My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
Saint Nicholas the Wonder-Worker, Archbishop of Myra
MIRACLES OF OUR HOLY FATHER NICHOLAS
Mariners were in danger of drowning during a gale so that the strong winds tore the sails. Now those on board had heard of the fame of Saint Nicholas who miraculously rescued ships in distress. They called upon him, entreating, "O Saint Nicholas, help us in this hour because we are drowning! Straightway, the great Nicholas appeared hastening toward them over the churning sea. He next took his place at the ship’s helm. As he took the wheel and steered the ship, he cried out to the mariners, "Cease fearing; I am with you. You invoked me, and I came to assist you." In a little while, the violent winds abated, and the turbulent sea became calm. The holy man then vanished from their sight. The mariners with one mind then exclaimed, "Let us set our course for the harbor of the Myraions. Let us go to Saint Nicholas that we might thank him properly for the help which he graciously bestowed upon us. Let us gaze upon his countenance because we did not see him clearly in the midst of that storm." Therefore they dropped anchor at Myra’s port, went out on dry land, and inquired, "Where does one find the hierarch?" They were told: "Even now, he is going to the church with his priests." The mariners thereupon sped to the church. After they entered, they immediately recognized the Saint from his figure, even as they observed him at the helm, though they had never seen him previous to that calamity at sea. The mariners fell before Saint Nicholas’ feet and began saying, "We give thanks to thee, O slave of God because if thou hadst not anticipated our need and peril at sea, we should have been drowned."
The crew then recounted the entire incident at sea. The Saint, as one clairvoyant and filled with the Holy Spirit, knew that they were not pure of heart; for with his spiritual eyes, he perceived the sin of fornication, which alienates a man from God and makes him indifferent to keeping God’s law and commands. Thus, the Saint wished to deliver them not only from physical danger but from spiritual death, so he spoke to them in his customary affable and fatherly way, saying, "I beseech you, my children, examine the intentions and thoughts of your hearts and minds, and direct them to the will of God. For even though things may be hidden from men and we appear good, yet before God, it is impossible to be concealed. Man sees the outward man, but God sees the heart. Hearken to the words of Scripture: "Be not carnal and walking according to man" (I Corinthians 3:3). The divine Paul also speaks elsewhere, saying, "Know ye not that ye are God’s temple, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any one corrupt the temple of God, God shall bring this same one to corruption" (I Corinthians 3:16-17). If you preserve the temple of God in a holy manner, you shall always have God as your helper." After he taught them as a loving father, the Saint returned to the cathedral. The mariners benefitted more from his instructions on land than his succor at sea. They departed to their own land, giving glory to God and thanking Him for being vouchsafed the solicitation of His Saint.
THE REPOSE OF SAINT NICHOLAS
First, let us describe Saint Nicholas. Even if the holy man should be in a crowd, he would be clearly identified by his radiant and Angelic countenance. At one replete with the Spirit, he was ever engaged in prayer and contemplation, so that oftentimes when one happened to meet him on the road in the midst of others, though the Saint was not preaching but engaged in mental prayer, yet those who merely gazed upon him received benefit. If one were sorrowing and afflicted, such a one needed only to look upon the Saint, and his grief fled, leaving him consoled and even glad. Those who stopped and talked with the Saint were led to compunction. In his presence, they found themselves on the path to virtue and a fuller knowledge of God.
Since, however, Saint Nicholas was a mortal, the time approached for his repose. Prior to his falling asleep in the Lord, he became slightly ill. He reposed in peace and left his honorable holy relics upon earth as a benefit to mankind, while his blessed soul joyfully ascended into the heavens, accompanied by the hymns of Angels. Both orphans and poor folk wept at the deprivation of their father and pilot. The Myraions, together with strangers, foreigners, and all the world lamented his passing from their midst; for they lost a shepherd and teacher. The holy Archangels and Angels rejoiced upon welcoming such a holy one into their bosoms. The Martyrs were glad and filled with delight upon beholding a fellow Martyr. The righteous were happy upon beholding one such as themselves. Shepherds and teachers were well pleased and received felicity because he joined the ranks of shepherds. Why should I speak and distinguish each order? All of heaven and the ranks of the Saints and Righteous were cheered that day. Even though the blessed soul of Saint Nicholas went forth from this world, ye the has not forgotten those who invoke him. For this reason, after his blessed repose, miracles without bound have taken place for the faithful who have taken recourse in him.
It is impossible to recount the countless miracles (wonders) wrought by Saint Nicholas the Wonder-worker. Though the land of Myra is now silent, et his fame remains inextinguishable and extends throughout the world, which is enlightened by his example. He is a ready defender of widows and orphans, a cheerful given to those in need, an avenger of the oppressed and those suffering unjust judgments, and an apt helper to all those in affliction and misfortune. He is inexhaustible in the services he renders others and in his imitation of the Master’s love for men. His repose did not interrupt His wonders (miracles) on land and sea, which continue to this day, to the glory of our Triune God. (Source: The Great Synaxaristes of the Orthodox Church)
Please note: Orthodox Christians must take time with their children and teach them the authentic Life of Saint Nicholas the Wonder-worker. Orthodox Christians must not adhere to the distorted image of Saint Nicholas which is promoted and taught in today’s corrupt society by unbelievers and profiteers. The secular and Gentile world has deliberately sought out to corrupt and undermine the dignity, holiness, and sanctity of the Christian holy days and Saints by destroying their true purpose and intent. To stop all Christian messages of love, faith, hope, redemption, peace, forgiveness, and holiness. The Christian celebrations such as the holy Nativity of Jesus Christ (Christmas), the All-Holy Pascha (Resurrection) of Jesus Christ, and even the celebration of Thanksgiving with secular symbols. The unbelieving and enemies of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ have systematically attempted to transform this most holy Christian celebration of His Divine Birth with a time of leisure, eating, gift-giving, and entertainment. To attempt to corrupt the holy person of Saint Nicholas by distorting his holy image from a caricature to a symbol of consumerism, gluttony, and greed. To attempt to replace the holy celebration of the Holy Resurrection of Jesus Christ (Pascha) with pagan customs i.e., a celebration of spring and making an animal the so-called "Easter Bunny" its symbol and a time of eating and engaging children to look for "Easter eggs." The evil one is constantly working to bring to people "defective reasoning and confusion of thought." It is entirely wrong for Christians to fall for this deception and attack on our Christian faith and Holy Tradition.
"Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostomos
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With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God
+ Father George