March 23

From the Prologue

Nicon was a companion of St. Anthony of the Caves and a spiritual father to the Venerable Theodosius. Because of the monastic tonsuring of the Boyar Barlaam and of the eunuch Ephrem, Nicon was threatened by Prince Izjaslav; but his wife, the princess, turned the anger of the prince into the fear of God. Then Nicon, the holy one, was left in peace. Wanting to adorn the church with icons, Nicon implored God for assistance. As a result of his prayers, certain Greek iconographers unexpectedly came to Kiev from Constantinople. St. Anthony and St. Theodosius appeared to these iconographers in a vision and directed them to Nicon in Kiev.(*) Nicon was praised because of his courageous asceticism and spiritual wisdom. Against his will, Nicon, in his old age, became the abbot of Pecer. He presented himself to the Lord in the year 1066 A.D. His incorruptible relics are persevered in the Monastery of the Caves in Kiev.

(*) In the Greek Synaxarion and the Athonite Patericon, the Neo-martyr Luke, who was born in Jedren is commemorated on this day. As a child he was captured in Constantinople by the Turks and was circumcised. Because of this, he had bitter pangs of conscience. He considered circumcision the devil's mark on him which could only be destroyed through martyrdom for Christ. Tonsured a monk on Mt. Athos, he went with his Elder Bessarion to Mytilene and there was hanged by the Turks on March 23, 1802. Hanging in the air, the body of the martyr emitted a fragrant oil [Chrism].



In the dungeon, Nicon languished,

And day and night he prayed to God.

For his defense, did not pray to God,

Nor to revenge Quintianus, the wicked,

But for strength, to endure sufferings.

Nicon's sighings, God heard.

One time Nicon dreamed in prayer:

To him, the Virgin appeared in light,

Than the sun, more beautiful and brighter.

Than a lamb, whiter and gentler,

At her side, two archangels are,

Their faces, radiant and joyful,

With their height, to the heavens they reach,

The river they point out, one to the other:

That is the wavy river Psimif!

Then, one archangel to the Virgin says,

To Quintianus, were we sent to slay

In the waves of the raging Psimif.

But, behold, we are looking over the river

And nowhere Quintianus do we see?

As honey flowing from her mouth, the Virgin spoke:

To the river, soon, he will come,

Through the waves, he will attempt to cross,

But, beneath him, his horse will become enraged,

His face, by his teeth, will he disfigure,

Him, the river will drown,

And thus, your task, you will complete.

That is the end of the evil torturer of Nicon, my saint.

All of this took place as the Virgin said,

Everything that Nicon dreamed became a reality.

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