St Raphael—then an archimandrite—arrived in New York City on November 14, 1895. He made quite a first impression, not only on his Syrian Orthodox flock, but on the New York media. On November 19, the following appeared in the New York Sun:
It was a pleasure to listen to the strains of the Arabic language, as sounded by the Archimandrite Raphael in the sermon which he delivered on Sunday last in the Orthodox Greek Church, for the edification of the Christian Arabians and Syrians here resident. What a majestic and refulgent language is the Arabic! How appropriate it is for spiritual exaltation, for holy rapture, for prayer! No wonder that the Moslem believes that it is the language spoken by Allah, the diction of Paradise, the speech of Adam and of the houria [sic].
We should like often to hear the Arabic of Archimandrite Raphael, now stationed for duty in New York.