We were sent the following anonymously.  We ask that you place this needful remembrance in perspective.

 
Today, You are reminded that on 
December 6/19th, the Holy Church celebrated the memory of 
St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, 
Greetings to all and best wishes 
for this joyful Feast!
 
"Holy Hierarch Nicholas the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Myra in 
Lycia, was glorified as a great saint of God. He was born in the 
city of Patara in Lycia (on the southern coast of the peninsula of 
Asia Minor). He was the only son of the pious Theophanes and Nona, 
who had promised to dedicate him to God. The child Nicholas, fruit 
of prolonged prayer offered to the Lord by the childless couple, 
shone forth to the people his future glory as a great miracle-worker.
Immediately after giving birth to him, his mother Nona was healed of 
sickness. From infancy, St. Nicholas set out on a life of fasting. 
On Wednesdays and Fridays, he accepted his mother’s milk only once, 
after his parents’ evening prayers.
 
From childhood, Nicholas became accomplished in learning Divine 
Scripture. During the day, he did not leave the church, and at 
night he prayed and read books, building within himself a worthy 
home for the Holy Spirit. His uncle, Bishop Nicholas of Patara, 
rejoiced in his spiritual accomplishments. He tonsured Nicholas as 
a reader, then elevated him to the priesthood, and made him his 
assistant, assigning him to educate the flock. In serving the Lord, 
the youth was on fire with the Spirit. In his proficiency with 
respect to questions of faith, he was like an elder and evoked 
amazement and profound respect on the part of the faithful. 
Constantly working and vigilant, remaining in prayer without 
ceasing, the presbyter Nicholas showed great charity toward his 
flock, coming to the aid of the suffering, and giving all he 
possessed to the poor. Hearing of the bitter need and poverty of a 
formerly wealthy resident of his city, St. Nicholas saved him from 
committing a great sin. The despondent parent of three adult 
daughters was contemplating giving them over to a life of 
fornication in order to stave off starvation. Sorrowing over the p
erishing sinner, the Holy Hierarch secretly threw three bags of 
gold through his window during the night, and thereby saved the 
family from degradation and spiritual ruin. Holy Hierarch Nicholas 
always strove to do acts of charity in secret, and to hide his acts 
of kindness.
 
Upon setting out to venerate the holy sites in Jerusalem, the bishop 
of Patara entrusted the administration of his flock to St. Nicholas, 
who assiduously carried out his assignment with love. When the 
bishop returned, St. Nicholas in turn asked his blessing to travel 
to the Holy Land. Along the way, the saint predicted the coming of 
a storm which would put the ship in danger of sinking, for he had 
seen the devil himself board the ship. In answer to the pleas of 
the despairing travelers, he used his prayer to calm the waves. By 
his prayers, a ship’s crewmember who sustained fatal injuries in a 
fall from the mast was restored to health.
 
At the ancient city of Jerusalem, St. Nicholas ascended Golgotha and 
gave thanks to the Savior of mankind. He bowed down and prayed at all 
of the holy sites. At night, upon the approach of the great pilgrim, 
the locked doors of the church on Mt. Zion opened by themselves. 
Having gone to all of the holy sites connected with the earthly 
service of the Son of God, St. Nicholas decided to go off into the 
dessert. He was stopped by a Divine voice which directed that he 
return to his homeland. Drawn to a life of silence, upon his return 
to Lycia the saint joined the brotherhood of a monastery known as 
Holy Zion. However, the Lord once again announced to him that a 
different path awaited him: “Nicholas, this is not field from which 
I expect you to bring forth My expected fruit. Turn and go back into 
the world, that My Name will be glorified in you.” In a vision, the 
Lord gave him the Gospels, bound in a richly decorated cover, and 
the Most-Holy Mother of God gave him an omophorion.
 
And so it came to pass: After the death of Archbishop John, one of 
the bishops in the Council deciding who was to chosen to be the new 
archbishop was shown in a vision that the chosen one of God was St. 
Nicholas; thereafter, he was chosen to be bishop of Myra in Lycia. 
Called to shepherd the Church of God in the dignity of a hierarch, 
Holy Hierarch Nicholas remained the same great spiritual struggler, 
manifesting to his flock the image of meekness, mildness and love 
towards man. This was especially valuable to the Church of Lycia 
during the period of persecution of Christians in the reign of 
emperor Diocletian (284-305). Bishop Nicholas, locked up in prison 
together with other Christians, lent them support, and exhorted 
them to firmly endure their bonds, trials and torture. The Lord 
kept him from harm. After the coronation of the Equal-to-the-Apostles 
Constantine, Nicholas was returned to his flock, which joyously 
greeted its teacher and intercessor. Despite his great meekness of 
spirit and purity of heart, Holy Hierarch Nicholas was a zealous and 
courageous warrior of the Church of Christ. Doing battle with the 
spirits of evil, the Holy Hierarch visited the pagan temples of the 
city of Myra and the surrounding area, smashing the idols and turning 
their temples into rubble. In 325, Holy Hierarch Nicholas was a 
participant in the 1st Ecumenical Council, at which the Nicene Creed 
was adopted, and along with Sts. Sylvester, Pope of Rome, Alexander 
of Alexandria, Spyridon of Trimethus, and others among the 318 Holy 
Fathers of the Council, he took up arms against the heretic Arius.
 
