Saint Raphael, An Apostle to America

An Icon of Saint Raphael Hawaweeny of Brooklyn, Apostle to the Lost Sheep in America, in the Chapel of Saints Peter and Paul, Antiochian Village
An Icon of Saint Raphael Hawaweeny of Brooklyn, Apostle to the Lost Sheep in America, in the Chapel of Saints Peter and Paul, Antiochian Village

Hi, all!

The tomb of Saint Raphael of Brooklyn is on the grounds of Antiochian Village – I was struck by the humble resting-place of this great Apostle to America, and am wanting to learn more about his way of apostolic ministry. Maybe we could ask his prayers in all of our pondering, seeking, and decision-taking. (I’ve attached the text of a service in his honor to this message; I picked up a sung version on CD at the ‘Village’ bookstore). Maybe we could pray together a portion of this service at some point and ask this holy missionary – son of The Church of Antioch, sent from Russia, Pastor of the Lost Sheep in America – to intercede for us at this juncture, and in all the paths our small church takes. Saints Peter and Paul, of course, are doubtless also interceding for us all the time!

– r.c.

Read more about the life of Saint Raphael:

The Canon in Honor of Saint Raphael

The Canon of the Saint in the sixth (plagal of the second) tone and the katavasiai in the fourth tone.

Ode 1: The Heirmos

Crossing the deep on foot as if it were dry land, the people of Israel saw Pharaoh their pursuer drowning in the waves, and they cried aloud: Let us sing a song of victory to God.


O holy hierarch Father Raphael, pray unto God for us.

Numbered with the highest choirs, as a holy hierarch, and a servant of God standing now before him, do thou fervently pray for us, that we may obtain good things through thine intercessions.

Having been chosen by the Lord to the service of the holy gospel, O blessed hierarch Raphael, with thine instructions thou hast brought up thy people in wisdom.

Enriched with God’s understanding, the living word didst flow from thy heart and thou didst give it to drink unto the souls frozen by passions, O most wise hierarch, God-blessed Raphael.

Glory and Both now and the theotokion.

The sacred choir of the prophets hath, from afar, shown thee, O pure one, as one that was to become the Mother of God, higher than the cherubim and all created things.

And in the fourth tone.

I shall open my mouth and it will be filled with the Spirit, and I shall speak forth to the Queen and Mother. I shall be seen joyfully singing her praises, and I shall delight to sing of her wonders.

Ode 3: The Heirmos

O Lord my God, there is none holy as thou, who in thy love hast raised up the horn of thy faithful and established them upon the rock of thy true faith.


O holy hierarch Father Raphael, pray unto God for us.

Shedding the divine sweetness from thy lips, O holy father, thou hast dried up the drops of bitter godlessness by giving the holy drink of God’s enlightenment.

Having been forechosen by God, thou didst appear as a holy hierarch offering the bloodless sacrifice unto God who offered himself for our sake.

The place wherein lie thy precious relics, doth shed perfume as God’s paradise, filling the faithful with sweet incense, O most glorious and all-honored Father Raphael.

Glory and Both now and the theotokion.

O pure one, to understand the unspeakable depths of thy birthgiving the mind of man is incapable. For God having humbled himself in his compassion hath utterly renewed me in thy womb.

And in the fourth tone.

As a living and copious fountain, O Theotokos, do thou establish those who hymn thy praises, and are joined together in spiritual fellowship for thy service; and in thy divine glory make them worthy of crowns of glory.

The Mesodion Kathisma in the eighth tone.

With thy tears thou didst water the seeds of virtue which the Lord planted in thy soul, nurturing them with thy holy labors until thou didst reap the fruits of the Spirit. Bearing thine own afflictions with patience and joy, thou wast a compassionate shepherd to thy flock, bringing peace to those who had been at enmity. Now, O holy Father Raphael, thou hast inherited the kingdom of heaven.

Glory and Both now and the theotokion in the same tone.

Mysteriously conceiving in thy womb the Wisdom and Word of God, O Theotokos, thou hast brought forth into the world him who upholds the universe in his hands. Thou didst nourish at thy breast the One who sustains and nourishes all, the very Creator of all things created. Therefore I entreat thee, O all-holy Virgin, that I may be delivered from my offenses when I come to stand in the presence of my Fashioner. O pure Lady, who art praised by all and who canst do whatsoever thou willeth, together with the holy hierarch Raphael, do thou come unto mine aid at that hour.

Ode 4: The Heirmos

‘Christ is my strength, my God and Lord,’ with reverence sings the Holy Church, raising her voice in purity and keeping feast in the Lord.


O holy hierarch Father Raphael, pray unto God for us.

Filled with the Holy Spirit, O holy hierarch Raphael, thou hast driven away the evil spirits from men, wisely instructing thy flock.

Thou didst proclaim God the uncreated Unity and indivisible Trinity, not separated or co-mingled, enlightening the faithful with sacred theology.

Having first put to death the passions of the flesh by thy arduous toil and fasting, thou hast appeared as a holy hierarch and all-sacred intercessor before the Trinity.

Glory and Both now and the theotokion.

