The Bulgarian Monk visits San Jose


In the latest episode of my American Orthodox History podcast,  I talk about Rev. A.N. Experidon, better known as "the Bulgarian Monk." He was, without a doubt, the weirdest man in the history of American Orthodoxy. For the whole story, I'd encourage you to listen to the podcast, but below,...

Fr. Sebastian Dabovich on the Condition of Society, 1899


In 1899, Fr. Sebastian Dabovich published a book of homilies, called Preaching in the Russian Church. One of those sermons, "On the Condition of Society," is especially interesting, because it gives us Dabovich's perspective on life at the turn of the last century. As you can see, despite all that...

Priest makes bread rise without yeast


Every once in a while here at OrthodoxHistory.org, I like to take a break from serious historical study to present completely random, strange pieces of information from the past. Today is one of those days. The following article appeared in the Ogden (Utah) Standard-Examiner on November 15, 1927: WATERBURY, Conn., Nov....

“The Archbishop has made a big, bad blunder…”


On November 5, 1905, St. Tikhon ordained Ingram N.W. Irvine an Orthodox priest. It was a courageous action, and I cannot help but think that St. Tikhon's feelings on the matter were bittersweet. He knew -- he must have known -- that he was indeed ushering in a new "epoch in...

The Ordination of the Rev. Ingram N.W. Irvine, D.D.


The following article appeared in the English-language supplement to the November 1905 issue of the Russian Orthodox American Messenger, the official publication of the Russian Mission: The Rev. Ingram N.W. Irvine, D.D., was, on St. Mary's Day, Nov. 4th, received into the Holy Orthodox Church by our beloved Archbishop the...

The First Churches, State by State


There is an argument, made by many, that the first autocephalous Church to expand into a new territory "gets" that territory. I call it the flag-planting theory, because it reminds me of 15th century European explorers who reached the shores of undiscovered (for them) lands, stuck a flag in the...

The New Orleans Gospel Book


In 1927, Fr. Boris Burden wrote the following: The Church of the Holy Trinity in New Orleans, La., claims to have been the first Greek church in the United States. On the occasion of its dedication in 1860 Alexander II, Czar of Russia, sent to its Greek Priest, the Reverend...

Fr. Ingram Nathaniel Irvine: Why I Became Orthodox


On today's episode of my American Orthodox History podcast, I discuss Fr. Ingram Nathaniel Irvine, a famous Episcopal priest who converted to Orthodoxy under St. Tikhon in 1905. We'll have lots more to come on Irvine, but for starters, here are his seven reasons for converting to Orthodoxy. This is...

St. Innocent’s Vision


On October 18, 1867, the Russian Empire formally ceded Alaska to the United States. The next month, St. Innocent was elected Metropolitan of Moscow. Shortly after this, Innocent sent the following letter to the Ober-Procurator (the Tsar's representative) of the Holy Synod.[*] Rumor reaching me from Moscow purports that I wrote to...

Language in American Orthodoxy, 1916


As you might expect, most American Orthodox parishes in 1916 used foreign languages. From that year's Census of Religious Bodies, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, we find the following unsurprising information: Both of the Albanian parishes used exclusively Albanian. The four Bulgarian parishes used Bulgarian and Slavonic. The 87...