An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

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Onderdonk, Henry Ustick

(Mar. 16, 1789-Dec. 6, 1858). Controversial Bishop of Pennsylvania. He was born in New York City. Onderdonk graduated from Columbia College in 1805, and then studied medicine in London and Edinburgh. He received his M.D. from the University of Edinburgh. After a few years of medical practice, he studied theology under Bishop John Henry Hobart of New York. Onderdonk was ordained deacon on Dec. 8, 1815, and priest on Apr. 11, 1816. He began his ministry as a missionary in Canandaigua, New York. In 1820 he became rector of St. Anne's Church, Brooklyn. On Oct. 25, 1827, he was consecrated Assistant Bishop of Pennsylvania. He became the second Bishop of Pennsylvania on July 17, 1836. The House of Bishops suspended him from office on Oct. 21, 1844, because of his abuse of alcohol. On Oct. 21, 1865, the House of Bishops lifted his suspension. He never resumed his jurisdiction. Onderdonk was friendly to the Oxford Movement, and the handling of his case reflected the partisan bitterness that divided evangelical and high church Episcopalians at the time. Onderdonk was a poet, and The Hymnal 1982 includes his hymn text, "How wondrous and great thy works, God of praise" (Hymns 532-533). Onderdonk died in Philadelphia. Benjamin Tredwell Onderdonk was his brother.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.