

June 19, 2009: Three years ago, we launched Thanks to all who have read and supported our work!

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