Archive for the ‘St. Alexis Toth’ Tag

Feast of St. Ivan Kochurov (October 31)   Leave a comment

Above:  St. Ivan Kochurov, 1900

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT IVAN ALEXANDROVICH KOCHUROV

(JULY 17, 1871-OCTOBER 31, 1917, JULIAN CALENDAR)

(JULY 29, 1871-NOVEMBER 13, 1917, GREGORIAN CALENDAR)

Russian Orthodox Priest and Martyr, 1917

Alternative feast day = Sunday Nearest to January 25 (Feast of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia)

St. Ivan Alexandreivich Kochurov comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Orthodox Church in America.

St. Ivan Alexandreivich Kochurov, son of a priest (Alexander Kochurov), became a priest, too.  Our saint, born in Bigil’dino Surky, Ryazan Governate, Russian Empire, on July 13, 1871, studied at the Ryazin Seminary then at the Saint Petersburg Theological Academy.  He, graduating in 1895, became a deacon and married Alexandra Chernyshova.  Then, on August 27, 1895, he joined the ranks of priests.

Kochurov, who wanted to serve as a missionary priest in the United States of America, got his wish.  In 1895, he became the first permanent priest of St. Vladimir’s Church, Chicago, Illinois, founded in 1892.  Our saint supervised the construction of the building, started in 1902 and consecrated the following year.  St. Tikhon of Moscow (1865-1925), then the Bishop of the Aleutians and North America, consecrated the new structure.  Kochurov, who founded and helped to found other Russian Orthodox congregations in the Chicago area, as well as New York and Oklahoma.

St. Vladimir’s Church has become Holy Trinity Cathedral, of the Orthodox Church in America.

Above:  The “Fond du Lac Circus,” 1900

Image in the Public Domain

Kochurov is standing, third from the right.

Sts. Ivan and Tikhon participated in an innocuous and ecumenical matter that became a scandal in Evangelical Episcopalian circles.  Charles Chapman Grafton (1830-1912), the Episcopal Bishop of Fond du Lac (1889-1912), was an Anglo-Catholic interested in Old Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy.  He invited Bishops of the Polish National Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church to join with other Episcopal bishops in consecrating Reginald Heber Weller (1857-1935) as the Bishop Coadjutor of Fond du Lac.  (Weller served as the Bishop of Fond du Lac from 1912 to 1933.)  The site of so many bishops in copes and mitres prompted many Evangelical Episcopalians to clutch their pearls and scream “dirty sassafras,”, so to speak.

Kochurov remained in the United States of America until 1907.  He and St. Alexis Toth (1854-1909) worked together to found a mutual aid society for recent Russian immigrants.  Kochurov also translated Russian religious texts into English.  Our saint, promoted to Archpriest in 1906, helped to organize the first Russian Orthodox All-American Council, Mayfield, Pennsylvania (1907).

Above:  The Flag of the Russian Empire

Image in the Public Domain

The Kochurov family returned to the Russian Empire in 1907.  He taught the catechism in schools in Narva, Estonia, until 1916.  Then our saint, transferred to Tsarskoe Selo, outside St. Petersburg) in 1916, preached at St. Catherine’s Cathedral.

On October 31, 1917 (Old Style)/November 13, 1917 (New Style), Bolsheviks arrested Kochurov, 46 years old.  They took him outside of Tsarskoe Selo and shot him, making him the first Russian Orthodox martyr under the Bolshevik rule.  His “crime” was being a priest.

The Russian Orthodox Church glorified (canonized) Kochurov in 1994.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 24, 2021 COMMON ERA

GENOCIDE REMEMBRANCE

THE FEAST OF SAINT EGBERT OF LINDISFARNE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK; AND SAINT ADALBERT OF EGMONT, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY

THE FEAST OF SAINT FIDELIS OF SIGMARINGEN, CAPUCHIN FRIAR AND MARTYR, 1622

THE FEAST OF JOHANN WALTER, “FIRST CANTOR OF THE LUTHERAN CHURCH”

THE FEAST OF SAINT MELLITUS, BISHOP OF LONDON, AND ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

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Almighty and everlasting God, who kindled the flame of your love

in the heart of your holy martyr Saint Ivan Kochurov:

Grant to us, your humble servants, a like faith and power of love,

that we who rejoice in his triumph may profit by his example;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 15:15-21

Psalm 124 or 31:1-5

1 Peter 4;12-19

Mark 8:34-38

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 715

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Feast of St. Alexis Toth (May 6)   2 comments

Above:  St. Alexis Toth

Image in the Public Domain

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ALEXIS GEORGEIVICH TOTH (MARCH 18, 1854-MAY 7, 1909)

Russian Orthodox Priest and Defender of Orthodoxy in America

“The Father of Orthodoxy in America”

Also known as Saint Alexis of Wilkes-Barre

His feast transferred from May 7

The feast day of St. Alexis Toth in the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) is May 7.  However, that date on this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Witnesses, is fully booked already.  He is also a saint in the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese in the U.S.A. (Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople), formed in 1938, in opposition to the Latinization of ethnic Roman Catholicism in the United States.

