January 4, 2020

The First Grave and Reliquary of St. Nikephoros the Leper

Saint Nikephoros the Leper lived the last years of his life and died at the Western Attica General Hospital Agia Barbara in Aigaleo west of Athens, which had a leprosy center. There he had his monastic cell, attended services and chanted at the Church of the Holy Unmercenaries, and there he was buried in the cemetery set aside for lepers. At that time Elder Eumenios Saridakis, who had been a patient at the hospital after coming down with leprosy but was eventually healed there and decided to stay and serve the lepers, also had a cell next to that of Saint Nikephoros, and he was the celebrant priest at the Church of the Holy Unmercenaries. When the body of Saint Nikephoros decomposed, Elder Eumenios gathered his relics and placed them in the yellow metal box pictured above, which served as his first reliquary. The cemetery for lepers where the Saint was buried no longer exists, but on the spot where the Saint was buried today it is a public court for sports as pictured below.