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April 14, 2015

Four Facts That Confirm the Miraculous Nature of the Events at Thermi

One of the most astonishing true stories ever told, and certainly of the 20th century, took place on the Greek island of Lesvos in 1959, when Christian Martyrs killed by Turks in 1463 began appearing 500 years later at and near the site of their martyrdom in Karyes near the village of Thermi. Residents of Thermi and nearby villages began to have dreams and visions of these previous unknown Martyrs, particularly of the Abbot of the monastery at Karyes named Raphael, his Deacon Nicholas, and Irene the twelve-year old daughter of the mayor of Thermi who was visiting the monastery with her parents on the day the Turks invaded it. To these residents were revealed the details of the cruel tortures to which they were subjected at the monastery, and they guided them to excavate their relics and the remains of the monastery. St. Raphael especially was calling the people to repentance, giving spiritual counsels and offering consolation, and all three are responsible for the innumerable reports of curing every kind of disease.

Metropolitan Iakovos (Kleomvrotos) of Mytilene, who was also a recipient of such revelations and helped reestablish the monastery at Karyes, made four important observations about the events at Thermi in 1963, presented below in its entirety.

What has especially contributed to the forging of the faith of Christians - both those at or near Lesvos as well as those who are far away - in the recently manifested Saints are four things:

1) The finding (verification), through the pickax, of the things indicated by the Saints in dreams or in visions, confirming the story. For example, the finding of the tombs of Saint Nicholas, of the village leader Vasilios and his wife Maria, and of the teacher Theodore; of the cask in which the the Turks burned little Irene; of the lower jaw of Saint Raphael; of the icon of Jesus Christ; of the holy spring; and so on.

2) The full harmony of all the incidents or events narrated by Saint Raphael with the historical events of his age. By incidents or events narrated by him I mean those which took place after his arrival at Lesvos (1454), and which pertain to his settling at the Monastery of the Most Holy Theotokos at Karyes, his seizure and death, and those of his fellow martyrs, by the Turks.

3) The revelation of the day when his martyrdom took place. The Saint said that he was put to death by the Turks on the night of April 9, as Tuesday was dawning, which happened to be the Tuesday of Easter (Renewal Week). This day the pious people of the village of Thermi preserved since then - through the centuries - as a religious anniversary for that place, without knowing its significance. Research which was made for finding the day of Easter of the year 1463 brought to light - to the astonishment of all - that in point of fact in the year 1463 Holy Pascha fell on April 8, and that consequently it was during the night of April 9th that the massacre of the martyrs took place.

4) The innumerable miracles that have been performed in our days, miracles which pertain chiefly to the cure of sick people, who invoked with deep faith the help of Saint Raphael and which took place either at the holy place of the tombs and the sacred relics, or at other places of the island of Lesvos and of Greece in general, or in remote countries, such as the United States, Australia, Malta, etc.

From Modern Orthodox Saints 10: Saints Raphael, Nicholas and Irene of Lesvos by Constantine Cavarnos, pp. 97-99.