The REAL Saint Nicholas was a man to emulate!

by 1389 on December 6, 2011

in 1389 (blog admin), Christianity, music, Orthodox Christianity, Orthodox hymnography, Serbia, Sveti Nikola

Teach your children (and learn for yourself) about the real Sveti Nikola

Neon Santa Claus
No, not this!

The real Saint Nicholas wasn’t dressed in red and white fur, but in bishop’s vestments, and as his icons show, he was a man of slender build. Not only did he give his entire inherited fortune to the poor, but also he was a learned man, a great spiritual leader, and a hero who put his life on the line against error and injustice.

Тропар Светом Николи (глас 4.) – TROPAR SVETOM NIKOLI

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Uploaded by on Dec 18, 2010

Правило вјери и образ кротости,
воздержанија учитеља јави тја стаду твојему,
јаже вешчеј истина.
Сего ради стјажал јеси смиренијем високаја,
нишчетоју богатаја: отче свјашченоначалниче Николаје,
моли Христа Бога, спастисја душам нашим.


Akathist and Prayers to St. Nicholas of Myra

From Monachos.net

Akathist to our Father Among the Saints NICHOLAS Archbishop of Myra and Lycia

Kontakion 1
Chosen Wonderworker and superb servant of Christ, who poured out for all the world the most precious myrrh of mercy and an inexhaustible ocean of miracles, I praise you with love, Saint Nicholas; and as you have boldness towards the Lord, deliver me from all adversities that I may call to you: Rejoice, Great Wonderworker Nicholas!

Ikos 1
The Lord of all creation made you an Angel in mannerism though earthly by nature. Foreseeing the fruitful beauty of your soul, blessed Nicholas, he taught all to cry to you:

Rejoice, for you were purified from your mother’s womb;
Rejoice, for you kept holy even to the end;
Rejoice, for you amazed your parents by your birth;
Rejoice, for you showed soon after your birth the vigor of your soul;
Rejoice, garden of the land of promise;
Rejoice, flower of divine planting;
Rejoice, virtuous vine of Christ’s vineyard;
Rejoice, wonderworking tree of the Paradise of Jesus;
Rejoice, lily of heavenly growth;
Rejoice, myrrh of the fragrance of Christ;
Rejoice, for through you lamentation is banished;
Rejoice, for you bring to all joy;
Rejoice, Great Wonderworker Nicholas!

Kontakion 2
Seeing the flow of the myrrh, O divinely wise Saint, our souls and bodies are enlightened, and we realize that you are a wonderful, living source of unction, O Nicholas. For you refresh with miracles as with waters poured out by the grace of God those who faithfully cry to Him: Alleluia!

Ikos 2
Teaching incomprehensible knowledge about the Holy Trinity you were a champion of the confession
of the Orthodox faith with the holy fathers in Nicea. For you confessed the Son equal to the Father, co-eternal and co-enthroned, and you convicted the foolish Arias. Therefore, you have taught the faithful to sing to you:

Rejoice, great pillar of holiness;
Rejoice, city of refuge for the faithful;
Rejoice, firm stronghold of Orthodoxy.
Rejoice, venerable vessel and praise of the Holy Trinity;
Rejoice, preacher of the Son equal in honor with the Father;
Rejoice, expeller the bedeviled Arias from the council of the saints;
Rejoice, glorious beauty of the fathers;
Rejoice, wise goodness of all the divinely wise;
Rejoice, speaker of fiery words;
Rejoice, righteous director of your flock;
Rejoice, for through you faith is strengthened.
Rejoice; for through you heresy is defeated;
Rejoice, Great Wonderworker Nicholas!

Kontakion 3
By the power given you from on high you dry every tear from the face of those in terrible suffering, O God-bearing father Nicholas. For you are a feeder of the hungry, a superb pilot for those on the high seas, and a healer of the sick, and you have proved to be a helper to all who cry to God: Alleluia!

Ikos 3
Truly a song ought to be sung to you from heaven, and not from earth, Father Nicholas; for how can a mere man proclaim the greatness of your holiness? But, conquered by your love, we cry to you:

Rejoice, model of lambs and shepherds;
Rejoice, holy purification of morals;
Rejoice, container of great virtues;
Rejoice, pure and honorable abode of holiness;
Rejoice, bright lamp beloved by all;
Rejoice, pure and golden-rayed light;
Rejoice, worthy collocutor of Angels;
Rejoice, good director of men;
Rejoice, rule of pious faith;
Rejoice, model of spiritual meekness;
Rejoice, for through you we are delivered from bodily passions;
Rejoice, for through you we are filled with spiritual delights;
Rejoice, Great Wonderworker Nicholas!

Kontakion 4
A storm of bewilderment confuses my mind. How can we worthily sing of your miracles, O blessed Nicholas? For no one could count them, even if he had many tongues and the best will in the world. But we boldly too sing to God who is wonderfully glorified in you: Alleluia!

Ikos 4
People near and far heard of the greatness of your miracles, O divinely wise Nicholas, that in the air with the delicate wings of grace you are accustomed to help all in adversity, and quickly deliver all who cry to you:

Rejoice, deliverance from sorrow;
Rejoice, channel of grace;
Rejoice, dispeller of unexpected evils;
Rejoice, planter of good desires;
Rejoice, quick comforter of those in adversity;
Rejoice, dread punisher of wrongdoers;
Rejoice, abyss of miracles poured out by God;
Rejoice, tablets of the law of Christ written by God;
Rejoice, strong uplift of the falling;
Rejoice; support of those who stand aright;
Rejoice, exposer of all deception;
Rejoice, for through you all truth is realized;
Rejoice, Great Wonderworker Nicholas!

Kontakion 5
You appeared as a God-ward racing star, guiding those in distress at sea, who were once threatened with imminent death if you had not come to the help of those who called upon you, O wonderworker Saint Nicholas, for you forbid the flying devils who shamelessly wanted to sink the ship, and you drove them away, and taught the faithful to cry to God Who saves through you: Alleluia!

