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Raphael Morgan

2,870 bytes added, 16:03, July 31, 2009
fill in gaps-added info from Fr. Oliver Herbel's article.
===Period in the Church of England===
He then came to England, where he joined the [[w:Church of England|Church of England]] and was sent to Sierra Leona to the [[w:Church Mission Society|Church Missionary Society]] Grammar School at Freetown. He studied Greek, Latin, and other higher-level subjects. Being poor, Robert had to work to support himself, and worked as second master of a public school. He took course in the Church Missionary Society [[w:Fourah Bay College|College at Fourah Bay]], and was soon appointed a missionary teacher and [[w:Lay reader|lay-reader]] by the Episcopalian [[Bishop]] of Liberia, the Right Reverend [[w:Samuel David Ferguson|Samuel David Ferguson]]. <ref>Fr. Oliver Herbel. ''Morgan, Raphael.'' '''[ The African American National Biography]''' at ''''''. 1-Jan-2008.</ref> Robert later said that he served five years in West Africa, of which he spent three years in missionary work.<ref>''The Daily Gleaner''. ''[ West Africa]''. October 9, 1901. p.7.</ref>
After this Robert again visited England for private study, and then travelled to America to work amongst the African-American community as a lay-reader. He was accepted as a Postulant and as candidate for the Episcopalian [[deacon]]ate. During the waiting period, Robert again returned to England to study at Saint AidenAidan's Theological College in [[w:Birkenhead|Birkenhead]], but prosecuted his studies at [[w:King's College London|King's College]] of the University of London. The colleges however do not contain records of his attendance.
===Period in the Episcopal Church===
He returned to America, and on [[June 20]], 1895 was [[ordination|ordained]] as [[deacon]]<ref>Fr. Raphael's name is given on a list of Black Episcopal ordinations as follows: ''"1895: Robert Josias Morgan, d. June 20, Coleman; deposed; went abroad and was made a priest in Greek Church."'' (Bragg, Rev. George F. (D.D.). ''Chapter XXXVI: Negro Ordinations from 1866 to the Present''. In: '''[ History of the Afro-American group of the Episcopal church (1922)].''' Baltimore, Md.: Church Advocate Press, 1922. p.273.)</ref> by the Rt. Rev. [[w:Leighton Coleman|Leighton Coleman]],<ref>The ''New York Times''. ''[ Bishop Coleman of Delaware Dies].'' Sunday December 15, 1907. Page 13. (Obituary)</ref> Bishop of the [[w:Episcopal Diocese of Delaware|Episcopalian Diocese of Delaware]], and a well-known opponent of racism. Robert was appointed honorary curate in St Matthews' Church in Wilminton, and procured a job as a teacher for a few public schools.
In 1898, the deacon Robert (Rev. R.J. Morgan) was transferred to the Missionary Jurisdiction of Ashville (now in the [[w:Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina|Diocese of Western North Carolina]]). By 1899 he was listed as being assistant minister at St. Stephen's Chapel in Morganton and St. Cyprian's Church in Lincolnton.<ref>Lumsden, Joy, MA (Cantab), PhD (UWI). ''[ Father Raphael: His Background and Career].'' September 29, 2007.</ref>
===Trip to Russia===
By the turn of the 20th century, Robert already began to question his faith, and began to study Anglicanism, Catholicism, and Orthodoxy over a three year period to find discover what he felt was the true religion. He decided on Orthodoxyconcluded that the Orthodox Church was the pillar and ground of truth, resigned from the Episcopalian Church, and embarked on a trip to Russia.