Toth, born into an Eastern Rite Roman Catholic family, ultimately became a Russian Orthodox priest and a missionary in the United States of America.  He debuted near Eperjes, Hungary, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now Kobylnice, Slovakia), on March 18, 1854.  His Carpatho-Russian family was poor.  Ordained ministry also ran in the family.  Our saint was the nephew of a Uniate bishop and the son of George Toth, a Uniate priest.  St. Alexis’s mother was Cecilia Toth.  St. Alexis, educated well, mastered Carpatho-Russian, Hungarian, Russian, German, and Latin.  He also read Greek.  Our saint, husband of Rosalie Mihalich, became a Uniate priest on April 18, 1878.  Shortly thereafter, Rosalie and the couple’s sole child died.

St. Alexis served in Europe until late 1889.  He was secretary to the Bishop of Presov, diocesan administrator, director of an orphanage, and Professor of Church History and Canon Law at Presov Seminary.  Our saint, appointed to a Ruthenian Greek Catholic parish in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in October 1889, arrived the following month.

St. Alexis clashed with John Ireland, the Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis (1888-1918).  Ireland was a proponent of the cultural assimilation of Roman Catholics (many of whom were immigrants or of immigrant stock) in the United States of America.  He was, therefore, hostile to ethnic parishes and non-Latin Rite clergymen.  Ireland refused to permit our saint to function as a priest in the diocese.  Ireland was not unique in his hostility of Eastern Rite Catholicism; other American bishops shared it.  St. Alexis convened a meeting of about ten Uniate priests in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, in October 1890.  This gathering preceded the expansion of Russian Orthodoxy in the United States.  St. Alexis and 361 parishioners converted to Orthodoxy in Minneapolis on March 25, 1891.  Vladimir, Bishop of the Aleutians and Alaska (1887-1891), received them.  More Unitate conversions to Orthodoxy in the United States followed.  The parish (now St. Mary’s Cathedral) in Minneapolis formally joined the Diocese of the Aleutians and Alaska in 1892.

Above:  St. Mary’s Cathedral, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Image Source = Google Earth

St. Alexis endured many hardships.  These included hostility and financial difficulty.  The parish and the priest were poor; he worked in a bakery until the Russian Orthodox diocese began to pay his salary.  Despite financial hardship, St. Alexis helped those less fortunate than himself and donated to funds for seminary scholarships and the construction of church buildings.

Bishop Vladimir and his successors, including St. Tikhon (1898-1907) and Platon (1907-1914, 1922-1934), sent St. Alexis to preach to Slavic people in the United States.  Our saint founded parishes and facilitated the conversion of many Uniates to Orthodoxy.  He helped to build up what eventually became the Orthodox Church in America (OCA).  St. Alexis, offered the episcopate in 1907, declined.  He encouraged the appointment of a younger and healthier man.

St. Alexis’s health made its terminal turn in late 1908.  He ultimately returned to Wilkes-Barre.  Our saint, bed-ridden for two months, died on May 7, 19089.  He was 55 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 23, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS GREGORY THE ILLUMINATOR AND ISAAC THE GREAT, PATRIARCHS OF ARMENIA

THE FEAST OF MEISTER ECKHART, ROMAN CATHOLIC THEOLOGIAN AND MYSTIC

THE FEAST OF SAINT METODEJ DOMINICK TRCKA, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1959

THE FEAST OF SAINT VICTORIAN OF HADRUMETUM, MARTYR AT CARTHAGE, 484

THE FEAST OF SAINT WALTER OF PONTOISE, FRENCH ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AND ECCLESIASTICAL REFORMER

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Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your servant Saint Alexis Toth,

whom you called to preach the Gospel in the United States of America.

Raise up in this and every land evangelists and heralds of your kingdom,

that your Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 52:7-10

Psalm 96 or 96:1-7

Acts 1:1-9

Luke 10:1-9

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 716

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