Nicetas of Novgorod
Feast day: January 31
Born Kiev, Ukraine
Died 1107 Novgorod, Russia
Bishop of Novgorod and miracle worker. A native of Kiev, Ukraine, he became a monk in the Monastery of the Caves, but then embraced the life of a hermit. According to custom, Nicetas was much plagued by demonic torments and returned to the monastery. Named in 1095 to the office of bishop of Novgorod, he acquired a reputation for performing miracles.
Died in 1107. Saint Nicetas, a monk of the Caves Monastery in Kiev, withdrew himself into a hermit's existence against the advice of his superiors. Left to his own devices and preferences, Nicetas gave in to the temptation to read rather than pray. This is a danger to many who would abuse a good thing (learning, good works) and omit a better one (prayer, contemplation), for the one tends to serve the creature, rather than God. Learning tempered by prayer and charity leads to wisdom; by itself, it tends to hubris. So intense was his study of the Old Testament that Nicetas came to despise the New. It was only the prayers of his abandoned brothers in the monastery that saved poor Nicetas. Finally he overcame the dangers of misapplied study, rejoined his community, and, in 1095, was made bishop of Novgorod