TESTIMONIALS OF PIOUS PILGRIMS

 

“In this site, a Monastery will be built...!”

Sophia M., mother of the shepherd Spiridon M. the owner of the goat pen that has been used as cells for the Brotherhood of Saint Raphael, was also a shepherd. She lived to reach about 100 years of age and she was a pious Christian. Ever-memorable Sophia M. used to say about the current site of Saint Raphael's Monastery, "In this site, a Monastery will be built!!!'' and after years her words came true.

Many Christians would see a light, when they went towards the Cemetery of Agios Dimitrios at Ano Souli and happened to look up the area where the Brotherhood of Saint Raphael is now located. A resident of Marathon, Ms. Maria G., said to the brethren that a few years ago, when she was passing by the road of the Cemetery, she saw a light that started at the opposite mountain and ended exactly at the point where the Monastery is today.

 

The miraculous healing of Juvenile Glaucoma

Ms. Kiki M. sent a letter to the Brotherhood, about her daughter, Stavroula M., 25 years old, a student of the Veterinary University of Thessaloniki. In the letter she wrote the following:

"As Stavroula explained, in the winter of 1998, her eyes began hurting and could not see well to study comfortably. In June of 1998, at the end of the academic year, she returned to her paternal home in Halandri, Attica, and visited the ophthalmologist, Doctor C. S. He recommended the use of a drug and wanted to see her again at the end of August. During the period until the next visit to the ophthalmologist, and despite her using the prescribed drug, the condition of her eyes was deteriorating. At the end of August, she visited the doctor again, who examined her more carefully and diagnosed Juvenile Glaucoma. Then, he told her to make a visual field examination. The examination showed that the left eye was unaffected only in the center, while the rest of it was covered by a membrane, and the right eye was almost half covered. On September 2nd, the feast day of the Brotherhood of St. Raphael, the whole family visited the site where Saint Raphael appeared to venerate him and to beg from the bottom of their hearts to help. Brother Raphael gave me some cotton soaked in oil from the candle of the Saint, and he told us to make the sign of cross with it on Stavroula's eyes daily.

We departed and thereafter Stavroula unfailingly put holy oil on her eyes. The grace of St. Raphael led Stavroula to the Athens General Hospital, where a specialist for glaucomas was in charge. After a few days, we visited him and he examined her eyes very carefully. He could not understand how the other doctors could see those shadows in her eyes, as now there was no such sign. Everything about her eyes was completely normal. He suggested that we repeat the visual field examination. In fact, that afternoon, he reexamined her eyes and behold the unbelievable! The right eye was completely clear, while the left had only a small shadow left. We could not believe what we were hearing and living. Saint Raphael had worked a miracle for us. The next day, we all went to Saint Raphael’s monastery to worship and praise him along with the Brotherhood, who was truly happy to hear our story.

At the end of September, Stavroula returned back to Thessaloniki for her studies. One day, while she was at the University along with her fellow students she was telling the story of her illness and about the divine grace of Saint Raphael. One of her fellow students had doubts about the truth of the incident saying that everything was about coincidences and conceits. That same night Saint Raphael appeared in her dream and asked her: “Why are you still doubting? I am right here, in front of you. Now, do you believe in me?” The next morning, that student met Stavroula and in tears she told her about her dream moaning “I believe, I believe”. After a year, Stavroula repeated the visual field examination, and it was found that the condition of the eyes remained absolutely stable.

After all these events, the whole family thanks and daily venerates St. Raphael and his company Saint Nikolaos and virgin-martyr Irene."

 

"... I wrote about Saint Raphael, but they did not believe me..."

In a letter to the Brotherhood, the student, Cyprian I., states the following:

"My Respected Elder, I was born in the city of Lovech in Bulgaria and came to Greece. I am 12 years old; I live in Koliatsou Square, in Athens, and go to the first class of high school. I was baptized Orthodox Christian, and I was given the name Cyprian while my original Slavic name was Krassimir. For a long time I had a serious problem with my right eye - I could not see well. One day, along with my Mother and my Godmother, I visited the Monastery of St. Raphael, at Ano Souli, Marathon. There, my mom explained the problem to the Elder. He gave me a cotton-tipped swab soaked with oil from the Sleepless-oil lamp of the Saint, and he suggested that I pray with deep faith and daily make the sign of cross on my almost blind eye. I did what the Elder recommended and after 15 days, I suddenly realized that I could see clearly - even the closed captioning in the movies on the television. I said it to my Mom who cried from joy and immediately went to Saint Raphael to thank him. I could not go to Ano Souli to thank him because I go to school, and my parents work even at the weekend. A few days ago, at school, the teacher asked us to write an essay of what we think about religion. I wrote about St. Raphael's help, but the teachers and the headmaster did not believe me. They called my Mom and asked her whether I am lying or if it is my imagination. Indignant, however, my Mother assured them that the miracle of the Saint is true.''

