December 06, 2005

The Feast of St. Nicholas

Most of what we actually know about St. Nicholas of Myra is legendary. He was wealthy, having inherited a fortune as a young man when his parents died. He gave gifts from his wealth to the needy, but preferred to do it secretly -- giving rise to part of the Santa Claus legend. Some even say that he threw gold coins down the chimney, where it would lodge in the stockings that were hung up to dry overnight.

Nicholas later became the bishop of Myra -- rather against his will, according to the accounts we have. He was a champion of orthodoxy, and was especially incenseced at the Arian heresy that was running rampant. Legend has it that he actually punched Arius in the face during the council of Nicea, and would have been removed from his bishopric had a vision of CHrist not told the other assembled bishops that Nicholas had done well.

We do not know when Nicholas was born, so his Feast Day is the day of his death, somewhere between 341 and 352. Nicholas is venerated by both the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, but it is the Russian Orthodox Church that holds him in the highest regard. He is the patron saint of seafarers, scholars, bankers, pawnbrokers, jurists, brewers, coopers, travelers, perfumers, unmarried girls, brides, robbers and children.

Posted by: Warren Kelly at 08:41 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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1 I love the story about punching Arius...

Posted by: James Manley at December 08, 2005 05:12 PM (/kOri)

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