The rites were quiet, yet elaborate, and drew small clusters of dedicated worshippers out of their homes on a Saturday morning and into Byzantine sanctuaries across the nation.
Somewhere in each church stood an icon of a dignified Arab wearing the rich liturgical vestments of an Eastern Orthodox bishop. The worshippers took turns kissing the icon and chanters gave thanks to God for the work of the new saint whose name still causes smiles -- St. Raphael of Brooklyn.
"It isn't every day that you hear the word 'Brooklyn' used in a Divine Liturgy," said Father Gregory Mathewes-Green, the priest in my own parish near Baltimore. "St. Raphael is important not only because he lived a remarkable life, but because of where he came from and who he was. He is a wonderful symbol for Orthodox unity in America.
"Our church was unified in his day and we pray it can be unified again."
Read the entire article on the Terry Mattingly website (new window will open).