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Colonel Philip Ludwell III was the earliest known Eastern Orthodox Christian in North America. He was the grandson of Philip Ludwell , and was a cousin of George Washington's wife Martha.

Colonel Philip Ludwell III (1716–1767) was the earliest known Eastern Orthodox Christian in North America. He was the grandson of Philip Ludwell (1637/38–c. 1716, Governor of the Province of Carolina 1691-94), and was a cousin of George Washington's wife Martha.

Ludwell was received into the Orthodox church on December 31, 1738 (Old style) in London, England. To allow this, a special dispensation had been granted by the church's Holy Synod in Russia. He was also given exceptional permission to continue to attend Anglican services in Virginia, it being recognised that "apart from the Province of Pennsylvania, all religions but Protestantism are banned."

In 1727 he inherited Green Spring Plantation, James City County, Virginia, from his father, Philip Ludwell II. He also inherited Rich Neck Plantation near Williamsburg and Chippokes, south of the James River, which is now a state park. His townhouse in Williamsburg still stands as a private residence within Colonial Williamsburg, known as the Ludwell-Paradise House: Ludwell's daughter Lucy inherited the house and her husband was John Paradise. Ludwell translated The Orthodox Confession of Peter Moghila, Metropolitan of Kiev, from Latin, and published this book in London in 1762. He also translated, from Greek, the three principal liturgies of the Eastern Orthodox Church: The Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, the Divine Liturgy of St Basil the Great, and The Divine and Holy Liturgy of St Gregory the Dialogist, which is used during Great Lent and is commonly called the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts today.

Ludwell travelled to London in 1760 with his three daughters, Hannah, Frances, and Lucy, and died in London in 1767. His life is celebrated by an annual panihida service in the Eastern American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.

He died in 1767 while resident in London. His funeral was served at the Russian Church in London on Monday, March 30, 1767. He was buried at Bow Church.

2013.03.10. Philip Ludwell III (1716-1767). The Forerunner of Orthodoxy in North America

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