Hieromartyr Nikon and His One Hundred and Ninety-Nine Disciples
Who Suffered Martyrdom with Him
On this day we celebrate the memory of holy hieromartyr Nikon and his one hundred and ninety-nine disciples who suffered martyrdom with him. St. Nikon lived during the time of governor Cuntianus. He came from the province of Naples in Italy. He was very handsome and had a marvellous appearance. He was a warrior and son of a Greek father and a Christian mother.
Blessed Nikon remembered the teaching and advice of his mother, when there broke a great war and soon terrible battles followed at those parts. So, he sighed from the bottom of his heart and said: "Lord Jesus Christ, help me". Then, he armed himself with the sign of the holy Cross and rushed in the middle of the enemies. Some of them he hit with his sword and some others he wounded with his spear. He did not stop until he defeated them all and made them leave in shame. Everybody was astonished by his great courage. So, because things turned out the way his compatriots wanted, Nikon and his fellow-soldiers returned to their homes.
Then, he disclosed to his mother that he wanted to be baptised. So, he departed from Naples in order to go to Constantinople. When he reached the island of Chios, he ascended the mountain there, on which he remained fasting, keeping vigils and praying for seven days. Then, he received good news from a divine angel, who gave him a stick and told him to go down to the seaside together with that stick. When the saint went there, he found a ship, he sailed with it for two days and he reached mount Ganos.
A certain bishop dressed like a monk met him there by chance. He brought him to the cave where he lived and, after he had catechised him, he baptised him in the name of the holy Trinity and administered the divine mysteries to him. Three years later he ordained him presbyter and later on he consecrated him bishop.
Because a lot of brothers had gathered there (specifically a hundred and ninety), venerable Nikon became their protector and abbot. Then, he took them all and went to the island of Lesbos where from they went to Italy. After he had seen his mother and buried her when she died, he went to the island of Sicily and dwelled on mount Tauromenios having been joined by nine more disciples.
When the governor of Sicily heard about the saint, he ordered him to be brought before him together with all of his hundred and ninety-nine disciples. When he asked them whether they denied Christ and they were not convinced to betray him, he ordered to be executed.