He is called the Wonderworker in the East.
We know him in the West as Santa Claus.
But he should be known as Golden Gloves.
He was born into a wealthy family who raised him as a devout Christian. The Greek name for St. Nicholas is Agios Nikolaos which means "victory of the people" or "the people's champion." And boy did he ever live up to that name. He was a helpful guy. Super holy. The people thought it was a good idea to make him a bishop, so they did.
Bishop Nicholas continued to do much good. Giving money to poor and stuff. One famous story is about a man in Nicholas' city who was too poor to marry off his three daughters. They would probably have to turn to prostitution to just to be able to take care of themselves. Nicholas waited until night had fallen and threw a sack of gold into the mans window. The next morning the man found the gold, and was happy that he now had some dowry money. Nicholas did this the next two nights for the other daughters. And they all lived happily ever after.
Examples like this from the life of Nicholas is probably why we have the Santa Claus Tradition of today.
So far so good. But then comes the reign of Diocletian; the spread of pagan worship increased. He arrested many believers and he heard about this saintly man Nicholas. Diocletian had him imprisoned and tortured for many years. Saint Nicholas wrote to his congregation from prison until Constantine came into power. Now that Christianity was tolerated, Nicholas was free to return to his city. Persecutions stopped (for the most part), but now there were problems inside the Church.
Arius is his name, and confusing the bishops is his game. He was a bishop with great influence, and was teaching something about Christ's divine nature that was quite contrary to what was believed up to this point. Quite simply, he taught that Christ didn't have a divine nature. Jesus may have been a great man, but he was not God.
That's correct. Arius was the spiritual ancestor to today's Jehovah's Witnesses. The problem was that Arius had convinced many people of his erroneous doctrine. It is said that there were more Arians at that time than there were orthodox believers.
But when the going gets tough the tough get going.
The First Council of Nicea is called. Constantine is there. A couple papal lieutenants are there. 318 bishops, along with thousands of priests are there. Bishop Arius is there, and so is Bishop Nicholas(no, he did not ride a sleigh to get there).
|"What did the five fingers say to the face?!"|
|"Killing is OK, but punching somebody is out of the question."|
Mary then put his pallium back on.