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Monday, March 27, 2023

Church of Santa Claus in Jail

 Santa Claus is our American version of Saint Nicholas.  St. Nicholas was Bishop of Myra.  In 325 the Emperor called together a Council in Nicea, because some important questions were creating some pretty hot debates among the Bishops.  It was over the nature of God.  The main theological issues were about Jesus: was He more human than divine, or more divine than human, was He equal to the Father and the Holy Spirit?

A priest, Arius, claimed that Jesus was not eternal, He was created by the Father. This was a much debated issue.  So much so, that Nicholas had had enough.  He got up and crossed the room and punched Arius in the nose.  Yes, he assaulted him.  Yes, the Bishop Myra punched the Bishop of Alexendria in the face.  Yes, Nicholas punched Arius.  

Hence, Bishop Nicholas was put in jail for the rest of the Council.  For Nicholas, he had to pay a fine and was apologetic.  Embarrassed to say the least.  However, he had the satisfaction of knowing that the bishops agreed with him and condemned Arius' claims as heresy and incorporated the nonscriptural word homoousios (of one substance) in a creed to signify the absolute equality of the Son with the Father.  It is called the Nicene Creed.  

The Apostles Creed is said more often.  The Nicene Creed is prayed during Lent and Easter, probably because that's the time focused on Jesus' death and resurrection.

The Nicene Creed

I believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
 of all things visible and invisible.

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
 the Only Begotten Son of God,
 born of the Father before all ages.
 God from God, Light from Light,
 true God from true God,
 begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;
 through him all things were made.
 For us men and for our salvation
 he came down from heaven,
 and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
 and became man.
 For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
 he suffered death and was buried,
 and rose again on the third day
 in accordance with the Scriptures.
 He ascended into heaven
 and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
 He will come again in glory
 to judge the living and the dead
 and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
 who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
 who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,
 who has spoken through the prophets.

I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
 I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins
 and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead
 and the life of the world to come. Amen.

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