The Monk Nyphontos, Bishop of Cyprus
Commemorated on December 23
The Monk Nyphontos, Bishop of
Cyprus (IV), was born in Paphlagonia, and received his education at
Constantinople. In childhood he was gentle and good, and he often attended
church services. But in his youth he began to lead a prodigal and sinful life.
He sometimes came to his senses, and he was horrified by the extent of his
fallenness; but reckoning that he could not receive forgiveness, he resumed
with his impious life. He one time came upon a friend, who gazed into his face
for a long time with astonishment. To the question of Nyphontos as to what he
was looking at, the friend replied: "I never before saw thy face so, for
it is black, like that of an AEthiopian". These words showed to Nyphontos
the extent of his fallenness, and he began to cry out to the Mother of God,
begging Her intercession.
After an intense and long prayer he saw, that the Face of the Mother of God on the holy icon was radiantly bright with a smile.
From that time Nyphontos prayed incessantly to the Queen of Heaven. If he fell into sin, the Face of the Mother of God turned away from him, but after penitential tears and prayers again mercifully turned towards him. Finally, Nyphontos completely turned his life around and began to spend his time in prayer and penitence. After an illness, from which he received healing from the Mother of God, he communed the Holy Mysteries, and then accepted monastic tonsure and intensified his efforts, exhausting his body in the struggle against the passions.
This struggle was one of many years, and many a time devils assaulted Saint Nyphontos, but with the help of God he overcame them. He received from God the gift to discern evil spirits and defeat them, and likewise to see the departure of the soul after death. Already up in age, and arriving at Alexandria, he was pointed out to the Patriarch in a vision as one worthy to assume the dignity of bishop. They made him bishop of the city of Constancia on the island of Cyprus. However, he did not remain there a bishop for long. Saint Nyphontos learned about the time of his day three days beforehand. Saint Athanasias the Great visited him before his death. At the deathbed the saint was granted to see Angels and the All-Pure Mother of God.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.