Interesting: St. Nikon the Metanoeite (“The Preacher of Repentance”)

A reader sent me these pictures of a small church in a village on the island of Rhodes, Greece (latitude: 36° 3′ 29.718″ N longitude: 27° 48′ 35.742″ E) dedicated to St. Nikon (“The Preacher of Repentance”):

“Nikon, of Greek origin, was born in Pontus (modern north-eastern Turkey) or in Argos. When he was young, Nikon went to a monastery known as Khrysopetro (“Golden Stone”) located on the borders of Pontus and Paphlagonia. He spent twelve years there, living an ascetic life of prayer and penance, so extreme that his brothers tried to persuade him to lessen his regimen. His abbot, impressed by his spiritual conferences and worried that his newly returned father would draw him from the ascetic life, sent him out into the world to preach. After his departure, he traveled to Asia Minor and preached repentance there for three years before moving on. Following the expulsion of the Arabs from Crete in 961 by Nikephoros Phokas, he became active as a missionary preacher on the island, struggling to return recent converts of Islam back to Christianity. The area had been a Muslim emirate since the 820s, and in that time Christianity in the area weakened, many former Christians having converted to Islam. Even those who remained faithful to Christianity had somewhat lost contact with the living tradition, churches and monasteries having fallen into decay. The people in the region were, quoted from Nikon’s biography, not Islamic, but rather Christians who had been corrupted “by time and long fellowship with the Saracens.” Nikon was forced to change his tactics on Crete, now having to use his wit to lead his listeners to repentance, rather than just preaching the message of repentance. It was there that he acquired the nickname metanoite (Greek for “penitent/repent”) for his habit of using it as a preface to all his sermons.” (Wikipedia)

Pictures credit: Christian Handl

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