Burning with zeal for the Lord, and in the heat of denouncing Arius, 
the Holy Hierarch Nicholas even boxed the ears of the teacher of 
false doctrine. For this, he was stripped of his episcopal omophorion 
and placed under guard. However, several of the holy fathers had a 
vision in which the Lord Himself and the Mother of God consecrated the 
Saint a bishop, handing him the Gospels and the omophorion. The 
Fathers of the Council, perceiving that the Holy Hierarch’s zeal and 
daring were pleasing to God, glorified God, and restored His Saint to 
his Episcopal rank. Returning to his diocese, the Holy Hierarch 
brought to it peace and blessing, sowing the word of Truth, cutting 
off at the roots incorrect thinking and vain philosophizing, 
denouncing entrenched heretics and tending to those who had 
unknowingly fallen and turned away from the path. He was truly a 
light for the world and the salt of the earth, for his life was 
bright and his word was permeated with the salt of wisdom.
 
During his lifetime, the Holy Hierarch worked many miracles. From 
among them, he garnered the most fame for saving from death three 
men unjustly condemned by a greedy town governor. The Holy Hierarch 
bravely approached the executioner and held back the sword, which 
was already raised over the heads of the condemned. Having his 
injustice unmasked by Holy Hierarch Nicholas, the town governor 
repented and asked his forgiveness. Three military leaders sent 
by Emperor Constantine to Phrygia were also present. They could 
not yet have imagined that, having been slandered before the Emperor 
and condemned to death, they would soon likewise seek the intercession 
of Holy Hierarch Nicholas. Holy Hierarch Nicholas appeared to 
Equal-to-the-Apostles Constantine and challenged him to release the 
unjustly condemned military leaders who, lying in prison, were prayerf
ully entreating the Saint for his help. He worked many other miracles 
during the long years of his service. By the prayers of the Holy 
Hierarch, the city of Myra was saved from a great famine. He appeared 
to a certain Italian merchant, and giving him three gold coins (which, 
upon awaking, the merchant found in his hand), he asked the merchant 
to bring his ship to Myra, and there sell his grain. On many occasions, 
the Holy Hierarch saved those drowning at sea, and set free those in 
prisons and dungeons.
 
Having lived to a very old age, Holy Hierarch Nicholas peacefully 
departed to the Lord (+345-351). His honorable and incorrupt relics 
were kept in the local cathedral church and exuded health-giving myrrh, 
from which many received healings. In 1087, his relics were translated 
to the Italian city of Bari, where they remain to this day (see 9 
May for an account of the translation.)
 
The name of the great Saint of God, the Holy Hierarch and 
Miracle-worker Nicholas, the quick helper and man of prayer for all 
who run to him, became famous in many countries and among many peoples
throughout the world. In Russia, many cathedrals, monasteries, and 
churches are dedicated to his holy name. No, rather, there is not a 
single town without a church dedicated to St. Nicholas. More often 
than not, churches to St. Nicholas were erected on market squares by 
Russian merchants, those who sailed the seas and who trod the earth, 
those who revered St. Nicholas the Miracle-worker as the patron of 
all travelers, both on land and on sea. Sometimes the people named 
them churches of “Nichola the Wet.” Many village churches were 
dedicated to the Wonder-worker Nicholas, whom peasants revered as a 
merciful intercessor for all working people before the Lord. Holy 
Hierarch Nicholas did not cease acting as an intercessor for the 
Russian land. Ancient Kiev passed down to us the story of how the 
Holy Hierarch saved a drowned child. After hearing the sorrowful 
prayers of parents who had lost their only heir, St. Nicholas took 
the child from the water, brought him back to life, and placed him 
before his miraculous icon in the choir loft of the Church of the 
Holy Wisdom. In the morning, the parents were overjoyed to find 
their rescued child there. Together with a multitude of people, 
they glorified St. Nicholas the Wonder-worker.
 
Many miraculous icons of St. Nicholas appeared in Russia, or came to 
Russia from other countries. These include the ancient (12th century)
Byzantine icon, brought from Novgorod to Moscow and depicting the 
Saint to the waist, as well as the enormous icon, written in the 
13th century by a Novgorod master. Two types of depictions of the 
Wonder-worker are especially wide-spread throughout the Russian 
Church: The first is Holy Hierarch Nicholas of Zaraisk, showing a 
full-length figure of St. Nicholas, his right hand in an attitude 
of blessing, and his left holding the Gospels. It was this icon that 
was brought to Ryazan’ in 1225 by the Byzantine Princess Eupraxia, 
who married Theodore, Prince of Ryazan’, and who perished, together 
with her husband and her infant son, during the invasion by Baty 
Khan. The second is Holy Hierarch Nicholas of Mozhaisk, which also 
depicts a full-length figure of St. Nicholas, holding a sword in his 
right hand and a city in his left. This commemorates the miraculous 
saving, through the prayers of the Holy Hierarch, of the city of 
Mozhaisk from enemy attack. It would be impossible to list all of 
the grace-giving icons of Holy Hierarch Nicholas. According to the 
prayers of the Holy Hierarch, every Russian town and every church 
is blessed with such an icon."
 

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