Augustine Sokolovski

According to the life that has come down to us, Niphon of Cyprus was a wandering bishop. This was the name of a special type of ministry in the Ancient Church. Traveling preachers proclaimed the Gospel and gathered newly converted Christians into communities. Imitating the Apostles, who, according to the commandment of the Lord, moved from village to village to preach, and founding Churches, they did not remain for permanent service in any place. Thus, they hastened to convert as many people as possible to the faith, for, like all early Christians, they were convinced that the Lord would return soon in the Glorious Second Coming.

It is known that Niphon came from Egypt and preached in Cyprus. One of his mentors was the outstanding confessor of the faith and shepherd of the Alexandrian Church, Athanasius the Great (298–373). Unfortunately, the life of the saint does not contain specific historical indications of the years of his life and the place of his feat, but it a very edifying story. Thus, it reports that in his youth, already being a Christian, he was tempted by the pagan lifestyle, which was very strong in Alexandria at that time. So, he began to live like most people. By not worshiping pagan deities, he essentially became a pagan. For Christianity of that time, such falls into immorality were extremely harmful. Being a kind of “reverse gospel,” it led many away from the Church, and, most importantly, blocked access to it for those who thirsted for the truth but were afraid of temptations.

Having been convicted of falling away from the path of the commandment by one of the Christians who knew him from his previous presence in the Church, he subjected himself to extreme asceticism, which helped him overcome himself and return to the Christian way of life. In gratitude to God for spiritual healing, Niphon, according to the commandment of the Apostle Paul in the Epistle to Timothy, devoted himself to “the ministry of an evangelist” (2 Tim. 4:5). His memory on the very eve of Christmas Eve, when the Church offers believers a particularly strict fast, teaches how important, useful and effective it is to exhaust the flesh in the fight against evil passions. Asceticism allows you to preserve yourself for yourself, for the Church, your neighbors and preaching.