April 3

From the Prologue

Nicetas was born in Bithynia in the city of Caesarea. His father, Filaret, after the death of his spouse, was tonsured a monk while Nicetas remained with his paternal grandmother. After reaching maturity and completing all of his studies, Nicetas entered the Monastery of Medikion, where the Abbot Nicephorus tonsured him a monk. After seven years of hardship and mortification, Patriarch Tarasius ordained him a priest (Heiromonk). Following the deaths of Abbot Nicephorus and Athanasius, the faithful companion of Nicetas, the monastic brotherhood elected him as abbot, against his will. St. Nicetas was a holy example and model of life and asceticism to his brethren for many years. When Leo V, the Armenian, was crowned emperor, after the pious Irene and the right-believing Emperors Nicephorus and Michael, the Iconoclastic struggle was again enflamed. The emperor deposed Patriarch Nicephorus and later banished him into exile and, in his place, elevated the heretic Theodotus Cassiteras, a man of impure life. Nicetas was also imprisoned and tortured but he remained steadfast in his Orthodoxy. He was led from prison to prison and suffered hunger, thirst, chills, oppressive heat and ridicule. He did not permit himself to waver. What particularly annoyed him was the laughter and scorn of a certain Nicholas. One night, Nicholas' deceased father appeared to him in a dream and rebuked Nicholas saying:"Withdraw from Nicetas, the servant of God." From that moment on Nicholas repented and did not annoy the saint anymore and turned others away from annoying him also. When Leo V, the Armenian, met with a wicked death, the empire was taken over by the Orthodox Emperor Michael, the Stammerer, who liberated all the Orthodox sufferers. Nicetas then withdrew to an isolated place near Constantinople, where in prayer and thanksgiving to God for all, spent the remaining days of his earthly life. During his lifetime he worked many miracles through prayer. When he died his body was translated to his monastery. At the time of the funeral procession, many who were ill and who reached out and touched his body were healed. His relics were placed next to the grave of Nicephorus his spiritual father and Athanasius, his companion. This great hierarch died in the year 824 A.D.

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St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas