Born November 20, 1860 as Raphael Hawaweeny in Damascus, Syria. Educated at the Patriarchal School in Damascus, the School of Orthodox Theology in Halki Island, Turkey, and at the Theological Academy in Kiev, Russia. In 1904 he became the first Orthodox bishop to be so ordained in North America; the ordination was done by Archbishop (Saint) Tikhon and Bishop Innocent in New York City. He served as Bishop of Brooklyn until his death in 1915.
Bishop Raphael was glorified (numbered among the saints) by the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America in its March 2000 session. He is commemorated by the Orthodox Church in America on February 27, the anniversary of his death, and by the Antiochian Orthodox Church on the first Saturday of November.