Ikos 5
The girls prepared for a dishonorable marriage on account of their poverty, saw your great mercy for the poor, Holy Father Nicholas, when you secretly gave their old parent at night the three little bundles of gold, thereby saving him and his daughter from falling into sin. Therefore you hear from all:

Rejoice, treasure of greatest mercy;
Rejoice, friend of providing for people;
Rejoice, food and refreshment of those who have recourse to you;
Rejoice, inexhaustible bread of the hungry;
Rejoice, God-giving wealth of those living in poverty on earth;
Rejoice; quick uplifting of the poor;
Rejoice; speedy hearing of beggars;
Rejoice, acceptable care of the sorrowful;
Rejoice, pure provider for the three maidens;
Rejoice, zealous guardian of purity;
Rejoice, hope of the hopeless;
Rejoice, delight of the whole world;
Rejoice, Great Wonderworker Nicholas!

Kontakion 6
The whole world proclaims you, blessed Nicholas, as a quick intercessor in adversities; for frequently you precede those traveling by land and those sailing on the sea, and help them in a single hour, keeping from evils all who cry to God: Alleluia!

Ikos 6
You shone as a living light, bringing deliverance to the war leaders who had been sentenced to an unjust death, and who called to you, good shepherd Nicholas, when you quickly appeared in a dream to the emperor, and terrified him and ordered him to release them unharmed. Therefore together with them we gratefully cry to you:

Rejoice, helper of those who invoke you fervently;
Rejoice, deliverer from unjust death;
Rejoice, preserver from lying insult;
Rejoice, foiler of unjust plans;
Rejoice, for you tear lies to shreds like cobwebs;
Rejoice, for you gloriously exalt the truth;
Rejoice, deliverer of the innocent from their chains;
Rejoice, revival of the dead;
Rejoice, preacher of righteousness;
Rejoice, exposer of unrighteousness;
Rejoice, for through you the innocent were saved from the sword;
Rejoice, for through you they enjoyed the light;
Rejoice, Great Wonderworker Nicholas!

Kontakion 7
Wishing to dispel the blasphemous stench of heresy you appeared as a truly fragrant, mystical myrrh, O Nicholas. By shepherding the people of Myra, you filled the whole world with your gracious myrrh. And dispelled from us the stench of sin hateful to the Divine mind, that we may acceptably cry to God: Alleluia!

Ikos 7
We understand you to be a new Noah, a guide of the ark of salvation, Holy Father Nicholas, who dispels the storm of all evils by your spiritual direction, and bring divine calm to those who cry to you:

Rejoice, quiet heaven of those bestormed;
Rejoice, sure protection of those who are drowning;
Rejoice, good pilot of those sailing amid whirlpools;
Rejoice, for your prayers calm the raging of the sea;
Rejoice, guide of those in whirlwinds;
Rejoice, warmth of those in frosts;
Rejoice, radiance which dispels the gloom of sorrow;
Rejoice, light which illumines all the ends of the earth;
Rejoice, for you deliver people from the abyss of sin;
Rejoice, for you cast Satan into the abyss of hell;
Rejoice, for through you we boldly invoke the abyss of God’s mercy;
Rejoice, for through you we are saved from the flood of wrath, and find peace with God;
Rejoice, Great Wonderworker Nicholas!

Kontakion 8
Your holy church proves a strange wonder to those who flock to you, blessed Nicholas; for by offering in it even a small prayer, we receive healing from great illnesses, if only, after God, we put our hope in you and faithfully cry: Alleluia!

Ikos 8
You are truly a helper to all, O God-bearing Nicholas, and you have gathered together all who have recourse to you, for you are a deliverer, feeder and quick healer to all on earth, and you move all to praise you:

Rejoice, source of all kinds of healing;
Rejoice, helper of those in terrible suffering;
Rejoice, dawn shining for those wandering in the night of sin;
Rejoice, heaven-sent dew for those in the heat of labors;
Rejoice, giver of prosperity to those who require it;
Rejoice, for you prepare an abundance for those who ask;
Rejoice, for you often forestall prayer;
Rejoice, for you restore strength to the old and gray-headed;
Rejoice, convictor of many who have wandered from the true way;
Rejoice, faithful steward of the mysteries of God;
Rejoice, for through you we conquer jealousy;
Rejoice, for through you we lead a good life;
Rejoice, Great Wonderworker Nicholas!

Kontakion 9
Allay all our pains, O our great intercessor Nicholas, and grant gracious healings to delight our souls and rejoice the hearts of all who run fervently to you for help and cry to God: Alleluia!

Ikos 9
The sophisticated spokesmen of the impious, we see, were put to shame by you, O divinely wise Father Nicholas; for you confuted Arias the blasphemer who divided the God-head and Sabellius who confounded the Holy Trinity, but you have strengthened us in Orthodoxy. Therefore we cry to you:

Rejoice, shield that defends piety;
Rejoice, sword that cuts down impiety;
Rejoice, teacher of the divine commandments;
Rejoice, destroyer of anti-God doctrines;
Rejoice, ladder set up by God by which we mount to heaven;
Rejoice, God-given protection, by which many are sheltered;
Rejoice, for by your words the unwise are made wise;
Rejoice, for you stir the slothful by your example;
Rejoice, inextinguishable light of God’s commandments;
Rejoice, bright ray of the Lord’s precepts;
Rejoice, for through your teaching the heads of heretics are crushed;
Rejoice, for through you the faithful are granted glory;
Rejoice, Great Wonderworker Nicholas!

Kontakion 10
Wishing to save your soul, you truly subjected your body to the spirit, O our Father Nicholas. For by silence first and by wrestling with thoughts, you added contemplation to activity; and by contemplation you didst acquired perfect knowledge with which you boldly conversed with God and the Angels, always crying: Alleluia!