 

She had prayed with contrition and solemnity

One afternoon, Mr. A.K.rushed to the Monastery accompanied by his daughter; he had come from the neighboring village of Grammatiko to venerate the Saint. He wanted to thank him for the sudden cure he had provided his wife who suffered from a serious bone disease. His wife was a patient at the Trauma Hospital in Kifissia and had been scheduled for surgery. On the eve of the surgery, she had prayed with contrition and solemnity, imploring the Virgin Mary to help her. Suddenly, through blurry, tear-filled eyes, she noticed a small icon of Saint Raphael, Nicholas and Irene on the table next to her bed. In desperation she fervently prayed to Saint Raphael to mediate for help. The next morning, the surgeons discovered to their great astonishment that the patient was cured, and so instead of performing the surgery, they discharged her. However, they were unable to find any explanation for that sudden healing. The former patient, however, knows well that she owes her health to Saint Raphael and she thanks Him with all her heart.

 

She sauntered up the steps like a teenager

Ms.Th.Z. visited the Brotherhood on a weekday to venerate the Saint. Because of her advanced age and the problem with her legs, her walking was seriously debilitated and it was completely impossible for her to c limb the two low steps in order to enter the place of prayer. Then, wanting to encourage her, her husband told her to try, and that St. Raphael would help. Plucking up courage, and making an effort to move up the two steps, she suddenly felt reinforced! She sauntered up the steps like a teenager, she venerated the Saint, she prayed and then descended the steps on exiting the Saint's little chapel as though her legs had no impediment whatsoever. The Saint had once again performed a miracle!!

 

«Dear Saint, did you forget about me?"

Ms. Magda T. sent a letter to the brotherhood, saying that when she had visited the monastery, she had felt awe and joy while gazing at the shrine of Saint Raphael. Some minutes later, s he said in a loud voice, "Dear Saint, did you forget about me?" Of course, she meant the difficulties that she had been facing at work. Later she found out that the Saint had o ffered his help, not by solving her job problems, but something far more important; according to her, he cured a person very dear to her, whom she loved even more than her life. As she narrates: "One of the brethren gave me a piece of cotton wool soaked in the oil of the Saint's unsleeping lamp. My beloved one had a small tumor inside his nostril and the doctor had told him that he needed surgery. Immediately after my pilgrimage to Saint Raphael I smeared the Saint's blessed oil on his ailing nose. The next morning, he began to sneeze and by the grace of the Saint the tumor disappeared from the nostril. The Doctor was speechless when he examined him, because there was no trace of the tumor in his nostril."

 

Cure of a malignant tumor

During a visit to the shrine of Saint Raphael, Mr. E. M. had brought Mrs. Catherine II, because she was diagnosed with a malignant tumor and in a few days had to undergo surgery. After the brethren offered up a Supplication to Saint Raphael, they gave her some oil from the unsleeping lamp of the Saint. A few days later, Mrs. Catherine came to the monastery again and informed the brethren that from the day she was given the oil from the lamp, she had daily applied it to the spot where the surgery was going to be performed. On the day of the surgery the doctors diagnosed that the tumor had disappeared. Mrs. Catherine has been a faithful pilgrim of Saint Raphael ever since.

 

"...Saint Raphael, your grace is great..."

Mr. George A. says in his letter to the Brotherhood that, after his visit to the Monastery, he noticed that a wart had appeared on his right chest one day while in the bathroom. Over the following days he noticed that the wart was growing. This caused him great concern. He visited his doctor, who recommended the removal of the wart as soon as possible, because such cases are suspicious. He decided to follow the recommendation of the doctor, but first decided he wanted to pray to Saint Raphael. After going to the Monastery again and having venerated the Saint and prayed, he received the blessing of the Elder, who offered him a piece of cotton wool soaked in the oil from the Unsleeping Lamp of the Saint. By applying the oil daily where the wart was, he felt ready for the pending surgery. One evening, while bathing, the wart fell off on its own, without having being touched by him, and without leaving any mark on the skin. He concluded in his letter that this event proved the power and grace of St Raphael, whom he often visits and venerates, and strongly recommends to friends and acquaintances to emulate him.

 

"I saw Saint Irene in a dream, looking exactly as she is depicted in icons..."

In a letter to the Brotherhood, Marianthi P. mentioned the following experience.

