St. Nicholas H-Slaps Arius
Taylor Marshall on the bishop's zeal to defend Our Lord's honor:
During the First Ecumenical Council of Nicea (AD 325), Arius was called upon to defend his position on the inferiority of Christ. Saint Nicholas just couldn't listen to all of Arius' nonsense and so he stood up and laid in to Arius with his fist.Egads! the modern man gasps. Surely Our Lord doesn't condone violence! Actually, at times, He does. Recall that he fashioned a cord of whips, overturned the tables, and drove the moneychangers out of the temple.
The Emperor Constantine and the bishops present at the Council were alarmed by Nicholas' act of violence against Arius. They immediately stripped Nicholas of his office as a bishop by confiscating the two items that marked out a man as a Christian bishop: Nicholas' personal copy of the Gospels and his pallium (the vestment worn by all bishops in the East).
Now if that were the end of the story, we probably wouldn't know about Saint Nicholas, and our children wouldn't be asking him for presents. However, after Nicholas was deposed, the Lord Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary visited Nicholas who was being held in a prison cell for his fist-fight with the heretic.
Our Lord Jesus Christ asked Saint Nicholas, "Why are you here?" Nicholas responded, "Because I love you, my Lord and my God."
Christ then presented Nicholas with his copy of the Gospels. Next, the Blessed Virgin vested Nicholas with his episcopal pallium, thus restoring him to his rank as a bishop.
"Zeal for thine house has consumed me."
Does such zeal consume us?
In any case, St. Louis, the greatest of all French kings, would have acted with even greater severity. "A Christian," he said, "should argue with a blasphemer only by running his sword through his bowels as far as it will go."