Once there, Robert visited various [[monastery|monasteries]] and churches, including sites in Odessa, St. Petersburg, Moscow and [[Monastery of the Kiev Caves|Kiev]], soon becoming quite the sensation. Sundry periodicals began publishing pictures and articles on him, and soon Robert became the Special Guest of the Tsar. He was allowed to be present for the anniversary celebrations of [[Nicholas II of Russia|Nicholas II's]] coronation, and the [[Memorial Services|memorial service]] for Alexander III.<ref>''The Daily Gleaner.'' ''[ Priest's Visit: Father Raphael of Greek Orthodox Church: His Extensive Travels].'' July 22, 1913.</ref>
Leaving Russia, Robert traveled Turkey, Cyprus, and the [[Holy Land]], returning to America and writing an article to the ''Russian-American Orthodox Messenger'' in 1904 about his experience in Russia.In this open letter, Morgan expressed hope that the Anglican Church could unite with the Orthodox Churches, clearly moved by his experience in Russia. People of African descent were generally well-received within the Russian Empire, Morgan believed. [[w:Abram Petrovich Gannibal|Abram Hannibal]] had served under Emperor Peter the Great, and rose to lieutenant general in the Russian Army. Visiting artists, foreign service officials, and athletes, such as famous horse jockey [[w:James Winkfield|Jimmy Winkfield]], were likewise welcomed. With his experience of Russia and Russian Orthodoxy fresh in his mind, Morgan returned to the United States and continued his spiritual quest.<ref>Fr. Oliver Herbel. ''Morgan, Raphael.'' '''[ The African American National Biography]''' at ''''''. 1-Jan-2008.</ref>  
===Study and Trip to Ecumenical Patriarchate===
For another three years, Robert studied under Greek priests for his [[baptism]], eventually deciding to seek entry and ordination in the Greek Orthodox Church. In January of 1906, he is documented<ref>The ''Philadelphia Inquirer'' reported on [[January 8]], 1906, that ''“Rev. R.J. Morgan of the American Catholic Church, an off-shoot of the Protestant Episcopal Church, assisted.”''</ref> as ''assisting'' in the Christmas [[Divine Liturgy|liturgy]]. In 1907 the Philadephia Greek community referred Robert to the [[Ecumenical Patriarchate]] in Constantinople armed with two letters of support. One was a recommendation from Fr. Demetrios Petrides, the Greek priest then serving the Philadelphia community, dated [[June 18|18 June]] 1907, who described Morgan as a man sincerely coming into Orthodoxy after long and diligent study, and recommending his baptism and [[ordination]] into the priesthood. The second letter of support was from the "Ecclesiastical Committee" of the Philadelphia Greek Orthodox Church, stating he could serve as an assistant priest if he failed to form a separate Orthodox parish among his fellow Black Americans.<ref>Summaries of the two letters are given in the Synodal Minutes of [[July 19|19 July]], 1907, presided over by Patriarch [[Joachim III of Constantinople|Joachim III]], who introduced the subject of Morgan's baptism and ordination. As is stated in the second letter, Morgan's goal was to establish an Orthodox community of Blacks (''"...να πηξη ιδιαν ορθοδοξον κοινοτητα μεταξυ των εν Αμερικη ομοφυλων αυτου Νιγρητων..."'').</ref>
Robert was interviewed by [[Metropolitan]] [[Joachim (Phoropoulos) of Pelagonia]], one of the few bishops of the [[Ecumenical Patriarchate]] that could speak English and among the most learned of the Constantinopolitan hierarchs of that time. The [[metropolitan]] concluded that Robert should be [[Baptism|baptised]], [[Chrismation|chrismated]], [[Ordination|ordained]], and sent back to America in order to ''"carry the light of the Orthodox faith among his racial brothers".''