Ikos 10
You are a wall; O blessed Nicholas, to those who praise your miracles and to all who seek your protection. Therefore, free us who are poor in virtue from poverty, adversity, sickness and want of various kinds, as we cry to you with love:

Rejoice, rescuer from eternal misery;
Rejoice, granter of incorruptible riches;
Rejoice, imperishable food for those who hunger for righteousness;
Rejoice, inexhaustible drink for those who thirst for life;
Rejoice, for you preserve us from revolution and war;
Rejoice, for you free us from chains and imprisonment;
Rejoice, glorious intercessor in misfortunes;
Rejoice, great defender in temptations;
Rejoice, for you have snatched many from perdition;
Rejoice, for you have kept countless numbers unharmed;
Rejoice, for through you sinners escape a frightful death;
Rejoice, for through you those who repent obtain eternal life;
Rejoice, Great Wonderworker Nicholas!

Kontakion 11
Your life was a song to the Most Holy Trinity, surpassing others in thought, word and deed, O Most blessed Nicholas. For with much research you explained the precepts of the true faith, teaching us to sing with faith, hope and love to the one god in Trinity: Alleluia!

Ikos 11
We see you as a bright storm lantern for those in the darkness of this life, O God-chosen Father Nicholas. For you conversed with the immaterial angelic lights concerning the uncreated light of the Trinity, and you enlighten the souls of the faithful who cry to you:

Rejoice, radiance of the triune Light;
Rejoice, daystar of the never-setting Sun;
Rejoice, lamp lit by the divine Flame;
Rejoice, for you have extinguished the devilish flame of impiety;
Rejoice, bright preaching of true faith;
Rejoice, luminous radiance of the light of the Gospel;
Rejoice, lightning that consumes heresy;
Rejoice, thunder which terrifies sinners;
Rejoice, teacher of true knowledge;
Rejoice, revealer of the secret mind;
Rejoice, for through you the worship of creatures has been abolished;
Rejoice, for through you we have learned to worship the Creator in the Trinity;
Rejoice, Great Wonderworker Nicholas!

Kontakion 12
Knowing the grace that has been given to you by God, we joyfully celebrate your memory, most glorious Father Nicholas, and with all our soul we crave your wonderful intercession. Unable to count your glorious deeds which are like the sand of the sea and the profusion of stars, in utter bewilderment we cry to God: Alleluia!

Ikos 12
While we sing of your wonders, we praise you, O all-praised Nicholas. For in you God who is glorified in the Trinity has been wonderfully glorified. But even if we were to offer you with all our soul a multitude of psalms and songs, O holy wonder worker, we should do nothing to equal the gift of your miracles, and amazed by them we cry to you:

Rejoice, servant of the King of kings and Lord of lords;
Rejoice, co-dweller with His heavenly servants;
Rejoice, support of faithful kings;
Rejoice, exaltation of Christendom;
Rejoice, namesake of victory;
Rejoice, eminent victor;
Rejoice, mirror of all the virtues;
Rejoice health of our bodies and salvation of our souls;
Rejoice, strong buttress of all who have recourse to you;
Rejoice, after God and the Mother of God, all our hope;
Rejoice, for through you we are delivered from eternal death;
Rejoice, for through you we are granted eternal life;
Rejoice, Great Wonderworker Nicholas!

Kontakion 13 (read three times)
O Most holy and wonderful Father Nicholas, comfort of all in sorrow, accept our present offering, and pray to the Lord that we may be delivered from Gehenna through your gracious intercession, that with you we may sing: Alleluia!

Ikos 1
The Lord of all creation made you an Angel in mannerism though earthly by nature. Foreseeing the fruitful beauty of your soul, blessed Nicholas, he taught all to cry to you:

Rejoice, for you were purified from your mother’s womb;
Rejoice, for you kept holy even to the end;
Rejoice, for you amazed your parents by your birth;
Rejoice, for you showed soon after your birth the vigor of your soul;
Rejoice, garden of the land of promise;
Rejoice, flower of divine planting;
Rejoice, virtuous vine of Christ’s vineyard;
Rejoice, wonderworking tree of the Paradise of Jesus;
Rejoice, lily of heavenly growth;
Rejoice, myrrh of the fragrance of Christ;
Rejoice, for through you lamentation is banished;
Rejoice, for you bring to all joy;
Rejoice, Great Wonderworker Nicholas!

Kontakion 1
Chosen Wonderworker and superb servant of Christ, who poured out for all the world the most precious myrrh of mercy and an inexhaustible ocean of miracles, I praise you with love, Saint Nicholas; and as you have boldness towards the Lord, deliver me from all adversities that I may call to you: Rejoice, Great Wonderworker Nicholas!

Let us pray to our Holy Hierarch Father Nicholas, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia, let us all say:

O Holy Hierarch Father Nicholas pray unto God for us.

O all-praised and all-honored Hierarch, great Wonderworker and Saint of Christ, Father Nicholas, man of God and faithful slave, man of desires, chosen vessel, strong pillar of the Church, most brilliant light, star which illumines and enlightens the whole universe: you are a righteous man flourishing like a palm-tree planted in the courts of your Lord. Living in Myra you diffused the fragrance of myrrh, and you poured out the ever-flowing myrrh of the grace of God. By your presence, most holy Father, the sea was blessed, when your most wonderful relics were carried to the town of Bari from east to west to praise the name of the Lord. O most gracious and marvelous wonderworker, speedy helper, fervent intercessor, good shepherd who saves his spiritual flock from all kinds of harm, we glorify and magnify you as the hope of all Christians, a source of miracles, protector of the faithful, most wise teacher, feeder of the hungry, joy of the sorrowful, clothier of the naked, healer of the sick, guide of those who sail on the sea, liberator of prisoners, feeder and defender of widows and orphans, guardian of chastity, gentle tutor of children, support of the aged, director of fasters, rest of those who turn to you for protection, intercede on our behalf with the Most High, and obtain through your powerful prayers all that is useful for the salvation of our souls and bodies. Protect this holy community, every town and village, and every Christian country and the people there resident,

