Period from 1463 to 1959: Appearances in visions of unidentified Priests of either one, either two, sometimes at master Arif’s mansion in the village and sometimes in a Chapel on the tiny mountain outside the village (where there used to be a broken altar and a round-fencing and it was shaded by a holly). They incensed the surprised and frightened people, with no one among the eye-witnesses of those appearances having ever suffered anything. In the unwritten mouth to mouth tradition the story about the "good ghost" circulates, which in fact was even seen by the Turks!
A shepherd boy, Silivis, was lost on the mountain three days and nights without being able to be found by his desperate relatives. When he reappeared in the village by himself, he explained that a good "nana" drove him to the Chapel and, whenever he was hungry, a "papa" came and looked after him!
In 1918, Mirsini Tsesmeli along with Zografia and another fellow villager, while they were taking food to their men who lit a kiln (burning wood to make coal) outside the village, they suddenly saw before them under a holly next to the Saint Marina’s Chapel a Priest in vestments and an opened Gospel. As soon as they saw him looking at them, they screamed and started running worried, losing him from sight at once, until their men rushed and encouraged them.
In the Albanian front, Marcos Kounellis had an unmistakable vision of the Virgin Mary in his tent. She told him that she was from Karies and that he had to leave the tent, or else he would get killed. Obeying her, he went out and a bomb exploded immediately and shattered everything.
In 1951, Helen Tsolaki encountered in the chapel of Karies an unknown who held a liturgy in the ruined chapel, but he was soon lost from her sight.
Moreover, in 1956, Panagiotis Gialouris from Plomari while supervising the gathering of olives next to the old path, met and spoke with a thin small-sized Cleric who was coming down the path of Karies and told him that he had descended from his Monastery in order to fish to dine with Raphael and Rinoula. Not only did his relatives who lived in Mytilene and knew the area not believe him, but he was amazed himself by the inexplicable encounter when they assured him that there was no Monastery in the area.
Refugee families that were accommodated in the abandoned Turkish mansion from 1922 onwards had seen this unknown "Priest! In their sleep"!
Stratis Tsesmelis, a 19 years old child, unexpectedly saw in front of Master Arif’s house the unknown Priest and ran away, since it was known that this house "was ghosted".
Maria Karadimitraki, later renamed as Maria Tsolaki, a seven years old girl, while she was sitting and reading, she saw a Priest incensing their house while it was locked up and being lost just when she screamed full of fear.
In 1947, a 17-year old boy, Yiannis Karadimitrakis, heading up to the neighbourhood on a Sunday night, faces outside the doorway of Master Arif’s house the legendary Priest, and another time he saw him descending to the village through the path that went through the house. He accelerated the pace of his steps out of fear, almost running to his house.
Unexpected events of AD 1959
June 23rd 1959: Finding of the monument of an unknown man, in an unexpected place, at some depth beneath the rubble of the ruined chapel in Karies by Doukas Tsolakis. It was a Christian, as shown by the tile with three crosses in his mouth. Doukas was opening the foundations in order to build a chapel for the Panagia (Virgin Mary), as promised by a vow of Angeliki Marangkou, the mother in law of the owner Angelos Rallis, since the time she had received benefaction from Panagia (Virgin Mary) of Karies in the years of her refuge. Hence, as he was digging, he discovered the monument. He was accompanied by his seven-year old son Dimitris and two younger children, who were playing carefree next to him, his younger son Panayis and his friend Nicholas Lachouris.
The bones of the unknown dead were producing a pleasant fragrance. The lower jaw was missing. In its place, a tile with three engraved crosses signified his religion. The monument was well-cared and built on red plates. It was covered by stone slabs.
Curiously enough, the bones were not pulled up with the shovel, until the unsuspecting Doukas was forced to lower his older son, Dimitris in order to retrieve them with his hands. These were the only ones who saw the skeleton inside the grave and respected the relics of the unknown Christian dead.
July 3rd: Display of an unknown Cleric in a midday vision of Maria Tsolakis above Karies. He was magnificent, with very bright eyes, without stepping on the earth, and he suddenly stood in the same position beheaded and covered with blood! Full of fear, she started running to the village with her little child. On the same night, see saw the Panagia (Virgin Mary) in a vivid dream who told her that she had nothing to fear because she saw no ghost but the Monk that was an ascetic up there and was slaughtered by the Turks; that he was the Abbot at her Monastery and that one day he would reveal his name and history; there were religious relics kept in the ruins; that the monastery up there was dedicated to two graces, Panagia and Saint Paraskevi, and that not only did she have to lit ordinary candles but also a vigilant sacred oil-lamp.
