Author Topic: St. Nicholas Strikes Arius: Sin or Pleasing to God?  (Read 959 times)

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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: St. Nicholas Strikes Arius: Sin or Pleasing to God?
« Reply #45 on: May 11, 2015, 11:59:17 AM »
You're really committed to remembering St Nicholas for a one-time occurrence instead of all the other stuff he routinely did throughout his life.

I think the incident stands out when taken in light of the great Saint's other actions.  The fact that a man so full of love and caring was driven to violence shows how dastardly the demonic Arius' teachings were.

Without denying how insidious the Arian heresy is, I'm not sure this is the only possibility. 

Be that as it may, you are right that the slap stands out against the rest of the saint's life and actions.  What also stands out is that there aren't threads about "St Nicholas: Against Sexual Exploitation of Women" or "St Nicholas: Dividing His Goods among the Poor" or "St Nicholas: Loving God and Loving Neighbour".  For most of his life, St Nicholas was merely the icon of Christ: obeying his commandments, imitating his deeds, loving with his love.  Whether it's the Sermon on the Mount or the Last Judgement, St Nicholas lives up to the words of Christ. 

But what interests us most is the slap.  We make memes about it.  We promote it.  We accuse those who choose to focus elsewhere of attacking the saint.  We post quotes from other saints which seem to support the slap and are thankful for the defence of the saint.  We construct theologies to defend the slap.  We even do the same for Christ. 

Are people really interested in how to emulate St Nicholas' strong defence of the Orthodox faith?  Or is it that the other things the saint is known for are too hard for us to imitate but this seems easy enough?  "I live with my parents so I can't open my home to the poor, or I am poor myself and have little to share with others, how can I help save others from their misfortune?  But slap heretics?  That's easy!  Anyone can do that!"  And suddenly, without the deep faith, ascetic struggle, and other virtues of the saint, we make the sign of the cross over our sinfulness, call it "great and holy righteous anger", and regard ourselves the imitators of the saints. 

The saints were humans with human faults and yet are saints because they struggled and Christ sanctified them.  We should imitate their struggle, love, and obedience to the commandments of Christ rather than try our hand at things beyond our ability.   
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Offline vamrat

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Re: St. Nicholas Strikes Arius: Sin or Pleasing to God?
« Reply #46 on: May 11, 2015, 12:15:23 PM »
You're really committed to remembering St Nicholas for a one-time occurrence instead of all the other stuff he routinely did throughout his life.

I think the incident stands out when taken in light of the great Saint's other actions.  The fact that a man so full of love and caring was driven to violence shows how dastardly the demonic Arius' teachings were.

Without denying how insidious the Arian heresy is, I'm not sure this is the only possibility. 

Be that as it may, you are right that the slap stands out against the rest of the saint's life and actions.  What also stands out is that there aren't threads about "St Nicholas: Against Sexual Exploitation of Women" or "St Nicholas: Dividing His Goods among the Poor" or "St Nicholas: Loving God and Loving Neighbour".  For most of his life, St Nicholas was merely the icon of Christ: obeying his commandments, imitating his deeds, loving with his love.  Whether it's the Sermon on the Mount or the Last Judgement, St Nicholas lives up to the words of Christ. 

But what interests us most is the slap.  We make memes about it.  We promote it.  We accuse those who choose to focus elsewhere of attacking the saint.  We post quotes from other saints which seem to support the slap and are thankful for the defence of the saint.  We construct theologies to defend the slap.  We even do the same for Christ. 

Are people really interested in how to emulate St Nicholas' strong defence of the Orthodox faith?  Or is it that the other things the saint is known for are too hard for us to imitate but this seems easy enough?  "I live with my parents so I can't open my home to the poor, or I am poor myself and have little to share with others, how can I help save others from their misfortune?  But slap heretics?  That's easy!  Anyone can do that!"  And suddenly, without the deep faith, ascetic struggle, and other virtues of the saint, we make the sign of the cross over our sinfulness, call it "great and holy righteous anger", and regard ourselves the imitators of the saints. 

