→Life: Anglicizing names.
Father Nicephorus was born Nicholas Tzanakakis in 1890 in a village of Serikari of Chania, Crete. His parents, who were simple and pious villagers, died while he was a small child, leaving him an orphan, under the care of his grandfather. When he was thirteen he moved to Chania and began to work in a barbershop. Soon after he began to show signs of Hansen's disease (i.e. leprosy). When he was sixteen years old his disease became more visible. As leprosy was a transmissible disease that was treated with fear, Nicholas fled to Egypt to escape an exile to Spinaloga, an island leper colony. The disease continued to advance as he worked in a barbershop in Alexandria, Egypt. At the suggestion of a [[clergy|cleric]] who told him of ''Lovokomeio'', the home for lepers on the island of Chios, Nicholas fled again.
In 1914 at the age of 24, Nicholas arrived at the home for lepers in Chios that was administered by the [[priest]] Anthimus Vagianos, later remembered as St. [[Anthimus of Chios]]. The [[chapel]] of St.
Lazaros at the leper home, with its wonder-working icon of the Panagia of Ypakoe (Obedience), provided an atmosphere that opened for Nicholas his spirituality and faith. Within two years Fr. Anthimus saw that Nicholas was ready for the [[Monastic Ranks|schema]] and [[tonsure]]d him a [[monk]] with the name Nicephorus (Νικηφóρος).
His illness continued, as it would be until 1947 before a treatment is found for stopping leprosy. Yet, Nicephorus continued his obedience, fasting and working in the gardens, as a unique spiritual relationship grew between the monk Nikephorus and his mentor Fr, Anthimus. From this he compiled a catalogue of the miracles of St. Anthimus that he had seen with his own eyes. Nikephoros would pray for hours at night, performing countless prostrations, yet not offering a word to anyone nor spoiling his heart on anyone. He became the head chanter of the church. However, as he slowly lost his eyesight because of his illness, most of the hymns were chanted by others.