Category: Westernization


Metropolitan Antony Bashir & the Use of English


Metropolitan Antony Bashir was the head of the Antiochian Archdiocese of New York from 1936 until his death in 1966. He said the following in an interview published in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, February 4, 1939: The Eastern Orthodox Church has many national branches, each conducting its services, as a rule,...

Chicago Greeks oppose choral music in 1908


Several years ago, I began writing about the "Americanization" of Orthodoxy -- things like pews, organs, mixed choirs, the cassocks vs. collars debate, clean shaven priests, etc. (Click here to read my article on organs in Greek churches.) Recently, I found a great historical source -- an open letter from...

Freemasonry in American Orthodox history


Once upon a time, it was the norm for American men to be members of fraternal organizations. These were especially attractive to new immigrants, who wanted to be integrated into American society and make progress in business. And in that earlier era, fraternal membership was the best and quickest way to...

This week in American Orthodox history (January 16-22)


January 16, 1924: Patriarch Tikhon of Moscow -- former Archbishop of North America, and future canonized saint -- issued an ukaz removing Metropolitan Platon Rozhdestvensky from his post as primate in America for "public acts of counter-revolution." Of course, Tikhon was under pressure from the Soviet government. Really, "pressure" is...

The first New Calendar Christmas for the Antiochians in America


It's almost Christmas for those of us on the New Calendar, but of course, our Old Calendar brethren will have to wait an additional 13 days. Originally, of course, all Orthodox Christians celebrated Christmas on the same day, because we all followed the same calendar. In 1923, an Inter-Orthodox Congress...

Independence Day in Chicago, 1892


Back in 2009, I wrote an article about a unique Independence Day church service held in Chicago by Fr. Firmilian Drazich of Serbia. I thought it'd be appropriate to link to it today. If anyone out there has more information about this fascinating event, please email me at mfnamee [at]...

Orthodoxy & the Courts: ecclesiastical questions are unavoidable


Until the early 1980s, some OCA parishes in the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania used the Old Calendar. In 1982, then-Bishop Herman Swaiko of Philadelphia ordered all of his parishes to switch to the New Calendar. Predictably, this wasn't universally well-received. The majority of St. Basil Orthodox Church in Simpson, PA...

Fr. Irvine & the Orthodox women’s college of Brooklyn


Editor's note: The following article originally appeared in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle on November 28, 1915: The Holy Orthodox Russo-Greek Catholic Church has established a college for young women at the corner of Pennsylvania and Glenmore avenues, in the East New York section. About nine years ago Archbishop Platon and...

St. Alexander Hotovitzky on language in the Church


On November 4, 1905, a religious and literary journal entitled The Friend published a letter by St. Alexander Hotovitzky, dean of St. Nicholas Cathedral in New York. Hotovitzky wrote in response to an article in The Friend which claimed, "In this Russian service, of course, no one understood what was...

Prayers for the President: an addendum


A few weeks ago, I wrote an article detailing some of the history of prayers for the US President in American Orthodox churches. After I published it, a reader named Andy Romanofsky sent along this excerpt from Chapter 1 of Archbishop Gregory Afonsky's A History of the Orthodox Church in America: 1917-1939: The...