The Church of St Raphael, built on the site where the home of the Saint was, next to the old olive tree known locally as “the olive of Laskaris’, was founded in 1978 and consecrated on July 6, 1980. 1
The architect of the church, Makis C. Defteraios, commenting on the website of the City of Ithaca says «In my opinion, the Church as an institution and the church as a building should also host events […] of general social interest. When […] I realised that my thoughts on this were dealt with understanding and interest, I agreed to take on the project. It was the spring of 1977. The idea of the plan stems from the above considerations. Due to the floor plan and its structure the church has excellent acoustics. The natural light comes in directly in such a way that the church is fully immersed in light without the congregation seeing any openings. The form of this church differs from the norms, it looks somewhat unfamiliar. But, in my opinion, different architectural styles emerge through time and each era should incorporate elements from its own social development and technology. “
The church, apart from its distinct form, excellent acoustics and natural lighting, has a remarkable wooden iconostasis of the 17th century transferred from the Church of the Assumption, (also in Perachori) , a working church which was destroyed by the earthquake in 1953.
The martyrdom of St Raphael in Karyes of Lesvos in 1463 is commemorated on Easter Tuesday. His relics were transferred to Ithaca in July 1971and there is a celebration and a procession of the relics in Vathy on the first Sunday after the 3 July.
1 St Raphael was born in 1410 in Myloi in Perachori and his secular name was George Laskaris or Laskaridis. He was a priest at the church of Agios Demetrius Loubardiaris in Athens (near the Acropolis) and was later ordained Abbot in Constantinople. After the fall of Constantinople he went to Lesvos where he was the Abbot at the monastery of Karyes in Thermi. It was there that he suffered tortures and died in April 1463.