THE HOLY PRIESTLY

March 23

From the Prologue

Nicon was born in Naples of a pagan father and Christian mother. Nicon was a Roman officer in Naples and was not baptized, even though his mother tutored him secretly from his father in the Faith of Christ. Once, when Nicon was sent into battle with his troops, his mother counseled him to make the sign of the cross and to call upon Christ for help if any misfortune would befall him. And, indeed, while in battle, Nicon's troops were completely surrounded; and, toward the end of the battle, Nicon made the sign of the cross in his heart and cried out to Christ. Immediately, he was filled with unusual strength and pursued his enemies. Some he slew and others he forced to flee. Returning to his home, Nicon continuously cried out in amazement, "Great is the Christian God." Since he had made his mother happy with the news of his victory with the help of the Cross of Christ, he secretly sailed to Asia where Theodosius the Bishop of Cyzicus baptized him. Following his baptism, he secluded himself in a monastery where he devoted himself to study and asceticism. Before his death Theodosius had a vision in which he was told to ordain Nicon as his successor. Immediately the aged Theodosius summoned Nicon and ordained him a deacon; after that, a priest, and then, a bishop. Shortly thereafter, according to God's Providence, Nicon came to Naples where he discovered that his mother was still living. Following his mother's death, Nicon, with nine disciples, his former war companions, withdrew to Sicily and there dedicated himself to preaching the Gospel. However, at that time there was a terrible persecution of Christians. Prince Quintianus captured Nicon with his companions and inflicted great pain and suffering upon them. His one-hundred ninety disciples and companions were beheaded. The tormentor tied Nicon to the tail of a horse, hurled him from a steep wall into a gorge, beat him, and skinned him; but Nicon survived all of these tortures. Finally, he was beheaded and took up habitation with the Lord. His body was left in the fields to be devoured by the birds. A certain herdsman, with a rabid evil spirit, tripped and fell over the dead body of Christ's martyr and immediately the herdsman was healed. Proclaiming the news about Nicon's body, Christians came forth and honorably buried the body of Nicon. St. Nicon suffered during the reign of the Emperor Decius.





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