A new saint is commemorated by the Church, Saint Nikiforos the leper, whose canonization took place in December 2012.
Venerable Nikiforos (born as Nikolaos Tzanakakis) was born in Chania in 1890. His parents, simple and pious villagers, died early. When he started working in a barber shop at the age of 13, he had the first symptoms of Hansen’s disease (also known as leprosy). Nikolaos left for Egypt at the age of 16 because the symptoms of his illness were becoming more and more conspicuous, and he did not want to be locked up on the island of Spinalonga, where the lepers were then isolated.
Later, with the help of a clergyman, he left Alexandria for the island of Chios. Nikolaos arrived in Chios in 1914 at the age of 24 and was admitted to the leper hospital, where he frequented the Church of Saint Lazaros. There he met Fr. Anthimos Vagianos, later Saint Anthimos, who, for seeing his love for the Church and his devotion to solitary life, tonsured him a monk and was named Nikiforos.
Venerable Nikiforos lived with genuine obedience, strict fasting and worked in the garden of the hospital. He prayed at night for endless hours, trying to have a good opinion of all people. In 1957 he was transferred with other patients to Aigaleo in Athens. There he met the former leper Father Evmenius, who followed Father Nikiforos.
Many people flocked to his humble cell to benefit spiritually. Those who heard him say, “Glory be to the Holy Name of the Lord Jesus,” rejoiced.
Saint Nikiforos reposed in the Lord on January 4, 1964. The relics, after the translation, were incorruptible and fragrant for the consolation of the people with the power of the Holy Spirit.
Source: Church of Cyprus