"In the evening of the Holy Wednesday, I was suffering from high fever and chills. This condition continued during Holy Thursday and Good Friday, and it even worsened. On Good Friday night, at around 23:45, seeing that I could not sleep, I took an icon of St. Raphael with his accompanying Saints and beseeched Saint Irene saying, "Come and visit me, my little Saint Irene." I was praying continuously. In a while I fell asleep and I saw Saint Irene in a dream, looking exactly as she is depicted in icons, with auburn hair, about my height, wearing a long white robe. She invited me to go for a walk with her. I envisioned that we were in a place similar to Ano Souli, Marathon where the Monastery of St. Raphael is situated. I asked her how she felt during her martyrdom. She told me that she was not afraid at all, because she had God as her protector. After that, I woke up, feeling an immense joy and peace. I immediately told my parents about the dream and later on, with the first opportunity, I also told my confessor. After that experience, my condition began improving gradually, until I became completely well. Of course, I thanked Saint Irene from the bottom of my heart, for having heard and responded to my request to meet her up close, and I promptly went to the Monastery of Saint Raphael at Ano Souli to venerate."

 

The miraculous healing of arm paralysis

Ms. Efi P. Wrote a letter to the Brotherhood, the content of which was the following:

"I would like to mention the following event that happened to me. I visited the Monastery of Saint Raphael at Ano Souli, Marathon, to venerate his grace and ask him to intercede to the Lord for my health. Given that I am a sculptor and a potter, my right arm is subjected to excessive strain. As a result of this strain, I suffered from terrible pains and gradually my arm became completely numb and was unresponsive. So I wrap ped it with a bandage and a splint and placed it in a sling hanging from my neck. The physicians that I visited made me despair, by saying that there was no cure and that therefore I should get used to living with the use of my left arm only. With deep faith and in tears, I begged St. Raphael to intercede to the Lord for help. I left the Brotherhood, emotionally charged on the way home. It was evening when I arrived home, and was in terrible pain; unable to sleep, I waited for the day to dawn. At dawn I realized quite unexpectedly that my arm did not have any problem and that it was healed. From that day on, my arm has not felt any discomfort whatsoever. I believe I owe this healing to the intercession of St. Raphael whom I will respect forever."

 

"... I'm always here..."

Mrs. Vayia P. recounted the following incident to members of the Brotherhood: "... I had dreamt that I was at Ano Souli, inside the precincts of the Monastery of Saint Raphael, near the entrance gate, and that I was walking along the concrete path towards the steps that lead to the Chapel of Saint Raphael. Suddenly, there in front of me, at a short distance, I saw a little girl with a sweet face that shone. I said, "Hello, my little girl, I come to venerate Saint Raphael. Who are you?" The little girl replied,"I am Irene." I asked in amazement. "Irene? Which Irene? Saint Irene? Where do you live? "The girl, pointing at the Church, said, "Over there." I asked her when I could come and see her again to venerate her. The girl replied, "I am always here." Then, as soon as she finished her sentence, she instantly disappeared. When I woke up and recovered from my astonishment I realized that the girl was the Holy Virgin Martyr Irene who had visited me in my dream."

 

"I kept reading the Apolytikion Prayer of Saint Raphael continuously."

Mrs. Valsamo F. sent the following letter to the Brotherhood of St. Raphael:

"Because I want the testimony of the blessings that the Lord gave me through the intercession of St. Raphael to become known throughout all time, I hereby testify what great and miraculous things happened to me. Mid December I began to feel unwell, so I went to the doctor. He recommended a series of tests in order to diagnose what was happening to me. I immediately hastened to undergo a series of medical tests because I wanted to get them done before the Christmas and New Year holiday, given that doctors usually go on vacation during the holidays. The blood tests showed that my hematocrit was dangerously low. Additionally, early in January I began to suffer from severe pain in the right breast, which was rapidly becoming swollen. The doctor who was treating me continued with his lab tests, striving to reach a diagnosis. Meanwhile, the pain and the swelling became worse. I was very alarmed by this situation. My only hope and refuge were my prayer and my entreaty to divine Grace to help me. Seeking strength to endure the pain, I kept reading the Apolytikion Prayer of St. Raphael continuously, beseeching him with all my heart to intercede to our Lord for my healing. In the meantime, one of the brethren of the Monastery of St. Raphael at Ano Souli, Marathon, had given me a small piece of cottonwool soaked with oil from the Unsleeping Lamp of the Saint, with which I signed my sore breast with the sign of the Cross on a daily basis; and indeed, the wondrous Grace of the Lord and Saint Raphael worked the miracle: The third time that I signed my breast with the Cross, the pain subsided, I plucked up courage, so I continued my prayers and entreaties even more fervently while incessantly smearing the sign of the Cross on my sick breast with the oil from the Unsleeping Lamp of the Saint. Gradually the pain disappeared, as did the swelling, and even though the doctors continued to run tests, I felt amazingly well as of mid March, thanks to the glory of God and our Lord Jesus Christ and His Saints Raphael, Nicholaos and Irene - albeit to the astonishment of my doctors for that inexplicable healing without the help of science."

 

"I am Raphael!!!!"

