Nikephoros of Chios
Our venerable and God-bearing Father Nikephoros of Chios (1750-1821; also Nicephoros, Nicephorus, Nikephorus) is the spiritual son and disciple of Macarius of Corinth who was known for his holy life and character, being known as a saint even during his lifetime. His feast day is celebrated on May 1.
St. Nikephoros was a hieromonk born around 1750 in the town of Kardamyla, in the northeastern part of the famous Aegean island of Chios. As a child he fell seriously ill with a contagious disease. His parents vowed that if he survived he would be given as a monk to the monastery of Nea Moni. He recovered from his illness and became a monk, studying at the famous Chiote school.
- Although St Nicephorus probably reposed in the summer of 1821, his Feast Day is designated as May 1. He died in a home near the church of St Paraskeve, where he sometimes stayed overnight when he was unable to get back to Resta. His body was brought back to Resta, and was placed in a grave where both St Athanasius Parius and the monk Nilus had once been buried. The holy relics of St Nicephorus were uncovered in 1845 and brought to the metropolitan church of Chios. Many years later, the Guild of Tanners asked for the relics and placed them in the church of St George. In 1907, an icon of St Nicephorus was painted, and a church service was composed in his honor.
He taught and wrote in Chios, led a life of spiritual endeavor there. He loved Chios as his fatherland, and as a place where piety and learning were flourishing. For this reason, and because no occasion arose for him to leave the island, he remained within its confines throughout his lifetime.
He reposed in 1821, and before his death foretold the devastation of Chios the following year by the Turks. His relics now remain in the Church of St. George in Resta.
The New Leimonarion
- In 1805, on his deathbed, St. Macarius asked St. Nikephoros to finish his book The New Leimonarion and see that it be published. This book contains the lives and church services of various martyrs, ascetics, and other saints. Three saints collaborated to compile this book: St. Macarius, St. Nikephoros, and St. Athanasius Parios.
- The greatest influence on his life was St. Macarius of Corinth (April 17), whom he met even before he met St. Athanasius. Macarius was at Chios in 1780, left for a time, then returned in 1790. Nikephoros saw St. Macarius frequently, and learned much from him.
- He also met St. Athanasius Parios (June 24), who was the director of the school in the city of Chios.
- A jewish man who became an Athonite monk and later a director of the Chiote School.
- St. Macarius of Corinth had the greatest influence on Nikephoros.
- He reisgned before his two-year term ended because he did not like handling the estate's finances and spiritual matters that were met with resistance by the monks of the monastery.
- Venerable Nicephorus of Chios (OCA)
- Saint Nikephoros of Chios (Modern Orthodox Saints, vol. 4) by Constantine Cavarnos. ISBN 0-914744-74-7 Paperbound.
- An account of the of the life, character, and message of St. Nikephoros of Chios (1750-1821) — outstanding writer of liturgical poetry and lives of saints, educator, spiritual striver, and trainer of martyrs—together with a comprehensive list of his publications, selections from them, and brief biographies of eleven neo-martyrs and other Orthodox saints who are treated in his works. - 1976. 2nd, augmented edition, 1986. 124 pp., 2 illus.
- St. Nikephoros of Chios, outstanding writer of litrugical poetry and lives of saints, educator, spiritual striver, and traner of martyrs by Constantine Cavarnos. Publisher: Belmont, Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, c. 1976. ISBN 0914744321. pp. 111-114.