It might do to pause here before I go into the meat of San Francisco as the See of America, and return to the Chief Secretary's words.
By the term “diaspora” we indicate that region whose ecclesiastical jurisdiction is been unfortunately claimed by a variety of “Mother” Churches,
Interesting that puts Mother in quotation marks when he puts Church in the plural.
Shall we see if, when he refers to the "Mother Church" of Constaninople, if he puts it in quotation marks.
Constantinople cannot claim the Motherhood of Orthodoxy in North America, just the grandmother (although in Orthodoxy, everyone knows the sitt/yaya/babushka/baba is the one who preserves the Faith).
That being said, I perhaps should deal with the Greek "Orthodox" of Florida:
Before the establishment of an Archdiocese in the Western Hemisphere there were numerous communities of Greek Orthodox Christians. The first Greek Orthodox community in the Americas was founded in 1864 in New Orleans,LA by a small colony of Greek merchants. History also records that on June 26,1768 the first Greek colonists landed at St.Augustine,FL, the oldest city in America. Today, the “Avero House” where these colonists worshipped has been fully restored and houses the St. Photios National Shrine, dedicated to all our ancestors who came to these shores as immigrants. It was not until just before the turn of the century that the first permanent community was founded in New York City in 1892, today’s Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity and See of the Archbishop of America.http://www.goarch.org/archdiocese/
[just in passing, and for future reference, the Bishop Paul in New Archangel (Sitka) Paul, auxiliary to the Diocese of Kamchatka, the Kurile and Aleutian Islands, on the sale of Alaska sent Rev. Nikolai Kovrigin to San Francisco to serve the Russians from Alaska, Fort Ross and elsewhere, along with the other Orthodox resident there. Bp. Paul was moved to Russia, but met his successor in Sitka, Bishop John of the Aleutians and Alaska (the Governing Holy Synod had detached Alaska, and given it a ruling bishop, i.e. no longer an auxiliary but a diocese in its own right), who would complete the transfer of the See to San Francisco. On route to Russia (where he went on to become bishop of the Diocese of Kamchatka, the Kurile Islands, and Blagoveshchensk, i.e. the see to which he served as suffragan in Alaska) via New York Bp. Paul consecrated on November 12, 1870, the first Orthodox church there, Holy Trinity Greco-Russian Church organized by Father Nicholas Bjerring (who had done missionary work in Lappland for the Vatican, but split with her over Vatican I in 1870. He later apostacized back).]
Leaving aside New Orleans for the moment (which has its own interesting story to tell, which ends up in San Francisco), history also records more about the Greeks of Florida, to which let's keep the Chief Secretary's words
the Orthodox faithful in America became organized according to their national origin and not according to the canon law of the Orthodox Church—that is, they organized themselves not in accordance with the principles of Orthodox ecclesiology which dictates that neither national origin, nor the history of a group’s appearance in a particular region
The colonists did not stay in St. Augustine, nor were they intended to colonize it. The colony lay south in New Smyrna, now New Smyrna Beach. There (a lovely town, btw), there are some ruins of the colonial scheme, and a monument to the Greeks of the colony, which is loudly Greek and agressively secular: it states the colonization "...had nothing to do with religion..."
New Smyrna, the largest British colonization attempt in the New World, was nearly three times larger than the first settlement at Jamestown in 1607. Dr. Turnbull obtained a land grant from the British Crown, brought with him 1,500 European immigrants and declared New Smyrna as Britain's 14th Crown Colony.http://www.nsbfla.com/thingstodo.cfm/mode/sites
Although the colony wasn't supposed to be in St. Augustine (the oldest, European at least, city in the U.S., but that had nothing to do with the Greeks, being founded over two centuries before their landing. Btw, it is a very interesting and pleasant town), it ended up there, as the GOA site notes, but leaving out the details of how that happened.
Walking less than 5 minutes from the St. Photios Greek Orthodox National Shrine to the center of St. Augustine, you bump into a statue of Fr. Pedro Camps, a Minorcan Priest whom the Greek Mrs. Turnbull, nee Maria Gracia Dura Bin, hired for the colonists spiritual needs.
