Holy Father Nicholas, pray to God for us!
Oct 24/ Nov 6 2009 22nd Friday after Pentecost
O most-holy and most-wonderful Father Nicholas, consolation of all that sorrow, accept our personal offering, and entreat the Lord that we be delivered from Gehenna through thy God-pleasing intercession, that we may sing: Alleluia!
(Kontakion 13, Akathist to St Nicholas)
We sing this Kontakion every Thursday night in our new temple in construction, as part of the Akathist to St Nicholas. We have been serving a Moleben for quite awhile now, on Thursday nights, on the land. We started serving in front of a large wooden cross, with the dog barking next door. Building has proceeded, we have served on the slab, inside a structure with walls only (by this time, the dog was gone!), and now, finally, last night, with the roof joists all installed. If the weather holds, the next time we will serve with a roof over our heads!
Serving a Moleben every week in which we sing the Akathist to our beloved patron increases our intimate feelings concerning his life and intercession for us. The thirteenth and last Kontakion of his Akathist sums up our feelings about him, which we had only just recently been chanting in detail in sweet melody, as we recounted various important parts of his life and intercession for his flock, both during and after his earthly life. This is generally the case for all “Kontakion thirteens”, which are always chanted 3 times, with “Alleluia” sung three times after each, before we repeat the first Ikos and Kontakion to finish the Akathist.
This Kontakion also sums up the correct understanding concerning “prayer to the saints”, or better, “asking the saints to intercede for us”. We have confidence in the prayers of St Nicholas for us because we know he is righteous, and therefore we know that his intercessions are “God-pleasing”.
“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16)
The more I sing this Akathist, the more I feel the holiness of St Nicholas and sure knowledge that since his intercessions to God are God-pleasing, our intercessions to him must certainly also be.
Priest Seraphim Holland 2009. St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas
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