On Sunday after July 3rd: Doukas Tsolakis, early at dawn, going up the hill of Karies to chase a fox which choked a goat, suddenly saw an officer manifested crossing himself at every move. He was walking without stepping on earth and his face was shining. As he was coming towards him, he was frightened and attempted to shoot in order to intimidate him, but at the same time the paradoxical officer was lost in blinding flash. Doukas lost his sight for a few minutes. Once he recovered, he descended awestruck back to his house and tells his wife about his adventure.
One day, a little child, Mirsini Psani’s grandson, Michael Lamprinos went up with his grandmother in Karies, and by playing he threw and broke the skull of the unknown dead in seven pieces. Vasiliki Ralli with Maria Tsolaki, with a lot of care and diligence have collected them, reassembled them and put them back in a single hole.
From July to September: Maria Tsolaki used to see (not just “in a dream” but also “in presence”) the unknown Cleric with a cross on the chest and a prayer rope in hand. He repeatedly told her that he is a Holy Man, that he will perform miracles and that he was the one who had been seen by her when she was seven years old. "My Lady!", she shouted in fear, especially since the displayed Cleric was not seen by her intimates, who were forced to stand by her for encouragement.
Late July: Vasiliki Ralli saw in a dream that there used to be a charity foundation in Karies. More specifically, she saw inside the ruined Church a fitted plate that read "PREVANTORION 1433 ... OF MELPOMENI". The inscription was discovered in the excavations.
Early August: The Virgin Mary appears in a dream to Maria Tsolaki and tells her to tell Angelos Rallis to dismiss the workers who were building the little church in Karies because they blasphemed. Asking whether her husband should be dismissed as well, she said: "Yes, and your husband! I do not want my church to be built and to be blasphemed."
September 7th: Miracle of the unknown Priest in dying Paraskevi Dourgkouna and first Holy Mass in the newly built Chapel of Our Lady of Karies.
September 8th: Punishment of Doukas Tsolakis by the same unknown Cleric in vivid vision and pedagogy of him by the Virgin Mary and Saint Paraskevi in order to bring him to the way of God. After this mishap, those who mocked faith in the village have been engaged in constructive reflections thanks to his own this time stable confession.
October 5th: Vasiliki Ralli with Maria Tsolaki, who had her little son Panayis with her, ascended to the chapel. Under an olive tree next to the fountain, the little boy saw a nana with a black kerchief that was holding an icon and cried him to approach her. The women were not seeing anything and admonished him. On that same evening, Maria Tsolaki saw Panagia while being on an alert psychic state. "Maria, your child has not lied to you. I am Panagia (Virgin Mary). I was She who called it to come near me. In my hands I was holding my icon. Had you let it come to me, I'd give it in his arms. This is where Father Raphael, the monk who used to be an ascetic here over and was massacred by the Turks, has buried me with his own hands". Immediately, the unknown until then Cleric displayed himself and when showing him Panagia (VirginMary) says: "The bones you have found are his... Go to the priest of the neighbouring village Father Pachomius, tell him to go up the chapel and hold a service. Do make boiled wheat and commemorate the bones by the name Raphael".
On that same evening, Vasiliki Ralli sees in her sleep the Saint, who reveals his name to her and cured her of a chronic disease in the stomach by miracle.
October 7th - 17th: Saint Raphael is presented to several people and confirms his name: to Constantine Tsalikis, to the 14-year old Nikolaos Phikias, to Evglotia Svoronou (a retired professor from Pyrgoi), to Mirsini Lykardopoulou, to Maria Dourgkouna and to the Holy Monk Pachumius Sougioultzis. He reveals to the Priest that his origin is "from Ithaca” and calls, aside from the drawing of his icon on Mount Athos, to order and to demand the Service of his hymns. On that same morning on the Holy Mass, the name "Raphael Martyr ...” is mentioned in the Holy ritual.
November 11th: Display for the first time of an unknown young Priest. Amyrsouda Baka saw that she was found in the chapel of Karies where there was a small-sized and skinny Cleric. She asked him to perform a holy service for her and he replied: "I have no right to perform a service; I am still in need of a grade...". Efstratios Klimis resolves her question by saying that probably he would have had the first grade of the Priesthood, that of Deacon.
November 16th: Saint Raphael reveals to Maria Tsolaki the name of the second Cleric by saying: "I did not come here by myself. I came with Deacon Nicholas. He martyred right here himself with me as well. He is buried in the courtyard of the old church three meters on its left". Then he guided her a few meters away telling her: "Next to this point, Deacon Nicholas lies buried in the earth” and he blessed the land in front of them with the cross that he was holding in his hands. On the third time, he opened the ground and the skeleton appeared in full detail.
