Happy Feast of Saint Nicholas
Many of us know the story of this bishop of Myra (Asia Minor) in the early 4th century.
To save a poor man from losing his daughters to indentured servitude Bishop Nicholas threw bags of gold coins into the man's open window at night. This later developed into the fictional character known as Santa Claus, but it had its historic roots based on the heroic virtue of this great Catholic man.
But little know that this bishop Nicholas was also present at the council of Nicea when the early Church was locked in a debate over the nature of God and Jesus. A heretical bishop named Arius proposed that Jesus was "like God" but not equal with God. Much of the church was starting to adhere to his teachings and it threatened the very unity of the Church and the political stability of the ancient Roman world.
Hence the council of Nicea was called to resolve this issue on the nature of God - One God in three persons each co-equal to the others. Bishop Nicholas was so incensed by Arius' insistence that Jesus wasn't God that he punched him out! As a result, Saint Nicholas spent the night in the local Nicean Hooskow but apologized for his behavior and was set free the next day. The end result of the Council was the enunciation of the Trinity, the Nicean Creed and the condemnation of the Arian heresy, due in part by the actions of this heroic Saint Nick! (Initially the council anathematized both Arius and Nicholas but recanted for Saint Nicholas)
Now if only there was a bishop like Saint Nicholas at the Diet of Worms. Luther may have ended up nursing a bloody nose and a black eye but the reformation may have never gotten off the ground. The Church would have remained without this painful schism leading to almost 30,000 protestant denominations today all claiming to have the truth based on their own interpretation of the bible.
From the Council:
"We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten of the Father, that is, of the substance [ek tes ousias] of the Father, God of God, light of light, true God of true God, begotten not made, of the same substance with the Father [homoousion to patri], through whom all things were made both in heaven and on earth; who for us men and our salvation descended, was incarnate, and was made man, suffered and rose again the third day, ascended into heaven and cometh to judge the living and the dead. And in the Holy Ghost. Those who say: There was a time when He was not, and He was not before He was begotten; and that He was made out of nothing (ex ouk onton); or who maintain that He is of another hypostasis or another substance [than the Father], or that the Son of God is created, or mutable, or subject to change, [them] the Catholic Church anathematizes."