The True Significance of Sacred Tradition and Its Great Worth

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by St. Raphael M. Hawaweeny
translated by Patrick Demetrios Viscuso

Hardcover: 177 pages

Never before published, the theological thesis of St. Raphael Hawaweeny (1860–1915) is a fascinating work that shows the intersection of Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, and Eastern Orthodoxy in the late nineteenth century. Canonized by the Orthodox Church in 2000, St. Raphael was the first Orthodox bishop consecrated in the western hemisphere. His thesis reflects the life of the Orthodox community under Ottoman rule and is an apologia for Orthodox tradition, acting as a response to arguments advanced by Roman Catholic and Protestant missionaries in the Middle East. Patrick Viscuso's introduction explains the complex historical and theological forces at work in St. Raphael's world.

Since the sixteenth century, the Roman Catholic Church had launched major proselytization efforts toward Orthodox Christians in the Ottoman Empire, with the support of the great Western powers. In the late nineteenth century, the United States dominated Protestant efforts in the region. The powerful language in St. Raphael's thesis and his refutation of Roman Catholic and Protestant positions reflect an active dialogue with Western Christianity.