Jump to: navigation, search

Raphael Morgan

49 bytes removed, 04:00, January 5, 2010
Influence: cleanup, info listed elsewhere; add note
==="Indirect Conversion of Thousands" Theory===
During the ''16th Annual Ancient Christianity and African-American Conference'' in 2009, Matthew Namee presented a 23-minute lecture on the heretofore recently discovered life of Fr. Raphael Morgan. He postulates that even if Fr. Raphael's missionary efforts failed outside of his immediate family, he may be indirectly responsible for the conversion of thousands, via contact with Episcopal priest [[George Alexander McGuire]] (1866-1934).
Records for [ St Philip's Episcopal Church] in Richmond, Virgina indicate that for a short while in 1901 Robert J. Morgan was listed as the Rector. However, being only a [[deacon]], this would mean that Robert's position was only temporary, during an interregnum of sorts. The previous [[rector]] was one [[George Alexander McGuire]].<br>
'''Fr. Raphael and George McGuire'''<br>
* both later served in Philadelphia, each having had some contact with Rev. A.C.V. Cartier of the [ African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas].
Namee concludes that with so many coincidences, it is impossible for these two men to not have known one another; and therefore it must be from some influence - either in conversation with Fr. Raphael or through evangelism - that McGuire received his inspiration and came to know the Orthodox Church.  An additional point is that Garvey already knew of Fr. Raphael when McGuire joined his organization in 1920 (since Fr. Raphael had written the letter in 1916 protesting Garvey's lectures), which makes it likely that McGuire and Garvey had discussed Morgan at some point.
One deterrent from this theory comes in the familiarity he had with the Orthodox Church by McGuire's ''consecrator'', Joseph René Vilatte.<ref group="note">In his quest to obtain valid [[w:Apostolic succession|Apostolic Orders]], Fr. McGuire had himself re-ordained Bishop in the ''American Catholic Church'', being consecrated on September 28, 1921, in Chicago, Illinois, by Archbishop [[Joseph René Vilatte]], assisted by bishop Carl A. Nybladh who had been consecrated by Vilatte. However the [[Orthodox Church]] considers Villate to be an [[Episcopi vagantes]].</ref> 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.
George McGuire became an associate of Marcus Garvey and his Black Nationalist [[w:Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League|UNIA]] movement, being appointed the first Chaplain-General of the organization at its inaugural international convention in New York in August 1920. On September 28, 1921, he was made a bishop of the American Catholic Church by [[w:Joseph René Vilatte|Joseph René Vilatte]], and soon after founded the [[w:African Orthodox Church|African Orthodox Church]], a non-canonical Black Nationalist church, in the Anglican tradition. Today, it is best known for its canonisation of Jazz legend John Coltrane.
Bishop George McGuire soon spread his African Orthodox Church throughout the United States, and soon even made a presence on the African continent in such countries as [[Archdiocese of Kampala and All Uganda|Uganda]], [[Archdiocese of Kenya|Kenya]], and [[Archdiocese of Irinopolis|Tanzania]]. Between 1924-1934 McGuire built the AOC into a thriving international church. Branches were eventually established in Canada, Barbados, Cuba, South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, Miami, Chicago, Harlem, Boston, Cambridge (Massachusetts), and elsewhere. The official organ of AOC, ''The Negro Churchman,'' became an effective link for the far-flung organization.<ref name="Martin"/> However, around the time of the Second World War, the African churches were cut off from the American and in the post-war period had drifted far enough way to request and come under the [[omophorion]] of the [[Church of Alexandria]].Thus in 1946 the Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and all Africa officially recognized and received the "African Orthodox Church" in Kenya and Uganda.<ref group="note">These became the ''[[Archdiocese of Kenya]]'', and the ''[[Archdiocese of Kampala and All Uganda]]''.</ref>
Scholar Gavin White, writing in the 1970's, states that if Morgan tried to organize an African-American Greek Orthodox church in Philadelphia, its memory has vanished, and nothing whatsoever is known about Morgan in later years. However he hastens to add that:
:"...there can be no doubt that McGuire knew all about Morgan and it is very probable that he knew him personally. It is just possible that it was Morgan who first introduced McGuire to the Episcopal Church in Wilmington; it was almost certainly Morgan who introduced McGuire to the idea of Eastern episcopacy.<ref name="WHITE"/>
This concurs with Matthew Namee's conclusion above, that it was Fr. Raphael who was George Alexander McGuire's inspiration to form namely an "Orthodox" church. In time the African-based portion of McGuire's ''"African Orthodox Church"'' in Kenya and Uganda, eventually did end up under the canonical jurisdiction of the [[Church of Alexandria|Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa]] in 1946. And although those two churches were already upon their own set path towards full canonical Orthodoxy, McGuire was an important part of that process at one stage, and Fr. Raphael Morgan in turn, was behind McGuire's inspiration to form an "Orthodox" church. In this regard, by planting the seed, it can be said that Fr. Raphael was also in some small measure, indirectly or incidentally, a part of that process in Africa as well.
In the end, while 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] ([[OCA]]) in Ash Grove, Missouri.<ref name=Oliver/>

Navigation menu