Commemorated on July 1
The Monk Nicodemos
of the Holy Mountain (Nikodim Svyatogorets), in Baptism Nicholas, was born
in the year 1748 on the Greek island of Naksos. At age 26 he arrived on Holy
Mount Athos and there, in the Dionysiata monastery, he accepted monastic
tonsure with the name Nicodemos.
The Monk Nicodemos at
first bore the obedience of reader and letter-writer. Two years after his entry
into the monastery on Athos, there arrived there the metropolitan of Corinth,
Makarios, who entrusted to the young monk the preparation for publication of
the manuscript of the "Philokalia" ("Dobrotoliubie"), found
by him in 1777 at the Batopedeia monastery. Work upon this book was the
beginning of many years of literary work by the Monk Nicodemos of the Holy
Mountain. The young monk soon transferred to the Pantokrator skete monastery,
and was under obedience to the monastic-elder Arsenios Peloponnesos, under the
guidance of whom he zealously studied Holy Scripture and the works of the holy
fathers. In 1783 the Monk Nicodemos became schema-monk and for six years he
dwelt in complete silence. When metropolitan Makarios of Corinth again arrived
on Athos, he imposed on the Monk Nicodemos a new obedience – the editing of
the work of the Monk Simeon the New Theologian. The Monk Nicodemos put aside
the ascetic deed of silence and again occupied himself with literary work. And
from this time until his death he continued zealously to toil in this
Not long before his
end, the Monk Nicodemos, worn down by bookwork and ascetic efforts, transferred
his residence to the priestmonk iconographers Stephanos and Neophytes Skurtea
("Bobbed-Hair"). He besought them to help in the publication of his
works, which his condition of infirmity was hindering him from doing. Here, at
the Skurtea's, the Monk Nicodemos peacefully expired to the Lord on 1 July
According to the
testimony of his contemporaries, the Monk Nicodemos was a simple man, without
malice, unassuming and distinguished by his profound concentration. He
possessed a remarkable mental ability: he knew the Holy Scripture by heart,
remembering even the chapter, verse and page, and by memory he could even
recite much from the works of the holy fathers.
The literary work of
the Monk Nicodemos was varied. He wrote a preface to the "Philokalia"
("Dobrotoliubie"), and short lives of ascetics. From the ascetic
guidances of the saint, particularly well known is the book, "Unseen Warfare"
("Nevidimaya bran'"), rendered into the Russian language by the great
theological-ascetic Theophan Zatvornik ("the Hermit") (M(oscow),
1886, 5th ed. M(oscow), 1912). A remarkable work of the ascetic was his
"Teaching about Confession" ("Uchenie ob ispovedi")
(Venice, 1804, 1818), summarised by his pervasive book, "Discourse on
Repentance" ("Slovom o pokayanii"). An interesting book of the
monk, "The Moral Christian" ("Blagonravie khristian"), was
published in Venice in 1803. A great service of the saint was rendered also in
the area of publishing of Divine-service books. In 1796 he published extracts
from the Athos manuscript collections 62 canons to the MostHoly Mother of God
under the title, "The Crown of the Ever-Virgin" (" Venets
Prisnodevi") (Venice, 1796, 1846).
The Monk Nicodemos
prepared the edition of a new redaction of the "The Rudder" or
"Pedalion" – the Greek for "Nourishment Books"
("Kormchei knigi"), – comprised of the rules of the Holy Apostles,
of the holy Oecumenical and Local Councils, and of the holy fathers.
The monk devoted
great attention to hagiography, which is witnessed also by his work, "A
new Collection of the Lives of the Saints" (Venice 1803), and his
posthumous book, "The New Synaxarion" in 3 volumes (Venice 1819). He
accomplished a translation from old-Greek into the new-Greek language of the
work, "Interpretations of the Epistles of the Holy Apostle Paul" by
the Bulgarian archbishop Theophylakt. Saint Nicodemos himself wrote
interpretations of the seven Conciliar Missives (published likewise at Venice in
1806 and 1819).
The Monk Nicodemos is
known likewise as the author and interpreter of sacred song. Compiled by him
(and accepted in the Russian Church): a canon in honour of the Mother of God
"Quick-to-Hear" ("Skoroposlushnitsa"), and likewise
"Service to the Monastic and God-Bearing Fathers, Illumined by
Fasting", "The Eortodromion, or the Exposition of Sung Canons, Which
are Sung on the Eve of Feasts of the Lord and the Mother of God" (Venice
1836), "The New Ladder, or Interpretation of the 75 Degrees of song of the
Eight-Tones Oktoekhos" (Constantinople, 1844).
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.