The ancestor’s curse hath been done away with by thee, O Mother of God; for thou, O most pure one, hast brought forth unto us the Source of holiness— the ever-abiding Light.

And in the fourth tone.

When the Prophet Habakkuk, O thou Most High, learned of the divine and untraceable counsel of thy pure incarnation from the womb of the blessed Virgin, he cried out: ‘Glory to thy power, O Lord my God.’

Ode 5: The Heirmos

I entreat thee, gracious Lord, with thy divine light shine upon the souls of those who with love seek thee early in the morning. May they know thee, Word of God, as God in very truth, who recallest them from the gloomy darkness of transgression.


O holy hierarch Father Raphael, pray unto God for us.

Thou wast blameless in thy ministry, in purity of soul performing the holy Mysteries, serving God as a holy hierarch.

Through thy holy instructions, those who followed after the false gods of this world returned to worship the living and true God, and in recalling them thou hast become a worthy servant of God Almighty.

Receiving the call of grace, thou didst abolish the lawlessness of idol worship by the downpour of thy words, O holy one, making the barren hearts fruitful by the grace of God.

Glory and Both now and the theotokion.

After thy strange birthgiving, thou hast remained Virgin as before, for it was God who was born of thee, who doeth all things as he wills, O groomless Mary, the Bride of God.

And in the fourth tone.

All creation was amazed at thy divine glory, for thou, O unwedded Virgin, didst hold in thy womb the God of all, and didst bear the eternal Son, who rewards with salvation all those who hymn thy praises.

Ode 6: The Heirmos

When I behold the swelling sea of life and the tempest of temptation, I run to thy calm haven and I cry to thee: Bring up my life from corruption, O Most Merciful.


O holy hierarch Father Raphael, pray unto God for us.

Thy tongue was sharpened as a pen by the Spirit, and inspired by God thou hast written, as with a copyist’s quill, words of grace in the hearts of the faithful, O holy hierarch.

Learning the things divine, and entering spiritually into the holy of holies, O holy Father, thou didst perfect in spirit the faithful by the light of the Trinity, thyself being made perfect, O Raphael.

With the streams of thine admonitions thou didst stop the influx of wicked heresy, as a peaceful river, watering the flocks of the faithful with piety, O all-honored hierarch.

Glory and Both now and the theotokion.

O Most Holy Theotokos, the Word came to dwell in thy virginal womb, and there appeared as a perfect man, ineffably renewing as God the race of man.

And in the fourth tone.

Come, ye Godly-minded, who celebrate the divine and all-honorable feast of the Mother of God: Let us clap our hands together and glorify the God whom she bore.

The Kontakion in the third tone.

(To the melody On this day the Virgin)

Today the memory of blessed Raphael has shone on us; for having received Christ’s call he faithfully took up his cross and followed him, becoming a fisher of men. Let us cry aloud to him, saying: ‘Rejoice, O Father Raphael!’

The Oikos.

Through laziness I have fallen away and I sleep unto death, but good shepherd, raise me up and calm the passions that wickedly torment me, O blessed one, that I may rise and hymn thy bright festival; for the Master of the universe has glorified this festival of his faithful servant and wise teacher, the friend and preserver and servant of his traditions which thou didst maintain. O pure unction, ceaselessly intercede for us who cry aloud to thee, saying: ‘Rejoice, O Father Raphael!’

The Synaxarion.

On this day we commemorate our father among the Saints, Raphael (Hawaweeny) the Bishop of Brooklyn, “good shepherd of the lost sheep in America.”

O holy hierarch Father Raphael, the first to be consecrated to apostolic ministry in the New World, lift up thy hands and bless thy people, consecrating us, thine inheritance, who consecrate this day to thee.

Through his prayers, O Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.

Ode 7: The Heirmos

An angel made the furnace moist with dew for the holy Children, but the Chaldeans were consumed in flames by God’s command, so that the tyrant cried aloud: O God of our fathers, blessed art thou.


O holy hierarch Father Raphael, pray unto God for us.

Illumined by the grace of the Spirit to the understanding of the divine commandments, thou hast become a light-giving star enlightening those who sing: O God of our fathers, blessed art thou.

Shining with virtues, O holy one, the Uncreated Trinity took up his abode in thee, and so thou didst sing: O God of our fathers, blessed art thou.

Thou didst give no sleep to thine eyes, receiving the divine light from the Angel of Light, Who hath made thee a pillar and support of the faithful, a true father and shepherd.

Glory and Both now and the theotokion.

O most pure Maiden, the Uncircumscribed who dwelleth eternally in the bosom of the Father didst come to dwell in thy womb, bearing thine image, for he came to save the race of Adam.

And in the fourth tone.

The godly-minded children worshipped not the creature rather than the Creator, but trampling upon the threat of fire in manly fashion, they rejoiced and sang: ‘O all-praised Lord and God of our fathers, blessed art thou.’

Ode 8: The Heirmos

Thou hast made dew fall from the flames upon the holy Children, and thou hast burnt up with water the sacrifice of thy righteous servant. For thou, O Christ, dost accomplish all things by thy will alone, and we magnify thee unto all ages.


