He hit him! He hit him square in the jaw! He was a bishop, and he threw a punch! He hit a heretic! He was Saint Nicholas, and he hit Arius during the first counsel of Nicaea in 325 for his belief that Christ was created by the Father, a belief known as the Arian heresy. He defended Christ as Christ is defined in the Nicene Creed, and that punch led him to be stripped of his office as bishop, and his pallium which is the garment the eastern rite bishops are identified with. I mention the pallium because it is so prominent in the many icons of this saint. He was restored to his office through the intersection of Mary, mother of God. Nicholas is a powerful figure, but he is known for even more than punching a fellow bishop. Nicholas is also known for his charity, and it is his charity that makes him so familiar at this time of year. His charity has been told through many stories that have been passed down through the centuries. One involves three women whose family did not have the financial means to pay their dowry, and without that dowry their fate was certain slavery. An anonymous donation by Saint Nick saved them from that fate. His dowry donation was by three bags of gold, and are one of the reasons oranges are a prominent feature of this season Much of this saints charity was done in secret. He truly lived that gospel he is frequently pictured with. The poor and children were often the benefactors of his kindness. If his defense of Christ at Nicaea, and his charity are enough to call him saint, Nicholas is also known for his miracles. One is his saving of some mariners from a tempest on the seas. It was when Nick was at Nicaea that a storm raged at sea. The sailors of the boat prayed to the Saint “If those things that we have heard of thee said be true, prove them now.” At once a man appeared to them saying “Lo! See ye me not? ye called me”, and then he began to help them at sea. When the ordeal at sea was over the sailors went to church, and there immediately recognized Saint Nick, though they had not known him before.