This statue of Father Pedro Camps and others was presented to the Bishop of Saint Augustine, Paul F. Tanner, by Ferdinando A, Rubio, of Minorca, in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the arrival of Minorcan colonists in St. Augustine. It was dedicated to the city April, 24, 1975.http://www.halsema.org/people/theleonardifamily/culture/fatherpedrocamps/index.html
The first Mass celebrated on the North American continent (not the Caribbean Islands) was celebrated in Pensacola, Florida, and Florida became a very Catholic colony, but by 1763 the English ruled the area, and one year later, astonishingly, no more than eight Catholics, all lay people, remained.
In 1763, Spanish East Florida was ceded to Britain by the Treaty of Paris which concluded the French and Indian Wars, only to be returned to Spain 20 years later as part of the settlement of the American War of Independence. After the American Revolution, the British retroceded Florida back to Spain (Second Spanish Period: 1783-1821).
So England gained control of Florida in 1763 and held this control until 1783, when Spain regained Florida. It was during this British period, that a Scottish doctor by the name of Andrew Turnbull, a former British Consul at Smyrna, Greece was given a grant of approximately 20,000 acres of land about 70 miles south of St. Augustine, Florida and called it New Smyrna named after Smyrna, the birthplace of his wife.
Although the English occupation of Florida was to last for twenty years, catholicity was reborn in the province only five years after its sudden disappearance. The rebirth was worked by a remarkable priest, Fr. Pedro Camps, at the head of an equally remarkable people. The story begins at the port of Mahon on the east side of Minorca, east of Spain in the Mediterranean. There, in 1767, this Scottish physician turned colonizer, Andrew Turnbull, began collecting colonists his projected colony in East Florida. Although Mahon was at first only a collection point for the Greeks and Italians that Turnbull preferred, it eventually became the principle source for his company. By April 1768, Minorcans formed the overwhelming majority of the 1403 who had signed on as indentured servants.
In 1768, Turnbull collected about 1,403 people from the Mediterranean to colonize and work on his project. One hundred ten of these were Italians recruited in the port city of Livorno, Italy. They were ensconced at the port city of Mahon, Minorca, the second largest of the Balearic Islands off the coast of Spain. He then sailed to the port city of Smyrna and the surrounding Levant to collect several hundred Greeks For eight months, Turnbull sailed the Mediterranean and Aegean seeking Greeks and others, although the majority who signed on for his venture would be Minorcans. When Turnbull finally returned to Mahon he found that nearly all of his young Italians had married or were betrothed to Minorcan girls. The Minorcan families of these girls appealed to be included in the proposed British Colony. Other Minorcan families pressed to go also. Consequently, other than a few hundred Italians and Greeks, the final group that sailed in eight ships, totaling 1,403, was largely Minorcan, whose ancestry was mostly Roman and Latin. So some 400 Greeks, 900 Minorcans and a few dozen Corsicans and Italians comprised the initial group.
After four months at sea, the eight ships reached St. Augustine, and later, arrived at Los Mosquitos Inlet (New Smyrna ). They arrived on June 26,1768, in St. Augustine to collect provisions on their way to the New Smyrna Colony. Interestingly, the Greeks were from Smyrna (Asia Minor), Mani (Peloponessos), Santorini and Crete, and since the Ottomans did not allow a Greek Orthodox priest to accompany them, their religious and spiritual needs were administered by the Roman Catholic priest, Fr. Pedro Camps, from Minorca.
Andrew Turnbull’s wife, Gracia Dura Bin, was Catholic, and she took it upon herself to enlist the services of two priests for the colony, Father Pedro Camps, a thirty eight year old Roman Catholic secular priest from Mercadal, Minorca whose zeal and skill at preaching was widely respected on Minorca and Father Bartolome Casanovas, an Augustinian. After some political wrangling (Minorca was under English rule but Mallorca the diocesan seat was under Spanish rule.) both priests were commissioned as apostolic missionaries which gave them wide privileges for their work. Fr. Camps kept extensive vital statistics records which he called the Golden Book of the Minorcans and later he began the Cathedral Parish records in St. Augustine.
