Christ is risen!
On this Bright Tuesday:
“Having contended on Lesvos for the sake of Christ God, you have sanctified the island with the discovery of your sacred relics, O blessed ones. Therefore we honor you, O God-bearing Raphael, together with Nicholas, and virgin Irene, as our divine protectors and intercessors with the Lord.” Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
This Bright Tuesday is a special day for your author since it is the Name Day for the parish he is honored to serve. The story of the newly-revealed martyred saints Raphael, Nicholas, and Irene is amazing and filled with the Resurrection life typical of Bright Week commemorations.
The saints appeared to many persons in 1959 and directed them to the place of their holy relics. The villagers of Therme, Greece on the island of Mytilene had a tradition of celebrating the Divine Liturgy in a small, ruined chapel on the island every year on Bright Tuesday. While they faithfully did this, none of them knew why the tradition had developed. That is until the saints began to speak to them in 1959.
Now the newly-revealed martyrs of Mytilene are remembered across the Orthodox world on Bright Tuesday.
Though these holy saints were martyred only ten years after the fall of Constantinople in 1453 AD, they still lived in Christ. This powerful testimony and witness of the power of the Resurrection of Jesus to make death impotent calls each of us to embrace this new and eternal life offered to the whole world by Christ’s resurrection. These saints, still alive in Christ, though tortured and killed for their devotion to Jesus Christ, invite us to hold our testimony of faith and piety even in the face of the subtle attacks on our faith in the affluence and easy hypocrisy of our modern age. To stand and remain Orthodox on purpose when it is so easy to compromise and make excuses for mediocre devotion is another witness to the Resurrection of Christ.
Today, as we remember the heroic lives of Sts Raphael, Nicholas, and Irene, let us join them in serious commitment and daily practice of the faith that makes death irrelevant and life all consuming.
For more information about these saints, go to http://www.goarch.org/chapel/saints_view?contentid=1045&type=saints