The saints were humans with human faults and yet are saints because they struggled and Christ sanctified them.  We should imitate their struggle, love, and obedience to the commandments of Christ rather than try our hand at things beyond our ability.   

I do not disagree with anything you have said.  One thing to consider is that the slapping is questionable.  It was then, to some it is now.  Throwing bags of gold into a poor person's house is not controversial in the slightest and needs no defense. 

That is why I pointed out the juxtaposition.  If you have black on white and black on very dark gray, one will stand out more than the other.  The contrast is highly noticeable.  Your statement that people could be focusing on the slapping because it is easier is certainly something to consider, though.  If a heretic needs roughing up, the Holy Spirit will guide us then.  But you are right that day in day out, following Christ's example of love and humility is likely a perquisite. 
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Offline Fabio Leite

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Re: St. Nicholas Strikes Arius: Sin or Pleasing to God?
« Reply #47 on: May 11, 2015, 12:25:11 PM »
it's not that you are meeker and wiser, which you try to imply, but only that the slap is counter-intuitive to the common image of Christ in our era and therefore requires more explanation and attention.

You're really committed to remembering St Nicholas for a one-time occurrence instead of all the other stuff he routinely did throughout his life.

I think the incident stands out when taken in light of the great Saint's other actions.  The fact that a man so full of love and caring was driven to violence shows how dastardly the demonic Arius' teachings were.

Without denying how insidious the Arian heresy is, I'm not sure this is the only possibility. 

Be that as it may, you are right that the slap stands out against the rest of the saint's life and actions.  What also stands out is that there aren't threads about "St Nicholas: Against Sexual Exploitation of Women" or "St Nicholas: Dividing His Goods among the Poor" or "St Nicholas: Loving God and Loving Neighbour".  For most of his life, St Nicholas was merely the icon of Christ: obeying his commandments, imitating his deeds, loving with his love.  Whether it's the Sermon on the Mount or the Last Judgement, St Nicholas lives up to the words of Christ. 

But what interests us most is the slap.  We make memes about it.  We promote it.  We accuse those who choose to focus elsewhere of attacking the saint.  We post quotes from other saints which seem to support the slap and are thankful for the defence of the saint.  We construct theologies to defend the slap.  We even do the same for Christ. 

Are people really interested in how to emulate St Nicholas' strong defence of the Orthodox faith?  Or is it that the other things the saint is known for are too hard for us to imitate but this seems easy enough?  "I live with my parents so I can't open my home to the poor, or I am poor myself and have little to share with others, how can I help save others from their misfortune?  But slap heretics?  That's easy!  Anyone can do that!"  And suddenly, without the deep faith, ascetic struggle, and other virtues of the saint, we make the sign of the cross over our sinfulness, call it "great and holy righteous anger", and regard ourselves the imitators of the saints. 

The saints were humans with human faults and yet are saints because they struggled and Christ sanctified them.  We should imitate their struggle, love, and obedience to the commandments of Christ rather than try our hand at things beyond our ability.   
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Offline Fabio Leite

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Re: St. Nicholas Strikes Arius: Sin or Pleasing to God?
« Reply #48 on: May 11, 2015, 12:32:01 PM »


I have to disagree again. I think the stated example of "suppressing heresy through physical force" is wrong in a normal circumstance; but this was a council and as I already stated, perhaps if he did not do this, the devil would have had the upper hand.

Then why didn't the Fathers of the Council of Ephesus just gang beat Nestorius and leave it at that?
Why ask why?

Lazar seems to think that in the case of Arius, violence was necessary to prevent the spread of heresy. I'm asking him if he's willing to apply that logic to other heresies.


I don't recall ever saying that "violence was necessary to prevent the spread of heresy" or that I was "willing to apply that logic to other heresies". Clearly you are trying to say something, that was not said.

Quote
but this was a council and as I already stated, perhaps if he did not do this, the devil would have had the upper hand.

Emphasis mine.

And I suppose the above question now goes to Fabio, too.

St. Nicholas was not even "using violence to prevent the spread of heresy". What he did was not like "persecuting heretics".

He was a senior, an elder slapping an insolent junior for blaspheming against God, much like a father or mother would slap a kid on the mouth for cursing.  Nestorius didn't get it probably because he was not as insolent and disrespectful as Arius had been.

People are so eager to prove they are over-meek and super-pacifist that they complicate even the most simple things.

Quote
Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.
Proverbs 13:24

The God who inspired this proverb showed it in action in the Temple and inspired St. Nicholas in the Arius event. That's all that there is about it. People get scandalized just because that's not the kind of Father they would like God to be, because that's not politically correct. You won't get applauses for your enlightened understanding of things at universities and the cool cafes for defending a God who thinks that the occasional slap in His children is actually a good thing.

Fortunately God doesn't care much about such things.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2015, 12:39:44 PM by Fabio Leite »
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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: St. Nicholas Strikes Arius: Sin or Pleasing to God?
« Reply #49 on: May 11, 2015, 12:39:20 PM »
it's not that you are meeker and wiser, which you try to imply, but only that the slap is counter-intuitive to the common image of Christ in our era and therefore requires more explanation and attention.

Oh?
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Offline biro

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Re: St. Nicholas Strikes Arius: Sin or Pleasing to God?
« Reply #50 on: May 11, 2015, 12:40:34 PM »


I have to disagree again. I think the stated example of "suppressing heresy through physical force" is wrong in a normal circumstance; but this was a council and as I already stated, perhaps if he did not do this, the devil would have had the upper hand.

Then why didn't the Fathers of the Council of Ephesus just gang beat Nestorius and leave it at that?
Why ask why?

Lazar seems to think that in the case of Arius, violence was necessary to prevent the spread of heresy. I'm asking him if he's willing to apply that logic to other heresies.


I don't recall ever saying that "violence was necessary to prevent the spread of heresy" or that I was "willing to apply that logic to other heresies". Clearly you are trying to say something, that was not said.

Quote
but this was a council and as I already stated, perhaps if he did not do this, the devil would have had the upper hand.

Emphasis mine.

And I suppose the above question now goes to Fabio, too.

St. Nicholas was not even "using violence to prevent the spread of heresy". What he did was not like "persecuting heretics".

He was a senior, an elder slapping an insolent junior for blaspheming against God, much like a father or mother would slap a kid on the mouth for cursing.  Nestorius didn't get it probably because he was not as insolent and disrespectful as Arius had been.

People are so eager to prove they are over-meek and super-pacifist that they complicate even the most simple things.

Quote
Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.
Proverbs 13:24

The God who inspired this proverb showed it in action in the Temple and inspired St. Nicholas in the Arius event. That's all that there is about it. People get scandalized just because that's not the kind of Father they would like God to be, because that's not politically correct. You won't get applauses for your enlightened understanding of things at universities and the cool cafes for defending a God who thinks that the occasional slap in His children is actually a good thing.

Fortunately God doesn't care much about such things.

You know what God cares about?  ???

Offline Volnutt

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Re: St. Nicholas Strikes Arius: Sin or Pleasing to God?
« Reply #51 on: May 11, 2015, 12:42:20 PM »
Jesus is God. St. Nicholas is not (unless you ask some 19th Century Russians). I can't really comment on why Jesus does what He does.

As for hitting your kids, that's been pretty much proven to be counterproductive. There's a reason that it came to be canonically forbidden for a bishop to hit someone.

