The True Significance of Sacred Tradition and Its Great Worth by St. Raphael M. Hawaweeny

A Nineteenth-Century Orthodox Response to Roman Catholic and Protestant Missionaries in the East

Reddit icon
e-mail icon
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
LinkedIn icon
Patrick Demetrios Viscuso
  • DeKalb, IL: 
    Northern Illinois University Press
    , January
     190 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Kevin Staley forthcoming.


Never before published, the theological thesis of St. ­Raphael Hawaweeny (1860–1915) is a fascinating work that shows the intersection of 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. Beginning in the sixteenth century, the Catholic Church launched proselytization efforts toward Orthodox Christians in the Ottoman Empire with the support of the 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 Catholic and Protestant positions reflect an active dialogue with Western Christianity.

The thesis was written as part of the requirements for graduation from the Theological School of the Great Church of Christ, an institution of the ­Ecumenical Patriarchate located near present-day Istanbul. Viscuso’s translation is based on his transcription of the handwritten Greek text. He provides this transcription, along with translations of the 1874 Regulations of the ­Theological School and a contemporary account of life at the school. This important volume will appeal to historians of the Ottoman Empire and Christianity and general readers interested in religion and Christian dialogue.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Patrick Viscuso is a professor of canon law, an Orthodox canonist, a priest of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, and an Orthodox member of the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation.

Add New Comment

Reading Religion welcomes comments from AAR members, and you may leave a comment below by logging in with your AAR Member ID and password. Please read our policy on commenting.

Log in to post comments