His Eminence, Archbishop Michael of New York and New Jersey represented the Orthodox Church in America at celebration of the Divine Liturgy marking the 100th Anniversary of the repose of Saint Raphael of Brooklyn at Saint Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral here on Saturday, November 7, 2015.
Saint Nicholas Cathedral is the first parish community established by Saint Raphael in 1895.
Also concelebrating with His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America; His Grace, Bishop John and His Grace, Bishop Nicholas of the Archdiocese was His Grace; and His Grace, Bishop John of Naro-Fominsk, Administrator of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Parishes in the USA.
Many Orthodox Christian faithful of all backgrounds and jurisdictions from across the region also attended the services, along with area clergy. Students from Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Yonkers, NY joined the cathedral’s English Byzantine Choir, under the direction of Priest Adrian Budica, as well as the Arabic Byzantine choir and choral choir in singing the responses.
The two-day celebration opened on Friday evening, November 6, with Great Vespers, at which Metropolitan Joseph presided. Among those in attendance were His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, and Archpriest Dr. Chad Hatfield, Chancellor of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, who offered inspiring presentations on the life and legacy of Saint Raphael. Metropolitan Joseph commented that Saint Raphael’s legacy was one for everyone—bishops, priests, deacons, and faithful alike—to emulate, adding that just as he labored for holiness, we are commanded to do likewise. During all of the services, Metropolitan Joseph wore the panagia and cross that belonged to Saint Raphael and offered them to the faithful for veneration at the end of each service.
Other participants included representatives of the Maronite Rite Catholic Church, the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of Armenia, and numerous Antiochian Archdiocesan trustees.
Several New York area TV stations and newspapers, including The New York Times, covered the historic event.