Some Calm Before the Storm

A blessed Theophany for those of us on the New Calendar and for those on the Old Calendar, a blessed Nativity.

That was the good news. Unfortunately, today will be remembered as a particularly sad day for our Church, regardless of which calendar we use. Today was that most unfortunate day wherein the Patriarch of Constantinople unleashed a torrent of ill will by unilaterally granting autocephaly to a schismatic and uncanonical sect in Ukraine.

This is scandalous by all measures. To me personally, it’s rather depressing. More will be said later, for now I’d rather concentrate on something positive.

A few weeks ago, Yours Truly posted a story about my parish’s men’s choir, its young conductor and their first CD. Some of you have purchased it. Yesterday, they traveled south to Hartshorne, Oklahoma, to Ss Cyril and Methodius Russian Orthodox Church, the first Orthodox church in Oklahoma and the oldest functioning church (of any denomination) in the Sooner State.

The occasion was a benefit concert for Ss Cyril and Methodius to help them raise money to repair their roof and refinish their dome. It was was very well-attended and I am happy to report that they are one-third of the way to meeting their $30,000 goal.

The church was originally founded over one hundred years ago by Carpatho-Russian coal miners who had come to the Choctaw nation to work in the coal mines of southeastern Oklahoma. The Choctaws donated 200 acres to Czar Alexander III which came to be known as Russian Hill. One of its first priests was St John Kochurov, the first Christian priest to be martyred by the godless Bolsheviks.

The first temple was a wooden structure which was later replaced by a sturdier, brick-and-mortar edifice which is still standing. The bricks were made onsite and it was built by the men of the community during their off hours from the coal mines. Although it has dwindled in population, a sturdy few have kept it open all these decades and it did my heart good to attend and to be welcomed by the lovely parishioners in that lovely town.

If you would like to help them meet their goal, their mailing address is Ss Cyril and Methodius Russian Orthodox Church, PO Box 304, Harshorne, OK, 74547

Below is a short snippet of the concert.



  1. Tim R. Mortiss says

    Great tale. The story is very like that of Holy Trinity in the village of Wilkeson in the Cascade foothills. Blessed by St. Tikhon himself.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Thank you. I’m not a sentimental man but believe me when I say that it was one of those “special” days that one remembers in which love and kindness abounded and which the older among us will go on talking about until the day we die.

  2. I’ve been listening to the CD this past week and have found it to be a great blessing. It helps me remember what’s truly important!

  3. Very Rev. John W Morris says

    About 40 years ago, while I was in graduate school in history at Oklahoma State University, one of the professors or a fellow graduate student, I do not remember which one, was trying to write a history of the Harshorne Church. The leadership of the parish found out and threatened to sue him they continued their work. As a result the community lost a chance to have a professionally written history of their parish.

    • Alitheia1875 says

      That reminds me of what Theodore Saloutos went through while writing his seminal, and still best, history of the Greeks in the United States, published in 1964 by Harvard University Press. Of course, he included the history of the Greek Orthodox Church here in the States, but he had to do it without the cooperation of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese which refused him permission to access the Archdiocese’s archives. Professor Saloutos, an academic historian, wrote an informed, well documented history, not a puff piece, and that was exactly what certain people did not want. Nevertheless, his work remains the authoritative source about the Greeks, their trials and tribulations, their success and failure, their Church, up until its publication. Nothing else has ever come close.