The First Black Orthodox Priest in America


On today's episode of the American Orthodox History podcast, we're running a lecture I gave at the Brotherhood of St Moses the Black conference in Indianapolis at the end of May. The subject is Fr Raphael Morgan, the first black Orthodox priest in America. The text of the lecture is below....

Not Quite SCOBA


Few photos from the early 20th century history of American Orthodoxy are so rich in significance as this one. This was taken during the 1921 visit of then-deposed Abp. Meletios (Metxakis) of Athens to America, beginning the process of founding the Greek Archdiocese. He came traveling with Bp. Alexander (Demoglou),...

The Failed Mission of Fr Stephen Hatherly


From 1870 to 1883, Fr Nicholas Bjerring was pastor of a Russian Orthodox chapel in New York City. Bjerring was a convert from Roman Catholicism, and he basically operated an "embassy chapel." He held services for Russian and Greek officials stationed in America, he ministered to the few Orthodox Christians...

St Raphael’s Consecration


    St Raphael was consecrated Bishop of Brooklyn on March 13, 1904, by St Tikhon and Bishop Innocent of Alaska (not to be confused with the earlier St Innocent). What follows is a little article I wrote on the consecration. My plan is to include the article in a...

What a majestic and refulgent language is the Arabic!


St Raphael—then an archimandrite—arrived in New York City on November 14, 1895. He made quite a first impression, not only on his Syrian Orthodox flock, but on the New York media. On November 19, the following appeared in the New York Sun: It was a pleasure to listen to the strains...

July 4, 1892


Last month, I did a podcast on the attempt to form a pan-Orthodox parish in Chicago in 1888. (You can also read a post about it here.) That attempt failed, and in 1892, separate Greek and Russian parishes were founded in Chicago. The Greek church was founded in April, under the jurisdiction...

A Letter to President McKinley


In my latest American Orthodox History podcast on Ancient Faith Radio, I spoke with Eric Peterson about Alaskan Orthodoxy in the period following the 1867 sale of Alaska by Russia to the United States. This was a tragic period, and for decades, a Presbyterian missionary named Rev. Sheldon Jackson ruled Alaska...

SOCHA on Facebook


The Society now has a "page" on Facebook, adding another outlet to keep folks connected with this site and what's going on in the study of American Orthodox history: Check it out here.

St. Tikhon, the Russian Council of 1917-18, and the Metropolia


The video takes a few minutes to get going, but here is a roughly 80-minute history of the Russian council of 1917-18, bracketed by history of the Russian Metropolia, entitled True Faith and the Ground of Liberty (subtitled St. Tikhon and the 1917-1918 Council: Architect and Blueprint for the Orthodox...

Parish priest stability, 1911-1915


I’ve conducted a little study on parish stability during the 1910s, with some slightly surprising results. I began with a list of the Orthodox parishes that had resident priests in 1911. For each of these, I checked to see whether the same priest was serving the parish four years later,...