O holy hierarch Father Raphael, pray unto God for us.

The proud serpent hast thou, O blessed one, brought low with thy humility, being raised up towards God by thy purity; wherefore we honor thee, and magnify Christ unto all ages.

The Incarnate Word hast thou preached and saved the people from bondage to deception, driving away the wickedness of false worship, O blessed Raphael, most wise and God-bearing.


Let us bless Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the Lord.

Conforming thy life unto that of the Master, and likewise ordering thy speech, thou didst fulfill thine earthly life and enter the realms of the blessed in heaven.

Both now and the theotokion.

Thy birthgiving hath freed us from the ancient curse, O most-blessed, grace-filled Maiden, and we send up unto thee the greeting of Gabriel: Rejoice, O cause of the salvation of all.


We praise, bless and worship the Lord.

And in the fourth tone.

The three Holy Children in the furnace the Child of the Theotokos saved. Then was the type, now is its fulfillment , and the whole world gathers to sing: ‘All ye works, praise the Lord, and magnify him unto all ages.’

My soul doth magnify the Lord and More honorable.

Ode 9: The Heirmos

No one is able to see God, upon whom the ranks of angels dare not gaze; yet through thee, all-pure Virgin, the Word took flesh and showed himself to men. With all the hosts of heaven we magnify him and we call thee blessed.


O holy hierarch Father Raphael, pray unto God for us.

In the land of the blessed hast thou found thine abode, having been meek and blessed on the earth. Now thou art among the hosts of the heavenly powers, adorned with virtues as bright ornaments and invested with the light thereof.

Beholding the brightness of God and the angels, and the splendor of Patriarchs, Martyrs and Apostles, with them thou dost entreat the Lover of mankind to grant the remission of sins and true repentance unto us who praise thee, O holy one.

Thy brightness hath shone forth into all the world; thou didst live like an angel in thine adopted country, O holy hierarch, adorning and sanctifying the New World with thine unction, making thy people wise in God.

Glory and Both now and the theotokion.

Rain came down from heaven, O Virgin, into thy womb and dried up the streams of deceit, showering incorruption unto all men; through thee redemption hath been granted to all, O God-greeted one.

And in the fourth tone.

Let all earthborn mortals rejoice in spirit, carrying their lamps, and let the assembly of the Bodiless Powers celebrate with honor the sacred festival of the Mother of God and cry out: Rejoice, all-blessed, pure and ever-virgin Theotokos.

The exaposteilarion in the third tone

(To the melody I behold thy bridal chamber)

Today is illumined by the great brilliance of this glorious feast, for the holy hierarch Raphael now stands at the throne of God and intercedes for us who cry out to him with faith: ‘Remember thy flock, O good shepherd!’

And, without Glory and Both now, the theotokion in the same tone.

Thou art the sweetness of angels, the gladness of afflicted ones, the protectress of Christians, O Virgin Bride of God. Be thou my helper and save me from out of eternal torments.

The praises in the fourth tone, with four to the melody Unto those who fear thee.

  1. Praise him for his mighty acts, praise him according to the multitude of his greatness.

Safe beneath thy pastoral care the Church didst flourish in the new world. Thou didst found as the Mother Church the venerable temple of the Wonder-worker, sanctifying it with thy labors and holy prayers, and at thine end with thy precious body. Throughout the land thy children didst heed thy words and hold fast the Faith. Now standing at the throne of God, beseech Him to save our souls.

  1. Praise him with the sound of the trumpet, praise him with the psaltery and harp.

Safe beneath thy pastoral care …

  1. Praise him with timbrel and dance, praise him with strings and flute.

Lover of the holy prayers and divine services of the Church, who can tell of the countless hours spent in their translation for the sake of thy flock? Thou didst gather pearls from the Greek and Slavonic tongues, and fashioned them into pearls of Arabic. Thou didst also teach us to pray in the language of the new world. Now standing at the throne of God, beseech Him to save our souls.

1. Praise him with tuneful cymbals, praise him with cymbals of jubilation. Let every breath praise the Lord.

As a worthy hierarch thou didst take upon thyself the needs and concerns of all thy flock. In towns and villages and farms thou didst gather them to thee. Thou didst keep thy sheep from straying into strange pastures; thy hand kept them safe from devouring wolves. Thy deeds of love grew brighter as the number of churches grew. Now standing at the throne of God, beseech Him to save our souls.

Glory in the fifth (plagal of the first) tone to the melody Today is the day of Resurrection.

Today is the day we honor the holy hierarch Raphael! Who can describe his many sorrows and his many labors? Who can describe his many pains? He journeyed on land and on the sea, searching for his lost sheep, in weariness and in poverty, in sleeplessness, thirst and hunger. He became the good shepherd of the lost sheep in America, so let us cry out unto to him: O our Father, intercede for the salvation of our souls!

Both now and the theotokion in the same tone.

Beneath thy compassion we take refuge, O Theotokos. Despise not our prayers in our necessity, but deliver us from harm, only pure, only blessed one.