The Life and Legacy of Saint Nicodemus the Hagiorite

“Even if you have rescued hundreds of Christian slaves from evildoers and made them free, you will not be saved, if you are a slave of your passions as 

- Saint Nicodemus the Hagiorite

Saint Nicodemus the Hagiorite (Nicholas) was born in the year 1748 on the Greek island Naxos. He got his education in Smyrna, where he was studying theology and languages.

In 1770 he came back to Naxos and became a secretary of Metropolitan Anthimus. In the age of 26 he came to the holy mountain of Athos. In the Dionysiou Monastery he was tonsured to monk under the name of Nicodemus.

At first monk Nicodemus served as a reader and worked as a writer. In two years, Macarius, Metropolitan of Corinthia visited Athos and assigned the young monk to publish the book named “Love of the Good”, which he found in 1777 in the Vatopedi Monastery. The work on that book became the beginning of long literary work of Saint Nicodemus. Soon the monk moved to the Pantokratorsky skete, where he studied the Holy Scriptures and the works of the Holy Fathers wholeheartedly. In 1783 he took the vow of schema and spent six years keeping the vow of silence. When the Metropolitan visited Athos again, he assigned for Nicodemus a new ministry – to edit the works of Saint Symeon the New Theologian. Saint Nicodemus had to reject silence and began his literary work again.

Not long before his death, Saint Nicodemus, having little strength to proceed with literary works and ascetic feats at the same level as before, moved to live with hieromonks and icon-painters Stefan and Neophyte Skurtey. He persuaded them to publish his books, as he could not do it himself because of his sickness. Here, in the year 1809, Saint Nicodemus peacefully passed away to the Lord.

As witnessed by others, Saint Nicodemus was a simple and kind man, who was notable for high level of concentration. He has an ideal memory and knew the Holy Scripture by heart: he could remember the chapters, the verses and pages, and could quote a lot from the works of the Holy fathers.

Saint Nicodemus’ literary works are quite various, and his written legacy is quite vast. He was the author of more than 200 works, many of which are extensive and have several parts.

He wrote the foreword for the book “Love of the Good” and short life stories of the hermits. The most famous work by Saint Nicodemus is “Invisible Fight”, which was translated into Russian by the great ascetic and theologian - Theophan the Recluse. Another great works are “Teaching about penance”, which ends with heartfelt “Word about repentance”, and “Morality of Christians” published in 1803. Saint Nicodemus contributed to the development and publication of liturgical literature. In 1796 he published 62 canons to the Mother of God, which he found in the manuscripts from Athos. This collection of canons was named “The Wreath of the Mother of God”.

Saint Nicodemus prepared a new version of “Pidalion” – a Greek nomocanon containing the rules established by the Holy Apostles, the decisions made by the holy Ecumenical and Local Councils, as well as the thoughts by the Holy Fathers. 

Translated by the Catalog of Good Deeds 



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