Skip to Main Content

Eastern Orthodox Priests


The first Greek Orthodox Christians established a colony near St. Augustine, Florida (then Spanish territory), in 1768. One of the buildings they worshiped in still stands today. It is known as the St. Photios Greek Orthodox National Shrine. The first permanent Greek Orthodox community was founded in New York City in 1892.

The Orthodox Church in America was first established by eight Russian monks in 1794 in Alaska (which, at the time, was a possession of Russia). After the sale of Alaska to the United States in 1867, the Orthodox church spread to other areas of the United States. In 1872, the episcopal see (i.e., the area of a bishop’s ecclesiastical jurisdiction) was transferred from Sitka, Alaska, to San Francisco, California. In 1905, it was transferred yet again, this time to New York City. During this time, what had once been a Russian-dominated church transformed to include waves of immigrants from Greece, Austro-Hungary, Ukraine, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Syria.      

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the United States traces its beginning to 1915 when several existing parishes and clergy of other Orthodox and Catholic dioceses decided that congregants of Ukrainian heritage should have their own jurisdiction.

Today, it is estimated that there are six million members of various Eastern Orthodox archdioceses in the United States, and a total of 200 to 250 million worldwide.