Sainted Nikita, Bishop of Novgorod, in his youth entered the Kievo-Pechersk monastery and soon wished to become an hermit. The hegumen cautioned him that such an exploit for a young monk was premature, but he trusting in his own strength would not take heed. In the hermitage Saint Nikita fell into temptation. The devil appeared to him in the guise of an angel, and the inexperienced ascetic bowed down to him. The devil gave him advice, as it were to one having attained to perfection: ‘Bother not to pray, but only read and study other things, and I shall pray in place of thee’, – and he stood about the hermit, giving the appearance of seeming to pray for him. The seduced monk Nikita came to surpass everyone in knowledge of the Books of the Old Testament, but about the Gospel he would not speak, nor wanted to hear it. The Kievo-Pechersk elders went to the seduced monk, and having prayed, they drove out the devil from him. After this the Monk Nikita, remaining an hermit with the blessing of the elders, lived in strict fasting and prayer, more than anyone else practising obedience and humility. Through the prayer of the holy elders, the Merciful Lord brought him up from the depths of his fall to an high degree of spiritual perfection. Afterwards he was made bishop in Novgorod and for his holy life he was rewarded of God with a gift of wonderworking. . . .
Silence is beneficial for those who have already made some progress in prayer and who understand the battle from within, who are steadfast in the morality of the Gospel, having acquired it as the absolute foundation of their lives, and who renounce the passions. All this must be acquired beforehand, in a community, for silence will bring the greatest harm to a soul if approached without preliminary and satisfactory training in a monastery: it robs one of success, reinforces the passions, causes haughtiness, self-aggrandizement, and demonic prelest.
Interestingly, St Nicetas seems to be frequently depicted in iconography as beardless. One can, however, see a slight moustache and goatee in the detail of an of icon of St Nicetas here. This link is to an article in Russian that talks about the reasons for this oddity, but unfortunately, my Russian is not good enough to learn much from it. It seems unlikely that St Nicetas would have anticipated the trend among some modernist Orthodox bishops by deliberately shaving, and indeed, the article seems to support this assumption when it says, 'Тогда, быть может, владыка, по заведенному в Европе обычаю, брился?! И бритье исключено.' But without some assistance, I for one can only speculate that perhaps God did not grant him abundant facial hair in order to help this holy hierarch preserve his humility! Certainly many Orthodox today will be aware of at least one other example of a holy monk who is nevertheless beardless—the renowned Elder Raphael of Valaam.