St. Tikhon at a Greek Church in Chicago

Today in 1901, St. Tikhon, bishop of the Russian Diocese in North America, celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Greek church in Chicago. Here’s an account of that visit, from Fr. Leonid Kishkovsky’s article “Archbishop Tikhon in America,” St. Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly, vol. 19, no. 1 (1975): Thus in 1900, during one of his visits to Chicago, Bishop Tikhon was approached by the rector and lay leaders of the local Greek church,…

The Odd Adventures of an Early Serbian Priest

Fr. Philip Sredanovich is one of the strangest parish priests I’ve ever run across in my research of Orthodoxy in America. He was born in Montenegro in 1881. He seems to have been educated and married in Russia (the 1920 U.S. Census says that his wife was born in Russia). Fr. Philip came to America just after the turn of the 20th century. In 1908, he made headlines nationwide for his supposed invention of a device to travel…

A Catechism and its Connections

On Thursday I travel to England to promote the publication of a book I have been editing for the past two years: Embassy, Emigrants and Englishmen, The Three Hundred Year History of a Russian Orthodox Church in London. It is a remarkable work and I think the first book to give a continuous narrative of Orthodox history in the West over several centuries. The center point of the book is London, but…

Archbishop Wasyl Sawyna and the Orthodox Cathedral of Emmaus, PA

Today is the 26th anniversary of the passing from this life of Archbishop Wasyl Sawyna (Feb. 24, 1893 – Oct. 13, 1988), primate of the Ukrainian Autocephalic Orthodox Church of North and South America, an uncanonical church with, as far as I can tell, only one church that it ever claimed. The picture above was his archepiscopal see—the Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Basil the Great in Emmaus, Pennsylvania. At 840 square…

A Pan-Orthodox Liturgy in Chicago in 1934

On December 16, 1934, the Orthodox of Chicago held a landmark pan-Orthodox liturgy that included Greek and Russian Metropolia bishops, as well as clergy from the local Serbian and Romanian churches. Here’s an article on the liturgy from the Chicago Greek Daily (Dec. 9, 1934): Next Sunday, Dec. 16, 7:30 P.M., in the church of St. Constantine and Helene, will take place a Grand Vesper, in which the Most Rev. Kallistos of San Francisco,…

Did an Athonite monk visit President Ulysses S. Grant? (UPDATED)

In 1869, a priest from Mount Athos paid a visit to the sitting President of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant. At least, that’s what was reported on the front page of the Aug. 18, 1869 issue of the North American and United States Gazette (published in Philadelphia): The Rev. Father Christopher, a Greek priest from Mount Athos, has lately called upon President Grant. He is said to be a very learned man, and…