The Monk Nicholas the Confessor, Hegumen of the Studite Monastery

Commemorated on February 4

      The Monk Nicholas the Confessor, Hegumen of the Studite Monastery, lived during the IX Century. He was born on the island of Crete in the village of Kedonia into a Christian family. At age 10 his parents sent him off to Constantinople to his uncle, Blessed Theophanes, who was a monk at the Studite monastery. On the approval of the Monk Theodore, the head of the Studite monastery, the lad was settled into the monastery school. And at the completion of school, when he was 16 years of age, he was tonsured a monk, and after several years was vouchsafed the dignity of priest.
      During this time there raged a fierce persecution, initiated by the Byzantine emperor Leo the Armenian (813-820) against those that venerated holy icons, and the Monk Nicholas shared the fate of the Monk Theodore the Studite: they were repeatedly locked up in prison, tortured every which way, and insulted. They however zealously continued to spread Orthodoxy among the Christians. With the reign of the Blessed Empress Theodora (+ 867), ruling the realm while her son Michael was still in age a minor, icon-veneration was restored and there ensued a time of relative peace. The Monk Nicholas returned to the Studite monastery and was chosen its head. But the calm did not long continue. The Empress Theodora was stripped of rule, and there came to power the emperor's uncle, Bardas, a man defiling himself by open cohabitation with the wife of his son. The attempts of His Holiness Patriarch Ignatios to wield his spiritual power and restrain the impiety of Bardas proved unsuccessful. On the contrary, he was deposed from the patriarchal throne and sent off into exile. Not wanting to be a witness to the triumph of iniquity, the Monk Nicholas left Constantinople. He spent 7 years at various wilderness monasteries. Later on, as a prisoner, he was returned to the Studite monastery, where he spent two years imprisoned, right up to the death of the emperor Michael (855-867) and Bardas. With the ascent to the throne of the emperor Basil I the Macedonian (867-886), the Monk Nicholas was set free, and on the orders of the emperor again became hegumen. For his life as a confessor and ascetic he received from God the gift of healing, which did not cease even after his repose in the year 868.

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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The Monk Nicholas
the Confessor, Hegumen of the Studite Monastery

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