Coming to America

After Russian traders settled in Alaska around the beginning of the 18th century, the orthodox traditions and faith reached the American soil for the first time when missionaries attempted to convert the local populations into Christians. This led to a diocese of the faith being established in Alaska.

Around the mid-19th century, the diocese was moved from Alaska to California and the foothold of the Russian Orthodox Church and its traditions were firmly entrenched in the mainland of the American Republic.

The diocese did not remain in California for long however, they moved again, this time to New York. The move was not a coincidence or an event that was unplanned.

During this time, there was great rift that was developing between members of the Roman Catholic Church in America and a very influential Ruthenian Catholic Priest by the name of Alexis Toth. The failure of the Archbishop of Saint Paul, Minnesota, John Ireland to fully recognize the credentials of the Ruthenian Priest led to Mr. Toth leaving the Catholic Church and aligning himself and his parish of St. Mary’s with the Orthodox Church.

Roman Catholic Church in AmericaThis switch led to the conversion of tens of thousands of Greek-Catholics who were then recognized by the Russian Orthodox Church. Around the same time the number of immigrating Greeks and other traditional Christian Orthodox followers was also expanding at a rapid pace. This led to the formation of a united diocese that was under the patronage of the Patriarch of Moscow.

The turmoil of the Russian Revolution, however, was felt even by those who practiced their faith many thousands of miles away in the North American diocese, even though considered autonomous was financially struggling without the assistance it had once received from the Mother Church in Russia that prior to the calamitous events that were taking place in the Russian homeland.

The turmoil notwithstanding, the Church gained its foothold and would later flourish in America as well as in many other countries around the world.