Akathist to St. Nicholas the Wonderworker: features. Interesting facts from the life of St. Nicholas
In this article we will discuss the Akathist to St. Nicholas. The biography of this cult for the Christian religion of man will be reviewed. And also, telling about the Akathist to St. Nicholas of Myra, the wonderworker, let us touch upon the question of what this poetic genre of church chants represents.
In the Prayer books, the akathist to St. Nicholas is most often placed on the front pages as one of the most revered. What is this spiritual song?
Usually it is the life of a saint, dressed in a poetic form. Akathists began to appear in the Middle Ages. However, at that far time, this genre of church poetry had not yet gained that popularity, which was entrenched in the late 19th century.Then many classical Russian poets turned their attention to this poetic form and tried their hand at creating such works.
Therefore, there are several options for the akathist to St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, but not all of them were accepted by the church censorship committee. Such a body, acting at that time, considered all new works of spiritual subjects. He determined which of them could be published in special collections, and which not.
However, if such a work was not accepted by the committee, this did not mean that it could not be popular and performed during prayers by agreement, as an akathist to St. Nicholas, for example.
Appeals to the Lord God, carried out in this way, were often practiced among Orthodox Christians in the past. The agreement prayer was usually read at certain times by people who agreed to ask the Almighty for something together. Rituals were conducted, as a rule, not in churches, but at home with believers. For the prayer by agreement, the akathist to St. Nicholas, like any other, is perfect. This is due to the factthat such a genre of spiritual hymns does not require the presence of a priest, and can be performed at any time outside the walls of the temple.
New Akathist life
The akathist to St. Nicholas the Wonderworker of Mirlikiya, like many others, became a necessary attribute of the Orthodox Christian life of a large number of people after the October Revolution. At that difficult time for religion, many churches were destroyed, a huge number of surviving churches were given by the Soviet government to various non-church organizations for exploitation for purposes far from the spiritual life.
In such a difficult period, Akathist to St. Nicholas, like many other examples of this genre of church poetry, turned out to be necessary for those people who, in spite of everything, continued to believe in God and get together for collective prayer.
As already mentioned, these chants can be performed in any place and at any time, and for this the presence of a spiritual person is not necessary. Therefore, those believers who lived far from the existing churches actively used this type of prayer.
A huge number of Akathists were created in that era.Unfortunately, the publishing house of religious literature was practically stopped at that time, and therefore many masterpieces are now lost.
Perestroika and poetry
A new round of development of Akathists took place in the late eighties and early nineties of the 20th century. Then, in connection with the restructuring, religion came out of the underground. More and more people began to come to the temples. Many young poets became interested in spiritual literature, in particular the akathist to St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, and, imitating the ancient models of chants, they began to create their own works in the same spirit.
There is a special site in RuNet that publishes both long-known akathists and those that appear today.
Akathists differ from the more ancient spiritual chants by the presence in them of so-called highretism, that is, the repeated praises of those saints to whom they are dedicated. Of course, it is not possible to contain the entire text of the work of church literature under consideration in the article, but in order for the reader to have an idea of such hymns, here are some excerpts from an akathist to St. Nicholas (with accents and preserving the accepted vocabulary and style).
Rejoice, great piety of the stolpe; rejoice, priests of the city.
Rejoice, hard fortification fortification; rejoice, honesty, the Most Holy Trinity bore and praise.
Akathist to Nicholas the wonderworker, as well as many other similar works written according to classical church canons, contains 25 songs. These parts are divided into two types.
Kondaki - small praise sections. In Akathist to St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, all these parts, with the exception of the first, end with the word “hallelujah”, which in Hebrew means “praise God”. Here is the text of the second kondak:
Seeing your world outpouring, to Bogomudr, enlightening the soul and body, the devotion of peace of the Red Sea, Nikolae, of course: miraculous, fresh water, thanks to God, because of the pleasure of the heart and the heart of the world, because of the beauty of the world, because of the flow of the heart and the heart of the world, because of the warmth of the world, because of the flow of the heart and the heart of the world.
