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Cosmas, Panteleimon, and Damian. None of these Saints particularly relate to the life of St Nicholas, but taken together they can be regarded as comprising the different ranks of the Sainthood: At the centre of all these famous Saints and they were all incredibly well-revered in the 10th century is St Nicholas. He is therefore shown not only as the archetypal Bishop, but the archetypal Saint. The icon represents what the faithful in the ancient Church thought of Nicholas of Myra, and such reverence is preserved in later icons too.

The Lives of the Saints: Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker

The truth of thy deeds hath revealed thee to thy flock as a canon of faith, an icon of meekness, and a teacher of abstinence; for this thou hast achieved the heights by humility, riches by poverty, O Father and Hierarch Nicholas, intercede with Christ God that our souls may be saved. The St Nicholas Center — a wealth of information on the Saint. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Twitter account.

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Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. One of the elder bishops had a vision of a radiant Man, Who told him that the one who came to the church that night and was first to enter should be made archbishop. He would be named Nicholas. The bishop went to the church at night to await Nicholas. The saint, always the first to arrive at church, was stopped by the bishop. This was particularly precious for the Lycian Church during the persecution of Christians under the emperor Diocletian Bishop Nicholas, locked up in prison together with other Christians for refusing to worship idols, sustained them and exhorted them to endure the fetters, punishment and torture.

The Lord preserved him unharmed. Upon the accession of Saint Constantine May 21 as emperor, Saint Nicholas was restored to his flock, which joyfully received their guide and intercessor. Despite his great gentleness of spirit and purity of heart, Saint 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. Saint 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.

Even during his life the saint worked many miracles.

One of the greatest was the deliverance from death of three men unjustly condemned by the Governor, who had been bribed. The saint boldly went up to the executioner and took his sword, already suspended over the heads of the condemned. The Governor, denounced by Saint Nicholas for his wrong doing, repented and begged for forgiveness. Witnessing this remarkable event were three military officers, who were sent to Phrygia by the emperor Constantine to put down a rebellion.

They did not suspect that soon they would also be compelled to seek the intercession of Saint Nicholas. Evil men slandered them before the emperor, and the officers were sentenced to death. Appearing to Saint Constantine in a dream, Saint Nicholas called on him to overturn the unjust sentence of the military officers.

He worked many other miracles, and struggled many long years at his labor. Through the prayers of the saint, the city of Myra was rescued from a terrible famine. He appeared to a certain Italian merchant and left him three gold pieces as a pledge of payment. In each instance, the priest made his offering secretly, attempting to conceal his works of charity. 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.


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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. But he was stopped by a divine voice, which forbad this course and urged him to return home.

Saint Nicholas - Wikipedia

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: 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. 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. 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.

St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, Orthodox Christian Riza Icon

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 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 , he was known to travel through his city, visiting pagan temples and overthrowing their shrines and idols. In the year , 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.

Commemorated May 9/27, December 6/19

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 , 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.