Home > Lives of Saints > Saint NICHOLAS Archbishop of Myra and Lycia

Saint NICHOLAS Archbishop of Myra and Lycia

December 6, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments


APOLYTIKION OF ST. NICHOLAS

An example of the Faith and a life of humility, as a teacher of abstinence you did inspire and lead your flock and through your truthfulness of your deeds were exalted by greatness through your humility uplifting all and by poverty gaining wealth. Father and hierarch Nicholas intercede with Christ our God that our souls be saved.


A Dedicated Servant of God

More than 1,600 years ago, in the year 270 AD, St. Nicholas was born not far from Myra, in a land that is  now part of the country of Turkey. He was born in the city of Patara in the region of Lycia (on the south coast of the Asia Minor peninsula), and was the only son of pious parents Theophanes and Nonna, who had vowed to dedicate him to God. In those days Orthodox Christians were persecuted for their faith. It wasn’t easy to be a Christian. Many of them were tortured and executed because they believed in Christ.

As the fruit of the prayer of his childless parents, the infant Nicholas from the very day of his birth revealed to people the light of his future glory as a wonderworker. His mother, Nonna, after giving birth was immediately healed from illness. The newborn infant, while still in the baptismal font, stood on his feet three hours, without support from anyone, thereby honoring the Most Holy Trinity. St Nicholas from his infancy began a life of fasting, and on Wednesdays and Fridays he would not accept milk from his mother until after his parents had finished their evening prayers.

Nicholas was taught by his parents to love the Lord with his whole mind, heart, soul, and with all his strength. When they died he inherited their money. He used this to help the poor, the hungry, and the sick. Whenever he helped anyone he did it secretly, so that only God would know, He did not want praise from people; he wanted his reward to be only in Heaven.

After he gave away the money his parents had left him he decided to become a monk. He went to a monastery where he lived and worked and prayed, intending to spend the rest of his life repenting of his sins. But soon it became clear that God wanted him to be a priest, and so he began to study the Law of God.

St. Nicholas became the parish priest of a village church after his ordination. He worked very hard, instructing his flock and helping those in need. He also performed all the Divine Services and was a spiritual father to all.

He Becomes Archbishop

One day the Archbishop of Myra died. The other bishops, as well as the priests and people of the town, gathered to choose a successor. They couldn’t decide who should be their new archbishop. They kept a vigil and prayed all night long in the cathedral, begging God to guide them. God revealed to one of the bishops that the first priest to enter the church in the morning should be chosen as the new archbishop. At sunrise, a simple priest, Father Nicholas, came quietly into the cathedral to say his morning prayers. In this way the Lord God revealed His choice for archbishop.

A Church Council

In the year 325 a great Council of the Orthodox Church was held in the city of Nicea. 317 bishops from all over the world came. At this Council part of the Creed we sing in every Divine Liturgy was written down and St. Nicholas had a wonderful opportunity to defend the teachings of the Church against Arius who denied that Jesus Christ was God in the flesh and was leading many people astray by his false teaching.

Despite his great gentleness of spirit and purity of heart, St Nicholas was a zealous and ardent warrior of the Church of Christ. Fighting evil spirits, the saint made the rounds of the pagan temples and shrines in the city of Myra and its surroundings, shattering the idols and turning the temples to dust.

In the year 325 St Nicholas was a participant in the First Ecumenical Council. This Council proclaimed the Nicean Symbol of Faith, and he stood up against the heretic Arius with the likes of Sts Sylvester the Bishop of Rome (January 2), Alexander of Alexandria (May 29), Spyridon of Trimythontos (December 12) and other Fathers of the Council.

St Nicholas, fired with zeal for the Lord, assailed the heretic Arius with his words, and also struck him upon the face. For this reason, he was deprived of the emblems of his episcopal rank and placed under guard. But several of the holy Fathers had the same vision, seeing the Lord Himself and the Mother of God returning to him the Gospel and omophorion. The Fathers of the Council agreed that the audacity of the saint was pleasing to God, and restored the saint to the office of bishop.

Having returned to his own diocese, the saint brought it peace and blessings, sowing the word of Truth, uprooting heresy, nourishing his flock with sound doctrine, and also providing food for their bodies.

A Wonder worker

St. Nicholas followed the words of our Lord, Lay up treasure for yourself in Heaven, by saying his prayers every day, by fasting, and by performing many good deeds. God was so pleased that He worked many miracles through him. Because he was able to calm storms on the sea he became known as the patron saint of sailors. He is also a patron of young people.

There was a certain formerly rich inhabitant of Patara, whom St Nicholas saved from great sin. The man had three grown daughters, and in desparation he planned to sell their bodies so they would have money for food. The saint, learning of the man’s poverty and of his wicked intention, secretly visited him one night and threw a sack of gold through the window. With the money the man arranged an honorable marriage for his daughter. St Nicholas also provided gold for the other daughters, thereby saving the family from falling into spiritual destruction. In bestowing charity, St Nicholas always strove to do this secretly and to conceal his good deeds.

He was able to multiply food, just as our Saviour did with the fish and loaves, and in this way he once kept a whole city from starving. People began to call him a “wonderworker” (a person who works wonders or performs miracles). They were so inspired by his life of service to others that many of them, too, began to lead holy lives, filled with good deeds.

After a long life, God called his slave home to heaven on December 6, 343. He was buried in his cathedral, but in the year 1087 the remains of his holy body (relics) were taken to Italy to save them from the Turks who were persecuting Christians and destroying churches and holy objects, and they remain to this day in the city of Bari. The Orthodox Church celebrates this translation of his relics on May 9, St, Nicholas led a life so pleasing to God, that God glorified His saint even after his death. As a sign of God’s grace, a fragrant substance called “myrrh” comes from the relics of St. Nicholas and many sick people anoint themselves with it and receive healing. There is an Orthodox church in Bari whose priest frequently celebrates services before the relics, asking St. Nicholas to pray for us before the throne of God.

People all over the world know and love St. Nicholas. For instance , he is the patron of Russia. Children in America, Germany, Holland, and many other countries know about him. Unfortunately very few know that he was a Bishop of the Orthodox Church. Children don’t know that Santa Claus is St. Nicholas (Santa comes from the Latin for “saint”; Claus is a nickname for “Nicholas”). They know mostly about his gift giving to children; they don’t realize that he was so generous because he loved Christ more than anything else and wanted to serve Him by helping others.

Orthodox children are fortunate to know the whole story of St. Nicholas, and not just one small part of it. We should try to tell our non-Orthodox friends and neighbors the truth about “Santa Claus” so that they too, can realize how important and wonderful it is to follow Christ!


Here the Akathist to  Saint NICHOLAS

Advertisements
Categories: Lives of Saints
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: