Council of Nicaea & St Nicholas of Myra
one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father the only-begotten; that is, of the essence of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made both in heaven and on earth
As we continue to work our way through the weeks at home, I thought I might begin to sprinkle in some of the stories which lie scattered throughout the history of the Church. Today to Nicea in modern day Turkey.
In 325aAD the Emperor Constantine summoned a council of all the bishops in his Empire to tackle once and for all (so he hoped) the question of whether Jesus is or is not God. Arius - a priest from Alexandria - taught that Jesus was in fact the greatest of creatures, and no God.
By tradition, as the debates wore on the bishop of a nearby coastal city grew incensed, strode across the floor and slapped Arius across the face. Clearly a man of action, he had taken a dim view of this attempt to downgrade Christ and had responded in his indignation. This led to a night spent in the cells to cool off, but the point had been made. The council went on to condemn the views of Arius as heresy, and the creed which was issued from the council (which we still use) speaks of Jesus as ‘very God of very God’
The tradition also has it that this outraged bishop got himself into trouble by sleeping through other parts of the debates. Man of action, and slumbering bishop - clearly a great character.
And his name? St Nicholas of Myra, better know to us as Santa Claus.