Church of St. Nicholas

Christmas Theology
(what we think we know)
• Saint Nicholas
• Dutch form is Santa Claus
Jesus Comes to Town
• The apostle Paul brought Jesus to the
area of Myra, Lycia (Demre, Turkey)
during his 3rd missionary journey.
• The port was so important Paul’s ship
stopped in Myra on it’s way to Rome
Jesus Comes to Town
• Santa’s parents would be saved 200
years after Paul established the church
in Lycia.
Early Life
• Ephiphaneas and Nona were saved
• Desired to have a child
• Prayed and tried for 30 years
• Finally gave birth to Nicholas in the
270’s AD
Early Life
• Life was hard in the 3rd Century
• Destitute people starved.
• Christians provided hospice care, widow
and orphan care.
Early Life
• A plague swept through Lycia in the late
3rd Century
• Ephiphaneas and Nona both die.
• What will happen to Nicholas?
Early Fame
• By 450AD many clergy were assigned the
name Nicholas.
• 4 early popes are named Nicholas.
• Roman Emperor Theodosius II (401-450)
constructed a massive church in Myra by the
name Church of St. Nicholas.
Early Life
• At this time the beloved
bishop of Myra dies.
• A Synod is formed to see
who will replace him.
• After days of
deliberation there’s no
Early Life
• The most revered bishop in
the synod had a dream.
• The next bishop would be
the first person answering
to Nicholas.
• The boy rose early and went
to the church…
Early Life
• The old bishop declared
young Nicholas the new
bishop of Myra
• Nicholas freaked out and
tried to run.
• He was stopped, obeyed
and was led to the throne.
Early Life
• The people came to love the
young bishop.
• Humility, honesty, energy, care
and dedication to God and the
• He cared about the poor,
destitute and children.
Early Life
• His giving tended to be done
in secret, many in the church
began to emulate him.
• Galerius and Diocletian
• Decree issued on February
23rd, 303AD
Early Life
Destruction of all churches
Burning of all Christian books
Dissolution of all congregations
Confiscation of all property
Banned from public office
Executed for violating decree
Early Life
• Nicholas, in his 30’s, stayed to
shepherd his people.
• Arrested & tortured over 8 yrs
Boy No Longer
• A frail, filthy, unshaven man
left prison with his integrity
and firm faith in Jesus.
• Still a young man, Nicholas
was aged by torture.
• Widely becoming famous as a
man who walked with God &
helping a destitute family.
Council of Nicea
• Constantine calls the Council
of Nicea when Nicholas is in
his 50’s
• May 20th, 325AD 318 bishops
arrive at Constantine’s palace
Council of Nicea
• An account survives where
Constantine points out 3
bishops he believes deserve
special honor, “There are
three pillars of the world,
Anthony in Egypt, Nicholas of
Myra, and James in Assyria.”
Council of Nicea
• Is Jesus a Creature or the
Council of Nicea
Athenian monk Damaskinos: The emperor
was sitting on his throne, flanked by 159
bishops to his left and 159 to his right. Arius
was presenting his views with great vigor
and detail. As Saint Nicholas observed the
scene, the bishops listened to Arius in
complete silence and without interrupting
this discourse. Outraged, and prompted by
his saintly vigor, he left his seat and walked
up to Arius, faced him squarely and slapped
his face.
Embrace the Redeemed Santa
• Redeem the Cliché
• Stare at the right hand of
Santa…remember his life.
• Let his tough life with Jesus
encourage your walk.
• Let the ordinary red/white
continually restore the
Christmas Theology