Philip Ludwell III is the first known convert to Eastern Orthodox Christianity in the Americas. He was a prominent figure in colonial Virginia and a relative by blood or marriage of many great early figures in American history from George and Martha Washington to Richard Henry Lee of the Lee family of Virginia. The scion of one of the largest landholding and politically prominent families in early Virginia, he was born at Green Spring near Williamsburg on December 28, 1716, making him a contemporary of Benjamin Franklin, with whom he shared a friendship.
A closer look at the life and times of Philip Ludwell III in the eighteenth century reveals a world that was more interconnected than we are commonly led to believe. For instance, archival records of the Russian Orthodox Church reveal that Ludwell was received into the Orthodox Faith in London in 1738. The priest who received him was a half-French, Alexandrian Greek whose wife was one of the first recorded English converts to Orthodoxy. Ludwell’s future son-in-law John Paradise was himself a polyglot Anglo-Greek educated in Italy who was one of the first naturalized American citizens and a friend of Thomas Jefferson.
This timeline infographic helps connect selected events from four timelines: Ludwell’s own life and the histories of America, Europe, and the Orthodox world. Feel free to share this infographic or post it on your own website or blog.
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Associates of Colonel Philip Ludwell III