Today (February 27th) is the feast of St. Raphael (Hawaweeny), Bishop of Brooklyn. In fact, today is the 100th anniversary of his repose! St. Raphael was the first Orthodox Christian bishop to have been consecrated in North America. [Excellent information page here.]
Last year a time capsule sealed in 1914 was opened in our small, southern Mississippi town. We were very surprised to read that our Orthodox mission, Christ the Saviour, was the second Orthodox mission to be planted here!
You see that the priest assigned was listed as as “Rev. M. Oberhider”. They actually got the spelling of the name wrong; the priest’s name was Rev. Moses Abihider, a Syrian, who was here with the blessing of Bishop Raphael.
Fr. Moses is perhaps best known for being featured on the tombstone of
St. Raphael. He is one of six clergymen listed along with the great
bishop, and all were at one time buried together at Brooklyn’s Mount
Olivet Cemetery. However, in 1988, the remains of St. Raphael and two of
the others (Bishops Emmanuel Abo-Hatab and Sophronios Beshara) were
transferred, along with the tombstone, to the Antiochian Village in
Pennsylvania. It seems most likely that Fr. Moses’ remains are still at
Father has been communicating with the Antiochian Archdiocese of Wichita who have compiled information about St. Raphael. We hope to learn more about St. Raphael’s legacy here in McComb, and to find where the cornerstone for the first mission was placed.