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Religious figures biography (3)
Sts Raphael, Nicholas and Irene of Lesvos
Sts Raphael, Nicholas and Irene suffered martyrdom by the Turks on
the island of Lesvos (also called Mytilene) on April 9 1463 AD, after the fall
of Constantinople. St Raphael was the Abbot of Karyes near the village of Thermi
on the island. St Nicholas was a Deacon at the monastery, and St Irene was the
12-year-old daughter of the major of Thermi. The three saints were at the monastery
with the village teacher and St Irene?s father when the Turks raided it.
These saints were unknown for about 500 years after their martyrdoms
during the Turkish occupation of Lesvos. In 1959 the three saints appeared to
the people on Lesvos in dreams and visions. They guided excavations of their own
graves, called people to repentance, and cured many kinds of diseases. The saints
revealed how they were cruelly tortured at the monastery, calling it a "second
Golgotha" (in the words of St Raphael). St Raphael?s torture ended when his head
was sawn off. St Nicholas died of heart failure when he was being tortured. St
Irene was tortured in front of her father and burnt alive in a clay cask, where
her charred bones were later found. The teacher?s head was cut off and placed
between his legs when he was buried. A great deal of blood was shed at the monastery;
the saints were martyred for the sake of their Christian faith and Fatherland.
Found amongst these excavation was St Raphael?s round metallic Enkopion with a
low relief of Christ Pantocrator on it. Orthodox Bishops wear Enkopions externally
on the breast.
Details of the lives of these saints, and miraculous cures and visions
can be found in a book by Constantine Cavarnos titled "Saints Raphael, Nicholas
and Irene of Lesvos", Modern Orthodox Saints, vol 10. Published in 1994 (second
printing) by the Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, 111 Gilbert
Road Belmont, Massachusetts 02178 USA.
- The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia WebPage
St. Theoctiste, the hermitess
Nun and hermitess. According to tradition, she lived on the island of Lesbos in the Aegean Sea before being kidnapped by Arab raiders. They took her to the island of Paros where she escaped and lived thereafter for thirty years as a herrmitess. Discovered one day by a hunter named Simon, she begged him to return when he could with Holy Communion, a plea he fulfilled a year later after which she soon died. It is thought by scholars that the tale of the Holy Communion was based on the similar event in the life of St. Mary of Egypt.
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