Χριστὸς ἀνέστη! Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη!
Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
ХристосВоскрес! Воистину Воскрес!
Kristus (ir) augšāmcēlies! Patiesi viņš ir augšāmcēlies!
St. Nicholas Archbishop of Myra the Wonderworker
Commemorated 6th December
Pilgrimage to the Holy Land of St. Nicholas Archbishop of Myra the Wonderworker
St. Demetrius of Rostov
(Following the example of his bishop, who had made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land a few months before, Fr Nicholas requested to travel to Jerusalem himself, to visit the holy places of the city. Icons today continue to recount the miraculous nature of his voyage there by ship, during which a great storm arose (Nicholas having earlier predicted that it would). Seeing in a vision the devil climbing aboard the ship, Nicholas warned the crew and prayed for the salvation of the craft and its occupants, and the sea shortly calmed.)
When he arrived in the holy city of Jerusalem, Saint Nicholas went to Golgotha, where Christ God stretched out His most pure hands upon the Cross to save the race of man. Oh, what fervent prayers did he pour out there from a heart burning with love, sending up thanks to our Saviour! He then went to all the other Holy Places, worshipping unhurriedly at each of them. One night, when he wished to enter the church on Mount Zion to pray, its locked doors swung open to him for whom the gates of heaven were also open. Having remained for some time in Jerusalem, Nicholas was preparing to travel into the desert, but a voice from heaven commanded him to return to his homeland. God, Who orders all things for our benefit, did not wish that the lamp He had prepared to illumine Lycia be hidden beneath a basket. The saint found a boat supposedly bound for his homeland and arranged with its crew for his passage. The sailors, however, had devised a wicked scheme and intended to sail not to Lycia but to another country. Shortly after the boat cast off, Saint Nicholas realized that it was not headed in the right direction, and he fell at the feet of the sailors, beseeching them to change their course. Paying him no heed, they continued on, not understanding that God would never forsake His favorite. Suddenly a storm arose, driving the ship swiftly toward Lycia. Thus borne across the sea by the might of God, Nicholas reached his destination. Since the saint was a stranger to malice, he did not seek revenge on the treacherous sailors, nor was he angry with them. He did not utter a single word of accusation; instead, after giving them his blessing, he let them depart.
Upon his return to Lycia, the saint went to the Monastery of Holy Zion founded by his uncle, the Bishop of Patara. The brethren were overjoyed to see him and greeted him with the reverence due one of God’s angels. Taking delight in his divinely inspired words and greatly edified by his way of life, which indeed rivaled that of the heavenly powers, they sought to emulate the virtuous conduct that was the adornment of the Lord’s faithful servant. Saint Nicholas found the monastery to be a haven of silence conducive to reflection on the Divinity, and hoped to remain there in seclusion for the rest of his life. But God was not pleased that the great treasure-chest of every excellence, which He intended to use to enrich the world, should remain hidden in a little cell in a monastery, buried, as it were, in the ground. It was His will that it be revealed to all creation and employed to make spiritual purchases and gain numerous souls. Thus it was that one day while the saint was standing at prayer, he heard a voice say, “Nicholas, if you wish to receive a crown from Me, labor for the good of others.” The saint had still not regained his composure when he heard the voice again, saying, “Nicholas, this is not the vineyard where you will bear fruit for Me. Return to the world and glorify My name there.” Saint Nicholas realized that it was God’s will that he abandon his solitude, and strive for the salvation of men. He was still uncertain, however, whether he ought to return to Patara or go elsewhere…
Saint Nicholas’ countenance resembled that of an angel, splendid with divine grace. A brilliant ray shone from his face, as from Moses’, so that those who looked at him were astonished. Whoever was oppressed by some affliction or passion of soul had only to lay eyes on the saint, and his sorrow was eased at once. As for those who conversed with him, they soon found themselves advancing on the path of virtue. Not only the faithful but unbelievers as well were moved to compunction and directed their steps toward salvation when they heard his sweet lips speak; the evil of unbelief implanted in their hearts since childhood was uprooted, and in its place the word of truth was sown.God’s great favorite lived in the city of Myra for many years, emanating divine goodness, as the sacred Scriptures say: He was as the morning star amid clouds, and as the moon when full; as the sun shining upon the temple of the most high God, and as lilies by the wellspring of waters, and as precious myrrh that maketh everything fragrant…
God’s favorite has truly worked numerous mighty and glorious miracles upon land and sea, assisting those in affliction, saving the drowning, freeing captives and returning them to their homes, delivering the imprisoned, and rescuing the condemned. To the blind he has given sight; to the lame, the ability to walk; to the deaf, hearing; and to the dumb, speech. He has bestowed alms on the poor; given food to the hungry; and proven himself the helper of all in distress of any sort, a fervent intercessor ever ready to defend the oppressed… May God, Who is one in Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be glorified in him, and may his holy name be extolled by the lips of all men forever. Amen.
The Sixth Day of the Month of December, The Life of Our Father Among the Saints Nicholas the Wonder-worker, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia
From The Great Collection of the Lives of the Saints, Volume 2: October,
compiled by St. Demetrius of Rostov
 There is a widespread tradition that, at one of the churches in Jerusalem, the closed doors miraculously opened for the saint, allowing him unhindered entrance to reverence the holy site.
 According to some accounts, the message was somewhat more brief: ‘Nicholas, this is not the vineyard in which you shall bear fruit for me. Return to the world, and there glorify my Name.’
Apolytikion of Nicholas the Wonderworker in the Fourth Tone
A model of faith and the image of gentleness, the example of your life has shown you forth to your sheep-fold to be a master of temperance. You obtained thus through being lowly, gifts from on high, and riches through poverty. Nicholas, our father and priest of priests, intercede with Christ our God that He may save our souls.