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When Adam C. English visited Bari, Italy, he found an archive library full of primary sources on St. Nicholas—the real man behind the jolly, red-suited legend. St. Nicholas lived around the fourth century, during a "critical moment in church ...

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December 20, 2013  4:20pm

For a brief review of the growth from the St. Nicholas legend to Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, see my Global Faiths column in the Saturday, Dec. 21, issue of The Goshen News.

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Jonah James

December 16, 2012  5:33pm

St. Nicholaus persecuted rival Christians at the beginning of the numerous Byzantine Civil Wars fought over the various heresies -- Arians, Semi-Arians,Homoousians, Homoiousians, Heteroousians, Trinitarians, and others -- about the nature of Jesus. St. Nick, a Trinitarian, physically assaulted Arius himself for his "heresy". This conflict set the stage for increasingly bloody battles between rival sects: "The factions immediately flew to arms, the consecrated ground was used as their field of battle; and one of the ecclesiastical historians has observed, as a real fact, not as a figure of rhetoric, that the well before the church overflowed with a stream of blood, which filled the porticos and the adjacent courts." The Trinitarians won the wars, at least in the west, but other 'heresies' could just as well prevailed, and we would call the Trinity a heresy and Arius a Saint. St. Nick must be remembered for his role in the long Christian practice of bloody sectarian conflict.

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Heather Voges

December 13, 2012  6:37am

I'm will look forward to reading this book! I love hearing the truth about our Christian fathers! Voice of the Martyrs has a wonderful kid's book telling the real story of St. Nicholas as well other books about St. Valentine and St. Patrick.

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The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus: The True Life and Trials of Nicholas of Myra
Baylor University Press
200 pp., $24.95
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