The Holy Great Martyr Niketas was a Goth (a Germanic tribe). He was born and lived on the banks of the Danube River, and suffered for Christ in the year 372. The Christian Faith was then already widely spread throughout the territory of the Goths. Saint Niketas believed in Christ and accepted Baptism from the Gothic bishop Theophilus, a participant in the First Ecumenical Council. Pagan Goths began to oppose the spread of Christianity, which resulted in internecine strife.
After the victory of Fritigern, heading a Christian army and inflicting defeat on the pagan Athanaric, the Christian Faith began to spread increasingly among the Goths. The Arian bishop Ulfilas, the successor to Bishop Theophilus, created a Gothic alphabet and translated into the Gothic language many priestly books. Saint Niketas worked intensely among his fellow Goths at spreading Christianity. By his personal example and inspired words he brought many pagans to the Christian Faith.
However, after his defeat Athanaric again contrived to gather his own forces, return to his own country and regain his former power. Since he remained a pagan, he continued to hate Christians and persecute them.
Saint Niketas endured many tortures, and died after being thrown into a fire. His body remained unharmed by the fire and was illumined by a miraculous light. By night, a friend of the martyr, a Christian named Marianus, retrieved the body of Saint Niketas, and buried it in Cilicia. Afterwards, it was transferred to Constantinople. Part of the relics of the Great Martyr Niketas were later transferred to the monastery of Vysokie Dechani in Serbia. Saint Niketas received an unfading crown of glory from Christ in the year 372.
We pray to Saint Niketas for the preservation of children from birth defects.