When St. Nicholas Slapped a Heretic

Possible footage from the Council of Nicaea

In 325, the Emperor Constantine convened the world’s Christian bishops to a conclave in Nicaea, where they debated the Arian controversy. The assembled bishops debated the ousiases of Jesus, God the Father, the Holy Spirit, etc. Well, one of the bishops, Nikolaos of Myra, got so pissed at Arius as he prattled on about how the Trinity was bunk, that he got up and slapped him!

As Arius vigorously continued, Nicholas became more and more agitated. Finally, he could no longer bear what he believed was essential being attacked. The outraged Nicholas got up, crossed the room, and slapped Arius across the face! The bishops were shocked. It was unbelievable that a bishop would lose control and be so hotheaded in such a solemn assembly. They brought Nicholas to Constantine. Constantine said even though it was illegal for anyone to strike another in his presence, in this case, the bishops themselves must determine the punishment.

Today is the Feast of St. Nicholas. I know that in some parts of the world, people leave gifts in their children’s shoes. But I plan to celebrate the day by slapping a heretic.

Has anyone seen Doug?

HT: SKJ Today

  • Curtis

    What is ousiases? Is it contagious?

  • John Musick

    That’s why my partner Naomi slapped me this morning!

  • http://whoisrobdavis.wordpress.com Rob Davis

    Is Greg Boyd still considered a heretic?

  • Thom

    What kind of slap was it, I mean a BISHop slap? Maybe it was an old school slap like an old coal miner, just a thought.

    • http://tonyj.net Tony Jones

      Based on the video footage above, it was a pimp slap.

  • Brie

    Does this mean I should be slapping myself?

  • http://coolingtwilight.com Dan Wilkinson

    Not to spoil the fun, but to the best of my knowledge this story is entirely apocryphal. It’s questionable if St. Nicholas was even at Nicaea (his name isn’t on the earliest list of attendees) and we have no good evidence that he actually had that dramatic encounter with Arias.

    • http://www.rjaypearson.com R. Jay Pearson

      ^^ Okay, who let Buzz Killington in?

      • http://coolingtwilight.com Dan Wilkinson

        Sorry…FYI, the Tooth Fairy likely isn’t real either ;)

        • http://www.rjaypearson.com R. Jay Pearson

          Yes. The Tooth Fairy is DEFINITELY real. I dated him several years back. I had to end things after he tried TWICE to misappropriate my teeth to pay for his drug habit.

  • http://www.rjaypearson.com R. Jay Pearson

    And with each successive slap across Arius’ face, Nicholas bellowed, “Ho! Ho! HOMOOUSIOS!!!!”

    • http://wanderingthedesert.wordpress.com Denika Anderson

      You are officially my favorite person ever.

      • http://www.rjaypearson.com R. Jay Pearson

        LOL! Thanx, Denika. I just couldn’t resist it. :-)

        • Dan Hauge

          That is kind of awesome. Get the Trinity right, or Santa Claus will come hit ya.

          I do find it interesting that the story is probably apocryphal. Although in good post-structuralist fashion, whether or not it is “true” is irrelevant, only how it functions in the ethos of our community, right? ;)

          • http://www.rjaypearson.com R. Jay Pearson

            Funny thing is, it wasn’t even about the trinity at that stage of history yet. It was just the “jesus is god(?)” thing. The “divinity of the holy spirit” (or what theology geeks like to refer to as the “cosubstantiality of the holy spirit with the father and son”) wasn’t decided until 381 at the First Council of Constantinople. At which I could imagine Nicholas slapping with, “Ho! Ho! HOLY SPIRIT TOO!!!!”

          • http://www.rjaypearson.com R. Jay Pearson

            ^ Imagining, of course, if Nicholas had survived to 381.

          • Dan Hauge

            You’re right, of course. I did know that, I swear (sigh)

    • http://jpserrano.com Jeremy

      R. Jay Pearson you are BRILLIANT!!!!!! Can I make a Meme out of that comment?

      • http://www.rjaypearson.com R. Jay Pearson

        Go for it Jeremy!! :-)

        • http://jpserrano.com Jeremy

          R. Jay Pearson. Yours is at the bottom.

          http://wp.me/p257CV-nA

          • http://www.rjaypearson.com R. Jay Pearson

            LOVE IT!!!

    • https://twitter.com/teerhardy Teer Hardy

      Now that’s funny!

  • Pingback: St. Nick is Getting A Lot of Play « Teer Hardy

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  • Keith Rowley

    I figure this is more evidence against good theology making you a good person. Arius may have been a heretic but from what I read he was a better person than a lot of those who opposed his ideas.

    • Dan Hauge

      True, but to be fair, Nicholas is also said to have sold his entire inheritance to give to the poor, and helped buy poor individuals out of slavery. So that may help balance out a nasty slap.

  • http://www.fidesquaerens.org/ Marta L.

    I’ve had the strangest impulse to duck all day long. Now I know why. :-)

  • http://www.progressivechristianitybook.com Roger Wolsey

    ironically, resorting to violence denies Christ more than Arius’s theological opinions ever did.

    • JoFro

      There is 99% chance the story is bogus…so its likely St Nick never slapped nobody :D

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