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The life of sAINT NICHOlAs

A humble work in progress by the handmaiden
eleniemarie not to be reproduced for sale or profit.
1 2 3 4

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. 5 6
Hierarch Father Nicholas, entreat Christ
our God that our souls may be saved.
7 8

Kontakion (Tone 3)
9 10
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. 11 12
Therefore you are blessed as one become
wise in the grace of God.

13 14 15 16
The early years

Nicholas was born in the city of Patara in the region
of Lycia (on the south coast of the Asia Minor peninsula)
around the end of the third century.

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
drink milk from his mother until after
his parents had finished their evening prayers.

A Holy life

From his childhood Nicholas thrived on the
study of Divine Scripture; by day he would
not leave church, and by night he prayed
and read books, making himself a worthy
dwelling place for the Holy Spirit.
From early youth he was inclined to
solitude and silence; in fact, not a single
written or spoken word of the Saint
has come down to us.

Committed to god

Nicholas was the only son of pious parents
Theophanes and Nonna, who had vowed
to dedicate him to God.

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.

Serving the church

His uncle, Bishop Nicholas of Patara, rejoiced in
the spiritual accomplishments of little Nicholas.
He first tonsured Nicholas as a reader, then
elevated him to the priesthood, and made him his
assistant, assigning him to educate the flock.

In serving the Lord, Nicholas was on fire with the
Holy Spirit. He responded to questions of faith,
like an elder which led the believers to respect
him greatly. He worked every minute and
remained focused, praying without stopping.
As a priest Nicholas showed great charity toward
his flock, coming to the aid of the suffering, and
giving all he had to the poor.

bishop of myra

When Archbishop John reposed in the Lord,
Nicholas was chosen though a very special
revelation to become the next Bishop of Myra.
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 wait
for Nicholas. The saint, always the first to arrive at church,
was stopped by the bishop. "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.”
Miracles at sea
Once on a journey to the Holy Land,
Saint Nicholas predicted a storm would arise
and threaten the ship. He saw the devil get
on the ship, intending to sink it and kill all the
passengers. At the plea of the worried pilgrims,
Saint Nicholas calmed the waves of the
sea by his prayers.

Even a certain sailor of the ship, who had fallen
from the mast and was injured badly,
was completely restored to health.

Patron saint
God honored the faithfulness of Saint Nicholas
by granting him unparalleled gifts of healing
and wonderworking.

Several times he calmed storms at sea by his prayers
and saved the ship that he was sailing in. Through
the centuries he has often done the same for sailors
who call out to him, and is considered the patron
Saint of sailors and all who go to sea.

Holy intercession

Emperor Constantine received a visit from Saint Nicholas
one night after three innocent soldiers had wrongly been
accused by Eulalius. The saint commanded:

"Constantine, emperor, rise and free those three men
whom you have locked in prison, Nepotianus and Ursus
and Eupoleonis, officers of the army, who have been
arrested by hearsay. If you do not obey me, I will stir
up an uncontrollable revolt against you, and hand
over your body to the wild beasts for food, bearing witness
against you before the celestial King Christ."

Then said the emperor, "Who are you, and how
did you get into my palace?"

Said the holy man,

"I am Bishop Nicholas, a sinner,
who lives in the metropolis of Lycia."

The Emperor Constantine obeyed the request
of Saint Nicholas immediately when he awoke.
Bringing justice

A man named Eulalius, the city ruler of Byzantium,
also received a powerful visit from Saint Nicholas
in the middle of the night.

Eulalius had sinned greatly by accepting a bribe
to report a false accusation to Emperor Constantine
about three innocent soldiers named
Nepotianus and Ursus and Eupoleonis.
Afraid that his deception would later come to light,
Eulalius urged Constantine to condemn the three men,
insisting that even in prison they continued
to plot against his life. The alarmed emperor
sentenced them to death.

However, the good Saint corrected the injustice.


Emperor Constantine called the three soldiers
Nepotianus, Ursus and Eupoleonis to him the next day.
Questioning them closely he understood their innocence
and repented of his rash judgment. As he spoke to them
compassionately and with regret, the soldiers
suddenly saw Archbishop Nicholas sitting
beside the emperor, promising him God’s forgiveness.

They told the emperor what they saw and he replied,
“It is not I who grant you life, but the great servant of
the Lord, Nicholas, whom you called upon for help.
Go to thank him, and tell him also from me,
‘I fulfilled your command, servant of Christ.
Be not angry with me.’”


Even during his life Saint Nicholas 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, corrected by
Saint Nicholas for his wrong doing,
repented and begged for forgiveness.


Father Nicholas had great compassion on a wealthy
businessman of Patara who had fallen on hard times
and lost his fortune. Desperate, 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), Saint
Nicholas passed by his home in secret during the night
and threw three hundred gold coins wrapped in a
handkerchief through the man's window.
This occurred three times, in secret,
to conceal the act of charity.
The man full of gratitude for the kindness was able
to arrange for his daughters to be married.

Illumined by christ

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.

Love of people

Saint Nicholas 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. He requested him to sail to Myra
and deliver grain as food for the hungry there.

Serving the Lord
He was noted in particular for the fervency of
his prayer and kind-hearted nature, and the
attention to charitable work that characterized
his priestly ministry. Following the example of
Christ, Father Nicholas sold his possessions
when his parents reposed and a few years after
his ordination, distributed his inheritance to
the poor and wounded, who would often
seek him out for assistance.

The kingdom

Having reached old age, Saint Nicholas peacefully fell
asleep in the Lord around 345. His holy incorrupt relics
were placed in a church built in his honor in Myra, where
they were venerated by crowds of pilgrims every year.

In 1087, after Myra was conquered by the Saracens, the
Saint's relics were translated to Bari in southern Italy,
where they are venerated today. Every year, quantities of
fragrant myrrh are gathered from the casket
containing his holy relics.

The Feast of Saint Nicholas is December 6th

Defending the faith

In the year 325 Saint Nicholas was a participant in the
First Ecumenical Council of Nicea. This Council proclaimed the
Nicean Symbol of Faith, and fought against the heretic Arius.
Saint Nicholas, inspired with zeal for the Lord, confronted the
heretic Arius with his words, and also struck him upon the face.
For this reason, he was deprived of the emblems of his
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 Bishop’s omophorion.
The Fathers of the Council agreed that the boldness of the
saint was pleasing to God, and restored the saint to the
office of bishop.
Saint Nicholas is shown here with Christ over his left shoulder
holding out a Gospel Book to him and the Theotokos over
his right shoulder holding the omophorion. This is to signify
the miracle attributed to Saint Nicholas.

Holy Saint Nicholas intercede for us!