His pains taking efforts in recording baptisms, marriages and deaths give us an excellent background for many of the families’ histories. The original Golden Book of the Minorcans of Father Camps is still in good condition and several handwritten copies are on file at the Historical Society Research Library in St. Augustine. Microm films of the original document is also available at the Research Library.
Father Camps and Casanovas were hard pressed to keep courage and hope alive among the people. They built a crude hut for a church and called it San Pedro (sometimes referred to as St. Peter). Fr. Camps was no minimalist. He was a real spiritual leader and advisor for his community. He continuously catechized his people and preached every Sunday with special services during Lent. He was universally accepted even by the English who agreed to pay him $300.00 per year, although that did not occur on a regular basis. In 1774 Fr. Casanovas was deported by Turnbull for alleged insubordination to colony officials. Fr. Camps made repeated attempts to communicate with Minorca and Havana to secure another priest for his maltreated people, but English authorities blocked all attempts because many of the colonists in New Smyrna were unhappy and wanted to escape to Cuba. Hence, English officials under Turnbull’s command forbade communications with Havana.
Father Camps had been told by the Holy See in 1768 to make contact with the bishop of Havana in Cuba which was almost impossible because of the English. In October 1769 Camps talked two Cuban fishermen into taking a message to the bishop of Santiago, asking for Holy Oils and other necessities. Since this bishop knew of no Catholic colonies in Florida, he sent the message to Spain which eventually had to go to Rome for validation. This process took two years.
Fr. Camps was warned at one point for interfering in "temporal" affairs when he presented to the governor a memorial in which he stated the grievances of his poor maltreated people. Turnbull warned him to avoid temporal concerns or suffer the fate of deportation.
1777 the Minorcans determined that Turnbull would not grant them land for their indentured servitude, so two colonists made their way to the governor. Ramon Rogero, and Francisco Pellicer, Sr. undertook to build a makeshift boat so they could get to St. Augustine to report conditions to the governor. This was not the first time the Minorcans had begged the Governor to intercede on their behalf. Instead of reaching St. Augustine, the two men were picked up by a British ship sailing to Baltimore. From there they worked their way back down to St. Augustine on foot and horseback.
They reached St. Augustine and met with the governor, who showed great empathy for their plight. He sent soldiers to the colony and took numerous depositions (all a matter of recorded history) from a number of the colonists. Governor Patrick Tonyn issued orders releasing from their contracts all that had been mistreated or signed on under legal age which meant the virtual dissolution of the colony. Turnbull gave these half starved people four days to get out. Fransisco Pellicer, head carpenter of the settlement, led the Minorcans out of bondage to the city of St. Augustine, Florida. They marched on foot. The women, children, and aged walked in the center while the men, armed with stakes, took up the flanks. Three days later they were in St. Augustine.
After nine years of exploitation, deprivation and broken promises, Turnbull's colony failed and the entire group of Minorcans, Italians and Greeks walked the King's Highway to freedom in St. Augustine.
As a result, the governor permitted the colony to come to St. Augustine "en masse" which they did in July 1777. The total number of Minorcans (now a collective name for the diverse cultural group) that arrived in St. Augustine was a far cry from the number left Minorca nine years prior. There were 1403 that left Minorca in those eight ships and in the ensuing nine years 930 died. With new births in that same period, there were 600 who fled to St. Augustine in 1777.
Father Camps stayed behind with the sick. He was held a virtual prisoner there by Turnbull, he was refused his arrears in salary and the use of any sacred vessels because he refused to counsel his people to live and work in the bondage of New Smyrna. He was held in New Smyrna and was not released until November of 1777 even though the sick had already been sent to St. Augustine by ship. There he began a new parish, the only one in St. Augustine at the time, on the ground floor of a residence by the city gates and called it San Pedro.
