Category: Orthodoxy in the Americas


A Tribute to Bishop Basil of Wichita


Bishop Basil Essey, the longtime Antiochian Bishop of Wichita and Mid-America, is preparing to retire at the end of this year. Many Antiochians learned of this for the first time over the weekend, when the Archdiocese held a virtual convention. Metropolitan Joseph announced Bishop Basil's retirement in his address to...

The U.S. Government & the Election of Athenagoras


In the mid-20th century, the Skouras brothers -- Charles, Spyros, and George -- were among the most powerful men in the booming film industry. Charles was president of Fox West Coast and funded the construction of St Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Los Angeles, using his movie star friends as...

How the State Dept. Got Interested in Orthodoxy


In recent days, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul. After the meeting, Pompeo tweeted that the Ecumenical Patriarchate is a "key partner" of the United States. This is no secret; the close relationship between the United States government and the Ecumenical Patriarchate is well...

A Disappointing First Chapter of The Greek Orthodox Church in America


This summer, Alexander Kitroeff's new book The Greek Orthodox Church in America: A Modern History was published by Northern Illinois University Press. It's an ambitious book, attempting to span 150 years of history in a mere 264 pages. Unfortunately, in what seems to be his rush to talk about the Greek...

Greek Orthodox Opposition to Slavery in 1862


At the close of every year, the Greek newspaper Anatolikos Aster (Eastern Star), published in Constantinople for the local Greek Orthodox community, would write an annual retrospective on events around the globe in the year that had just ended. What follows appeared in the edition of December 31, 1862, which the...

Back to the Future: A New Old Model for Clergy Training


Today, the main way a man becomes an Orthodox priest in America is by completing an M.Div. program at an Orthodox seminary, the biggest being Holy Cross, St. Vladimir's, and St. Tikhon's. All of these seminaries opened at the same time -- 1938-39 -- and initially, they didn't offer master's...

The Cold War Origins of the EP’s Albanian Diocese


There are 13 Albanian Orthodox parishes in America, and 11 of them are part of the Albanian Archdiocese of the OCA. The other two belong to the Albanian Diocese of the Ecumenical Patriarchate -- the smallest jurisdiction in America. It's possible that this two-parish diocese is the tiniest diocese in...

Chronology of Terror: The Anti-Orthodox Istanbul Pogrom of 1955


It's well known that the Greek Orthodox population in Istanbul is infinitesimally small -- estimates these days usually put the number at under 2,000. It's also well known that most Greeks in Turkey were deported in the early 1920s as part of the forced "population exchange" with Greece under the Lausanne...

Athenagoras: The Apostle of America to Orthodoxy


  In a previous article, I shared some of Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras' declarations of loyalty to the United States, documented in U.S. State Department files from 1950-51. Thanks to Aram Sarkisian, I have since obtained many more State Dept. documents from the rest of the 1950s. In two of these...

Secret 1950 State Dept Memo on Ecumenical Patriarch


Lately I've begun to publish a series of articles on the relationship between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the United States government during the early Cold War period. The most recent of those articles focused on various statements of loyalty made by Patriarch Athenagoras to U.S. State Department officials. As I...