TODAY, February 27th, is the ninety-third anniversary of the repose of St Raphael of Brooklyn. Below, thanks to Dr. Sam Cohlmia (translator) and Bishop BASIL (sender) is a translation of the first talk St Raphael gave in America of which we have a written transcript. This talk was delivered by him on December 17, 1895, exactly one month after his arrival in America.
Holy Father Raphael pray unto God for us!
It is true to admit that every true mind cannot but rejoice when it encounters education and knowledge. And every peaceful heart cannot but be reverend when it beholds great philanthropic endeavors which are crowned with a crown of goodness. Therefore, truth becomes evident in the ministry of education; and goodness becomes visible in the works of kindness. It is, then, truth and goodness which promote mental success and literary furtherance in every place and every age. For this cause, mental success stirs up within us joy and happiness; and literary furtherance excites within us poetic words of thanksgiving.
Having said that, I cannot but convey the great joy which my heart is feeling at the founding of this literary gathering, which is composed of Syrian men who have graciously poured out love for the strengthening of their own literacy, education, and knowledge; at the same time, they have spread such virtues onto the rest of their un-enlightened brethren. Therefore, I cannot but offer great thanks to the founders of this congregation and all of those who have helped and taking part in its establishment. Either literary or financially speaking, I ask of Him who is of true heart and spirit that He may fill the hearts and minds of the founders of this congregation with the spirit of wisdom, the spirit of knowledge, the spirit of truth, and the spirit of zeal and futuristic vision; that they may spread their literary and visionary knowledge to all of their country’s descendants throughout all of the ages.
What I rightly behold with respect to my witness of this, your first gathering, is your treasured and righteous vision throughout all of your discussions and resolutions; so as “not to believe every spirit”, but “to examine everything and hold onto what is good”. In that knowledge cannot be founded, even with the multitude of its truth and validity, if it is handled with chaos and dissention, doubt and deviance; with such limiting factors, the alienation of the knowledgeable and the wise, the poet and the counselor is imminent. Nonetheless, today knowledge has been strongly founded as truth through the wisdom of our past.
Therefore, if you read or hear that certain of the sciences contradict religion, it behooves you to understand that such sciences have never been originally founded in Truth; therefore, true knowledge and true science is the kin of true religion and true faith. For this cause, neither true science nor true faith has the ability to contract the other. On one hand, true religion is the introduction of what God has revealed unto us, with respect to those truths that have been dubbed “the truths of faith and religion”. On the other hand, true science is the introduction of what God has sent to us through His creation and His laws, which have been named “the laws of nature”. Having said that, it is possible for a true mind to surrender to the notion that what God revealed to us as “the truths of faith and religion” can be contradictory to what He sent to us as “the laws of nature”? Is it possible that the message of God can contradict what He created? Therefore, religious disbelief among the people is an indication of the lack of human-minded balance of truth; in addition, religious disbelief among scientists is an indication of the lack of human-minded balance of true science among them all.
In conclusion, my beloved and dear sons, “do not believe every spirit, but examine everything and hold onto what is good”, hold fast throughout your scientific discussions what has been forgotten by those who have alienated themselves from true science. Be mindful of how some of the famous scientists of our current age founded their beliefs after careful examination and great revelation, determining that the concept of science being contrary to religion is a lie. Therefore, with the knowledge of the multitude of scientific opinions, remember to preserve and protect your religious and literary ties from the attacks of ignorance, darkness, false truths, and other personal pleasures.
Delivered to a gathering of Syrian Men in New York on 12/17/1895; hand-written in Arabic by St. Raphael of Brooklyn; translated to English by Dr. Sam Cohlmia 12/17/2004; taken from the Clergy Brotherhood email of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America 2/27/2008.