The holy, glorious and right-victorious Martyrs Raphael, Nicholas and Irene suffered martyrdom by the Turks on the island of Lesvos, Greece, on Bright Tuesday (April 9, 1463) 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 mayor of Thermi. The three saints were at the monastery with the village teacher and St Irene’s father when the Turks raided it.
Sts. Raphael, Nicholas, and Irene of Lesvos are remembered by the Church in April on the first Tuesday after Orthodox Easter.
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 of 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 and 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.
During the Turkish invasion, on the 9th April 1463 a group of Christians went to St. Raphael’s monastery to hide from the Turks’ wrath. The Turks started to torture the saints and St. Irene’s family in order to reveal where the other Christians were hiding.
The 12 year old daughter of the Community Chief, Irene, after having a hand cut off in front of her parents, was burnt to death in a large clay pot. Her parents were also murdered in a most inhumane way.
The Turks pulled St. Raphael by the hair with brute force. After they beat him savagely, the Turks hung him upside down and sawed his mouth and cut off his jaw. St. Nicholas was tied to a walnut tree and after seeing the horrific things done to St. Raphael, died of heart failure.
Afterwards, the saints appeared to many of the locals of Lesvos and, under St. Raphael’s instruction, the relics were found, and a holy monastery ‘Covenant for Ladies’ now stands on the site.
Found amongst the excavation was St Raphael’s round metallic engolpion with a low relief of ‘Christ Pantocrator’ on it.
*Source: St Raphael