Especially protect those who are serving in the Armed Forces, those who provide support to them, those who oversee their efforts and who make their plans, the officers, the military leaders, our Congress, Senate and President. Remember those who supply their physical needs, and those who minister to them spiritually and physically. Grant that these may serve in holiness and honor, guarding this God-protected land from invasion of enemies, from acts of terror, and from every enemy who sets themselves against us. Remember, O Lord, your servants and handmaids:

[names of the living who are serving in the Armed Forces]

Remember also, O Lord, those who have served in this capacity, those who have sacrificed to provide for our security and to secure our freedom in previous times, especially the servants and handmaids:

[names of the living who have completed their service]

Remember also, O Lord, those who have fallen asleep in defending us. For although we have accomplished no good on earth, these have sacrificed, that perhaps for a good man or woman they may have dared to die. And so we come to you now and beseech Your mercy, remember in Your heavenly Kingdom the servants and handmaids:

[names of the departed who have died in the service of our country],

granting to them a place of brightness, a place of rest, a place of refreshment, where there is no sickness, sorrow, or sighing, but where the sight of Your Face brings joy to Your saints from all the ages. Grant them Your Kingdom, and a portion of Your eternal blessings, and the enjoyment of Your unending Life.

Deliver all of us from all evil through your help, blessed Father Nicholas; for we know that the prayer of a righteous man is a great and potent force for good. Next to the Most Blessed Theotokos, we have you as a righteous intercessor with the All-Merciful God, and to your fervent intercession and protection, most gracious Father, we humbly have recourse. Keep us, as a watchful and good shepherd, from all enemies, from pestilence, earthquake, hail, famine, flood, fire, the sword, invasion of enemies and civil war, and in all our adversities and afflictions give us a helping hand and open the doors of God’s mercy; for we are unworthy to behold high heaven on account of the multitude of our sins; we are bound by the bonds of sin and have not done the will of our Creator nor kept His commandments. Therefore, in repentance and humility, we bow the knees of our hearts to our Maker, and entreat your fatherly intercession with Him. Help us, Saint of God, lest we perish with our sins; deliver us from evil and from every hostile power, direct our minds and strengthen our hearts in true faith which, through your intercession, neither wounds, nor threats, nor epidemics, nor the wrath of our Creator shall lessen; but grant that we may live a peaceful life here and that we may see the good things in the land of the living, glorifying the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, one God worshipped and glorified in Trinity, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Wisdom, Most Holy Theotokos save us.

More honorable than the Cherubim, and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim. Without defilement you gave birth to God the Word. True Theotokos, we magnify you.

Glory to you O Christ, our God and our hope, glory to You.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Lord, have mercy. (3X)

Father, bless!

Life of St Nicholas the Wonderworker

Commemorated 6th / 19th December (hymns)

‘The truth of things hath revealed thee to thy flock as a rule of faith, an icon of meekness, and a teacher of temperance; for this cause, thou hast achieved the heights by humility, riches by poverty. O Father and Hierarch Nicholas, intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.’

So reads the troparion of St Nicholas, hierarch of the Church of Myra in Lycia (now Demra in Turkey), known as ‘wonderworker’ and ‘father’ throughout the Christian world. He is beloved in the Orthodox Church, and indeed far beyond, for his kindness, almsgiving and aid, meted out both during his earthly life and after. As one of the multitude of English lives of the saint joyously proclaims, ‘he is one of the best known and best loved saints of all time.’ And in another: ‘The name of the great saint of God, the hierarch and wonderworker Nicholas, a speedy helper and suppliant for all hastening to him, is famed in every corner of the earth, in many lands and among many peoples. In Russia there are a multitude of cathedrals, monasteries and churches consecrated in his name. There is, perhaps, not a single city without a church dedicated to his honour.’

Childhood and early life

St Nicholas was born (c. 270) in the the region of Lycia (southern Asia Minor), in the city of Patara. His parents, Theophanes and Nonna, were both pious Christians, and being childless until his arrival, consecrated Nicholas to God at his birth (the name Nicholas meaning ‘Conqueror of nations’). His birth considered by both an answer to their prayer, and especially the prayer issued during Nonna’s illness, his mother was said to have been healed immediately after giving birth. Nicholas would always remember his parents’ love and devotion to God, and in his later years promised to come to the aid of those who remembered them in their prayers.

Various traditions recount signs of Nicholas’ future glory as ‘wonderworker’ (Gr. thaumatourgos), apparent already in his earliest childhood. One recalls that as an infant in the baptismal font, Nicholas stood on his feet for three hours in honour of the Trinity. Another proclaims him a childhood faster, not accepting milk from his mother until after the conclusion of evening prayers on Wednesdays and Fridays.

His later life revealed that Nicholas had from a young age been absorbed in the study of the Church’s sacred scriptures. He thrived on reading divine texts, and earned a reputation as a devoted youth who often would not leave the church, reading the sacred texts late into the night.

Such activity soon came to the attention of the local bishop, Nicholas’ uncle (his father’s brother), also called Nicholas. Seeing his nephew’s fervour for the Christian life, this elder Bishop Nicholas of Patara tonsured him reader, and later ordained him priest. At Fr Nicholas’ ordination, the elder Bishop Nicholas remarked:

‘I see, brethren, a new sun rising above the earth and manifesting in himself a gracious consolation for the afflicted. Blessed is the flock that will be worthy to have him as its pastor, because this one will shepherd well the souls of those who have gone astray, will nourish them on the pasturage of piety, and will be a merciful helper in misfortune and tribulation.’

The newly-ordained Fr Nicholas’ special charge as assistant to the bishop of Patara was the instruction of the faithful—a unique and uncommon role, given his young age.

The ministry of Fr Nicholas

Nicholas approached his duties as priest and teacher of the faith with the same fervour his uncle had witnessed in him during his childhood. Despite his youthfulness, many of the faithful considered him an elder, and his ability to respond to questions of the faith in love and wisdom earned him the deep respect of those in the city. He was noted in particular for the fervency of his prayer and kind-hearted nature, and the attention to charitable work that characterised his priestly ministry. Following the injunction of Christ, Fr Nicholas sold his possessions and, following his parents deaths a few years after his ordination, distributed his inheritance to the poor and afflicted, who would often seek him out for assistance.

