St. Raphael’s consecration: a newly-discovered photo

Photo of St. Raphael's consecration, from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle (3/14/1904)

St. Raphael was consecrated Bishop of Brooklyn on March 13, 1904. I wrote about this event in July, and my article was accompanied by a small photo of Raphael — the only known surviving photograph of his consecration. That is, until now. 

Last month, I stumbled upon an issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle from March 14, the day after the consecration. It included the above image. The small photo I posted in July appears to be just a cropped version of this larger original.

In its March 14 report on the event, the New York Sun wrote, 

… The candidate was led by Bishop Tikhon and Bishop Innocent to the holy gate. Here he was gowned in the vestments of his rank and crowned with the golden crown of the bishopric. These vestments and the crown were the personal gift of the Czar. 

At this point the photograph fiend, who apparently respects religion no more than any other material for a subject, startled the congregation and the clergy by exploding a flashlight cartridge. The building was soon filled with smoke, making the rest of the ceremony very indistinct for some time. 

I don’t think this Daily Eagle photo is the same as the image that resulted from the “photograph fiend’s” flash. That disruptive photo (for lack of a better designation) was taken during the ceremony. The Daily Eagle shot, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to include St. Tikhon, who (as the main consecrator) presumably would have been right next to Raphael when the disruptive photo was taken. In the Daily Eagle photo, we see that Raphael is standing with his back to the iconostasis, surrounded by a throng of people. I could be wrong, but it sure looks to me like the photo was taken after the consecration, when everyone was coming up to receive a blessing from the new bishop.

Whatever the case, in an era of mostly posed photographs, this is a rare action shot from a truly historic event.

UPDATE: In the comments, Fr. Andrew Damick pointed out that the mustachioed priest standing behind St. Raphael is none other than St. Alexander Hotovitzky, dean of the Russian cathedral.

2 Replies to “St. Raphael’s consecration: a newly-discovered photo”

  1. St. Raphael is definitely in his episcopal garb, staff and all.

    There’s also a nice, clear image of St. Alexander Hotovitsky right behind him.

  2. You’re right — I forgot to mention St. Alexander. I’ll update the entry to point that out.

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