Feast Day: March 2nd
The Life of Saint Nicholas Planas: For fifty consecutive years he Liturgized daily from 8 am til 2 pm… He was the ‘Sacred little Elder’ who comforted every human pain…
Apolytikion: Let us praise our protector, the Godly Nicholas; as one endowed with blest virtue, he shone forth as true Priest of the Most High God, and was His fervent worshipper. For, by his Holy life on Earth, he hath left us most sublime, Divine and unfailing teachings of long-suffering, meekness, patience, unfeigned humility and true God-like love.
Kontakion: Humble of spirit and pure of heart, illustrious in life and dispassionate of a truth, wast thou, O wise one. Thou didst illumine all by the virtues and dost grant Grace unto them that draw nigh unto thee; and by thine intercessions, thou dost heal them that call upon thee, O Father Nicholas.
Megalynarion: As a simple shepherd of Christ God’s lambs, thou didst tend thy flock well on the pasture of piety, nourishing their spirits with ceaseless supplications and leading them to Christ, O wise Father Nicholas.
Saint Nicholas Planas was born in 1851 and had foreknowledge as a very young child. He was married at the age of seventeen, and had a son named John. His wife reposed at a young age and Saint Nicholas lived his life as a Priest full of humility and the Grace of God, and those who loved him knew him as Papa Nicholas.
The Divine Liturgy
“Very frequently little Nicholas Planas would hide in the Chapel wearing a bed sheet, and he would chant whatever he knew, as he was still a small child. At other times he would gather his friends, and they would ‘celebrate’ the Divine Liturgy…”
“For fifty consecutive years he Liturgized daily from 8 am til 2 pm, in snows, in revolutions… He commemorated names for whole hours… He would place them in two large handkerchiefs and tie them up like a type of package, and place them on his hip… he had two packages, one with names and the other with Holy Relics… He would cross his hands and humbly respond, ‘I shall chant to my God as long as I live.'”
“For the duration of the half century in which he Liturgized without a break, he never lacked Prosphoro (Holy bread used for the Holy Divine Liturgy). Always some woman would bring it the night before or some nearby bakery would provide it for him. One day the Matins had proceeded quite a way and no Prophoro could be seen anywhere. He sent helpers to go to the women he knew always had Prosphoro; he looked in the cupboards of the Sanctaury –nothing. He was distressed to the point that he started to cry. After such a continuance of Liturgies for a cessation to occur now! Whereupon they saw him coming out of the Holy Royal Doors holding a Prosphoro (the Sea only, not the whole loaf), which was still very warm and which he had found on the Altar Table. Moved with joy, he said, “My children, what a sign God did for me!”
“The children who were in Church would see him shining with Heavenly Light, doing unexplainable gestures, or remaining for a long time attentive, as if something were happening to him. These were the moments when he was communicating with the Saints and being drenched with the Light of Paradise. Many times they would see him not standing on the ground.”
“When he Liturgized, he wanted everything to contribute to the majesty of the Divine Liturgy. He chanted with such contrition that he would hear the Angels chanting with him. Once, he asked a spiritual daughter of his whether she also heard the Angels. ‘No, my Father, I don’t hear them.’ Immediately he repented and said to himself, ‘I shouldn’t have said it, I shouldn’t have said it…'”
“Great importance was given to attention and the concentration of the mind during prayer and worship. In his teachings to his spiritual children he stressed this point very much. Also, when he came out of the Sanctuary to cense, during Matins, many times he would be seen censing an empty chair, while in contrast he would not cense certain bystanders. With his spiritual gift he discerned that some of those physically present were actually absent, since their minds were scattered and wandered about here and there, while others who were absent due to illness or other reasons beyond their will were mentally present and Praying during that time.”