November 28th: On midday, Maria Tsolaki, holding her little two-year old son Manolis, ascended to Karies in order to get food to Doukas. As she was approaching the chapel, the olive trees on the road and around the chapel were dropping their branches to the ground and touched the earth. Then, they went up and dropped back down again. This was the case for a considerable period of time. It was not caused by the wind, since there was no wind. The other trees beyond them were standing still. She prayed with the sign of the cross: "Oh Dear Christ and Lady, what is it again?". Some pilgrims from Pamphyla stood and watched amazed the phenomenon. They could not explain it. Maria greeted them, but due to their absorption they not reciprocated the greeting. She made three prostrations before getting into the church and when she opened the door, a loud noise was heard as if there was an earthquake. She sees then a white Dove above the altar, with its wings opened. She lost her voice. The Dove was looking here and there, as if it was interrogating her with its eyes. Then it speaks in loud voice: My Lady!!! She thought, that someone must have closed it inside. For a moment the Dove turned its little head to Saint Raphael’s holy relics; these were kept beside the altar inside a wooden reliquary. Then, it was lost at once through the window of the Sanctuary. But the window was closed! Her blood froze, but at the same time she felt great joy in her heart, as she recounts. As soon as she went out, she speaks in a loud voice: "A Dove! A Dove!". "Do not act like this," says the commissioner of Pamphyla Vasilellis. "We have also felt the quake, we also heard the roar, and we are seeing the trees around dropping their branches since the morning after the Mass. And we do not know what to say and what to think. We have never seen nor read such things in a book".
December 22nd: Maria along with her mother and her children went to Karies on Christmas Eve in order to place on the box where the holy relics were put a weave with wide lace she had woven on the loom. Once she placed it, a loud sound was heard through the box, as if bird wings were heating. Suddenly the bones came to life and started moving inside the locked box. "Mother”, she tells her, “the bones have come to live". "Shut up, dear”, she replied. “Have you ever heard of bones coming to life? Are you crazy for good?". Then, she urges her to go and see by herself. She did not even manage to approach. When she saw the bones moving, she ran away and began screaming: "We came up here for good and we have brought our vow! What has caught us? My daughter, let’s leave this place!".
Late December: Saint Raphael instructs Maria Tsolaki: "Tell Vasiliki to do what she has in mind, but she should go to father Basil of Moria." Vasiliki Ralli - without having confided it to anyone- was puzzled and wanted to confess all events to an experienced spiritual. The answer would be given according to the Saint’s advice. Vasiliki Ralli, having been informed by one of their neighbours that father Basil was a very pious cleric and confessor, went to confess to him. Full of surprise, she sees him crossing himself and praising the name of God. Overnight in a dream the Priest had seen a wholly bright disk leading the crowds of believers and eventually turning into a deep red cross on an unknown hill. A voice explained him that this hill was the "second Golgotha"; it was in Thermi and that he ought to believe absolutely in what he would be informed in the following day.
Events of AD 1960
January 1st: a) Evangelia Kofou, with her fellow mother-in-law Mirsini Psani went up early in the morning to light the oil lamps and pray. Suddenly, as they were praying, they hear a nice chanting outside, as if a choir composed of many cantors was chanting. They went outside in order to see who chanted and did not see anyone. However, the chanting continued. Full of terror, they ran until they reached the village. b) Maria Tsolaki saw that she was found in the Church of Holy Mary’s Presentation in the village along with other Clergy and laity. Saint Raphael, elevated at the sanctuary, reveals all that had happened in Karies before leaving this life. An elderly clergyman and a new one were standing next to him. "One of the three of us," he reports, "has died a natural death; the other two were martyred." Then, he shows the young man, a short weak monk and says: "Both of us were foreigners. We came from the lands of Macedonia to Lesvos with the boat, from the port of Thermi. We where monks in Karies, where there used to be the Most Holy Theotokos Monastery. We have been living peacefully for a few years, up until the Turks arrived and occupied Lesvos. Then, they burnt the monastery and tortured us. I was slaughtered and the other one had a heart attack during our sufferings. The Christians buried us in secret".
January 8th: Saint Raphael reveals to Maria Tsolaki scenes from the first phase of his martyrdom with the cutting of his lower jaw, as well as the date this happened: "... it was April 9th of 1463".
January 9th: Saint Raphael indicates to Maria Tsolaki the place where they would find his sawn jaw at the foot of a rock deep within the earth, where he was first seen vivid, headless and covered with blood.
Sunday, January 10th: She and her husband Doukas go uphill Karies for the excavation. Aside from the married couple, Angela Marangkou and George Mikoniatis have been also witnesses to the discovery; the latter was passing with his sheep from that point by a fortunate coincidence and stopped in order to find out the reason they were digging such a large pit. They dag at the indicated spot for a considerable time and at a depth of about 2 meters they encountered a rock. They slumped it down and the jaw of the Saint was found beneath the rock! It was completely yellow and it had all the teeth. The fragrance which emerged was the same as the scent of the relics that had been found.
Maria placed the jaw on the window sill and not on the box, as she should. However, having been afraid that something would happen, she hastily threw it on the sill and left. On that evening, she saw the Saint being angry and strictly pointing his finger to her: "What did you do? This jaw what you put hastily on the window is mine. When the Turks had me hanged upside down on the walnut, they used a saw on me, they cut off my jaw and threw it away. The Christians who secretly went to Karies and buried us could not find my jaw in order to bury it with my slain body. You were not scared when Vasiliki and you washed my bones. What scared you now? Get up tomorrow early in the morning, go get it, wash it and place it inside the box along with the rest of my bones. If you do not act so, you will suffer what happened to your husband". This was all and he was lost within a light that looked like lightning. On the next day, she went, she took it with two other women, washed it and placed it in the box.
February: Third miracle of Saint Raphael in curing the soldier Athanasios Giavrimis who suffered from mental disorder.
March 3rd: Finding of the jar with burnt bones (one arm and one leg) of Saint Irene, after a dream of Virginia Adam, on the east of the spot where Maria Tsolaki had repeatedly seen the position of the monument of Deacon Nicholas. When the children's bones were found half-burnt, in order to mitigate the frustration of Angelos Rallis who was seeing his estate being destroyed by the excavations, Maria said: “Anyway, over here others have been slaughtered, others have been turned into roast and others have been served with onions...”.
On that evening, she fell to sleep on the floor between her children. Her simplicity made her believe that the Saint would not find her among her children. She sees in a dream Saint Raphael being very strict. He grabs her by the shoulder, she shakes her vigorously and she raises her upright, shaking her. "Why did you mock the bones found in the jar? This was not all; but because of you the others laughed as well. If only you knew what grief has been included in this jar, your heart would break! The Turks burned alive the little girl of the Notable in it after they mutilated it in the most brutal way in front of her parents. And, now that the bones were found, were you laughing? ". After what he said to her, he left her and continued: «You will find Saint Nicholas’ monument intact and covered with stones. You will not touch them, but the Priest will get them out. This night, you will stay awake near him."
March 30th: The village was divided concerning the celebration of the Saints. Some wanted to celebrate in the church on September 8th and others on Lamprotriti, Bright Tuesday. The solution was given from above. Maria Tsolaki saw three men with shining faces discussing with Virgin Mary in Ralli’s house. Our Lady tells her: "Maria, we are discussing for the festival. You say that you should not make it on Lamprotriti. But the celebration should be held on Lamprotriti. The Martyrs were arrested on Good Friday and were tortured until Lamprotriti, which is when they were massacred. On Holy Thursday, Saint Raphael held a service for the last time and commemorated the deceased fathers of the Monastery. Then, he placed my miraculous icon in the crypt, as well as the relics of the Monastery".
Early April: Another miraculous event that was also experienced by Maria is the following: along with her 6-year old son Panayis, she went to Saint George’s chapel on the beach in order to gather weed. A force grabbed her and her child and got them out of the path that leads to Karies up the hill. A black-dressed woman was walking in front of them, who just when she approached her in order to ask her how this happens, i.e. walking with her baby without touching the ground and heading to the opposite direction to that of the chapel of Karies, she was accelerating her departure. Once she arrived at the church, as soon as she went to light up the oil lamps, she heard a loud male voice: "Oh ... oh ... oh ... oh." Originally, she did not pay attention, but she heard the same voice for a second and a third time. She threw the candles in the candelabra and she left the basket with the knife she had taken for the weed on the floor and ran away together with her child. Turning backwards, she sees two hands with golden cuffs, with crosses over them, like those worn by the Priests, giving a blow to the door wings and thus shutting the outer door with a loud noise. Throughout the route, she was feeling Saint Raphael’s presence following her. Eventually, she met two women. One of them, Angeliki Maragkou, seeing her in an alerted state told her: "You are always scared all the time, but yet all the time you go up to Karies ". She did not reply. At home, her mother, seeing her without the basket with the weed, shouted at her.
In the evening, she saw Saint Raphael dressed in his vestments, telling her: "Maria, you should not have feared and leave. It was the right time for me to show you the mystery that is hidden on Karies".
