Feast of Saint Nicetius of Lyons – Byzantine Rite – 02 April 2023

Troparion Tone 3

Eponym of victory, O Saint Nicetius, it is the world which thou didst conquer by
the power of thy virtues and by the strength of the Cross; from the power of the
evil one cease not then to extract us, thy sons, from the Lyonnais city and from
all the Gauls, of which thou was the primate, and repeat to us in the name of
Christ: Courage, victory is ours

Reading From the Book of Ephesians

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of
God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle
is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities,
against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the
heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of
evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done
everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your
waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted
with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this,
take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord.

~Chapter: 6, Verses: 10 to 18

Reading From the Book of Romans

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For
the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin
and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not
do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he
condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law
might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to
the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the
things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds
on the things of the Spirit. …

~Chapter: 8, Verses 1 to 39

Reading from the Gospel of John

This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and
not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of
this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the
world is my flesh.” The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How
can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say
to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you
have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has
eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. .

~Chapter: 6, Verses 50 to 71


Saint Nicetius (or St. Nizier de Lyons) was born in 513 in Geneva, then capital of the Burgundy kingdom. His mother was named Arthemia. His father, Senator Florentinus, married and already the father of two children, had refused the bishopric of that city. But the child was destined for the Church, and his mother had the premonition that he would become a bishop. His name in Latin was Nicetius, itself formed from the Greek Νικήτης, the Conqueror, and it was given in French as Nisier, then Nizier.

He was already in the clerical state when his father died, and he remained with Arthemia, his mother. A malignant ulcer on his face put his life in danger, his mother prayed to Saint Martin of Tours, who appeared, made over him the sign of the cross, cured him, and ordered him to arise. A scar remained on his face, as a witness of the miracle.

At thirty years of age, in 543, he was ordained a priest by Bishop Agricolus of Chalon-sur-Saône. Become a priest, he never ceased to work with his hands, following in the counsel of the Apostle Paul to the Ephesians: “Work with your hands, in order to be able to come to the aid of the indigent.” Likewise, he cared about the children around him, instead of devoting himself to their usual games, they learned to read and to write so that they be in possession of language, in order to serve God as soon as possible.

Nicetius was the nephew of Sacerdos (or Serdot), bishop of Lyons. He went to Paris, to King Childebert I. He became sick and, in the course of a visit which he made to the sovereign, he asked him: “Sire, deign to be pleased that the priest Nicetius, my nephew, be placed at the head of the Church of Lyons, for he is a good man, a faithful guardian of chastity, zealous for the Church and full of charity for the poor.” In the canon, we also learn that he was a good administrator, hospitable, kind, patient, vigilant, not engaging in vain talking nor even legitimate
jokes, and loved the beauty of the Church. He also was evangelical and deprived himself of personal needs in order to provide for the indigent. The king replied simply: “Let God’s will be done!” Now the votes of the clergy and people of Lyons ratified this choice, and he was consecrated bishop on the Lord’s-day, 19 January 553.

A great friend of concord and peace, the new bishop applied himself to forgive at once the insults which he received. For having the occasion to absolve the guilty, he applied himself to find for them an intercessor, in this case, his deacon and nephew Gregory, the future historian of the Church and holy bishop of Tours.

Nicetius, as a good administrator of ecclesiastical goods, built diverse basilicas and renovated the episcopal palace. From the akolouthia of the Saint, we learn that he is venerated not just in Lyons, but in Burgundy, Tours, Troyes, hampagne, Provence, and Comtat. In the canon, we learn that he once forbade a deacon to chant at matins until the Saint was able to drive out a demon that had overtaken the man. After his repose, a blind man who touched the Saint’s casket received his sight. He died at sixty years of age, on 2 April 573, in the twenty-first year of
his episcopate.


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