Mr. K. G. visited the Monastery and told the brethren the following incident:

"I have a cafeteria in Penteli; one night, I noticed a tall monk entering the cafeteria and approaching the counter where I stood. He asked me for a glass of water. After I gave him some water he said: "I am Raphael. Come to my home which is located at Ano Souli, pay your respects, and I will cure you." I mentioned this incident to my wife, and together we began looking for the place called Ano Souli and also where the home of the Saint might possibly be. We had dedicated quite some time to the process of searching. By asking around, we eventually located the brotherhood, and as soon as I saw the Saint's image in the icon inside the Chapel, I immediately recognized the man who had come to my shop."

After paying his respects to the Saint and telling the brethren of the above incident, the man departed. A few days later, the brethren contacted the man and confirmed that indeed Saint Raphael had cured him as well as his son of cancer.

 

"... I will cure you..."

Mrs. M. G. who lived in Kapandriti had cancer. When she visited the Monastery of Saint Raphael she told the brethren that during surgery she had seen Saint Raphael in a dream, standing on a rocky area, blessing her from there and saying, "I will cure you. Come and visit me." And Mrs. M. G. said, "From that day on, I had continuously been searching for the rocky place that the Saint had stood on; when I saw the Monastery of Saint Raphael built on this rocky terrain at Ano Souli, I immediately realized that this was the spot that Saint Raphael had blessed me from and I had afterwards been cured."

 

Miraculous cure of prostate cancer

Mrs. Maria had visited the Monastery of Saint Raphael and had asked for some oil from the Unsleeping Lamp of St. Raphael, because her husband had been suffering from prostate cancer; he had undergone surgery but had not gotten better. The brethren indeed gave her some oil from the Unsleeping Lamp, and from the day that the patient applied the oil, he was cured.

 

"I would like you to please write down what I am going to tell you..."

On the Wednesday following Easter, on Saint Raphael's Feast day, a family visited the Monastery, wishing to venerate the Saint. After they had finished, the mother, Mrs. Evangelia, told the brethren that in the past she had a problem with her voice and could not speak at all. She added that, "I would like you to please write down what I am going to tell you because what Saint Raphael did for me is a great miracle."Then, she explained to the brethren that for two years she had been going to numerous hospitals. One night, while she was sleeping in the hospital, desperate because of her problem, she saw in her dream that she was struggling with the devil, but did not feel afraid because she felt the presence of the Saint on the edge of her bed, who leaned over and pressed two of his fingers against her neck, then tweaked the spot and plucked something out, and immediately instructed her "Now shout out loud!" - which she did, and realized that her voice had been restored. Mrs. Evangelia's daughter was listening to the story of the miracle, visibly moved. The most important thing, however, was her husband, who told us that he did not have strong faith in God. He had seen a dream the night before, of a monk (who was St. Raphael) telling him to go and pay his respects. They had learnt of Saint Raphael at Ano Souli, Marathon, thanks to a booklet published by our Brotherhood, which Mrs. Evangelia had found next to her bed one day, when she was being hospitalized. That booklet had a map with instructions on how to get to the Monastery from the Interstate Highway. So, upon the Saint's exhortation to Mrs. Evangelia’s husband, they finally came here from their village near Thebes to tell us of the great miracle that Saint Raphael had performed, and to offer their thanks and glorification to him for his great benefaction.

 

"... Saint Raphael can hear you..."

One afternoon, the Headmaster of a Primary School, Mr. S.V., visited the Monastery of Saint Raphael along with a friend. After having venerated Saint Raphael they were ready to leave, and the Elder accompanied them to the gate. The headmaster’s friend said: "Elder, please pray to the Saint because I have been unemployed for two years now." The Elder answered: "Saint Raphael can hear you." The next day the Headmaster contacted the Elder and said that, when his friend returned home he received a phone call with a job offer in the town of Chalkis.

 

"... I was struck by his tranquility and his grandeur"

Some time ago, a young man, S.C., visited the Monastery to venerate Saint Raphael. Sad and disappointed, he told the brethren about the bad situation, which he unexpectedly found himself into: A sudden health problem had arisen, and at the same time he lost his job and was facing serious financial problems. His morale was so shaken that he admitted he even harbored suicidal thoughts. The brethren encouraged him to seek help from God and from St. Raphael who heal souls and bodies and who lead our lives onto peaceful and luminous paths. And that was what he did, by going regularly to pray and to venerate the Saint, while continuing his personal struggle and also offering to help the brethren whenever and wherever he could. And indeed, through God responded to his supplications and by His Grace gave him the help he needed.

A typical example of Saint Raphael's help is the following incident: After the diagnostic tests for S.C. had been completed and he had asked to pay, they asked him how it was possible he had not already paid, given that they did not find any record of pending paymentand in the event that the record was lost, he would not be obliged to pay.

