A saint who likes colorful rags is celebrated on Sunday, June 2 in Therma of Lesvos. The reason for Saint Therapondas, “Ai-Tharapi the tzatzaliaris”, who heals people who ask for his help with “antidote” a small rag from the clothes of the sick person.

In order to catch the tama, the rag must be hung on the tree next to his church, the tree with the rags, the “tjazala” in the lesbian slang.

Near his little church with the tree, there are also the hot springs that both cleanse and heal. For all these reasons, the tree remains even today full of jajala, a sign of people’s belief that with a rag… they clean. From everyday simple health problems to very serious ones.

Ai-Tharapis the tzatzaliaris is however said that he is not “Tharapis” from heal, but John, but not from Ioannis, but from the saint who heals, heals, always “heals” in the lesbian local dialect.

Here, let it be noted that about 20 years ago, during the construction of the Mytilini – Larsos highway, the “ancient” church was demolished. Along with it, the old tree with the jajala was removed. A few meters further down, on the other side of the road, a new small church had been built. A beautiful stone chapel opened its doors to pilgrims. Next to it and a tree for the “tzazala”, so that nothing is missing from the historic chapel.

The ancient custom of the jazzmen

Hanging rags as a tribute to the saint is a very old custom in Lesbos and beyond. Folklorists associate it with the ancient Thargilia. Feast in the month of Thargilion (May – June) to honor the twin gods Artemis and Apollo. In this month, the cleanses.

The rags on which the evil that brought the disease is “loaded” are associated with these purifications. In ancient Athens, cleansing was done by “exploiting” two criminals. The drugs that the city had condemned to death. Dried figs were hung around their necks and they were taken to the market and the streets of the city to take all the bad things on themselves. And then they removed them from the city, believing that with them the miasma are also removed and the city is purified. Historically, the pharmacists, because they cleaned the city, were also called …bastards!