I disagree that this is not an instance of the persecution of heretics, I think you're reading into it. Arius was not a brother presbyter, he'd already excused himself from the Church.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2015, 12:43:22 PM by Volnutt »

Offline Fabio Leite

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Re: St. Nicholas Strikes Arius: Sin or Pleasing to God?
« Reply #52 on: May 11, 2015, 01:03:16 PM »
Jesus is God. St. Nicholas is not (unless you ask some 19th Century Russians). I can't really comment on why Jesus does what He does.

As for hitting your kids, that's been pretty much proven to be counterproductive. There's a reason that it came to be canonically forbidden for a bishop to hit someone.

I disagree that this is not an instance of the persecution of heretics, I think you're reading into it. Arius was not a brother presbyter, he'd already excused himself from the Church.

Jesus is also human. Showing us in every act of His that is achievable for humans how we are to act in the world. Including in what against and how we should feel angry at.

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom" (Prov. 9:10)

We are to fear His just angry because it is born out of His infinite and immutable love of Good. Likewise, we are to be His image and likeness *in everything*. It is easy to feel angry. It is not so easy to feel angry at real evil because real evil is out to destroy you.

The crazy meaningless anger we see around is always targeted against weaker people or those the aggressor know cannot or would not react. To be angry and act on it against evil that can bring consequences to protect what is good and praisworth requires a higlhy developed discernment and courage.

That is one of the reasons people are so "angry" with Nazis and slavetraders of the past who are meaningless today and so "pacifist" regarding Islam and today's really imperialist fascist police states.

That's why people get out of their way to criticize an old man for slapping an irreverent heretic centuries ago as if this was a big scandal.

Christians have long forgotten that anger, like all other passions, is not to be suppressed but healed. It has to be directed first against our own sins, but also against the pernicious actions of obstinate sinners.
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Offline biro

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Re: St. Nicholas Strikes Arius: Sin or Pleasing to God?
« Reply #53 on: May 11, 2015, 01:05:07 PM »
Do you hit "heretics"? Do you smack people you find coming out of non-Orthodox churches?

Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: St. Nicholas Strikes Arius: Sin or Pleasing to God?
« Reply #54 on: May 11, 2015, 01:08:26 PM »
...today's really imperialist fascist police states.

Ah, here we go...

Quote
That's why people get out of their way to criticize an old man for slapping an irreverent heretic centuries ago as if this was a big scandal.

"Old man", huh?  Some reverence.
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Offline Fabio Leite

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Re: St. Nicholas Strikes Arius: Sin or Pleasing to God?
« Reply #55 on: May 11, 2015, 01:10:07 PM »
Do you hit "heretics"? Do you smack people you find coming out of non-Orthodox churches?

The Arius event was not about smacking normal people. He was a heresiarch, the leader of a movement that was taking the whole known world, an influential man who had been becoming more and more powerful.

Your question could be rephrased: should we smack people who own mega-churches and become billionaires by taking money from poor people with promises of miracles while at the same time spreading horrible heresies about God? Specially if this person had just been disrespectful to a real bishop, an elderly person, known for his meekness and holiness?

Of course we should, and everybody would agree that a slap in the face would still be too little compared to the evil they made.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2015, 01:11:11 PM by Fabio Leite »
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Re: St. Nicholas Strikes Arius: Sin or Pleasing to God?
« Reply #56 on: May 11, 2015, 01:10:43 PM »
Do you hit "heretics"? Do you smack people you find coming out of non-Orthodox churches?

The Arius event was not about smacking normal people. He was a heresiarch, the leader of a movement that was taking the whole known world, an influential man who had been becoming more and more influential.

Your question could be rephrased: should we smack people who own mega-churches and become billionaires by taking money from poor people with promises of miracles while at the same time spreading horrible heresies about God?

Of course we should, and everybody would agree that a slap in the face would still be too little compared to the evil they made.

No, not everybody.

Offline Fabio Leite

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Re: St. Nicholas Strikes Arius: Sin or Pleasing to God?
« Reply #57 on: May 11, 2015, 01:16:56 PM »
Do you hit "heretics"? Do you smack people you find coming out of non-Orthodox churches?