He made the following entry in his Golden Book:
On the 9th day of November 1777, the church of San Pedro was translated from the settlement of Mosquito to the city of Saint Augustine, with the same colony of Mahonese Minorcans which was established in the said settlement, and the same parish priest and Missionary Apostolic, Dr. Dn. Pedro Camps. (Dr. Pedro Camps, Parish Priest.)
Fr. Camps was in ill health and had been sending messages to the Bishop of Havana for three years asking for help. Finally in December of 1778 the king sent two Irishmen, but war had broken out, and Florida was blockaded by the English. The first of the priests did not arrive until June of 1784 when the Spaniards once again took formal possession of the colony of Florida. Fr. Camps had petitioned to retire, but was keenly aware of the plight of his Minorcan speaking people among an English speaking clergy. He had been promised retirement in Mallorca as a canon of the Cathedral of Mallorca, but he refused to leave as long as there was no other priest who spoke the native language to replace him. Although two more priests who spoke Spanish were eventually sent, they did not understand the Minorcan dialect or culture, and the Minorcans were the bulk of the population at that time in Saint Augustine because the English left en masse after the Spanish took over. In 1787 the first free school, in what is now the United States, was opened for the Minorcan children.
The Saint Photios Greek Orthodox National Shrine is well within the Minorcan quarter of St. Augustine.
The Floridas turned down the invitation of the Continental Congress to join the emerging U.S., and returned to Spain. The Turnbulls left for life in South Carolina. New Smyrna had no population to speak of until its incorporation in 1887 with 150.
As for Greek "Orthodoxy" in St. Augustine:
Each year, pilgrims from across the land journey to this place of Greek- American beginnings, to the St. Photios National Shrine, in order to participate in the active witness of this important ministry of the Church. Like its patron Saint, the Shrine is called to be a steadfast beacon to the faithful, maintaining and perpetuating our Orthodox faith and Hellenic heritage, which we offer graciously to contemporary America. http://www.goarch.org/special/stphotios/index_html
This sacred and historic site is the only Greek Orthodox National Shrine in the country. It is primarily a religious institution and is located in America's oldest city, St. Augustine, Florida. The Shrine consists of an original building called the Avero House, a two-story structure built in 1749. It was here in this building that, with the demise of the New Smyrna Colony in 1777, the remaining colonists gathered and made this house (now the St. Photios National Shrine) their place for prayer and fellowship.The saga of the colonists of New Smyrna, Florida, is the story of a little-known link in the chain binding 18th century old-world immigrants to new-world settlers. The first Greek pilgrims who came to the United States came here looking for a better life for themselves and their descendants. Upon their arrival they did not have much in terms of material wealth but they did offer this land the most precious gift in the world: the Orthodox Faith!
Although many hopes and dreams had been shattered, the survivors of the New Smyrna odyssey eagerly met the challenge of starting a new life in St. Augustine. There, in St. Augustine, the few remaining Greeks gathered in a residence for solace, fellowship and worship. The English had given the Avero House on St. George Street, in St. Augustine, to be used as a place of fellowship and worship for the colonists.
The web site then jumps two centuries:
In 1965, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America learned from some of the Greeks living in St. Augustine then, that the residence on St. George Street, built originally in 1749 by the Spanish Avero family, was available. The Avero House was purchased by the Archdiocese...In 1969, Archbishop Iakovos announced that the Greek Orthodox National Shrine in America would bear the name of Saint Photios the Great...Like its patron saint – Saint Photios – the Shrine is called to be a steadfast beacon to the faithful, maintaining and perpetuating our Orthodox Faith and Hellenic Heritage; to project Orthodox Christianity through its programs and activities to all who pass through its historic doors; and to initiate the mission endeavor of love, of freedom, a better life, and to communicate the Gospel of Christ...It was dedicated to the memory of that first colony and to all Greek immigrants who came to these shores seeking a new world and a new life. The purpose of the Saint Photios Greek Orthodox National Shrine is to honor the memory of that first colony of Greeks, and thus honor all pioneers who later followed to establish the Church communities that now comprise our Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America...Greek Orthodox faithful are encouraged to make a pilgrimage to the National Shrine
Now, I don't have a problem with the St. Photios Shrine. I rather like the place and its conception. And I like the idea of the GOA owning where the first Greeks settled in the New World. But I can't deny that, if history holds any title, that it should belong to the "Greek Catholics."
