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…

St. Raphael Hawaweeny

The Battle of Pacific Street, Part 3: Gunshots

As we’ve been discussing in detail, in September 1905, New York’s Syrian community was on the brink of war. On one side were the Orthodox, who rallied around their bishop, St. Raphael Hawaweeny. The saint himself opposed violence — both violent acts and violent words — but his attempts to intervene only exacerbated the problem.…

"The Syrian Colony, Washington Street," by W. Bengough

The Battle of Pacific Street, Part 2: Eve of the Battle

In our last article, we left the two New York Syrian camps — Orthodox and Maronite — on the brink of war. Each side’s partisan newspaper attacked the other, and the Maronites took particular aim at St. Raphael, the Orthodox bishop of Brooklyn, accusing him of all sorts of outlandish offenses. Various parties received anonymous…