Nicholas, Bishop of Myra

6 December -- Lesser Festival -- Bishop -- White

Nicholas was a fourth-century bishop of Myra in Asia Minor (southern Turkey). His reputation as a worker of wonders was enhanced by a ninth-century author of his hagiography and he is now best known through these stories. Many of them concern his love and care for children, how he fed the hungry, healed the sick and cared for the oppressed. He saved three girls from a life of prostitution by providing them with dowries and so developed the tradition of bearing gifts to children on his feast day, a practice appropriated by the Christmas celebrations. Nicholas is also one of the patron saints of Russia.


Almighty Father, lover of souls,
who chose your servant Nicholas
    to be a bishop in the Church,
that he might give freely out of the treasures of your grace:
make us mindful of the needs of others
and, as we have received, so teach us also to give;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

A reading from the prophecy of Isaiah.

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to provide for those who mourn in Zion -- to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.

This is the word of the Lord.         Isaiah 61. 1-3

Responsorial Psalm

RLet the righteous be glad and rejoice before God;
[let them also be merry and joyful].
Let God arise and let his enemies be scattered;
let those who hate him flee before him.
Let them vanish like smoke
when the wind drives it away. R

Sing to God, sing praises to his name;
exalt him who rides upon the heavens;
Yahweh is his name, rejoice before him! R

Father of orphans, defender of widows,
God in his holy habitation gives the solitary a home
and brings forth prisoners into freedom;
but the rebels shall live in dry places. R

O God, when you went forth before your people,
when you marched through the wilderness,
your people found their home in your goodness, O God,
you have made provision for the poor. R         From Psalm 68

A reading from the First Letter of Paul to Timothy.

There is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains. But as for you, man of God, shun all this; pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness.

This is the word of the Lord.         1 Timothy 6. 6-11

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Mark.

People were bringing little children to Jesus in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, "Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it." And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.

This is the gospel of Christ.         Mark 10. 13-16

Post Communion

God, shepherd of your people,
whose servant Nicholas revealed the loving service of Christ
   in his ministry as a pastor of your people:
by this eucharist in which we share
awaken within us the love of Christ
and keep us faithful to our Christian calling;
through him who laid down his life for us,
but is alive and reigns with you,
now and for ever.