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Explanation of the 2015 Creative Festivals Theme

This year’s theme was chosen by Metropolitan Philip of blessed memory because 2015 is the 100th anniversary of the falling asleep of St. Raphael. 

The following excerpt is taken from The Life of Our Father Among the Saints, RAPHAEL, Bishop of Brooklyn, “Good Shepherd of the Lost Sheep in America,” copyright 2000, by the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America:

Several themes will emerge as the story of St. Raphael’s life unfolds. The first is the mysterious way in which God led him from his native homeland to the shores of the American continent. The second is his submissive attitude to the providence of God. And the third is his love for the people of God…St. Raphael reveals for us the royal path to salvation. He did not seek honor for himself. What is most striking is the total lack of concern for self which is evident throughout his life and his ministry. He followed his Master. Whatever the cost, whatever the price, he followed…He received the faith from his forefathers and he sought to faithfully hand that faith over to his spiritual children.

St. Raphael’s legacy includes the following accomplishments, among others: he founded thirty parishes, (the first being St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn), authored or translated fourteen books, and created The Word, which is still published as a magazine in our Archdiocese today.

As we study St. Raphael’s life, we can gain inspiration for our own lives. How can we best serve God? What can we do to bring others to our holy Orthodox faith? How can we be better witnesses to those “lost sheep” in our communities? The fact that St. Raphael lived in the recent past and not 2000 years ago, demonstrates that living a saintly life is still possible today if we follow the will of God.