Hymns from the Service of Saint Nikiforos the Leper1 April 2020
Advice from the Holy Mountain is that in these difficult times we should pray to Saint Nikiforos the Leper, a saint who was canonized as recently as 2012. His Life is available on the web, at sites such as, for example https://orthodoxwiki.org/Nicephorus_the_Leper or https://www.oca.org/saints/lives/2016/01/04/205506-saint-nikephoros-the-leper.
We at Pemptousia have therefore decided to provide a translation of some of the most important hymns from the service, kindly made available in the original Greek by the Holy and Great Monastery of Vatopaidi. Ideally, we would prepare a translation of the Paraclitic Canon, which might still happen, time permitting, but meanwhile the following hymns can be used as prayers. W. J. Lillie
Doxastiko of the Stichera
Come, let us all honor venerable Nikiforos, the lover of godliness, the fighter of the good fight, the cornerstone of patience. For having passed through the fire and water of the agony of leprosy, he emerged into refreshing joy. And having been fired in the furnace of sorrows, he was burnished brighter than gold, and now bestows on our souls the joy which saves.
Old Testament readings:
Wisdom of Solomon (4, 7-15)
Wisdom of Solomon (3, 1-9)
Wisdom of Solomon (5, 15-23, 6, 1-3)
Doxastiko of the Aposticha
With your mind on heaven, you ascended the celestial ladder of the divine virtues, Nikiforos, guided by the godly admonitions of your great teacher, Anthimos, who, in these latter years, sanctified the island of Chios with his struggles for blessedness and who most wonderfully adorned the whole Church with sacred miracles. With him, entreat God, our infinitely compassionate Father, to count us also worthy of divine adornment in His Kingdom.
Angels were astonished at the efforts of Saint Nikiforos the Leper and at his bravery in his struggles. For he endured his sufferings, glorifying God, Who has now crowned him in glory and distinguished him with miracles. Hail, guide of monastics, hail radiant light, hail to you who pour out the fragrance of joy from your relics.
Let us praise Nikiforos, as the bravest athlete of steadfastness, the unyielding diamond of patience, who suffered the heartache of afflictions. For this he was glorified by God and we cry to him : Hail, you who bear the name ‘Victorious’.
You proved to be resolute in the struggle, Nikiforos, and endured the agony of leprosy. And therefore, surrendering to God in every way, you rendered the thanksgiving of praise to Him Whom you bore in your pure heart. Now we, too, inspired by feelings of veneration, cry to you especially:
Hail, resilience of self-restraint,
Hail, ruggedness of endurance.
Hail, you who endured heroically the agonies of the flesh,
Hail, you who, in wisdom, knew the comeliness of the spirit.
Hail, model of the venerable and pattern of monastics,
Hail, guide of the faithful in divine virtues.
Hail, pillar of light, gilding creation,
Hail, lamp of the Church, casting a glow over our souls.
Hail, pride and exemplary son of Crete,
Hail, glory of Chios, and disciple of Anthimos.
Hail, you whom leprosy made purer than gold,
Hail, you who kept faith in Christ, your Bridegroom.
Hail, you who bear the name ‘Victorious’.
The Synaxari for the day:
On the same day [4 January], we celebrate the memory of our Saintly and God-bearing Father Nikiforos the Leper, who, in these latter times, struggled with endurance on Chios, and was distinguished in asceticism.
Having donned the monastic habit, Nikiforos,
You became an example of ceaseless prayer.
On the fourth of January, the leprous flesh of Nikiforos was buried,
While his radiant soul soared to the heavens.
Doxastiko at Lauds
Let us magnify our beloved friend, Nikiforos, the most sacred treasury of the All-Holy Spirit, who, purer than snow, was the mirror of the virtues, Christ’s meekness and humbleness of heart. For in his soul he magnified the Lord, and sang His sweet words by heart and at length, becoming a consoling voice to all. Therefore, he was rightly honored by Christ, through the ineffable fragrance of his relics, which ever gladden those who venerate them, and who glorify his most festive memory.
Come, divine, Christ-loving multitude, let us adorn with hymns of praise the friend of Christ, Nikiforos the Leper, as champion in the contests of divine endurance.
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy upon us and save us. Amen.