This glorious saint, celebrated even today throughout the entire world, was the only son of his eminent and wealthy parents, Theophanes and Nona, citizens of the city of Patara in Lycia. As the only son bestowed on them by God, the parents returned the gift to God, by dedicating their son to Him. St. Nicholas learned of the spiritual life from his uncle Nicholas, Bishop of Patara, and was tonsured a monk in the monastery of "New Zion" founded by his uncle. Following the death of his parents, Nicholas distributed to the poor all his inherited goods not keeping anything for himself. As a priest in Patara, he was known for his charity, even though he carefully concealed his charitable works, fulfilling the words of the Lord: "Let not your left hand know what your right hand is doing" (St. Matthew 6:3). When he gave himself over to solitude and silence, thinking to live that way until his death, a voice from on high came to him: "Nicholas, go among the people for ascesis if you desire to be crowned by Me." Immediately after that, by God's wondrous Providence, he was chosen as archbishop of the city of Myra in Lycia. Merciful, wise and fearless, Nicholas was a true shepherd to his flock. During the persecution of Christians under Diocletian and Maximian, he was cast into prison, but even there he instructed the people in the law of God. He was present at the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea [325 A.D] and, out of great zeal for the truth, struck the heretic Arius with his hand. For this act, he was removed from the Council and from his arch-episcopal duties until the Lord Christ Himself and the Most Holy Theotokos appeared to several of the chief hierarchs and revealed their approval of Nicholas. A defender of God's truth, this wonderful saint was ever bold as a defender of justice among the people. On two occasions, he saved three men from the undeserved punishment of death. Merciful, truthful and a lover of justice, he walked among the people as an angel of God. Even during his lifetime, the people considered him a saint and invoked him for assistance in difficulties and in miseries; and he appeared both in dreams and in person to those who called upon him and helped them easily and speedily both near and far. A light shone from his face as it did from the face of Moses and he, by his presence alone, brought comfort, peace and good will among men. In old age, he became ill for a short time and entered into the rest of the Lord, after a life full of labor and very fruitful toil, to rejoice eternally in the Kingdom of Heaven, continuing to help the faithful on earth by his miracles and to glorify his God. He entered into rest on December 6, 343 A.D.
Nicholas was the uncle of the great Saint Nicholas, and it was he who directed him to the spiritual life and ordained him as a priest.
Nicholas was cruelly tortured for the Faith of Christ by the Turks and was hanged in Smyrna in the year 1657 A.D.
As one well-educated in Hellenistic philosophy Theophilus, after reading Sacred Scripture, was baptized and became a great defender of the Christian Faith. His work, "On The Faith," is preserved even today. He governed the Antiochian Church for thirteen years and entered into rest in the year 181 A.D.
SAINT NICHOLAS THE MIRACLE-WORKER, ARCHBISHOP OF MYRA IN LYCIA
Holy Father Nicholas
The four corners of the world glorifies
As a knight of the powerful Faith,
The Faith of God, the True Faith.
From the cradle, to God was devoted
From the cradle, all until the end;
And God glorified him -
His faithful Nicholas.
Famous was he, throughout his life
And even more famous, after death,
Mighty on earth, was he
And, even more mighty, from heaven.
Glowing spirit, pure heart,
Of the living God, a temple he was;
For that, the people glorify him
As a wondrous saint.
O, Nicholas, rich in glory
Those who honor him as their "Krsna Slava," he loves,
Before the throne of the eternal God
For their good, he prays.
O, Nicholas, bless us,
Bless your people,
That, before God and before you
In prayer, humbly stand.
On the icons of St. Nicholas, the Lord Savior is usually depicted on one side with a Gospel in His hands and, on the other side, the Most Holy Virgin, the Theotokos, with an episcopal omophor [pallium] on her hands. This has a two-fold historical significance, and in the first instance, this signifies the calling of Nicholas to the Hierarchical office and in the second instance, his justification from the punishment because of the confrontation with Arius. St. Methodius, the Patriarch of Constantinople writes: "One night, St. Nicholas saw our Savior in glory standing by him and extending to him the Gospel, adorned with gold and pearls and, on the other side, he saw the Theotokos who was placing the episcopal pallium [omophorion] on his shoulders." Shortly after this vision John, the Archbishop of Myra, died and St. Nicholas was appointed as archbishop of that city. That was the first incident. The second incident occurred at the time of the First Ecumenical Council in Nicaea. Unable to stop Arius of the irrational blasphemy of the Son of God and His Most Holy Mother by reason, St. Nicholas struck Arius on the face with his hand. The holy fathers at the Council, protesting such action banned Nicholas from the Council and deprived him of all his episcopal signs. That same night, several of the holy fathers saw an identical vision, namely, how the Lord Savior and the Most Holy Theotokos standing around St. Nicholas; on one side the Lord Savior with the Gospel and, on the other side, the Most Holy Theotokos with a pallium extending to the saint the marks of his episcopacy which had been removed from him. Seeing this, the fathers were awe-struck and quickly returned to Nicholas that which had been taken away and began to respect him as a great chosen one of God and his actions against Arius, they interpreted, not as an act of unreasonable anger, but rather an expression of great zeal for God's truth.
To contemplate the sinful fall of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3):
About the absence of sin in the works of God
"And God saw that it was good" (Genesis 1).
Brethren, everything that was created and how it was created by the most pure and sinless God is pure and sinless. Every creature of God is pure and sinless as long as it is turned toward God, as long as it is not separated from God and until it does not become hostile to God. Every creature of itself praises and glorifies God as long as it is pure and sinless. That is why the Psalmist sings: " Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord [Alleluia]!" (Psalm 150:6). Every intelligent creature of God feels as its natural and primary purpose to praise the Lord. And since it is so, brethren, people ask: "If this is so, from whence is evil in the world?" It comes from sin, only from sin. Sin changed a bright angel [Lucifer] into a devil. The devil himself willingly made himself a vessel of sin and then hurried to make other creatures of God similar vessels. By their own free choice other angels consented to sin with the devil and after that, the first people, Eve and Adam. From this proceeded the mixture of good and evil in the world. However, even today, that which is of God in creation is good, as it was in the first days of creation. Poison came from sin, for sin indeed is poison, the most bitter poison that exists. Sin was the cause of the curse, brought about the darkening of the minds, caused the hostility of creation toward their Creator, distanced man from God and man from man, and man from nature and nature from man. O, my brethren, all that comes from God is good and all that comes from sin is evil. No evil exists that is bound to God and there exists no kind of evil that is not bound to sin. Many philosophers have examined the essence of evil and, because of their crude minds, have asserted that evil is in matter and that matter is evil. However, only we Christians know that sin is the essence of evil and that evil has no essence other than sin. It is obvious from this that if we desire to protect ourselves from evil, we must protect ourselves from sin.
O, sinless God, help us to protect ourselves from sin and the corruption of sin.
with prayers for the health of Fr Nicholas,
his flock, and his spiritual children.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.