Thursday, May 28, 2020

04 Works, Today, May 28th is Saint Nicetas' day, his story in Paintings #148

Unknown artist
Saint Nicetas of Medikion

Saint Nicetas of Medikion, or Nicetas the Confessor, who is commemorated on 28 May, was a monk who opposed iconoclasm.

Nicetas was born in Bithynian Caesarea of a pious family. His mother died eight days after his birth, and his father Philaretos became a monk. The child was raised by his grandmother. From his youth Nicetas attended church and was a disciple of the hermit Stephen.

Unknown artist
Rev. Nicetas the Confessor
Miniature Minology of Basil II.
Vatican Library. Rome.

At a relatively young age Nicetas joined the Medikion monastery where Nicephorus was the hegoumenos (similar to abbot). When Nicephorus died, Nicetas was chosen hegoumenos by the monks. His piety drew many others to join and follow him at the monastery.

The proclamation of Leo V the Armenian, emperor of the Byzantine Empire
Initiating the second period of Byzantine Iconoclasm
Madrid Skylitzes, National Library, Madrid

Twice he was imprisoned for taking stands against the heresy of Iconoclasm. His courageous opposition to the iconoclasts resulted in his exile, at the beginning of the 9th century, during the reign of Leo V the Armenian in Byzantium. 

The Chludov Psalter
Showing the destruction of icons in the Byzantine church
State Historical Museum, Moscow

Upon the death of the Emperor Leo, Nicetas was released, but rather than return to Medikion retreating to an austere life in a monastery near Constantinople, where he died in 824. His remains were brought back to the monastery of Medikion. More on Nicetas the Confessor

In his Canon, written by the Constantinopolitan hieromonk, Saint Joseph the Hymnographer, the life led by Saint Nicetas was described as ascetic, God–pleasing, and full of charity. He is mentioned as a wonderworker, with the gift of healing.

References to St. Nicetas have been found in old manuscripts originating from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and in menaia from the Orthodox Patriarchates.

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