Holy Archangels Orthodox Church Visits SGGL

Father Robert Visits SGGLBelow is a reposting of an article from SGGL Blog about Fr. Robert’s, Brian Merriweather and Michael Janikis’ visit and outreach to the Banneker-Douglas Museum in Annapolis.

On Wednesday, August 8th, the Sylvia Gaither Garrison Library hosted two exciting guests from Holy Archangels Orthodox Church in Annapolis, Maryland: Father (Fr.) Robert Miclean, godfather of our SGGL intern Michael Janakis, and Brian Merriweather. Brian Merriweather is an African American convert to Eastern Orthodox Christianity.
Fr. Robert and Brian came to vist Michael at the Banneker-Douglass Museum. Michael has been sharing his experiences here at the SGGL with his church family, and was very excited to show his godfather and friend the work he has been doing. In addition, Michael and our guests from Holy Archangels have been very excited to share with the staff of the Banneker-Douglass Museum the ancient African roots of Christianity, of which most people here in America
are unaware.
Michael showed Fr. Robert and Brian the photographs he has been working to preserve, and parts of the research he has been doing for his presentation which he gave to the Banneker Douglass Museum Foundation on August 11th. Michael then gave a brief tour of the museum to his church family. Fr. Robert and Brian both enjoyed the museum very much, with both Fr. Robert and Brian expressing their desire to return with their respective families. Fr. Robert’s wife, and Michael’s godmother, Matushka (Russian for “mama”) Krissy, is about to give birth to their first son, James, so her visit will have to wait a while!
After the tour, Michael showed Fr. Robert, Brian, and Dr. Joni Jones some pictures of an Eastern Orthodox icon corner, which we had in the BDM photo archives. In the eastern corner of every Orthodox Christian home, there is an icon corner, where icons of Christ and the saints, and holy items, are placed. This is where Orthodox Christians pray in their homes. Dr. Joni Jones was able to identify that the photographs were from the house across the street from Mr. Moriah.

Our guests from Holy Archangels and Michael were able to share some African Christian history with Dr. Jones and Lynn, including stories of African saints such as St. Moses the Black, St. Anthony the Great, St. Mary of Egypt, and St. George of Damascus. Africa was the birthplace of Christian monasticism. There have always been Orthodox Christians in Africa, long before Islam and the “return” of Christianity by the Jesuits and American missionaries. Some of the native Christians are the Coptic Orthodox Church (the Copts are the native Egyptians), the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church (Tewahedo means “being made one”, referring to the unified wills, human and divine, of Christ), the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, and the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria, which has Orthodox churches all over Africa. Our guests from Holy Archangels were also able to inform the staff about the Brotherhood of St. Moses the Black (BSMB), an Orthodox organization headed by African American priest Fr. Moses Berry, which is dedicated to spreading knowledge of the African roots of Christianity to Americans. Fr. Moses Berry hosts the BSMB Annual Ancient Christianity and Afro-American Conference in Ligonier, PA. Fr. Robert and his parishoners extended their open invitation to anyone interested in learning more about ancient African Christianity to come visit Holy Archangels Orthodox Church, stay for a service, and enjoy some food and hospitality.

We would like to thank Fr. Robert and Brian, and everyone at Holy Archangels Orthodox Church for visiting us and sharing pieces of precious history with us.
Brotherhood of St. Moses the Black website