===Baptism and Ordination===
On [[August 2]], 1907 the [[Holy Synod]] approved that the [[Baptism]] take place the following Sunday in the ''Church of the Lifegiving Source'' at the Patriarchal Monastery at Valoukli, in Constantinople.<ref>The Patriarchal Monastery at Valoukli is where the cemetery with the graves of the [[List of Patriarchs of Constantinople|Patriarchs]] is found.</ref> Metropolitan [[Joachim (Phoropoulos) of Pelagonia|Joachim]] was to officiate at the sacrament, and the [[Godparent|sponsor]] was to be Bishop Leontios (Liverios) of Theodoroupolis, Abbott of the Monastery at Valoukli. Robert was baptised "Raphael" before 3000 people; subsequently he was ordained a [[deacon]] on [[August 12]], 1907 by Metropolitan Joachim; and finally ordained a [[Presbyter|priest]] on the feast of the [[Dormition]] of the [[Theotokos]], [[August 15]], 1907.<ref>In a letter from the Chief Archivist of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, dated [[April 4]], 1973, it was confirmed that the records of the Patriarchate show that Morgan was baptized and renamed "Raphael". (Manolis, Paul G. ''Raphael (Robert) Morgan: The First Black Orthodox Priest in America''. '''Theologia: Epistēmonikon Periodikon Ekdidomenon Kata Trimēnian'''. (En Athenais: Vraveion Akadēmias Athēnōn), 1981, vol.52, no.3, pp.467.)</ref> According to the contemporary [[Eastern Catholic Churches|Uniate]] periodical ''L'Echo d' Orient'', which sarcastically described Morgan's Baptism of triple immerson, the Metropolitan conducted the sacraments of Baptism and Ordination in the English language, following which Fr. Raphael chanted the [[Divine Liturgy]] in English.<ref>''Une Conquete du Patriarcat Oecumenique.'' ''' ''Echos d'Orient'' '''. Vol. XI. No.68, 1908, pp.55-56.</ref>Fr. Raphael Morgan's conversion to the Greek Orthodox Church made him the first African American Orthodox priest.
Fr. Raphael was sent back to America with vestments, a [[cross]], and 20 pounds sterling for his traveling expenses. He was allowed to hear [[Confession|confessions]], but denied [[Chrism|Holy Chrism]] and an [[antimension]], presumably to attach his missionary ministry to the Philadelphia church. The minutes of the Holy Synod from [[October 2]], 1907, made it clear in fact that Fr. Raphael was to be under the jurisdiction of Rev. Petrides of Philadelphia, until such time as he had been trained in liturgics and was able to establish a separate Orthodox parish.<ref>Manolis, Paul G. ''Raphael (Robert) Morgan: The First Black Orthodox Priest in America''. '''Theologia: Epistēmonikon Periodikon Ekdidomenon Kata Trimēnian'''. (En Athenais: Vraveion Akadēmias Athēnōn), 1981, vol.52, no.3, pp.468.</ref>
The ''Jamaica Times'' article of [[April 26]], 1913, wrote that Fr. Raphael was headquartered at Philadelphia where he wanted to build a chapel for his missionary efforts, that he had recently visited Europe to collect funds to this end, and had the intention of extending his work to the West Indies.<ref>''The Jamaica Times''. ''[ Only Negro Who is a Greek Priest].'' April 26, 1913.</ref>
Near the end of 1913, Fr. Raphael visited his homeland of Jamaica, staying for several month months until sometime the next year. While there, he met a group of Syrians, who were complaining of a lack of Orthodox churches on the island. Fr. Raphael did his best to contact the Syrian-American diocese of the Russian church, writing to St [[Raphael of Brooklyn]], but as most of their descendants are now communicants in the Episcopal Church, this presumably came to no avail. In December, a Russian warship came to port, and he concelebrated the [[Divine Liturgy]] with the sailors, their chaplain, and his new-found Syrians.