The Arius event was not about smacking normal people. He was a heresiarch, the leader of a movement that was taking the whole known world, an influential man who had been becoming more and more influential.

Your question could be rephrased: should we smack people who own mega-churches and become billionaires by taking money from poor people with promises of miracles while at the same time spreading horrible heresies about God?

Of course we should, and everybody would agree that a slap in the face would still be too little compared to the evil they made.

No, not everybody.

A smack in the face is not much less than abusing millions of poor people out of their money based on lies about God? There's some major problem of proportion discernment right there. :)

God taught us to feel and act angry *specially* against those who abuse his church to make money, to get social status and so on. If we don't, we can't complain about compromises made with pedophile priests, despotic bishops or money-hungry pastors, the Ariuses of today.

They don't have to be beaten, but if your feeling is not one of anger to completely expel them from the Temple, the Church itself, like Jesus did and like St. Nicholas did, then, there's no point in even complaining about their existence.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2015, 01:20:48 PM by Fabio Leite »
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Offline Amatorus

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Re: St. Nicholas Strikes Arius: Sin or Pleasing to God?
« Reply #58 on: May 11, 2015, 11:18:39 PM »
Old but gold.



Violence is not to be used lightly but it is necessary sometimes. Love for something assumes hate for everything that seeks the destruction of the beloved.

Regarding sinners we have to remember that: (1) we are them, so we have to be very carefull on what we recommend for sinners; (2) From salvation point of view all sins are soul destroying, but from social order point of view some sins are worse than others and may require violent cohercion; (3) Violent cohercion does not mean we do not forgive the sinner or that we hate him, but that we are preventing his mistakes from impacting the innocent.

Arius was guiding thousands of souls to hell, possibly gaining money from the name of God. And for that he got a punch on the face only. The evil he caused is immensilly disproportionate to the reaction of St. Nicholas, which, in comparison, was mild and contained.

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« Last Edit: May 11, 2015, 11:18:54 PM by Amatorus »
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Re: St. Nicholas Strikes Arius: Sin or Pleasing to God?
« Reply #59 on: May 13, 2015, 04:06:17 AM »
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« Last Edit: May 13, 2015, 04:08:27 AM by Antonis »
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Re: St. Nicholas Strikes Arius: Sin or Pleasing to God?
« Reply #60 on: May 13, 2015, 06:32:17 AM »
Old but gold.



Violence is not to be used lightly but it is necessary sometimes. Love for something assumes hate for everything that seeks the destruction of the beloved.

Regarding sinners we have to remember that: (1) we are them, so we have to be very carefull on what we recommend for sinners; (2) From salvation point of view all sins are soul destroying, but from social order point of view some sins are worse than others and may require violent cohercion; (3) Violent cohercion does not mean we do not forgive the sinner or that we hate him, but that we are preventing his mistakes from impacting the innocent.

Arius was guiding thousands of souls to hell, possibly gaining money from the name of God. And for that he got a punch on the face only. The evil he caused is immensilly disproportionate to the reaction of St. Nicholas, which, in comparison, was mild and contained.

Much as I hate to rush to the defence of Arius, it seems to me wrong to speculate about simony on his part.  A great deal of anti-hagiography was written about this and every other heretic, but you have to recognize where the truth likely stops and demonization begins.  And it surely has begun when we are hurling accusations not to my knowledge made by St. Athanasius for example.

Which is also what this thread comes down to.   Arius became convinced of a lie and Eusebius of Nicomedia identified it as a means to facilitate his personal climb up the greasy pole of late Roman politics.  St. Athanasius was about the truth.  Eusebius of Caesarea managed to avoid being declared a saint because of his desire to compromise with falsehood.

It seems to me therefore entirely appropriate that we yield to the most well attested interpretation of these events, in which St. Nicholas erred but due to his personal holiness there was a degree or perception of divine intervention that caused the Council to reinstate him. 

