St Nicholas, Wonderworker of Myra in Lycia: 10 Things

1. St Nicholas was a bishop in Myra, in the land of Lycia in the fourth
century. This area is present day Anatolia (a part of modern day
Turkey), on the South coast, in Asia Minor. St Paul preached here.

2. The name ?Nicholas¦ means ?victory of the people¦, or ?namesake of
victory¦. This meaning is mentioned in some of the hymns of his service:

As a true namesake of victory, / to the faithful people thou hast shown
thyself / to be mighty amid perils, / O holy Nicholas, hierarch of
Christ; / for whenever thou art invoked, / thou dost quickly hasten / to
those who with love have recourse to thy protection. / For, appearing to
the faithful by day and by night, // thou savest them from dangers and
evil circumstances. (Vespers, Lord I have Cried)

3. We do not know exactly when St Nicholas was born, but he known to
have died peacefully about (345-351).

4. There are many stories in many countries about St Nicholas. No doubt,
some are myths. How can one know which is which? It stands to reason
that our service for St Nicholas, which is very old, and has been used
by countless saints and holy ones, would contain the accurate stories. 

5. St Nicholas is know as the ?Myrrh streaming¦, because his relics have
exuded sweet myrrh, and caused many healings. In our time, his relics
abide in Bari, Italy. 

6. St Nicholas is the most celebrated Saint other than the Apostles, the
Most Holy Theotokos and John the Baptist. He is commemorated every week
on Thursday (along with the Holy Apostles), when his troparion and
kontakion are sung. 

7. St Nicholas had the benefit of good parents. His parents, Theophannes
and Nonna were very pious, and gave great alms because they were
wealthy. One of his uncles was a bishop (also named Nicholas).

8. St Nicholas is known as a patron to the oppressed, especially
prisoners. Also, travelers and sailors have traditionally had a great
devotion to him. 

9. St Nicholas, perhaps more than any other holy father, caused the
defeat of Arius in the First Ecumenical Council. He is remembered for
slapping Arius, who was expounding his heresy at the council with great
eloquence. Nowadays, things are more defined, but at the time of the
council, the Arian heresy was a real threat to the true Christian faith.
Simply put, it posited that Jesus Christ was a creature, created by the
Father, and having god-like qualities. Arius had many sympathizers, and
excellent rhetoric was highly valued and influential in that day. Holy
Nicholas could not bear to see Arius spewing his poison, so he slapped
him and rebukes him. For this, he was removed form the council. The next
day, the bishops planned to depose him, however, at night,  

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