May: The Metropolitan of Mytilene Iakovos II Kleomvrotos from the Sisanio and Siatista (†), is informed on the construction of a chapel without permission of the Metropolis. He calls on the Priest of the village and the Church Committee in the Metropolis. They took with them Doukas Tsolakis as well, having been the unique witness of the finding of the Saint, certainly in an attempt to mitigate the climate of tension. Their Metropolitan rebukes them with the aphoristic saying: "Even if the church was on the sky, you should have asked for permission". He paid no serious attention to the stories of Doukas about the findings and the displays, having serious reservations about them.
Late May: Maria Tsolaki saw in her sleep that she was ascending to Karies. At one point near the chapel she saw sitting a black-dressed woman sitting on a short top. She was pensive and sceptical. She asks her: "Nana, what is the matter with you and you are sitting so sad? Have you lost your way? May I help you with something?". “No, my daughter” she replied. “I am sitting here, because my icon is lying inside the land at this point. You walk through this place, you step on me and you do not bend over to pick me up." And she shows her the exact point.
Early June: Maria sees a dream different from all the others. She sees a horse rider that tells her boasting: "I am Saint Demetrius and I came to tell you not to insist on digging at the place you saw. Because, if you do so, you will find nothing and you will ridicule yourselves. There is no tomb of any Saint." Due to the unrest that his presence caused to her she realized this was a trap of the evil. At that time, she said, her mind and her heart were lit up and she asked him to make the cross. She went to do so as well and as soon as she touched the three fingers in the front, this false Saint got wild and shouted: "This cross that you do burns me"! And immediately, with screaming on such intensity as to make one deaf, he was lost like a smoke. She woke up confused, scared and disgusted. Tired from all these, she seems to have fallen asleep and she saw Virgin Mary and immediately Her scent and the sweetness of Her face sweetened her entire existence and warmed her heart. The joy returned. She then tells her: "It is the will of the Lord that you dig at this point because you will find Deacon Nicholas. This fact will certify the genuineness and authenticity of the holy relics. This is what the Bishop awaits in order to believe."
June 7th: After persistent exhortations of Angelos Rallis and the beseeching prayers of Father Efthimios, who was afraid of the Metropolitan’s rigour, Maria Tsolaki was forced to move along with Rallis’ mother in law Angeliki Maragkou at the Metropolis. Maria was entrusted with the sacred duty of testifying her own experiences as well. The Metropolitan was adamant no matter what he heard. He was demanding "physical evidence" in order to believe. Therefore, she was forced to confess to him her recent repeated experiences. She had seen Virgin Mary as a pensive nun standing on the path and explaining to her: "You walk, you step over me and you do not bend to pick me up"; and Saint Raphael complementing: "I have not come here by myself. I have come with Deacon Nicholas. He has martyred here with me. He is buried in the courtyard of the old church, three meters on its left". He directed her to a point with a wooden cross, he blessed the ground with the cross, the earth opened and he showed her the excavated monument, i.e. the stone tomb and the relic of Deacon Nicholas. The deceased had his skull mounted on two stones on the right and on the left and one other stone on top. A tile with two crosses at the mouth stated his belief. As she was describing all these in simplicity to the Metropolitan, he was prudently keeping and put her sign them. "If these are found ..., only then I will believe that they are of God and that what you say is true," he concluded.
Major reactions follow in the village for the venture. Angelos Rallis distressed tells her: "What did you do? We have not even ensured that the one person is a Saint and you brought us with a second one". Doukas, Maria’s husband was also his ally. Only Vasiliki told her: "You did well to tell the Bishop".
June 13th: Discovery of the lead seal with the form of the Virgin Mary and of the monument to the Deacon Saint Nicholas at the specific point that had been suggested and were deposited to the Metropolitan by Maria. The sacred relic of the Deacon was not moved from the grave. They left it intact inside the monument for three weeks for the joint view of believers, sceptics and infidels. It was guarded by Doukas all day and night who was noticing extraordinary and miraculous signs.
Miraculous revelations after the discovery: Melanthia Voulgarelli could not believe that there were other Christians as well who had experiences she had not, even though she was a good Christian woman greatly exercising the commandment of charity. Despite all the signs that were seen and discussed in the village, she had her objections. In fact, she was even saying that some Turk will be up there and that he was the one to be made the Saint. On midday, she got the answer that resolved her troubling with the reluctance that she had... This was also the case with her man in the most shocking way...