If I were to read this cynically I would propose the fortunes of St. Nicholas shifted when the majority of the council began to accept the arguments so boldly presented by St. Athanasius and could see Arius was a sinking ship.  It seems not beyond the realm of possibilities that there was a dark, grubby side to this council, but it was not to be found in either the persons of Ss. Athanasius or Nicolas, who were holy and God protected, even when in the case of the latter he sinned by losing his temper and striking Arius, although I'm sure Arius had it coming.  There are many heretics alive today that I would enjoy slugging were it not for the moral restraint the Church provides.

And this moral restraint requires us to affirm that striking another in the manner of St. Nicolas is sinful.

However, I have the highest regard for St. Nicolas.  His mercy and generosity shine through after sixteen centuries.  Forensic analysis upon what are thought to be his relics makes my heart bleed for him, for his nose was broken at least three times; we know he was horribly tortured in the Diocletian persecution and can attribute this to that.

I think St. Nicolas however is better remembered as the benefactor of children and a confessor of the faith than as a heretic-beater.
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Re: St. Nicholas Strikes Arius: Sin or Pleasing to God?
« Reply #61 on: May 13, 2015, 06:38:40 AM »
Do you hit "heretics"? Do you smack people you find coming out of non-Orthodox churches?

The Arius event was not about smacking normal people. He was a heresiarch, the leader of a movement that was taking the whole known world, an influential man who had been becoming more and more powerful.

Your question could be rephrased: should we smack people who own mega-churches and become billionaires by taking money from poor people with promises of miracles while at the same time spreading horrible heresies about God? Specially if this person had just been disrespectful to a real bishop, an elderly person, known for his meekness and holiness?

Of course we should, and everybody would agree that a slap in the face would still be too little compared to the evil they made.

No, we shouldn't.  Freedom of speech and freedom to practice religion have been most properly and in my opinion in accord with Christian principles enshrined as fundamental human rights.  In slapping the megachurch pastor you are violating his human rights and sinning against him, repaying evil for evil.  The elderly bishop would tell you not to hit him.  Leave vengeance to God.
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Re: St. Nicholas Strikes Arius: Sin or Pleasing to God?
« Reply #62 on: May 13, 2015, 06:41:38 AM »
Do you hit "heretics"? Do you smack people you find coming out of non-Orthodox churches?

The Arius event was not about smacking normal people. He was a heresiarch, the leader of a movement that was taking the whole known world, an influential man who had been becoming more and more influential.

Your question could be rephrased: should we smack people who own mega-churches and become billionaires by taking money from poor people with promises of miracles while at the same time spreading horrible heresies about God?

Of course we should, and everybody would agree that a slap in the face would still be too little compared to the evil they made.

No, not everybody.

A smack in the face is not much less than abusing millions of poor people out of their money based on lies about God? There's some major problem of proportion discernment right there. :)

God taught us to feel and act angry *specially* against those who abuse his church to make money, to get social status and so on. If we don't, we can't complain about compromises made with pedophile priests, despotic bishops or money-hungry pastors, the Ariuses of today.

They don't have to be beaten, but if your feeling is not one of anger to completely expel them from the Temple, the Church itself, like Jesus did and like St. Nicholas did, then, there's no point in even complaining about their existence.

The people you're complaining about aren't members of the Church.  If they were they would be excommunicated.  They preach another faith entirely that shares a common history with Orthodoxy but is far removed from it to the point of constituting what is arguably a different religion.
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Offline Antonis

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Re: St. Nicholas Strikes Arius: Sin or Pleasing to God?
« Reply #63 on: May 13, 2015, 11:25:13 AM »
It seems to me therefore entirely appropriate that we yield to the most well attested interpretation of these events, in which St. Nicholas erred but due to his personal holiness there was a degree or perception of divine intervention that caused the Council to reinstate him. 
Please, the only reason it is the "most well attested interpretation of these events" is because it is the particular interpretation that you hold because you read an article about it online somewhere and swore blood fealty to it after that.