As the lengthy quote shows, we have quite a bit of documentation of the colony and its aftermath: the registry of the Vatican's basilica, the depositions of the English governor, etc. One of the Greek to survive, Gaspar Papi
It is certain from his will and other documents that Gaspar was Greek and of the Roman Catholic faith from infancy.
"Gaspar Papi and Ana Pons:Their Lives and Descendants," by Latrell Pappy Mickler http://www.buybooksontheweb.com/peek.aspx?id=4678
Of Ana Pons:
Gaspar and the other future colonists from the Greek Isles, Corsica, and Italy were gathered at Turnbull’s base port of Mahon on the Isle of Minorca in the Mediterranean. Some of these reportedly lived aboard ship, while others lived in hastily made shacks in a “shantytown” near the port of Mahon while Turnbull gathered still others for his venture. While the men waited for their eventual departure, many fell in love with, and married Minorcan girls, who were said to be very beautiful. They also told the Minorcan people, who were suffering from a severe famine, of the wonderful opportunity for a new life promised by Dr. Turnbull. One of the families who decided to leave Minorca was that of newly married Juan Jose Magin Buenaventura Andreu and his wife Catalina Gertrudis Antonia Pons. Catalina was the daughter of Miguel Pons and Fransesquina Coll. Fransesquina was most likely deceased by then, because Juan and Catalina Pons Andreu brought her little sister, Ana Maria Eulalia Pons to the new world with them. Ana was about seven years old when they departed Minorca in the spring of 1768...Roman Catholic Records from Mercadal, Minorca record the marriage of Miguel and Francesquina on June 16, 1743...Ana’s baptismal record translated from Catalan states: Anne Marie Pons, 9 June 1761: I, the Reverend Sebastian Cardell, Pre[late], baptized Anna Maria Eulalia, daughter of Miguel Pons and Fransesquine Coll, married couple. Godparents: Diego Messenet and Anne Messenet, his wife. She was born on the 8th day at about 3 in the afternoon.). Ana Pons was destined to become the bride of Gaspar Papy.
Do we have a single record of an Orthodox Greek in the company? Many had submitted to the Vatican in Smyrna (including the family of the lady of the colony, who took their spiritual needs upon herself), Crete, Mani and Corsica (whether many from Many went): where did the Orthodox come from? How can we say
The first Orthodox parish in this country was established in the town of New Smyrna, Florida in 1768http://www.saintkatherine.org/orthodoxy.html#
when there is no documentation of any priest nor Orthodox service nor, for that matter, of Orthodox in all the documentation of New Smyrna?
Is it because they were Greek?
Has anything survived of the New Smyrneans' "Orthodoxy?" Did they cling to it as tenatiously as the Alaskans did?
The Chief Secretary can admire Fr. Camps diliegence in organizing his parish, catechizing his parisioners, and obeying his bishop (even under threat of expulsion by the English governor). But Fr. Camp answered to Old, not New, Rome. Did the Orthodox, if they existed, withstand the preaching of Fr. Camps? The massive intermarriage in Fr. Camps church, with the communicants of that church, if the Greeks were not already communicants of that church?
Does anyone know of any evidence that the Orthodox services, even a reader's service or even a Orthodox prayer ever happened in Avero House, until the GOA purchased it?
If not, then I expect the Chief Secretary, true to his words "that the Orthodox faithful in America became organized according to their national origin" is "not according to the canon law of the Orthodox Church," that "the principles of Orthodox ecclesiology....dictate that neither national origin, nor the history of a group’s appearance in a particular region...has the ultimate authority," and have GOA delete the reference to New Smyrna from their history.