Commemorated on February 9th
Holy Martyr Nicephoros
St Nicephoros, who was from Antioch in Syria, contested during the reign of Gallienos, about the year 260 AD. Through the working of the evil one, his friendship with a certain Christian Priest named Sapricios was turned to bitter hatred. Nicephoros, repenting of his enmity, tried both through intermediaries and in person to be reconciled with Sapricios, but to no avail. Later, when the persecution broke out under Valerian and Gallienos, Sapricios was seized as a Christian. When St Nicephoros learned that the pagans had arrested Sapricios and as enduring torments for Christ, he sent intermediaries to Sapricios, begging his forgiveness; but Sapricios would not forgive him. Later, as Sapricios was being taken to beheading, Nicephoros, hoping that Sapricios, at his end, in such a holy hour, would at last forgive him, met him on the way, fell before him, and fervently asked his forgiveness; but Sapricios forgave him not. For this reason, though Sapricios had passed through many suffering, and the crown of martyrdom was now awaiting him, because he disdained the chief commandments of love and forgiveness, the grace of God, which had been strengthening him in his torments, departed from him, and he told his executioners he would sacrifice. Nicephoros immediately confessed Christ before them, and being himself beheaded, took the crown that Sapricios had cast away.
Should the Apodosis of the Feast of the Meeting in the Temple fall on this day, the service to St Nicephoros is chanted on February 8
Dismissal Hymn of the Feast (First Tone)
Rejoice, you who are full of grace, O Virgin Theotokos, for from you has risen the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God, enlightening those in darkness. Rejoice, you also, O righteous Elder, as you received in your arms the Redeemer of our souls, Who also grants to us the Resurrection.
Dismissal Hymn of the Saint (Fourth Tone)
Be quick to anticipate
Your Martyr, O Lord, in his courageous contest for You received as the prize the crowns of perfection 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 of the Feast (First Tone)
You Who sanctified the Virgin's womb by Your birth, and blessed Symeon's hands as was proper. Having now come and saved us, O Christ God, grant us peace in the midst of wars on Your commonwealth and strengthen the Hierarchs whom You love, O only friend of man.
Kontakion of the Saint (First Tone)
The soldiers standing guard
Bound fast with chains of love, you mightily broke apart the wickedness of hatred with manifest courage; and hence, O Nicephoros, when the sword had cut off your head, you was shown to be a godly Martyr of Jesus, our Incarnate Saviour; pray Him for us who honour your glorious memory.