From the Prologue of Ochrid entry for December 6:

"He was present at the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea [325] and, out of great zeal for the truth, struck the heretic Arius with his hand. For this act he was removed from the Council and from his archiepiscopal duties, until the Lord Christ Himself and the Most-holy Theotokos appeared to several of the chief hierarchs and revealed their approval of Nicholas."

Let's see how that can be contorted to fit "the most well attested interpretation of these events."

If I were to read this cynically I would propose the fortunes of St. Nicholas shifted when the majority of the council began to accept the arguments so boldly presented by St. Athanasius and could see Arius was a sinking ship.  It seems not beyond the realm of possibilities that there was a dark, grubby side to this council, but it was not to be found in either the persons of Ss. Athanasius or Nicolas, who were holy and God protected, even when in the case of the latter he sinned by losing his temper and striking Arius, although I'm sure Arius had it coming.  There are many heretics alive today that I would enjoy slugging were it not for the moral restraint the Church provides.
The irony is not lost on me that you follow a call of faithfulness to hard sources with a paragraph of your own unfounded speculation.
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Re: St. Nicholas Strikes Arius: Sin or Pleasing to God?
« Reply #64 on: May 13, 2015, 11:27:59 AM »
"He was present at the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea [325] and, out of great zeal for the truth, struck the heretic Arius with his hand. For this act he was removed from the Council and from his archiepiscopal duties, until the Lord Christ Himself and the Most-holy Theotokos appeared to several of the chief hierarchs and revealed their approval of Nicholas."

Did they reveal their approval of St. Nicholas or of St. Nicholas smacking Arius?
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Offline Antonis

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Re: St. Nicholas Strikes Arius: Sin or Pleasing to God?
« Reply #65 on: May 13, 2015, 11:32:53 AM »
"He was present at the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea [325] and, out of great zeal for the truth, struck the heretic Arius with his hand. For this act he was removed from the Council and from his archiepiscopal duties, until the Lord Christ Himself and the Most-holy Theotokos appeared to several of the chief hierarchs and revealed their approval of Nicholas."

Did they reveal their approval of St. Nicholas or of St. Nicholas smacking Arius?
Ah! You beat wgw to it. It can't be the most obvious intent of the author if it doesn't fit our vision.  :P
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Offline recent convert

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Re: St. Nicholas Strikes Arius: Sin or Pleasing to God?
« Reply #66 on: May 13, 2015, 11:58:45 AM »
So the Lord and Theotokos appeared in a vision expressing approval of something that a saint never did?
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Re: St. Nicholas Strikes Arius: Sin or Pleasing to God?
« Reply #67 on: May 13, 2015, 12:01:06 PM »
Will we all have to prove our Orthodoxy by adopting St Nicholas avatars now? 
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Offline Fabio Leite

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Re: St. Nicholas Strikes Arius: Sin or Pleasing to God?
« Reply #68 on: May 13, 2015, 01:10:55 PM »
What the Apostle says is that, like God, we should be slow to anger, not that we should never anger.

To show disrespect to a criminal harming thousands of innocents through a mere slap or punch in the face is not revenge, it is just proper, due, disrespect.

We should stop treating that which is respect that which is not respectful.
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Re: St. Nicholas Strikes Arius: Sin or Pleasing to God?
« Reply #69 on: May 13, 2015, 01:16:01 PM »
"But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also."
At nunc desertis cessant sacraria lucis:
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Offline Fabio Leite

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Re: St. Nicholas Strikes Arius: Sin or Pleasing to God?
« Reply #70 on: May 13, 2015, 03:48:00 PM »
Jesus exemplified "turning the other cheek" with his reactions to the attacks by the elite of Jerusalem.

