Saint Nicholas was born in Crete in 793. He was educated and when he was 10 his parents sent him to Constantinople to continue his education with his uncle, Theophanes who was a monk living in the Studios Monastery. He was enrolled in the school attached to the monastery. Saint Theodore was abbot of the monastery at the time. When Nicholas was ready, Theodore ordained him to the priesthood.
There had been a period of peace from 811-813, but in 815 a new persecution began under Emperor Leo V. The community around Stoudio scattered. Theodore was exiled. He was followed by Nicholas, who was willing to share in the poor treatment of his spiritual mentor. He helped care for Theodore and transcribe his teachings. These were sent in secret to the scattered monks from Stoudio. They were exiled and imprisoned for over a year before being exiled even further out. When the Emperor found out the exile was helpful, the guards kept an even closer watch over them and treated them cruelly. Theodore had written a letter denouncing the emperor and iconclastism, which was confiscated. Theodore and Nicholas were flogged without mercy and left nearly dead. They tried to care for each other the best they could. They were then imprisoned and nearly starved to death. They lived this way for three years. Even the guards left bad about how they were treated. They were moved to Smyrna, where they were imprisoned and placed in stocks. When Michael II came to power he had Theodore and Nicholas released. They tried to return to their monastery in Constantinople but were not allowed in the city. They went to Chalcedo.
In 826, Theodore moved to the Prince’s Islands south off the coast of Constantinople. Theodore died soon after. Nicholas stayed on the island for a time, spending much of his time in prayer. Persecutions resumed and monks scattered again, several including Nicholas were hidden by a faithful woman who was living just outside the city. Eventually, Nicholas was able to return to the Stoudios Monastery, Saint Theodore’s grave was returned to the monastery, too. In 846 Nicholas became the Abbot of the monastery. He was Abbot for three years and retired, but just four years after retiring, he was asked to return as abbot. After a few more years as abbot, he appointed another successor. When Nicholas became ill, Evarestos his successor, had him cared for at Kokorobion Monastery. He was cared for and recovered from his illness. Persecution returned again, after seven years of fleeing he was imprisoned for two years in Constantinople. Once released again, Nicholas became a wonderworker. He was able to cure at least three women before he died on February 4, 868.