Saint Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain (1749-1809) was a Greek Saint, monk & philosopher who belongs to modern times. Dates & details of his life are known. It gives us an opportunity to learn more about real people who fulfilled their Christian deed.
Nicodemus was born on the island Naxos that formed a part of the Ottoman Empire that period. It was a hard time for the Christians due to severe persecutions on behalf of the turcs. The boy obtained great acuteness of mind, patience & other qualities perfect for studies as well as faith that allowed him to get a profound theological education. Began his spiritual path as a parish priest, then he studied at the Evangelical School in Smyrna but he had to give up his studies because of the turcs. He returned to Naxos & at the age of 26 years old after an encounter with monks of the Mount Athos he joined them.
Ascetic way of life & monasticism let him to develop his philosophical & writing talents, strong spiritual capacities & translate important spiritual texts making them available for people. Saint Nicodemus practised hesychia, a method of a still prayer with controlled breathing. He even wrote a special manual on this matter for other monks could improve them spiritual life.
His spiritual works will be useful not only for monks but for everybody who would like to plunge deeped into the sense of the pure Greek Christianity. Here is one of his quotes:
“Gluttony tries to destroy self-control; unchastity, moderation; avarice, voluntary poverty; anger, gentleness; and the other forms of vice, their corresponding virtues. But when the vice of pride has become master of our wretched soul, it acts like some harsh tyrant who has gained control of a great city, and destroys it completely, razing it to its foundations”.
““So it is right always to wait, with a faith energized by love, for the illumination which will enable us to speak. For nothing is so destitute as a mind philosophizing about God when it is without Him”.
The Saint is venerated by the Russian Orthodox Church as a great ascetic thinker.
Saint Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain is celebrated on the 14th July.