In one of his most well-known acts of selflessness as a young priest, Fr Nicholas reacted to the intention of a wealthy businessman of Patara who had fallen on hard times and lost his fortune. Desparate, the man had determined to sell the bodies of his three daughters in order to raise funds for the family. Hearing of the plan (in some accounts, through a divine revelation), Fr Nicholas called by his home in secret during the night and threw an offering of gold—three hundred coins wrapped in a handkercheif—through the man’s window. Convinced of the goodness of the gesture, though unaware of the identity of his benefactor, the man used the funds to arrange for his eldest daughter to be married honourably to a nobleman. Later the man arose to find the act had been repeated; and eventually, a third time. In each instance, the priest made his offering secretly, attempting to conceal his works of charity.

Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

Following the example of his bishop, who had made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land a few months before, Fr Nicholas requested to travel to Jerusalem himself, to visit the holy places of the city. Icons today continue to recount the miraculous nature of his voyage there by ship, during which a great storm arose (Nicholas having earlier predicted that it would). Seeing in a vision the devil climbing aboard the ship, Nicholas warned the crew and prayed for the salvation of the craft and its occupants, and the sea shortly calmed.

Arriving in the Holy Land, Nicholas made his pilgrimage of the holy places in Jerusalem, especially Golgotha where Christ was crucified. Overcome by the reality of these places where the incarnate Son of the Father had walked and acted, Nicholas determined to retreat into the desert to live a life of solitude. But he was stopped by a divine voice, which forbad this course and urged him to return home. This he did, though still longing for quiet and the solitary life. Having been moved by his experiences on Mount Sion in Jerusalem, he entered the monastic community of Holy Sion in Lycia (which had earlier been founded by his uncle); but again, the Lord made known to him that this was not to be his path. The voice of the Lord is said to have come to him: ‘Nicholas, if you desire to be vouchsafed a crown from me, go and struggle for the good of the world. This [monastery] is not the vineyard in which you shall bring forth the fruit I expect of you; but turn back, go into the world, and let my Name be glorified in you.’
Desirous above all to follow the command of God, Nicholas departed the brotherhood of Holy Sion and moved to Myra.

Consecration to the episcopate

Shortly after his arrival in Myra, the elder Archbishop of that city, a certain John, died. There was some discussion as to who should succeed him as the chief bishop of the region, the local synod of bishops desirous that the new archbishop should not be an individual chosen by men for the office, but one revealed by God. One of their eldest number beheld a vision of the illumined Christ, who indicated that the old bishop should go into the church, for the one who was first to enter it that night—who would be called Nicholas—was he who should become the new archbishop.

The elder bishop went to the church to await Nicholas’ arrival, in obedience to the vision. When Fr Nicholas arrived, the bishop stopped him.

‘What is your name, child?’ he asked.

God’s chosen one replied, ‘My name is Nicholas, Master, and I am your servant.’

The bishop took St Nicholas immediately to the other bishops and exclaimed, ‘Brethren, receive your shepherd whom the Holy Spirit himself anointed and to whom he entrusted the care of your souls. He was not appointed by an assembly of men but by God himself. Now we have the one that we desired, and have found and accepted the one we sought. Under his rule and instruction we will not lack the hope that we will stand before God in the day of his appearing and revelation.’

Nicholas was consecrated to the episcopacy during a tumultuous time in the life of the Church in Lycia. The persecutions under the emperor Diocletian (284-305) effected that region deeply, and for a time, Bishop Nicholas was imprisoned with other Christians for refusing to bow down and worship the idols of the imperial cult. He was remembered later for the exhortations he delivered to his fellow prisoners, urging them to endure with joy all that the Lord lay before them, whether chains, bonds, torture or even death.

Bishop Nicholas’ imprisonment came to an end with the ascension of Constantine to the throne in the early fourth century. He returned to his flock in Myra, which received him with joy, and resumed his episcopal work. He was known as a great ascetic, as he had been since his childhood, and for his gentleness and love. But his kind-hearted spirit was also one of zeal, and with the new freedoms offered under the peace of Constantine (following the ‘Edict of Milan’ in 312), he was known to travel through his city, visiting pagan temples and overthrowing their shrines and idols.

The First Ecumenical Council, Nicaea 325

In the year 325, a great council of bishops—the largest in the history of the Church—was held in the city of Nicaea under the patronage of Emperor Constantine, who had, since his miraculous vision of the cross at Milvian bridge, himself converted to Christianity. This synod, which in later years would come to be known as the First Ecumenical Council (commemorated on the seventh Sunday after Pascha), was attended by over three hundred bishops from throughout the Christian world, to establish various canons of order for the growing Church, affirm the faith, and combat heresy.

In particular, the teachings of Arius, a presbyter in Alexandria, were addressed and condemned by the council, which formulated a statement of faith that, with later refinements at Constantinople in 381, became the Creed of the Church.

St Nicholas was a participant at this council, and is particularly remembered for his zeal against Arius. Having openly combatted him with words, Bishop Nicholas, in a fit of fervour (some accounts indicate he was displeased with Arius’ monopolisation of the meeting with his ‘constant arguing’), went so far as to strike Arius on the face. Shocked by this behaviour, especially given that the canons forbid clergy from striking any one at all, yet uncertain of how to react to such actions by a hierarch they knew and respected, the fathers of the council determined to deprive Nicholas of his episcopal emblems (traditionally his omophorion and the Gospel book), and placed him under guard.

However, a short time later, several of the assembled fathers reported having a common vision: the Lord and His Mother returning to Nicholas his episcopal items, instructing that he was not to be punished, for he had acted ‘not out of passion, but extreme love and piety’. This was taken as a sign that the extreme behaviour of Nicholas was nonetheless pleasing to God, who was thus restored to the fulness of his episcopal office.