The most wonderful thing that had happened was when Saint Raphael had predetermined S.C.'s future. A woman, who was acquainted with S.C. had come and told one of the brethren the following, ''I had a dream that I was in a small room full of icons and crosses, and I was sitting in a chair by a table in the center of the room. Opposite of me was St. Raphael, dressed in monk's attire, with a monk's cap and holding a prayer rope and we were conversing. I was struck by his tranquility and his grandeur as he was giving me advice about my own future while we were talking about S.C. He then suddenly brought out a box containing two wedding rings. He gave me the one ring, but it looked too big and I was sure it wasn't my size. Nevertheless, the Saint insisted ''put it on and see," so I obeyed, and I immediately wondered at how that wedding ring fitted perfectly (and could no longer fall off). He told me to give the \other wedding ring to S. C.

I told S.C. about my dream and we decided to unite our lives with the holy sacrament of marriage. "

 

Saint Raphael saved an unborn child

David F., a computer engineer of Romanian descent, had visited the Monastery with his wife and told the brethren of the miracle that happened to them. He said that during his wife's pregnancy the prenatal tests showed that the fetus had black spots in the abdomen and in the brain. They decided, therefore, to dedicate the child to Saint Raphael. However, the next series of tests showed that the black spots in the brain and in the abdomen had disappeared. This miracle reinforced their faith, and they decided to name the child Raphael. One day, while passing through the district of Ano Souli, Marathon by chance and noticing the road signs indicating "To Saint Raphael" and, given the respect and the love they had for the Saint, they decided to deviate from their route in order to pay a visit to the Monastery, and also decided to baptize the child at the Monastery where the Saint had appeared. After some time they returned, this time with their child - who was born healthy - to thank the Saint and to ask for his blessing and grace.

 

The Saint blesses occupations

When the Monastery's Phiale was being constructed, the brethren had contacted a metal-worker to give him the designs for the large metal Cross that was to be placed on the dome of the Phiale. The metal-worker's business was not running smoothly and he had been facing serious economic problems; and yet, from the day that he made the Cross for St. Raphael, his business began unexpectedly improving. Some time later he came to the Monastery to joyfully announce the good news and to venerate the Saint with devotion.

 

"Could you also give me whatever you gave my boss?"

One day the brethren went to a regional car dealer to buy a car needed for their work and their transportation. They purchased a car and the Elder gave a small icon of St. Raphael to the dealer. A few months later, a young Albanian who happened to work for the above dealer came to the Brotherhood, saying: "Could you also give me whatever you gave my boss?". The brethren asked,"What did we give him?". "An icon of Saint Raphael," he replied; "because, from that day on, his business has been booming". He had heard his boss often saying that ever since he was given the icon of the Saint, his business was doing very well, which is why he decided to ask for one for himself.

 

"...Oh my God, will I be able to remember all that?"

One day Evanglos S. visited Saint Raphael's Monastery along with his wife Effie and he told the brethren of the experience he had with Saint Rafael, so that it might be recorded. He recounted the following:

"It was during the days following my uncle's death. Because I loved him so much, I would light an oil lamp for him every night. I would replenish the oil and change the wick, as necessary. Also, it was during that same period that I happened to find three or four booklets from Saint Raphael's Monastery. So, before going to bed at night, I would read them. One night, after lighting the oil lamp, I read a bit and fell asleep. A few hours later - I don't know what time it was - I suddenly heard a noise coming from the fridge and then a sputtering sound like the one an oil lamp makes when its flame expires. At that moment a fear overtook me on hearing all those sounds, and I opened my eyes. At the same time I felt a breeze - as though a draught of fresh air had entered the room - and then I felt my mattress sinking to one side, as if someone had sat on it. I immediately turned around for a better look, when I saw someone dressed in clerical attire sitting on my bed. He was neatly attired, complete with the stole and all the other vestments of a priest. His wavy and grayish hair was gathered and tied at the back. His eyes were green or blue; he had a very handsome face and pointed beard. Meantime, albeit the man was right next to me, I was nevertheless filled with fear, so I mentally made the sign of Cross and said a prayer, but then I suddenly made a move with my hand and touched his face. And with that, I fell asleep. And I kept saying to myself, “Oh my God, will I be able to remember all that?” - because I can never remember what I see in my dreams. Well, the next morning I was able to recall every detail.

There was a sketch of the Saint in those booklets, and I was convinced that it was definitely the Saint whom I had seen in my dream - without a doubt. I then began lookingfor a proper icon of Saint Raphael to have in my house, but time passed and I couldn't find one. Eventually one day I did find it, and I promised him I would go venerate him." But I was not able to go and visit him. Problems had been accumulating day after day, and all those difficulties had been hindering me from going to the island (Lesvos) where his main Church is, to light a candle. Recently, my wife told me, "You know, tomorrow is St. Raphael's feast day." In a panic, I began searching around for Churches dedicated to Saint Raphael, but couldn't find any... Later on, my wife spoke to a friend and said, "We are trying to locate a Church dedicated to Saint Raphael but we can't find one" - to which the friend replied, "What are you guys saying? There's one at Ano Souli, Marathon..." She then gave us details on how to get here.

So, here we are, at your Monastery which is dedicated to the Saint, intending to fulfil my promise. I will light a very big candle..."

Evangelos and his wife Effie have since come to the Monastery several times. On one of those occasions, he had added - among other things - the following:

"...Lately I have noticed that the Saint has been making his presence felt more often. Sometimes, when looking at His icon, a feeling of joy comes over me, and I am inclined to instictively smile. One time, when I lit the oil lamp that hangs in front of his icon and had made sure it was motionless, it began swinging back and forth on its own for about ten minutes, even though there was no draught of wind going through the room. I made the sign of the Cross and called my wife who came and saw it as well. Another time, while we were talking about the Saint, a powerful fragrance like incense spread throughout the room. I went into another room, but I could smell it there, too; I went to yet another room and the fragrance was evident in there as well. For quite some time I could smell incense everywhere inside the house"

 

"We were in such dire need of financial relief..."

Not long ago, Vangelis.S.had sent the Brotherhood of St. Raphael at Ano Souli, Marathon, the following letter:

"I am confiding to you that lately I have begun praying to St. Raphael for my business. I would beseech him, every day, "to improve the financial situation at work, allowing me to take a breath of financial security because the economy was falling apart, the market was at a standstill, and I could see no way out." Meanwhile, my wife Effie also had problems at the store where she worked, with even worse monetary problems. T hen one Sunday we decided to pray at the sacred Monastery of Saints Raphael, Nicholas and Irene at Ano Souli, and even brought an offering-cake to Saint Raphael, which father Raphael was going to bless, and offer special supplicatory prayers for our jobs. Well, from that day on, certain miracles happened:

From the day that we brought the offering-cake to the Saint, my wife's boss has been in a state of amazement, as he has been receiving new orders every single day. Eventually he said to us, "One Sunday I too will go to Saint Raphael's to light a candle!" My wife had reassured him: "You'll see! The Saints perform miracles!"

As for my own business, listen to what happened: I import spare parts. I bring them here from abroad and distribute them to shops all over Greece. Lately I had a lot of problems because the market had been drying up; the shops that I supplied didn't want to place any new orders. There is a significant number of shops which haven't been ordering supplies from me for years. Every time I called them on the phone, they would say, "Thanks, but we deal in such and such a brand and we purchase them through the official representative in Greece. We can't buy them from anothe supplier." It's been the same story for years. When we were praying for our jobs, I happened to learn that the long-term contract with the sole representative had been dissolved. Those stores' headquarters had been working through that one and only representative, when the agreement was suddenly annulled; thus, all the stores that purchased spare parts through that agent were left stranded... I thought of making a move and calling some of those stores. And that's how it began. As soon as I began phoning them, everyone showed interest and began to order. As they began to order, I would ask them: "For years you refused to order from me; how come you're ordering from me now?'' They explained that the agreement with the exclusive representative fell through, so the headquarters gave us the message to obtain the spare parts from whichever source we want."

The most surprising and impressive thing, I would say, is that the company headquarters themselves had proposed that I supply the stores with their spare parts. And thus, most stores decided to work with me. My joy was overwhelming.

However one day I heard that the headquarters had decided to reinstate the former representative, consequently bringing everything back to the previous status. Immediately I felt as though something was strangling me - you cannot imagine the state I was in. Very sad and disappointed, I rang the Brotherhood of St. Raphael, and spoke with father Raphael. I asked him to pray to Saint Raphael to help me, because things were not going well once again. He immediately consoled me, and it was as if he had injected life into my heart! He said, "Don't be afraid! Keep going, and don't worry. You're still at the beginning! Let me now interrupt my chores and go to the Saint's church and light a candle for you!'' Well, I hung up the phone, and barely three minutes later I got a call from the owner of a store who wanted to place an order and who told me: ''Whether by coincidence or not - we don't know - the headquarters nominated you as the agent that will supply their products." I asked him, "What is their phone number?" … And so I called them and spoke to a manager of the company who said: "Don't listen to any rumor. The status won't change; it will remain the same, and is not expected to change any time soon. "Overjoyed, I immediately called Fr. Raphael again and told him the good news. He, in turn, glorified God and Saints Raphael, Nicholas and Irene for their immediate response.

I thank God then, as well as Saints Raphael, Nicholas and Irene, who have been working so many miracles. We were in such dire need of financial relief because we couldn't afford to continue any longer; and it was at just that difficult moment that the miracle took place. In fact I was stumped, at how there could be so many stores that needed supplies and yet none of them preferred to buy from me. I could see no way out and no visible solution to our financial problems, but now everything has changed - we have a very heavy workload of orders, and we have truly recovered financially.

