St. Nikon was born in Byzantine Pontus Polemoniacus in the tenth century. As a young man he went to live a very strict ascetic life for twelve years in a monastery called Chrysopetro, or “Golden Stone,” on the borders of Pontus and Paphlagonia. His abbot sent him out to preach in Anatolia, in Asia Minor. When Crete was freed of the Arab conquerors by Nikephoros Phocas in a.d. 961, St. Nikon traveled there to return former Christians who had been converted to Islam back to their faith in the Lord Who bought them with His Life. He began his sermons to them with the word “repent” and this St. Nikon’s epithet has come down to us.
St. Nikon preached for some time in Epidauros, Athens, Euboea, Thebes, Corinth, and finally spent many years in the Peloponnese, particularly in Sparta, where even today he is known as a patron saint of that city, averting a plague by his prayers. He ended his course of preaching repentance on the mainland of Greece in Lakonia, but died in a monastery in the Peloponnese, full of years and faith on November 26, 998. He was, and is still, a great miracle-worker, touching the hearts of many.