Nicholas Will Provide

During the abbacy of Elder Symeon, spiritual father of his successor Elder Athanasios, Saint Nicholas looked after the needs of Grigoriou Monastery with a great miracle.

St Nicholas with large fish
Saint Nicholas by Bulgarian artist Georgi Chapkanov
Gilbert House, Stanley, Falkland IslandsPhoto: Wikipedia, public domain

Once, as the 6th of December was approaching, all the monks were gathered in a meeting. With the help of God, all preparations for the feast were going well. Only the cooks were worried because they did not have enough fish to feed everyone. On the day before the feast, in the afternoon, they went to the Abbot.

"Elder," they said, "don't you think we ought to plan for salt cod? If so, we will put it in water to soak."

"No, no! Don't think of that. We'll have fresh fish. St. Nicholas will take care of it."

Meanwhile, the all-night vigil began — Compline, Great Vespers, Litany, then Matins with the Six Psalms, the Kathismata, and so on, one thing after the other. Again the anxious cooks went to the Abbot.

"Elder, now it's even too late to cook salt cod. Should we start cooking some beans?"

"No, no! The fish will come."

This was something the cooks could not understand. How were the fish going to come? And when? Matins was half over! What made the Abbot so sure?

The choir began singing the Lauds, and the cooks were getting even more upset. Then suddenly joyful noises were heard from the courtyard. The dock master, gasping and excited, was shouting: "Fathers, come down here! Get baskets and come down! The Saint has made a great miracle!"

What had happened? A large wave had come and strewn the beach with large and succulent bass. It was a gift from God, an obvious miracle of the Saint. Everyone was amazed—especially the cooks. They didn't know what to marvel at first—the miracle of the Saint, or the unshakable faith of the Abbot. At no other feast had they ever had such fresh and tasty fish. The Saint had given them a bountiful gift—both spiritual and material.

Adapted from Archmandrite Cherubim, Contemporary Ascetics of Mount Athos, Mystagogy.

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