Translation of the relics of our holy Father Nicholas from Myra to Bari in the reign of Alexis Commenus, emperor of New Rome in the year 1087. The body of the saint was taken to Italy after a Muslim attack on Lycia aiming to destroy the saint’s relics failed. Fearing another attempt would be successful, Venetian merchants transported the relics into the church of St. Stephen. The solemn bearing of the relics was accompanied by numerous healings of the sick, which inspired great reverence for the saint. A year afterwards, a church was built in the name of St. Nicholas and consecrated by Pope Urban II.
The holy prophet Isaiah lived 700 years before the birth of Christ, and was of royal lineage. Saint Isaiah was called to prophetic service during the reign of Oziah [Uzziah], king of Judea, and he prophesied for 60 years during the reign of kings Joatham, Achaz [Ahaz], Hezekiah and Manasseh. The start of his service was marked by the following vision: he beheld the Lord God, sitting in a majestic heavenly temple upon a high throne. Six-winged Seraphim encircled Him. With two wings they covered their faces, and with two wings they covered their feet, and with two wings they flew about crying out one to another, “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord Sabaoth, heaven and earth are filled with His glory!” The pillars of the heavenly temple shook from their shouts, and in the temple arose the smoke of incense. The prophet cried out in terror, “Oh, an accursed man am I, granted to behold the Lord Sabaoth, and having impure lips and living amidst an impure people!” Then was sent him one of the Seraphim, having in hand a red-hot coal, which he took with tongs from the altar of the Lord. He touched it to the mouth of the Prophet Isaiah and said, “Lo, this has touched thy lips, and will take away with thine iniquities, and will cleanse thy sins.” After this Isaiah heard the voice of the Lord, directed towards him, “Whom shall I send, and who will go to this people?” Isaiah answered, “Here am I, send me” (Is 6:1 ff). And the Lord sent him to the Jews to exhort them to turn from the ways of impiety and idol worship, and to offer repentance.To those that repent and turn to the true God, the Lord promised mercy and forgiveness, but punishment and the judgment of God are appointed for the unrepentant. Then Isaiah asked the Lord, how long would the falling away of the Jewish nation from God continue. The Lord answered, “Until the cities be deserted, by reason of there being no people, and the land shall be made desolate. Just as when a tree be felled and from the stump come forth new shoots, so also from the destruction of the nation a holy remnant will remain, from which will emerge a new tribe.” Isaiah left behind him a book of prophecy in which he denounces the Jews for their unfaithfulness to the God of their Fathers. He predicted the captivity of the Jews and their return from captivity during the time of the emperor Cyrus, the destruction and renewal of Jerusalem and of the Temple. Together with this he predicts the historical fate also of the other nations bordering the Jews. But what is most important of all for us, the Prophet Isaiah with particular clarity and detail prophesies about the coming of the Messiah, Christ the Savior. The prophet names the Messiah as God and Man, teacher of all the nations, founder of the Kingdom of peace and love. The prophet foretells the birth of the Messiah from a Virgin, and with particular clarity he describes the Suffering of the Messiah for the sins of the world. He foresees His Resurrection and the universal spreading of His Church. By his clear foretelling of Christ the Savior, the Prophet Isaiah deserves to be called an Old Testament Evangelist. To him belong the words, “He beareth our sins and is smitten for us…. He was wounded for our sins and tortured for our transgressions. The chastisement of our world was upon Him, and by His wounds we were healed….” (Is 53:4-5. Vide Isaiah: 7:14, 11:1, 9:6, 53:4, 60:13, etc.). The holy Prophet Isaiah had also a gift of wonderworking. And so, when during the time of a siege of Jerusalem by enemies the besieged had become exhausted with thirst, he by his prayer drew out from beneath Mount Sion a spring of water, which was called Siloam, i.e. “sent from God.” It was to this spring afterwards that the Savior sent the man blind from birth to wash, and He restored his sight. By the prayer of the Prophet Isaiah, the Lord prolonged the life of Hezekiah for 15 years. The Prophet Isaiah died a martyr’s death. By order of the Jewish king Manasseh he was sawn through by a wood-saw. The prophet was buried not far from the Pool of Siloam. The relics of the holy Prophet Isaiah were afterwards transferred by the emperor Theodosius the Younger to Constantinople and installed in the church of Saint Laurence at Blachernae. At the present time part of the head of the Prophet Isaiah is preserved at Athos in the Hilandar monastery.
