Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Saintly Smack-Down...

St. Nicholas' feast day passed by once again without me posting about one of the greatest stories ever told (in my estimation) about the goodly saint. Remembered almost exclusively nowadays as the archetype for "Santa Claus" and a kindly grandpa-like figure who brought poor children gifts, he was perhaps the first saint to ever put the smackdown on heretics (literally). Nicholas was a bishop present at the Council of Nicea when the heretic Arius, who denied the full divinity of Christ, was called before the council to defend his position. Nicholas, who apparently had had enough, proceeded to punch Arius in the face. Here, here! The event has even been recorded in some early artwork portraying the council:

(Nicholas, fist raised, while Arius cowers on the floor)

Here's another one, a detail of the pugilistic moment:

So just remember: He knows when you've been naughty, he knows when you've been nice... And he's not afraid to come and rearrange your face.

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