The Feast of Saint Nicholas – Joy for the Bigorski Monastery

Everything under the sun speaks about your miracles and the depth of your virtues, Nicholas the thrice-blessed, advocate of the poor; breadwinner of the orphans and widows; guide to the blind and defender of all.

The Holy Scriptures testify that blessed is the memory of the righteous and the long practice of Christ’s Church confirms the same. The memory of the righteous rejoices the hearts, calms the souls, nourishes the spiritual virtues of men. Especially when it comes to a great and beloved benefactor and comforter of people, such as today’s celebrant, the Saint who is the praise of the Universe, the heavenly pillar of the Church, the Saint of love, faith, self-sacrifice, meekness and righteousness. Triumph of the Christian people – our holy and glorious God-bearing father, the Archbishop of Myra in Lycia, Nicholas the Wonderworker.

The Bigorski Monastery, due to the love of its Abbot for this undying Light of the Church, holds a special respect for him and celebrates his radiant memory with a heart-warming vigil and a Divine Eucharist, served both in the main church and in the chapel of St. Nicholas, which was headed by our Elder and Bishop and spiritual father Parthenius.

The small chapel appeared to be a vast spiritual ladder today, when our Bishop served the Holy Liturgy with such devotion and love for this great advocate of people before Christ. That small space, became an infinite territory of God’s grace, gained by the blessing of the Saint, who embraced all souls…

Inspired by that spiritual greatness after reading the Holy Gospel, our Elder and Bishop shared a profound wisdom about the life and spiritual greatness of the renowned God-pleasing Saint Nicholas:

My dear ones, the Son of God came to Earth to give man what he did not have, to return to him what he had lost when he violated God’s providence for eternal life in an immeasurable love. He came to restore him in the Divine dignity that was lost with the expelling from Eden. He humbled himself and clothed himself in our human nature, to heal the wounds of Adam, to deify man, to make him holy again, to make him fit for Himself – a god by grace.

The Lord Jesus Christ came as the Healer of mankind. A while ago in the Gospel we heard the wonderful words used by the Evangelist Luke to describe Christ: And the whole multitude, sought, to touch him, for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all (Luke 6:19). The Lord came as a source of healing power, as a source of graceful energy for anyone who desires to come to Him with faith and an open heart.

Today we celebrate the memory of a great Saint, of our holy and God-bearing father Nicholas the Wonderworker, who is glorified by the entire Universe, by the East and West, the North and South. Undoubtedly, the whole world respects and glorifies this most glorious Saint of Christ. And the reason for that is because while he was alive – he became a living Gospel. A fully deified, anointed man who has become a vessel of God’s grace, and therefore a force emanated from him, and this force has not ceased until this day to heal and help all those who turn to him in faith and humility. Saint Nicholas did not leave anyone empty in his hopes. He goes everywhere like an angel of our Lord and listens to the prayers of those in need. God has given him such abundant grace to be a great comforter and benefactor of the faithful. For, during his life he devoted himself entirely to Christ, and in His name always obeyed and helped the weak, the sick, all those who are in need; he wept with the weeping, he rejoiced with the joyful (cf. Rom. 12:15). And that is why he shines in the Heavenly Kingdom like an evening star of God, illuminating the path to virtue for many faithful.

In his troparion, among other things, we sing: “the example of faith.” St. Nicholas became an example, as to how we should believe in Christ. We say ‘became’ because he was not born that way. He was a regular man like us, however with his love for God, with his persistent struggle against egoism, passions and sins, with his complete devotion to Christ, he became what he is today: a great man of God’s grace, a hero in Christian virtues, “the example of faith, the image of meekness.” For seventeen centuries the Church of Christ joyfully celebrates his memory and every generation feels him so powerfully graceful, so dear and close to people, and wants to get even closer to him by prayer, because great power emanates from him and performs many miracles.

My dear ones, let us learn from this shining example of faith and become worthy of it, to strive to overcome our passions, sins and egoism with our faith, prayer and mercy. These virtues turned St. Nicholas from an ordinary person into a God-bearing devout man who became a dwelling place for the Holy Trinity, according to the words of the Son of God:If a man loves me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him (John 14:23).

This, my beloved ones, is the true purpose of our existence – to become bearers, a home to the Triune God, and thus to inherit eternal life. We were created for eternity, for the Kingdom of Heaven, and not for this temporary “rotten life”. Let us not forget that, but having in mind the example of today’s celebrant and his powerful intercession, let us show true repentance, real and active participation in the life of the Church and unhindered devotion to Christ. Then we too shall shine as Christ’s beacons, as the sons of God’s grace.

We have here many of you who bear the name of St. Nicholas. Let your name day be blessed and by his holy prayers may you all be worthy bearers of his glorious name, so that you too may become examples of a worthy life in Christ.

May St. Nicholas help us all during the Christmas fast, so that we too can welcome the Holy Nativity of Christ with a great joy, thus becoming bearers of Christ.

May his prayers be with all of us. Amen!