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Early Jamaican Orthodox priest in the USA

1 October 2009

Tshepo Morongwa Chéry, who is doing research into the African Orthodox Church, and visited us a few weeks ago, tipped me off about this web site with information about an Orthodox priest in the USA 100 years ago who originally came from Jamaica. The article was published in 1913.

The African Times and Orient Review, February and March, contains an interesting biographical note on the Rev. Father Raphael of the Russo-Greek Church, and of the Order of the Cross of Golgotha.

In the world the Father was known as Robert Morgan and what is very interesting to us is that he was born in Jamaica. He is the only representative of the Negro Race who is a Priest in the Greek Church.

He was born in this Island more than 40 years ago. Six months after his birth his father died. He received his early training from his mother and was brought up among Church of England folk. In his teens he left Jamaica and was educated at a Grammar School in Sierra Leone and then at the famous Church of England College at Fourah Bay. As a poor boy he had to work to help himself through and he was also assisted by friends.

He travelled a great deal visiting Africa, Syria, Asia Minor, the United States, England and almost every country in Europe.

He spent some years in Liberia as a missionary and then went to tour in the Southern States of the United States. Desiring to take Orders, he went to St. Aidens College, Birkenhead and to Kings College, London. He was ordained and went to the United States where he worked under the American Episcopal Church.
Later on, changing his views he entered the Greek Church and about six years ago was ordained a priest of Constantinople. He was detailed as a missionary to his fellow co-religionists among the coloured people of the United States and has worked there ever since. His headquarters are at Philadelphia where he wishes to build a chapel for this purpose. He recently visited Europe, to collect funds.

It is interesting to note that he has some intention of extending his work to the West Indies.

The African Times and Orient Review was a periodical published in London by Duse Mohamed Ali from 1912 to 1928 as a ‘Pan-Oriental Pan-African journal’.
The article is essentially identical with the first reports in the Daily Gleaner.

If anyone has any more information about Father Raphael and his ministry, please let us know. Tshepo, the Jamaican researcher and I would be very interested in knowing more.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 1 October 2009 6:19 pm

    I’ve done a great deal of research on Fr. Raphael Morgan. If you’re interested in learning more, you might visit

    Also, for a lecture I gave on Morgan in May, visit

  2. 8 November 2009 10:53 pm

    As a direct desecdant in the church of George Alexandra McGuire and William Daniel Alexandria of the African Orthodox Church in America and Africa will give information in reguards to the church and its foundation and movement here in the US as well as Africa and Cuba or Canada. We as well are located in the west Indies.

  3. frontierorthodoxy permalink
    23 January 2010 5:16 am

    I know Matthew Namee well. Fr. Raphael Morgan was included in my doctoral dissertation and I intend to edit the work for future publication in book format. Also, I have an article coming out very shortly in the journal Black Theology. The article discusses the African Orthodox Church and the contemporary Order of St. Moses the Black.

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