Nikitas the Goth

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Nicetas the Goth THE GREAT MARTYR

Saint Nicetas was a Goth warrior and lived on the eastern side of the Danube River within the boundaries of present-day Rumania. Bishop Theophilus, the well-known enlightener of the Goths and a participant in the First Ecumenical Council in 325, converted him to Christianity and baptized him.

At that time, intestine warfare arose among the Goths. At the head of one hostile side stood Prince Athanarichus, a vehement pagan and a hater of Chris-tians. At the head of the other - Frigentus. In the bloody clash of the armies, Athanarichus was victorious, and Frigentus was forced to flee to Byzantium. But soon Frigentus returned to his homeland, reinforced by the fresh troops afforded him by the Emperor Valentus (364-378). Frigentus commanded that the image of the Holy Cross be made on the standards of his army, as once did Constantine the Great. A second bloody battle took place, and this time Frigentus was victorious. But Athanarichus, with a small group of adherents, was saved by flight.

After Frigentus' victory, favorable times ensued for Chris-tianity. Bishop Theophilus' successor, Hierarch Urphilus (311-383), created the Gothic alphabet and translated many spiritual books from Greek into Gothic. Saint Nicetas, by his preaching and his pious life, greatly assisted the confirmation of the Christian faith among the Goths.

After a few years, Athanarichus returned to his homeland with a numerous army, and intestine warfare again started up among the Goths. Having overcome Frigentus, Athanarichus raised up a cruel persecution against the Christians. Nicetas, having become the spiritual leader of the Christian Goths, denounced Athanarichus for godlessness and cruelty. He called on the faithful to be firm and not to fear martyrdom. Soon Nicetas was seized and given over to cruel tortures.

They threw him into a fire, and he died on 15 September 372. A friend of Nicetas searched out his holy remains at night and transferred them to Cilicia. From that time, miracles and healings began to be performed from the relics of the holy Martyr Nicetas. A particle of the relics of the Great-martyr Nicetas is found in the monastery of Vysokie Dechany in Serbia.


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