Nicetas became bishop of his native city of Remesiana (Bela Palenka, Serbia). He was a close friend of Saint Paulinus of Nola, who praises him as a virtuous and learned bishop, gifted with a pure and priestly heart and with a clear-thinking mind. Paulinus also pays tribute to Nicetas’ missionary labors across the Balkan Peninsula. Nicetas is now known mainly through his writings. In one of his works, The Vigils of the Saints, he encourages the practice of keeping a watch of prayer in the night. He cites the numerous direct or indirect references to this form of prayer in the New Testament, and invokes the examples of the saints. He also explains the advantages of this practice: “The quiet and solitude of the night make it a favorable time for prayer and most suitable for those who watch. With worldly occupations put aside and the attention undivided, the whole man, at night, stands in the divine presence.” Nicetas also delivered a sermon on the importance of liturgical singing. In fact, he is believed to be the author of the Church’s perennial hymn of thanksgiving, the Te Deum.
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By Justin Soutar
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