June 19th: First visit of the Metropolitan Iakovos of Mytilene to the hill of Karies. He notices that everything that had been deposited by Maria Tsolaki was precisely confirmed (the icon of the Virgin and the monument with the holy relic on the left of the little church, a tile with two crosses on the mouth, the skull mounted on two stones with his head tilted to the right, his hands crossed on his chest). This was the time that the Metropolitan finally believed in the authenticity of the revelations and exclaimed full of amazement: "This is a great sign!". These last two words were the title of the first book about the sacred affair composed by Fotis Kontoglou.
June 20th: Miracle of Saint Nicholas after a vision to the fisherman Kostas Kanellos. He was visibly blessing the seiners in a row, which have had days to catch fish and immediately granted a good "catch" to the fishermen.
Late June: Second miracle of Saint Nicholas (cure of the old lady Vasiliki Imvriotou with "synaleimma" [mixed lotion] from his holy relics).
June-July: Sometimes Saint Nicholas himself and sometimes the Virgin Mary accompanied by Saint Raphael appear in dreams or visions of several residents of Thermi or other Lesvians and affirmed them that the discovered relics belong to a Saint. They urge the patients to sore painful members of their body in the water from the washing of the holy relics in order to heal themselves or affirm them that they have released them from risks.
Early July: Forced and brief report on the unprecedented events by the Preachers of the Metropolis for the quite shocking events of Thermi; it seems that he did not know all that had been earlier mentioned to the Bishop in order to believe according to their confirmation.
July 5th: Three Priests perform the disposing of the holy relics of Deacon Nicholas. The Metropolitan had been confirmed of the outcome of the dreams according to the autopsy.
July: Maria Tsolaki and Vasiliki Ralli pay a visit to their chaplain Father Efthimios Tsolos. Having been annoyed from the words of certain people, the Priest had said a little time ago that he would never go up to Karies again, even if he broke his leg. During that afternoon, he did break his leg by slipping on the floor of the church while he was performing a baptism! He even had to be transferred in Athens, but he found no cure. The order of the Saint through the simple-mannered Maria made him repent for the word he had said. In the immediately following day, he ascended in full health with his stick of the chapel to fulfil his vow, according to which he had promised to make 40 holy functions.
Even though Father Efthimios was healed, he had doubts about the name of Saint Raphael and did not commemorate it out of fear of possible reprimands by the Metropolitan. Until they saw the Saint vivid in the Sanctuary, who rebuked him and prevented him for a long time to leave, saying: "Do believe me without doubt!".
During this period extraordinary supernatural incidents confirm and attest the holiness of the newly revealed Martyrs Raphael and Deacon Nicholas.
August: Display of Saint Nicholas in a vision to the elder Urania Nik. Vasileli in Karies and in fact only to her among the other attendants.
Fotis Kontoglou undertakes the writing of a book on the miraculous manifestation of the Saints and the painting of their first icon.
There are many who have discovered with their own eyes the holy spiritual experiences that make their presence felt inside the little church of Holy Mary, which as we will show, were the preludes of the manifestation of the icons of Christ and Virgin Mary.
September 17th: Our Lady along with Saint Paraskevi appear to Maria Tsolaki holding by the hand a little girl and reveal her that the child-martyr’s name is Irene. In the dream, the Saints Raphael and Nicholas were also present.
October 31st: Olive collectors visibly see Saint Raphael in daylight. And those who doubted on his appearance, saw him in front of the chapel. He slowly ascended to the sky and disappeared.
December 3rd: Saint Raphael reveals to Xeni Ralli the birthplace of Deacon Nicholas (i.e. Ragoi of Media).
December 6th: Maria in Karyes begs Virgin Mary to reveal to her where Her icons are. In one of her dreams, a small-sized monk tells her: "Do not have doubts Maria. There are two icons. The one in the Sanctuary, and the other in the courtyard. This, the one which is in the courtyard, will come out in great glory. I am Saint Nicholas. I was along with Saint Raphael, my Elder, in Athens, which is where our icon has been painted and now I have come". He also reveals her that he first met Saint Raphael at the age of 27 and that his Elder had "great gifts from the Lord" and that "he lifted the cross that the Lord has entrusted to him without murmuring" and ended up with the words: "One day he will tell you all his adventures."
Mid-December 1960: Virgin Mary appears to Maria Tsolaki and tells her: "Maria, I'm Panagia. Go tell to take care of getting out my icon, because I will perform an extraordinary miracle. You should know that there are two icons of mine. But now the one (icon) will come out, i.e. the one that is in the square. It has been enough that it has been in the ground for so many years. Go tell the priest of the village that you are also stepping on the altar. And you should also not linger to dig for the icon". Then, at the behest of the Virgin Mary she comes out of the door and sees Saint Raphael dressed in sacred clothes holding in his arms an icon in the form of Christ that radiated out of a bright light.