Nicholas the Wonderworker

St Nicholas’ title ‘wonderworker’ comes from the multitude of reports of miracles that issued forth at his intercession, both during his life and after. The renown of his miraculous acts was widespread in his own lifetime. As he had secretly delivered gold, many years before, to the father of three destitute daughters, so he secretly delivered gold to an Italian merchent (by some accounts, this gold was left miraculously by an apparition of the saint appearing to the merchant in Italy), convincing him to sail to Myra with a shipment of grain. And so by his prayers and deeds, his city of Myra was rescued from a terrible famine.

One miracle, particularly widely known, was Bishop Nicholas’ conversion of the local governor, who had been bribed into unjustly condeming three men to death. The saint approached the executioner, who had already raised his sword to issue the death-blow, and swiftly removed it from his hands. He then approached the governor and denounced his unjust action. This latter, convicted by St Nicholas’ words, repented and asked the saint’s forgiveness. This episode is remembered as connected directly to another: for three officers of the imperial military were present to see St Nicholas stay this execution, who were later slanderously accused before the emperor, who condemned them to death. St Nicholas appeared to Emperor Constantine in a dream and urged him to reverse this sentence, which the emperor did.

Many times, the saint’s prayers were said to have saved those drowning in the sea (just a his prayers had calmed the sea on his own journey, as a young priest, to Jerusalem). Prisoners unjustly condemned prayed to him and were delivered. The poor prayed to him and were provided for. And so Nicholas’ reputation as thaumatourgos was established during his life. It continues to this day.

The saint’s departure

Living his life in ascetic labour and zealous ministry, St Nicholas fell asleep in the Lord at an old age (d. 6th December 343), by some accounts quite ill. A church was built in his honour by the residents of Myra, in which his relics were kept for many centuries.

Alexei Cominos ascended the throne of the Byzantine Empire in 1081, in which year Asia Minor suffered various attacks and threats of barbarian invasion. St Nicholas’ relics at this time remained in his city of Myra. However, a priest in the Italian city of Bari soon beheld a vision in which Nicholas appeared and informed him that he did not wish to remain in a city as barren as the defeated Myra. He instructed the priest to remove his body from the city. After informing the residents of Bari of his vision, three ships were sent to Myra to retrieve the saint’s relics.

On their arrival in the city in 1087, the travellers from Bari found the Church of St Nicholas in Myra abandoned, save for the presence of four devoted monks. These led the men to the coffin of the saint, which they had hid to keep it safe from invaders. On opening the coffin, the men found St Nicholas’ relics flowing with myrrh which they collected in vials, before securing the coffin and placing it on one of the ships for the return voyage to Bari, accompanied by two of the Myran monks.

Some time later, the ships arrived in Bari, and were met at the port by throngs of the local faithful. A great festal Liturgy was held in in the Church of St John the Forerunner and Baptist, to which the saint’s relics were taken in procession. Craftsmen had fashioned an ornate silver box, into which St Nicholas’ head and hands were placed, while the remainder of his relics remained in their original coffin from Myra.

A short time later, a large church was built and dedicated to St Nicholas, and the two boxes containing his relics were transferred to it from the Church of St John, where they remain to this day (this event is commemorated on 20th May / 2nd June). Chrism continues to flow from the saint’s relics, as it has for centuries.

Veneration of St Nicholas

The famous dismissal troparion for all holy hierarchs, ‘The truth of things hath revealed thee to thy flock…’, was composed originally for our saint, and it remains his particular troparion to this day. His chief hymns are as follows:

Apolytikion (Troparion) in the Fourth Tone:

The truth of things hath revealed thee to thy flock as a rule of faith, an icon of meekness, and a teacher of temperance; for this cause, thou hast achieved the heights by humility, riches by poverty. O Father and Hierarch Nicholas, intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.

Kontakion in the Third Tone:

Saintly One, [St Nicholas] in Myra you proved yourself a priest; for in fulfilling the Gospel of Christ, venerable one, you laid down your life for your people and saved the innocent from death. For this you were sanctified as one learned in divine grace.

St Nicholas is often known as the patron of all travellers, and in particular of those who travel by sea. It is common to pray to him for deliverance from floods, poverty, and misfortunes.

The feast of St Nicholas is kept in the Orthodox Church on 6th / 19th December. His memory is also kept on 9th / 22nd May (commemoration of the transfer of his relics), and 29th July / 11th August (his birth).

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Veneration of St Nicholas in Russia

Veneration to St Nicholas has always been particularly strong in Russia. This veneration stems from earliest Russian Christian imperial history. In the year 866, the first Christian prince of Russia, Askold (d. 882), was baptised with the name Nicholas by Patriarch Photius. Later, over this same Prince Nicholas Askold’s grave in Kiev, St Olga founded the first temple of St Nicholas in the Russian Orthodox Church.

Today, cathedrals dedicated to St Nicholas are found in Zaraisk, Ostrov, Mozhaist, and Izborsk. The church of St Nicholas at Novgorod was also later elevated to cathedral status. Churches and monasteries dedicated to St Nicholas exist in Kiev, Pskov, Smolensk, Galich, Toropetsa, Tobolsk, Great Ustiug and elsewhere. At one point in its history, the city of Moscow alone had over a dozen churches dedicated to St Nicholas, as well as three monasteries in the diocese of the city. Indeed, one of the main towers of the Kremlin is called ‘St Nicholas Tower’.

These are but the major churches bearing his dedication. Throughout Russia, village churches dedicated to the saint are abundant, especially near markets or merchant quarters, since St Nicholas has often been taken as the patron of merchants and travellers.


Срећна Cлава Свети Никола!

