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Thursday, December 27, A.D. 2012
Raphael Morgan

Orthodox History has a fascinating article on Raphael Morgan, who was probably “The First Black Orthodox Priest in America.” I wish that I had known of Father Raphael when I wrote a lengthy research paper on the African Orthodox Church for an undergraduate seminar on African Christianity. The Orthodox History article mentions George Alexander McGuire and Marcus Garvey, about whom I learnt much, but it does not tell the rest of the story. Notable missing characters include Daniel William Alexander, who helped shepherd the African Orthodox Church movement toward traditional Orthodox Christianity, and Reuben Spartas Mukasa and Arthur Gatung’u Gathuna, who led their fellow wayfarers to the Patriarchate of Alexandria. These black radicals sought a connection to an ancient religion free of white oppression and colonialism. They are similar, in that respect, to Elijah Robert Poole and the Nation of Islam crew, who dismissed the Christianity that they knew as “the white man’s religion.” Some of those black Mohammedans eventually converted to “real Islam” while others kept their innovative racially focused religion. Likewise, many African members of the episcopi vagantes African Orthodox Church movement joined the historic Orthodox Church while others maintained their eclectic religious culture of Old Catholicism, Anglicanism, and black liberationism. It truly is an interesting and muddled tale. History is a hot mess, but it tastes rather delicious.

Posted by Joseph on Thursday, December 27, Anno Domini 2012
Religion | OrthodoxyEcumenismMohammedanismProtestantismComments
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