Friday, December 4, 2015

Did Nicholas of Myra slap Arius? Most likely, no.

Nicholas of Myra has attracted many legends and pleasant pious beliefs.  One that is constantly raised is that at the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. he slapped the heretic Arius.  I have never seen any early church historical evidence cited in support of this claim.  Apparently the reason for this is that none exists.  Roger Pearse provides a look at the evidence and summarizes the matter:
To summarise again: there is no ancient evidence whatever that St Nicholas punched or slapped Arius at the First Council of Nicaea.  The story is not found in any text before the late 14th century, and even that one mentions only “a certain Arian”.  In the next two centuries the legend mutates into Nicholas slapping Arius; and is then disseminated in works of popular fiction, and by the paintings of icons.  It has no historical basis whatever.


  1. Of all the Santa Claus legends, it is the best though.

  2. Sort of gives a new meaning to making a list and checking it twice.

    He's taking names and he's not putting up with any crap! :-)

  3. Thank you brother, Mark. Over the years I've viewed the "slapping" with some degree of suspicion. Your research has confirmed my suspicions.