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Uploaded by beograd4ever on Mar 31, 2010

Свети Николај Чудотворац, архиепископ мирликијски. Овај славни светитељ, слављен и данас по целоме свету, би јединац син у својих знаменитих и богатих родитеља, Теофана и Ноне, житеља града Патаре, у Ликији. Као јединца сина, дарованог им од Бога, они опет посветише Богу, и тиме дадоше га Богу као уздарје. Духовном животу научи се свети Николај код свог стрица Николаја, епископа патарског, и замонаши се у манастиру Нови Сион, основаном тим истим стрицем његовим. По смрти родитеља Николај раздаде наслеђено имање сиромасима не задржавајући ништа за себе. Као свештеник у Патари беше се прочуо својим милосрђем, мада он брижљиво скриваше своја милосрдна дела испуњујући реч Господњу: “Да не зна левица твоја што чини десница твоја” (Мт 6, 3). Када се предаде самоћи и безмолвију, смишљајући да тако до смрти проживи, дође му глас свише: “Николаје, пођи на подвиг у народ, ако желиш бити од Мене увенчан”. Одмах потом чудесним Промислом Божјим би изабран за архиепископа града Мира у Ликији. Милостив, мудар, неустрашив, свети Николај био је прави пастир добри стаду своме. У време гоњења хришћана под Диоклецијаном и Максимијаном бачен у тамницу, но и у тамници поучаваше људе закону Божјем. Присуствовао Првом васељенском сабору у Никеји, и, из велике ревности према истини, ударио руком јеретика Арија. Због тога дела би уклоњен са Сабора и од архијерејске службе све док се неколицини првих архијереја на Сабору не јави сам Господ Христос и Пресвета Богородица и не објавише Своје благоволење према Николају. Заштитник истине Божје овај дивни светитељ био је вазда и одважан заштитник правде међу људима. У два маха спасао је по три човека од незаслужене смртне казне. Милостив, истинит, правдољубив, он је ходио међу људима као ангел Божји. Још за живота његова људи су га сматрали светитељем и призивали га у помоћ у мукама и бедама; и он се јављао, у сну и на јави, онима који су га призивали, подједнако лако и брзо наблизу и надалеко, и помагао. Од његовог лица сијала је светлост као од лица Мојсијева, и он је самом својом појавом доносио утеху, тишину и добру вољу међу људе. У старости поболе мало и упокоји се у Господу, многотрудан и многоплодан, да се вечно весели у Царству небеском продужујући да чудесима на земљи помаже вернима и прославља Бога свога. Упокојио се 6. децембра 343. године (в. 9. мај).

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ralph Vaughan December 6, 2011 at 5:49 pm

Thanks for the very informative post on the real St Nikolaus. Like the Christ Child, he is a victim of the war on Christmas. It’s nice to see someone still remembers.

2 1389 December 6, 2011 at 5:55 pm

Yes, the war on Christmas, along with political correctness, multiculturalism, and the secularization of society. Please pass this information along!

3 jimi belton December 7, 2011 at 1:04 am

I have to thank you for this report, but this is one of the very reasons that Cardinal Martin Luther left the RC church….nothing written in this above report is worthy of puttind upon a human, like a wreath of Godliness…Man cannot attain this level of purity on this earth….I think about Tyndale. William, that asked permission from the king of England if he could print out the Holy scriptures…making the statement that if allowed to do so and give to the masses, a common plow boy would know more of the Word of God, than the Pope himself….Friend that is so true….sorry, we cannot depend on the prayers of the living or the dead to see us safely into the gates of heaven….Jesus taught us in simple childlike ease, the way to get to heaven, and how to pray to our Heavenly Father….Our Father in heaven, Hallowed, or “Holy” is thy name, Your Kingdom come, Forgive me as i forgive the one`s that has sinned against me…Your will and purpose be done on this earth, as it is in heaven, give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins…..Ask this in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved….No place in the scriptures [New Testament] do we see where any one could intercede for us, with only one exception, and that is Jesus, He is our Advacote, or Lawyer, standing before the throne of our Father in heaven, He, Jesus is interceeding on our behalf….As good a man as this was, and the dear Theresa of Calcutta, India, They cannot be prayed to, it is an aabomination to the sacrifice of the Death on the cross of Jesus….I speak all of this as a friend, not someone trying to twist your thoughts, or convert you to a different “religion”…I have heard well meaning RCs say they keep all the 10 commandents, and give and pray to saints, and do the Rosery, and a thousand other things to appease [My Word} the god, and earn passage to heaven….well that is not the way of The Word of God….Salvation in Christ is so simple a small child can reach for the sacred hand of my Jesus and be saved ….The worst sinner can also touch Him and be saved…..Many of my RC friends that has been saved and sanctified in the Purity, and Holiness of my Jesus, has went out in the yard and busted the statutes of the saints, and especially the stature of Mary, why did they do this, because Exodus,;20, verse 4 reads, “Thou shall not make unto thee any carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
…verse 5 Thou shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them; for I, the Lord thy God am a jealous God…..This verse is also word for word in the bible that the RC uses….No offense Friend, but commit yourself to the study of the Word of God….Thank you,…Jimi Belton…

4 1389 December 7, 2011 at 1:19 am

We do not bow down and pray to Saint Nicholas as we pray to God; nor do we worship or bow down to any statues or pictures. Instead, we ask Saint Nicholas to pray to God for us, in exactly the same way as we would ask our living friends and relatives to pray to God for us.

We venerate (pay respect to) the saints, and we worship God alone. To worship God means to devote one’s life to God.

We also recount the good deeds and teachings of Saint Nicholas and other saints as examples that we all should emulate.

5 Czech Rebel December 7, 2011 at 10:57 pm

@Jimi

I HAVE studied the Bible throughout a good portion of my adult life. I strongly suggest you study a little bit of Church history BESIDES just rehashing the Reformation. Let me point out a few facts for you:

1. We are talking about the ORTHODOX Church and NOT the Roman Catholic Church. Long before the first Protestant was even born, the Orthodox Church has had absolutely NOTHING to do with the Roman Catholic Church.

2. The Orthodox Church has been recommending that its members read the Scripture, ever since the content of Scripture was first agreed upon. Even before we finally agreed upon the 27 books that make up the New Testament, the Church recommended reading the Old Testament, as well as the material that was to become the New Testament in roughly 400 AD.