“Whenever he served the Liturgy, Papa-Nicholas had the habit of saying three or four Gospels. I would say to him, ‘The Typicon of the Church specifies one Gospel; in the Monasteries they say two. Here, since the Vigils and Services are celebrated as they would be in the Monasteries, two Gospels should be said.’ And Papa-Nicholas replied, ‘Let’s say one for this Saint, and one for that Saint, so that they’ll be pleased!’… When he commemorated the Saints, he wished, if it were possible, to commemorate every single Saint – as many as were found in the Synaxaries, each one separately by name. Since much time was consumed, some would begin to cry out to him, ‘Papa-Nicholas! say “…and of all Thy Saints!”‘; but he, without becoming troubled in the least, would continue to the end.”
Almsgiving and Poverty
“A lot of money would pass through his hands, but he would keep nothing. He would immediately give it away to charity. Many times he remained without even a penny for himself. “
Patience and self-control
“And once he was advising one of his spiritual children on how to restrain her anger, and would say, ‘Do you think, my child, that I don’t know how to speak out? I know but I think of the result.'”
“My child, it was because of patience that I managed to make it through all the obstacles that presented themselves.”
“One day someone gave him a little chocolate and told him it was fastworthy. He took it in his hand, looked at it closely and said, ‘Just to be sure, take it back!'”
“That night after the Liturgy, exhausted, I leaned on the edge of the Holy Table. In the delirium of the fever I saw the Saint in front of me, young and vigorous, holding a small glass full of medicine, and he told me, ‘Drink it, my Father, to become well.’ I took it from the hand and drank it and became completely well. The fever left me.”
“‘Don’t be said, Father. I am always with you.’ ‘Who are you, my child?’ ‘I am Panteleimon, who lives in Neo Kosmo.'”
“In the year 1923, one of his spiritual children who was exceptionally beloved by the Elder – a gentleman full of health and vigour – suffered a rupture of the appendix, and lived only eight days more. During those few days, Father Nicholas brought Heaven down to Earth with his unceasing and heartfelt prayer that his beloved child might live! One night when he came home, he said, grief-stricken, to his family, ‘Elias is going to die; Saint John and Saint Panteleimon told me.’ And truly, his beloved spiritual child departed – his child whom he would embrace every time he met him. Three months passed before the sister of the deceased was able – because of her inexpressible grief – to ask exactly how he had seen the vision. He told her then, ‘At the time when I was serving Liturgy, I saw across from me, behind the Holy Table, Saint John and Saint Panteleimon, and they said to me, “We conveyed your request to our Master, Christ, who told us that he would die.”‘ “A higher command”, they told him. We bowed our heads, somewhat comforted.”
Saints and Divine help
“Once he set out on his own to go to Chapel in Peristeri, but he lost his way. He advanced, distressed and Praying, without knowing where he was going, until he saw a young lad in front of him, saying to him, ‘Did you lose your way, Father? I will guide you.’ The young lad went in front and Father Nicholas went behind, and they reached the door of the Church. Here he, himself, relates what happened: ‘As soon as we reached outside the door, I turned to give him thanks, and immediately he shone brilliantly, and I lost him.'”
“One night, the eve of the Feast of the Holy Hieromartyr Phocas was dawning. One of his spiritual children saw a majestic Priest behind Father Nicholas, who was observing how they were chanting the Holy Divine Liturgy. When she mentioned this to the Elder, he said to her, bringing his finger to his lips, ‘Shhh! It is the Hieromartyr Phocas.'”
“Father Nicholas knew how to censure, to correct, to enlighten Souls, without rhetorical sermons, but merely with his life, his presence… In the various Churches where he celebrated he was the consolation and refuge of people. He was the ‘Sacred little Elder’ who comforted every human pain.”
“Sometimes Saint Nicholas Planas, when he would enter the Church to Liturgize, would do his Cross and kiss the wall beneath the Icons. One day the future Metropolitan of Kythera Meletios asked him why he did this, to which he received the following answer: ‘The Saints, my child, know that I am short, so they lay out their feet to where I could reach them and I kiss them!'”
“Like a little bird he gave up his Holy Soul to Him Whom he had Worshipped his whole life long.”