On December 6 the Greek Orthodox Church celebrates the Feast Day of Agios Nikolaos.
Agios Nikolaos lived at Myra in Asia Minor from 270 – 6th December 343. He is revered and commemorated amongst Orthodox, Anglican, Catholic, and Lutheran Christians and is also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker. This is because of the many miracles he is known for such as ill-treatments, restorations of the poor and the release of the three commanders.
Agios Nikolaos was born about 275 AD in Myra, a town of Lycia in Asia Minor. His uncle was the bishop of the town and educated Nicholas for life in the Church. In due time, Nicholas was ordained by his uncle and eventually succeeded him as Bishop the Christian Church in the Asia Minor city of Myra (now Demre, Turkey) in the fourth century AD.
He is beloved throughout the Christian East for his kindness and help, both during his life and afterward. He is called “Wonderworker” (or “Miraculous” or “Miracle-Worker”, different translations of the Greek “thavmatourgos”) for the miracles which he performed and which he still performs, by God’s grace.
This Saint lived during the reign of Saint Constantine the Great and reposed in 330, As a young man, he desired to espouse the solitary life. He made a pilgrimage to the holy city Jerusalem, where he found a place to withdraw to devote himself to prayer. It was made known to him, however, that this was not the will of God for him, but that he should return to his homeland to be a cause of salvation for many.
He returned to Myra and was ordained a bishop. He became known for his abundant mercy, providing for the poor and needy, and delivering those who had been unjustly accused. No less was he known for his zeal for the truth.
He was present at the First Ecumenical Council of the 318 Fathers at Nicaea in 325; upon hearing the blasphemies that Arius brazenly uttered against the Son of God, Saint Nicholas struck him on the face. Since the canons of the Church forbid the clergy to strike any man at all, his fellow bishops were in perplexity what disciplinary action was to be taken against this hierarch whom all revered.
In the night our Lord Jesus Christ and our Lady Theotokos appeared to certain of the bishops, informing them that no action was to be taken against him since he had acted not out of passion, but extreme love and piety. The Dismissal Hymn for holy hierarchs, The truth of things hath revealed thee to thy flock … was written originally for Agios Nikolaos.
He is the patron of all travellers, and of sea-farers in particular sailors and the sea.
As he was travelling to the Holy Land of Jerusalem to pray a huge storm erupted and one of the sailors fell from the mast and died. Legend says that the Saint prayed to God, the sea calmed and the sailor was resurrected.
This, therefore, is the reason for building the little chapel next to the fishing harbour of Protaras as locals believe that he is protecting the boats and their crew.
Agios Nikolaos is one of the best known and most-loved Saints of all time.
Today is also the Name day of Nikolaos, Nicole and Nikoleta.