For the times and the events which occurred during the life of the Prophet Isaiah, see the 4th Book of Kings [alt. 2 Kings] (Ch 16, 17, 19, 20, 23, etc.), and likewise 2 Chr 26-32.
A day of festal joy has come. The city of Bari rejoices, and the world sings with it. Today we celebrate the transfer of the relics of the wonderworking and holy Nicholas. Just as the perfect Light has gleamed in glory, so does Nicholas disperse the darkness of temptation for those who sing out: Save us as a patron, O Nicholas.
Like a star rising in the East, your relics have arisen and come to the West. The waters of the sea have been hallowed by your passage, and the city of Bari has received grace from you. You are truly a most wonderful miracle-worker and a merciful prelate; therefore, we praise you.
Hebrews 13: 17-21
Brothers and sisters: Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over you as men who must render an account. So act that they may fulfill their task with joy, not with sorrow, for that would be harmful to you. Pray for us; we are confident that we have a good conscience, wishing, as we do, to act rightly in every respect. I especially ask your prayers that I may be restored to you very soon. May the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep by the blood of the eternal covenant, Jesus our Lord, furnish you with all that is good, that you may do his will. Through Jesus Christ may he carry out in you all that is pleasing to him. To Christ be the glory forever! Amen.
Luke 6: 17-23
At that time, coming down the mountain with the Twelve, Jesus stopped at a level to stretch where there were many of his disciples; a large crowd of people was with them from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coast of Tyre and Sidon, people who came to hear him and be healed of their diseases. Those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured; indeed, the whole crowd was trying to touch him because power went out from him which cured all. Then, raising his eyes to his disciples, he said: “Blest are you poor; the reign of God is yours. Blest are you who hunger; you shall be filled. Blest are you who are weeping; you shall laugh. Blest shall you be when men hate you, when they ostracize you and insult you and proscribe your name as evil because of the Son of Man. On the day they do so, rejoice and exult, for your reward shall be great in heaven.”
Acts 12:25 – 13:12
In those days, Barnabas, Symeon known as Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch), and Saul. On one occasion, while they were engaged in the liturgy of the Lord and were fasting, the Holy Spirit spoke to them: “Set apart Barnabas ans Saul for me to do the work for which I have called them.” Then, after they had fasted and prayed, they imposed hands on Paul and Barnabas and sent them off.
These two, sent forth by the Holy Spirit, went down to the port of Seleucia and set sail from there for Cyprus. On their arrival in Salamis they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues, John accompanying them as an assistant. They traveled over the whole island as far as Paphos, where they came across a Jewish magician named Bar-Jesus who posed as a prophet. He was attached to the court of the proconsular governor Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence who had summoned Barnabas and Saul and was anxious to hear the word of God. But Elymas – “the magician,” for that was what his name means – opposed them and sought to turn the governor away from the faith. Saul (also known as Paul) was filled with the Holy Spirit; he stared at Elymas and exclaimed: “You are an imposter and a thoroughgoing fraud, you son of Satan and enemy of all that is right! Will you never stop trying to make crooked the straight path of the Lord? The Lord’s hand is upon you even now! For a time you shall be blind, unable so much as to see the sun.” At once a musty darkness came over Elymas, and he groped about for someone to lead him by the hand. When the governor saw what had happened, he believed, so impressed was he by the teaching about the Lord.
John 8: 51-58
The Lord said to the people coming to him: “I solemnly assure you, if a man is true to my word he shall never see death.” The Jews retorted, “Now we are sure you are possessed. Abraham is dead. The prophets are dead. Yet you claim, ‘A man shall never know death if he keeps my word.’ Surely you do not pretend to be greater than our father Abraham, who died! Or the prophets, who died! Whom do you make yourself out to be?”
Jesus answered: “If I glorify myself, that glory comes to nothing. He who gives me glory is the Father, the very one you claim for your God, even though you so not know him. But I know him. Were I to say I do not know him, I would be no better than you – a liar! Yes, I know him well, and I keep his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced that he might see my day. He saw it and was glad.”
At this the Jews objected: “You are not yet fifty! How can you have seen Abraham?” Jesus answered them: “I solemnly declare it: before Abraham came to be, I AM.” At that they picked up rocks to throw at Jesus, but he hid himself and slipped out of the temple precincts.
Monday, May 8 –