April 18, 2012

Saint Nikandros the New Ascetic of Sinai

Saint Nikandros the Sinaite of Kastelorizo (Feast Day - Bright Wednesday)

A Sinai Codex of 1716 contains the life and deeds of Saint Nikandros the New Ascetic who shone with virtue and holiness at the Sacred Monastery of Saint Katherine at the holy and God-trodden mountain of Sinai. According to the codex, Saint Nikandros was born in 1581 on the island of Kastelorizo where there was a metochion of Saint Katherine's Monastery dedicated to the Holy Apostles. He became a monk at Sinai in 1611 and reposed in 1631 in the days of Archbishop Joasaph.

While at Sinai there was a very virtuous hieromonk named Ignatios from Rethymno in Crete. Ignatios took Nikandros as his novice. Since both desired to know the monasteries and hermitages of Mount Athos, they went and remained there for five years. But they again returned to the place of their repentance at Sinai believing they could find more quietness there, and there they lived for the rest of their lives.

Hieromonk Ignatios was a very good and virtuous spiritual father. He had perfect indigence and continence and his constant work was prayer. His disciple however, Monk Nikandros, surpassed his Elder. He had greater temperance and indefatigable obedience to his Elder and attained a state of complete dispassion. He never appeared to be joyous or sad but always stood with the same unchanging state of mind. He would do a prostration to everyone and to whatever someone said to him he would always begin by saying "bless father". 

Nikandros reposed over a year prior to his spiritual father Ignatios. After a year the fathers went to the cemetery to bury another brother, and when Elder Ignatios entered to see the relics of Nikandros he found the corpse full and having the color of saffron and it was gushing myrrh. Fr. Ignatios left the cemetery with tears, saying: "Thank you, Lord, that even while alive you gave me this information about my novice."

Note: Many sources give the feast day of Saint Nikandros as January 29th. But according to the Metropolis of Symi, Saint Nikandros is celebrated on Bright Wednesday. Rather, it is Saint Ignatios of Rethymno who is commemorated on January 29.