The main work of his visit, however, was a lecture circuit that he ran throughout Jamaica. Citing a lack of Orthodox churches, Fr. Raphael would speak at churches of various denomination. The topics would usually cover his travels, the Holy Land, and Holy Orthodoxy. At some point, he even made it to his hometown of Chapelton, to whom he remarked of his name change, "I will always be Robert to you".<ref>''The Daily Gleaner.'' ''[ Gives Lecture. Fr. Raphael Talks of His Travels Abroad.]'' August 15, 1913.</ref>
===Last Known Records===
In 1916 Fr. Raphael was still in Philadelphia, having made the Philadelphia Greek parish his base of operations.<ref>* Namee, Matthew. ''[ The First Black Orthodox Priest in America].'' '''''' (The Society for Orthodox Christian History in the Americas). July 15, 2009.</ref> The last documentation of Fr. Raphael comes from a letter to the ''Daily Gleaner'' on [[October 4]], 1916. Representing a group of about a dozen other like-minded Jamaican-Americans, he wrote in to protest the lectures of Black Nationalist Marcus Garvey. <ref>Fr. Raphael signed the letter as ''' ''"Father Raphael, O.C.G., Priest-Apostolic, the Greek-Orthodox Catholic Church."''<ref>'''The full text of the signed letter is printed in:<br>Robert A. Hill, Marcus Garvey, Universal Negro Improvement Association. ''Letter Denouncing Marcus Garvey.'' In: '''[ The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers: 1826-August 1919].''' University of California Press, 1983. pp.196-197.</ref> Garvey's views on Jamaica, they felt, were damaging to both the reputation of their homeland and its people, enumerating several objections to Garvey's stated preference for the prejudice of the American whites over that of English whites.<ref>Fr. Oliver Herbel. ''Morgan, Raphael.'' '''[ The African American National Biography]''' at '''mywire. com'''. 1-Jan-2008.</ref> Garvey's response came ten days later, in which he called the letter a conspiratorial fabrication meant to undermine the success and favour he had gained while in Jamaica and in the United States.
Little is known of Fr. Raphael's life after this point, except from some interviews conducted in the 1970s between Greek-American historian Paul G. Manolis and surviving members of the [ Greek Community of the Annunciation] in Philadelphia, who recalled the black priest who was evidently a part of their community for a period of time. One elderly woman, Grammatike Kritikos Sherwin, remembered that Fr Raphael's daughter left to attend Oxford; another parishioner, Kyriacos Biniaris, recalls that Morgan, whose hand "he kissed many times", spoke broken Greek and served with Fr. Petrides reciting the liturgy mostly in English; whilst another, a George Liacouras, recalled that after serving in Philadelphia for some years, Fr. Raphael left for Jerusalem, never to return.<ref>Manolis, Paul G. ''Raphael (Robert) Morgan: The First Black Orthodox Priest in America''. '''Theologia: Epistēmonikon Periodikon Ekdidomenon Kata Trimēnian'''. (En Athenais: Vraveion Akadēmias Athēnōn), 1981, vol.52, no.3, pp.469.</ref> The [[Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America]] has no record either of Fr. Raphael Morgan, nor of Fr. Demetrios Petrides, as the first records for the Philadelphia community in the archives only began in 1918.
However, one deterrent from this theory comes in the familiarity he had with the Orthodox Church by McGuire's ''consecrator'', Joseph René Vilatte. At various points, Vilatte come into contact with both the [[Russian_Orthodox_Church|Russian]] and [[Syriac_Orthodox_Church|Syriac]] Orthodox Churches in a move for Catholic-Orthodox reconciliation, having even been accepted for a while by Bishop [[Vladimir (Sokolovsky-Avtonomov) of the Aleutians|Vladimir]] of [[Alaska]] in May of 1891.
Although Fr. Raphael Morgan's work among Jamaicans in Philadelphia appears to have been transitory, nevertheless he did serve as an important precedent for current African American interest in Orthodoxy, especially that of Father Moses Berry, director of the-Ozarks African American Heritage Museum, who served as the priest to the Theotokos, the “Unexpected Joy,” Orthodox Mission in Ash Grove, Missouri.<ref>Fr. Oliver Herbel. ''Morgan, Raphael.'' '''[ The African American National Biography]''' at ''''''. 1-Jan-2008.</ref>
'''Modern Sources'''
* Herbel, Fr. Oliver ([[Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America|AOC]]). ''[ Jurisdictional Disunity and the Russian Mission].'' '''Orthodox Christians for Accountability'''. [[April 22]], 2009.
* Herbel, Fr. Oliver ([[Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America|AOC]]). ''Morgan, Raphael.'' '''[ The African American National Biography]''' at ''''''. 1-Jan-2008.
* ''[[w:Joseph René Vilatte|Joseph René Vilatte]]'' at Wikipedia.
* Lumsden, Joy, MA (Cantab), PhD (UWI). ''[ Father Raphael].''

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