Moreover, now that the customers know me better, even if headquarters do instate an official representative, they will not cease working with me as well. More importantly, the mother company abroad has now halved the number of stores that officially work with them; therefore the others will necessarily continue working with me.

We constantly glorify God and our miracle-working saints, and we even decided that if God blesses us with a child we will name it Raphael if it's a boy, and if it's a girl, we will call her Irene after little Saint Irene who martyred along with Saint Raphael. Let their name be glorified. We thank them!"

 

"For those in grief, pain, suffering and hope"

In February of 2009 Mrs. Nektaria K. sent the following letter to the Brotherhood of Saint Raphael, a t Ano Souli, Marathon, with the title "For those in grief, pain, suffering and hope":

My Lord Jesus, my Swiftly-responding Lady “Gorgoepikoos”, Martyr-Saints Raphael, Nicholas and Irene, Saint Nektarios, Saint Ephraim and all the Saints, Archangels, and Angels of God, I thank you all and praise you for protecting, blessing and curing my 11-year old son Dimitris.

In March of 2004, my son, then a 5-year old boy, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at the Children's Hospital "Aglaia Kyriakou." He had undergone chemotherapy for seven months, but was still in a bad shape. A Calvary of agony began for us, while striving to help him. The road in front of us was long and unknown. Tragedy knocked at our door and unhappiness came in and sat down in our heart. But we did not lose hope, nor our faith in God. The child was well, after 7 months of treatment; he had returned to his daily activities of playing and attending school. However, it is common for people to go through difficult times, and we should never say "Why did it happen to me?" We must have patience.

Two years later, misfortune knocked on our door again. The child was 7 years old when the disease relapsed; life became a cruel torment, the days that ensued were unbearable and the nights seemed endless. We were praying to wake up one morning and discover that it was only a bad dream that faded at dawn. However, what we had endured was a reality that we had to look straight in the eyes again and fight it. The doctors did everything to save our child the first time he had the disease, and they were fighting with us once again -each one in his own way- but the final decision depended on the Almighty and his Saints and Angels.

He started a second cycle of very heavy chemotherapy, and then he underwent bone marrow transplantation in order to again tackle the disease that had returned after 2 years. We felt our heart was bleeding from the unbearable emotional agony, and our legs felt weak. The days and the nights felt like endless centuries, and the Doctors did not give us much hope; again we gave our fight, waiting for God's will. Our only hope was with the Swiftly-Responding Virgin Mary, Martyr Saints Raphael, Nicholas and Irene, St. Nektarios, St. Ephrem and all of God’s Saints. Day and night we were praying to them with pain and agony in our heart, with broken voice through sobs and tears, and with trembling hands from the stress of the next moment.

Again the Saints were close to the child; they helped him come back victorious from the fight that he had daily been giving for about a year. However, the fight did not end there, because three years later the disease came back for a third time. Everything around us blackened once again; our heart was broken; our arms and legs could no longer support us, but we had to fight back again. Where was one to find the strength and courage to continue? How much courage could one have, after having suffered so much already? Who could lift us up when we, all the family, had already been pounded down to the ground? ... So, just as we had done in the past, we slowly turned our heads upwards once again and looked towards heaven. We prayed earnestly to Christ, to the sweet Mother Mary, to Saints Raphael, Nicholas and Irene, to St. Nektarios, to St. Ephraim, and to all of God’s Saints because it was obvious that a Saint and an Angel had always been with him, given that the child had endured such an ordeal with so many risks for his life. We again began to fight the third battle with prayer s and fait h. Because of the multiple chemotherapies the child became weak and fragile physically as well as psychologically. Nevertheless, we had to resume the battle again to save his life. The Doctors again began doing their best, but they were not sure about the progress of the disease because they are no gods. Only the Lord Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary know, and we beseeched them to send Saint Raphael with his companions, Saint Nektarios and all the Saints to save our child.

As we had done during all the previous occasions and years, every day we began reading the miracles of the Saints, to anoint the child daily with the oil from their lamp, to give him holy water, and to cry out with faith for their help. Our Saints listen to our pleas and do not leave anyone helpless. "Things that are impossible by people become possible by God”… I prayed to the Virgin Mary because She can better understand our unbearable pain, also because no human being could save our child, not even I who gave birth to him. So, I prayed to Her to take our son by t he hand and to give him life, and to the Lord I prayed to send His saints. Whenever our son did not have chemotherapy sessions, we went to venerate the Virgin Mary the Gorgoepekoos, the Great Martyr Saints Raphael, Nicholas and Irene a t Ano Souli, Marathon, where we stayed for a while; the brethren gave us oil from the Unsleeping Lamp of the Saints and they told us to be patient and that the Saints would help. We also went to Saint Nektarios and Saint Ephrem, whom we respect and embrace with faith. Six months after the accumulation of three years treatments, after exhaustion, pain, frustration, bitterness, the child is fine. The doctors call him a "miracle child".

