St Nikitas the Great Martyr

Commemorated September 15

Holy Great Martyr Nicetas was born and lived on the banks of the Danube River, and suffered for Christ in the year 372 AD. The Christian faith was then already widely spread throughout the territory of the Goths. St Nicetas believed in Christ and accepted baptism from the Gothic Bishop Theophilus, a participant in the First Ecumenical Synod. Pagan Goths began to oppose the spread of Christianity, which resulted in internecine strife.

After the victory of Fritigern, heading a Christian army and inflicting defeat on the pagan Athanaric, the Christian faith spread among the Goths. The Arian Bishop Ulfilas, the successor to Bishop Theophilus, created a Gothic alphabet and translated into the Gothic language many priestly books. St Nicetas worked intensely among his fellow Goths at spreading Christianity. By his personal example and inspired words, he brought many pagans to the Christian faith. However, after his defeat Athanaric again contrived to gather his own forces, return to his own country and regain his former power. Since he remained a pagan, he continued to hate Christians and persecute them.

St Nicetas endured many tortures, and died after being thrown into a fire. His body remained unharmed by the fire and was illumined by a miraculous light. By night, a friend of the martyr, a Christian named Marianus, retrieved St Nicetas’ body and buried it in Cilicia. Afterwards, it was transferred to Constantinople. Part of the relics of the Great Martyr Nicetas was later transferred to the monastery of Vysokie Dechani in Serbia. St Nicetas received an unfading crown of glory from Christ in the year 372 AD.

Dismissal Hymn (Fourth Tone)

Your Martyr, O Lord, in his courageous contest for You received the prize of the crowns of incorruption and life from You, our immortal God. For since he possessed Your strength, he cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons' powerless presumption. O Christ God, by his prayers, save our souls, since You are merciful.

Kontakion (Second Tone)

Destroying the might of error by thy firm resolve, and taking the crown of victory through your suffering, O Nicetas, namesake of victory, you rejoice with angel-kind, and with them, O glorious one, you ceaselessly pray to Christ God for us all.