Announcing a long-overdue addition to our special resources on Great Saints of the Church:
St Nicholas the Wonderworker!
Every year we have considered creating a special page for this most beloved saint, yet for various reasons had not yet done so, preferring to link to his extended Life instead.
That changed this year (December 2021) when our dear friend and former parishioner Mother Paula of Transfiguration Monastery in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, sent Fr Steven a link to a new documentary film which brings together the historical records on St Nicholas, who was actually "demoted" recently by the Roman Catholic confession as being merely a "legendary" figure. As this excellent new documentary reveals, nothing could be further from the truth: St Nicholas is vividly attested to by the historical record.
There is a real Bishop Nicholas at the heart of our veneration of this beloved saint: a Confessor of Christ who survived persecution under the Romans, who aided the poor and needy, who defended the True Faith at the First Ecumenical Council in Nicaea in 325, who protects travelers & mariners, and who inspires us by his Life in Christ and intercedes for us to this day.
With this new documentary as our anchor, we added other edifying videos from Orthodox sources, select children's books, numerous icons and paintings, plus other traditional hagiographies (including the extended 'Life' by St Dmitri of Rostov, and the Prologue of Ohrid entry by St Nikolai Velimirovich), as well as links to the massive collection of articles at the Mystagogy Resource Center (John Sanidopoulos), as well as other resources of interest.
We hope you enjoy this new section, and come to know better our beloved St Nicholas who always intercedes for us, and who provides for us a loving and trustworthy "rule of faith," as his troparion proclaims.
Pray to God for us, O Holy Father Nicholas!
JOIN US FOR THE FEAST OF ST NICHOLAS
Monday, December 6, 9:30am - Divine Liturgy
Tuesday, December 7, 7:00am - Akathist Hymn to St Nicholas
- Download the Akathist to St Nicholas
And be sure to join us for our
Annual St Nicholas Day Pageant and Charity Dinner
- Sunday, Dec. 12, following the Divine Liturgy, in our Parish Hall
- Presented by our Church School
- Proceeds to benefit local charities
We will have our Annual Charity Dinner during Coffee Hour on December 12th following the church school play. We will be serving 4 kinds of soup, bread, salad and dessert. The suggested donation will be $5.00 per person or $20.00 per family. Please bring correct change or a personal check made payable to the church. We will have lids for the soup containers if you want to take your meal home to enjoy later.
St. Nicholas will make a guest appearance following the play with a special treat for all the children! ❤️
Looking forward to Celebrating St Nicholas Day with our parish family on December 12th!
Troparion — Tone 4
The truth of things revealed you to your flock as a rule of faith, / a model of meekness, and a teacher of temperance. / Through humility, you attained the heights; / and through poverty, riches. / O Father and Hierarch Nicholas, intercede with Christ God that our souls may be saved.
Kontakion — Tone 3
You were shown forth in Myra as an officiant of the sacred rites, / for you fulfilled the Gospel of Christ, O Venerable Nicholas, by laying down your life for your people, / and saving the innocent from death. / Therefore, you were sanctified as a great initiate of God's grace.
Akathist Hymn to St Nicholas (from the Jordanville Book of Akathists, Vol. 1)
Saint Nicholas: The Real Story (2015) | Full Movie
Scroll down to view the film...
From the film's description:
Everybody knows the story of Santa Claus, the red–suited figure who lives at the North Pole and distributes gifts to good children every Christmas Eve. But is there any historical evidence about the real man on which this jolly old character is based?
Travel with distinguished historian Mark Wilson as he journeys not to the North Pole, but to modern day Turkey and Italy. Here the important story of Nicholas, a third-to-fourth century Christian bishop, emerges from folklore. Saint Nicholas: The Real Story unveils the portrait of a courageous man of God, who stood for truth at a critical time in Church history and who profoundly impacted the culture in which he lived.
Read 'Who was Saint Nicholas', by scholar Dr. Mark Wilson, host and main narrator of the film, and founder/director of the Asia Minor Research Center in Antalya, Turkey.
Additional videos about St Nicholas:
- by Desert Wisdom YouTube Channel
- Ideal for young people!
- features a brief life of St Nicholas,
- easy to read English text over moving montage of icons of the saint,
- accompanied by the Polyeleos chanted by Orthodox recording artist, Divna.
- by Mull Monastery Daily Prayers YouTube Channel
- beautiful and compunctionate monastic setting of the commemoration of St Nicholas (in English);
- Fr Seraphim (Aldea), Superior of All Celtic Saints Orthodox Monastery on the Isle of Mull, reads the Synaxarion entry for St Nicholas,
- then the brotherhood chants the Canon to St Nicholas;
- Watch also this introductory video to the Monastery's series of daily videos on the saints, which began on October 1, 2020 as a pious response to the Covid-19 lockdown.