My fellow Christians, the Saints are everywhere and always b y our side, and all t hey want is faith, prayer and great patience. At the end of my narration I will mention that, when Dimitris became sick, I was one month pregnant and h is treatments lasted the same time as my pregnancy did. I gave birth to Mary-Ephraim and after 2 years, in 2006, when Dimitri's disease relapsed, I was pregnant again - again one month pregnant. I had to deal from one hand with my pregnancy and from the other hand with our Calvary for Dimitris. So, after eight months of chemotherapy and transplantation for Dimitris, our little Raphaelia was born. The Mercy of God is great. We humbly thank Him and we are grateful to Him. In times of test ing let's make a decision to follow the words of Elder Paisios of Athos: "He who asks for miracles in order to believe and love God, has no nobility. For God, this is what has value and counts: that man should love God, just because He is Good."

THANKS, A THOUSAND THANKS to our great Holy Mother and to Saints Raphael, Nicholas and Irene for their great benefaction. MAY THEIR GRACE PROTECT US ALL.

Nektaria K.

Karditsa

"I knew then that my soul, my spirit, had found a harbour..."

Asi Ch. has sent the following letter to the Brotherhood:

"Dear fathers, I am writing this letter to confess what had brought me to the Monastery: it was a dream, during what had been a very pressing year for me, yet always with the discreet "presence" of my father (who passed away two years ago, but I can still feel he is helping me).

Well, I saw in my dream that I was walking uphill... It was a narrow path amid low vegetation; a winding path that I was ascending on foot, and behind me were my mother Vassiliki, my daughter Danae and a multitude of people. The feeling that my father was beside me was intense; he was somewhere near me, without my being able to see him, but I could nevertheless feel his presence. It was a strange feeling. At the end of the ascent was a small Church made of stones, with a red dome. Without being told by anyone, I knew it was St Raphael's Church. I didn't know the name of the location where I was. There was only a tiny church atop a mound with vegetation all around it, and at a small distance was the expanse of the sea. A few days later, my mother requested that we go to attend Good Friday's Service for the Litany of the Holy Sepulcher at a Church that a friend of hers, Militsa, had told her about. "Asi, they told me there's a Monastery of Saint Raphael's; we could go there for the Litany of the Sepulcher, but we have to be there quite early." "Let's go!" I responded. To me, Saint Rapael is my Patron Saint, but that was a personal thought, which I didn't disclose to her.

On Good Friday, I went and picked up my mother along with my daughter, Danae. She told me that the Church was on the same road as the one we take to "visit" Dad (Dad was "resting in peace" in Marathon's town cemetery of the Holy Mother). To avoid wasting time - given that I didn't know the location of the Church - I rang you at the number that my mother gave me, and, by following your instructions, it wasn't difficult to find it.

The closer I got, the more I realized that the path was the path I had seen i n my dream...It was exactly the same, every step of the way. And when I saw that I had to leave my car at the clearing and go up the Church on foot - and furthermore, when I eventually noticed that the church was small and frugal, I knew that nothing had happened by chance. Everything was the same as in my dream. I knew that my faith that Saint Raphael i s my Patron Saint, was not merely belief, it was reality! And my father was also there - only a bit further away. Neither was that by chance. So we stayed and followed the litany of the Holy Sepulcher and left afterwards, but I knew then that my soul, my spirit, had found a harbor.

Yet another dream that confirmed my need for a refuge and also for a path towards catharsis... again included my father: I was in a bakery shop... and there were many loaves of bread and "prosphora" (bread offerings). Then my father appeared and said, "My little Asi, here - this is the bread you should buy". So I chose one, together with a prosphoro loaf.

I didn't know that on Easter Tuesday - Bright Tuesday as it is called - was also the feast-day of our Saint. To be honest I had even forgotten the dream; but my desire to be there on the feast day of our Saint made me ask around if there was going to be a Service for the Blessing of the 5 Loaves. I called you on the phone and you told me what I had to do and when. I ordered the five loaves and one prosphoro loaf. I brought them to the church o n the Eve of our Saint's feast day. The following day - his feast day - I received Holy Communion.

Not only had the dream come true, but I had also experienced the first miracle b y Saint Raphael: my chronic migraines had disappeared. From that day on, I haven't had any other headache - the kind of headache that made me miss the beauty of my every day.

Saint Raphael, the physician... of our soul, of our heart, of our mind, but also of the ailments that afflict us."

Holy is his blessing.

Asi Ch.