Papa-Nicholas (Planas) of Athens
St. Nicholas (Planas) (1851-1932), was officially recognized as a saint by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1992. His feast day is celebrated on March 2. He is often referred to as Papa Nicholas (Planas).
Born in 1851 on the island of Naxos, even in his youth he was marked by simplicity and generosity. He gave away anything that came into his hands. He married at 17, but his wife died only a few years later. From that point on, his only aspiration was to serve in the Church. In July 28, 1879, he was ordained a deacon in the Church of the Transfiguration, Plaka. Five years later on March 2, 1884 he was ordained a priest at the Church of the Holy Prophet Elisha. He served a Liturgy, vigils and other services every day for over 52 years. He spent most of that time in a very small church, St. John the Hunter, located in a working class neighborhood in Athens. When he arrived there, the parish contained only eight families, and he was paid virtually nothing. Nonetheless, 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 so lifted in prayer during the liturgy that his altar servers would see him raised off the ground in front of the altar. While he would begin Liturgy at eight in the morning, he typically would not finish until two or three in the afternoon. When, for whatever reason, he was not able to serve at St. John’s, he would serve elsewhere, even in country chapels which lay half in ruins.
When not serving, Papa Nicholas was always found attending to his flock: taking confessions, giving counsel, visiting the poor and sick. He was famously absent minded, engrossed in heavenly things, and was also well known for giving to the poor anything that anyone might give him. He was not an educated man by any stretch of the imagination, but was immensely holy, a humble righteous man who shows us by his example the way to theosis. He reposed, his face wreathed in a smile, in 1932, and thousands came to honor him.
- 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.
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