Saint of the Day – 2 June – Saint Nicholas Peregrinus the Pilgrim (1075-1094) Confessor. Born in 1075 in Greece and died in 1094 in Trani, Italy of natural causes, aged 19 years old, just fifteen days after his arrival, having travelled from Taranto and before that from Otranto. Also known as – Nicholas the Pilgrim, Nicola Pellegrino di Trani. Patronage – Trani, Italy. Th name Nicholas derives from the Greek Nikòlaos and means “winner of the people.”
The Cathedral of Trani is his living memory, a memory of extraordinary harmony. Nicola il Pellegrino is the Patron Saint of the Apulian City – the Church built in 1097 is dedicated to him. Nicholas came from Greece and moved to Puglia, he travelled through it in its entirety. The chronicles report that he uttered a single, insistent invocation: “Kyrie Eleison”. He died in Trani in 1094. Since then, the miracles fro the veneration at his tomb, have been endless.
The Roman Martyrology states of him today: “In Trani in Puglia, Saint Nicholas, who, a pilgrim born in Greece, travelled the whole region carrying a Crucifix and repeating without interruption ‘Kyrie, eléison.'”
Nicholas was born in Steiri in Boeotia, Greece, where his solitary life as a shepherd led him to contemplative spirituality. He developed a desire to warn others of their dire need of th great love and mercy of God. He desired to go on pilgrimage to the Holy Sites and on his way, to try to impress upon all, the need for repentance, prayer and supplication to God for His mercy. He developed the constant repetition of the phrase “Kyrie, eléison” – “Lord, have mercy.”
He attracted and gathered around him the young boys giving them small gifts and making them repeat his invocation.
After his death numerous miracles blossomed; four years later in 1098 in the Roman Synod, the Bishop of Trani stood up and asked the Assembly that the venerable Nicholas be entered in the catalogue of saints for the merits he had in life and for the miracles that occurred post-mortem.
Pope Urban II issued a ‘Brief’ which authorised the Bishop of Trani, after appropriate reflection, to act as he considered most appropriate. The Bishop returned to Trani and Canonised Nicholas by the decree of Pope Urban II in 1098 and, after having erected a new Basilica, he deposited the body of the saint there.
His feast day is honoured each year, with great piety and celebration, by Holy Mass and a procession through the City of Trani.