From the Saints of our Church
St Nicholas – Papa Planas of Athens – a modern day Saint
Commemorated on March 2nd
Saint Nicholas was born on the island of Naxos in 1851 and from a young age was devout and kind in conduct. He refused to allow himself to become attached to material possessions, instead leading a simple life. He married and had a son, but his wife died early and Nicholas committed himself into service to the Lord. After becoming a priest in Athens, his reputation grew as he liturgised daily in churches all over the city. These liturgies were the focal point of Nicholas’ dedication to God, the purest form of his identity within the life of the Church, the Body of Christ. Many witnessed the Saint raised above the ground in church. The names of every person he encountered, of those living and dead, were read out during liturgy everyday from a bundle of notes he accumulated and kept throughout his life, so that liturgy often stretched to six hours in duration!
Despite growing attention, Nicholas stripped himself of the world by distancing himself from offensive conversation and praying everywhere he went. Enraptured in prayer as he walked, he once did not realise it was raining torrentially. The man who invited him under his shelter noticed in astonishment that the Saint’s cassock was in fact perfectly dry, although he had walked some distance!
Every obstacle Nicholas faced was conquered by his sincere love of all people. Due to his simplicity and humility he often saw Saints and Angels who appeared to him in aid, though he was deemed naïve by worldly standards. Those seeking his advice were met with great insight and meekness so that he became a true shepherd of Christians; patient in all matters, forgiving and easy to approach.
Saint Nicholas reposed on 2nd March 1932 with a smile on his lips. Huge crowds gathered to venerate him for three days. He was canonized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 2002.
Source: February-March 2015 Lychnos Edition