St. Nicholas Planas, the Simple Shepherd of Athens

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Several years ago one of our teenagers challenged me with this question: Why should I go to church on Sunday? What difference will it make in my life if I light a candle, stand up, sit down and sing some hymns? A good question! An honest question from a young woman trying to understand her Orthodox Faith. The life of this new saint of our church illustrates the tremendous spiritual power and great grace available through the Divine Liturgy of our church.

The future saint was born on the Greek island of Naxos in 1851, his parents were somewhat wealthy but also pious Orthodox Christians having a chapel on their property in honor of St. Nicholas of Myra. As a young boy he often played church while wearing a bed sheet and served as an altar boy for his grandfather, Father George Melissourgos. His father died when he was fourteen which led his mother to move to Athens along with his sister. His mother provided for her two children by cleaning homes, often taking her children along since she feared leaving them alone in the midst of this bustling city. At the age of seventeen his mother convinced him to marry a young woman named Eleni Provelegiou and they were soon blessed with a son whom they named John. Father Nicholas was ordained deacon in 1879 and priest in 1884 and soon after his young wife died leaving him a widower with a young child. Shortly after his ordination as deacon, he and his sister divided their inheritance between them. Read more...