St. Raphael of Brooklyn

St. Raphael of Brooklyn icon by the hand of Fr. Matthew Garrett

The Life of St. Raphael

Saint Raphael, Bishop of Brooklyn, was born in Syria in 1860 to two pious Orthodox parents. He was an excellent student, yet his parents could only afford to pay for his elementary school education. Fortunately, St. Raphael was accepted as a student of the Patriarchate in preparation for the priesthood. On December 8, 1885, he was ordained to the diaconate and was eventually asked to preach the Word of God to the people. St. Raphael desired to know more about his faith not for his own ambition or pride, but from his extreme desire to benefit others within the faith. In 1895, St. Raphael was invited to be the pastor of the Arab Orthodox community in New York. While based in New York, St. Raphael invested all of his time into teaching Syro-Arab Orthodox Christians about the teachings of the Orthodox faith, and linking this community closer together. Some of his ministries included traveling across North America, feeding the spiritually hungry with the Word of God, and performing services such as marriages and Divine Liturgies for the faithful where there was no church building. In 1904, St. Raphael became the first Orthodox bishop to be consecrated on American soil. Following his consecration, St. Raphael published a magazine called Al-Kalimat (The Word) to help link people in the Syro-Arab diocese more closely and to provide spiritual and church content to help reinforce people in their Faith. He is known for his abilities as a scholar, educator, and missionary. 


Learn more about the life of St. Raphael of Brooklyn here


Feast Day: February 27th 

How can St. Raphael intercede for us?

St. Raphael is known for his missionary work and evangelism. Pray to him for strength spreading the Word of God and living the faith.

Discussion Questions


  1. St. Raphael was “Father to the orphans, and Friend of the poor.” What can your OCF chapter do to better serve your campus community or city community?
  2. How can we as Orthodox Christians evangelize our faith through our actions, as well as through our words?
  3. How can we incorporate what Saint Raphael has taught us in our lives?

Learn his Troparion

(Tone 3)

Rejoice, O Father Raphael, Adornment of the Holy Church!
Thou art Champion of the true Faith,
Seeker of the lost, Consolation of the oppressed,
Father to orphans, and Friend of the poor,
Peacemaker and Good Shepherd, Joy of all the Orthodox,
Son of Antioch, Boast of America:
Intercede with Christ God for us and for all who honor thee. 

Learn his Kontakion

Today the memory of blessed Raphael hath 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!

Pray to him

O wise and loving hierarch of the Church of Christ God, good shepherd of the lost sheep in America, sustenance for our souls, admonition for the lost, defense against foes, uniter of the Orthodox world, proclaimer of the truth, uplifter of the oppressed, guardian of the faith, father to orphans, protector of widows, friend of the poor, reconciler of foes, great light from Antioch, new Moses who led your people out of the wilderness into the Promised Land, new Elias who has placed within the holy Church a double portion of your spirit, new Ezra who built up the Temple of God, new Apostle of Christ our God, lover of the holy prayers and divine services, adornment of the holy Church, seeker of the lost, joy of all the Orthodox, son of Antioch, boast of America, O holy Father Raphael: Mercifully hear these supplications which are offered to you by your grateful children. O high priest of the Most High God, lift up your hands and bless us, O you who are thrice-blessed of the All-holy Trinity. O comforter of the oppressed who is a bearer of the heavenly King, the Comforter and Spirit of Truth, take us to your bosom and shelter us from all harm. O shepherd who is a servant of the Lamb and a sheep of His flock, take up your staff and guide us to secure and verdant pastures. O father who is a son and heir of the Unoriginate Father, lift up your arms and intercede with him that the Church may be preserved in tranquility; that her God-appointed hierarchs may be granted peace, safety, honor, health and length of days, rightly dividing the word of truth; that her priests may be clothed with righteousness; that her God-fearing monastics may shine forth as paradisiacal lights upon the world; and that her Christ-loving people may be granted mercy, life, peace, health, salvation and visitation, pardon and forgiveness of sins. Pray to Him that we may be granted to live a peaceful life in this age, and to see the good things in the age which is to come, always glorifying the unoriginate Father, the only-begotten Son and the all-holy and good and life-giving Spirit, the consubstantial Trinity, unto ages of ages. Amen.


Credit given to Akathist to Saint Raphael of Brooklyn

Bonus! Visit St. Raphael

Saint Raphael was originally buried in New York until August 1989 when his relics were translated to Antiochian Village Conference & Retreat Center in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, where OCF hosts College Conference East each year!

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