The Feast Day of St. Raphael
Tomorrow, the first Saturday in November, is one of St. Raphael’s two feast days. The other, February 27, is the OCA’s feast day for him, and takes place on the day of his death. This November feast is celebrated in the Antiochian Archdiocese, and takes place on roughly the day of his birth (November 8). This was done because February 27 often falls during Great Lent. So, one saint, two feast days.
The icon above is the first one ever painted of St. Raphael, and as you can see, it refers to him as “Bishop Raphael,” and it lacks a nimbus. This is because it was actually painted prior to his glorification in 2000. Since then, the icon has been adjusted; it now does say “Saint” instead of “Bishop,” and a nimbus has been added. It’s interesting, though; the nimbus is smaller than normal, because there wasn’t enough room on the icon for a “full-sized” nimbus.
Here at OrthodoxHistory.org, we’ve probably written more about St. Raphael than we have about any other saint. Click here for a collection of our articles that deal, in one way or another, with St. Raphael. In particular, check out this article on his consecration to the episcopate, this one on the stability of the Syrian Mission under his care, and this one on the widespread use of English in his parishes.
I’ll leave you with these words on St. Raphael, written after his death by the Episcopal priest T.J. Lacey in the book Neighbors:
Bishop Raphael was a master-builder. He laid strong enduring foundations, gathering a large constituency and acquiring valuable property for the congregation. He was a man of wide education and keen intelligence, a master of many languages. He possessed rare gifts of administration, and was unselfishly devoted to the spiritual and material welfare of his people. His death, in 1915, deprived the Syrian Church of a strong leader.