Nicholas (St)

Nicholas (St.), surnamed PEREGRINAS, was an ascetic of note, especially in Apulea. He was a native of Attica, in Greece. His history is purely traditionary, and the dates, as well as the statements, are uncertain. His parents are said to have been poor, and he was not taught to read or bred to any trade. When he was eight years of age his mother sent him out to take care of sheep. From this time he began to sing aloud, Kyrie eleeison, which he did night and day; and this act of devotion he continued all his life.' His mother, according to the legends, thought he was possessed of the devil, and carried him to a neighboring monastery, where the monks shut him up and chastised him, but could not hinder him from singing his song. He suffered punishment patiently, and immediately began again. Returning to his mother, he took a hatchet and knife, and, clambering up a mountain, cut branches of cedar, and made crosses of them, which he stuck up in the highways, and in places inaccessible, praising God continually. Upon this mountain he built a hut, and dwelt there some time all alone, working continually. Then he went to Lepanto, where a monk joined himself to him, and never forsook him. Together they went into Italy, where Nicholas passed sometimes for a holy man, and- sometimes for a madman. He fasted every day till evening; his food was a little bread and water, and yet he did not grow lean. The nights he usually passed in prayer, standing upright. He wore only a short vest reaching to the knees, his head, legs, and feet being naked. In his right hand he carried a light wooden cross, and a script at his side, to receive the alms which were given him, and which he usually laid out in fruit, to distribute to the boys who went about with him singing along with him Kyrie eleeison. His oddities caused him to be ill-used sometimes, even by the orders of the bishops. He is said to have performed various miracles, and to have exhorted the people to repentance. At last falling sick, and visited by multitudes who came to beg his blessing, he died, and was buried in a cathedral with great solemnity, and according to custom a great number of miracles were wrought at his tomb. See Fleury, Histoire Ecclesiastique, 13:586; Jortin, Eccles. Rena. 3:143; Ceillier, Hist. des Auteurs Sacres, 13:438.

Bible concordance for NICOLAS.

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