December 6, 2013 </br>Our Holy Father Nicholas the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia

December 6, 2013
Our Holy Father Nicholas the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia

This glorious saint, celebrated even today throughout the entire world, was the only son of his eminent and wealthy parents, Theophanes and Nona, citizens of the city of Patara in Lycia. Since he was the only son bestowed on them by God, the parents returned the gift to God by dedicating their son to Him. St. Nicholas learned of the spiritual life from his uncle Nicholas, Bishop of Patara, and was tonsured a monk in the Monastery of New Zion founded by his uncle. Following the death of his parents, Nicholas distributed all his inherited goods to the poor, not keeping anything for himself. As a priest in Patara, he was known for his charity, even though he carefully concealed his charitable works, fulfilling the words of the Lord: Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth (Matthew 6:3). When he gave himself over to solitude and silence, thinking to live that way until his death, a voice from on high came to him: “Nicholas, for your ascetic labor, work among the people, if thou desirest to be crowned by Me.” Immediately after that, by God’s wondrous providence, he was chosen archbishop of the city of Myra in Lycia. Merciful, wise and fearless, Nicholas was a true shepherd to his flock. During the persecution of Christians under Diocletian and Maximian, he was cast into prison, but even there he instructed the people in the Law of God. He was present at the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea [325] and, out of great zeal for the truth, struck the heretic Arius with his hand. For this act he was removed from the Council and from his archiepiscopal duties, until the Lord Christ Himself and the Most-holy Theotokos appeared to several of the chief hierarchs and revealed their approval of Nicholas. A defender of God’s truth, this wonderful saint was ever bold as a defender of justice among the people. On two occasions, he saved three men from an undeserved sentence of death. Merciful, truthful, and a lover of justice, he walked among the people as an angel of God. Even during his lifetime, the people considered him a saint and invoked his aid in difficulties and in distress. He appeared both in dreams and in person to those who called upon him, and he helped them easily and speedily, whether close at hand or far away. A light shone from his face as it did from the face of Moses, and he, by his presence alone, brought comfort, peace and good will among men. In old age he became ill for a short time and entered into the rest of the Lord, after a life full of labor and very fruitful toil, to rejoice eternally in the Kingdom of Heaven, continuing to help the faithful on earth by his miracles and to glorify his God. He entered into rest on December 6, 343. (Prologue of Ohrid) 

GREAT VESPERS FOR ALL-NIGHT VIGIL

 

Kathisma Reading
“Blessed is the man…” is sung.

 

At Psalm 140

In Tone 2

8. O holy Nicholas, Bishop of Christ,
you lived your life with people of Myra.
But since your spirit was anointed,
your fragrance of sanctity was known by all.
Now you anoint the faithful
who show their love for you.
O Father, deliver us from all distress and sorrow
as you pray to the Lord for us.

7. O holy Nicholas, true servant of Christ,
you are truly a protector of your faithful flock;
and whenever you were asked for help,
you gladly assisted those who sought your aid.
Now you are also ready by day or by night
to deliver us from all distress and sorrow.

6. When you appeared in a dream to Constantine the King,
you gave him this warning:
Release at once from prison those you have unjustly confined,
for they are innocent;
no murder did they commit as you claim.
O King, listen to me, or else I shall call upon the Lord.

5. O holy Nicholas, holy preacher of Christ,
always ready to help all on land or at sea.
Whether they be near or far, you have compassion for all.
You are a precious helper;
therefore, we who gather here ask you to pray to the Lord
that we be delivered from all distress and sorrow.

4. What crowns of praise shall we confer upon the saintly Nicholas?
Once present in the flesh in Myra,
he is present in spirit to all who love him purely.
He is the leader and defender of everyone,
a comforter in distress and a haven of all in danger,
a pillar of piety and conqueror for believers.
For his sake, Christ overcame enemies and shows us great mercy.

3. What crowns of praise shall we confer upon the saintly Nicholas?
Once present in the flesh in Myra,
he is present in spirit to all who love him purely.
He is the leader and defender of everyone,
a comforter in distress and a haven of all in danger,
a pillar of piety and conqueror for believers.
For his sake, Christ overcame enemies and shows us great mercy.

