Russian Iconic Portrayal of Nicholas of Myra
The following is from a Catholic monsignor priest:
The Real St. Nicholas – Not Fat and Not Very Jolly Either.
Today (Dec 6) is the Feast of St. Nicholas. The real St. Nicholas was nothing close to the St. Nick (Santa Claus) of the modern age. He was a thin curmudgeonly man with a zeal for the Lord that caused flairs of anger. Compromise was unknown to him. The slow transformation of him into “Jolly ole’ Saint Nicholas is a remarkable recasting of him centuries in the making…
Enjoy this excerpt on the real St. Nicholas of Myra (aka Santa):
He approaches Arius, fist raised menacingly. There are gasps. Would he dare? He would. Fist strikes face. Arius goes down. He will have a shiner. Nick, meanwhile, is set upon by holy men. His robes are torn off. He is thrown into a dungeon…
Saint Nicholas. Paintings show a thin man. He was spare of frame, flinty of eye, pugnacious of spirit. In the Middle Ages, he was known as a brawling saint. He had no particular sense of humor that we know of. He could be vengeful, wrathful, an embittered ex- con….No doubt, Saint Nick was a good man. A noble man. But a hard man.
Nicholas was born in Patara, a small town on the Mediterranean coast, 280 years after the birth of Christ. He became bishop of a small town in Asia Minor called Myra. Beyond that, details of his life are more legend than fact….He became a priest at 19, and bishop in his twenties…Nicholas of Myra might not seem like the kind of person who relates to kids, and few acts attributed to him involve children.
St. Nicholas of Myra morphed into Santa Claus. (Pope C, Msgr. The Real St. Nicholas – Not Fat and Not Very Jolly Either. http://blog.adw.org/2012/12/the-real-st-nicholas-not-fat-and-not-very-jolly-either/ viewed 12/6/12)
Here is more information about Nicholas:
December 6, 2012
Who is Nikolaus, then?
Each year on December 6, Germans remember the death of Nicholas of Myra (now the Anatolia region of modern Turkey), who died on that day in 346. He was a Greek Christian bishop known for miracles… is now the patron saint of little children, sailors, merchants and students. Known as Nicholas the Wonderworker for his miracles, he is also identified with Santa Claus. Beliefs and traditions about Nikolaus were probably combined with German mythology, particularly regarding stories about the bearded pagan god Odin, who also had a beard and a bag to capture naughty children. http://www.thelocal.de/society/20121206-15915.html
Here is some of what the Eastern Orthodox have strangely claimed about him:
As a faithful bishop/shepherd, St. Nicholas was revered as a saint even before his death because of his great holiness and tender care of his flock. After the Blessed Mother and St. John the Forerunner (Baptist), Nicholas was the most revered saint in the early church. He is most honored in the East, especially in Russia. Throughout the world many churches are named for him—more than for any other saint. His ministry continues to this day as a powerful intercessor for the protection and advancement of the Church. (Orthodox America and St. Therese Byzantine Catholic Church, St. Petersburg, Florida. http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/wonderworker/)
Of course, according to the Holy Bible, the only intercessor listed in the Bible is Christ (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25)–and Jesus is specifically called the “one mediator” (1 Timothy 2:5, Douay-Rheims). Nicholas is not one who should be revered.
Christmas itself is not a biblical holiday, but a compromise with pagan festive and religious practices. It was not observed by early Christians, and even the Church of Rome did not observe it on December 25th until some time in the fourth century. And the English word for “Christmas” did not even enter the literature before 1038 A.D. It was not an original day observed by early Christians.
Some articles of possibly related interest may include:
What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them?
Is January 1st a Date for Christians Celebrate? Historical and biblical answers to this question about the world’s New Year’s day.
Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays? Did biblical era Jews celebrate birthdays? Who originally celebrated birthdays? When did many that profess Christ begin birthday celebrations?
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days.