Category: Firsts


Who was “Agapius Honcharenko”?


Note: Last week, we met Fr. Agapius Honcharenko, who served the first known Orthodox liturgies in New York (or, for that matter, the United States of America -- remember, this is when Alaska was still part of the Russian Empire). (Click here to read that article.) Today, we continue the...

The First New York Liturgies, 1865


Note: This article is the beginning of a series of articles walking through the early history of Orthodoxy in the United States. Not the EARLIEST history (Philip Ludwell III and his circle) -- that's the territory of Nicholas Chapman and his associates (see www.ludwell.org to learn all about that). And not...

The Early History of Orthodoxy in Chicago


In 2011, I gave a talk at Holy Apostles Greek Orthodox Church in Westchester, Illinois, on the early history of Orthodoxy in Chicago. Here's the text of that lecture, basically unedited since I wrote it 7+ years ago. ******* The story of Orthodoxy in Chicago really begins in the 1880s....

Cinco de Mayo and the lost Orthodox Missions of Mexico


When I was in my early twenties, a couple of years before I entered the Orthodox Church, I crossed the Atlantic and spent a summer busing across America. I spent a week of the trip working with a Roman Catholic Jesuit mission (although I was a Protestant at that time,)...

A Greek Monastery in North Carolina in 1931


In 1931, the Greek Archdiocese decided to establish a monastery in North Carolina. On October 10, 1931, a Chicago Greek newspaper, the Saloniki-Greek Press, reported this: The mixed council of the Greek Archdiocese for a long time has contemplated the feasibility of such an institution as the spiritual center for the...

Did an Athonite monk visit President Ulysses S. Grant?


In 1869, a priest from Mount Athos paid a visit to the sitting President of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant. The Aug. 18, 1869 issues of both the North American and United States Gazette (published in Philadelphia) and the Philadelphia Inquirer ran identical blurbs: The Rev. Father Christopher, a Greek priest from...

Fire Destroys Historic New York Church


Yesterday -- on Pascha, the most joyous and holy day of the year for Orthodox Christians -- St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in New York was destroyed by fire. The cathedral was originally an Episcopalian church, called Trinity Chapel, and it was acquired by the Orthodox in 1942. St. Nicholai Velimirovich...

The First Orthodox Christians in the Future United States?


In a month in which we have seen the brutal massacre of peaceful African Americans at prayer in Charleston, South Carolina, it is perhaps timely to tell the remarkable account of the first named Orthodox Christians in what would become the United States, together with their Black African companion. So...

Fr Matthew Baker: Florovsky Visits America


Last night, March 1, 2015, the brilliant Orthodox scholar (and priest, husband, and father of six), Fr Matthew Baker, died in a car accident. In remembrance of him, we are republishing a really outstanding article that he wrote for this site in 2012. You can read more about Fr Matthew in this post by his friend, Fr Andrew Damick. If...

What was the first Orthodox parish in America?


The question, "What was the first Orthodox parish in America?" is surprisingly difficult to answer. A big part of the problem comes from that word, "parish." What is a parish? When does a collection of Orthodox people become a "parish"? It's a matter of interpretation, and particularly in the early...