Papa-Nicholas (Planas) of Athens
St. Nicholas (Planas) (1851-1932), was officially recognized as a saint by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1992. He was born in 1851 on the island of Naxos in Greece and is often referred to as Papa Nicholas (Planas) His feast day is celebrated on March 2 except when it falls during the great Lenten period; then it is celebrated on the first Sunday following March 2. As a topical saint of Paronaxia, he is also celebrated on the first Sunday of September, as part of the celebration of the islands five key saints at the Church of St. Nikodemus of the Holy Mountain on the island of Naxos in Greece.
Papa-Nicholas was married and the father of one child. He was married at 17, but his wife died only a few years later and spent the rest of his life in celibacy with his only aspiration to serve the church. He was ordained a deacon in July 28 1879, at the church of the Transfiguration in Plaka of Greece and a priest on March 2 1884 the Church of the Holy Prophet Elisha.
His focus, for over 50 years, was to serve daily the Divine Liturgy, vigils and other services. He never missed a liturgy and spent most of his time in the very small church of Church of St. John the Hunter in Athens of Greece. The parish initially contained only eight families. He never refused to commemorate and pray for anyone when he served, and carried in his pockets slips of paper containing thousands of names that he would pray for during the proskomedia and the Liturgy.
Numerous stories are told of his being lifted in prayer and that the altar servers would see him raised off the ground in front of the altar during the liturgy. While he would begin Liturgy at eight in the morning, he typically would not finish until two or three in the afternoon. When he was not able to serve at the church of St. John, he would always serve elsewhere.
He was famously absent minded and was also well known for giving to the poor anything that anyone might give him. He was not an educated man but was considered immensely enlightened, who showed by way of example, great holiness and humility; examples of theosis.
He reposed February of 1932 and a new St. John the Hunter Church has been built, which contain his relics.
- Philotheos (Zervakos)
- St. Nektarios of Aegina
- Greek Orthodox Church of St. John the Hunter (Athens, Greece)
Kontakion in the 3rd Tone.
- Humble of spirit and pure of heart, illustrious in life and dispassionate of a truth, wast thou, O wise one. Thou didst illumine all by the virtues and dost grant grace unto them that draw nigh unto thee; and by thine intercessions, thou dost heal them that call upon thee, O Father Nicholas.
- As a simple shepherd of Christ God's lambs, thou didst tend thy flock well on the pasture of piety, nourishing their spirits with ceaseless supplications and leading them to Christ, O wise Father Nicholas.
- Official Biography of St Nicholas Planas in Greek by the (Metropolis of Paronaxia) (Church of Greece)
Material for most articles in these links, comes from the book Papa-Nicholas Planas, by the Nun Martha; translated from the Greek and published by Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1981.