The first one ends with the following phrase:
Rejoice, Nicolae, the Great Wonderworker
In the same way, each of the ikos ends with a song that is dedicated to certain events in the life of the saint. Moreover, the second part of the ikos, as a rule, also contains numerous eulogies.
Here are the lines dedicated to the struggle against the heresy of Arius:
Vitia suemudrennyya wicked see thee posramlennyya, divinely wise Father Nicholas: Aria bo scornful men, splitting the Godhead, and Sabellius. Smeshayuscha Holy Trinity, preprel, we have also strengthened Orthodoxy in hast. Be still crying out:
Rejoice, seek, protect piety; rejoice, sword, touch evil.
Before reading an akaphist, it is important to study the life of a saint or other biographical information about him in order to understand what the subject is talking about.
Kondakov in this hymn contains 13, and icos - 12.
Pious young man
What does the akathist say to St. Nicholas? In addition to the laudatory parts in which believers sing the glories of their heavenly patron, the work also speaks of the earthly life of the Archbishop of Myraly.
Saint Nicholas, an akathist who is versed in this article, was born in that area of Turkey, which is now called Antalya and famous for its seaside resorts. At the same time, this land was part of the Great Roman Empire. The child grew up religious, often prayed and read spiritual literature.
Subsequently, from wealthy parents he inherited a large inheritance, which Nicholas spent on such charitable affairs as helping the poor and paying debts for those people who could not pay off their creditors.
One of the first good deeds that are mentioned in the life of a saint was done under the following circumstances. One of the neighbors of St. Nicholas went bankrupt. To improve his financial situation, this man decided to sell his own daughters into slavery. The whole family was in grief and confusion. The eyes of the girls did not dry out of tears. But one night a miracle happened. Under one of the windows of the house, someone threw a bag of gold coins. Amounts enough to fully pay off debts. On one of the following nights, another bag of money flew into the open window. The funds went to the dowry of the eldest daughter, who was given out soon to be married.
The same gift was presented to another girl. The owner began to guess the idea of an unknown patron and spent most of the night awake, waiting for the next appearance of the gifts. He was not mistaken. Once, at a rather late hour, a bag of money flew into the window of their house again. The man who saw it, immediately ran out into the street and rushed after the evaders.He managed to overtake this man. It turned out to be the future Saint Nicholas, whose akathist is celebrated in the church in the days of the memory of this ascetic. The father of three daughters fell at the feet of his benefactor, with tears thanks to him for the help that he provided to his family.
The Myralean Archbishop
The young man decided to devote himself to serving God. He becomes first a deacon, and after that he is ordained priest. Once he happened to be at a meeting where elections were held for the archbishop of the city of Mira. For a long time, the question of who to appoint as the chief shepherd of a fairly large region, the participants could not decide.
After the first day of the meeting, one of the high-ranking members of this meeting had a dream in which God told him that Nicholas should become the new leader of the church. When the young man was informed that he was elected to be the archbishop, he refused, saying that he was unworthy of such honor. But when he was told about the miraculous vision, he fulfilled the will of the Most High and entered into holy orders.
The akathist to St. Nicholas of Mirlikis the Wonderworker also tells that the years of the patriarchate of Nicholas the Conventer had a difficult period for the Christian faith.The official religion of the Roman Empire, which then belonged to Byzantium, where he served as a saint, was paganism. All citizens of the country were obliged to worship the Olympic gods, make sacrifices, build idols, and so on.
The next emperor of a huge state was such an ardent supporter of his religion that he declared cruel persecutions of the Christian faith and people who adhere to it. Those who honored the Savior were asked to give up their beliefs. Otherwise, they were subjected to terrible executions and torture. The most terrible test was this: those people who did not renounce their God, were taken to the arena of large amphitheaters and fed to lions. This action took place in front of several thousand spectators who were specifically going to see the bloody torture. Such an execution is shown, in particular, in the famous film about the life of the Apostle Peter, “Kamo ridges”.
Prelate Nikolay, the akathist to whom annually sounds in all Orthodox churches, was also subjected to persecutions. Because he defended his fellow believers, he was imprisoned in a dungeon, where he stayed for several years.During this time, the saint was often tortured, including on the rack, which was one of the worst instruments of torment. Nikolai Ugodnik survived in these difficult conditions. Because of his steadfastness and the power of faith in Christ after death, he was canonized holy martyrs, although he did not die in prison from torture.
