My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
THE LIFE OF SAINT NICHOLAS OF MYRA (Part III)
A ship was once sailing from Egypt to Myra when a violent storm arose, churning up the sea. The sails were torn, and it seemed that the vessel itself would be crushed by the mighty waves. The passengers were in despair for their lives when they remembered the great hierarch Nicholas. Although none of them had ever seen him, they had heard that he was the quick helper of those who call on him in misfortune, so they turned to him in prayer, begging his assistance. The Saint immediately appeared, announcing, "You called for me, and I have come o help you!" He took the helm and began piloting the ship, calming the storm, as once did the Lord, Who said, "He that believeth on Me, the works that I do he do also." Because he was a faithful servant of God, Saint Nicholas gave commands to the wind and sea and they obeyed him. Sped by a fair wind, the boat reached Myra, and the passengers disembarked, hoping to see the holy bishop. They met the Saint on his way to church, and recognizing their benefactor, fell at his feet, thanking him. The wondrous Nicholas did not merely deliver them from danger of physical death but took thought for the salvation of their souls as well. Because he was CLAIRVOYANT, HE PERCEIVED THAT SOME OF THE PASSENGERS WERE DEFILED BY FORNICATION, which estranges a man from God, and causes him to neglect the Lord’s commandments. "Children," he said to them, "I beseech you to correct your hearts and thoughts, so that you may be pleasing to God. Consider that although we may reckon ourselves to be righteous and frequently succeed in deceiving men, we can conceal nothing from God. Let us, therefore, strive to preserve the holiness of our souls and to guard the purity of our bodies with all fervor. "You are the temple of God," says the divine Apostle Paul; "If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy." (1 Corinthians, ch. 3) So saying, the blessed one, like a loving father, let them depart in peace.
Saint Nicholas’ countenance resembled that of an Angel, splendid with divine grace. A brilliant ray shone from his face, as from Moses’, so that those who looked at him were astonished. Whoever was oppressed by some affliction or passion of soul had only to lay eyes on the Saint, and his sorrow was eased at once. As for those who conversed with him, they soon found themselves advancing on the path of virtue. Not only the faithful but unbelievers as well were moved to compunction and directed their steps toward salvation when they heard his sweet lips speak; the evil of unbelief implanted in their hearts since childhood was uprooted, and in its place, the word of truth was sown.
When he reached old age, the Saint paid the common debt due human nature, and after falling ill for a short time, ended this temporal life in a God-pleasing manner. He joyfully departed unto eternal blessedness to the sound of chanted psalms; his soul was escorted by holy Angels and met by the Choirs of Saints. Bishops and clergy, monastics and laity from throughout the county of Lycia assembled on the sixth day of December to lay his body to rest in the cathedral of Myra. Numerous miracles were worked by Saint Nicholas’ holy relics, which gushed streams of fragrant, healing myrrh for the ailing. People began coming to his grave from every corner of the earth, hoping to be healed. They were not disappointed, for there was no disease the holy myrrh could not cure. The Saint continued to war against the demons even after his repose, and many times evil spirits were expelled from possessed people brought to his sepulcher.
Saint Nicholas was present at the First Ecumenical Synod of the 318 Fathers at Nicaea in A.D. 325; upon hearing the blasphemies that the heretic Arius brazenly uttered against the Son of God, Saint Nicholas struck him on the face. Since the canons of the Church forbid the clergy to strike any man at all, his fellow bishops were in perplexity about what disciplinary action was to be taken against this hierarch whom all revered. In the night our Lord Jesus Christ and Our Lady Theotokos appeared to certain of the bishops, informing them that no action was to be taken against him since he had acted not out of passion, but EXTREME LOVE AND PIETY. The Dismissal (Apolytikion Hymn) Hymn for holy hierarchs, The truth of things hath revealed thee to thy flock… was written originally for Saint Nicholas. He is the Patron of all travelers, and of seafarers in particular; he is one of the best-known and best-loved Saints of all time.
Through the holy intercessions of Saint Nicholas, O Lord God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
"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