3. It is very odd that you do not believe in intercessory prayer. Christians have been praying for other people since New Testament times. I suggested you see the following verses of Scripture: Act 8:24, II Corinthians 5:20, Philippians 1:9, I Thessalonians 5:25, II Thessalonians 1:11, II Thessalonians 3:1, II Corinthians 13:7, Colossians 1:9, Hebrews 13:18, James 5:14-16. I think that, if you would read through the Bible a little more carefully next time, you might agree that intercessory pray is a major part of Christianity.

4. There is ABSOLUTELY NO teaching in the Orthodox Church that anyone can be saved merely through the prayers of others. It has been that way for nearly 2,000 years now, and no one has ever suggested changing it. It would probably be a good idea to do a bit of research on what the Orthodox Church says, before charging off and making a half-baked post the next time.

5. I do agree with you that Western Christianity–both Protestant and Roman Catholic–is based primarily on legalism. You see Jesus as your lawyer. Eastern Christianity is much more grace oriented. We view the Church as an institution of healing rather that some great law firm that can get us declared “not guilty.” We do agree that our sins are forgiven, but the healing of the soul is an ongoing process that Western Christianity tends to ignore.

6. To the outsider, Orthodoxy can be a bit confusing. We pray to God. We pray to God for others. We ask people to pray to God for us. The word “pray” does mean to ask. In the law (I am a lawyer by trade), we call the end of a legal pleading a “prayer for relief.” We are NOT addressing our request to God, nor are we suggesting that the judge is divine! Basically, when we say “pray to St. Nicola” we are saying, “Hey, Nick, would you put in a good word with God for me. I have been asking him for help, but, maybe, if you are not too busy, you could put in a good word on my behalf.” Orthodox (and other types) of Christians have done this for two millenia. Yes, we are aware that, in the 1500s, some Protestant Theologians had different ideas. Well, in Orthodoxy, we look to the teaching of the Apostles, not whatever is in vogue at some point in time. But it is really a simple concept:

a) All Christians, living and dead, are Saints (If the Apostle Paul can call the Corinthians “Saints” how can we even doubt it?);
b) Christians are told to form a community and to pray for each other;
c) When Christians die, they go to be with God (Luke 23:43);
d) Gee whiz, we are standing there with Jesus, why would we not put in a good word for someone who asks?

7. Orthodox Christians do NOT now, nor have they ever made, religious statutes or images of anything above the earth, below the earth or in the water. However, Christians have ALWAYS made pictures of people on the Earth starting with Luke (same guy who wrote the book of Luke and the book of Acts), who painted the first few such portraits. The paintings are always of something on this Earth, Jesus WHILE on Earth, his mother or famous Christians. We call these paintings “icons.” We have a number of second century icons. For years, many Protestants were able to lie and say that the Jews never had icons. Well, when Dura Europos was discovered in the 1920, it was pretty obvious that the Jews did have icons, as well. It is amazing the some 90 years later, some Protestants STILL repeat this lie–in-spite of clear archeological evidence to the contrary. Prior to Islam, all Christians accepted icons. But then, fearing Islamic invasion and reprisals, civil authorities began to discourage icons. However, at the Seventh Ecumenical Council, the reigning monarch and successor monarch of the Byzantine Empire showed up in person and promised no more government interference with icons.

8. I have a lot of trouble picturing someone who goes out in the backyard and vandalizes statutes as being “saved.” It sounds like they have taken on some violent destructive demon. By the way, I think a saw a statue of Billy Graham at Wheaton College, in Wheaton, Illinois. In fact, I think I have seen a few statutes of people who are real idols of Protestantism at a few Protestant institutions. I am not sure what these people did that makes them deserve a statue in Protestantism, yet they condemn their fellow Western Christians, the Roman Catholics, for their statutes of the woman who bore our Savior Jesus Christ. She knew him as a boy. She knew him better than anyone. What is fair is fair, so I am sure you “saved” friends will go to Wheaton College and destroy that statute of Billy Graham!

6 eib December 8, 2011 at 10:00 am

Quote:

We do not bow down and pray to Saint Nicholas as we pray to God; nor do we worship or bow down to any statues or pictures.

Of course not.

Saints are meant to be called upon, the exemplars of their lives invoked.

They are meant to teach and guide.

The presence of the saints is an expression of divine wisdom– some of us truly are closer to holiness in person and conduct than others.

And the weak should call upon the strong, the worldly upon the holy.

Then and only then are we protected from surrender to the world.

7 jimi belton December 14, 2011 at 3:38 pm

I have no problems with a bust of any great person, but when it becomes a big part of the worship of G0d, then i do ….My friends that got ‘saved, as we call it, broke up the statutes because they were such a big part of their RC belief in salvation….I fully support intercessory prayer by the saints, the living saints, as Paul instructed in verses cited. Where in the bible is it suggested that a person who has gone before us, should be asked to intercede in a request in our behalf….That my friends is simply adding To the scriptures….An example, if the manager/owner of a McDonalds decided that he was going to create a different way of operation than that which comes from the top corp. heads, it would be out of their order, and forbidden…..thus, the praying thur someone else for access to ”Our Father in Heaven”….Friends, and i do mean that, …I do not condeam your belief, i simply do not think any human being dead or alive, can be promoted to such heights as this saint, Nicklas…This depth of adoration cannot be bestowed upon a human, even on the Mother of Jesus….It is not Bibical, at all….Maybe he was a great Christian man, but he died and went to his eternal reward, such as every other man and woman born of the seed of Adam and Eve, will do….We were taught by Jesus, how to pray….May you all be blessed…JB.

8 Zilla December 24, 2011 at 11:27 am
9 1389 December 24, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Thanks very much!

10 Angie March 12, 2012 at 9:27 pm

I invite all of you to visit “Nicholas of Myra: The Story Of Saint Nicholas” Official Fan Page https://www.facebook.com/#!/NicholasOfMyraMovie

11 1389 March 12, 2012 at 9:58 pm

The admins here have never had Facebook accounts, due to concerns about security and privacy. However, thanks for getting in touch with us, and good luck with your movie!

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