When He was personally attacked, He would do one of the following:

1) Dodge the situation just "disappearing";

2) Stand up against the attacks with words, sometimes very aggressive words;

3) Just be silent.

When *His Father* was attacked, though, He reacted with the whip.

That's what so many people today have difficulty in understanding: you can offer *your own* cheek only.

To just stand and see the cheeks of innocents and of those you love being slept while you could stop it, is *not* humility. It's cowardice. If someone hits *their* faces, you do not have the right to offer their other cheek. You can't be a martyr with someone else's blood. You protect those who you love.

Both in the whip event and in the event with St. Nicholas, they resorted to disproportionally lesser violence to cohert a much more serious violence being done against *others*, not themselves. Jesus was reacting against a violence against the house of His Father and St. Nicholas to violence done against the faithful and to the name of God.

« Last Edit: May 13, 2015, 03:51:55 PM by Fabio Leite »
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Re: St. Nicholas Strikes Arius: Sin or Pleasing to God?
« Reply #71 on: May 13, 2015, 04:16:42 PM »
I really think we need to lose this romantic idealized image of St. Nicholas as a cigar-chomping machismo figure who, after swishing down a Caipirinha at the bar of the Nicea Airport Hilton, casually strolls into the conference hall and kayoes Arius during the midst of his admittedly heretical speech. 

This belligerent, hardcore St. Nicholas is at odds with, and distracts us from, the acts of St. Nicholas that were actually saintly, as opposed to being merely well received by a contemporary audience.
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Re: St. Nicholas Strikes Arius: Sin or Pleasing to God?
« Reply #72 on: May 13, 2015, 04:24:16 PM »
When *His Father* was attacked, though, He reacted with the whip.

Once.  But he visited the Temple at least once a year for the better part of three decades and there's no reason to believe the money-changers and other undesirables were just a one-time problem.  So why didn't he do it each time? 

I get that you want to articulate a theology of anger and maybe outline how "beating heretics" can be a path to theosis for those who have trouble practicing "fasting", "hospitality", "stillness", and a host of other virtues, but please think a little more deeply. 
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Offline Fabio Leite

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Re: St. Nicholas Strikes Arius: Sin or Pleasing to God?
« Reply #73 on: May 15, 2015, 04:22:44 PM »
When *His Father* was attacked, though, He reacted with the whip.

Once.  But he visited the Temple at least once a year for the better part of three decades and there's no reason to believe the money-changers and other undesirables were just a one-time problem.  So why didn't he do it each time? 

I get that you want to articulate a theology of anger and maybe outline how "beating heretics" can be a path to theosis for those who have trouble practicing "fasting", "hospitality", "stillness", and a host of other virtues, but please think a little more deeply.


Actually some exegesis say He did it twice, depending on how you read the texts.

Once at the very beginning of His ministry, and again right before the Passion.

The possible reason for waiting all that time to take such an action is that in that time and region you were a full adult only when you turned 30, and that's when you are fully responsible for what you do without consequences for your parents or your widowed mother.

And if that's the case, going there and turning the table was the first thing He did after the wedding in Cana (John 2), it was His first public "preaching". It works symbolically also because "Purification" is the first step of theosis.

Another good reason that would respond to that is that God is slow to anger, but He *does* anger at a point, although He is quick to forgive.

And contrary to the label you're trying to stick onto my words, I have already stated in a previous post that Arius case was exceptional and not analogous to persecution or violence against heretics. Do respond, please, but to what I write, not to what would have been easier to respond to if I had written it.

« Last Edit: May 15, 2015, 04:26:49 PM by Fabio Leite »
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Re: St. Nicholas Strikes Arius: Sin or Pleasing to God?
« Reply #74 on: May 15, 2015, 10:58:03 PM »
Are you saying then that Arius was the heretic of heretics, a man of such infinite evil as to deserve a slap, whereas all other heretics do not get slapped?
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