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Scott P. Richert

Jolly Old Saint Nicholas

By December 6, 2009

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December 6 is the feast day of Saint Nicholas of Myra, a fourth-century bishop best known today as the real-life model for Santa Claus.Icon of Saint Nicholas of Myra, bishop and wonderworker. (Photo  Slava Gallery, LLC; used with permission.) Unlike the jolly old elf, however, Saint Nicholas was known for his zeal for Christian orthodoxy. Tradition says that Saint Nicholas not only attended the Council of Nicaea (325), which affirmed the divinity of Christ and gave us the Nicene Creed, but also slapped the arch-heretic Arius at one particularly heated moment in the proceedings.

As bishop of Myra, Saint Nicholas was known for his gentle kindness toward his flock, and, after his death, for his miracles of healing. It's little wonder, then, that Christians have for centuries taken Saint Nicholas as their patron saint and turned to him in such prayers as an Invocation to Saint Nicholas and a Prayer of Impetration to Saint Nicholas.

Saint Nicholas, Confessor of Christ and defender of the oppressed, pray for us!

(Icon of Saint Nicholas of Myra, bishop and wonderworker. Photo Slava Gallery, LLC; used with permission.)

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