Sunday, December 6, 2009

From a fresco of the Council of Nicaea, Soumela Monastery, Turkey.

The feast of Saint Nicholas is today in many liturgical churches. Otherwise known for profit as Santa Claus in America's consumer saccharin-speak, he lived in the fourth-century as the bishop of Myra in Lycia (now in modern-day Turkey). St. Nicholas is remembered in the Eastern churches with the epithet of "Wonder-Worker," and he was believed to have performed miracles while he was still a boy - and even miracles in the modern period (see here and here). Logismoi has a good post from last year on this saint.

I think one of the more interesting stories about Saint Nicholas, especially in light of how he is depicted today, is that when at the Council of Nicaea in 325, he was said to have stood up and walked over to the heresiarch Arius who was presenting a defense of his Christology and slapped him across the face (as depicted above). Nicholas was subsequently arrested for his assault on a fellow bishop. There is a brief article on the subject here.

So, have a fine and restful Lord's Day and remember St. Nicholas today, who was a not-always-jolly defender of Orthodoxy.


claire said...

When I first saw the picture I thought maybe he was patting the other man on the cheek. You know, in a comforting sort of way. Apparently I was quite wrong!

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