The palm of Saint Nicholas

Saint Nicholas exemplified goodness and served as a role model for his followers, as described by the Apostle who said, “Through his words, actions, love, faith, spirit, and purity.” He displayed gentleness, devoid of malice, and remained humble, avoiding arrogance. His attire was simple, and he sustained himself with modest meals, typically partaking only once in the evening. He dedicated his days to fulfilling his responsibilities, attentively listening to the needs of those who sought his assistance. The doors of his home were open to all, as he showed kindness and approachability to everyone. He acted as a father-figure to the poor, extending compassion to the needy, offering solace to the grieving, and providing aid to the afflicted. His benevolence touched the lives of many, making him a remarkable doer of good.

From reading his Life, we learn about the rebuke delivered to Arius during the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea.

The faithful Emperor Constantine, desiring to strengthen faith in Christ God, commanded that a gathering of the entire world be held in the city of Nicaea. There, the Holy Fathers assembled and proclaimed the true faith with great enlightenment, anathematizing Arius, the wicked thinker and spreader of falsehoods, along with his heresy. They then affirmed the divine and apostolic peace in acknowledging the Son of God as equal in honor and essence with the Father.

During this Council, the venerable Nicholas, one of the 318 Holy Fathers, bravely stood against the blasphemies of Arius. Together with the Holy Fathers, he eloquently expounded the doctrines of the true faith and definitively made them known to all.

One of the historians tells the story that, inflamed with divine zeal like the second Elijah, Saint Nicholas dared to shame Arius in the midst of the Council, not only with words but also with action, striking him on the face.

Upon witnessing this, the Holy Fathers were saddened, and took away the signs of the episcopal dignity in Saint Nicholas.

Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Most Blessed Mother, looking down from above at the labors of Saint Nicholas, graciously approved of his bold action and praised his divine zeal. Certain other worthy Holy Fathers also had the same vision, as Saint Nicholas himself had seen before his election as a bishop. In this vision, on one side stood the Lord Christ with the Gospel, and on the other side stood the Most Pure Holy Theotokos with the omophorion. They returned what had been taken away from him, signifying that God was pleased with the boldness of the saint.

Therefore, the Fathers remained silent and greatly honored him as one pleasing to God.

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