January 4, 2020

The Monastic Cell of St. Nikephoros the Leper in Attica

St. Nikephoros in his cell shortly before his repose.

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. Though the cell of Elder Eumenios still exists, the cell of Saint Nikephoros no longer exists, but there is a small shrine at the spot where the cell once was. 

Also nearby, next to the Church of the Holy Unmercenaries, there is a Chapel dedicated to Saint Nikephoros. Inside this chapel are frescoes associated with the life of Saint Nikephoros, among which the following is depicted: One night Elder Eumenios got Saint Nikephoros ready in his cell and he left to go to his own cell. While Elder Eumenios was praying, he had the thought that he may have forgotten to turn off the stove in the cell of Saint Nikephoros, so he went back to check lest a fire start. He rushed to the cell of the Saint and slowly opened the door so as not to wake him up. To his astonishment, he saw the blind and nearly paralyzed Saint Nikephoros levitating about three feet over his bed in a state of prayer.