Our Father Among the Saints - Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker and Archbishop of Myra
Our Holy Father Nicholas, emulator of the Apostles, and ardent imitator of our Lord Jesus Christ, appears as a living pillar of the Church, zealous in defense of the faith, and a model of pastoral solicitude for holy bishops.
St. Nicholas of Myra was born in the third century in the Village of Patara, formerly part of Greece, but now part of Turkey. His wealthy parents raised him to be a devout Christian. Nicholas' parents died from an epidemic when he was young. And, Nicholas heeded the instruction of his parents and the words and teachings of Jesus Christ to care for the poor.
With the help of his uncle, Archbishop Nicholas, the younger Nicholas was tonsured a Reader in the Orthodox Church, and was later ordained a presbyter (priest). In and around 317, he was ordaind Bishop of Myra.
Nicholas fervently esteemed and practiced vigil, prayer and fasting. Yet, perhaps his greatest virtue was that of almsgiving. Nicholas recognized that every earthly posession he had was a gift from God. He regarded himself as merely a steward of the goods that belonged to the poor. So too, he took care to keep his generosity secret, yet word spread throughout the land of his generosity.
God recompensed Nicholas through the charismata and miracles for which he became renowned in the sight of men.
For many years, the holy Bishop was, as the the presence of Christ, a friend of man, and a good shepherd to his faithful; there was no misfortune that would not move him to compassion; no injustice that he would not redress; no discord that he would not allay. Wherever he happened to be, his illumined countenance and radiant peace surrounding him were instantly recognizable.
When he fell asleep in the peace of the Lord, his holy relics were placed in a church built in his honor and memory in Myra.
To this day, St. Nicholas is one of the most beloved saints of people in both the Eastern and Western Christian churches.
Feast Day of St. Nicholas of Myra
December 19 (Old calendar)
December 6 (New calendar)
TROPARION (TONE 4)
In truth you were revealed to your flock as a rule of faith, / an image of humility and a teacher of abstinence; / your humility exalted you; / your poverty enriched you. / Hierarch Father Nicholas, / entreat Christ our God / that our souls may be saved.
KONTAKION (TONE 3)
You revealed yourself, O saint, in Myra as a priest, / For you fulfilled the Gospel of Christ / By giving up your soul for your people, / And saving the innocent from death./ Therefore you are blessed as one become wise in the grace of God.