One of the high-ranking chiefs had a prophetic dream. He saw St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, whose akathist is widely revered by the Orthodox Church. The Archbishop appeared to him, accompanied by the Virgin and Jesus Christ. He was wearing a patriarchal vestment, the priest was holding the Gospel in his hands. When the guards in the morning came to the cell where they contained Nikolai the Pleasor, they found him in that very dress and with the Holy Scriptures in one hand. The rulers considered this a sign from above and restored the saint in his position.
Therefore, Nicholas the Benefactor is often depicted in icons along with the Mother of God and Jesus Christ. By tradition, the text of the Akathist to St. Nicholas the Wonderworker is read before his image. To do this, you can use the icon, where the saint is located with his heavenly patrons.
Protector of ordinary people
After his release, Nikolai the Apostle constantly prayed that the Lord would send mercy to all Christians. His requests were heard by the Most High. Soon the Byzantine throne was occupied by Emperor Constantine, who was the first Christian ruler in history.
Nicholas the wonderworker, released from prison, cared not only about the spiritual condition of his fellow citizens, but also did not overlook the everyday cares of the common people. The city dwellers of Myra paid exorbitant taxes to the Roman government. The archbishop decided to influence the emperor, went to the capital of the state and asked for an audience.
Konstantin treated him with respect and therefore immediately accepted the priest. Nicholas managed to persuade the emperor to lower the regular lodge from 10,000 gold to 100 coins. This was an unprecedented case in the history of ancient Rome.
Nikolay perfectly understood that the ruler, under the influence of numerous associates, can at any moment change his mind and change his decision. Therefore, it was necessary as soon as possible to announce its will to the Byzantine people.After that, the emperor would hardly have decided on such a desperate act. But the capital of a huge state and the city where Nikolai Ugodnik was the archbishop, was divided thousands of miles.
Then the priest, being a truly believing person and never losing hope in the Lord God, performed a miracle, which was later sealed in his life.
The saint put a scroll in a reed pipe, went to the seashore and, having prayed earnestly, threw the message into the water.
One of the priests of the city of Mira had a vision that night. Saint Nicholas appeared to him, who said that the next morning he should go to the seashore and look for a reed pipe with a message in the water. The servants of the church did so, found a scroll with the order of the emperor and immediately announced to the people. The governors, seeing the seal of their ruler, although reluctantly, but still obeyed the order, kissed the document and read the order.
Konstantin really soon set out to change his decision and called Nicholas to him for a second audience. He said he lost his temper by making such a hasty decision. The governor demanded a scroll with the decree, but the priest replied that the master's will had already been announced to his subjects. Constantine was a true believer.It was he and his mother Helen who organized the expedition, during which they managed to find the Cross of the Lord. Therefore, he took it as a sign from above and released the Archbishop, saying that the tax will remain as it was stipulated in the document, that is, it will not exceed the amount of 100 gold coins.
Patron of sailors
Akathist and prayer to St. Nicholas the Wonderworker are often read during various events in the fleet, such as launching a new ship into the water, and so on. This is no coincidence. Wonderworker during his life began to be revered as the patron saint of sailors and all travelers. It is known that being a young man, Nikolai during one of his voyages on the ship revived a sailor, who in a storm fell overboard and choked.
Another case occurred after the death of the saint.
For several centuries, the relics of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker of Mirlikiya, to whom the akathist is read in Orthodox churches, were in one of the churches of Byzantium. The Middle Ages are known as the period of chasing church relics. Many European cities competed with each other in the number of shrines in local cathedrals.The authorities of the Italian city of Bari outfitted an entire expedition of sailors in order to steal the shrine.
They managed to complete this mission, they successfully loaded the relics onto the ship, but as soon as the ship left the port, a violent storm broke out. Sailors began to pray hard. Prayer of sv. Nicholas the miracle worker was heard by God's saint. The storm stopped and the travelers realized that the archbishop favored them and did not oppose the transportation of holy relics.
