Holy Father Nikon, the Preacher of Repentance
Commemorated on 26th November
Born in 930 AD near Pontus, Nikon had a privileged upbringing. He witnessed the laborious toils of the field-workers on his father’s estate as a child and contemplating this as he grew, he realised that working hard on a field or living comfortably and wealthy, all people will go to the grave in the end – in the hands of God. Nikon decided to become a monk and joined the Monastery of the Golden Stone, located on the borders of Pontus in the north-east of today’s Turkey. He shrugged off the anxieties of the world and began a life of self-denial, complete obedience and humility.
After two years, the young monk was given the blessing to withdraw to a cell alone. Nikon wept every day for his unworthiness, so that the floor of his cell was always damp. After twelve years, God revealed to Nikon’s spiritual father that it was time for Nikon to serve as a preacher to communities in need. Taking nothing with him, Nikon bade farewell to the brethren of the monastery and took to the road, barefoot and without concern for food and shelter. Everywhere he went, he preached – emphasising the importance of repentance. After three years, he took a boat to Crete, which had been regained by the Byzantine Empire in 961 from the rule of the Arabs. The piratical state that the Iberian Muslims had established left Crete hostile to Christianity. Nikon spent seven years restoring the Christian spirit there before moving to the mainland of Greece, sporadically travelling to nearby islands. St Nikon worked many miracles during this time. When he began to build a church in Sparta, necessary materials and food for the workmen miraculously appeared.
People who came into contact with St Nikon never wanted to leave his company. His wise counsels enlightened and comforted all those around him so that crowds flocked to his side. In his last words to his disciples, he urged them to let go of their pride and regularly confess in order to keep their dearest possession: love for God.
Hieromonk Makarios of Simonos Petra (2005), The Synaxarion; The Lives of the Saints of the Orthodox Church, Holy Convent of The Annunciation of Our Lady Ormylia (Chalkidike), Greece.
Panagiotakis, N.M. (1987), Crete, History and Civilization I, Association of Regional Associations of Regional Municipalities.
Source: October-November 2014 Lychnos Edition