Raphael of Brooklyn

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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
Venerated inEastern Orthodoxy
CanonizedMarch 2000 by Eastern Orthodox Church
Feast27 February

Raphael of Brooklyn (Arabic: قديس رافائيل من بروكلين‎), born Rufāʾīl Hawāwīnī (Raphael Hawaweeny;[1] Arabic: رفائيل هواويني‎; November 20, 1860 – February 27, 1915), was bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church, auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn, vicar of the Northern-American diocese, and head of the Antiochian Levantine Christian mission. He was the first Orthodox Christian bishop consecrated on American soil.[2]


He was born in Beirut, modern-day Lebanon, to Damascene Syrian parents of the Antiochian Orthodox faith who had come to Beirut fleeing a massacre of Christians in Damascus.[3] 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 Joseph of Damascus. He furthered his study of Christian theology at the Patriarchical Halki seminary in Constantinople, and at the Theological Academy in Kiev, Russian Empire (now Ukraine).

Archimandrite Raphael upon his arrival in America

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, Greek, and Levantine immigrants.

In 1904 he became the first Orthodox bishop to be consecrated in North America; the consecration was performed in New York City by Archbishop Tikhon (Bellavin) and Bishop Innocent (Pustynsky). He served as Bishop of Brooklyn until his death.

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

Father Raphael founded the official magazine of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese, The Word, in 1905 in Arabic (الكلمة).[4]

Glorification and honors[edit]

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.[5]

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.

In 2015, the Antiochian Archdiocese, OCA and ROCOR celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the dormition of Raphael.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Issa J. Boullata. The first one hundred years. p. 85.
  2. ^ a b "St. Raphael of Brooklyn + First Saturday in November - Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese". Retrieved May 5, 2016.
  3. ^ Newman, Andy (November 5, 2015). "A Centennial Celebration for Brooklyn's Only Saint". The New York Times. Retrieved November 6, 2015.
  4. ^ "The Word Magazine". antiochian.org. Retrieved November 9, 2015.
  5. ^ "Details of the Life of St. Raphael Hawaweeny". Retrieved May 5, 2016.

External links[edit]