Details of the Life of St. Raphael Hawaweeny


BISHOP RAPHAEL HAWAWEENY

Born: Beirut, Lebanon, ca. November 20, 1860, to Mikha`il and Maryam Hawaweeny; raised in the Bab Tuma Quarter of Damascus, Syria

Educated:

  • Patriarchal School, Damascus, Syria School of Orthodox Theology, Halki Island (1879-86)
  • Theological Academy, Kiev, Russia (1888-89)

Ordained:

  • Deacon, December 20, 1885, on Halki Island
  • Priest, June 16, 1889, in Kiev, Russia
  • Archimandrite, July 28, 1889, in Moscow, Russia
  • Bishop, February 29, 1904, in New York, by Abp. TIKHON and Bp. INNOCENT (Pustynskii), becoming the first Orthodox Christian hierarch consecrated in the New World.

Ministry:

  • Rector, Metochion of the Patriarchate of Antioch, Moscow, Russia (1889-92)
  • Extraordinary Instructor in the Arabic Language, Theological Academy, Kazan', Russia (1893-95)
  • Rector, St. Nicholas Church, Brooklyn, NY; simultaneously serving as Leader of the Syrian Orthodox Spiritual Mission in North America, traveling extensively in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, solidifying communities; serving as Censor of the Russian-language Russian Orthodox American Messenger (November 14, 1895-November 28, 1904)
  • Bishop of Brooklyn (1904-15), overseeing founding and development of twenty-nine parishes; simultaneously serving as Second Vicar of the Diocese of the Aleutian Islands and North America (1904-15); Administrator of the entire Diocese (1909)
  • Benefactor of St. Tikhon's Monastery, South Canaan, PA, and St. Platon's Theological Seminary, Tenafly, NJ
  • Vice-President, Anglican and Eastern Orthodox Churches Union (1910-12)

Writings:

  • al-Kalimat [The Word] (Edited: 1905-15)
  • An Historical view of the errors of the Papal Church (Arabic)
  • A Brief history of the Christian Church (Arabic)
  • A Refutation of the Proclamation of Pope Leo XIII (Arabic)
  • The Funeral service for children (translated into Arabic)
  • A Guide to the services of the Consecration and Dedication of a church (translated into Arabic)
  • The Kontakarion (translated into Arabic)
  • The Great Euchologion (translated into Arabic)
  • The Small Euchologion (translated into Arabic)

Died: Brooklyn, NY, February 27, 1915

Now buried: Antiochian Village, Ligonier, PA; his incorrupt relics having been translated from the Arab section of Mount Olivet Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY (which he founded) in July of 1989.

Summary: Born in Beirut, Lebanon, and educated in Damascus Syria, Halki, Turkey, and Kiev, Russia, Raphael Hawaweeny found himself virtually exiled in Kazan, Russia, making himself of use on the faculty of the Anti-Muslim Missionary School, when he was summoned to the New World by the Syrian Orthodox Benevolent Committee in New York City. Immigrating in 1895 and serving under the aegis of the Russian Orthodox Mission -- then the only established Orthodox hierarchy -- he was technically pastor of St. Nicholas Church (later Cathedral) in Brooklyn, NY, but was, in fact, the roving pastor of several dozen tiny, isolated communities spread thinly across the continent. As a priest he crossed the continent repeatedly in the course of nine years, and did so several more after being consecrated Bishop of Brooklyn -- the first such Orthodox consecration in North America -- in 1905. He established a journal, al-Kalimat, to spread "the Word" to places he could not himself be, and worked diligently at translating Greek liturgical books into Arabic. These he distributed at his own expense to communities throughout the Middle East and to émigrés in the Americas, Africa, and Australasia, greatly helped preserve Orthodox Christianity in those regions.

Bibliography:

  1. Garrett, Paul D., "The Life and Legacy of Bishop Raphael Hawaweeny," The First One Hundred Years (Englewood, NJ : Antakya Press, 1995).
  2. __________., "Envoy from Antioch: the life and ministry of Bishop Raphael Hawaweeny," Again (16.4), 6-9.
  3. __________., "Pascha, 1901," Word (28.4), 15-16.
  4. Issa, André, "The Life of the thrice blessed: Bishop Raphael Hawaweeny," Word 39.2 (Feb. 1995), 5-7; 39.3 (Mar. 1995), 9-11; 39.4 (Apr. 1995), 5-7 ("Bishop Raphael and Orthodox/Episcopal Relations"); 39.5 (May 1995), 9-11.