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  • Orthodox icon of Saints Raphael, Nicholas and Irene

Raphael, Nicholas and Irene icon

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Orthodox icon of Saints Raphael, Nicholas and Irene of Lesbos

Commemorated Tuesday after Pascha and April 9.

This orthodox icon is an image of the Newly-Appeared Martyrs of Lesbos, Sts Raphael, Nicholas and Irene who were martyred by the Turks on Bright Tuesday (April 9, 1463) ten years after the Fall of Constantinople. For nearly 500 years, they were forgotten by the people of Lesbos, but “the righteous Judge... opened the things that were hid” (2 Macc. 12:41).

In 1959, a pious man named Angelos Rallis decided to build a chapel near the ruins of the monastery. On July 3 of that year, workmen discovered the relics of St Raphael while clearing the ground. Soon, the saints began appearing to various inhabitants of Lesbos and revealed the details of their lives and martyrdom. 

St Raphael was born on the island of Ithaka around 1410. In 1453, St Raphael was living in Macedonia with his fellow monastic, the deacon Nicholas, a native of Thessalonica. In 1454, the Turks invaded Thrace, so the two monks fled to the island of Lesbos. They settled in the Monastery of the Nativity of the Theotokos near Thermi, where St Raphael became the igumen.

In the spring of 1463, the Turks raided the monastery and captured the monks. They were tortured and killed. 

St Irene was the twelve-year-old daughter of the village mayor, Basil. She and her family had come to the monastery to warn the monks of the invasion. She was captured and tortured until she died.

Others who also received the crown of martyrdom on that day were St Irene’s parents Basil and Maria; Theodore, the village teacher; and Eleni, the fifteen-year-old cousin of St Irene.

Many miracles have taken place on Lesbos, and throughout the world. The saints hasten to help those who invoke them, healing the sick, consoling the sorrowful, granting relief from pain, and bringing many unbelievers and impious individuals back to the Church.

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