Now, most of the remains of the saint is in the temple of the city of Bari. The rest of the relics are scattered around the world. It is believed that the akathist and canon to St. Nicholas were written by people who participated in the transfer of one of the particles of relics.
Miracles to the Saints
In addition to numerous miracles performed by the saints during his mortal life, many incredible incidents connected with his name happened after his death.
As already mentioned, the honest remains lie in the Italian city of Bari, in a Catholic church.
However, Orthodox priests are also allowed to perform a prayer service with them with Akathist to St. Nicholas. The shrine rests under the altar of the temple.In the lower part of it there is a special window, from where once a year myro, which is formed on the remains, is taken out. This healing liquid is poured into small jars and sold in the local church shop. Therefore, it is believed that this saint is the patron saint of all the sick and afflicted. Akathist to Saint Nicholas in Russian is often read as a prayer for health.
Defender of faith
In the text of the Akathist to St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, it is mentioned that, being an archbishop, he repeatedly spoke out with criticism of various heresies. Tradition tells of his heated argument with Arius, who spread false doctrine.
Therefore, it is not necessary to succumb to the influence and modern wrong beliefs. In particular, some sites contain information that forty akathists to St. Nicholas, read daily, grant a person special spiritual wisdom.
However, such materials do not mention the fact that prayer should be pronounced with reverence, attention, and faith in the Lord, as well as with repentance. This is how many holy fathers revered by the Orthodox Church are taught to turn to God and the heavenly patrons.
In addition to the Orthodox Church, this saint is revered by all Christian denominations. In Western Europe, as well as in the United States of America, he became the prototype of the famous fairy-tale character delivering Christmas presents to children. One of the legends says that when Nikolai Ugodnik threw a bag of money into the window of his ruined neighbor, this gift fell into a stocking that was drying near the fireplace. Therefore, children in Western Europe and America have a long tradition of hanging this piece of clothing on Christmas Eve, in anticipation that the good Christmas wizard will put their gifts there.
Initially, this custom appeared in Germany, the Netherlands and several other countries. At first, in the afternoon, when Nicholas brings his gifts to obedient children, December 6 was considered to be the day of the memory of this saint of God. Later, in the period of the Reformation, when the worship of saints was forbidden in Western Christianity, this custom had to be rethought.
The date of the children's holiday has changed. Now the little Europeans were not expecting their heavenly patron on December 6, but on the 25th. And St. Nicholas himself had to be replaced by the baby Jesus Christ.Later, when the Europeans began to venerate the saints again, the Mirliki archbishop again took his place among the fairy-tale characters. This tradition was brought by Dutch immigrants to the United States of America. A huge role in the creation of the modern image of Santa played a work of the poet Clement Clark Moore.
It was in this children's poem for the first time that many of the attributes of a fairy-tale character were described: deer (all of them named after names), clothes, home penetration through the chimney, and so on.
In Holland, children can now receive gifts from the saint both on December 6, the day of his memory, and on Christmas night.
Three types of icons
Prayer of sv. St. Nicholas the Wonderworker taken in front of his iconographic images.
In the Orthodox church calendar there are three holidays dedicated to this saint. They are celebrated in winter, spring and summer. It is also known 3 types of iconographic images of the Archbishop of Myraly. At one of them, Nicholas the Wonderworker appears before the worshipers with their heads uncovered. Such icons are called "Nikola Summer".
"Winter" is also called the image of this church leader, on which he is painted in a headdress, which is a necessary attribute of the bishops.
There are also such icons where the saint can be seen surrounded by images of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary. On such canvases he may also be dressed in clothes characteristic of archpastors, and have other distinctive signs of the supreme clergy.
In this article, information about the akaphist to St. Nicholas was presented, and it was told what this genre of spiritual chants represents. Also in this material is a brief biography of Nicholas Ugodnik. It is known that this miracle worker, widely revered in Christianity, during his mortal life, as well as after death, often helped travelers, patients, and innocently condemned people.
However, it is worth remembering that you can turn to every saint for help in any difficult life situation. It is only necessary to remember that prayer is only effective when it is pronounced from the heart, with repentance, humility and reverence.