December: Official report of the metropolitan of Mytilene to the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece and the Ecumenical Patriarchate official holy-making of the Martyrs.
Christmas: Procession of the first icon with the two Saints and their holy relics in Thermi, with the Metropolitan of Mytilene Iakovos as prominent.
Display of Saint Irene in a vision to Eleni Karadimitraki at the Temple of Thermi next to the servicing Metropolitan.
Saint Raphael’s hint was Saint Irene should be glorified with them as well, because her life was angelic and "As we have martyred, she has martyred in a horrible way as well. She was burnt alive”. And the Saint continues telling Maria: "… go tell the Bishop that he has cared of us and he has lifted us from the ground, he has honoured us, he has glorified us, and we will take care of him and raise him in heaven. Go also tell him that from the time he entered the plane until he came to our island, I was with him. And when his airplane had a mechanical problem, I was on his side."
In the following day, Maria saw in a dream that she was rising to Karies. She had a meeting with a Priest who was coming down hastily. She made prostration, she kissed his hand and she heard him telling her: "I went to Karies in order to see Irene and the other monk. He died and we buried him, but Irene martyred with us; she was burned alive, and I want you to glorify her as well". He also assured her that it would not be long until the Bishop would come back to the village and that the icon of the Virgin Mary would be found and that they should not be upset.
The events of AD 1961
January 1st: Marigo Kandana sees Saint Raphael at the church village without recognizing him, holding a service along with father Efthimios. Nobody else confirmed to her what she saw. All of them were saying that there was only father Efthimios.
January 2nd: Saint Raphael speaks authoritatively to Maria Tsolaki, urging her to tell the Priest of the village to keep the church open as well as the box with the relics in order to be worshipped: "... It has been enough that so many years we have been inside the earth...".
January 7th: Eleftheria Kavoura sees a pale, weak and small-sized monk in her sleep and asks him if he is Father Raphael from Ithaca. He replied: "No. I am also a monk and I used to live up on Karies together with Saint Raphael, but I am from Thessaloniki".
January 12th: Discovery of a new tomb of an unknown dead next to Saint Nicholas’ monument. Before it was brought to daylight by Doukas, Nikos Podaras used to work in Komi. In the previous night he had seen Deacon Nicholas lying inside his grave without being dead. He listens to the saying: "Nikos, you will come to Karies, because tomorrow they will find my brother by my side!". He will not be present in the discovery of his brother, as the word of Saint Nicholas discloses in advance, “they will find my brother”, he tells him.
It is revealed to the student Kostas Psyroukis, to Maria Tsolaki and to Nikos Podaras that the found relic belongs to the teacher Theodore, as well as the kind of his tortures and his friendship with the two Saints. The mother in law of Thermi’s teacher also dreamt of this unknown to her teacher, Akindina Chatziantoniou, as being surrounded by children chanting "the champion defender”.
During the same days, Maria Tsolaki sees two unknown women climbing up the hill of Karies holding incenses in their hands. A black-dressed woman was standing behind them who was looking at them as if she was watching them. She asked her then to tell her who they are and where they go. She replies to her: "They go to Karies to incense the place where my icon is found inside the ground." She understood that it was Virgin Mary when she saw her gaze and she told her: "They dag and instead of finding your icon, we have found a skeleton". "Oh my dear daughter, the icon is there, but you need to fight in order to find faith as well. Have no doubts." And she resolves her question on the identity of the unknown dead that was found: "... He was the teacher of the village who has martyred up there along with the monks ... As far as the icon is concerned, one day you will find it, when you will be commanded by the Lord. Do not lose your courage".
Other dreams that are particularly revealing follow. We stand on one of them. Maria Tsolaki sees that as she was reaching to the chapel of Karies, she sees a black-dressed woman standing at the Royal Doors. An elderly priest stood on the right and on the other side stood a man of about 40 years old. Showing the layman, the black-dressed woman tells her: "Maria, he is the teacher of the village. The bones that you have found are his own. His name is Theodore ... As for my icon that you are looking for, it is found in the sanctuary. In the Sanctuary there used to be also my other icon which had been brought by the monks when they came to Lesvos from Thrace... When you find it in the cache ... I want you to sing the National Anthem. Up here in Karies they have martyred for the faith in Christ and for the homeland". The old Priest reminded her of the command of Our Lady that when Her icon would be found, the National Anthem should be sang and also complemented "the champion defender winning strategies". The priest introduced himself to her: "My name is Ignatius and I am the old abbot of the Monastery. I lived before Saint Raphael...".
