1896-01-26 - NY Press illustration of interior of NY Syrian chapel

St Raphael’s Original New York Chapel

St Raphael Hawaweeny arrived in New York City in 1895, and he immediately established a chapel for his growing community of Arab Orthodox Christians. The chapel was located at 77 Washington Street in Manhattan, right next to the Syrian Maronites’ own chapel. The Orthodox chapel, called St Nicholas, was a very modest affair, a low-ceilinged,…

Bishop Raphael Hawaweeny, 1905 (Wilson's Photographic Magazine)

A Timeline of the Life of St Raphael

A Brief Timeline of the Life of St Raphael Hawaweeny 1860 – Born in Beirut in November (family returned to Damascus the next year) 1874 – Tonsured reader 1877 – Worked as a middle school and 5th grade teacher (1877-79) 1879 – Tonsured a monk; appointed assistant to Patriarch of Antioch – Entered theological school at…

We Must Have A Bishop

The following editorial appeared in the Saloniki-Greek Press (a Greek-American newspaper) on Feb. 28, 1914. At the time, there was no Greek bishop in America. Until 1908, the Greek parishes were loosely tied to either the Ecumenical Patriarchate or the Church of Greece, but in 1908, the Ecumenical Patriarchate issued a Tomos transferring its jurisdiction in…

Chicago Greeks oppose choral music in 1908

Several years ago, I began writing about the “Americanization” of Orthodoxy — things like pews, organs, mixed choirs, the cassocks vs. collars debate, clean shaven priests, etc. (Click here to read my article on organs in Greek churches.) Recently, I found a great historical source — an open letter from a group of Chicago Greeks…

Fr Philip Abo-Assaley cropped

Fr. Philip Abo-Assaley of Grand Rapids

Fr. Philipous (or Philip) Abo-Assaley was an early Antiochian priest who served under St. Raphael and, later, Bishop Aftimios Ofiesh. He founded St. George Orthodox Church in Grand Rapids, Mich. and served as its pastor for many years. Recently, I stumbled onto this very nice little biography of Fr. Philip from the 1918 book Grand…