How do we know
Beloved faithful, Christ is Risen! Truly He is risen.
During this most radiant festal period of our Saviour’s resurrection, the church calls us to remember the awesome sacrifice of the God-man Jesus Christ: His passion and awesome resurrection.
It is difficult to express the great depths of the salvific message that is before us.
I will speak of one particular point that I pray will resonate with you. On Bright Tuesday, the Church celebrates the Great Martyrs Raphael, Nicholas, and Irene, along with their companions.
In these times, we encounter a growing number of people who have no understanding of Easter, as is called in the West. The Resurrection of Christ of foreign to them and unintelligible.
This is the sad fruit of the generation that refused to teach their children, instead allowing them to “discover for themselves”. More concerning than this are the individuals who have some knowledge so-called who claim the Resurrection and other Christian truths are myths, old-wives tales, or plain-out fiction. When they meet Christians they ask “how do you know”? Other nominal Christians will add to this
“Where is it written in the Bible” or something similar. It is likely that they do not know but resolve to use this tactic so as to diffuse and potential discussion.
So how do we know about the bodily Resurrection of Christ? How do we know that the Resurrection is true and is the single most important event since the foundation of the world?
It was not our fathers who told us, nor our elders who informed us, but we ourselves have seen the miracles that took place through Thee, we ourselves have experienced the grace that poured forth from Thy Saints O Lord.
This is from the Doxastikon for the Aposticha of the Vespers service to St. John of Kronstadt and shared with other Saints for these words ring true to us in this very day.
The hymn continues ” Those near to us were healed, those who were dying rose from bed in good health, every petition of ours through thy prayer was granted. Therefore we honour thee, O our holy Father John, as one pleasing to God and an intercessor for us before the Lord.”
This is how we know. This is the affirmation of the Grace of God. This is the truth to the Resurrection. The lives of the Saints confirm this time-time-again. The Saints are not mere phantoms, apparitions, or ghosts. After their death they appear to us and reassure us that our faith is not in vain. The confirm the Resurrection that awaits us.
So that the disbelieving might be humbled, we will consider the newly-revealed Saints of Mytilene, Sts. Raphael, Nicholas, and Irene.
For some 500 years the relics of these Saints reposed in the Earth. It was not until the middle of the 20th Century that the Lord ordained to reveal these Sacred and Divine minsters of God’s glory. In this time of darkness and false belief, the rays of light of these Saints has cast aside the gloom and provide yet more evidence to the life-saving Resurrection of the Lord.
Concerning Sts. Raphael, Nicholas, and Irene
Whom the Holy Church Commemorates
On April 9th and Bright Tuesday.
On the island of Mytilene (Lesbos in ancient times), near the village of Therme, the villagers had a custom of ascending a certain hill on this day to celebrate the Divine Liturgy in the ruins of a small chapel, although no one knew whence this tradition sprang. In the year 1959, certain villagers began seeing persons who spoke to them, first in dreams, then awake, both by day and by night. Through these wondrous appearances, which were given to many people independently, the holy Martyrs Raphael, Archimandrite of the Ancient Monastery, and Nicholas, his deacon, together with the other saints martyred on the island, told the villagers the whole account of their martyrdom, which had taken place at the hands of the Moslem Turks ten years after the fall of Constantinople in 1463. The twelve‐year‐old Irene had been tortured, then burned alive in a large earthenware jar in the presence of her parents. On
Tuesday of Renewal Week, Saint Raphael had been tied to a tree and his head
sawn off through his jaws; Saint Nicholas had died at the sight of this. Although
the feast is celebrated today because it is the day of their martyrdom, through the
appearances of the Saints as living persons five hundred years after their
martyrdom, it is also a singular testimony to the Resurrection of Christ.
Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!