February 29th: Mirsini Dourgkouna sees Saint Raphael showing her a place outside the church in which the Lord’s icon would be found later. At the same time, he sees a scroll that read: "I am the Light of the world. He that follows me will not walk in the darkness, but he will obtain the light of life".
February-March: Indications in many dreams to demolish the church, because underneath there were several remnants of the Relics of the Saint that had not been retracted and an entire Church was buried.
First week of March: An elderly monk was standing on a bench with a lot of candles. Maria asks him what these candles are and he replied: "All these candles will be burnt when the icon will come out ... you will find the icon. And there is not just one, but two icons. The one icon is in the church and the other one is in the courtyard ... When you find the icon, then you will learn my own name as well".
March 12th: Maria Tsolaki got up from her bed in order to get her crying baby in her arms. Suddenly she saw a light on the door of the room. A Priest comes out of it. She runs immediately, she grabs her baby and falls at the bed, covered up until her head out of fear. When she fell asleep for good, she sees the Priest again telling her: "... I was sent in by Saint Raphael. You will find the icon of Our Lady inside the Sanctuary, but there is also another icon in the courtyard, near the olive tree". Then, she recognized him; he was Deacon Nicholas.
March 14th: The date of arrival of the Saints in Thermi is made known (March 14, 1454) to Maria Tsolaki. "... They were raised”, according to what Virgin Mary told her, “by the notable of the village Basil and the teacher Theodore...".
April 5th: Saint Raphael does not allow the priest of the village to come out of the temple, scolding him. My Saint, he tells him, I believe you with all my heart. And his Saint replies: "Do believe me, have no doubt!".
April 12th: Chryssomalli Baka, while heading to the storehouse, sees a Priest in front of her surrounded by light. The cross in his chest was shining. He blocked her way. She cross-prayed and whispered: "He is Saint Raphael! My Lady, has he come to punish me because I had doubts about his holiness?" ... The Saint slowly stood aside and made her way to go to her house. This miraculous event had her faith fixed.
After Bright Tuesday, Saint Raphael is manifested to Maria Tsolaki, showing her in a strict mode the newly built church and telling her: "Will you finally knock down the church or should I do so?". He gives a kick in the wall and opens it from top to bottom. The next day, full of amazement they see the new walls having a large crack. A weak man was passing through the opening. The Metropolis had given an order to demolish the church.
April 18th: Maria Tsolaki saw in a dream that she was found in the church of the village and Father Efthimios at the lectern was chanting To God. Suddenly, Saint Raphael came out of the Royal Doors, dressed in his vestments. On their fear from the unexpected appearance of the saint, he reassured them and, after he narrated the sufferings of the notable’s family, he told them in the end: "When the notable’s wife saw the suffering of her daughter, she had a heart attack and she was buried in that place".
May 7th: The first chapel of the Virgin Mary is demolished and below its foundations a church of an earlier era is revealed. Only the altar was missing.
May 8th: Inside this church, the Bishop’s Throne was found covered with marble halfway and from then on a built semicircular shear wall by way socket with small bricks. It had three steps of red plates, as was also the case with the floor. The fresco of Christ as the Great High Priest could be clearly discerned. Three arches on the east showed where the Holy Step was. Out of fear of being incriminated by the archaeological authorities, the workers destroy it with the owner’s command. During the excavation, they found that Saint Raphael’s monument was inside the area of this ancient Church, which did not seem to be a quite large one. Inside the tomb, a few relics of the Saint were found, which were covered by the earth and Doukas had not noticed.
The remaining facts that are associated with the continuation of the history of the hill of Karies will be recorded as soon as the second and the third volume of the book "The Revelation and the Appearances of the Newly Revealed Holy Martyrs Raphael, Nicholas and Irene” will be published. In very brief summary and very succinctly, the following shall be presently told: the following volume will include experiences that manipulating the reader clearly and hopefully to the discovery of Virgin Platytera. The main witnessing belongs to Maria Tsolakis to whom the monk has reported: "As for the icon that you seek, you will find two monuments first and then will find the icon". The monuments were truly found and belonged to the notable Vasileios and to his daughter Saint Irene. They will also list as many witnesses as possible that are mentioned in the finding of the icon of the Almighty Lord, which radically change what has been known until present days. The most important element of all until now miraculous experiences, as it had been already announced, was the manifestation of the pectoral Icon (Engkolpion) of Christ Pantocrator covered with heavenly glory of divine light-giving at the excavation area where it was found, i.e. the courtyard of the old church. All this was preceded by the discovery of the designated Holy Water of the old monastery.