The Holy Great Martyr Nikḗtas was a Goth (a Germanic tribe). He was born and lived on the banks of the Danube River, suffering for Christ in the year 372. The Christian Faith was already spreading throughout the territory of the Goths at that time. Saint Nikḗtas believed in Christ and was baptized by the Gothic bishop Theophilos, who participated in the First Ecumenical Council. Pagan Goths started to oppose the spread of Christianity, which resulted in a civil war.
After Fritigern, at the head of a Christian army, defeated the pagan Athanaric, the Christian Faith continued to spread among the Goths. The Arian bishop Ulfilas, the successor to Bishop Theophilos, created a Gothic alphabet and translated many priestly books into the Gothic language. Saint Nikḗtas worked tirelessly among his fellow Goths to teach them about Christ. Through his personal example and inspired words, he brought many of them to the Christian Faith.
After his defeat, however, Athanaric managed to regroup his forces. He returned to his own country and regained his former power. Since he remained a pagan, he continued to hate the Christians and persecuted them, seeking revenge for the humiliation he had endured at their hands.
Saint Nikḗtas had to contend against both visible and invisible enemies. In opposing these invisible enemies, he converted many pagans to Christ, and strengthened the faithful for the contest of martyrdom. Filled with zeal for God, the Saint denounced the persecutor Athanaric for his cruelty and impiety, because he subjected the Christians to severe torments.
Saint Nikḗtas prevailed against both of these enemies. He trampled the devil underfoot, and defeated Athanaric in battle. The cruel tormentor was troubled because he was unable to convert Saint Nikḗtas to his own impiety, and so he resolved to capture the Saint and put him to death.
Saint Nikḗtas endured many tortures, and then he was thrown into a fire. Although his body was not burnt by the fire, he surrendered his soul to God, and his relics were illumined by a radiant light. By night, a Christian named Marianus, took the body of Saint Nikḗtas, and buried it in Cilicia. Afterward, it was transferred to Constantinople. Part of the relics of the Great Martyr Nikḗtas were later given to the monastery of Vysokie Dechani in Serbia. Thus Saint Nikḗtas received an unfading crown of glory from Christ on September 15, 372.
We pray to Saint Nikḗtas for the preservation of children from birth defects.