- The Monastery of All Celtic Saints is the first Orthodox Monastery in the Isles of Scotland in over a thousand years;
- Their annual pilgrimages were interrupted during the Covid lockdown, but may be resuming soon (God willing);
- Visit their website here...
Ancient Faith | $17.95
by Gloria Whelan, illustrated by Judith Brown
It was the day before Christmas in a small Russian village. Alexi's babushka was telling him what Christmas was like when she was a girl-before the soldiers came. "Our church was as crowded as a pod full of peas. Candles made the church as bright as the sunniest day. Watching over us was the blessed icon of St. Nicholas." Alexi had many questions, including, "Why can't we celebrate Christmas tomorrow in St. Nicholas?" Babushka sadly replied that it would take a miracle after sixty years. Well, Alexi had heard enough. If there truly was such a thing as a miracle, why couldn't it happen here? And so unfolds a story that poignantly reveals how, though quiet and hidden, faith and hope cannot be suppressed-by soldiers or by time.
Age Range: All ages | Format: Hardcover | 8.5 X 10.5 inches | 32 pages
SVS Press | $24 | OUT OF STOCK! (Search online for other resellers)
by Jim Forest, illustrated by Vladislav Andrejev
The popular perception of Saint Nicholas today diverges greatly from his original veneration as a compassionate almsgiver and defender of the poor. Saint Nicholas has been reduced to the pop culture figure of Santa Claus, a jolly old man who brings presents to good little boys and girls. This book reacquaints those boys and girls with the authentic Santa Claus—Nicholas, a man who found greatness not simply in spreading "good cheer," but in being a true icon of Jesus Christ in word and deed.
Age Range: All ages | Format: Hardcover | 8.5 X 10.5 inches | 32 pages
Paterikon for Kids #10| Potamitis Publishing
$3.95 | OUT OF STOCK! (Search online for other resellers)
Today, children in many countries eagerly await St. Nicholas's gifts. But in this memorable story, the saint's humble, secret charity surprised three sisters and saved them from a terrible fate.
Hardcover | Part of a great series of books for children.
From The Great Collection of the Lives of the Saints, Volume 2
compiled by St. Dmitri of Rostov
The great wonder-worker, swift helper of those in need, and fervent intercessor before God, Christ’s holy hierarch Nicholas, was born in Patara, a city in the province of Lycia. His parents were honorable, well-born, wealthy folk and were Orthodox. Nicholas’ father was named Theophanes and his mother Nonna. Dwelling together in lawful wedlock, they were adorned with every virtue. Because of their God-pleasing way of life, numerous good deeds, and especially their unstinting almsgiving, they, as holy roots, were deemed worthy to put forth a holy shoot, their blessed child. Like a tree which is planted by the streams of waters, this couple was vouchsafed to bring forth fruit in its season. When their son was born, they gave him the name Nicholas, which means "victor of the nations," and truly, with God’s help he proved victorious over evil and became a benefactor of the whole world.
by St Nikolai Velimirovich
This glorious saint, celebrated even today throughout the entire world, was the only son of his eminent and wealthy parents, Theophanes and Nona, citizens of the city of Patara in Lycia. Since he was the only son bestowed on them by God, the parents returned the gift to God by dedicating their son to Him.
St. Nicholas learned of the spiritual life from his uncle Nicholas, Bishop of Patara, and was tonsured a monk in the Monastery of New Zion founded by his uncle. Following the death of his parents, Nicholas distributed all his inherited goods to the poor, not keeping anything for himself.
As a priest in Patara, he was known for his charity, even though he carefully concealed his charitable works, fulfilling the words of the Lord: "Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth" (Matthew 6:3).
When he gave himself over to solitude and silence, thinking to live that way until his death, a voice from on high came to him: "Nicholas, for your ascetic labor, work among the people, if thou desirest to be crowned by Me." Immediately after that, by God's wondrous providence, he was chosen archbishop of the city of Myra in Lycia.
A fresh new 'Life' in English, drawn from Orthodox sources, with numerous rare icons and frescoes accompanying the text.
Full of Grace and Truth Blog, 2008
He is beloved in the Orthodox Church, and indeed far beyond, for his kindness, almsgiving and aid, meted out both during his earthly life and after. As one of the multitude of English lives of the saint joyously proclaims, 'he is one of the best known and best loved saints of all time.' And in another: 'The name of the great saint of God, the hierarch and wonderworker Nicholas, a speedy helper and suppliant for all hastening to him, is famed in every corner of the earth, in many lands and among many peoples. In Russia there are a multitude of cathedrals, monasteries and churches consecrated in his name. There is, perhaps, not a single city without a church dedicated to his honour.'
[Also, in the tradition of the Orthodox Church, while every day of the week signifies a different generic celebration besides that of the specific date (e.g. Monday is the Holy Angels, Tuesday Saint John the Forerunner, etc.), Thursday is dedicated to honor the Holy Apostles and Saint Nicholas. Thus, when there is no major feast hymns to the Apostles and St. Nicholas are chanted every Thursday. This is one more indication of the reverence which the Holy Fathers have for the Saint.]
