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 End of the “Greek Captivity” of Antioch


For most of the 18th and 19th century, the Patriarchate of Antioch was controlled by ethnic Greeks rather than the local Arabic-speaking people. The Patriarch was always a Greek, a member of the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre, which controlled not only Antioch but also Alexandria and Jerusalem. (Today, Jerusalem...

The Phanar vs. the French Revolution


In 1797, revolutionary France conquered the Republic of Venice, and, with it, the Ionian Islands, which were a Venetian possession but were inhabited by Greek Orthodox Christians. The next year, the Russian, British, and Ottoman empires formed an alliance with the aim of, among other things, driving the French out...

The 1821 Massacre of Greeks in Cyprus


In October 1818, Archbishop Kyprianos of Cyprus met with representatives of the Filiki Eteria, the Greek secret society that was preparing to launch a war for independence. While some sources claim that he was initiated into the secret society, there appears to be no direct evidence for this. On the...

“To Arms, For Our Country and Our Religion!”


What follows is the text of Alexander Ypsilantis's call to the Greek people to revolution against the Ottoman Empire. The proclamation is dated February 23 (Julian March 7), 1821. It was published in English in the Morning Chronicle of London on April 13, 1821. I made a couple of minor...

A Letter from Constantinople, March 24, 1821


This year marks the 200th anniversary of the beginning of the Greek Revolution. The traditional date for the beginning of the Revolution is March 25, 1821 -- the Feast of the Annunciation. That was based on the Julian Calendar, which was still in use across the Orthodox world. According to...

How Are Orthodox Patriarchs Chosen?


Last week, the Serbian Orthodox Church elected a new Patriarch, Porfirije. This was the result of a fairly complex process -- three rounds of nominations, followed by the finalists' names being placed in a Gospel, with one name drawn out by a monk, leaving the final choice to the Holy...

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...