Thursday, January 3, 2013

Selected miracles of St. Nikephoros the Leper

St. Nikephoros the Leper - Commemorated January 4 (source)
Selected miracles of St. Nikephoros the Leper (amateur translation)
Fr. Eumenios said that, one night, having helped Fr. Nikephoros get ready to sleep, he then went to his cell to rest. He did not fall asleep immediately, however. He had an unsettled feeling, like he had perhaps not closed the stove properly. Many thoughts ran through his mind. He got up, therefore, and went to the cell of the Elder. In order to not bother him, in case he had fallen asleep, he thought not to knock on the door, nor the customary monastic practice to say “Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us”, and wait for the reply: “Amen”. Slowly, he opened the door, and what did he see? He saw Fr. Nikephoros floating a meter above the ground, with his hands lifted up in prayer. His face shone like the sun. As soon as Fr. Eumenios saw this awesome sight, without speaking he slowly closed the door and ran back to his cell. His face fell to the floor, and he began to cry with groans, thinking that he might have saddened the Elder by his not having knocked, and by his seeing this wondrous sight. But he also cried with joy, for he saw with his own eyes how great and virtuous was his spiritual father, Fr. Nikephoros. In the morning, when he went as usual to help him, he made a prostration, and asked forgiveness for his offense. He, with a light smile, forgave him immediately, and told him not to tell anyone what he saw while he was alive.
Fr. Eumenios further related that, one night, many years the dormition of Fr. Nikephoros, because there were many mosquitos and other insects in his cell, he thought it good to close up the doors and windows, and to empty a whole bottle of strong pesticide inside. After this, he fell asleep. He would not have awakened, however, if Fr. Nikephoros had not appeared to him to wake him, to take his hand and bring him out of the cell. And, before Fr. Eugenios came to his senses regarding what happened, he told him: “My child, don't go back into your cell until you first open the doors and windows, to air it out well.” And immediately, he disappeared. After a while, Fr. Eugenios realized that a miracle had occurred, and he thanked Fr. Nikephoros, his beloved Elder, with all his heart, for he saved him from a certain death.
Fr. Amphilochios, a hieromonk from the Holy Monastery of St. Paraskevi, Megara, confirmed that, one day, he was sitting in his cell, when he sensed a fragrance. He looked right and left, but did not find where this fragrance was coming from, which grew stronger wherever he went. Then in an instant, his eye fell upon a large mailing envelope. He opened it, and within found a portion of a Holy Relic which was unspeakably fragrant, and on one portion he read: “Fr. Nikephoros Tzanakakes, January 4th 1964”. This Holy Relic was in the possession of another hieromonk, who sent it to the Monastery for temporary care, as he would be out of town. When Fr. Amphilochios removed it from the envelope and placed it with reverence in a place where he had other Holy Relics, then the fragrance lessened slightly.
Monk Kallinikos from the Holy Mountain said: “When I was given a small portion from the Holy Relics of Fr. Nikephoros, it was fragrant. After a time, however, it stopped. One day, when I opened it to venerate, I said to the Elder: “My Saint, I am unworthy, but I entreat you, do me a favor and do not disdain me, the sinner.” And—O the wonder!--it once again was fragrant. After several days, I went again to venerate, and as soon as I opened the small container in which was the Holy Relic, an unspeakable fragrance again poured forth throughout my cell. Immediately I wrote the following megalynarion to the Saint: “You are a spiritual icon of virtue, and you resembled, O Father, the patience of Job, and you endured trials, pleasing God, therefore after death you were made fragrant.”
Hieromonk Matthias related that, after the dormition of Fr. Eumenios, Fr. Epiphanios, the hieromonk who became the Priest at the Church of the Leper Station, found in a container some of the Holy Relics of Fr. Nikephoros. Therefore, Fr. Matthias told him: “I want you to give me a portion from the Holy Relics.” Fr. Epiphanios said: “I will bring it to you myself, as soon as I travel to Thessaloniki.” And in reality, a short time later, he went. He opened and placed the portion in a small container on the table. He lit a candle. After a short time, another priest came to visit Fr. Matthias. When he saw the Holy Relic, he venerated it, and said: “To whom does this Holy Relic belong, that is fragrant?” Fr. Matthias said: “I didn't believe it, but we got up and went to venerate. In reality, it was fragrant, and however much time passed, it was all the more fragrant. This lasted for several days. I have venerated many Holy Relics of many Saints, but this is the first time that this has happened to me..."
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

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