In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
To the beloved clergy, monastics, and faithful flock of the Orthodox Church in America.
Grace, mercy and peace be unto you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit. Amen.
At its March 27-30, 2000 session, the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America, after reviewing the recommendation of the Canonization Commission, has unanimously agreed to number the ever-memorable Bishop RAPHAEL (Hawaweeny) among the saints for veneration by the faithful.
Bishop RAPHAEL was born in Beirut in 1860 to parents of Syrian background. He was ordained to the diaconate at the Halki Theological School in 1885, and to the holy priesthood at the Kiev Theological Academy in 1889. His education and his travels in foreign countries gave him the opportunity to learn several languages. This prepared him for his missionary labors in America, ministering to people of diverse national origins. In 1904, after nine years of priestly ministry in North America, he was elected to the episcopate. It is noteworthy that his was the first consecration of an Orthodox bishop to take place in North America.
Bishop RAPHAEL obviously had the confidence of his superiors, for they demonstrated it by entrusting him with greater and greater responsibilities. More importantly, he was a man of prayer and a seeker after holiness. He produced an Arabic language Prayer Book for use in his parishes. This was of great benefit to the clergy in performing the divine services of the Church, and to the laity in their daily prayers. He established thirty parishes and staffed them with priests, and he was among the first to encourage the use of English in Church services. He was the author of several books, and he founded The Word magazine to provide encouragement and instruction for his widely scattered flock. Most of the articles were written by Bishop Raphael himself.
Although of Arabic ancestry, Bishop RAPHAEL lived in several places among Greeks, Russians, and Americans of diverse backgrounds. While in America, he was a vicar bishop in the Orthodox Diocese, assisting St Tikhon and his successors in their visionary multi-ethnic organization of the North American Church. As his greatest labors took place in America and bore fruit here, it is fitting that the Orthodox Church in America should glorify Bishop RAPHAEL. His veneration has greatly increased in recent years, especially among the Arab Orthodox Christians in North America.
Therefore, with one mind and one heart we resolve:
We summon the faithful to remember him at Memorial Services or Litanies for the Departed (when appropriate) until the time of his glorification.
It is our heartfelt prayer that his glorification will further the cause of Orthodox unity in North America, and strengthen the existing bonds of love and cooperation among all the Orthodox on this continent.
Through the prayers of His newly-glorified saint, may the Lord grant His mercy and blessing to all who seek his heavenly intercession with faith and love. Amen.
Holy Hierarch Raphael, Faithful Laborer in The Lord's Vineyard,
Pray Unto God For Us!
PROCLAMATION OF THE GLORIFICATION OF THE HOLY HIERARCH RAPHAEL.
The Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America.
+ THEODOSIUS, Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan of All America and Canada, Chairman
+ KYRILL, Archbishop of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania
+ PETER, Archbishop of New York and New Jersey
+ DMITRI, Archbishop of Dallas and the South
+ HERMAN, Archbishop of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania
+ NATHANIEL, Archbishop of Detroit and the Romanian Episcopate
+ JOB, Bishop of Chicago and the Midwest
+ TIKHON, Bishop of San Francisco and the West
+ SERAPHIM, Bishop of Ottawa and Canada
+ INNOCENT, Bishop of Anchorage
Witnessed by His Grace, Bishop ANTOUN of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
March 29, 2000
Oyster Bay Cove, New York