Thursday, March 23, 2000

Warrior Series: St. Nicon

THE HOLY PRIESTLY-MARTYR NICON (249 A.D.)
 
Nicon was born in Naples of a pagan father and Christian mother. Nicon was a Roman officer in Naples and was not baptized, even though his mother tutored him secretly from his father in the Faith of Christ.

Once, when Nicon was sent into battle with his troops, his mother counseled him to make the sign of the cross and to call upon Christ for help if any misfortune would befall him. And, indeed, while in battle, Nicon's troops were completely surrounded; and, toward the end of the battle, Nicon made the sign of the cross in his heart and cried out to Christ. Immediately, he was filled with unusual strength and pursued his enemies. Some he slew and others he forced to flee. Returning to his home, Nicon continuously cried out in amazement, "Great is the Christian God."

Since he had made his mother happy with the news of his victory with the help of the Cross of Christ, he secretly sailed to Asia where Theodosius the Bishop of Cyzicus baptized him. Following his baptism, he secluded himself in a monastery where he devoted himself to study and asceticism.

Before his death Theodosius had a vision in which he was told to ordain Nicon as his successor. Immediately the aged Theodosius summoned Nicon and ordained him a deacon; after that, a priest, and then, a bishop. Shortly thereafter, according to God's Providence, Nicon came to Naples where he discovered that his mother was still living. Following his mother's death, Nicon, with nine disciples, his former war companions, withdrew to Sicily and there dedicated himself to preaching the Gospel.

However, at that time there was a terrible persecution of Christians. Prince Quintianus captured Nicon with his companions and inflicted great pain and suffering upon them. His one-hundred ninety disciples and companions were beheaded. The tormentor tied Nicon to the tail of a horse, hurled him from a steep wall into a gorge, beat him, and skinned him; but Nicon survived all of these tortures. Finally, he was beheaded and took up habitation with the Lord. His body was left in the fields to be devoured by the birds.

A certain herdsman, with a rabid evil spirit, tripped and fell over the dead body of Christ's martyr and immediately the herdsman was healed. Proclaiming the news about Nicon's body, Christians came forth and honorably buried the body of Nicon. St. Nicon suffered during the reign of the Emperor Decius.



HYMN OF PRAISE
SAINT NICON
In the dungeon, Nicon languished,
And day and night he prayed to God.
For his defense, did not pray to God,
Nor to revenge Quintianus, the wicked,
But for strength, to endure sufferings.
Nicon's sighings, God heard.
One time Nicon dreamed in prayer:
To him, the Virgin appeared in light,
Than the sun, more beautiful and brighter.
Than a lamb, whiter and gentler,
At her side, two archangels are,
Their faces, radiant and joyful,
With their height, to the heavens they reach,
The river they point out, one to the other:
That is the wavy river Psimif!
Then, one archangel to the Virgin says,
To Quintianus, were we sent to slay
In the waves of the raging Psimif.
But, behold, we are looking over the river
And nowhere Quintianus do we see?
As honey flowing from her mouth, the Virgin spoke:
To the river, soon, he will come,
Through the waves, he will attempt to cross,
But, beneath him, his horse will become enraged,
His face, by his teeth, will he disfigure,
Him, the river will drown,
And thus, your task, you will complete.
That is the end of the evil torturer of Nicon, my saint.
All of this took place as the Virgin said,
Everything that Nicon dreamed became a reality.

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