Saint Raphael,Saint Nicholas and Saint Irene
For many years a monk had been seen walking on the hill at Karyes in Lesbos,Mytillini in Greece.Many Christians and Turks had seen him.The hill was also called Kaloyeros after the monk, who was seen holding a censor and would disappear in a splendour of light.
In 1917 the Turk who owned an estate with olive trees on the hill at Karyes,Hasan Bei,commisioned the police officer of Thermi, Efstratios Sitara to solve this mystery.The short investigation was soon abandoned as the belief was held that these visions were of a supernatural nature.
was a small chapel there in the name of Panayia. Residents of Thermi
held a service there every Easter Tuesday without hindrance from the
Turkish owner of the property.
On 3rd July 1959, excavations began for the foundations of the church.A grave was found containing a human skeleton and giving off a sweet fragrance.The head of the skeleton was resting on a round stone, much like a pillow.The head was about 30cms away from the body. The lower jaw was missing. The excavators also found a ceramic tile from the Byzantine era with a Cross engraved on it.
After the discovery of the grave,amazing phenomena started to occur.The bones were put in a sack by a Mr Doukas Tsolakis. He was in charge of the excavations.He could not lift the sack up due to the excessive weight.Noises were heard from the bones.They were also producing a fragrant incense. One of the workers, a Mr Leonidas Sideras kicked the sack and his leg went numb. Tsolakis hand remained motionless.He could not lift the sack.The priest was asked to do a Trisagion-a prayer for the departed. The night before he was due to conduct the service, he was wondering what name he should use.During the night Saint Raphael appeared to the Priest. He told him who he was, and that he was born on the island of Ithaka.
Since then St Raphael has appeared many times to different people.He suffered martyrdom on 9th April 1463.
St Raphael was born Georgios Laskaridis. His father was called Dionysios and his mother Maria. They were a devout family.St Raphael served in the army. He then became a monk and clergyman taking the name of Raphael.
He served as parish priest in the parish of St Demetrios of Loumbardiaris in Athens.He then became Archimandrite and Bishop at the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
It was when he travelled to France that he met St Nicholas at Morlaix.Nicholas was from a wealthy family .He was a young student from Thessalonika studying at a French university.Nicholas was moved by the teaching of st Raphael and they became firm friends.
lived in the monastery for nine years. In 1462 Mohammed the conqueror
captured Lesvos after a seventeen day siege. It fell on 17th September
Turks did not disturb the Monastery immediately.After 6 months,in
April 1463, during Holy Week, a movement occured in Thermi,causing
some agitation. The Christians went up to Karyes to hide.The teacher
Theodoros and the Commumity Chief Vasillios together with his family
went up to the Monastery.St Raphael conducted the Divine Liturgy for
the last time on Holy Thursday.On Good Friday the Turks came to the
Irene, the twelve year old daughter of the Community Chief had her hand cut off in front of her parents, who were tied to a tree.She was then put in a big earthen pot and burned to death.Her father, mother, and the teacher Theodoros were all murdered.St Raphael was horribly tortured in front of Saint Nicholas.St Nicholas died of heart failure, on seeing his mentor murdered.
The Monastery was then torched and the Turks fled.The next night some devout christians buried the Holy Martyrs secretly.
St Raphael started to appear to people he revealed everything-where
the bones of the Martyrs were buried, the pot where little Irene was
burned, the grave of the Teacher Theodoros, and the graves of Irene
and her father.
The grave of Igoumene Mother Superior Olympia who suffered Martyrdom in 1235 when pirates destroyed Panaghias Old Monastery, and killed the nuns was also found.Three large nails were found in her skull.More nails were found on her body.
In 1963 at the place of the Holy Martyrdom a Convent for Ladies was established.
St Raphael has performed and still performs many miracles to this day.This book written in Greek lists many of them and is well worth reading..
Usually we celebrate their day on the first Tuesday after Easter.This year (2004) we celebrate the Holy Martyrs Raphael,Nicholas and Irene on Tuesday 13th April.
Pictures of his Church in Greece.
Copyright © G.Georgiou. All Rights Reserved