February 4

From the Prologue

This saint was from the Island of Crete. He arrived in Constantinople to visit his kinsman, Theodore; the abbot of the Studite Monastery and here he remained and was tonsured a monk. As a monk, Nicholas underwent all mortifications for the sake of the salvation of his soul. During the persecution of the Church by Leo the Armenian, Theodore and Nicholas were cruelly tortured, humiliated and beaten with oxen straps and finally thrown into a dungeon where they were imprisoned for three years. After the death of St. Theodore, Nicholas became abbot of the Studite Monastery. Even during his lifetime, he worked many miracles through the power and grace of God. Nicholas healed Eudocia, the wife of Emperor Basil, as well as Helen, the wife of Manuel, the patrician. To Theophilus Melisenus, a prominent nobleman whose other children did not survive birth, Nicholas blessed the newly born daughter and prophesied that she will live and that she will be very fruitful which occurred, to the joy of the parents. On the very day of his death, Nicholas gathered the monastic brotherhood and asked them what they lacked? "Wheat," answered the monks. Then the dying man said: "He Who fed Israel in the wilderness will send you an ample supply of wheat within three days." And indeed, the third day, a boatload of wheat sent by Emperor Basil sailed below the monastery. Nicholas took up habitation in the heavenly kingdom on February 4, 868 A.D., in the seventy-fifth year of his life.

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St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas