Niphon, Bishop of Constantiania
There are various claims of the birthplace and life of Saint Niphon, however the essence of the teachings of his life remain constant. As a child, Saint Niphon was gentle and meek, often attending the Divine Services, however as a teenager, he began to live a prodigal and sinful life. He would often come to his senses, but would then be dragged into sin by his friends. He believed that his soul was lost and there was no forgiveness for him. One day, a friend looked at him in the face and said, “I have never seen a face so black as yours before.” These words resonated in Niphon’s soul and he attributed it to the fallen state of his soul. From this day, he would cry out to the Most Holy Theotokos for her prayers. Time after time, Niphon would fall into sin, but would immediately run to the icon of the Theotokos and beg for forgiveness. One time, after intense prayer, the face of the Mother of God shone with a bright smile. Niphon turned his life around completely and began to spend time in prayer and repentance. After he was healed of a particular illness by the Theotokos, he became a monk and struggled greatly against the passions. Many times, the demons attacked Niphon, however he overcame them with prayer and the help of God. After many years, Niphon was an old man and the Patriarch of Alexandria saw a vision of Niphon being consecrated bishop. Reluctantly out of humility, he obediently accepted the See and guided his flock in prayer and love. Three days before his repose, the Most Holy Theotokos appeared to him, and even Saint Athanasius the Great, who was living at the time, came to visit him to ask of his blessing. On his deathbed, he was deemed worthy to behold the Holy Angels and the All-Pure Theotokos.
Ἦχος δ΄. Ταχὺ προκατάλαβε.
Τῷ θείῳ βαπτίσματι ἀποκαθαίρας σοφέ, τὰ πρώην προστρίμματα καὶ τῇ ἀσκήσει ἐκδούς, σαὐτὸν Νήφων ἔνδοξε, πάσας τε τὰς προλήψεις, ἐξηφάνισας ὅθεν, ποίμνης των ὀρθοδόξων, ἱεράρχης ἐγένου, πρεσβεύων τῷ Κυρίῳ ὑπὲρ πάντων ἡμῶν.
Ἦχος δ΄. Ἐπεφάνης σήμερον.
Ἱεράρχης γέγονας, τῆς Ἐκκλησίας, καὶ ποιμὴν μαάριε, τοὺς εὐσεβεῖς καθοδηγῶν, εἰς Βασιλείαν οὐράνιον, ἧς τοὺς τιμῶντας, εὐχαῖς σου ἀξίωσον.
Ἱεράρχην πάντες τὸν τοῦ Χριστοῦ, Νήφωνα τὸν θεῖον, εὐφημήσωμεν ἐκ ψυχῆς, πρεσβεύει γὰρ Κυρίῳ, ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν τῶν πίστει, τὴν μνήμην γεραιρόντων, αὐτοῦ τὴν εὔσημον.