2. With what songs of praise shall we extol the saintly Nicholas?
He is the foe of wickedness.
He is an outstanding leader,
a great defender and teacher of the Church.
He confounds all who show dishonour.
He is the refuter of Arius and his companions.
Because of him, Christ put down their ragings and showed great mercy.

1. With what hymns of prophecy shall we extol the saintly Nicholas?
Living in the present, he saw far into the future.
He spoke truly about faraway things as though they were near.
He oversees the whole world and delivers the afflicted.
He appeared in a dream to the God-wise king.
He delivered prisoners who were unjustly accused of murder.
Today he grants us the mercy of Christ.

In Tone 6, Glory…

We have gathered to celebrate and to praise with song
the model of bishops and a glory to the fathers,
a fountain of miracles and a great helper of believers.
Let us sing to the saintly Nicholas:
Rejoice, O Protector of Myra
who was revered as its leader and strongest pillar.
Rejoice, O Radiant Star whose light of miracles shines throughout the world.
Rejoice, O Divine Joy to those in sorrow.
Rejoice, O Defender of those who are oppressed;
for even now, all-holy Nicholas,
you still pray to God for us who celebrate your feast with faith
and who honour you with zeal and joy.

Now…

O Cave, prepare yourself to receive the Mother
who bears Christ within her womb.
O Manger, receive the Word who destroyed the sins of all.
O Shepherds, keep watch and then bear witness to the awesome wonder.
O Magi, come from Persia,
and bring your gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the King.
For the Lord has appeared from a virgin Mother;
yet she bowed to Him as a servant
and spoke to Him within her bosom, saying:
How were You conceived in me?
How did You grow in me, my God and Saviour?

 

Readings
Proverbs 3:13-16; Proverbs 8:22-30; Wisdom 4:7-15

 

Lytia

In Tone 2

O holy Father Nicholas,
Christ has shown you to be the model of faith.
Your humility inspired all in your flock.
From Myra, your piety shines throughout the world.
You are known as the protector of widows and orphans.
Now we ask your unceasing prayer for the salvation of our souls.

O holy Father Nicholas,
your relics poured out myrrh and protected Myra.
While you lived, you appeared in a dream to the king;
by this appearance you freed from lashes, prison, and death,
those who were condemned unjustly;
now manifest yourself as you did then.
Implore Christ in behalf of our souls.

Even if the city of Myra were silenced, O holy Nicholas,
hymns of praise would be sung to you:
by the entire world which has been enlightened by your brightness;
by the multitude of your magnificent miracles;
and by the condemned who were saved by you.
We also join the inhabitants of your city and cry to you:
Intercede for the salvation of our souls.

In Tone 4

You anoint with the myrrh of the Holy Spirit, O Nicholas.
You send down flowers fresh with the fragrance of the divine goodness.
You became an imitator of the apostles of Christ.
Throughout the world, the sound of your miracles is heard, O holy Father.
Despite the great distances,
you appeared In a dream, as very near,
to deliver from death those who had fallen under the unjust sentence,
and to save from many dangers those who seek your protection.
By your prayers, also deliver us from misfortunes,
for we sing your praises unceasingly.

In Tone 8

The fruit of your good works, O holy Father,
has brought joy to the hearts of the faithful.
Who indeed has not heard of your wonderful works
and not admired your patience and humility,
the joy with which you fill the poor,
and the compassion that you show to the afflicted?
You have truly been an admirable example for all.
And now that your unfading crown has been placed on you,
O holy Nicholas, pray for our souls.

O Nicholas, while on earth you lived for the glory of the Lord;
now He has glorified you in the heavenly and true life.
Since you have obtained favour in his sight, implore Him to save our souls.

In Tone 6, Glory…

O good and faithful worker in the vineyard of Christ,
you endured the hardships of daily labours;
you did not complain of those who worked less than you.
You increased the talent given you.
Therefore, the gates of heaven opened to you,
and now you share the joy of the Lord.
O holy Nicholas, pray for us.

