Saint Raphael of Brooklyn

Brooklyn, History, People

Did You Know Brooklyn Has Its Own Saint?

By Dana Schulz, Fri, November 6, 2015

Neither did we. But the New York Times sheds some light on Raphael Hawaweeny, a Syrian (not Catholic or European) who helped bring the Eastern Orthodox Church to America, and who is being celebrated tonight and tomorrow to mark the 100th anniversary of his death.

In 1904, Saint Raphael of Brooklyn became the first Orthodox Christian bishop consecrated in North America, leading him to found the present-day Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese. The first of its 29 parishes was and is located in Boerum Hill–the Cathedral of St. Nicholas in Brooklyn–not far from what was then Little Syria. The Archdiocese describes him as “neither a wonder-worker nor a clairvoyant elder, St. Raphael embraced a life of total abandonment of self for the service of God and his fellow man: a life of true spiritual asceticism.”

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