Childhood and early life
St Nicholas was born (c. 270) in the the region of Lycia (southern Asia Minor), in the city of Patara. His parents, Theophanes and Nonna, were both pious Christians, and being childless until his arrival, consecrated Nicholas to God at his birth (the name Nicholas meaning 'Conqueror of nations'). His birth considered by both an answer to their prayer, and especially the prayer issued during Nonna's illness, his mother was said to have been healed immediately after giving birth. Nicholas would always remember his parents' love and devotion to God, and in his later years promised to come to the aid of those who remembered them in their prayers.
Various traditions recount signs of Nicholas' future glory as 'wonderworker' (Gr. thaumatourgos), apparent already in his earliest childhood. One recalls that as an infant in the baptismal font, Nicholas stood on his feet for three hours in honour of the Trinity. Another proclaims him a childhood faster, not accepting milk from his mother until after the conclusion of evening prayers on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Additional Articles and Resources:
St Nicholas of Myra Resource Page (Mystagogy Resource Center) - Literally dozens of articles on St Nicholas, his life, the veneration of him, miracles attributed to him, plus his relics, icons and shrines.
St Nicholas the Wonderworker (OrthoChristian.com) — Over two dozen articles covering the Saint's life, the translation of his relics, and his many ongoing miracles, up through the present day. Highlights include:
ST. NICHOLAS, PROTECTOR OF CHILDREN, by Nun Cornelia (Rees)
THERE IS A ST. NICHOLAS! - Six Contemporary Miracles of St Nicholas
How Did St Nicholas' Relics Get To Bari, Italy?
This "Translation of the Relics of St Nicholas" to Bari, Italy from Myra in Asia Minor in 1087 is discussed in the video documentary above. Though it was a great loss to the Orthodox faithful of Myra, the Orthodox Church actually considered this a providential event allowed by God to preserve St Nicholas' relics, and the Church therefore established a Feast of the Translation of the Holy Relics of St Nicholas on May 9. You can read about this important historical feast in this article:
Translation of the relics of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker from Myra to Bari (Commemorated May 9) (OCA) — Describes the danger to St Nicholas' relics from the Ottoman Turks, who had been on the ascendancy throughout the Middle East and Asia Minor since the mid-7th century, and the providential taking of the Saint's relics to Bari. The great love and veneration of the Russian Orthodox faithful for St Nicholas is also discussed in this article.
See below for articles and photos on St Nicholas' Relics being brought to Russia in 2017, preceded by Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev's visit tio Bari, Italy in December 2016, where he served the Divine Liturgy at the altar which stands over the crypt with the Saint's relics.
Patriarch Kyrill of Moscow and All Russia venerates the Relics of St Nicholas at Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow
Tens of thousands venerate Relics of St Nicholas; brought to Russia in 2017 after 1000 Years in Bari, Italy
Two Videos and Six News Reports, plus several photos of this historic event.
His Holiness Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kyrill welcomes the Relics of Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, the Wonderworker, to Moscow from Bari, Italy, at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour accompanied by the pealing of bells and thousands of the faithful.
Over 25,000 believers come to venerate St. Nicholas’ relics in just one day | Russia Beyond | May 23, 2017
Thousands throng to bow to St Nicholas relics in Moscow | Reuters | May 22, 2017
ROC COMMENTED ON THE OPPORTUNITY TO LEAVE THE RELICS OF ST. NICHOLAS IN RUSSIA | Russian Reality | June 24, 2017
More than 300,000 Russians queue to see relics of St Nicholas | Pravmir | June 6, 2017
The massive turnout to see the saint’s relics, which are on loan from their home in Bari, Italy for the first time, underline how strongly the Orthodox Church has become a part of Russians’ sense of themselves a quarter-century after the collapse of the officially atheist Soviet Union.
Metropolitan Hilarion celebrates Divine Liturgy at the relics of St Nicholas | Serbian Orthodox Church News | Dec 14, 2016
On 13 December 2016, commemoration day of the Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, while in Italy on a working visit, celebrated the Divine Liturgy in Bari in the crypt of the Basilica of St Nicholas the Wonderworker, on the altar above the relics of the saint. Read the full story, with photos, here, and see a photo below.
INSIDE ST. NICHOLAS’S CRYPT IN BARI, by Emilia Volkova | OrthoChristian.com | May 22, 2019 — A first-person account of venerating St Nicholas and his relics at Bari, Italy. With photos.
Here are presented a series of frescoes
showing scenes from the Life of St Nicholas.
These were recently completed at St Nicholas Orthodox Church (OCA),
in McKees Rocks (Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania, Archpriest Thomas Soroka, Rector.