Now…

O Zion, be happy; rejoice, O Jerusalem,
the city of Christ our God;
welcome the Creator who rests in a manger in a cave.
Open your gates, Jerusalem, and I will enter
so that I may see Him who holds all creation in his hand,
even though He lies in a manger wrapped in swaddling clothes.
The angels ever praise this life-giving Lord
who is the only Saviour of all.

 

Aposticha

In Tone 5

Rejoice, O priestly leader, spotless vessel of virtue,
model of divine priesthood, great shepherd of your flock,
bearer of the torch of victory.
You hear the prayers of those who call upon you;
you grant petitions of the poor;
you rescue all who praise your name.
Now we ask you to Implore Christ
that He may shower abundant mercy on the world.

Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of His faithful.

Rejoice, O saintly Father, temple of the Trinity;
pillar of the Church, protector of the faithful,
helper of all in trouble.
You are a star whose rays of prayer dispel the darkest trouble.
You are a quiet harbour for the storm-tossed,
for all adrift in the sea of life.
Pray to Christ to save our souls with his great mercy.

Your priests shall be clothed with holiness; your faithful shall ring out their joy.

Rejoice, O zealous man of God.
You appeared in a dream,
and you saved from death the ones unjustly sentenced.
You are a fountain in Myra, overflowing with scented myrrh.
You inspire us to keep from sin.
You are a sword that cuts the woods of error
you proved Arius to be a false teacher.
Pray to Christ to save our souls with His great mercy.

In Tone 6, Glory…

O man of God, O faithful servant of the Lord,
you are a chosen vessel filled with desire for God.
You are a pillar and a foundation of the Church;
you are an heir of the kingdom.
O holy Father Nicholas, pray to the Lord for us.

Now…

O Virgin without husband, from where do you come?
Who gave you birth; who is your mother?
How can you cradle the Creator in your arms?
How did you accomplish virgin-birth?
Most pure Lady, we see in you great wonders,
awesome mysteries fulfilled on earth.
We shall prepare a worthy cave for you.
We shall ask the heavens for a star.
We shall ask the Magi to come from the east to the west
to behold your new-born Child in a manger,
to behold the Saviour of all.

 

Troparia

In Tone 4
The truth of your deeds made you for your flock a rule of faith* and an image of meekness,* a teacher of continence.* And so you gained the heights through humility,* riches through poverty,* father and bishop Nicholas.* Intercede with Christ our God* for the salvation of our souls. (2)

In Tone 1
Rejoice, Virgin Mary, Mother of God, full of grace!* The Lord is with you.* Blessed are you among women,* and blessed is the fruit of your womb.* For you have given birth to Christ, the Deliverer and Saviour of our souls.

 


DIVINE LITURGY

Troparia and Kontakia
Troparion, Tone 4: The truth of your deeds made you for your flock a rule of faith* and an image of meekness,* a teacher of continence.* And so you gained the heights through humility,* riches through poverty,* father and bishop Nicholas.* Intercede with Christ our God* for the salvation of our souls.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever and ever. Amen.

Kontakion, Tone 3: In Myra, O holy one, you proved yourself a priest.* You fulfilled the Gospel of Christ, O venerable father.* You laid down your soul for your people* and saved the innocent from death.* And so you were sanctified as a great initiate of God’s grace.

Prokeimenon, Tone 7
The just man shall be glad in the Lord, and shall hope in Him.
verse: Hear, O God, my voice, when I make my petition to You. (Psalm 63:11,2)

Epistle
Hebrews 13:17-21

Alleluia, Tone 2
verse: Your priests shall clothe themselves with justice, and Your venerable ones shall rejoice.
verse: For the Lord has chosen Sion; he has chosen it for His dwelling. (Psalm 131:9,13)

Gospel
Luke 6:17-23

Communion Hymn
The just man shall be in everlasting remembrance;* of evil hearsay he shall have no fear.* Alleluia, alleluia,* alleluia. (Psalm 111:6)

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