Orthodox Christians in North America (1794 - 1994)

Written by Mark Stokoe and the Very Rev. Leonid Kishkovsky.

In a nation whose religious culture has accomodated Catholics, Protestants, and Jews, Orthodox Christian in North America have been largely overlooked and ignored. With few exceptions, their historical experiences remain unrecorded, their documents untranslated, their personalities, institutions, and activities unknown.

Contemporary American Orthodoxy is the result of the Russian missionaries to Alaska, but also of the migration of peoples from Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East. As a result, it often presents an "ethnic" face to American society. Building on an earlier pioneering historical work, Orthodox America (compiled for the 1976 American Bicentennial), the present work seeks to provide the reader, both Orthodox and non-Orthodox alike, with a popular narrative account of two hundred years of Orthodox Christianity on this continent.

From its humble beginnings in 1794, when a small group of missionaries landed on Kodiak Island, Alaska, Orthodoxy in America has expanded to comprise a church of over two million faithful. Yet numerous Americans from all cultural and religious backgrounds have, particularly in recent decades, joined Orthodoxy as well. Orthodoxy does have something to say to American society. Thus, the story is told on these webpages.

About the Authors

Mark Stokoe is formerly the Secretary-General of SYNDESMOS and the former Youth Director of the Orthodox Church in America. He is currently a freelance writer and member of St. Paul's Church (OCA) in Dayton, OH. The Very Rev. Leonid Kishkovsky is an Orthodox priest and is the Assistant to the Chancellor for External Affairs and Interchurch Relations of the Orthodox Church in America.


  1. The Alaskan Mission (1794-1870)

    • The Beginnings of the Alaskan Mission
    • Gregory Shelikov
    • The Alaskan Mission
    • St. Herman of Alaska
    • St. Innocent
    • Fr. Jacob Netsvetov
    • The Meaning of the Alaskan Mission

  2. Immigration and Conversion (1870-1920)

    • From Mission to Missionary Diocese
    • Early Orthodox Immigration to the United States
    • The "New Immigration"
    • The Uniates
    • The "New Immigrant" Experience
    • The Uniate Dilemma
    • Alexis Toth and the Uniate Return to Orthodoxy
    • From "Greek Catholic" to "Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic"
    • The Greeks
    • The Greek Immigrant Experience
    • The Missionary Diocese and the Greeks
    • Conclusion

  3. Institutions of the Immigrant Church

    • From Missionary Diocese to Multi-Ethnic American Diocese
    • The Vision of Archbishop Tikhon
    • Institutional Growth
    • Social Services
    • Publications
    • Finances
    • From Immigrant Church to North American Diocese

  4. Other Orthodox Immigrations

    • The Arabs
    • The Serbs
    • The Albanians
    • The Romanians
    • Other Slavic Immigrations
    • Orthodox Immigration to Canada

  5. The Collapse of the Immigrant Church

    • The Russian Revolution and the Orthodox Church
    • Tensions within the Missionary Archdiocese
    • The Collapse of Orthodox Unity in America
    • The Establishment of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese
    • The Collapse of the American Diocese
    • Further Divisions in the Russian-American Community

  6. The Jurisdictional Solution

    • The Effects of Jurisdictionalism

  7. The Ethnic Churches

    • Cultural Hibernation
    • Self-Sufficiency
    • Ethnarchy
    • Archbishop Athenagoras (Spiros)
    • Archbishop Anthony (Bashir)
    • Bishop Polycarp (Morusca) and Archbishop Valerian (Trifa)
    • Metropolitan Leonty (Turkevich)
    • The Enduring Ethnic Churches

  8. Challenges to the Ethnic Churches

    • Sociological Transformations (1940-1970)
    • "Hyphenated Americans"
    • The Third Generation
    • Debates over Language
    • Theological Renewal
    • Canonical Questions
    • The Metropolia

  9. The Emerging American Mission

    • The Autocephaly Debate
    • The American Mission
    • Unity
    • Spiritual Renewal
    • Monasticism
    • Evangelization
    • Social Witness
    • The Emerging American Mission

  10. Reflections on American Orthodoxy

    Leonid Kishkovsky


Orthodox Christians in North America, 1794-1994 is copyright © Orthodox Christian Publications Center (OCPC), 1995.

All Rights Reserved, including Electronic Rights in any form.