St. Raphael the Newly-Appeared Martyr of Lesvos (1410 – 9 April 1463) is an Eastern Orthodox saint martyred by Ottoman Turk soldiers with his companions Sts. Nicholas and a Irene on Bright Tuesday (April 9) of 1463, a decade after the Fall of Constantinople.
St. Raphael, born in ithaca as Georgios Laskaridis, lived in the 15th century. After completing his studies Georgios Laskaridis became an officer in the byzantine army. Georgios decided to become a monk. As a monk, he took the name Raphael and became a priest. He served the church of Agios Dimitrios Loumbardiaris, situated on the Piloppappou hill in Athens. After serving as a priest in Athens, Raphael became the Igumen (Abbot) of a monastery in Constantinople.
Raphael was an visionary and well educated priest and Abbot . Because of his abilities he had been sent by the Patriarch as his representative on a mission to France. There he met the student Nikolas, the son of a rich family from Thessaloniki, who followed him back to Constantinople where he became a diaken.
After the fall of Constantinople in 1453 Raphael and Nikolas went to an old monastic area in the village of Thermi, where they lived as monks and found their torturous demise, in the name of Christ, by the Ottoman Turks.
Monastic life of Saint Raphael
In the middle of the 15th century a monk called Roubem lived in solitary on an area called Karies near a small village called Thermi.
That spot became the above described monastic place of St. Raphael. In 1463 Thermi was the big place of resistance against the Ottoman Turks. When the Ottoman Turks conquest the island of Lesvos the local people fled to the monastery seeking the protection of God.
On “Good Friday” the Ottoman Turks attacked the monastery and St. Raphael, Nikolas, Vasilius (one of the leaders of the local community in Thermi), his 12 years old daughter Irene and the village teacher were captured. The local people fled into the mountains. On the Tuesday after Easter St. Raphael and the others were tortured till death and the Turks put the monastery on fire. The local people, after the Ottoman Turks left, return to the area of the monastery and buried Raphael between the ruins of the church .
For centuries the Holy Mess was held on the Tuesday after Easter on that spot, but throughout time, it was forgotten what happened in the past.
In 1959 the people of Thermi got visions in which the saints appeared. The saints told them their story of their death and the precise locations of their graves. After the issue was investigated, was affirmed that those apparitions were revelations of the true story of Saint Raphael .
The people decided to build a new monastery on the same place were Saint Raphael, Nicolas and Irene found their tortured death in the name of Christ.
The first phase of building of the monastery was finished in 1969.
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