Metropolitan Jonah to offer this year’s Bishop Basil Rodzianko Memorial Lenten Retreat


His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah, former Archbishop of Washington and Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, will offer the annual Bishop Basil Rodzianko Memorial Lenten Retreat this coming Saturday, March 22 following memorial Matins and Liturgy at Washington, DC’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St John the Baptist. Matins will begin at 7:40am, with Liturgy following at approximately 9:00. A luncheon will follow the divine services, with two discussions led by His Beatitude afterward. The theme will be “Be transformed in the renewal of your mind” (the Greek word “nous” which is usually translated as “mind” has a far more complex meaning, which Met. Jonah will discuss). All are welcome to attend! The Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St John the Baptist (ROCOR) was established in 1949 with the blessing of our venerable Father among the Saints, St. John Maximovitch (1896-1966), Archbishop of Shanghai and San Francisco.

April 13: Third Annual Bishop Basil Rodzianko Memorial Retreat


Dear Friends,

I hope you have all enjoyed a blessed and contemplative start to your Lenten journeys!

I want to encourage all of you who are able to attend the Saturday, April 13 memorial Lenten retreat at St John the Baptist Russian Orthodox Cathedral here in Washington, D.C. in honor of the late and venerable Bishop Basil (Rodzianko). The Holy Archangels Orthodox Foundation of Washington, D.C. will sponsor this special event.

For those of you who may not have heard of this remarkable man, Bishop Basil was an Orthodox luminary of the last century whose extensive writings, radio broadcasts and travels contributed to the revitalization of Orthodoxy both in the last years of the Soviet Union and then following the collapse of communist regimes throughout Eastern Europe. Bishop Basil was my godmother’s spiritual father, and so I have been greatly blessed to hear many wonderful stories and anecdotes from her about his extraordinary life.

His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah, former Primate of the Orthodox Church in America and Archbishop of Washington, will offer a talk centered around the Orthodox spiritual life titled “Let us take refuge in the Lord”. 

All are welcome to join us for the morning services before the talk. Matins begins at 7:40am followed by the Divine Liturgy at 9:00am. Lunch will be served at 11:00am, and the talk will commence at 12:30pm.

Interested clergy, students, professionals, Russian scholars, and Orthodox inquirers are encouraged to attend!

 If you would like to read more about Bishop Basil’s life and legacy, I would direct you to the following links:

1) The main website dedicated to Bishop Basil’s memory.
2) The chapter “His Eminence the Novice” by Archimandrite Tikhon (Shevkunov) in the abbot’s bestselling book Everyday Saints.
3) In all humility, two brief articles which I wrote about him, which may be found here and here.

Here is the link to a Facebook event which I have created to spread the word about the retreat. For those who cannot access the embedded link, here it is unembedded:

I hope you will attend what promises to be a wonderful Lenten retreat dedicated to the memory of a venerable hierarch in our times!

Yours in Christ,


Col. Philip Ludwell III: The Forerunner of Orthodoxy in North America


In this video (posted to the YouTube page maintained by the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St John the Baptist), Mr Nicholas Chapman, a renowned British historian and editor at Holy Trinity Seminary Publications in Jordanville, NY, offers fascinating insights into the life and legacy of one of the first known converts to Orthodoxy in colonial Virginia.

Colonel Philip Ludwell III was the grandson of the first royal governor of the proprietary colony of North Carolina. Most of his family were nominally Anglican, as was expected of established Virginia gentry during the period, but some were Non-Juror Jacobites who refused to recognize the regime change of the 1688 Protestant Glorious Revolution which saw the Catholic Stuart James II abandoned in favor of his Protestant son-in-law and daughter, respectively, William of Orange and Mary II. Ludwell became Orthodox in 1738 as a young man while in London, where the Russian Orthodox church there, frequently attacked by local Protestants, attracted a considerable number of native English converts amid a mostly Alexandrian Greek congregation. Returning to his home country of Virginia, Ludwell would become a luminary in the pre-revolutionary colonies. He was the wealthiest man in Virginia, which was the wealthiest of the North American colonies, but had he made his conversion public, he could have faced capital punishment, as the Church of England (Anglicanism) was the established faith in colonial Virginia and any religion outside Protestantism was illegal. As one of the King’s ministers, his conversion was technically treason.

Col. Ludwell commissioned the young George Washington into the colonial militia, served in the Williamsburg House of Burgesses, endowed what would become the University of Pennsylvania, and alongside his close friend Benjamin Franklin established a school to educate blacks in Williamsburg. He died after a long illness in London in 1767 having translated many Orthodox liturgical and doctrinal writings into English, including the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom and the Catechism of the venerable Peter Mogila (1596-1646), Metropolitan of Kiev. Following his wife’s untimely death, he eventually brought his three daughters with him to London, where they too were received into Orthodoxy of their own volition. One of his daughters would become a friend to President Thomas Jefferson, while Confederate General Robert E. Lee was also a descendant.

Mr Chapman’s lecture, given Sunday, March 10 at the Cathedral following the English Liturgy, is titled “The Righteous Shall be in Everlasting Remembrance: Further reflections on Colonel Philip Ludwell III, the forerunner of Orthodoxy in North America”. In his lecture, Mr Chapman expanded upon this article which he published through the Society for Orthodox Christian History in the Americas (SOCHA), to which he is an active contributor.