Raphael of Brooklyn

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Saint Raphael of Brooklyn
Bishop of Brooklyn
Born (1860-11-20)November 20, 1860
Beirut, Ottoman Syria
Died February 27, 1915(1915-02-27) (aged 54)
Brooklyn, New York City
Canonized March 2000 by Orthodox Church in America
Feast February 27

Saint Raphael of Brooklyn (November 20, 1860 – February 27, 1915), also known as Father Raphael, was born as Raphael Hawaweeny (Arabic: رفائيل هواويني‎) in Beirut, modern-day Lebanon, to Damascene Syrian parents of the Greek Orthodox faith. He was first educated at the Damascus Patriarchal School that had become the leading Greek Orthodox institution of higher learning in the Levant under the leadership of Saint Joseph of Damascus. He furthered his study of Christian theology at the Patriarchical Halki seminary in Turkey, and at the Theological Academy in Kiev, Russian Empire (now Ukraine).

Father Raphael was sent to New York City in 1895 by Tsar Nicholas II of Russia to administer the local Orthodox Christian community which then included mainly Russian and Levantine immigrants. In 1904 he became the first Orthodox bishop to be consecrated in North America; the consecration was performed by Archbishop (Saint) Tikhon of Moscow and Bishop Innocent in New York City. He served as Bishop of Brooklyn until his death.

Archimandrite Raphael upon his arrival in America

During the course of his ministry as an auxiliary bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church in America, St. Raphael founded the present-day cathedral of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America, established twenty-nine parishes and assisted in the founding of St. Tikhon's Orthodox Monastery.

Saint Raphael was originally buried in New York until August 1989 when his relics were translated to the Antiochian Village Camp in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, on property of the Antiochian Archdiocese along with several other bishops and clergy.[1]

Bishop Raphael was glorified by the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) in its March 2000 session. He is commemorated by the OCA on February 27, the anniversary of his death and by the Antiochian Orthodox Church on the first Saturday of November.


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